To all Trumpists who comment on this blog

The violent insurrection now unfolding in Washington DC is precisely the thing you called me nuts, accused me of “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” for warning about since 2016. Crazy me, huh, always seeing brownshirts around the corner? And you called the other side violent anarchists? This is all your doing. So own it. Wallow in it. May you live the rest of your lives in shame.

Update (Jan. 7): As someone who hasn’t always agreed with BLM’s slogans and tactics, I viewed the stunning passivity of the police yesterday against white insurrectionists in the Capitol as one of the strongest arguments imaginable for BLM’s main contentions.

310 Responses to “To all Trumpists who comment on this blog”

  1. Matt Campbell Says:

    🙏🏻👍🏻 what a total nightmare. Fuck Trump.

  2. Candide III Says:

    I predict that this clown show will melt away in days, that Biden will be inaugurated on schedule, and further that said clown show will be used as a pretext to pass enough laws and PATRIOT acts and regulations and educational programs and mandatory workplace training to crush any substantial opposition (which this clown show is not or they wouldn’t have lost elections in Georgia) now and forevermore. Democrats now having a majority in the Senate will help bigly. I wish you joy of it. And your readers will not have to gnash their teeth and move to those horrible red states, unless of course they really really want that cheap 4-bedroom house.

  3. Joe Denver Says:

    Are you willing to bet on this? How much violence do you think will result from this protest?

    Would you be willing to bet that Trump will not leave the white house peacefully?

  4. bertie Says:

    Be of good cheer, Scott, things likely had to reach this point for Trump to truly become electoral poison.
    How do the Repubs ever recover, after their branding has been butchered to this extent and America has looked into the soul of it’s gun-totin’ heartland.

  5. Scott Says:

    Joe Denver #3: He’s already failed to leave peacefully. He incited violent insurrectionists to storm the Capitol and stop a joint session of Congress, refusing for hours to authorize reinforcements to end it. Are you not watching the fucking news?

  6. David Says:

    “The real crux lies not between Right and Left, but between Above and Below” words spoken by Franz Werfel in a lecture given in Germany in the 1930’s.

  7. Guy Says:

    I’m so sorry. I’m Canadian and watching this unfold in your country. And I’m so sorry.

  8. Nick Says:

    Back in 2003 there were lots of people banging the drum for the Iraq invasion. But within just a few years, hardly anybody stood up for the war. Those same people who frothed at the mouth for war even turned around in 2016 and got ginned up for Trump because he said he would end the “forever wars”. (Surprise surpsise, he failed to end them.) You’d think that might have given them pause, but it didn’t.

    So my question is: how many avowed Trumpists will there be in, say, 2028? Will these people still be Trumpists, or will they just move on to the next thing without missing a beat? How many people will have backed the Iraq war, AND Trump, AND the next contradictory fascist / “patriotic” fad?

  9. Joe Denver Says:

    Scott: apologies for being unclear. How much money are you willing to put down that Donald Trump will still occupy the white house and/or the office we refer to as the President of the United States on January 21st 2021?

    I’m also open to bets on the number of deaths directly resulting from this protest. Since you made an anology between these protests and the brownshirts, I imagine you would expect a large number of deaths.

  10. Jon Awbrey Says:

    Well, I can tell you no one in Michigan is surprised by this. These sorts of Trumplodytes plotted to storm the Capitol, Kidnap, Kangaroo try, and Kill our Governor.

  11. fred Says:

    Turns out the founding fathers weren’t smart enough to build a moat around the Capitol building…

    Man, it’s gonna be “amusing” to see how Cruz and company spin this shit whenever congress will be back to finally certify Biden.
    Shame on those morons.

  12. fred Says:

    This should be enough to arrest him for treason for inciting to insurrection.
    Of course that will never happen since 70+ millions voted for him…
    But I would hope that would be enough to take away the last two weeks of presidency from him… because, what’s next? I’m dreading some crazy action like an attack on Iran.

  13. Kuas Says:

    This would be a fine moment for the “take him seriously, not literally” crowd to mark their beliefs to market. But most of them won’t, who are we kidding.

  14. H. P. Gross Says:

    “You are all still crying wolf!”

    No, we really aren’t.

  15. Gadi Says:

    I’m going to make the following prediction: by 21th of January, Trump will be inaugurated.

    Before that, you’ll see a noticeable shift in republican and democrat behavior that will appear to come out of nowhere, and they will say that these protests proved that the people still demand an explanation. You’re going to see an investigation and suddenly, you’re going to see the evidence the other side talked about, and all the news media which seemingly ignored everything will suddenly talk about it. And before you know it, somehow the whole mood will change and you will be shocked too. And magically, within 14 days, the “nation” will heal and unite behind Donald Trump after everyone hated him so much.

    I’m just going to put up this prediction, so that in 15 days from now I get to say I told you so. I also had change of heart and I now think Trump is a disgusting manipulative piece of shit, but for completely different reasons than what you think. I don’t think you have the slightest clue of what’s going on, and you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.

  16. exsneerclubber Says:

    @Joe Denver: armed people literally stormed the capitol and you call it a ‘protest’? lol. Enjoy the Democratic trifecta you truly deserve

  17. fred Says:

    Nixon was thrown out for being tied to 5 guys breaking into some empty office in the middle of the night.
    Yet it’s okay for Trump to incite thousands to storm the Capitol building during the certification of his losing the election.

  18. william e emba Says:

    Not meant as disagreement, just technical corrections, to fred@12:

    Sedition, not treason.

    He can’t be arrested until 12:01 PM, 20 Jan. He can be impeached again. That, or 25’th’ed out.

  19. pete Says:

    There is of course a silver lining to this disgrace. Today, Democrats won the senate. That is huge for many, many reasons, including fighting climate change and getting past covid. Overall, although very shocked by the riot, I am in a positive mood today.

  20. fred Says:

    pete #19

    right… and the democrats managed to steal the election in Georgia, again, under everyone’s nose (we were told the whole world was watching)!
    What’s Trump’s explanation this time?!

  21. 1Zer0 Says:

    If a universe would have a creator, this would be the way of entertaining himself. Somehow the universe always seems to favor chaotic outcomes… if sentient entities are involved. Well, The “US-Show” keeps being interesting.

  22. Nick Nolan Says:

    (Trying to put things in proper context in this hysteria.)

    Riots, destruction of property, and disorderly conduct are part of democracy. Just like conservatives overreacted to Antifa and BLM demonstrations turned violent, now many of us are doing the same. Trumpers are disappointed and angry. They break things. Few people can die or get injured.

    Democracy deals with it. The police could have easily stopped people by shooting at them, but they retreated and allowed them in after evacuating VIP’s. That’s a right proportional response. They just failed to prepare beforehand.

    Rioting is rarely a national security issue. There may be a problem stewing in some Michigan forests where militias organize, but this is not it.

    Donald Rumsfeld is surprisingly quotable – his wisdom always came in wrong time and context.

    April 11, 2003 Rumsfeld: Looting is transition to freedom

    Rumsfeld said in the United States there has been looting and riots and they eventually come under control. “Think what’s happened in our cities when we’ve had riots and problems and looting. Stuff happens!”

  23. fred Says:

    Nick #22

    Imagine if things were reversed and Biden had lost the election, and had been calling it a fraud for weeks and weeks, and was holding a rally in DC asking an Antifa anarchist crowd to do something about it, the day of Trump’s certification.. and those protesters had then storm the Capitol building, causing congress to flee.

    You’d be saying “well, stuff happens in democracy! lolz!”

  24. Nick Nolan Says:

    fred #23

    Yes. The real battle for the democracy was during and before the elections, the fight against gerrymandering, voter suppression, etc. And that fight was organized. Democrats won it. No amount of rioting in D.C. would have changed a thing if the election was lost.

    People in the US seem to think that revolutions in other countries happen in the streets because TV shows those pictures. It happens when people organize outside the demonstrations. Unorganized rioting changes nothing and is not a threat to those in charge.

  25. Tu Says:

    Scott,

    Thank you for being a consistent voice of reason, and for always calling things what they are. I am very sad that you had to be vindicated in this way, but you have been consistent and correct.

  26. MB Says:

    I am neither a trumpist nor a member of the resistance, but I do remember violent protests like this 4 years ago. Pretty sure those weren’t trumpists. I find all of this, from democrats and republicans, to be disappointing and disheartening. Your blog would be better if you left politics out, it adds nothing and lowers the intellectual quality of any discussion. Much like life.

