“What did Nancy Pelosi know and when did she know it?”

As the House Select Committee on the January 6 MAGA riot began its first hearing, the man who called to beg Trump to stop the riot, and then asked him “who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?” when Trump mocked him, held a press conference to ask the most important question of all about the day a hoard of outraged Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and attacked police: What did Nancy Pelosi know and when did she know it?

This is a typical diversionary obstructionist move and brazeness is sometimes the main point of the exercise. The provocative yet senseless question can be answered easily enough by anyone who read accounts of the riot. Nancy Pelosi knew the Capitol was under attack when her security team hustled her to a safe location, with freshman Congress member and QAnon adherent Lauren Bobert texting out Pelosi’s movements and realtime location to the armed rioters who were looking for her.

Again, the brazen nature of this in-your-fucking face distraction is the point of the exercise. If you are trying to provoke rage in your supporters, you want to go big — give them more reason to really hate those they already blame. Plus, it will drive your hated enemies crazy! Forget that more than one Capitol police officer is in the House chamber testifying about a crowd of snarling “protesters” calling him a “fucking nigger” and daring him to put down his gun and have a fair fight against the twenty of them. It looks bad for some of the very fine militia member supporters of America’s most openly racist president that his peeps would use the ‘n-word’ so openly, and toward Blue Lives Matter. No problemo. Flip the script, give Newsmax, OANN, FOX a BIG alternative headline.

Fucking Pelosi is a witch. This is yet another illegal, purely partisan witch hunt. She could have stopped the riot at any time, merely by surrendering and letting the lawless mob bring her to justice. Did she? No, she selfishly hid, like the radical communist coward she is. What did she know? When did she know it? Real Americans need to know!!!

Not far away, during the mayhem on January 6, we all know what the man who was the focus and instigator of the riot was doing. He was glued to the television. When McCarthy called him, in reasonable fear for his life, and was finally put through, and asked his leader to call off the rioters, Trump reportedly delivered a very catty line — “well, Kevin, I guess some people are more upset about this stolen election than you are”. The line pissed stressed out Kevin off, he raised his voice to America’s Greatest Snarkmeister, even used the fucking f-word. 140 Blue Lives Matter folks were seriously injured in the ongoing lovefest (presumably from excessive hugging and kissing) as the former president swelled with pride watching the riot, seeing how many still loved him unconditionally, and showed it by openly, violently violating the law to carry out his gentle suggestion that they “stop the steal”.

So, naturally, the REAL question is not why Capitol Police were unprepared for the attack [1], who ordered the DC National Guard to stand down during the riot (Trump ordered the interim-acting lackey who headed DOJ to do so), not who donated the $50,000,000 in advertising funds to promote #Stop the Steal, not who worked directly with the White Supremacist militias who took care of the logistics of the actual violent insurrection at the Capitol, not who failed to act to stop the riot for hours, not who gave aid and comfort to the criminals who stormed the Capitol — none of that matters. The only question before real Americans today, in this great nation, under God, indivisible, is “What did Nancy Pelosi know and when did she know it?”

My next question is will Pelosi authorize the House Sergeant at Arms to arrest and lock up McCarthy if he tries to do a Don McGahn, defy a legal Congressional subpoena to answer the many questions he is desperately ducking as he audaciously tries to reframe the exercise in accountability as a purely partisan witch hunt by the very witch responsible for the riot in the first place, Nancy Pelosi, who, indisputably DID NOTHING TO STOP IT!

I’ll tell you this, if Nancy Pelosi stops short of having McCarthy arrested for contempt of Congress, she will embolden every other Trump apologist and Nazi wannabe that Congress subpoenas to testify. This is not a situation where anybody has a year or two to spare while federal judges slowly work on this Rubik’s Cube of a constitutional conundrum, the binding legality of a Congressional subpoena.

Democracy is under direct, sustained, serious attack. When did Pelosi know this and what does she know?

Three Stooges

[1] blah, blah blah… WHAT ABOUT PELOSI?!!!

Three days before the siege, a Capitol Police intelligence assessment warned of violence from supporters of President Donald J. Trump who believed his false claims that the election had been stolen. Some had even posted a map of the Capitol complex’s tunnel system on pro-Trump message boards.

“Unlike previous postelection protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counterprotesters as they were previously, but rather Congress itself is the target on the 6th,” the threat assessment said, according to the inspector general’s report. “Stop the Steal’s propensity to attract white supremacists, militia members, and others who actively promote violence may lead to a significantly dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public alike.”

But on Jan. 5, the agency wrote in a plan for the protest that there were “no specific known threats related to the joint session of Congress.” And the former chief of the Capitol Police has testified that the force had determined that the likelihood of violence was “improbable.” . . .

. . . The Department of Homeland Security warned the Capitol Police on Dec. 21 of comments on a pro-Trump website promoting attacks on members of Congress with a map of the tunnel system, according to the inspector general’s findings.

“Supporters of the current president see Jan. 6, 2021, as the last opportunity to overturn the results of the presidential election,” said the assessment three days before the riot. “This sense of desperation and disappointment may lead to more of an incentive to become violent.” . . .

. . . “Several comments promote confronting members of Congress and carrying firearms during the protest,” a Capitol Police analyst wrote.

Among the comments reported to the Capitol Police: “Bring guns. It’s now or never,” and, “We can’t give them a choice. Overwhelming armed numbers is our only chance.”

On Jan. 5, the F.B.I.’s Norfolk field office, in Virginia, relayed another threat from an anonymous social media thread that warned of a looming war at the Capitol.

“Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled,” the message read. “Get violent … stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal.”

source

Mixing unregulated capitalism with democracy causes trouble

Part One is here.

My embrace of democracy does not make my recent experiences with losing government-provided health insurance three times in the last eighteen months any less bitter. The first time my health insurance was cancelled, and I lost the corporate internal appeal at the insurance company, it turned out my insurance had been cancelled illegally.

An on-line complaint to the NYS Department of Finance resulted in the corporation instantly reversing its irreversible decision, restoring my health insurance. I even got an apology for their “mistake,” unlike the probably tens of thousands of others who lose their health insurance every year in the same “unappealable” scam all insurance companies routinely use to cull their lowest paying, most expensive customers.

The supremely maddening part of that first gratuitous fucking is that, even as a long-time lawyer who spent weeks in research, speaking and writing to every expert in the state and federal bureaucracy, I was unable (as was every expert) to find the law the company had clearly violated. Not part of the “Patient Protection (and Affordable Care) Act”. Not discoverable in New York State Insurance Law or in any administrative code. Makes me angry just thinking about it now. No agency I spoke to was even aware of the existence (let alone amazing efficiency) of the Department of Finance online complaint form [1].

If a law that protects a low-income Americans from the illegal act of a corporation providing affordable health care, under the Patient Protection Act, cannot be found, even by determined lawyers, there is no fucking law.

