PROJECT SYNDICATE: Why Storm þe Capitol Building, & þen Do Little But Take Selfies?

People stormed þe Bastille to free prisoners; people stormed Versailles to carry þe king back to Paris to live amongst his people; but what was þe point of storming þe U.S. Capitol?

What did the people who stormed the Capitol building on January 6, 2021 think what’s going to happen?

Let us look at what happened at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue before the insurrection. At the beginning of Donald Trump speech, he tells his audience that they are the overwhelming majority of America, and that the corrupt media are trying to hide that fact:

Donald Trump: Speech: “Save America” Rally Transcript January 6: ‘The media will not show the magnitude of this crowd. Even I, when I turned on today, I looked, and I saw thousands of people here, but you don’t see hundreds of thousands of people behind you because they don’t want to show that…’

(Parenthetically, there weren’t hundreds of thousands of people. The permit was for a rally of 30,000. OANN claimed “thousands”. Eyeballing the pictures after the march to the Capitol, my guess is 10,000. I see no reliable numbers on those who got into the building with intent to commit or threaten violence, and no reliable numbers on those who got into the building intending to peaceably assemble and petition for a redress of grievances.)

Hundreds of thousands of American patriots are committed to the honesty of our elections and the integrity of our glorious Republic. All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical left Democrats, which is what they’re doing and stolen by the fake news media. That’s what they’ve done and what they’re doing. We will never give up. We will never concede, it doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.

Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore and that’s what this is all about. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.... We won this election, and we won it by a landslide. This was not a close election. I say sometimes jokingly, but there’s no joke about it, I’ve been in two elections. I won them both and the second one, I won much bigger than the first.... I was told by the real pollsters, we do have real pollsters. They know that we were going to do well, and we were going to win. What I was told, if I went from 63 million, which we had four years ago to 66 million, there was no chance of losing. Well, we didn’t go to 66. We went to 75 million and they say we lost. We didn’t lose...

That is the beginning.

In the middle of the speech, he says that the problem is that the Republican congressional leadership is not strong and courageous:

Today we will see whether Republicans stand strong for integrity of our elections, but whether or not they stand strong for our country, our country....

We’re going to see whether or not we have great and courageous leaders or whether or not we have leaders that should be ashamed of themselves throughout history, throughout eternity, they’ll be ashamed. And you know what? If they do the wrong thing, we should never ever forget that they did. Never forget. We should never ever forget. With only three of the seven states in question, we win the presidency of the United States…

And he says that the stakes are very high—much higher because Mitch McConnell (whom he has just denounced as weak) is about to be replaced as Senate majority leader by Chuck Schumer:

And by the way, it’s much more important today than it was 24 hours ago. Because I spoke to David Perdue, what a great person, and Kelly Loeffler, two great people, but it was a setup. And I said, “We have no back line anymore.” The only back line, the only line of demarcation, the only line that we have is the veto of the president of the United States. So this is now what we’re doing, a far more important election than it was two days ago…

But, he says, the cause is not lost. There are many members of the Republican caucus fighting very hard for truth, justice, and the American Way:

I want to thank the more than 140 members of the House. Those are warriors. They’re over there working like you’ve never seen before, studying, talking, actually going all the way back, studying the roots of the Constitution, because they know we have the right to send a bad vote that was illegally got.... I also want to thank our 13 most courageous members of the US Senate, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Ron Johnson, Senator Shadowless, Kelly Loeffler. And Kelly Loeffler, I’ll tell you, she’s been so great. She works so hard. So let’s give her and David a little special head, because it was rigged against them. Let’s give her and David. Kelly Loeffler, David Perdue. They fought a good race. They never had a shot. That equipment should never have been allowed to be used.… Mike Braun… Bill Hagerty, John Kennedy, James Lankford, Cynthia Lummis. Tommy Tuberville…. And Roger Marshall. We want to thank them, senators that stepped up, we want to thank them....

The problem is that there are the weak leaders who do not want to use their constitiutional powers to do the Right Thing:

For some reason, Mitch and the group, they don’t want to put it in there. And they don’t realize that that’s going to be the end of the Republican party as we know it, but it’s never going to be the end of us, never. Let them get out. Let the weak ones get out. This is a time for strength.... We got to get rid of the weak congresspeople, the ones that aren’t any good, the Liz Cheneys of the world, we got to get rid of them. We got to get rid of them. She never wants a soldier brought home. I’ve brought a lot of our soldiers home.... Remember I used to say in the old days, “Don’t go into Iraq. But if you go in, keep the oil.” We didn’t keep the oil. So stupid. So stupid, these people. And Iraq has billions and billions of dollars now in the bank. And what did we do? We get nothing. We never get...