  27. Scott Says:

    MB #26: In 2016, there were peaceful protests. Not storming the Capitol in a violent insurrection by the losing side to stop the electoral votes from being counted. Do you see the difference?

  28. Peter Says:

    Weird, I thought you were convinced [the far left are the real threat to America?](https://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=4942) Storming the Capitol building, planting pipe bombs and firing shots into the senate chamber and then murdering someone with a firearm are the kind of deranged militant fanaticism that antifa and the far left have been warning everyone about and fighting against but the centrist technocratic liberals have been too busy worrying about PC language and ‘social justice warriors’ to care. Anyone who thinks that twitter harassment or deplatforming race and IQ bigots on college campuses are an actual problem, let alone *the* problem, when this is going on deserve to feel just as much shame as Trump voters. There were confederate and literal nazi flags being paraded around the Capitol building today; this needs to be a wake up call for everyone who thinks the far left getting too PC is “scarier”.

  29. Cody Says:

    Scott #26: That’s just not true. As this article from CNN documents, there were multiple instances of rioting, vandalism, throwing things at police, etc. after Trump’s election: https://www.cnn.com/2016/11/11/us/oregon-protest-riot/index.html. Granted, those riots were not accompanied by the losing candidate trying to overturn the results of the election and I understand that’s a huge distinction, but it’s not correct to claim they were all peaceful .

    Did you make a post similar to this about supporters of Black Lives Matter in the wake of the rioting, looting, and murder of a Trump supporter in the middle of the street this summer?

  30. Scott Says:

    Peter #28: Lacking an honest way to make your argument, you dishonestly ignored the entire point of my post. I said that the far left is “scarier” in that it, unlike the far right, can make me feel guilt. This, of course, could be construed as an ironic sort of compliment: the far left has a form of morality that I find perfectly recognizable, even if distorted. Another way to say it is that if one of the sides killed me, it would almost certainly be the far right; if one of the sides used social shame to get me to kill myself, it would almost certainly be the woke left (as you might know, hundreds of them already tried).

    The insurrection that we saw today is perfectly consistent with what I’ve warned about on this blog for years, and what I’ve taken flak for warning about — and I welcome anyone who doesn’t believe that to peruse the archives! Certainly, I never expected the people who list their pronouns on Twitter to storm the Capitol building.

  31. Isaac Duarte Says:

    From an outsider, it is surprising that 70 millions voters approved this moron. A reminder that even some of the most brilliant minds in the world are capable of the most terrifying things, when blinded by political ideologies. This is really sad.

  32. Scott Says:

    Cody #29: I actually did strongly criticize violent BLM/antifa rioters and the “defund the police” slogan on this blog, despite the risk of social-media denunciation for doing so. (I’m on my phone right now but can find links later—or maybe someone else can?)

    At the same time, the distinction that you yourself have acknowledged—between a few rioters and an attempted insurrection against the US government, violently taking over the Capitol, incited by the president himself (!!!)—is the entire universe here.

  33. NotFromUSA Says:

    I don’t have much of a dog in this race. Seems like a bunch of idiots LARPing to me. If they expect this to help their side they are insane.

    Organized morons are scary but disorganized morons are sort of pathetic. Are you actually worried this had any chance of working? If so, how? If not, why get so flustered? Sure it is a sign of the declining virtue of your nation’s people and their republic, but one would think you would be inured to that by now.

    Have you considered Waterloo? It is quite lovely here. If Rich Sutton can tolerate Edmonton…

  34. Gprime Says:

    Terrifying. The worst of it was the hamstrung response, especially from the National Guard. It feels like so much worse could have happened…

  35. Scott Says:

    NotFromUSA #33: Of course I expected the insurrection to fail! That’s why, in addition to sitting glued to the news today filled with sadness and rage, I also played outside with my kids and did a few other things. But crucially, if a few individuals—Pence, McConnell, various White House staffers—who’d cravenly abetted Trump for years, hadn’t suddenly turned around today and decided they’d had enough, the insurrection would probably have succeeded. To anyone with any sense of history, this is terrifying, and next time we need not be so lucky. And if (as should now be obvious to all) ~40% of the population completely rejects liberal democracy, there will certainly be a next time.

    I spent two wonderful years in Waterloo and I miss it often! But, notwithstanding the precariousness of the entire nation to which it belongs, Austin is also nice.

  36. JimV Says:

    I would be happy to vent some my spleen at Trump and his enablers, but really, what more needs to be said? Trump supporters have reached the status of flat-earthers with me. It’s up to them to figure out how they went wrong, and if they can’t with all the evidence available there’s no use engaging with them.

    Lots of people predicted that Trump would try to steal the election, well before he had his Postmaster General remove mailboxes and mail-sorting machines to make it hard to count votes from rational people who didn’t want to risk pandemic exposure in poll lines. Predictions successful, hypothesis confirmed, the scientific method works again. Or maybe it is all a gigantic conspiracy like the one flat-earthers believe in.

    As bad as Trump is, Fox News is worse. Trump would be nothing but another blow-hard con-man without their propaganda.

  37. CC Says:

    Scott, you are a brilliant researcher and I admire your intellectual vitality, courage and writing on many topics. I understand that Trump has been hard to take, but statements such as “are you fucking insane” in response to comments is not good for you in the short or long term. You should kick this habit. Best wishes.

  38. Roger Says:

    Scott, what exactly is your problem with Trump? He has delivered peace and prosperity, and those are the main things we want from a President. You seem to mostly agree with his foreign policy. You agree with his criticisms of the far left. His Operation Warp Speed delivered covid vaccines faster than anyone thought possible. You think that it should have been faster. Okay, you are probably right, but it is unlikely that any other President would have done it faster. He has well funded quantum computers and all your other favorite research projects. You seem to be worried that he is secretly an authoritarian, but he has governed as the least authoritarian President in decades. So what is your real beef with him?

    Had the election procedures of 2016 been followed, it is likely that Trump would have been reelected. In Trump’s view, the election was stolen. Hillary Clinton still claims that the 2016 election was stolen from her. Does it bother you that Trump expresses his opinion?

  39. Scott Says:

    Roger #38: HAHAHAHAHA what bothers me is that earlier today, your side stormed the Capitol, undertaking a violent (albeit failed) insurrection against the United States, based on obvious lies and conspiracy theories, and Trump directly incited it. We’re far, far past the point of debate now. We all saw for ourselves today what your side is and what it represents; all that’s left is to keep you far away from power forever.

    And on that note: all further comments from the insurrection camp will be left in moderation.

  40. Scott Says:

    CC #37: On reflection, you’re right. On a day like this, I make no apologies whatsoever for my emotions getting the better of me, but it’s still preferable to avoid profanities. I’ve edited the comment.

  41. John Baez Says:

    Thanks for being in the right about this and explaining it clearly, Scott.

    I always wondered how low Trump would have to sink to get McConnell and Graham to publicly distance themselves from them, and today we saw: he needed to incite a violent attempted takeover of their their workplace, the Capitol. Let’s see what happens next.

  42. M Says:

    I mean, both sides obviously have violent anarchists, right? Is that actually controversial at this point?

    Anyway, I would say your worst predictions and fears haven’t come true, and won’t, but you definitely get points for having capture the fact that this process would be a ****show.

  43. neelankatan Says:

    Calm down Scott, everything will be okay. This is a surprising turn of events, but really not that serious.
    Gadi #15 you’re insane, out of your mind, and you’re the one that is clueless – not us. There’s no way Trump will be inaugurated. I’ve marked it on my calendar, I’ll come back in 15 days and insult you some more.

  44. neelankatan Says:

    See? Trump agreed to an ‘orderly transition’. Biden certified by congress. Told you everything would be okay. Now please get back to work.

  45. Candide III Says:

    Well, so far my predictions pan out: the mob was dispersed leaving one woman shot dead by Capitol police, Congress, led by VP Pence, duly certified Biden’s victory, Trump tweeted that Biden will be inaugurated on schedule but he still doesn’t like it (lmao). I invite you to admit that you were wrong calling this event “violent insurrection” and I was right calling this “clown show”. It remains to see what repressive measures the Congress will pass.

    PS: if you leave this moderate comment in moderation, it will be an offense against truth and you know it. Feel free to delete this P.S.