The opacity and unfariness of that burns me to this day, even as a learned, well-meaning former friend kept assuring me I was wrong to be so angry, that I should just be happy I got lucky and saved my own healthcare. As for those with limited English proficiency, struggling to get by, who’d had their ACA insurance illegally cancelled in this manner? Fuck ’em, not your problem, pal (spoken by this dick head like the Great Communicator himself).

The second time my insurance was abruptly terminated (during the second month of the pandemic, which raged uncontrolled in NYC), it was a matter of one document I’d “failed” to upload to a website in a timely manner. There was no actual notice to me of this failure, or its hard consequence, (and fixing it on-line took about three minutes, once I knew about it), my insurance was legally cancelled, according to New York State Law, for my failure to timely provide the document I wasn’t told needed to be provided.

During the window of time we are required to re-apply for ACA insurance in NYS this tax document is not yet available. A reminder email would have been nice (and I had numerous survey emails from this same agency), but is apparently not required under unappealable NYS law. Although NYS informed my insurance company of this fatal failure of mine, with enough time for me to fix the problem, neither entity had any obligation to inform me that my insurance was in jeopardy, until after it was irrevocably cancelled. This time there was no appeal, I had to wait a month to be insured again, trying not to inhale too deeply any time I left the house.

Then we have Medicare, the Great Society program that is the American gold standard for health insurance. “Medicare for All”, is the rallying cry of liberals and socialists alike. I recently turned 65 and learned, over the course of several months, how complicated the public-private Medicare partnership actually is. Do this first or irrevocably lose the right to that, and so forth.

Accepted by virtually all doctors and hospitals, Medicare leaves a potentially gigantic bill for the patient to pay, as 20% of medical visits is not covered. One can, of course, spend thousands a year on private insurance “Medicare Advantage” (there are many plans of all different prices in our “Free Market”), to avoid these possibly huge bills falling on the old person who gets sick. Medicare is infinitely better than no Medicare, but, again, complex and not without tremendous problems, at least based on my initial experiences.

Fortunately, the law gives a person six months, three before the 65th birthday and three after, to learn about this complicated program and sign up (though you will get no communication from Medicare itself and Medicare itself cannot help you in any way until you are officially on Medicare). I was finally able to speak to a knowledgeable volunteer (at the NYC Department for the Aging) who spent over an hour warning me of pitfalls and giving me important information. She found me a prescription drug plan for $8 a month (or something like that) among many that are ten times or more that price. You see, that’s part of our freedom here in the USA — the right to choose!

Two weeks before my 65th birthday I got a notice from my insurance company informing me that ACA insurance ends when you turn 65. Goodbye three month window to apply for Medicare after you turn 65, you will be uninsured until you apply and get approved for Medicare.

Here my beef is not as much with “government” (a legal requirement for actual notice, with enough time to act before your health plan is terminated, would be good) as with how thoroughly corporate “culture” has affected the workings of government. This adoption of corporate practices stems from the idiotic and frequently disproven 40 year myth about the superiority of “private enterprise” over “government”, a big talking point of right-wingers like Louie DeJoy and other “Free Market” defenders.

Part of corporate culture is the thorough segmentation of the “corporate brain” such that one side of it cannot communicate with the other. You cannot get information you need from the consumer side, because they have no way to interact with the provider side — which can answer the question– for example.

We also now commonly see “third parties” with contracts to do government work, like collecting debt, sending bills, providing “notice” and so forth. If I requested something a month ago that is typically available in five business days, and call weeks later to find out the status, I am as likely to get a bored, underpaid, bitter “third party” subcontractor giving me a surly answer pulled directly from his ass as I am to talk to a well-informed government agent ready, willing and able to solve my problem.

In the case of Medicare, I was assured when I applied on June 17 (after a ten business day delay to get a new PIN sent to me by US Mail when I was unable to log-in) that everything was in order, that my application would be approved within two weeks or so and that my Medicare, whenever officially granted, would be effective July 1.

You can’t reach anyone on the phone to find out why it is now three weeks later and the website shows the same 2/3 on the status bar. You read that your application is in process, but there has been no discernible movement in three weeks.

For most people, you read, this review takes 2 to 4 weeks. For you, asshole? Hah!

The first three times you call you are subjected to an endless loop of “Thank you for holding. We appreciate your patience, we’re currently assisting other people and will help you as soon as we possibly can.” The loop about helping you plays until your call is eventually cut off. This is a universal corporate trick that enhances the bottom line, why hire extra workers to answer phones when you can simply play this recorded loop until the call is automatically terminated?

My fourth call was the charm, I was connected to a woman who assured me I simply had to wait, everything was in order, everything that could be done was being done. The Social Security Administration website continued to tell another story.

My next call, a few days later, also got through, this time the guy impatiently told me to forget what the website said, the review ALWAYS takes 60 to 90 days to complete and I’m only slowing it down by trying to call all the time. And, yes, the recording says that if your need is crucial you can schedule a face-to-face meeting (NYC branches of federal government offices are apparently still closed for the pandemic), but merely being uninsured does not qualify as crucial and there are no face-to-face meetings because … Covid. You just have to be patient, asshole.

My next couple of calls put me in that endless loop of thanking me for my patience and eventually disconnecting my call. When I got through next, just the other day, Ms. Estevez was very helpful. The guy who told me 60 to 90 days? He had no idea what he was talking about, he was completely wrong, said Ms. Estevez with great disgust. She looked over my stalled application, found no reason it was being held up. Approved it on the spot.

The next day, with only two or three hours of work, I was able to get my Medicare ID number read to me over the phone. Now, the only things I have to worry about is getting this cancer scare checked out before September, and how much 20% of my doctor’s bill will be (it will certainly be far less than the full retail $885, excluding tests, I was scheduled to pay “out of pocket” in September).

Say it with me, boys and girls:

USA! USA!!!

[1]

I received a notice from the Department of Finance, after my complaint was successfully resolved by their intervention, that my low-cost health insurance did not allow me to use the Department of Finance’s website, that I’d have to lodge any future complaints with Andrew Cuomo’s incompetent political appointee at Medicaid (also in charge of all ACA programs in NYS). Medicaid’s website contains no on-line form, you have to wait for someone who can help you, possibly, to pick up the phone there, you indigent piece of shit.

Note: this letter from the Department of Finance did not stop them from filing my next online complaint against the insurance company, though that one led to nothing, as current New York State law required.

In Defense of our Flawed Democracy

Thank you for holding. We appreciate your patience, we’re currently assisting other people and will help you as soon as we possibly can.

(repeated every 40 seconds, at 7 minutes into a short loop of insipid hold muzak with the Social Security Administration, at 16 minutes and finally, one last time, at 26 minutes, when I belatedly pulled the plug on holding for these lying, pseudo-corporate bureaucrat pricks)

Theoretically the American people are the government and the government is intended to work for us (particularly if we are in the social class for whom the benefits of life, liberty and the pursuit of whatever were guaranteed by our Founders). The experiment in democracy these wealthy white men designed in the waning decades of the Eighteenth century was revolutionary, at the time every other place on earth was ruled by a monarch who sat on the throne by Divine Right (compare: Manifest Destiny). Anyone who questioned why God would put a vicious inbred hereditary imbecile on the throne could be considered a blasphemer and subjected to the usual time-honored remedies for this sort of impiety (not to mention treason).

