The Insurrection May Not Be Over

There are multiple ongoing plots and reasonable fear of infiltration of security forces.

Less than a week ago, hundreds of people stormed the US Capitol, killing a police officer and four others. Had security not gotten Members to safety or had pipe bombs some brought with them been successfully deployed, it could have been far worse. There are signs, however, that this is the first act in a larger assault on American democracy.

HuffPo‘s Matt Fuller (“House Democrats Briefed On 3 Terrifying Plots To Overthrow Government“):

Capitol Police briefed Democrats on Monday night about three more potentially gruesome demonstrations planned in the coming days, with one plot to encircle the U.S. Capitol and assassinate Democrats and some Republicans.

On a private call Monday night, new leaders of the Capitol Police told House Democrats they were closely monitoring three separate plans that could pose serious threats to members of Congress as Washington prepares for Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration on Jan. 20.

The first is a demonstration billed as the “largest armed protest ever to take place on American soil.”

Another is a protest in honor of Ashli Babbitt, the woman killed while trying to climb into the Speaker’s Lobby during Wednesday’s pro-Trump siege of the Capitol.

And another demonstration, which three members said was by far the most concerning plot, would involve insurrectionists forming a perimeter around the Capitol, the White House and the Supreme Court, and then blocking Democrats from entering the Capitol ― perhaps even killing them ― so that Republicans could take control of the government.

The members of Congress whom HuffPost spoke to Monday night were extremely concerned by the call.

No kidding. This is in addition to previously-reported plans to conduct “armed protests” at all 50 state capitols.

Ironically, we’re not supposed to know this but Congress is not great at keeping secrets:

Officials on the call warned lawmakers about sharing too much information with the media, saying that divulging specific dates, times and countermeasures could aid the organizers of the plots. HuffPost is not disclosing certain information, such as who appears to be organizing these plots and when they are to take place.

One member was explicit that these groups were trying to get journalists to report on their demonstrations.

“Some of their main communications to organize these have been cut off, so they’re purposely trying to get the media to report on this as a way to further disseminate information and to attract additional support for their attacks,” this member said.

The good news is that, unlike last week, we seem prepared.

Democrats were told that the Capitol Police and the National Guard were preparing for potentially tens of thousands of armed protesters coming to Washington and were establishing rules of engagement for warfare. In general, the military and police don’t plan to shoot anyone until one of the rioters fires, but there could be exceptions.

Lawmakers were told that the plot to encircle the Capitol also included plans to surround the White House ― so that no one could harm Trump ― and the Supreme Court, simply to shut down the courts. The plan to surround the Capitol includes assassinating Democrats as well as Republicans who didn’t support Trump’s effort to overturn the election ― and allowing other Republicans to enter the building and control government.

Alas, there’s reason to fear that not all of the security forces are on our side.

Alexi McCammond for Axios (“Some members of Congress fear the Capitol mob attack was an inside job“):

An information gap following the Capitol assault has fueled fears among members of Congress that it was an inside job involving the Capitol Police.

Why it matters: The mass resignations by the Capitol Police chief and Senate and House sergeant-at-arms, coupled with few briefings by federal officials like the FBI, have left important questions unanswered and a lone Democratic congressman from Ohio trying to fill in the gaps.

Rep. Tim Ryan, chairman of a House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Capitol Police, has held three virtual briefings to update reporters.

On Monday, he shared the shocking news that two Capitol Police officers had been suspended and 10-15 were under investigation for their behavior during the riot.

“One was the selfie officer, and another was an officer who put a MAGA hat on and started directing people around,” Ryan said.

There hasn’t been an official briefing or press conference from the Capitol Police since the attack.

A House Democratic aide told Axios that among other things discussed on their weekly caucus call this afternoon, members expressed “lots of anger and frustration about national security failures.”

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Friday that something “untoward” had occurred after rioters seemingly went looking for him at an unmarked office separate from his main location in Statuary Hall emblazoned with his name.

And, of course, there’s a near certainty that the National Guard has more than its fair share of Trump supporters, QAnon cultists, and white supremacists. One would like to presume that they’ll follow their oath but there’s no guarantee all of them will.

More chilling still, there’s fear that some Members are also insurrectionists. Not in the rhetorical sense of going along with the “stolen election” nonsense and thus fanning the flames but in the aiding and abetting sense. Fuller again:

One topic of discussion was the need to put every member of Congress through a metal detector before the inauguration. A member on the call told HuffPost that there was an “eyes-wide-open realization” that Capitol Police needed to take precautions against “all these members who were in league with the insurrectionists who love to carry their guns.”

“You can’t just let them bypass security and walk right up to [Joe] Biden and [Kamala] Harris at inauguration,” this lawmaker told HuffPost.

Reporting for the Washington Post (“Several Capitol police officers suspended, more than a dozen under investigation over actions related to rally, riot“), Aaron C. Davis, Rebecca Tan, and Beth Reinhard add:

Several U.S. Capitol Police officers have been suspended and more than a dozen others are under investigation for suspected involvement with or inappropriate support for the demonstration last week that turned into a deadly riot at the Capitol, according to members of Congress, police officials and staff members briefed on the developments.

Eight separate investigations have been launched into the actions of Capitol officers, according to one congressional aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the status of the internal review.

In one of the cases, officers had posted what Capitol Police investigators found to be messages showing support for the rally on Wednesday that preceded the attack on the complex, including touting President Trump’s baseless contention that the election had been stolen through voter fraud, the aide said.

Investigators in another instance found that a Capitol officer had posted “inappropriate” images of President-elect Joe Biden on a social media account. The aide declined to describe the photographs.

The scrutiny of the Capitol Police comes amid intensifying recriminations over why the complex was insufficiently protected when thousands of Trump supporters converged on Washington to protest the congressional action to certify Biden’s win.

On Sunday, former Capitol police chief Steven Sund, who resigned after the attack, told The Washington Post in an interview that congressional security officials rebuffed his efforts to put the D.C. National Guard on standby before the joint session.

We need to be careful in lumping support for Trump or even support for the stolen election conspiracy with violence. People, even law enforcement officers and military personnel, have a right to hold strange beliefs. Still, these people should be thoroughly investigated to ensure they’re trustworthy.

The bottom line, though, is that as shocking as Wednesday’s rioting was it may well be the tip of the iceberg rather than the culmination of years of rabble rousing and conspiracy mongering.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Some of the right-wing websites are warning their followers that this is a set-up, that the Democrats in concert with BLM and Antifa are using these riots/protests as a lure to round up and incarcerate “patriots.”

    4
  2. Michael Reynolds says:

    We need to be careful in lumping support for Trump or even support for the stolen election conspiracy with violence.

    No, we don’t. You are dead wrong. The SS were the people shooting Jews and dumping the bodies in ditches, but those bullets were supplied courtesy of every Nazi party member and every ‘good German’ who sat on his hands and did nothing.

    I know you and Steven have Republican friends and co-workers who you’d rather not cast out into darkness, but tough shit. All your Republican friends, every goddamn one of them still in the party at this point, is a traitor to democracy, the constitution, liberty itself. Wake up, James.

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  3. mattbernius says:

    People, even law enforcement officers and military personnel, have a right to hold strange beliefs. Still, these people should be thoroughly investigated to ensure they’re trustworthy.

    This makes me think of recent reports (prior to the siege and commented here on OTB) that they have had to go through the same process with the secret service. Even prior to last Wednesday, those were deeply concerning. Now, in this light, they feel even more ominous.

    9
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The bottom line, though, is that as shocking as Wednesday’s rioting was it may well be the tip of the iceberg rather than the culmination of years of rabble rousing and conspiracy mongering.

    There is more to come but concerted group action is becoming harder and harder with every arrest. That there is more than a little fascist sympathy among police is not a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention. When it comes to “potentially tens of thousands of armed protesters” showing up in DC, white people are stupid, but I’m not sure they are that stupid. Time will tell. The far greater danger is the lone wolf attackers. Eventually these people will stop talking to their like minded brethren for fear they will get turned in. They will be harder to catch then.