For, remember, the election was stolen:

If Georgia had merely rejected the same number of unlawful ballots, as in other years, there should have been approximately 45,000 ballots rejected, far more than what we needed to win, just over 11,000. They should find those votes. They should absolutely find that just over 11,000 votes, that’s all we need. They defrauded us out of a win in Georgia, and we’re not going to forget it…

At the end of the speech there is the call to action:

So we’re going to, we’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue…. We’re going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. I want to thank you all. God bless you and God bless America. Thank you all for being here, this is incredible. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Suppose that you believed that the President of the United States was a serious person, rather than a demented, lying clown? Suppose that you believed he was telling the truth—or at least not exaggerating things more than your typical politician in a fit of enthusiasm? What would you conclude?

You would conclude that you should march down to the Capitol, and get in their face, and so give Vice President Pence, Majority Leader McConnell, and all of the senators in the Republican caucus who were not the brave thirteen the backbone to halt the certification, send the fake certificates back to the states, and ask the states to send the real certificates.

And you would be willing to push past police, break windows, ascend scaffolding, and keep pushing as long as you could to get into the face of the legislators and give them backbone.

And you would succeed.

But then you would find that, even though you had done your job, you still had not given the senators backbone—that in fact your actions caused the number of “brave” senators to fall in half, to seven. (But do note that you would neither increase nor decrease the numbers of the 130 Republican House caucus members on your side—although it is not clear how many of those voted for the objections just because they knew they were not going to pass).

And then you would go home, puzzled. You are the real majority of the nation. You gave the cowardly Republican legislators and cowardly Vice President Pence the opportunity tol do the Right Thing. You showed them in ways that they could not mistake that the people were behind them. And yet they did not pick up the baton.

So what do you conclude? What will you do next?


Time to de-escalate and read and watch something totally unrelated to bad political actors destroying norms of republican political conduct in an attempt to further entrench a plutocracy: Plutarch: Life of Tiberius Gracchus*.html

Heron of Alexandria was a BOSS: Jeremy Norman: Automata Invented by Heron of Alexandria

I do know not whether I should be amazed at how much or depressed at how little computing can be done without semiconductors: Wikipedia: Mechanical Computer

The start of the positive utopian apocalyptic mode in "western literature": Isaiah: 10-11

Continuing the positive utopian apocalyptic mode in "western literature": Daniel: 7 & 12 HCSB_

Good for helping people to understand the place of Aristotle in the medieval and early-modern "western civilization" intellectual mind: Dante: Inferno ‘…Canto 4-Compare Side by Side Translations by Longfellow, Cary, and Norton...

And what little the Spartans said: Plutarch: Apophthegmata Laconica*/main.html...

Charlie Sykes: Trumpageddon ‘January 6: The Fire Rises: Chris Truax provides a preview for this remarkable day: "This effort to interfere with the Electoral College count is going to fail, but it has created a blueprint for the next time. The next aspiring authoritarian—and there will be one—will be smarter, smoother, and more organized. Today will be truly dangerous because it will demonstrate that under the current system, a party that controls both houses of Congress can install their candidate as president regardless of the election results. All they need is the political will to do so." Or to put it another way: All they need is to believe that overturning the election is what the majority of their base voters want…

Charlie Sykes: Trumpageddon ‘The GOP’s Georgia meltdown: First a confession: I thought the Republicans would hold both seats and was, frankly, stunned by last night’s results. So, apparently, was much of what’s left of the GOP. There’s no mystery about what happened: Donald Trump happened: Erick Erickson: "Very clear there's been voter suppression in Georgia.  The Georgia Republican Party Chairman, the President of the United States, and the Georgia GOP congressional delegation are the culprits..." Based on the early numbers, Democratic turnout—especially among African Americans—was phenomenal. Republican turnout was meh..." Dave Wasserman: "It's tempting to put it this way: Perdue/Loeffler embrace of Trump in the runoff phase of #GASEN may have alienated suburban Biden/R (Nov.) ticket-splitters, and it's not clear it did as much to drive up turnout in deep red rural GA..." How bad is all for the GOP? On a scale of 0 to 10, Nate Silver tweeted this morning, it’s probably a 9 “not just because of the immediate implications, but also because it may imply that Trump is sort of a poison pill for how the party navigates its future.” The big question now is whether the GOP has learned any lessons from this debacle? Probably not: McKay Coppins: "Republicans lost the White House, the Senate, and stayed out of power in the House this cycle, and a sizable faction of the party will continue to argue that the solution is 'More Trump'…

Perhaps the second best romance novel I have ever read. Not at all bad as a mystery either: Dorothy Leigh Sayers: Gaudy Night

I am happy not getting 3/4 of the illusions that Dorothy L. Sayers makes to history and literature. But if you are not, this is essential: Bill Peschel: Annotations to Gaudy Night


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Briefly Noted for 2021-01-07