The Founding Fathers risked their lives, committed open treason against the world’s most powerful king, to change a system that placed a king’s arbitrary will over all of them, giving them little or no say in the conditions of their own lives. “No taxation without representation” was a rallying cry of the colonists, since there was, by then, a bicameral representative council in England below the king (House of Lords and House of powerless fucking chumps) that had a say in government policy.

It was the radical idea of representative government, based on the radical notion of the right to self-determination, that gave rise to all sorts of radical ideas (including representative democracy) during the Age of Enlightenment when discerning minds began to use Reason to question long held beliefs, practices, customs and superstitions.

We’ve come full circle, in many parts of the world, to the pre-Enlightenment vision of religious faith in an all-powerful individual leader, chosen as part of an unknowable God’s all-loving, all-knowing plan, a “strongman” who exercises unlimited personal power paternalistically, to ensure what he deems is in the best interest of citizens. Thus, even in our democracy, you can have a mentally-ill sadist, ordained by God, doing what he needs to do to rid us of hated enemies and promote his loyal followers to head every important government office to advance his vision of truth, justice and the American way.

In the US that includes, obviously, the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the US Postal Service, the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, etc. If that leader surfs to power on a wave of churning emotion, exploiting fear and hatred of an unfair, corrupt, inefficient, abusive government, well, the more unfair, corrupt, inefficient and abusive his government is, the more it proves the point that he’s the only person who can save us! Don’t worry about the argument making sense, it doesn’t need to. It just needs to keep making you angry as hell.

So we have “debates” in our deadlocked, non-functioning Congress about things like increasing the budget for IRS enforcement against wealthy tax cheats (to pay for programs to literally begin trying to save the world from accelerating climate catastrophe). Is it American, patriotic, decent, honest, to cheat on your taxes? Here is the opposition party’s position in the debate:

WHO ARE YOU TO FUCKING SAY??!!! FUCK YOU, WASSHOLE! TRYING TO TAX THE RICH, THE JOB CREATORS, IS PUNISHING SUCCESS, JUST COMMUNISM, RADICAL ANTI-FASCISM or FACISM, TAKE YOUR PICK!!!

This is literally the quality of political “debate” in a nation run by, and for the benefit of, sociopaths and unprincipled careerists. Here’s a great snarky take on that from Sarah Lazarus at Crooked Media:

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) confirmed this week that he plans to investigate Donald Trump as part of the probe, and is prepared to depose senior Trump administration officials and members of Congress who might have played a role in the insurrection—like, say, the two seditionist Jims that McCarthy tried to put on the other side of the table. Thompson also indicated that the committee is very interested in learning more about McCarthy’s panicky phone call to Trump as the attack unfolded, which probably has nothing to do with McCarthy’s panicky efforts to thwart the investigation.

Nothing to fucking see here! You’d do the same if you had supported a maniac’s insane right to send a mob to the Capitol to violently stop the constitutionally mandated certification of an election he honestly refused to accept that he lost since he is history’s greatest winner. You’d do the exact same fucking thing if you were in McCarthy’s position!!!! Repeat everything you’re told to say and pretend you love the taste of the delusional Big Guy’s crusty hindquarters.

Anyway, I believe in government, in spite of the sickening frailties of the one we have now. Democracy is better than any alternative form of government, but we need to fix ours. Several radical, common sense reforms will be needed to restore our experiment in democracy to a representative government.

No more dark money in politics (at least say your fucking name, Charles, Rupert, Robert Mercer) funding the most extreme reactionary candidates in primaries to ensure the extremist political outcomes the 1% desires (part of the proffered protection of the public in the disastrous Citizens United ruling was that unlimited funding of political campaigns would be done transparently, a transparent bit of purely transactional bullshit, as it turned out).

No more right-wing fraternity vetting and choosing lifetime federal court judges to rule, whenever legally possible, according to that fraternity’s stated far right ideology. No more (currently entirely permissible, per 6-3 Supreme Court) partisan gerrymandering and no more restrictive, partisan voting laws — whether or not “race” is intentionally implicated in these moves (the Supreme Court’s brand new standard for overturning voter suppression laws, opponents have to prove they were intended to be deliberately racist, whatever the actual impact of the on different “races” the law causes).

The Supreme Court, a 6-3 right wing juggernaut whose majority was appointed by two presidents who lost the popular vote, straight from the Federalist Fraternity’s list, must be balanced with a handful of even-handed, non-“ideological” judges. Abolish the fucking Electoral College, that vestige of slavery, while we’re at it.

Everyone who works deserves a living wage, $7.25/hr, current federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2008, adjusted for inflation (since it was instituted) it should be $24/hr. Giant corporations must not be allowed to pay workers so poorly they qualify for Medicaid, health insurance for indigents. Taxes on vast, untaxable hereditary wealth and massive corporate windfall profits could go a long way to paying for vitally important programs we needed to have started decades ago, including the preservation of a habitable planet.

There’s a pretty short list of the essential things that are broken, and need to be fixed.

So I don’t write this in any way to attack our need for government programs and agencies that help our fellow citizens. We need those things that only a determined, responsive, well-functioning federal government can do. Think of the immediate improvement in American vaccination under a new president who didn’t regard the pandemic as a Communist/BLM-antifa hoax engineered to personally hurt him. Another example: the federal government took its time about it, to be sure, but in the end it was the intervention of the federal government, enforcing federal law, that ended the custom of lynching in many parts of the country that were determined to uphold this hateful tradition. FEMA is who you call when a killer storm destroys your town. Protection of voters’ rights in federal elections also falls to the federal government, under the 14th Amendment, and so forth.

Here are a few basic human needs the federal government has to attend to in a democracy, none of which seem controversial to me:

Disabled people should get help from the government. Children should not be subjected to malnutrition and the other ravages of poverty. Decent health care should be a right of citizenship, Americans should not have to die for lack of health “insurance”. Workers should be able to afford a place to live, food, clothing, days off, a bit of security. People who retire should be able to live in dignity and at least modest comfort. All citizens should have easy access to voting. Victims of killer storms should be rescued, helped to rebuild their lives. Corporations should be prevented from poisoning the water, air and ground. None of this is controversial, until you get down to the details, which are dictated by the agenda of a tiny, powerful elite of the hereditary super-wealthy, a group that has other priorities.

For example, if a law that protects a low-income Americans from the illegal act of a corporation providing affordable health care, under the Patient Protection Act, cannot be found, even by determined lawyers, there is no fucking law.

Details HERE

You Like the Idea of The Fourth Reich?