    14
  5. Kathy says:

    There is already a precedent that one’s ancestry makes one a dangerous security risk. Surely taking up real risks posed by beliefs and actions is far more reasonable.

    8
  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    I think that’s right. It’s very much what happened with Al Qaeda and ISIS. We broke communications networks, we took down financing, we blew up leadership, we increased security, and we stopped 911’s but got lone wolf attacks instead. The good thing is that lone wolf attacks are already in the system, so to speak. We are a country that barely blinks at school shootings, a few crazy white people won’t tip us into fascism.

    15
  7. grumpy realist says:

    Everyone’s remembering the assassination of Indira Gandhi by one of her own bodyguards.

    And until the Republican party shows that it is willing to clamp down on the extremists and the egger-ons within its own ranks, I have to conclude that they would be happy to go along with it providing they felt they could get away with it.

    8
  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    It’s the second week of 2021. Last week began with an insurrection, siege of the US Capitol building, and rejection of democracy, and it ended with all major social media companies banning the one-time impeached 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

    One of those companies was Twitter. On the Donald.win forum, Trump supporters announced a plan to show their discontent by protesting in front of the San Francisco headquarters earlier today. The building was empty, with Twitter employees working from home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but there was still a heavy police presence to protect against mob violence. What happened instead was a fairly quiet event, with just a single pro-Trump protester in evidence — and two counter-protesters there to applaud Twitter’s decision to deplatform the outgoing president.

    Talk is cheap.

    7
  9. Nightcrawler says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    On the Donald.win forum, Trump supporters announced a plan to show their discontent by protesting in front of the San Francisco headquarters earlier today. The building was empty, with Twitter employees working from home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but there was still a heavy police presence to protect against mob violence. What happened instead was a fairly quiet event, with just a single pro-Trump protester in evidence — and two counter-protesters there to applaud Twitter’s decision to deplatform the outgoing president.

    I’m wondering if some of these pre-announced terror attacks are smokescreens to distract the authorities while the terrorists hit the real target. If this has occurred to me, I would hope it’s occurred to law enforcement.

    6
  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: The good thing is that lone wolf attacks are already in the system, so to speak. We are a country that barely blinks at school shootings, a few crazy white people won’t tip us into fascism.

    Exactly. They are no danger to the country. That is not to say they aren’t a danger to people, just not very many people. We’ve had any number of these types of incidents over the last few decades, people react with horror and revulsion and then they go get a new flat screen TV or i-phone.

    5
  11. Nightcrawler says:

    I sincerely fear that unless the inauguration festivities are cancelled, and the inauguration held without an audience in a secure, undisclosed location, we’re going to see a terror attack on the level of 9/11. I’m not talking about how it’s executed — it won’t involve planes — but how many people end up dead.

    For that reason, I’m hoping that this is what the feds are indeed planning, and that the announced festivities are a decoy to lure terrorists away from the real event.

    2
  12. MarkedMan says:

    The Republican Party served as the enabler of these armed thugs for so long they actually started electing them to Congress. When NRA cosplayers started showing up armed to demonstrations they should have been arrested, locked up and had to deal with a criminal record for the rest of their sorry-ass lives. We have now gotten to the point where LE is going to have to start putting bullets in heads to make them realize this isn’t a game.

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  13. James Joyner says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    All your Republican friends, every goddamn one of them still in the party at this point, is a traitor to democracy, the constitution, liberty itself.

    Trump received 74,223,744 votes, representing 46.9% of those who showed up to vote in the last election. We’re talking about literally nearly half of the voting population. That includes huge percentages in every state in the Union and, indeed, even in every major city in the land. We can’t simply discount them all as traitors.

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  14. MarkedMan says:

    @Nightcrawler:

    I sincerely fear that unless the inauguration festivities are cancelled

    We don’t give in to these terrorists. If they show up they should be put down like the rabid dogs they are.

    3
  15. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner: Most voters, most people just go along. I know people who I like that are Trump supporters. But if you have friends that are arming themselves to march in the streets and threaten people? Then, however nice they are to you, they are an active danger to this country. It really is that simple.

    8
  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Joyner:

    We can’t simply discount them all as traitors.

    Why? Were Confederates not traitors? There were a lot of them, too. These are people still supporting Jeff Davis long after Fort Sumter. Yes, they are traitors to democracy, to the constitution, to human liberty, to the United States and all it stands for.

    I’m not saying there’s no possibility of redemption, but redemption requires repentance. They need to get out of the party of sedition. They need to renounce the GOP otherwise yes, James, yes every single one is a traitor.

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  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Most voters, most people just go along. I know people who I like that are Trump supporters.

    Most Germans just went along. Most Nazis just joined for the career opportunities. Most death camp guards loved their children. Did you think every bad guy in the world went around punching babies? Evil at the macro level is always 90% people who just went along. This is the banality of evil.

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  18. reid says:

    @Michael Reynolds: *74 million* people were hateful or clueless enough to vote for him. They all bear some responsibility. If the election were held today, how much lower would that number be? I’m afraid it wouldn’t change that much.

    I just read James’s reply. No, they’re not all traitors, but they’re certainly part of the problem.

    8
  19. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    @OzarkHillbilly:
    It’s similar to the situation with ISIS/Islamist lone wolves in Europe.
    The attacks are nasty, brutal, outrageous, but above all tragic in their sheer futility.

    In France for example, there have been 72 attacks over the last five years, with 276 deaths and around 800 injuries.
    The chances of the Fourth Republic falling = zero.

    It’s the terrorist response to the impossibility of prolonged conspiracy in the face of the modern state.
    If they organize in groups, they get betrayed, infiltrated, subverted, surveilled, arrested ambushed, raided, and ultimately destroyed.
    If they try to avoid the power of Leviathan to crush them by acting alone, they can be a terrorist danger, but cannot be a revolutionary threat.

    7
  20. Joe says:

    This would all be averted by President Trump, in the interest of country and democracy, simply going on national television to tell them to lay down their arms. The election is over and Biden/Harris won. Return to your farms and plan to vote in the next election. That should be followed up by key Republican members of Congress repeating the same message.

    I’ll wait.

    15
  21. Kathy says:

    @Joe:

    There are two flaws in that scenario:

    1) It requires Trump care about other people for even a millisecond.

    2) He cannot lie convincingly. he appears to do so, only because he really believes the lies he tells. He does not believe the election is over, or that Biden and Harris won, or that he didn’t win by a landslide, or that it’s wrong to burn the country down at the altar of his ego and vanity when it’s done, after all, for his benefit.

    6
  22. R. Dave says:

    @Michael Reynolds: So basically, “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Republican Party?” Thanks, but no thanks, Joe.

    8
  23. Sleeping Dog says:

    Over the next few weeks and maybe months the HoR will be interesting to watch to see what evidence emerges as to member participation in the events on Wednesday.

    Their comments have raised questions about the degree to which Republicans may have coordinated with protest organizers. In a since-deleted tweet, Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas, wrote that he “had a great meeting today with the folks from Stop The Steal,” one of the leading groups that organized last week’s rally.

    And in a separate video, Ali Alexander, a far-right activist and conspiracy theorist who emerged as a leader of Stop the Steal, claimed that he, along with Mr. Brooks, Mr. Gosar and Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona, had set the Jan. 6 event in motion.

    “We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting,” Mr. Alexander said in a since-deleted video, “so that who we couldn’t rally, we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/us/politics/republicans-capitol-riot.html

    3
  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    @R. Dave:
    Really. You’re going with McCarthyism. That’s really too stupid for you.

    Why don’t you offer an actual counter-argument? Why don’t you explain why membership in a party that is unmistakably racist, unmistakably committed to overturning a free election and disenfranchising American voters in support of a treasonous President and party leadership is somehow not a seditious, disloyal, treasonous party?