  46. Richard Gaylord Says:

    the violence at the Capital yesterday was no means a unique event in America. As H. Rap Brown, head of SNCC said “violence is as American as cherry pie”. And the great majority of that violence has been carried out by the U.S. government against the people, not vice versa. Remember the Vietnam War (for those of you not old enough to have lived through it, the Vietnam War was waged, based on lies told by successive administrations – see the Pentagon Papers – and supported by Congress). Also remember the Chicago police riot. and think of the indigenous people of ‘America’ who were subject to a systematic extermination effort by the Government. and don’t forget that women were disenfranchised and no black person was not even considered to be fully human (only 3/5 of a person). The fact that Trump is a truly despicable human being does not alter the fact that until the covid-19 pandemic (which Trump has totally mishandle) fewer citizens died due to the intentional government action or inaction under Trump than any other President in modern time. Trump is no worse or better than any other U.S. President. I expect that Biden will turn out to be just as bad, in hs own way (if you don’t believe this, think back to what he did during the Clarence Thomas hearings with Anita Hill and the War of Drugs).

  47. barry12345 Says:

    I follow some Trumpists on Twitter. Here’s a quote from one of them:

    > Who are the mindless thugs? Trump supporters who directly ransacked the seat of power, or BLM who looted shops, smashed up normal people, and destroyed homes and businesses?
    >
    > Don’t listen to squawking politicians.

    How would people here respond to this?

  48. Jelmer Renema Says:

    @ Scott OP: You’re right that this is disgraceful. Three points:

    -> The role of the police in all of this is absolutely inexcusable. It seems they put up a token defense and then let the protestors through, removing the fences that they’d put up. Once the protestors were inside, the police did all but hand out flowers to them as they rampaged through the buildings.

    -> The question is now what the Democrats will do. Biden has already said the election indicates it is time for healing, bringing the nation together, etc etc, and he has also said nothing will fundamentally change under his presidency. There have been similar noises from democratic senators regarding Georgia election results. It seems they’re holding on to this line even continued after this attempted coup.

    As I said before, I think the Democratic party has long ago shifted away from a position of prudent progressiveness to a position where the ‘let’s not be hasty’ part of liberalism has become an excuse to essentially do nothing while the country burns. I sincerely hope that these events serve as a wake-up call (though I’m not getting my hopes up).

    -> I noticed the local papers here are now writing about the US in the kind language usually reserved for places not quite on the up-and-up. You know, the kind of journalese that goes: ‘protestors converged on the capital today as a factionalism intensifies in a torn country’. This is in contrast to the usual breathless reporting about the minutiae of US political procedure. I think one of the biggest pieces of fallout from the Trump administration will be a rift between Europe and the US, with Europe no longer thinking of the US as a full member of the club of democracies. I think today was a breaking point in that development.

  49. Arul Says:

    Georgia election runoffs possibly indicates repeat of 2016 is unlikely. I thought Nov 1st week results were a statistical fluke. So Scott’s blogroll is going to see shiny information in future.

  50. Candide III Says:

    Scott #35: I was so sure this was a clown show that I made a point of not looking at any news and just went to sleep. In the morning I had the additional gratification to have been proven correct. And if you think this “violent insurrection” would have succeeded but for a few random individuals randomly deciding something, you’re nuts and/or your understanding of how America works is sorely lacking. For one thing, it’s not an random accident that people like them were in the positions they were in and decided what they did decide. Another thing is, there were more people behind them ready to step in. The generals already said they wouldn’t side with Trump doing anything fishy in summer when that DC church got burned down by BLM protesters. However, I’m sure lots of people feel like you do (it’s very convenient) and will use this clown show as a pretext to crush reactionary populism ruthlessly.

  51. David Says:

    Gadi #15

    You are deranged. I will gladly bet you $10,000 that this will not happen.

  52. Arnold Says:

    Roger #38: What I find interesting about this comment, is that it’s evidence that both sides can’t even agree on a shared common reality. How do we even start to fix this? I have little hope for the future of America.

  53. Renato A. Laguna Says:

    What made Trump think winning a coup was easier than winning an election? If autogolpes were easy, everyone would do it.

    Maybe he has the psychological quirk of spectacular self-destruction when he can’t have his way (like nazis).

    There’s no silver lining on this cloud.

  54. Wyrd Smythe Says:

    I stayed up until 3 AM local time bearing witness to Congress doing its job. Far too little and far too late, but I’m glad a handful of R’s finally found and read that copy of the Constitution they carry around to wave.

    Our country has been invaded by a hostile force: Ignorance and Greed. Yesterday I had to watch that invading army rape and plunder the Capital. My dear departed mother (god rest her soul) had the perfect phrase, “This is where we are.” Yeah, and what a horrific place it turned out to be.

    You’re not at all the only one who notices the awful parallels to pre-WWII Germany. I, too, have been ranting about this crap since 2016, and I take no joy in having been right.

  55. Scott Says:

    Candide III #45: It was a clown show and also a violent insurrection encouraged by the president, until apparently Pence and Pelosi went around the president and coordinated with the National Guard to put it down. I have no problem holding both ideas in my head at once! Did you know that the Bolsheviks and the Nazis also looked like clown shows before they took power?

    Yes, I do hope that after this “day that will live in infamy” as clearly as Pearl Harbor or 9/11 (though luckily with many fewer deaths), those who participated in the insurrection will be arrested and tried, those who incited it will be impeached or expelled from Congress, and new laws will be passed to ensure that nothing like it ever happens again.

    I’m worried, like Jelmer, that the Democrats will wuss out, trying absurdly to pretend it didn’t happen and we can all go back to normal … like continuing with a wedding ceremony after the groom moons the guests and points a loaded gun at the bride.

  56. Scott Says:

    barry12345 #45: That’s easy! They’re both “thugs,” but thugs who overrun the US Capitol (!!), a building with its own 2000-member police force, while Congress is in joint session to certify a presidential election, raise orders of magnitude more alarm than thugs who overrun a Panera Bread.

  57. Partisan Says:

    Thanks for this message, Scott. To those trying to convince us that this is just a show with no real consequences, I’ll say two things:

    1: One of the most common refrains you’ll hear on the videos from yesterday from the insurrectionists is “We’ll be back with our guns.” I, for one, am about four years past dismissing statements like this.

    2: Early polls suggest that 45% of Republicans approve of storming the Capitol and trying to shut down our democracy: https://www.newsweek.com/45-percent-republican-voters-support-storming-capitol-1559662 .

    We are looking at the beginning of a violent, organized movement with the support of a substantial part of our population and, at the moment, the leader of our country. That’s not hysteria or overstatement, it is just a dry statement of fact. The first attack was disorganized and spontaneous; the next one may not be.

    The taking of Fort Sumter had a total of zero causalities. I imagine there were people at that time who dismissed it as a minor incident. I hope we don’t make the same mistake twice.

  58. Deepa Says:

    This analogy was hilarious. Much needed laughter ensued – “like continuing with a wedding ceremony after the groom moons the guests and points a loaded gun at the bride.”

  59. peak.singularity Says:

    > Did you know that the Bolsheviks and the Nazis also looked like clown shows before they took power?

    AFAIK, they didn’t, they looked and acted in very scary ways for years beforehand ? For instance, Lenin participated in the failed revolution of 1905 before succeeding in 1917.

    I remember Turchin predicting that the November election would be a close call, and that after that USA’s potential futures would diverge wildly :

    http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/america-in-november-2020-a-structural-demographic-view-from-alpha-centauri/

    Myself, I was surprised that Biden didn’t win by a comfortable margin. I had trusted that after the huge egg on the face that “blue pollsters” got after Trump’s win in 2016, that they would clean up their act and do their jobs. I guess that either they are bad, or that this never was their real job to start with. (Fool me once…)

    Also, I was comforted in this prediction by Trump fucking up the COVID response and COVID starting to wreck the economy. (Do you realize that Trump would have WON without COVID ?!)

    And I guess that (so far) Turchin is wrong : after the close election*, the most likely future was that Trump would, in a clueless and impotent way (as his usual) try to cling to the presidency, including through courts, and that failing, through some kind of a pseudo-‘coup’ attempt via his craziest and most clueless fans. Well, this is exactly what happened, and this having failed, Trump is almost out of time and options now.

    (As a reminder, for a (real) coup you need the support of the military and/or the police, for a revolution you need to have a significant fraction of the population willing to die for you, for a false flag operation (think Putin in 2000) you need the support of at least one branch of the administration – Trump has none of those.)