I wake up almost every morning, the grandchild of two people who had their entire families massacred one August night in 1943, to the banging of drums and the caterwauling of drunken Ukrainians (all relatives of my other two grandparents disappeared, with no trace at all, into the fog of Nazi genocide), slightly sick to my stomach at the latest news of how heartily homegrown fascism is growing in our promising democracy. The antidemocratic insurrection that came to an ugly head the day a Jew and a Black tipped the balance of a closely fought Senate is still openly in progress as feckless liberals ring their hands and vow to get to “the truth”.

It is a supremely sickening subject, one detail more vomit inducing than the next, so we must not speak about it, it is too upsetting, plus we are utterly helpless to do anything about it but watch in horror, let’s talk about anything but what is taking place right in front of us! So I sit to write every day, and try to clear my head a little bit, lessen the sick feeling in my gut. Some days it works better than others.

We live in a country that, as a culture, does not believe in history. Six months back might as well be fifty years ago, two hundred years. Since nothing happened to really refute the lies Trump told about the effect his explosive lies had on the followers he incited to storm the Capitol to stop certification of the election he lost, well, who’s to judge him? Nobody has ever held him accountable for anything, why start now? In additional, there are important institutional questions to be debated before we act hastily, about the administration of justice, the Supreme Court, prosecuting the organizers and inciters of the MAGA riot.

Who among us has not wanted to have people who hated us shot to death by riot police, the military? What his fans love about him is that he does exactly what they would do if they were in charge. Even when he lies, he’s telling a larger truth anyone who is really angry can instantly identify with. Enemies? Fucking kill them, what’s the problem? They’d do the same to you, if they could.

In every new book about the previous regime, led by a giant two-year old in a perpetual temper tantrum, we learn more details about how destructive a giant angry “populist” baby can be when in charge of a country with violently emotional divisions.

Russia, we learned the other day, again, made a calculation in 2016 based on the usefulness of a vain, insecure, easily flattered and manipulated American president of strong opinions and limited intellect, an “impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex” according to a leak of Russian documents reported by The Guardian[1].

This claim by a super-liberal British fake news rag is pure propaganda to tens of millions of Americans who may not agree with everything their leader does, but who know that he has their best interests at heart, even as he weaponizes vaccination (he himself quietly took the vaccine, and softly admitted on FOX that everyone should get it), exacts revenge on everyone on his long, ever-expanding enemies list, humiliating even those most loyal to him once he feels they failed him, and continues to fan the flames of the audacious, violence-stoking lie that, but for the grace of God and some Capitol police who fought against overwhelming odds, would have cost his supremely loyal Vice President his life (along with others). He plays to rage, his particular “genius” is inspiring greater and greater bonfires of rage in his followers. He will say literally anything to keep them mad as hell, fired up, ready to take names and kick disloyal, unAmerican commie ass.

At least 40% of America is in denial about their destructive champion, no matter how much evidence of his destructiveness is revealed by people close to him who remained fatally silent when it mattered most to reveal these alarming details (“just shoot the protesters” “I need a favor, though” “support my self-serving lie or I’ll end your fucking career”). This man, aided by the able, and morally supple Bagpiper Bill Barr, sent a death squad to execute an unresisting American citizen they believe had murdered a Trump supporter in a street brawl in Portland.

Forget the Three Percenters (their name is based on the myth that only 3% of British colonists in the New World actively supported the American Revolution, and that was enough to start it), 40% of the electorate, angry and motivated, in a country whose electoral system was designed to protect the minority power of slaveholders, can decide the destiny of our experiment in democracy.

This group is glad to believe that it’s irrationally angry Blacks who are the racists, not White Christians. The teaching of history, they believe, must not be political, it must be patriotic. They are happy to renounce the vaccine that their leader once touted among his greatest accomplishments, the result of his brilliant and history making Operation Warp Speed. They are willing to die en masse for the freedom to ignore the best advice of infectious disease scientists. They belong to a death cult they fervently believe is a cult of freedom.

My friends, in a way, are right. There is very little any of us, as individuals, can do to change any of this supremely depressing stuff. If one million people a day read this blahg, where I attempt to make sound arguments based on actual facts, it would make little difference, would change almost no minds that didn’t already agree with my point of view. The price for my success would probably be dozens, if not hundreds, of trolls telling me every day that I need to take a fictional red pill to really understand the seriousness of the Satanist cannibal pedophile ring that runs the world (speaking in a heavy Yiddish accent, of course).

On the other hand, things looked hopeless for flipping the Senate as the Georgia run-off approached. It seemed unbelievable that after all of the clear fuck-ups of the giant peevish baby’s disastrous (except to the rich and religiously extreme) administration so many of his most ardent supporters easily won reelection. Why the Democrats didn’t take a dozen seats, including Lindsey Graham’s, McConnell’s, was a perplexing mystery to people like me.

As the Georgia run-off approached, Sekhnet and I attended Zoom meetings and did everything possible to get Georgia Democrats to the polls. On January 6th a Jewish journalist and a Black reverend made history, becoming the first of their kinds to be voted in as Georgia senators. That victory was quickly swallowed up in an outburst of organized rage that the Party of Patriots is defending, counter-factually, as a lawful protest, based on a patriotic reaction to an infuriating allegation advertised to the tune of $50,000,000 plus dozens of influential, free, presidential tweets and speeches in the weeks leading up to the deadly siege. Democrat (sic) determination to investigate the MAGA riot is just another example of a child-blood drinking radical leftist witch-hunt against a man whose only crime is trying to make America great again, and rid us of the rule of murderous pedophiles.

No facts can really enter this existential debate. Facts are malleable, subject to definitive refutation by allegations of alternative facts, as we’ve learned. Here is a nice quote from a powerful, ambitious Republican who never tired of the taste of his leader’s crusty nether sphincter:

Here are a few other quotes that jumped out at me, wound up flapping around in my stomach acid:

General Mark Milley, who’d accompanied Trump on his triumphant walk through used tear gas canisters to awkwardly and defiantly hold up a Bible for a photo op of a Strong president who showed cowardly governors how to dominate the protesters, distanced himself from the stunt, regretting his involvement. A few months after that he, a student of history, referred to these very fine Nazis by name. He at the time had

See also the Lyin’ Ted quotes above. The Leader has the right to say anything, no matter how much it might rile up some very fine Nazis, even who he would or would not Do a coup with.

The most loyal asslicker in US presidential history, Mike “No Homo” Pence, was unable to convince his master that he lacked the power to stop the certification of votes on January 6. He lacked the courage or the character to speak to him frankly, suggesting that perhaps the lawyers could have the final word, but not Rudy or Sidney Powell, nor Flynn or the My Pillow Guy. Never mind. He proved himself an unworthy coward, and such a person, in the eyes of a lynch mob, is richly deserving of kicking at the end of a rope.

Not a problem. The guy was a coward, you kick his ass to the curb, like that guy who married a dog (the only woman who would have him) and whose father was involved in the Kennedy assassination. We’ll leave colossal piece of shit Bill Barr with the last supremely aggravating word:

That, and the fact that he ran against the second most hated politician in America in 2016 (fuck Barr and his fucking last word).