    12
  25. Jax says:

    I’ve been pondering all of the people I know who have served or are currently serving in the National Guard. No big surprise given that I’m in a red state, but every single one of them is a Trumpie. I am unsure that their oath to the country will supercede their loyalty to Trump. I would not want them protecting our state Capitol, let alone the Capitol building in D.C.

    7
  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @James Joyner: “We can’t simply discount them all as traitors.”

    No, but we may need to face the fact that our *body politic* is riddled with cancer and dying. Nobody wants to consider that, of course–except for me, but I gave up on believing in the goodness of our citizens a long time ago. Still, 46+% of the voters supported racism, hatred, and incompetence of the most gross degree–and will most likely support it again in 2022 and 2024. Because the face won’t be Trump’s, the %age could go over 50, sad to say.

    15
  27. KM says:

    @James Joyner:

    We’re talking about literally nearly half of the voting population.

    And that’s a *huge* problem because we should be seeing nearly that many people screaming to the heavens about the traitors in their midst and what they’re gonna do about it. Instead, we keep hearing “I’m not like those people” or “it’s just a few bad apples”; there’s more personal CYA going on than genuine disavowals. Republicans seem far more concerned about not looking bad by this than being the cause, source and reservoir of this crap.

    We keep seeing requests to moderate our tone cuz #NotAllGOPVoters. QAnon isn’t being purged from conservative ranks by conservatives – it’s liberals driving the push to deplatform these nuts and conservatives crying about censorship. Where’s all the GOP voters demanding the traitorous members of Congress be replaced? After all, they’re from red states so it’s extremely likely a new conservative will take their place. Why are there barely any calls for consequences from that half of the voter population but all the whining about “moving on” and “healing” is from that quarter?

    Silence is consent at this point. A quiet murr of disappointment isn’t enough. Half of our country is associated with and supports this mess and wants to pretend they’re not purely for CYA purposes. Turns out, 74 million people can be wrong after all.

    21
  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I think the objection that people are having is what the *ultimate solution* to this problem is (forgive me for going all Godwin and all 🙁 ).

  29. inhumans99 says:

    Question, why are we not treating 01/20/21 like we would 09/11/2001 and just greatly restrict the ability of many Americans to move about with ease in and around D.C.. A no fly zone can be imposed, checkpoints set up so law enforcement has pics of who will be at the inauguration, etc..

    We put up with the restrictions for a limited period of time after 9.11 and I think we can survive another 24-48 hours (day before inauguration and day of) of restrictions to ensure another coup/riot is not attempted by all too many people who are revealing themselves to be weak willed and quite frankly, a bit nuts.

    I get that they were not brainwashed by Fox over just a few days but more like several years, but still…some pretty weak willed folks willing to follow people off a cliff because of what Sean Hannity told them on TV, yikes…more than a bit pathetic.

    7
  30. @Michael Reynolds: Could you help me understand your views over the weekend tha all this is going to go away with the notion that every single person who voted for Trump should be treated co-equally?

    Over the weekend you were arguing that trumpsim would fade without Trump. Here you are basically saying that 75 million Americans are tantamount to Nazis.

    I honestly am confused as to your position.

    6
  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    A general rant: Being slow to figure something out is not a sign of wisdom. It’s just a sign that you’re slow. Four years ago I was a ‘bomb thrower’ and the chin-strokers were either dismissive or contemptuous. And now every sober-sided opinion columnist with a national presence sounds exactly like me. They weren’t wise, they were just slow. It’s taken four goddamn years for the wise graybeards, the bien pensants to catch up to a fucking high school drop-out kid book writer.

    Every nasty thing I said about Trump and his voters has been objectively proven true. But I’m still a McCarthyite bomb-thrower because most, not all by any means, but most of the class just finally got there. Herd animals who mistake slow-moving conformity for wisdom.

    Remember when I was saying that people like Erik and JKB would be willing concentration camp guards? Remember how wildly over-the-top that sounded then? Doesn’t sound so crazy now, does it? There’s a very long list of grown-up, serious, studious, thoughtful, moderate types who were absolutely clueless. And now they all sound like I did four years ago. But still, Reynolds he so crazy.

    The Republican Party is a seditious, fascist, racist party committed to white supremacy. And yes, every single goddamn person who is still a Republican after 1/6/21 is a traitor to everything this country stands for. Go ahead, sneer. Get back to be in four years when you catch up.

    7
  32. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    It’s not hard to understand. Without Hitler Naziism faded. We still prosecuted Nazis in leadership, and the German people who actively or tacitly supported the Nazis are Nazis or Nazi supporters and morally they are the same thing.

    Confederates were traitors. After the Confederacy fell, they faded from view for the most part. And yet they were traitors, weren’t they? So, yes, with Trump gone, Trumpism will fade. That won’t make Republicans any less treasonous just because they crawled back under their rocks.

    Trumpism will die off because they lost the culture wars and they lost the support of capital and the United States is not Weimar Germany, we still have some institutions capable of resisting, and we have the numbers. They’ll fade. They’ll still be traitors.

    7
  33. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    You catch more wasps with honey than with vinegar.

    2
  34. Gustopher says:

    @JohnSF: But then you have to figure out what to do with your pile of wasps.

    9
  35. Scott F. says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Not that he needs any help in an argument, but I’m going to jump in to back up Michael’s position here. I think people who are pushing back have missed a key element of his formulation – the redemption.

    So, all of the +74M that voted for Trump in November aren’t traitors for that act alone. There are a huge number of true believers in that +74M, but there are others in the mix as well. They were those slow to see the truth, or those gaming Trumpism for their own benefits, or tribalists just going along. But, the events since November 3rd, culminating in the Capitol Riot, has created a point of reckoning. The slow, the gamers, the tribalists – they have no excuse anymore for not seeing the Trump GOP as it is, yet they still have a shot at redemption.

    Redemption, however, requires an affirmative act of penance. That means renunciation of the Big Lie and it means holding accountable GOP politicians who actively stoked the fire of sedition. Any Republican who isn’t actively renouncing their party’s role in the turmoil and who isn’t working immediately to clear their ranks of the Sedition Caucus members must be seen as complicit. Tsk-tsk-ing about civility and strongly worded statements can no longer be see as sufficient for a Republican to shed the traitor label.

    14
  36. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    every single goddamn person who is still a Republican after 1/6/21 is a traitor to everything this country stands for.

    Or they could be misinformed about what the Republican Party stands for.

    5
  37. Owen says:

    @MarkedMan: I have a family member who was (may still be) a Trump supporter. Several months ago I told him something that I believe (hope) opened his eyes a little (I had for a long time tried to have “reasoned” conversations rather than bash him with facts he had been counter-programmed to). I told him that in my opinion the biggest failure of the Obama administration was when the insurrectionists showed up at the Bundy ranch in 2014. The correct response, I said, would have been to call in re-enforcements and shoot down those treasonous dogs on the spot, then arrest all of the Bundys, and if necessary, shoot all of the cattle. For some reason that seemed to sink in, I hope for the better, as the family member has not been visibly pro-Trump since, and changed many of the stickers on the back of his vehicle from unhinged to duck hunting (and who doesn’t love a cute Labrador retriever). I hope it is sincere, and although we only see each other occasionally, I think it is.

    Would there have been bad optics, would it have pushed a lot of these delusional psychopaths further underground? Yes, but in my opinion it would have also significantly decreased the number of yahoos that have shown up heavily armed to so many of the events over this past election cycle. It would have affirmed that the right to bear arms does not also guarantee the right to making terroristic threats. In that same vein, and I say this with a heavy heart, as a result of the events of January 6th, 2021, I anticipate responses by law enforcement and many citizens to be less constrained when dealing with rabidly screaming, and armed (or even probably armed) Trumpkins.

    4
  38. JohnSF says:

    @Gustopher:
    You train them.
    Into a little waspy army that can spoil your enemies picnics!
    “Eat jam sandwiches will you, you blackguards!”

    1
  39. Gustopher says:

    @JohnSF: So, FEMA re-education camps for wasps?