    *what shocked me is that the election was so close that Biden was declared winner while one of the contested states still had 3-4 times more uncounted votes than Biden’s lead. But maybe that’s because I never paid attention so closely to USA’s election and this is considered ‘normal’?

    Anyway, with Democrats now having the Congress, the Senate, and the Presidency (though not the Supreme Court), Biden has the power for a strong term, and since he seems both to be reasonably competent and to have his heart mostly in the right place (which IMHO neither Trump nor Clinton had), I wish him to succeed in his claimed project of reconciliation. And especially wish him the best health, as he’s not getting any younger, and an upcoming dictator** replacing a senile democratic government is a cliché for a reason !

    **Who wouldn’t be Trump, you’re afraid of Trump now, but since it’s going to take decades to turn the USA around, I guarantee the apparition of a younger, stronger, more competent Trump-wannabe (and an associated movement), probably even before the end of Biden’s term.

  60. barry12345 Says:

    Scott @56: This is probably a daft question, so I apologize. But do you think that one of them is more alarming because it involves greater organization on the part of the perpetrators, greater complicity on the part of the guards, greater determination on the part of the perpetrators, more support from the powers that be, or that the target is more sensitive, or what? Other people are free to answer.

  61. gius Says:

    Nobody here mourns the four victims of the stupid “clown show”.
    I feel compelled to do so, Scott, if you agree.
    After all they were, however imperfect, human beings.

  62. Nathanson Says:

    And now one of the rioters, Ashley Babbitt, is dead, after being shot while storming the Capitol building. She served 14 years in the U.S. military, some of which were in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile you were writing blog posts and working on research papers from the comfort of your home.

    I hope you are happy.

  63. peak.singularity Says:

    Oh, I forgot to add :

    Please be careful of not equating all of those that voted for Trump in November to those that would be in support of this ‘coup’.
    I’m willing to bet that with all of his shenanigans since November voting started, culminating in this, Trump kept losing people favorable to him (most likely those on his most moderate side).

    (Was the Senate victory more one-sided than the November elections – which might confirm this theory – or not ?)

  64. Gprime Says:

    Candide III #45, #50

    Do you not find it fucking insane that those people were able to get into the capital building? Do you not realize how different this could have gone if they had been concealing firearms??

    Your entire “I told you so” attitude and peace of mind seems to be predicated on the mere fact that you believe the intentions of these 1000 people were benign. “I don’t have to worry, sure my friend pointing a loaded gun in my face, but he’s not the sort that would pull the trigger. I think I’ll look the other way, perhaps take a nice nap”. That is NOT how you implement good security, and this incident represented the failure of many safeguards that were supposed to be standing in insurrectionists’ way, beyond their good intentions…. several safeguards of which are clearly under the direct control of agitator number one!!!!

    They made it into the capital and all it took was 1000 people. They almost succeeded in disrupting the political process and actually affecting the Democratic outcome of the election of our 317 million citizens (and dozens of state governments and judicial rulings to boot). How confident are you that there aren’t 1000 other Trump supporters, who are willing to take things further? The Qanon lot think basically all politicians deserve to die!

    Finally: It takes violence to make it to that capital room. Don’t give me that “they were just walking” nonsense; they had to shove guards, and advance on guards with drawn weapons.

    Act as smug as you want; you are not wise; you are being foolish. Thankfully, slightly clearer heads are in charge.

  65. Scott Says:

    Nathanson #62: Where did I say or suggest that I’m happy she’s dead?? Quite the contrary: I wish she had stayed home just like I did. Failing that, I wish she’d been kept out of the Capitol. Either way she’d presumably still be alive now.

  66. Scott Says:

    peak.singularity #63:

      Please be careful of not equating all of those that voted for Trump in November to those that would be in support of this ‘coup’.

    According to a YouGov poll this morning, 43% of Republicans supported yesterday’s violent takeover of the US Capitol. (Read that again.)

    My eternal condemnations are specifically directed at those 43%. As for the other 57% … well, I still hope that you’ll see the light and join the “pro-democracy, bleeding-heart leftist” side, a side that now includes not only stalwart anti-wokeists like me, but apparently also Pence, McConnell, George W. Bush, and Karl Rove! 😀

  67. Nick Says:

    During the rioting triggered by the murder of George Floyd, I was here in this blog comment section pushing a message of not-condoning-but-kinda-condoning the looting. I personally witnessed it, and I stand by everything I said.

    I bring this up because there’s a lot of “but BLM/Antifa did it too!” going around. That’s a reasonable objection, and it deserves to be addressed.

    The “sides” differ in two critical dimensions: their goals and their means. (I’ll focus just on BLM because I’ve never actually met anyone who claimed to be part of “Antifa”.)

    To see the difference in goals, consider the slogans that were displayed. During the BLM protests, some of the most common slogans were “STOP KILLING US” and “I CAN’T BREATHE”. There were more specific proposals as well, like “DEFUND THE POLICE”, but the general theme was clear, and that was that police violence against black people needs to end. This is a patently righteous cause. (Of course, police violence doesn’t just affect black people; look up DANIEL SHAVER to learn more.)

    In contrast, the message of insurrectionists was: TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP. Their overwhelming goal was nothing other than maintaining the power of a single individual. My favorite sign: “JESUS IS MY SAVIOR AND TRUMP IS MY PRESIDENT”. It’s a cult of personality, bordering straightforwardly on religious fanaticism (see also: “WWG1WGA”). The BLM protests have NEVER EVER had anything even remotely similar. There is no “Trump of the Left”, and leftists have not sworn personal allegiance to anyone.

    Now, the difference in means. The Trumpists attacked a site of the highest symbolic importance, at the specific moment when the peaceful transfer of power was getting carried out. It was an attempt to subvert the democratic process with violence. If the act itself was not obvious enough evidence, just look at the many flags and banners they carried featuring guns and skulls.

    In contrast, the BLM violence was mostly not directed at anything in particular. A Foot Locker got looted? A liquor store was burned to the ground? Who cares? One notable building that was specifically targeted in Minneapolis was the police precinct where Derek Chauvin worked for 19 years; personally, I have very little sympathy for that place. I’m sure someone will come along with some less defensible examples of BLM violence, but we can just blame that on “a few bad apples”. Lots and lots of people were involved in those protests in lots and lots of places, and almost all of them were peaceful.

    Incidentally, I estimate that close to 100% of BLM protesters were wearing masks, while perhaps 50% of Trumpists were wearing masks. (Some of those were ski masks and other combat apparel, but hey, I was wearing a bandana during the riots myself. As long as it stops the spread, it works for me.)

  68. lewikee Says:

    Currently Republicans are in a superposition of “Yeah our side did it and I’m GLAD!” and “Our side did no such thing. This was an Antifa false flag operation to smear our martyr President”. Ask any Republican and you’ll get one of the two.

    The important part is that they know about this discrepancy but still don’t care. How many “Wait guys….was this Antifa or not? We need to find out, this is important!” messages from Republicans have you seen? This shows that their interest isn’t in the truth about what happened but rather in winning public opinion at all costs and spinning any event in the best possible light for their side. They just happen to disagree on the proper spin.

    “Spin to win” is the Republican credo (and has been for at least 4 years) – no matter where it takes them. This has always been a problem in politics but it’s never been so purely and wholly embodied as it is now with Republicans.

  69. Scott Says:

    lewikee #68: The Trumpists could take a cue from the Holocaust deniers on how to square that circle. They simply need to say: “fanatics on our side never actually stormed the Capitol, but they should have.” 🙂

  70. Scott Says:

    Nick #67:

      A Foot Locker got looted? A liquor store was burned to the ground? Who cares?

    While that might be your genuine feeling, I feel compelled to point out that the public expression of that feeling would very plausibly have led to Trump’s reelection were it not for covid.

  71. Aspect Says:

    Scott #70:
    Is that actually true? I hear people say this all the time and it seems sensible (that covid tipped the scales) but is there solid data on it?

    Furthermore, while I disagree with looting and burning of private property in the strongest terms, I’m curious about what you think about the rest of what #67 said. Do you acknowledge that there is a massive difference in the substance behind the BLM protests and the capitol invasion? Because there were tons of people out on the streets protesting for a good (I hope you agree) reason in the BLM case, while in the capitol case you had a bunch of people incited by Trump’s conspiracies to go stir things up.