[1]

The second big story came this morning in the form of an article from The Guardian, which purported to reveal leaked documents from the Kremlin in which Putin and Russian leaders agreed in January 2016 to make Trump president to sow discord in the United States in order to get U.S. sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Crimea overturned. The documents described Trump as an “impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex.”

There are many reasons to be skeptical of this “leak,” but, in the end, whether true or not, it doesn’t tell us much that we don’t already know. There is ample evidence, articulated most clearly in the Senate Intelligence Report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, that Russia worked hard to get Trump elected in 2016.

source

The War on History Is a War on Democracy

Historian Timothy Snyder wrote an excellent extended piece in the NY Times recently entitled The War on History Is a War on Democracy. He goes over the recent history of “memory laws”, usually used by totalitarian states, and would-be totalitarians, to ban the teaching of inconvenient aspects of history in furtherance of their demand for citizen obedience. If you make cause and effect disappear you can convince ill-informed citizens of virtually anything.

These memory laws are counterfactual, since they deny things that actually happened, but they don’t need to make sense — they are strictly political in their intent. They’re intended to erase accounts and collective memory of bad things that actually happened, things the law may have shrugged at, held nobody accountable for, things essential to study if you hope to avoid the mistakes of the past. Erase the awful things done under color of law, et viola, a beautiful past, an inspiring and idealistic past, made to order!

Snyder points to the example of Putin’s 2014 “memory law” banning the discussion of Soviet war crimes during history’s deadliest war. The law claims that since all war crimes were adjudicated at the Nuremberg trials, bringing up alleged Soviet war crimes is actually “holocaust denial”. Of course, as Snyder points out, the Soviet Union participated in the prosecution of Nazi war crimes and no Soviets were tried, let alone held accountable for any of the massacres done by their troops, approved by their generals and by Stalin, but no matter. If you talk about any of that in Russia today, you are guilty of “holocaust denial” and in violation of the 2014 Russian memory law.

We have the same thing going on here, obviously, with the many new state laws proscribing the teaching of horrible, often racially motivated, moments of violence in our past, some little remembered to start with, that the law, and American historians, long winked at here. Ever hear of the New Orleans Race Massacre of 1866 [1]? You sure won’t now in any state that is determined to teach only an inspiring, patriotic history of our Exceptional USA. Mentioning an unspeakable horror like this massacre under current Florida law will get you in very hot water, very fast.

Snyder puts his finger on what is so destructive about these laws, designed to keep people in the dark about cause and effect in history.

If it is illegal in Florida to teach about systemic racism, then aspects of the Holocaust relevant for young Americans go untaught. German race laws drew from the precedent set by Jim Crow in the United States. But since Jim Crow is systemic racism, having to do with American society and law, the subject would seem to be banned in Florida schools. 

Timothy Snyder

Well-done and well worth reading. If you can’t read it at the link above, shoot me a comment and I’ll be happy to cut and paste the entire piece for you.

Nothing bad ever happened to this man for any “systemic” reason..,

 [1]

The New Orleans Massacre of 1866 occurred on July 30, when a peaceful demonstration of mostly black Freedmen was set upon by a mob of white rioters, many of whom had been soldiers of the recently defeated Confederate States of America, leading to a full-scale massacre. 

Wikipedia

We learn, (unless in a Florida classroom, apparently):

By the end of the massacre, at least 200 black Union war veterans were killed, including forty delegates at the Convention. Altogether 238 people were killed and 46 were wounded.

source

How did this happen?

The New Orleans Massacre, also known as the New Orleans Race Riot, occurred on July 30, 1866.  While the riot was typical of numerous racial conflicts during Reconstruction, this incident had special significance. It galvanized national opposition to the moderate Reconstruction policies of President Andrew Johnson and ushered in much more sweeping Congressional Reconstruction in 1867.

The riot took place outside the Mechanics Institute in New Orleans as black and white delegates attended the Louisiana Constitutional Convention. The Convention had reconvened because the Louisiana state legislature had recently passed the black codes and refused to extend voting rights to black men. Also on May 12, 1866, four years of Union Army imposed martial law ended and Mayor John T. Monroe, who had headed city government before the Civil War, was reinstated as acting mayor. Monroe had been an active supporter of the Confederacy.

As a delegation of 130 black New Orleans residents marched behind the U.S. flag toward the Mechanics Institute, Mayor Monroe organized and led a mob of ex-Confederates, white supremacists, and members of the New Orleans Police Force to the Institute to block their way. The mayor claimed their intent was to put down any unrest that may come from the Convention but the real reason was to prevent the delegates from meeting.

As the delegation came to within a couple of blocks of the Institute, shots were fired but the group was allowed to proceed to the meeting hall. Once they reached the Institute the police and white mob members attacked them, beating some of the marchers while others rushed inside the building for safety.

source

Or as Trumpist governor Ron “DeathSantis” would say to any Florida teacher allowing this kind of anti-American propaganda in her classroom “YOU’RE FIRED!”

The chilling breeze of history

The best people only hire the best people, it’s like a thing among the best people, to surround themselves with only the very best people. At the same time, the best people often need to be the smartest person in the room, so if they are of average intelligence they’ll wind up choosing the best people who are not as smart as them, meaning they’ll be surrounded by spineless toadies, many of them dumb as a post. Makes sense.

Here are three of the best people in Germany, right after the failed Beerhall Putsch, an early Nazi attempt to overthrow German democracy [1], and the well-publicized trial for treason, before a right wing judge sympathetic to Nazi aims, that made one of them an international symbol of militant nationalism (the photo was taken in Landsberg Prison during their short stint there):

[Fuck, I love the mandolin, I just saw it. Not only the best people, but at least one of them loved music! He seems to be actually fretting a chord. Can you hear these best people singing along? I can.]

Mediocre minds often dream desperately grandiose dreams. It is not possible that destiny created me just to live out an obscure life, greatness is in my soul, leading the masses to glory is my birthright! I have been chosen, I am the Chosen One, the Savior, the only One who can make things right, the only One who can lead the terrible fight against PURE EVIL!

Critical people will view these types as deluded, insane, but true believers will faithfully follow them into the jaws of death. It has been this way from the dawn of human history, those who can convince others that the force of history has chosen them will always find a ready army.

As horrible as the glowering faces of the most threatening monsters in human history are, their smiles are far worse. The smile on the face of a violent sadist is a sickening sight. There are few things more horrific, to those opposed to things like genocide, than a beaming Nazi. Check out these fucking faces.

The Poisonous Dwarf, Hitler’s Minister of Public Enlightenment, in a buoyant mood

I know, I know. These human expressions of happiness are familiar to us all, and on the faces of history’s greatest criminals they are particularly hideous. I always had the same feeling whenever I’d see the self-hating Stephen Miller (Trump’s would-be Minister of Public Enlightenment without portfolio) or Bagpiper Bill Barr (Mr. Trump’s pugnacious Hermann Goring-style gunsel) smiling. Before that the aptly named Dick Cheney’s rare, jagged, apparently painful smile always evoked that sick in the stomach feeling. The revulsion comes from knowing what makes this type smile, the triumph of their twisted views, the suffering of others, of people they passionately hate.