    1
  40. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I did not expect this to get to a violent stage. I was wrong about that. You were right, or at least more right than me. I guess that makes me a chin-stroker.

    So, let’s talk about me. I have studied and trained in jujitsu for the last 20 years. I teach it. If I think someone is a potential threat, I do not “take up a stance” and threaten them. I talk to them in the least inflammatory manner possible. I will set a limit, such as “you can’t do that here” if I need to, but I will have my hands not in fists, but perhaps folded across my chest or held open toward them. I will be highly aware of how I’m standing, and whatever cues they might be giving as to their intentions, but I will not take action unless some very specific things happen.

    This is far more likely to defuse the situation. I do not use “intimidation” as a strategy, I use laughter, which is both counterescalating, and also somewhat intimidating. If someone’s manner threatens violence and I smile, what effect will that have?

    This is not a “technique” it is an entire system, one thing supports the other. It works. It is a radical departure from how many people confront threats. It works for me.

    One could argue that there were flaws in the awareness and “stance” of those responsible for protecting the Capitol. I think that’s probably correct, AND, how things played out worked for us politically.

    My best guess is that what Trump was hoping for was video of protesters duking it out with Capitol police, which he could spin to his advantage. He got something else, though, and it has broken against him very hard, as it should.

    My way of doing things requires that I accept that I might get hurt. If whatever it is isn’t worth getting hurt, I walk away. America, however, is worth getting hurt for.

    4
  41. Kathy says:

    I kind of understand people who voted for Trump the first time. He was unknown at governance, and surely his campaign antics were not going to be carried into the White House.

    But then they were. He proved not so much a failure at governance, as simply not interested in it. When he tried to implement any policy, or most, he largely failed. Think of the Muslim ban, the wall, the end of DACA, etc. All those could have been carried out pretty much as he wanted, had his so-called administration proceded according to the law, rather than issuing diktats by Twit.

    Or take the infamous wall. Let alone there is no wall running from the Gulf to the Pacific, that would be the work of more than four years. And let alone that it wasn’t a concrete or brick wall, there are practical considerations. But he couldn’t get funding for it when the GOP controlled both houses of Congress. And he never even tried to get Mexico to pay for it for some reason.

    So what does he have to show? A few miles of renovated fencing and some additional fencing, concentration camps within US borders (again; see the intermittent of Americans of Japanese ancestry in the 40s), an updating of NAFTA, a losing trade war with China and Europe, and some finalized deals between Israel and some of its neighbors it was never at war with. Meantime Iran and North Korea are both more dangerous than when he took office, largely as a consequence of his grandstanding and incompetence.

    Even if your the Grand Wizard of the Klan, why would you vote for such a moron?

    The Trump era, both longer than it should have been and shorter than it might have been, energized those Democrats and Republicans (or former Republicans) who saw him for what he is and couldn’t take it. It failed to turn off those whose willful blindness led them to think the timid gnat selling away their country’s sovereignty was a giant protecting them from something (we know what).

    For all that, the real problem among GOP voters is 70-72% of them. those are the percentages in a recent poll who reportedly believe Trump is defending democracy, and the election was stolen. All without as much evidence as it would take to charge, much less convict, Barney Gumble of public intoxication.

    6
  42. JohnSF says:

    Yes; tell them they’ll be let out when the learn to bee more reasonable.
    Or recruit them to your political activist wing: the Anty-Fa 🙂

    3
  43. Gustopher says:

    While I don’t share Micheal’s view that half the country are traitors, there does remain the problem of the Republican Party.

    A majority of the Republicans believed the birther nonsense. And, a larger majority now believe that the election was stolen by Joe Biden. To them, if Biden is inaugurated, then we will have another four years of illegitimate government, and nearly had Clinton (who was illegitimate by virtue of being a member of the Clinton crime family). Given what they have been told, Democracy is under attack.

    The problem isn’t that they are traitors, it’s that they aren’t traitors. And from there they run the gamut of people, those who will go along with the illegitimate government but vote against it, those who will protest, those who will take up arms, and a whole bunch of nazis because there are always a whole bunch of nazis.

    What the hell do you do with a democracy when half the country has been grossly misinformed by cynical leaders of one of the major parties, in cooperation with a major news network? How do you re-educate them?

    I have no idea.

    There are traitors, but it’s not the idiot with the buffalo costume who until a few days ago lived with his mom and is now refusing to eat food in jail because it’s not organic — the traitors are higher up, and are the people who spread and defend the Big Lie. The buffalo dude is just a mentally unbalanced twit, a weapon used by the traitors.

    14
  44. gVOR08 says:

    @James Joyner: As you say, as a matter of realistic politics we can’t kiss of 47% of the electorate. But as a matter of analyzing the problem, they are all to one degree or another living in cloud cuckoo land. They form a like minded community that provides aid and comfort to the craziest of their lot. And I have no idea how to get them to see reality.

    3
  45. Gustopher says:

    @Gustopher: Adding onto that, a half-formed thought that has been bouncing around in my head for months…

    Free speech is part of the problem, and social media is an accelerant. And we have foreign actors who have been manipulating social media to destabilize America — the Russian interference that we started to notice with the 2016 election has continued.

    Is democracy, as practiced in the US, a stable system? Have our enemies found an effective way to attack us, and cripple us, using our freedoms and our own worst instincts?

    How do we protect our way of life, without giving up the core freedoms that we love?

    I’ve been trying to think of what countries have been more effective at controlling this, and I keep coming back to Germany — which has very strong laws on hate speech, aimed at avoiding a resurgence of nazis. They haven’t been perfect, and there have been a lot of attacks on immigrants, but they’ve been basically stable.

    Britain has been damaged by the Brexit folks — a referendum where there was a lot of deliberate misinformation, amplified by foreign actors. And Boris Johnson, who is an idiot.

    I’m not sure anyone has bothered trying to destroy Canada, but they have a very different balance of free speech rights than we do. Really have no idea whether they are more stable or just less tested.

    5
  46. ImProPer says:

    “The bottom line, though, is that as shocking as Wednesday’s rioting was, it may well be the tip of the iceberg rather than the culmination of years of rabble rousing and conspiracy mongering.”

    It could be the tip of the iceberg, but how effective that iceberg is, or can be with its aversion to coherence and leadership remains a mystery. As to any chance of it becoming an organized fighting force capable of taking over America, I haven’t seen much evidence, but this might not be a positive. A large body of nihilistic, narcissistic individuals with a revolution fetish, no coherent ideology and an unquenchable need for attention, are less amenable to terms than a unified fighting force, thus more prone to starting violence. For those that call Trump supporters Confederates, or that his leadership over them is any more substantial than his past failures, this might just be wishful thinking. Trump himself is just one rational moment away from becoming a member of the deep state. Welcome to the era of democratized opinion.

  47. dazedandconfused says:

    @Gustopher:

    Agree. The problem with the traitor label is there is nowhere to go from it except “to the mattresses”, per The Godfather. It’s also inaccurate. It’s entirely applicable to those who knowingly and cynically distribute agitprop…but to the ignorant who have been misled? Not so much.
    IMO a significant portion of that crowd in DC believed they were restoring the republic. Hell, if the only source of information I consumed was theirs I might’ve been there with them. Mark Twain once remarked it is a heck of a lot easier to fool people than it is to convince them they have been fooled, so de-programing takes time. They must be talked to, and starting off with the traitor label, however accurate, kills the conversation. When the talking stops what remains is fighting, and that’s pretty much it.

    2
  48. Nightcrawler says:

    @James Joyner:

    We can’t simply discount them all as traitors.

    Hold my beer.

  49. Nightcrawler says:

    @MarkedMan:

    We don’t give in to these terrorists. If they show up they should be put down like the rabid dogs they are.

    I understand the sentiment, but in the process of putting them down, thousands of innocents will die, including the incoming POTUS and VP.

    1
  50. @Michael Reynolds:

    Without Hitler Naziism faded.

    Well, that and an utter defeat in WII, occupation of the country by outside military forces, denazification policies, the Nuremberg trials, and laws forbidding Nazi symbols, groups, etc.