  72. Sandro Says:

    peak.singularity #59:

    Anyway, with Democrats now having the Congress, the Senate, and the Presidency (though not the Supreme Court), Biden has the power for a strong term, and since he seems both to be reasonably competent and to have his heart mostly in the right place (which IMHO neither Trump nor Clinton had), I wish him to succeed in his claimed project of reconciliation.

    I hope you’re right, but Biden has explicitly said that nothing much will change, so I think all the factors that led to Trump’s rise will continue to fester. People won’t get the healthcare they need, they won’t get the workers’ protections they need, lower income and unskilled jobs will continue to be outsourced that benefit urbanites and the expense of rural areas, the military industrial complex will continue banging the war drum and receiving the lion’s share of GDP, the middle and lower classes will continue to fund and prop up the rich, and the lack of empathy and political representation will drive more people to Trump again, or worse, an actually competent populist who exploits this discontent even more effectively and for worse ends.

    The erosion of institutions and political competence by monied interests over the past 40 years has finally culminated in a moment that should cause everyone to take step back and reassess. Unfortunately, they’ve done such a good job at promoting the idea of a deep partisan divide, that people are still mostly blaming each other for these events rather than those who have benefitted from every political failure over the past few decades.

    Just imagine what could be accomplished if a political figure could mobilize this many people to march on Capitol Hill to demand real change, like Medicare for all. People are hungry for real change, and Trump exploited that for selfish ends while the other politicians continued their self-serving political games. I hope the US can really find someone to rally around and get some real change enacted, or this will only get worse.

  73. Scott Says:

    Aspect #71: Of course I agree that BLM has greater moral justification than the Lost Cause of Trump! That’s not even a question.

    But ironically, one could argue that it’s even more important for us “good guys” to oppose violence carried out by BLM supporters, than to oppose violence carried out by Trumpists—since violence by one side, so long as it’s sporadic and ineffectual, just amounts to a PR bonanza for the opposing side.

  74. A. Karhukainen Says:

    I am tired of too many sloppy Trump – Hitler comparisons.

    In contrast, I find him much nearer to late Hugo Chavez (who also had his own TV-show), and also to Juan Perón of Argentina.

    Here is what Borges wrote about the latter, quoted from:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jorge_Luis_Borges#Political_opinions

    In his essay L’Illusion Comique, Borges wrote there were two histories
    of Peronism in Argentina. The first he described as “the criminal
    one”, composed of the police state tactics used against both real and
    imagined anti-Peronists. The second history was, according to Borges,
    “the theatrical one” composed of “tales and fables made for
    consumption by dolts.” He argued that, despite their claims to detest
    capitalism, Juan and Eva Perón “copied its methods, dictating names
    and slogans to the people” in the same way that multi-national
    corporations “impose their razor blades, cigarettes, and washing
    machines.” Borges then listed the numerous conspiracy theories the
    ruling couple dictated to their followers and how those theories were
    accepted without question.

    Borges concluded:

    It is useless to list the examples; one can only denounce the
    duplicity of the fictions of the former regime, which can’t be
    believed and were believed. It will be said that the public’s lack of
    sophistication is enough to explain the contradiction; I believe that
    the cause is more profound. Coleridge spoke of the “willing suspension
    of disbelief,” that is, poetic faith; Samuel Johnson said, in defense
    of Shakespeare, that the spectators at a tragedy do not believe they
    are in Alexandria in the first act and Rome in the second but submit
    to the pleasure of a fiction. Similarly, the lies of a dictatorship
    are neither believed nor disbelieved; they pertain to an intermediate
    plane, and their purpose is to conceal or justify sordid or atrocious
    realities. They pertain to the pathetic or the clumsily sentimental.
    Happily, for the enlightenment and security of the Argentines, the
    current regime has understood that the function of government is not
    to inspire pathos. [Jorge Luis Borges, Selected Nonfictions, pp. 409–10.]

    In a 1967 interview, Borges said, “Perón was a humbug, and he knew it,
    and everybody knew it. But Perón could be very cruel. I mean, he had
    people tortured, killed. And his wife was a common prostitute.”

    Best regards,

    A.

  75. A. Karhukainen Says:

    @lewikee (68): Concerning the superposition you mention (“Yeah our side did it and I’m GLAD!” and “Our side did no such thing”). Please see what Borges wrote about Perónism (in my above comment): “Similarly, the lies of a dictatorship are neither believed nor disbelieved; they pertain to an intermediate plane, and their purpose is to conceal or justify sordid or atrocious realities.”

  76. Nick Says:

    Scott #70

    It’s likely that all the rioting and sanctimonious rhetoric had the effect of galvanizing Trump voters. It’s also likely that it had the effect of galvanizing Biden voters. Voter turnout was historically high across the board, so it shouldn’t be surprising that some set of events had the effect of galvanizing everybody.

    Now, you might say that the best outcome would have been the one that maximized the difference between increased voter turnouts, getting more votes for Biden but not so many more for Trump, and that the outcome of the BLM protests was not that. That claim may well be true, but that’s quite a bit weaker than saying that it “would very plausibly have led to Trump’s reelection were it not for covid”.

    The “were it not for covid” part is hard to make sense of. It’s not like the protests happened and then the pandemic happened, and that changed the course of things; the protests took place from start to finish during the pandemic.

    I should add that I don’t think it’s a good thing for businesses to get burned down and looted. If I could snap my fingers and make black people full-fledged participants of the American political system, I would do it without a second thought. I don’t want “revolutionary struggle”, or even any struggle at all. In fact, the same goes for Trump voters. Many of them have some legitimate grievances, and I would love for those issues to be addressed; see Sandro #72. I don’t want anybody in America to feel left out.

    A big sticking point for me is that many Trumpists also have some deeply illegitimate grievances, and Trump has done a great job of exploiting those. Remember that “son of a bitch” Colin Kaepernick? Here’s a happy ending to this whole saga: the disaffected Trump voters give up their illegitimate grievances and get their legitimate grievances addressed, and then everybody moves on together in peace and prosperity.

  77. duck_master Says:

    Taking an “outside view”: In the past, violent takeovers of public government things have usually lead up to transfers of power. (This happened, for example, in the Storming of the Bastille in the French Revolution; I think there are more historical events like this but I can’t remember any off the top of my head.) Therefore, I predict at even odds that the US government, as currently commonly understood, will be in a civil war, or will have fallen, or something more extremely, by January 21st, 2021. (I’d bet, but I’m far too poor and don’t know how one could organize betting with real physical money on something organized through the Internet.)

  78. neelankatan Says:

    @Nick you said: “In contrast, the message of insurrectionists was: TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP. Their overwhelming goal was nothing other than maintaining the power of a single individual.”

    This is such a uncharitable interpretation of their message. How about they were there to protest being disenfranchised by what they believe was a rigged election? Citizens agitating for their votes to actually matter? Of course they’re wrong about that (just like the BLM-ers are wrong), but what matters is that they believe this.

  79. Zach Says:

    OT

    C’mon Scott… I’ve been watching an army of psuedo-people destroy cities and small businesses for months with the blessings of woke capital and now this little thing that went down, hardly a blip, mostly nothing, has made everyone reveal how silly they are all at once.

    Most deserving of “da bug”‘s scorn today!

  80. Aspect Says:

    OK, that’s a fair point. I was just worried because I see people who I considered reasonable play the whole “both sides” card and make this about the left on a clearly Trump-incited disaster.

    I’m glad you didn’t do the same and that you unequivocally condemned the crazies. (I don’t mean to be condescending here; i’m just jaded by what I’ve seen in the past 24 hours)

  81. fred Says:

    Unsurprisingly, those FarRight/QAnon/NRA-lovers/Trump-fanboys insurrectionists are as confused as Trump about how democracy works.

    To clarify:
    calling yourself a patriot (because you’re always waving around a flag, a gun, and a bible), paying taxes, and being told by the current POTUS that he’s proud of you.. none of that grants you any special right over the rest of the citizens (who are the vast majority).

    And the capitol being called the “the people’s house” doesn’t actually mean that you can take it over whenever you feel like it… I know, it’s confusing.

  82. fred Says:

    The few Trump voters I know personally all share a few things:

    – a total distrust in the traditional politicians of the GOP and the Dems.

    – labeling themselves as libertarians.

    – a very cynical view of the USA as a Democracy (actually the same criticisms you hear from the radical left, that the US is a bully colonial power, etc).