Hate and resentment is good for business, if your business is uniting masses of angry people. As long as hate rages anger remains unquenchable and the loop is endless. You cannot rest, if you truly believe powerful Satanist cannibal child molesters are out to turn your home into a totalitarian Marxist state where the blood of your own children will be lustily slurped down, after they are raped by these vampires, until you join an army to root out and KILL every last member of this evil cabal.

A passionate mob is capable of the most atrocious actions you can imagine. Their passion does not need to argue with anyone, it doesn’t require evidence or fact — only faith and passion. True believers, if Christians, may think of it like the Passion of Christ [2]. Many destructive, abusive people in power wrap themselves in the pious cloaks of their religion (e.g. Bagpiper Bill Barr, Mike Pompeo, Antonin Scalia, Osama bin Laden). Religion demands obedience to all-knowing, all-merciful God’s will. How do we know what God wants? Faith.

On the other side of the equation, we have decent people of good will wringing their hands, instead of taking the bold, decisive action that is needed to protect the rest of us from irrational maniacs hawking violence-inspiring lies and monetizing them. In history this has always been a recipe for the worst possible outcome. “Why won’t they accept the plain truth that we’ve proved ten times over?” they wonder. If only we could get things back to the way they were before everything was so out of control, they think, not really thinking things through.

Contrast these moderate, status quo embracing, nuance-appreciating institutionalists with the bold, passionate, reckless, history-making mold breakers admired by millions. The bold transactional liar acts with a game plan (to win it all) and lays out a worldview the average angry person can embrace. You can prove the guy is lying, but it makes no difference to the faithful, who see the world exactly as their leader does.

I’d always heard Hitler was a “failed artist” before he found his calling in German politics. This label always irked me, as I myself am a “failed artist” (though my army of fanatical followers does not begin to compare to Mr. H’s) since I stubbornly failed to monetize my talents in any way. I’ve seen few of Hitler’s art works over the years but here is one that, like Trump’s American Carnage speech (Blacks and the Socialist Left have reduced our cities to raging anarchist war zones), perfectly reveals the artist’s weltanshauung, his view of the world as a grim, scorched, treacherous battlefield for eternal struggle, a worldview that would inspire millions:

see FN 3

You can’t argue with that shit.

Fuck you, Widaen

[1]

Think of the January 6 MAGA riot/dress rehearsal at the Capitol.

[2]

The Passion of Christ is the story of Jesus Christ‘s arrest, trial and suffering. It ends with his execution by crucifixion. … The word Passion comes from the Latin word for suffering. The crucifixion of Jesus is accepted by many scholars as an actual historical event.

— the internets

[3]

The images above (with the exception of the soul-revealing shot of America’s Greatest Sore Loser) are all from episode one of Netflix’s new short series “How to Become A Tyrant”, narrated by the excellent, deadpan Peter Dinklage.

Why Do You Write? (2)

The world comes into focus when I sit down to write. As I write, and rewrite, what I mean to say becomes clearer and clearer, to me and to anyone who reads the words. Writing feels very much like having a meaningful conversation with another person, an unhurried exchange with no regretted, blurted word, as little ambiguity as possible, the endless chance to make things as clear as they can be made, nothing that can’t be fixed before it’s a problem. Writing and careful editing can make everything more understandable, which in itself is a beautiful thing.

Writing feels like a talk where everyone is listened to, all confusion is heard and responded to thoughtfully, every complexity clarified. This is rare in conversation, sadly, and we fondly recall those conversations where we take the time to really hear and are listened to this way. I feel the embrace of this kind of intimate talk virtually every time I sit down to write. It matters little to me, as I write, that very few people, or no people, will read a particular piece. The conversation goes on in any case, ready to be joined at any time.

What is it, exactly, that is spurring me to write today? What do I want to talk with you about? Once you give your thoughts a title (an excellent suggestion from Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. I read, and took to heart, as a sprout) it becomes much easier to follow them, to corral them, to get the flow of them to make sense. Today I am writing about why we write, though, of course, I have little insight into why YOU write.

I speak for myself, obviously, as I write these words. I’m certain that many of you experience a similar feeling of connection to others when you sit down to write. This feeling is particularly precious in our atomized, virtual world where much of our communication is done in short text bursts or other digitized interactions, without the nuances of eye contact or body language. The conversational/connection angle of writing and rewriting will resonate with those of you who are motivated the same way I am.

Vonnegut said he always wrote imagining his bright, well-read sister’s reaction. If he could picture her shaking her head over something he wrote, that passage would have to be rewritten until it met her high standards, or tossed. When I write, I sometimes picture a literate stranger, in India, China, or the Ukraine, and strive to make my prose as clear and my train of thought as focused as I can. I also sometimes picture my mother’s reactions when I write, she was a keen appreciator of good writing.

When I was a boy, I used to write much more emotionally, driven by the mistaken belief that I could include everything I’d ever felt, thought or learned in the piece I was writing. I was driven by a strong need to sum everything up every time I sat down to write. I have heard this impulse compared to trying to hit a mammoth home run every time up. It took time to adjust my expectations, get better control of my swing, to learn that making good contact is the point of this game. It took time to learn to choose one thing to focus on at a time. That’s where Vonnegut’s advice comes in so handy. The universe swirls, an infinite multi-dimensional kaleidoscope, in constant, frenetic motion, making it impossible to focus on the giant themes we often feel up against. Unless you focus on one specific thing at a time, and naming that one thing up top helps. Which, of course, is not always as simple a matter as it seems.

For example, I heard a few snippets of some of the speeches at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (mein kampference [1]) in Dallas. The former president, a compulsive liar loved by 39% of Americans, continues to lie about his second term being treacherously stolen from him in a fake election. The faithful do not doubt that his lie (which would, of course, require a national, bipartisan conspiracy against him) is true — if not literally true, based only on evidence, then true in the higher, faith-based sense that true believers believe is a higher truth than the earthly, limited fact-based variant. To verify that his endlessly repeated claim of a stolen election is an audacious, incendiary lie, we need look no further than the many Republicans and Trump-appointed judges who found there was no fraud in the election the Orange Polyp still claims was rigged to steal from the rightful winner, him. To see how provocative and dangerous this lie is, we need look no further than the deadly January 6 riot and the GOP’s continued far-fetched defense of a stirred up insurrectionist mob that violently stormed the Capitol and successfully stopped the peaceful transfer of power for several hours, at the exhortation of the former president and his faithful, like his son Junior, Rudy and Alabama Representative Mo Brooks. Yet, the CPAC crowd [2] drowned the lying speakers in adulation, chose the ex-president by 70% in a poll of who these extremists want to represent their party in 2024. This paragraph would become the seed of a post, after I called it something like “Nazi rallies had nothing on these cute pups!”.