    If 75 million voters need to be considered Nazis then Trump going away does not solve the problem.

    15
  51. @Steven L. Taylor: Put another way: Nazism did not fade, it was aggressively excised.

    (and, FTR, I am not endorsing the notion that everyone who voted for Trump fits that bill, but I think you are over-simplifying in a number of ways).

    7
  52. Nightcrawler says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I agree.

    On a micro level, I have cut these people out of my life. I want nothing to do with any of them, ever again. They are worse than dead to me. I grieve the dead. I don’t grieve any of those awful people.

    However, I have no idea how to solve this problem on a macro level. I keep saying it, but it bears repeating: I’m glad I never had children. I can’t help but notice that a lot of the terrorists have children and grandchildren, who will have to live in the hopeless world their parents and grandparents want so badly.

    4
  53. @Scott F.: There is a lot to unpack there, but let me at least say this:

    1. I am not excusing GOP voters nor am I excusing GOP elected officials, especially not the sedition caucus of Hawley, Cruz and company.

    If Romney is a Republican and Cruz is a Republican, then all Republicans are not identical. This is just a fact. That doesn’t mean anyone with an R by their name doesn’t have splainin to do, but they have different levels of culpability. This is just an empirical fact.

    2. I am objecting to the notion that it is fair to call everyone who voted for Trump a Nazi, a “good German,” or a “traitor.” The entire situation is simply too complicated to go that route (and I say that without any attempt whatsoever to absolve a single one of them of their collective responsibility for voting for him).

    Let’s face facts: it is almost impossible to truly generalize about 75 million people.

    3. I entered into this thread in particular because I am having a hard time understanding and reconciling MR’s positions in a thread on Saturday with his assertions today.

    I find the broader assertions of mass treason (and I am not sure how voting in a legal election is treasonous on its face) and/or Nazism/good Germanness to simple be problematic. (And, data I mention it, but this all intersects with why I think “cult” has always been the wrong frame to explain the entire party, or even Trump’s election specifically. Again. you want to apply it to QAnon or rally-goers, that is a different conversation).

    Ultimately: you aren’t going to get a truly solid explanation of any of this via “cult”/treason/Nazis, in my view. And, again, that is not to absolve anybody of anything, including the rather clear presence of white supremacy and virulent nationalism within Trump’s coalition.

    10
  54. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Of the 75M, some variation on the 80/20 rule applies, with 20% being potentially violent radicals and of the remaining 80%, probably 20% of those are simpatico but would not take up arms or riot themselves.

    You can continue to work back from their cleaving off subsets, e.g. 20% voted for him because he wasn’t a Dem, but in reality most of those Trump voters will either go away or attach themselves to whoever is the R nominee in 2024. The challenge for the R establishment is to ensure that it is not another trumpkinesque proto-fascist.

    2
  55. DrDaveT says:

    @Scott F.:

    Redemption, however, requires an affirmative act of penance. That means renunciation of the Big Lie and it means holding accountable GOP politicians who actively stoked the fire of sedition.

    I just don’t see it happening. The actual deplorables will not repent, and the swallowers of the Big Lie are extremely unlikely to admit that they were gullible dupes. Who exactly do you see seeking redemption here? At best, I see them going back underground. Until you can fix the propaganda machines inflating the RWNJ bubble, the situation will not materially change. You can’t arrest enough of these people — even the real insurrectionists — to make a dent in the movement.

    4
  56. ImProPer says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    “Why don’t you explain why membership in a party that is unmistakably racist, unmistakably committed to overturning a free election and disenfranchising American voters in support of a treasonous President and party leadership is somehow not a seditious, disloyal, treasonous party?”

    Disclaimer, I am 57 years old, and have never voted Republican, and not likely too in the foreseeable future. Having said that, shouldn’t the onus be on you to prove that all members of the party are as you say? I find myself persuaded frequently by your arguments, but view hyperbolic manicheanism, coupled with a cultural addiction to perceived righteousness, as a much larger threat to our Democracy. This current malady, from what I can see, is just the latest effect, of the stated cause.

    2
  57. @Sleeping Dog: I think we are dealing with multiple categories. There are just Republicans who want to be Republicans for various reasons and because when given only two choices they can’t choose the Ds. They are enablers of Trump at a minimum.

    Then there is the faction of the party that is going hardcore white supremacist.

    If we had a reasonable electoral system those two groups would form two different parties, but alas…

    The other group is small, far smaller than 20%. They are the ones who are actually willing to storm the capitol or conspire to kidnap a governor or do any number of other things.

    That group only has been to be in the 100s (or less) to do serious damage. Blowing up the Murrah Building in OKC was a conspiracy in the single digits.

    5
  58. Gustopher says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I just don’t see it happening. The actual deplorables will not repent, and the swallowers of the Big Lie are extremely unlikely to admit that they were gullible dupes.

    I can see a situation where the swallowers, even those who were willfully ignorant, will turn on those who perpetrated The Big Lie. It allows them to turn their guilt into victimhood, and absolve themselves. And even some of the people who were promoting The Big Lie will go along with it, claiming that they were also lied to, their trust was betrayed, and “How Dare They Lie To Me!”

    In this situation I would fully expect Sean Hannity to be saying “Of course I trusted the President, who wouldn’t trust the President? That trust was abused.”

    But, that requires exploding The Big Lie. I don’t know how to do that. In Germany, everyone was forced to confront footage of the concentration camps, so they couldn’t pretend to not know — they then pretended to not have known and to had been betrayed by their leaders, and that they thought the Jews were being sent to a farm in the country where they could run and play. The Big Lie gets replaced with The Little Lie.

    But, assuming The Big Lie can be exploded, it will just be a few dead enders left.

    4
  59. DrDaveT says:

    @Gustopher:

    But, that requires exploding The Big Lie. I don’t know how to do that.

    We agree. The best chance was for GOP leadership to take advantage of the Hold My Beer Putsch to renounce specific lies, starting with lies about election fraud and who really won the election. The sniveling worms at the helm of the GOP prefer a 10% chance of civil war to a 100% certain reduction in status.

    3
  60. Kathy says:

    The GOP is behind many lies, like trickle down economics, tax cuts as the end-all and be-all of economic growth, all regulations as bad, and biggest of all perhaps that any and all government programs meant to help anyone constitute socialism/communism.

    But the biggest one right now is the one about the stolen election. Republican leaders, at all levels, must come forward forcefully and state there was no fraud and no theft. Not “we see no evidence of widespread fraud.” But THERE WAS NO FRAUD AND NO THEFT. DOANALD TRUMP HAS BEEN LYING TO YOU! as loudly and as often as they can.

    They won’t.

    There’s a saying that when the US catches cold, the world gets pneumonia. It’s about economic crises, but the fact is that the GOP’s inability to refute a fabulist is going to hurt the entire world.

    2
  61. MarkedMan says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I did not expect this to get to a violent stage.

    Donald Trump as a candidate was a 70 year old man who was actively inciting his audiences to attack people who shouted out in his rallies. I thought through that mindset and very clearly saw this outcome. Giving someone like that more power was never going to reduce his thuggishness.

    The really frightening thing is his decades long fascination with using nukes to show how tough “we” are.

    2
  62. Scott F. says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I just don’t see it happening. The actual deplorables will not repent, and the swallowers of the Big Lie are extremely unlikely to admit that they were gullible dupes. Who exactly do you see seeking redemption here?

    I don’t see a lot of redemption – the true believers are unreachable and, I agree, the gullible will take up defenses – I just know redemption is available to any who want to take it. I see this in light of our fine hosts here at OTB. Both Steven and James, for their own reasons which they’ve transparently shared, decided they couldn’t associate themselves with what the GOP has become under Trump and they’ve separated themselves from it.

    Like many others, I don’t see an easy resolution to this anti-democratic (and therefore traitorous to US ideals) movement that has formed. For me, the question is who is available to work with in order to attempt to turn the tide back against anti-majoritarian government and who is not (either because they are actually resistant or acting in bad faith).