    – a leaning towards conspiracy theories (Bush and 911/the Iraq war, the Clintons and George Soros are behind everything else, etc)

    – a university degree.

  83. Gerard Says:

    fred #82

    I pretty much match all of your items except for 4 (conspiracy theories) and I am not and have never been pro-Trump.

    Although some of the other items may be contributing factors, I don’t see how anyone could have stuck with Trump through the end without suffering from the kind of delusional thinking that also appears necessary to believe many conspiracy theories. It is also telling that Trump’s first widely known entry into politics was as a supporter of a completely crazy conspiracy theory (birtherism). For anyone who values the truth, that alone should have discredited him as a candidate.

    Unfortunately American culture does not value honest truth seeking, instead preferring the notion that people can make up their own truth, a path which can only lead to insanity.

  84. DingaLING Says:

    Gerard #83:

    Everyone’s lying. Only naive autists (say James Damore back before he got fired, as an example a lot of people might be familiar with) have an object-level interest in truth.
    Words become a power game as soon as the interlocutors no longer have direct power over the referent.
    If we’re standing in a field, and I point and say “there’s a tiger over there”, we both have direct non-verbal agency in the described environ- you can immediately go over and look at/fight/be eaten by/etc. But when we’re talking about something out of our reach, we’re vying for control over socially shared resources (trust, physical resources, status, the sway of collective action) using narratives.

    This is why, say, scott is best when he talks about math: it’s an object-level phenomenon he can touch directly. He’s a step weaker when he talks about, say, questions of the effectiveness of non-realized physical innovations in Q-computer design, and two people without a good enough grasp of the math to actually engage with it talking about theoretical quantum compsci are at the same level. And when we talk about pictures taken thousands of miles away with a million narratives woven around them, we’re at the level of memetic warfare, as seen in most places where people collide on the internet.

  85. Steve E Says:

    It’s interesting that the Transition Integrity Report, which simulated wargames about how Trump would respond to losing the election, and which @scott linked to on this blog over the summer, was prescient enough to know that January 6 would be a tumultuous day.
    This is the concluding paragraph of the Transition Integrity Project’s report, which they published last August:

    “Federal laws provide little guidance for how Congress should resolve irregularities when they convene in a Joint Session on January 6, 2021. Of particular concern is how the military would respond in the context of uncertain election results. Here recent evidence offers some reassurance, but it is inconclusive. The administrative transition process itself may be highly disrupted. Participants in our exercises of all backgrounds and ideologies believed that Trump would prioritize personal gain and self-protection over ensuring an orderly administrative handoff to his successor. Trump may use pardons to thwart future criminal prosecution, arrange business deals with foreign governments that benefit him financially, attempt to bribe and silence associates, declassify sensitive documents, and attempt to divert federal funds to his own businesses.”

    The Transition Integrity Project’s report, and the sentiment behind it, was ridiculed as paranoid by a significant portion of the media throughout the fall. But if the report is weak, it’s only because the project’s report wasn’t imaginative enough about the kind of chaos that could be sewn on January 6. When the authors wrote “The administrative process itself might be highly disrupted,” they were probably thinking the senate would be boisterous, not ground zero for an armed insurrection. We should never be afraid of difficult or unpleasant thoughts.

  86. steve e Says:

    Adding a link to the source: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/7016245-Preventing-a-Disrupted-Presidential-Election-and.html

  87. ira Says:

    @neelankatan

    ‘but what matters is that they believe this.’

    According to this logic, any paranoid schizophrenic is entitled to do whatever they want, because they ‘believe it’.

    What these fascists believe (the appropriate designation, if not worse — did you not see the ‘Camp Auschwitz’ and the 6MWE (six million weren’t enough) t-shirts) has ZERO basis in reality, as evidenced by the fact that the Trump campaign, when presented with myriad opportunities to present evidence of election fraud in court — the ONLY venue where it matters — repeatedly said ‘we have no evidence’. They were rightly laughed out of court TIME AFTER TIME.

    Don’t these fascists have a responsibility to find out the truth, before they act on their ‘beliefs’ ?

    Your coddling of them is pathetic.

  88. Scott Says:

    DingaLING #84: Aren’t you, too, engaging in “memetic warfare” right now? Or do you have deeper insight about yesterday’s attack on the Capitol, borne of “direct non-verbal agency” (like what I used to have for quantum query complexity), with which you wanted to enlighten us all?

  89. Scott Says:

    Steve E #85: Since the beginning of his first campaign, I’ve assumed Trump capable of basically anything, up to and including an armed coup, suspension of the Constitution, and nuclear strikes prompted by people insulting him on Twitter. The downside is that I often get ridiculed for alarmism; the upside is that nothing like yesterday can possibly surprise me.

  90. Candide III Says:

    The stunning passivity of the police having in a single day killed at least one rioter out of a total of maybe a couple hundred, arresting 80 so far, and clearing the scene completely before the day was out, while not having shot, much less killed, any BLM and antifa rioters in hundreds of violent protests across the country attended by many hundreds of thousands of rioters over the whole summer, allowing them to loot and burn with virtual impunity, is one of the strongest arguments imaginable for BLM’s main contentions?! Not to mention the difference in tone of media coverage and blue-check tweets. Good heavens.

  91. Gerard Says:

    Scott #89

    > I’ve assumed Trump capable of basically anything, up to and including an armed coup, suspension of the Constitution, and nuclear strikes prompted by people insulting him on Twitter.

    What you forget though is that Trump, in addition to everything else he might be, is also a coward. Engaging in an armed coup or a nuclear strike are actions that would be likely to put his own life in jeopardy, and I am nearly certain that his instinct for self-preservation is one of very few things that trumps (pun intended) his pathological narcissism.

  92. Jonathan Katz Says:

    “I viewed the stunning passivity of the police yesterday…” Can you please elaborate? The videos I saw did not show police who were passive, it showed police who were overwhelmed (at least at first) by a mob containing orders of magnitude more people than they had planned for.

  93. Scott Says:

    Candide III #90: The relevant comparison is what would’ve happened if BLM had tried to storm the Capitol with both houses in session. I think the likely answer is, “a bloodbath.”

  94. Candide III Says:

    Scott #90: I doubt it very much. Remember those photos of Pelosi and dozens of other congress-critters kneeling in Senate in memory of St. Floyd? There’s plenty of similar data.

  95. Jon K. Says:

    I played a similarly vocal role about what would happen around this election. Luckily the electoral college vote didn’t come down to one or two states, or this shit show would be even worse and the percentage of people who took the lies seriously would have been even greater.

    My other feeling was that if he was re-elected, that By 2024 we’d see so much improvement in propaganda synthesis (deep fakes, gpt-3, etc) that democracy in the US and around the world would die. Good thing we have a better chance at addressing this and other concerns now.

    How could someone predict this? Because it’s obvious that he’s a grifter and crook that the law just hasn’t caught up with yet. He knows what awaits him on the other side of this presidency… the law and debt he can’t refinance.

  96. John Says:

    The biggest question about the beer belly putsch is how Raccoon Man and Selfie Guy managed to get past the DC and Capitol police. I mean, how did they manage it? Stunning, utter incompetence on the part of Mayor Bowser and the IC in anticipating some doofus nutcases running loose? Was no one watching to see where crowds were wandering? A couple of Paris level terrorists and most of Congress would be dead today. The Capitol had a highly symbolic and important meeting in progress, and this is the best security the nation can muster?

    Something isn’t quite right here. I’m having a hard time believing our Federal government is this incompetent.

  97. Scott Says:

    John #96: I’ve been wondering the same thing. But I think an absolutely crucial clue was dropped in today’s NYT, where they interview some of the rioters. The rioters explain that, once they got into the Capitol, they decided to look for Schumer’s office so they could “have a word with him.” But they couldn’t find his office, so they asked a member of the Capitol Police, who gave them directions there (!!!). Incredibly, the NYT article passes over that detail with no further comment, but once I read it, I felt like I suddenly had new insight into how it was possible that a 2,000-member force, whose entire job was to prevent what happened yesterday, could’ve utterly failed to prevent it.