So I realize another reason I write is to digest things that are otherwise indigestible to me and to make my point of view known. Most people I know have little tolerance for discussing the depressing battle over our nation’s soul, they want to relax, enjoy life, be out in nature, eat good food together, not be tortured by someone making an all-too convincing case that we are living in Berlin, 1932. Or the soon to be violently sundered United States of 1860. I can gently judge them without blaming them, I understand their point of view, nobody likes a fucking party pooper, I hate them myself. Here, on the other hand, I can lay things out that would otherwise suffocate me, if left unvented. Writing it out here helps me process things and leaves me able to say much less to friends about the details of this ongoing horror movie we are all living in.

Thoughts lead where they do, and if we follow them carefully we can make the path of those thoughts intelligible. It gives some comfort, at least to me, to be able to see things in perspective. In the case of the paragraph about CPAC, it leads, invariably to certain related thoughts and questions. The MAGA riot actually stopped the function of government, as it was intended to, which is the legal definition of an insurrection, so why is nobody on trial for inciting insurrection? Why have none of the funders ($50,000,000 on advertising alone), organizers and promoters of the attack on the Capitol been indicted for anything? Why are there no senate investigations into senators who actively spread the Big Lie and then actively contested the counting of uncontroversial votes, based on the prevalent Republican belief in the Lie they had helped to spread (Lying’ Ted, you brazen little vampire!)? Same in the House, why no ethics investigations if members were seen conducting tours of the building for the rioters in the days before January 6? Is Merrick Garland, a thoughtful, decent man who cried at his confirmation hearing recounting how this country had saved his family from the Nazis, the right man to face off against our home-grown American Nazis? I’d have loved the even-tempered, fair-minded jurist on the Supreme Court, but I don’t know that he has the stomach to do what must be done to face down the virulent antidemocratic threat we are up against.

I see I’ll have to go where these thoughts lead me today, but I’ll go there later, in another post. Another great feature of writing is that you can leave off wherever it makes sense to leave off, and hours, even days later, pick right up after reading everything you wrote in the previous session. What you have already written leads you directly to your next thought.

Which is a magical thing about reading and writing, along with our human ability to string letter symbols into words which can then be fashioned into expressions of even our most complicated thoughts and feelings. Wow.

Another beautiful thing, you can go back, proof-read, trim, fix, reorganize, restate, clarify, polish, as many times as you need to. I’ll no doubt be back to this post a few times in the next day or two, making little tweaks.

Hey, stop me if I asked you this before: why do you write?

[1]

An obnoxious little (parenthetical) darling, adding nothing, likely subtracting, that I should almost certainly murder …

[2]

reads a bit like it was written by Dr. Bronner, but surely the work of a true patriot:

Nazi talking point: there is no systemic racism in American law

A favorite technique of abusers, and their admirers, is to blame the victim. This happens literally all the time. Nobody wants to feel they’re doing something for a shitty reason, we need to feel justified in our actions. So if I beat you to a pulp I have to believe, and convince everybody else, that you richly deserved your beating. My story will include a host of provocations that would have tried the equanimity of Buddha. Sure, you got hit, but look what you did to me over and over leading up to it.

We hear this in defense of deadly police shootings and chokings — “the video doesn’t show what happened right before the officer justifiably reacted with deadly force!” Part of this syndrome is claiming the other party has no right to feel upset or angry about how things are — that they are, in fact, ungrateful fucks who deserve whatever punishment they provoke.

It is easiest to make the argument that there is no systemic racism in America (and therefor it is the fault of angry Blacks when they are met with deadly force) by attacking a theory that lays out how racism is not only an individual belief system, but has long been embedded in American law and law enforcement. A theory making the case that racism in American institutions is not an aberration, it’s the norm.

If you look at disparate results by race (street stops, arrests, police killings of unarmed civilians, long prison sentences, death sentences) you will not win many arguments on this score, based on data, based on the facts.

So it is much better, before the largely uninformed (or deliberately misinformed) jury of public opinion, to attack a law school theory that says our institutions are, to a largely unacknowledged extent, marred by racist assumptions and practices (see, e.g., bloviating Bagpiper Bill Barr‘s asinine ‘argument’ to refute this self-evident truth — a “small handful” of unarmed Blacks are killed by police every year, what’s the big deal?).

The theory’s name plays into the talking point that this theory critiquing racism in American law is itself racist. Critical (mean, carping, negative, often unfair, nobody likes a critic) Race (mentioning race is itself an indication of racism, we’re colorblind!) Theory (an argument supported by facts, a very unfair way to make a point!).

Here is a capsule description of the controversial graduate school theory:

As Nazi piece of shit, pardoned immaterial perjurer Mike “Lock Her UP!” Flynn, caller for martial law to overturn the presidential election, follower of the rabid QAnon conspiracy “theory”, urges his people “where we go one, we go all” — take over all local school boards and stop this BLM/antifa/Commie bullshit in its goddamn tracks before it poisons more of our white Christian youth !!!! The problem is the goddamned colored people who hate us for no reason! They are the racists, not us! That’s why they must not be allowed to vote, and if they do vote, why their votes should not be counted! USA! USA!!!

Makes me wanna holler, it really does.

July Fourth Masterpiece

Historian Heather Cox Richardson:

And on July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

For all the fact that the congressmen got around the sticky problem of Black and Indigenous enslavement by defining “men” as “white men,” and for all that it never crossed their minds that women might also have rights, the Declaration of Independence was an astonishingly radical document. In a world that had been dominated by a small class of rich men for so long that most people simply accepted that they should be forever tied to their status at birth, a group of upstart legislators clinging to the edge of a continent declared that no man was born better than any other. America was founded on the radical idea that all men are created equal.

What the founders declared self-evident was not so clear eighty-seven years later, when southern white men went to war to guarantee that Black Americans, Indigenous Americans, Chinese, Mexicans, and Irish would be permanently locked into a lower status than whites. In that era, equality had become a “proposition,” rather than “self-evident.” “Four score and seven years ago,” Abraham Lincoln reminded Americans, “our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” In 1863, Lincoln explained, the Civil War was “testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”

It did, of course. The Confederate rebellion failed. The United States endured, and as people of different races, incomes, genders, and abilities began to demand that the nation honor its founding principles, Americans began to expand the idea that all men are created equal.

But just as in the 1850s, we are now, once again, facing a rebellion against the idea of equality, as a few wealthy men seek to reshape America into a nation in which certain people are better than others.

The men who adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, pledged their “Lives, [their] Fortunes and [their] sacred Honor” to defend the idea of human equality, however limited they were in executing it. Ever since then, Americans from all walks of life have sacrificed their own fortunes, honor, and even their lives for that principle. Lincoln reminded Civil War Americans of those sacrifices when he urged the people of his era to “take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Words to live by in 2021.