    While ‘redemption’ is a bit pretentious a thing for an agnostic like me to call for, I believe it is necessary for a reliable sign of credibility. Romney, Murkowski, Kinzinger, Meijer, the Lincoln Project, the writers at The Bulwark – conservatives all, still Republicans some – have taken actions (by leaving the GOP or publicly declaring their intent to claw back the GOP from Trumpism) that signals to me some legitimacy.

    It remains to be seen how many ‘converts’ will be necessary to counter the dysfunctions of our democracy.

    3
  63. charon says:

    @Kathy:

    Repudiating Trump’s excesses and scaling back to just lying about tax cuts and regulations and socialism would be a plus.

    It would benefit them, too – but they don’t see that so they won’t

    2
  64. Sleeping dog says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    That’s where I was going with the 80/20 analogy

    1
  65. Scott F. says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Let’s face facts: it is almost impossible to truly generalize about 75 million people.

    I agree. But, it is possible to judge any individual within that 75 million people by their words and, more importantly, their actions. So, the broad labels – Republican, Traitor, Patriot, Resistance, Democrat – aren’t very helpful except as self-identification of affiliation.

    But, if the Capitol Riot isn’t a watershed event in how US citizens will be affiliated, then I don’t know whatever could be. It is a time to take sides and lip service to civility and US values just won’t cut it in this moment. So, if a Republican can’t bring themselves to vote to impeach Trump this time, they’ve chosen to align with anti-democratic traitors. If the Sedition Caucus isn’t sanctioned by Republican partisans, then those partisans have sided with seditious actors. If GOP voters aren’t calling on their representatives to take these actions, they show they are okay with overthrow when it suits them.

    This is a time of reckoning like none other I’ve seen in my lifetime. Our democracy has shown itself vulnerable and it needs to be defended.

    7
  66. R. Dave says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @R. Dave:
    Really. You’re going with McCarthyism. That’s really too stupid for you. Why don’t you offer an actual counter-argument?

    I went with the McCarthyism jab because I felt like your comments were rather self-evidently McCarthyite in tone and implication. That said, my counter-argument is this: I think your diagnosis – that all Republican Party members/voters are treasonous or complicit in treason – is wrong, because it fails to distinguish between morally and practically different categories of belief, motivation and action among “Republicans”. And I think your proposed course of treatment – to condemn and shame them all as such – is wrong, because it will push the moderates into a defensive crouch rather than pull them into a common cause of isolating and marginalizing the true extremists.

    5
  67. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Of the 75M, some variation on the 80/20 rule applies, with 20% being potentially violent radicals and of the remaining 80%, probably 20% of those are simpatico but would not take up arms or riot themselves.

    This is getting close to my viewpoint, which is this: of the 75M, 20-30%, at the very most, have actually processed what they are doing and who they support to any meaningful degree. The rest, 70-80%, are going along with the flow. Some of them can parrot things that make it seem like they have actual beliefs, but the reality is they don’t. We can bemoan that, or castigate them for it, but that won’t change anything. It’s simply the human condition. If you surrounded that aimless 80% with decent role models in a few months they would be marching with the angels. Change that back to evil role models and it would reverse again.

    Here’s the thing that’s hard for me to process, but I know it to be true. People who drift like that, morally ambivalent on these large issues, can actually be decent one-on-one.

    For the most part, you can steer most people in any direction, provided they have not completely caught up their own identity in a greater cause. Years ago during the start of the Serbian war, NPR began interviewing a woman from Chicago who was of Serbian descent, born in the US but very active in the local Serbian community and very proud of it. Up until the war, that pride and participation involved traditional dancing and cooking special dishes, maybe showing up on UN day at the school dressed in traditional Serbian garb and bringing Serbian baked goods to share. But NPR somehow picked her as the “everyday Joe” of Serbian Americans. In the beginning she believed in the righteousness of the Serbian cause, but regretted the war and felt it was a mistake. As the atrocities built up, the massacres, the rape camps, she went through phases, from “bad apples on both sides do bad things in war”, through “the press is only reporting the Serbian bad things” to “all of these reports are lies and the press has it in for Serbians”. The thing is, I suspect that if her self image hadn’t become so tied with Serbia, she would have just drifted away.

    You can’t look to support or righteousness from that 70-80%, because there will always be some excuse about why this specific case doesn’t cause them to make the hard choice. But they can move away from these evil causes provided their self image isn’t inextricably tied up with them.

    3
  68. Loviatar says:

    An epiphany in 3 Acts

    Act I
    One of the things I noticed while living in Europe, was that a lot of the WW2 battlefields and historical sites were integrated with the surrounding communities.

    Act II
    When I lived in Fairlawn, NJ depending on where you lived in town, you smelled either the Nabisco cookie factory or the Marcal paper factory.

    Act III
    My future wife mentioned on her first visit to my family’s home in Fairlawn, that she smelled cookies, I told her it was the Nabisco cookie factory. I said wait a little and you may smell the Marcal paper factory.

    EPIPHANY

    There are no good Germans. They knew and did nothing.

    2
  69. Nightcrawler says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Here’s the thing that’s hard for me to process, but I know it to be true. People who drift like that, morally ambivalent on these large issues, can actually be decent one-on-one.

    That’s because they’re not actually decent. They only appear to be decent, like the pedophile or serial killer who’s a pillar in their community, active in the church, always willing to lend a helping hand, etc.

    There are a lot of seemingly “decent” people who have whole different sides to them that nobody else knows about, and that they take great pains to hide. DT has made it so that people feel they don’t have to hide that side of themselves.

    2
  70. Nightcrawler says:

    I agree that not all ~75 mil DT voters are terrorists.

    Recently, I read a story in WaPo about this idiot down in Orlando, a former Disney employee. She worked at one of the restaurants for years, pulling in $50k-$70k/year. Then COVID-19 hit, and everything fell apart. The fact that this woman refused to lift a finger to help herself exacerbated her situation. She refused to even attempt to find a new job, to even attempt to train to do something else. She sat around and whined as the world collapsed around her.

    She ended up voting for DT, even though she admitted she didn’t like him, because she wanted the economy forced back open so that she could go work her Disney gig again. Never mind that Florida flung the doors back open months ago, and people still aren’t coming to the parks because they don’t want to get infected.

    She’s a terrible person and has a victim mentality, but she’s no terrorist. True, she doesn’t care if her neighbors die of COVID-19, which is why she’s a terrible person, but I don’t see her shooting them. She doesn’t have the stomach for it. She also lives in a very small world, one centered around wanting her Disney job back. She’s not thinking about bigger issues or wanting to join some grand revolution.

    Should someone like her be jailed? Of course not. She didn’t vote for DT because she’s a terrorist or a traitor; she did it because she’s a stupid, terrible person. Those aren’t crimes.

    4
  71. MarkedMan says:

    I’m not tactical in this comment section. I’m not trying to convince anyone, just laying out what I think. But if I put on my tactical hat, two years from now, when the Traitor 147 come up for re-election, I think the most effective tack to take is to paint them as weak, not as enemies of the people. They might be both, but telling fans that “Jim Jordan is the devil” will merely solidify their support. More effective would be a comment about how “Jim can be a nice guy and his heart is often in the right place, it’s unfortunate he lets those with seniority push him around. He’s too worried about getting in bad with his party leaders, and ends up ”

    The truth of the matter is that, while he doesn’t want to get in party leaderships crosshairs, he fears his own voters much more than those party leaders. But while the second statement may be truer than the first, it’s the former that has more chance of swaying his supporters.

    Or, as Doctor Who once said, “Don’t you think she looks tired?”

    3
  72. Kathy says:

    The number one lesson from the Trump era, is that it’s far too easy to get large numbers of people to believe outrageous lies without presenting any evidence, so long as you play up to their prejudices.

    So, if you want it explained how the US working class favors Republicans, or why the Germans backed the nazis, or why the Russians love Putin, look at the past four years.

