Friday, January 8, 2021

Thoughts about the Jan 6 riot at the Capitol

In the January 7, 2021 edition of Letters from an American Heather Cox Richardson summarizes the Jan 6 riot and its aftermath.

The tide has turned against Trump and his congressional supporters, and they are scrambling.

Yesterday’s [Jan 6] insurrection at the Capitol has brought widespread condemnation. Today all four of the living presidents—Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama– called out Trump and his party for inciting the rioters. Bill Clinton summed it up: “The assault was fueled by more than four years of poison politics spreading deliberate misinformation, sowing distrust in our system, and pitting Americans against one another…. The match was lit by Donald Trump and his most ardent enablers, including many in Congress, to overturn the results of an election he lost. The election was free, the count was fair, the result was final. We must complete the peaceful transfer of power our Constitution mandates.”

And, despite the horrific riot, “we”, the Congress, got it done.

If Pence will not support removing the president through the 25th Amendment, Pelosi says, the House will move to impeach him. Congressional Democrats circulated articles of impeachment today, and Schumer told reporters: “I don’t care if you’re Democrat, Republican liberal, conservative, from the Northeast, South or West… if what happened yesterday doesn’t convince you that the president should be out of office now, then something is very wrong with your beliefs about democracy.”

As calls for his removal still continued, [Trump] faced video cameras …, giving a speech that revealed his realization that he’s on the ropes. He tried to rise above the partisan crises of the past months and to pretend that he had, all along, simply been defending democracy. He condemned yesterday’s violence but did not concede the election to President-Elect Biden although he acknowledged that Biden would take power. He also did not tell his supporters it was over. “To all of my wonderful supporters, I know you are disappointed,” he said, “but I also want you to know that our incredible journey is only just beginning.”

“Only the beginning”? He just gave his riotous troops the go ahead for more violence.

Senator Haw-Haw loses book contract

Trump is not alone as he scrambles to cover over his complicity in yesterday’s crisis. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), whose willingness to join the House members who were going to challenge the counting of the votes, and who thus was a key figure in making their false accusations seem legitimate, watched his star plummet today. His key mentor, former Senator John Danforth (R-MO), said supporting Hawley was the “worst mistake of my life.” One of Hawley’s major donors called him “an anti-democracy populist” who provoked the riots, and called for his censure.

When Simon & Schuster canceled Hawley’s new book contract, the senator fought back, insisting that he was a victim of “cancel culture,” with “the Left looking to cancel everyone they don’t approve of.” He insisted this was a “direct assault on the First Amendment,” and that all he had been doing with his challenges to counting the electoral votes from certain states was “representing my constituents, leading a debate on the Senate floor on voter integrity.” It was a desperate statement that he must have known to be false. The First Amendment protects us from censorship from the government: a private publishing company is under no obligation to publish anything. And the courts have rejected the idea that preventing Congress from counting the certified votes from citizens of other states is a legitimate way to represent his constituents.

The editorial board of the St. Louis Dispatch from Hawley’s home state wasn’t having it. “Americans have had enough of Trumpism and the two-faced, lying, populist politicians who embraced it,” the board wrote. “Hawley’s presidential aspirations have been flushed down the toilet because of his role in instigating Wednesday’s assault on democracy. He should do Missourians and the rest of the country a big favor and resign now…. Trumpism must die before it morphs into Hitlerism.”

Hawley is just one bad apple in the bushel of smelly self-serving pols called the Republican party.

And if that was not enough, …

The disparity in treatment of yesterday’s rioters and Black Lives Matter protesters reflects the reality that authorities treat protesters differently according to their perceived political identification. FiveThirtyEight’s Maggie Koerth interviewed Roudabeh Kishi, whose research team tracked police violence in the U.S. from May 1 to November 28, 2020, and Koerth writes that authorities were “more than twice as likely to attempt to break up and disperse a left-wing protest than a right-wing one.” When they did intervene, they used force 51% of the time for the left and only 34% of the time for the right.

Arizona State University Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice Ed Maguire told Koerth: “I think protesters on the right, because they view the police as in their corner, they feel a sense of tacit permission.”

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