Happy Independence Day, everyone.

source

NY Times fact-finding on the Jaunary 6 MAGA riot

The New Yorks Times writes:

Day of Rage: An In-Depth Look at How a Mob Stormed the Capitol By Dmitriy Khavin, Haley Willis, Evan Hill, Natalie Reneau, Drew Jordan, Cora Engelbrecht, Christiaan Triebert, Stella Cooper, Malachy Browne and David Botti  

A six-month Times investigation has synchronized and mapped out thousands of videos and police radio communications from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, providing the most complete picture to date of what happened — and why.

By The New York Times June 30, 2021

In the six months since an angry pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, immense efforts have been made not only to find the rioters and hold them accountable, but also — and perhaps more important — to dig into the details of Jan. 6 and slowly piece together what actually happened that day.

Congressional committees have looked into police and intelligence failures. The Justice Department has launched a nationwide investigation that has now resulted in more than 500 arrests. And while Republicans in Congress blocked the formation of a blue-ribbon bipartisan committee, House Democrats are poised to appoint a smaller select committee.

Even now, however, Republican politicians and their allies in the media are still playing down the most brazen attack on a seat of power in modern American history. Some have sought to paint the assault as the work of mere tourists. Others, going further, have accused the F.B.I. of planning the attack in what they have described — wildly — as a false-flag operation.

The work of understanding Jan. 6 has been hard enough without this barrage of disinformation and, hoping to get to the bottom of the riot, The Times’s Visual Investigations team spent several months reviewing thousands of videos, many filmed by the rioters themselves and since deleted from social media. We filed motions to unseal police body-camera footage, scoured law enforcement radio communications, and synchronized and mapped the visual evidence

Here are some of the major revelations.

We pinpointed at least eight locations where rioters breached and entered the Capitol building — more than were previously known. The scenes revealed the extent of the rioters’ disregard for the law as they surged violently around the building’s perimeter and, eventually, inside.

The police were outnumbered and responded differently at various breach points, allowing rioters to break through doors using weapons like crowbars or, in some places, to simply walk through as the police stepped aside.

The multiple breaches also revealed the Capitol’s vulnerability. Despite locked doors and, in certain places, thick windows, rioters without specialized equipment were able to break in instantly in some places.

In the Senate, proceedings to certify the election results were halted almost immediately when a building-wide lockdown was called after the first breach by rioters. But we found that it took much longer for the House of Representatives to do the same. This delay appeared to have contributed to a rioter’s death.

Instead of evacuating, members of the House sheltered in place and resumed their work even as rioters overran the building. Speaker Nancy Pelosi was rushed to safety, but Representative Jim McGovern took her place presiding over the session. He told us that Capitol building security staff had said it was safe to resume.

Eventually, the House session was halted and members began streaming out of a rear door guided by security personnel. Rioters had arrived at almost the same moment, just on the other side of a hallway door with glass panels. They became incensed at the sight of the evacuating lawmakers — a situation that could have been avoided if the lawmakers had left before the mob arrived.

Ashli Babbitt, a Trump supporter and follower of the QAnon conspiracy theory, tried to climb through one of the door’s broken windows toward the lawmakers. A plainclothes Capitol Police officer charged with protecting the House shot her once through the upper chest. The wound was fatal.

One of the biggest questions hanging over the aftermath of Jan. 6 was whether the riot was planned and carried out by organized groups.

By identifying and tracking key players throughout the day, we found that most — even some at the forefront of the action — were ardent, but disorganized Trump supporters swept up in the moment and acting individually.

The first person to enter the Capitol building, for example, was a 43-year-old husband and father from Kentucky named Michael Sparks. He has no known affiliation with any organized groups. Ray Epps, an Arizona man seen in widely-circulated videos telling Trump supporters on multiple occasions to go into the Capitol, also seemed to have acted on his own.

Yet we also found that the crowd did include members of groups who seemed eager for a confrontation, like well-organized militias and far-right groups including the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys. This proved to be a combustible mix. In the videos we analyzed, they can be seen with baseball bats and body armor, and coordinating with one another using radios. On several occasions, a calculated move by a more organized actor — for example, a Proud Boy identifying a weakness in the police line near a set of stairs — set off a surge by the mob.

Evidence collected by the F.B.I. suggests that the Proud Boys in particular were aware that they had inflamed the mob of ordinary people — and may have intended to do so in advance. Just before the assault, one Proud Boy leader wrote on a group chat on Telegram that he was hoping his men could incite the “normies” to “burn that city to ash today” and “smash some pigs to dust.” Then, after the riot, another Proud Boy leader wrote on Telegram: “This is NOT what I expected to happen. All from us showing up and starting some chants and getting the normies all riled up.”VISUAL INVESTIGATIONS: Our investigative journalists use evidence that’s hidden in plain sight to present a definitive account of the news. Get an email as soon as our next Visual Investigation is published.Sign Up

By synchronizing footage from both sides of the Capitol building, we were able to establish how crowds on each side interacted with one another.

We tracked the movement of a group of rioters from the west side of the Capitol — which faces the National Mall and absorbed most of the attendees arriving from Mr. Trump’s speech — to the opposite eastern side.

The eastern crowd had remained largely behind the barricades, but all that changed with the arrival of rioters from around the side of the building. This more violent group was the trigger that put the entire mob over the edge, spurring them to push easily through a line of officers and surround the Capitol on every front.

Most of the videos we analyzed were filmed by the rioters. By carefully listening to the unfiltered chatter within the crowd, we found a clear feedback loop between President Trump and his supporters.

As Mr. Trump spoke near the White House, supporters who had already gathered at the Capitol building hoping to disrupt the certification responded. Hearing his message to “walk down to the Capitol,” they interpreted it as the president sending reinforcements. “There’s about a million people on their way now,” we heard a man in the crowd say, as Mr. Trump’s speech played from a loudspeaker.

The call and response didn’t stop there. We found evidence of his influence once the violence was well underway. In one moment, a woman with a megaphone urged rioters to climb through a broken window by asking them to “stand up for our country and Constitution” — echoing the language in an earlier tweet from Mr. Trump. In another, as the police were pushing to clear the mob off the building, a rioter screamed at officers: “I was invited here by the president.”

One unanswered question when we began this investigation was how the police managed to reclaim the Capitol building from the mob. We found that once officers increased their numbers, armor and crowd-control weapons, clearing the rioters happened quickly and effectively.

The footage revealed that officers cleared several locations in less than an hour after being reinforced by local Metropolitan Police, Virginia State Police and other local and federal agencies that arrived with more manpower and authorization to use more powerful crowd-control weapons.

It’s a stark contrast to what we saw during the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020, when federal officers were on scene from the start, already equipped with riot gear and authorized to use higher levels of force. Law enforcement’s relatively quick success in clearing the Capitol building once reinforcements arrived shows how the rioters might have been stopped far earlier with a different level of preparation — possibly preventing fatalities, countless officer injuries, over $30 million in damages.

There was another difference between the Capitol riot and those connected to this summer’s racial justice protests: Very few people who broke into the Capitol were arrested at the scene. Most were allowed to leave the building, forcing the F.B.I. to track them down later and take them into custody — a process that is still continuing today.

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