    3
  73. MarkedMan says:

    @Nightcrawler:

    That’s because they’re not actually decent.

    It took me years to understand that while what you say is true, they are also not indecent. It is the human condition that most people look for leaders who make them feel good, or safe or righteous, end of story. The actual belief in a higher morality, rather than a strictly personal and immediately self interested morality is like having a negative blood Rh factor or being left handed – uncommon, but not rare. In this era and over much of globe the concepts of Christianity pervade, and so people give lip service to a higher morality. But the hierarchy of ties that bind us are to self, to immediate family, to more distant family and close friends, and only then to larger groups. Most people have only tentative investments in those larger groups.

    I like to think of myself as moral, but right this very minute I know the Chinese government has rounded up millions of Muslims and are slowly killing them in concentration camps. Yet I do nothing. I feel bad about this, but I don’t feel responsible.

    Tens of millions of Germans knew (or deliberately prevented themselves from knowing) that Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and the mentally infirm were being murdered by their government. They may have felt bad about this, but didn’t feel responsible. They didn’t feel they, personally, were called to act and certainly didn’t feel the need to intervene. It wasn’t their group.

    The difference between me and those Germans is only a matter of degree. The difference between me and the Trumpers I still remain in contact with is only a matter of degree.

    Of course, the difference between me and the ex-military guy storming the capitol with a knife and a fistful of twist ties is not just a matter of degree.

    5
  74. dazedandconfused says:

    @Scott F.:

    Scot F,

    Seeking redemption is an odd business. How does one seek redemption for believing something utterly false and obviously (in hindsight) so? Confirmation bias leads us to incredible feats of intensely embarrassing rationalizations. One does not seek public redemption for falling for a Nigerian emailer. If at all possible, one makes that a private matter.

    We should expect the vast majority of those who fall off the bandwagon to be silent.

    2
  75. ImProPer says:

    @Kathy:

    “The GOP is behind many lies, like trickle down economics, tax cuts as the end-all and be-all of economic growth, all regulations as bad, and biggest of all perhaps that any and all government programs meant to help anyone constitute socialism/communism.

    But the biggest one right now is the one about the stolen election. Republican leaders, at all levels, must come forward forcefully and state there was no fraud and no theft. Not “we see no evidence of widespread fraud.” But THERE WAS NO FRAUD AND NO THEFT. DOANALD TRUMP HAS BEEN LYING TO YOU! as loudly and as often as they can.”

    Well said, no need for hyperbolic Nazi talk, just the plain facts. Reality gives one a much better chance to getting things accomplished. The only thing that is getting accomplished with the constant use of the nazi card, is a buzz for it’s users. It certainly isn’t helping the political and social problems that we are having in the here and now.

    1
  76. grumpy realist says:

    Speaking as a lawyer and someone who knows where the clause in the Constitution about treason came from–can I ask people to dial back on the use of “traitor”? Call these idiots anything else–but treason has a very precise definition and I jolly well want to keep it that way. You DON’T want to see what happens when judicial accusations of treason get to be the default mechanism by which political parties interact with each other and with anyone else they want to squash.

    11
  77. inhumans99 says:

    Trump is just delusional, he is back to saying thing like it was a perfect speech on 01/06/21, because that is what people are telling him. We know folks are not telling him this on Parler, or Twitter, or FB, so maybe he is claiming folks on Fox News said his speech last Wed. was perfect (to a tee, as he said during his presser today), but I doubt even Fox news declared it a perfect speech so he is basically making shit up and hoping it sticks.

    I would say same old Trump, same old Trump, but since most of his social media sources are cut off everyone pretty much knows he is full of it. Without his social media followers to amplify his claim that it was a perfect speech that trial baloon he floated will fall from the sky faster than lead balloon.

    That is actually a big deal, he used to say stuff like this in the past and his followers would run with it but now even if his followers are hearing him say this stuff on TV they rush to their computers/smartphones and it probably takes them a second or two to realize that even if FB/Twitter/Parler were allowing them to post their thoughts Trump will not be able to like the post/tweet and re-tweet it to his millions of followers. To reiterate, that Trump cannot do this is actually kind of a big deal.

    A right wing psycho used to post something vile and what would only usually be seen by Breitbart/infowar readers would then all of a sudden be seen by millions when Trump got to work spreading the comment far and wide. I love that our President cannot do this anymore.

    1
  78. reid says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Tens of millions of Germans knew (or deliberately prevented themselves from knowing) that Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and the mentally infirm were being murdered by their government. They may have felt bad about this, but didn’t feel responsible. They didn’t feel they, personally, were called to act and certainly didn’t feel the need to intervene. It wasn’t their group.

    I’m not disagreeing with you, but isn’t it true that the really horrid behaviors that you described didn’t start happening until the Nazis had an iron grip on the country. Speaking out against the atrocities likely would have gotten you a free trip to the eastern front. It’s another lesson on why you shouldn’t let these thugs get their foot in the door; once they take control, you might be doomed.

    6
  79. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I suppose the right term is sedition, insurrection, or rebellion. But the terms to describe people who undertake such actions don’t carry much in the way of negative connotations. Rebels? Revolutionaries? Insurgents? Enemies of the state carries a more negative connotation for the person calling them that.

    What’s left?

  80. Nightcrawler says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I like to think of myself as moral, but right this very minute I know the Chinese government has rounded up millions of Muslims and are slowly killing them in concentration camps. Yet I do nothing. I feel bad about this, but I don’t feel responsible.

    The difference between you and the “good Germans” is that you can’t do anything about the Chinese gov’t massacring Muslims. I can’t do anything about it, either. If I could do something, I would do it.

    The “good Germans” could have done something, and they chose not to.

    And now, a word from Sophie Scholl, who did choose to do something, even though she was martyred for doing it:

    The real damage is done by those millions who want to ‘survive.’ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves—or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.

    Here’s what she said before the Nazis killed her:

    How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause. Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?

    5
  81. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: Thank you!! I appreciate how you always provide that last little burst of insight that the conversation needs. I only wish I had more upvotes available to give.

    1
  82. Teve says:

    My grandmother was the nicest, sweetest little woman I ever knew. Grew up in rural Kentucky in the Depression. She was my favorite person in the whole world. Until some day when I was about 12 or 13 years old. On that day, my little brother told her that what he really wanted for Christmas was a t-shirt with Michael Jordan on it. And she replied “why would you want a shirt with a n_____ on it?” I was so stunned I couldn’t speak. People can be good, and they can be terrible at the same time. I think about 74 million Americans similarly. Fortunately 81 million Americans know better.

    7
  83. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: “Even if your the Grand Wizard of the Klan, why would you vote for such a moron?”

    Sadly, because the person who isn’t a moron won’t support any of the stuff you want.

    5
  84. Teve says:

    @Gustopher:

    I can see a situation where the swallowers, even those who were willfully ignorant, will turn on those who perpetrated The Big Lie. It allows them to turn their guilt into victimhood, and absolve themselves. And even some of the people who were promoting The Big Lie will go along with it, claiming that they were also lied to, their trust was betrayed, and “How Dare They Lie To Me!”

    I lurk at a site where creationists hang out. (They’re all Republicans no surprise) I have personally witnessed an interloper prove that something Trump said is a lie, only for them to say “so what, all politicians lie” and days later they repeat the lie.

    7
  85. Teve says:

    @Kathy:

    There’s a saying that when the US catches cold, the world gets pneumonia. It’s about economic crises, but the fact is that the GOP’s inability to refute a fabulist is going to hurt the entire world.

    Growing up I thought the great depression was a US event. Imagine my surprise in a world history class in college reading about how some miniscule island in the Pacific was affected.

    1
  86. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @dazedandconfused: Can’t speak for politics, but in theologies where redemption is an issue one doesn’t seek redemption as much as one becomes redeemed by turning away from one pattern of living/conduct to follow the one the redeemer declares to be the right one. In a society where the general consensus it that we are all our own moral agents and can decide for ourselves how to live, redemption may be impossible to the degree to which people won’t surrender their agency and adopt a lifestyle/politics dictated by someone else.