  98. mak Says:

    Scott, it gets worse.. Quote: “One current Metro D.C. police officer said in a public Facebook post that off-duty police officers and members of the military, who were among the rioters, flashed their badges and I.D. cards as they attempted to overrun the building.”

    https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/07/capitol-hill-riots-doj-456178

  99. Commenter Says:

    It’s strange that there’s no unfiltered word from Trump for a day, the only messages being a recorded video and something else indirect (a message relayed by one of his advisors). Why wouldn’t he make a statement live, or make a public appearance (these seem like his remaining options now that he’s kicked off social media)? If it later turns out that he’s already no longer allowed to make live statements by his handlers, that would seem pretty dark in retrospect, like, a coup? This obviously sounds conspiratorial, and I hope it’s not the case.

    If we force a comparison to the Roman Republic, feels like we’re now at the death of Tiberius Gracchus. That’s good news — a whole century remains!

  100. Tamas V Says:

    @John #96, Scott #97: Very scary, these facts indicate Trump is just the tip of the iceberg, the problems lie much deeper. And indeed, the “force” gave usable ideas to terrorists on how to get into any building… luckily before they did not realize it was that easy.

  101. Mauro Says:

    I’m not an American but I’m still baffled by what happened. I am also very worried because I fear that other unscrupulous politicians may take an example from these facts to overthrow democracy in other countries.
    I am also truly amazed at how many still support that unworthy representative of yours who ridicules Americans in the eyes of the world.
    My sincere solidarity with Scott.

  102. Gprime Says:

    Re: Update

    1. There were POC insurrectionists as well.

    2. The relevant and most obvious difference here is political, not racial. So I don’t see how this (weird thought-experimental evidence?) supports the claim of personal racism by the police being a motivator for police shootings, which I think is the BLM claim you’re referencing

  103. Tamas V Says:

    Scott #97: I recall even in Johnny English they could get directions only because they had injected truth serum into a guy. Reality seems simpler than that, in the Capitol no truth serum is needed…

  104. Tamas V Says:

    Scott #97: I was wondering about why they just didn’t close the damn door? (Maybe I should find a new job as security advisor. I can see there would be demand.)

  105. peak.singularity Says:

    Gprime #64

    From what I’ve seen some of the insurgents *had* firearms, some didn’t even conceal them. In fact it’s quite surprising that there were only 4 deaths.
    Either the insurgents showed significant restraint in using them, or the law enforcement managed to deal with them in just the right way (in evacuating the people in the building, allowing entry to insurgents, then gassing them without directly engaging them ?), or both.

    Also, weren’t there several tens of thousand insurgents, rather than just a thousand ?

    Scott #66

    Holy crap, 43% of Republicans supporting the takeover ?! I would have hoped that they were only ~25%…

    Aspect #71

    The weakest form of the argument is that with the Presidential election as close as it was (less than 1% of voters in critical states), *anything* Trumpward could have made Trump win.

    Sandro #72

    Well then in that case we’re in the “senile democracy” scenario and Biden might not even last his term. I would go farther in my prediction, I’m going to say that future historians are going to see this insurrection as the metaphorical birth of that new wannabe-dictator-Trump-successor (let’s call him “Mr X”), and his movement.

    Because while the law enforcement probably did the best thing tactically, and avoided a slaughter, this ‘takeover’ was very bad ‘strategically’ / symbolically.
    (Again, it’s not likely that they could have done otherwise without lots of bloodshed, maaaybe if they had lots and lots of advance warning and would have managed to block Capitol surroundings with an overwhelming force ? Was the FBI asleep on the job ?? (Shoutout to John #96 ) )

    It’s very bad symbolically, because even though the insurgents didn’t really achieve any concrete goal, something that was a few days ago unthinkable, the use of force against the government, is not any more. After all, the strongest weapon that any State has, is that its citizens/subjects believe that there is no possible alternative…

    duck_master #77

    Despite of all that I just said, you *really* cannot compare this to the storming of the Bastille. Just read a bit about it ! At the time, pretty much the whole of Paris was rioting because they were afraid that foreign troops stationed just outside of it were going to slaughter them, and because people have been more or less starving for years. Bastille was attacked because after the insurgents had seized weapons they needed black powder (and there was a rumor that there was grain stored there). During the assault, cannons were used on both sides, and about ~10% of attackers died in the process, then after surrendering with the condition that their lives would be spared, some of the the defenders were gruesomely put to death. Bastille’s document archives were plundered in the following days, and the whole fortress started to be disassembled starting on the very next day. (I’ll spare you everything else that happened during the French Revolution.)

    Jon K. #95

    While the election might *look* like Biden won by a significant margin (which is good for his legitimacy), in practice he had a microscopic (IIRC <1%) lead over Trump in the most contested swing states (those that decided the outcome of the election).

  106. fred Says:

    There’s footage of cops of letting the protesters through barricades outside, and then through doors inside, and then taking selfies with the protesters.
    And if you watch the footage of the woman getting shot as she climbs through some door (she gets shot by some guy wearing a suit, so likely high level congress security), and two seconds before that she was surrounded by riot cops in gear that seem to do nothing to stop them (there was lots of confusion and maybe they thought that particular spot wasn’t a priority).
    It’s also no secret that many cop unions decided to support Trump (after the “defund the police” fiasco of the summer), which could explain why they treated this more as an improvised “capitol tour” than an assault on democracy.

  107. Richard Says:

    Do you have ideas about how to deal with Trumpism? For example, for what the new administration should do?

    The new administration can crack down hard, prosecuting as much as possible, and maybe even set up new laws to curtail some Trump-style activities. But that enables the Trump-like people to portray themselves as martyrs and focuses attention on them.

    Or they can just focus on good governance, ignoring the Trumpists, to deprive them of attention, hoping they will fade. But that also sends a message that their behaviour has no consequences, and gives them space to regroup.

    How do you see things from a strategic point of view?

  108. Aspect Says:

    peak.singularity #105

    Right, I would assume something like that as well. All else being equal, COVID probably determined the election. However, Trump had plenty of “questionable” moments. Given the huge voter turnout on these elections, it’s conceivable that just COVID may not have been enough.

    For instance, Trump was constantly complaining about voting by mail. I wouldn’t be surprised if he threw away easy votes by pushing his base away from that option.

    Anyway, I’m just curious plus I see plenty of Trump supporters unfazed by the whole covid situation. (to be fair, some polls do suggest that Trump’s handling of COVID had low approval ratings overall)

  109. Raoul Ohio Says:

    Trump Putsch Trivia:

    If Giuliani had been in charge, they would have occupied the Capitol One branch in Hoboken.

  110. Scott Says:

    Richard #107: I’m strongly in favor of prosecuting to the maximum extent of the law—all the cases and only the cases where there’s a good chance of winning. Just like the imagery of crazies with Confederate flags and barbarian horns, gleefully storming the US Capitol, reverberated around the world and created a new reality, so too would the imagery of Trump and his cronies being marched off in handcuffs and orange jumpsuits.

    The Trumpists already feel like martyrs, and will already suck up lots of oxygen, so what’s the point of pretending otherwise?

    The closest parallel that American history offers is the post-Civil-War Reconstruction. There, it seems obvious in retrospect that the architects of sedition against the US were let off far too easily, and that that helped make possible a century of Jim Crow.

    Of course, Biden himself should and will focus exclusively on governing the country, and will have no direct involvement in prosecuting the insurrectionists—that will be a job for the Justice Department and for state prosecutors.

  111. fred Says:

    This is also going to have a big impact on how the GOP deals with Trump going forward.
    There’s just no undoing what has been done.
    Trump’s plan was to make his base even more loyal to himself with all his claims that the election were stolen… which was also signaling the GOP that they had to go through him to access his electors in the next 4 years.

    Things couldn’t have worked worse for Trump, if his crowds had caused trouble in any other places, his GOP loyalists could have ignored it (like they did in the past), but instead Trump’s words forced everyone who matters in the GOP to *shit their pants* for a few hours during lockdown… it made it all very real for them.
    And this becomes Trump’s legacy (although he still has two weeks to top it with something even more stupid).
    So it’s going to be much harder for anyone in the GOP to stay associated with him, even if it means a part of his electors become out of reach.
    It could also mean that Trump will have no choice but build his own party.

  112. OhMyGoodness Says:

    It is no problem at all for humans to find self virtue in opposing another side’s actions on ethical grounds. It is no problem at all for humans to philosophize about who is evil and who is virtuous. Judging purely the actions and the results of the actions I find BLM/ANTIFA to be far worse. I instinctively pity the small business owners ruined by BLM/ANTIFA and find those actions far more despicable than inconveniencing the Congressional overlords for a few hours.