  87. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Sadly, because the person who isn’t a moron won’t support any of the stuff you want.

    there’s a Facebook group called something like “Conservatives ALMOST getting it” full of people asking rhetorical questions they’re sooooo close to getting.

    2
  88. Teve says:

    The really frightening thing is his decades long fascination with using nukes to show how tough “we” are.

    Many years ago a friend explained that nuclear weapons ended world wars. I tried to explain to him, that’s the same logic as the cops giving the parties in domestic violence calls shotguns. Maybe the peace will hold forever. But the moment it fails….

    1
  89. Loviatar says:

    @Nightcrawler:

    She’s a terrible person and has a victim mentality, but she’s no terrorist.

    She is a terrorist.
    While she is not willing to directly kill anyone herself she is more than willing to create a situation where others kill for her preferred political position. That is terrorism.

    To preclude the rebuttals; COVID prevention and care is a political position in this country.
    Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman
    Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman who is 75 yrs old and immune compromised from cancer, got COVID while sheltering in a secure room during last weeks attack on the Congressional branch of our government. Republicans in the room refused to wear masks, they claimed being asked to wear a mask was akin to asking them to take a political position.

    5
  90. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Nuclear weapons ending world wars was a significant theme in the Presidency of Richard Nixon. I recall, but can’t seem to find it, a speech in which he postulates that the ability of Russia and the US to obliterate the world via nuclear weapons had led to a generation that could avoid the dangers of all out war of the world war variety. Basically, the theme was that my generation, the boomers, were the beneficiaries of a “generation of peace,” which was ironic considering that hundreds of us were dying week by week in Vietnam still, but in the big picture sense, yeah nuclear weapons have made the world different–so far, at least.

    2
  91. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman who is 75 yrs old and immune compromised from cancer, got COVID while sheltering in a secure room during last weeks attack on the Congressional branch of our government. Republicans in the room refused to wear masks, they claimed being asked to wear a mask was akin to asking them to take a political position.

    Stay classy, Republicans. Good job on that principled stand thingie. 🙁

    3
  92. Kingdaddy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Confederates were traitors. After the Confederacy fell, they faded from view for the most part. And yet they were traitors, weren’t they? So, yes, with Trump gone, Trumpism will fade.

    Except the didn’t fade from view. They created faux slavery through the sharecropper system. They ended Reconstruction and installed white supremacist rule. They kept alive the myth of the Lost Cause, with all its disgusting conversion of the slave power into a gauzy myth of genteel chivalry. They terrorized African Americans and anyone who tried to help them. They held our country’s politics hostage through the Civil Rights era and beyond. They metastasized into the KKK.

    Trump may go away, but the evil MAGA stew of white supremacy, fascism, conspiracy theory, ignorance, anti-science, and theocracy are here to stay. Arguing otherwise is dangerously wishful thinking. Between 18% and 45% of Republicans support the Capitol Hill insurrection, depending on which poll you believe more.

    6
  93. Andy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’m not saying there’s no possibility of redemption, but redemption requires repentance. They need to get out of the party of sedition. They need to renounce the GOP otherwise yes, James, yes every single one is a traitor.

    Interesting, how would you suggest this be operationalized? That’s a habit of mine – whenever someone comes up with an idea or an end-state, I instinctively try to figure out how it might be achieved, which brings up some questions:
    – Who gets to grant the redemption?
    – What criteria are necessary to prove they’ve renounced the GoP? Taped confessions maybe?
    – How do you even know who needs to renounce the GoP considering that voting is secret in the US?
    – If we are actually talking about traitors in the sense of how that word is actually defined, then what other steps should we take to root them out?

    You’ve said a few times over the years that the GoP must be “destroyed” but when asked to explain what that means, you’ve demurred. Here’s your big chance to roll out the grand plan to convince or force half of America to repudiate their political beliefs. Or maybe you’re just the ideas guy?

    Also, just out of curiosity, how are you doing on that so far? It would be interesting to see how effective your tactics are at convincing people that you are right or that they are wrong. How many people on OTB have you convince to repudiate the GoP or Trump? Given that everyone here except the trolls is in the anti-Trump camp, and given your penchant for invective at disagreement, I’m guessing the number isn’t very big. Maybe even zero.

    And, of personal interest, what about people like me who were against Trump from the beginning but somehow are still counted as “Good Germans” for not being sufficiently anti-Trump in performative blog comments and debates (as opposed to the real world)? Or, similarly, for the temerity to criticize Democrats?

    Will I have to confess too? Do I get to wear a big red R on my clothing in public until I’m rehabilitated?

    3
  94. @Scott F.:

    This is a time of reckoning like none other I’ve seen in my lifetime. Our democracy has shown itself vulnerable and it needs to be defended.

    I agree with this, as I hope is clear.

    3
  95. @Michael Reynolds:

    Confederates were traitors. After the Confederacy fell, they faded from view for the most part.

    I missed this because I responded to the Nazi part, and I didn’t have time to stick around earlier.

    This is truly an astonishing statement. Not only everything Kingdaddy said, the incomplete project of Reconstruction and the entire Lost Cause narrative underscores that they did not fade.

    The fact that we are fighting over confederate monuments and the names of confederates on our military bases in 2021 kind of undercuts the notion that it faded.

    9
  96. Kathy says:

    I don’t think Pence can be easily gotcha’d, but I’d love it if he were to give an interview right now and were asked:

    Mr. Vice President, you say you will not invoke the 25th amendment because, in part, you’re not prepared to say Mr. Trump is not unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Doesn’t his delusion about electoral fraud, for which he can provide no evidence, render him unable to discharge his duties in the final days of a presidential transition? Or is there no delusion and Mr. Trump knows he lost the election?

  97. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: so problem is, the first time it fails, is also the last time.

  98. flat earth luddite says:

    @Teve:
    Yes, Teve, that’s why Cracker and I both as children had to hide under our desks every week, so the magic would protect us from the bomb that was going to annihilate most of Western Washington. Although I did win a trip to the principal’s office for questioning this. Repeatedly.

    1
  99. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Um… pretty much, yeah…

    Like the Bugs and Daffy cartoon where angel Daffy rising to heaven says, “the problem with this act is that you can only do it once.”

  100. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Not only everything Kingdaddy said, the incomplete project of Reconstruction and the entire Lost Cause narrative underscores that they did not fade.

    The fact that we are fighting over confederate monuments and the names of confederates on our military bases in 2021 kind of undercuts the notion that it faded.

    Yup. It’s pretty clear that the Confederacy lost the hot civil war in 1965, but continues to win (or at the very least) define, the 150-year-plus ongoing cold civil war that followed. And most likely they are going to continue winning key battles for the foreseeable future.

    Honestly, it is at the height of its powers in quite some time.

    1
  101. Jay L Gischer says:

    Honestly, Andy has convinced me, and I think the 25th is inappropriate. Mental illness is a slippery concept for most people, and it leads to problems with democracy. The 25th should be for stuff like the president is in a coma, or the president has suffered brain damage and can’t speak or write. Stuff like that.

    Impeachment is the correct course here. He did stuff, and we need the political process to stand up and say “NO!”

    2
  102. Nightcrawler says:

    @Loviatar:

    Good point. It’s probably more accurate to say she’s not a “shoot ’em up” or suicide bomber-type terrorist. She doesn’t care about spreading a disease, because she doesn’t have to witness the fallout. She doesn’t have the stomach to shoot people and get an HD view of what happens, nor did she seem interested in blowing herself up.

    I found the story, so y’all can read it and make your own conclusions.

  103. Loviatar says:

    @Nightcrawler:

    Thanks for the response and the link.
    After reading Ms. Decker’s story I believe she is everything you said (a terrible person and has a victim mentality) and more (a very, very selfish woman). I foresee her slipping further down the rabbit hole of blaming others for her problems and as she gets more desperate lashing out in inexplicable ways (voting for Trump).