    I cannot at all understand why a couple hours of chaos for the privileged cocooned few is more abhorrent then ruining small family owned businesses en masse. If that is Democratic Centrism then count me out because my sense of humanity would never allow sympathy to this position.

  113. Gerard Says:

    There’s more and more talk of the House impeaching Trump again. I hope they don’t do that unless there’s hope of the Senate convicting (which will require bipartisan support, the Democrats won’t have an effective majority in the Senate until after the inauguration, at the earliest).

    Another impeachment that goes nowhere would be perceived as a Trump win by his supporters and would be used as additional ammunition in making the false equivalences that they are so fond of.

  114. peak.singularity Says:

    fred #111

    Yeah, funny how 4 years ago it was the Democrat party that looked like it was about to implode, now it’s the Republican one…

  115. tim Says:

    fred @81

    I think it was le Carre who said

    A patriot can criticize his country, stay with it, and go through the democratic process; a nationalist needs enemies.A patriot loves their country.

    I’ve seen it quoted in respect of Brexit in the UK.

  116. Scott Says:

    OhMyGoodness #112:

      I cannot at all understand why a couple hours of chaos for the privileged cocooned few is more abhorrent then ruining small family owned businesses en masse.

    Then let me explain it. The issue is not the “privileged cocooned few” (although their actual lives were in danger, not just their convenience). Rather, it’s the 80 million of us whose will they were enacting—a process that the insurrectionists sought to use violence to override, something that’s been successfully done hundreds of times before in the checkered history of democratic governments.

  117. Bill Kaminsky Says:

    Well, at least we can take solace that the new Administration will — at least in 1 important area — treat government as an exercise in communal *reason* and *adapt* to new information and arguments:

    **Biden plans to release nearly all available doses in an attempt to speed vaccinations.**
    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/08/world/biden-vaccine.html

    As has become a catchphrase/in-joke in my immediate social circle in recent years: “Tenative yay! (Oy!)”

  118. Richard Says:

    Scott #110: OK, so should the Democrats proceed with impeachment now? If it fails in the Senate, or the clock runs out, the net political effect could be beneficial to team Trump. So, should they carefully try to assess the success probability, or just go ahead as a matter of principle?

  119. fred Says:

    Gerard

    “Another impeachment that goes nowhere would be perceived as a Trump win by his supporters and would be used as additional ammunition in making the false equivalences that they are so fond of.”

    At this point, you really think anything will ever change the minds of people who still support Trump after what went down? With or without impeachment he’ll keep filling their brains with lies anyway. I would bet that they already believe this was all done by antifa.
    The problem is that, in my opinion, impeachment was wasted the first time around on that Ukraine thing, and now that’s it’s really justified, it has lost its impact.

  120. Michael Bacon Says:

    Gerard#113: “Another impeachment that goes nowhere would be perceived as a Trump win by his supporters and would be used as additional ammunition in making the false equivalences that they are so fond of.”

    I favor immediate impeachment for two reasons. First, although it seems like the fever has broken, I don’t trust Trump not to try some kind of additional hair-brained scheme that results in an even greater loss of life. Impeachment proceedings might keep him a little more focused and occupied. The 25th amendment route would have to be initiated by the cabinet, no chance of that happening unless he’s trying to declare martial law, and even then who knows? The second reason is because I want to force Senate Republicans to go on record either by ignoring Trump’s insanity altogether, or by voting not to convict. A fitting coda to a sad episode in American history.

  121. Scott Says:

    Richard #118: I absolutely favor the Democrats moving on impeachment as quickly as possible! Firstly, even if it doesn’t help, I think that it’s unlikely to hurt. Secondly, I do think that it might help, primarily by forcing all the Republicans to go on record about whether they support the insurrection or not, and thereby hastening the historic split of the Republican party that’s now underway. Thirdly, there’s the matter of principle.

  122. Larry Says:

    you watch too much CNN, mate: https://mtracey.medium.com/only-in-your-imagination-was-that-an-attempted-coup-8bb8cc9fb39b

  123. Gprime Says:

    fred #any

    I want to say that I appreciate your intellectual honesty and commentary. You give me hope for a future where those of us who are aspiring to be intellectually honest can come together to make progress, even from opposite sides of the aisle.

    Even if you have your “hot takes” on lower-stakes topics 🙂

  124. John Stricker Says:

    I will reserve judgement until february 1st. You may expect my apology and amends then.

  125. chorasimilarity Says:

    On the scale of shame, what do you think about Twitter ban of the Sci-Hub account?
    source:
    https://torrentfreak.com/sci-hub-founder-criticises-sudden-twitter-ban-over-over-counterfeit-content-210108/

  126. OhMyGoodness Says:

    Scott #116

    I clearly stated that my consideration was of the actions taken and the real results of those actions. You answer with context and so let’s consider your context.
    Was there any Command and Control organization apparent for these activities-It was reasonably apparent there was no C&C overseeing these activities.
    Was there an organized plan apparent to penetrate the Capitol Bldng-It was reasonably apparent there was no such plan in place and when doors opened no one was more surprised than the demonstrators.
    Were any hostages taken-There were no hostages taken.
    If there was an organized plan could high value hostages have been taken-Reasonable to expect high value hostages easily could have been taken.
    Were any pre-determined demands made-No organized demands were submitted outlining demands of any kind.
    Were the demonstrators evicted by law enforcement-No, the demonstrators apparently left due to boredom.

    I don’t understand how this could be seriously viewed as an attempt to overthrow the Republic. My eight year old daughters could probably outscore the average US person on a standardized test be they on the right or left and debatable if English is even their first language. When they misbehave I consider it necessary to correct their behavior but I don’t consider it (to provide sufficient drama) an organized act of sedition. The center left must understand that it could be much much worse than what was exhibited here and that the rural US does have grievances that should be reasonably addressed by the government. If they choose not to consider these grievances then I expect it will be worse from here. Please believe me it can get much much worse. If that is deemed not worthy of consideration then it guarantees far worse events ahead in the US.

    We suffered through a year of lunatics running wild on the left and now on the right a show of defiance and suddenly self righteous condemnation. It is not organized sedition at this point but it could become such without wisdom of leadership. I guess we all need to hope for the best and plan for the worst.

    The claim is Trump was a horrible President. In that case Biden should easily do much better and this division will be naught but a bad memory. I hope for the best but must consider the worst.

  127. Nathanson Says:

    Scott #65

    Nothing worthwhile has ever been achieved by a person choosing to stay at home. If your beliefs aren’t worth dying for, yet are worth killing for (by people other than you, to boot) then I have no interest in your beliefs.

  128. Candide III Says:

    Scott #116:

    Rather, it’s the 80 million of us whose will they were enacting—a process that the insurrectionists sought to use violence to override, something that’s been successfully done hundreds of times before in the checkered history of democratic governments.

    Indeed, and the reason for such actions is well known. These things happen in democratic countries when big blocks of voters can no longer trust each other not to engage in the political equivalent of unrestricted warfare. It’s a very typical situation in the Middle East and the Third World countries, where parties represent ethnic and/or sectarian blocks. Today’s structure of the American polity now firmly places it in this corner. I mean, reread your “move to red states” post: you’re literally exhorting people to move their residences to impose the will of people like you on people whose views and positions you find abhorrent. You see no grounds for compromise with these 70 million people, i.e. the maximum compromise terms you are willing to offer are very far from the minimum compromise terms that they will accept, and neither side trusts the other to uphold the terms of any agreement (with good reason). Therefore, whatever name you wish to call it, what you are suggesting is colonization and ultimately forced assimilation, and you should not be surprised if the objects of your attentions try to resist. It is not important for this argument who is right, if such a thing can even be defined: you may firmly believe that you are right in wishing to impose your enlightened and civilized will on those retrograde semi-savages, and the retrograde semi-savages may just as firmly believe that they are right in resisting your efforts. As Jabotinsky wrote about Jewish misperception of the nature of Arab objections to Jewish immigration into Palestine (“The Iron Wall”, 1924),

    Colonization can have only one goal; Palestinian Arabs find this goal unacceptable; all this is in the nature of things, and this nature cannot be changed.

  129. Scott Says:

    Nathanson #127: That might be the most wrongness per word in this blog’s 15-year history, so congrats! 🙂

    Newton invented calculus, Einstein discovered general relativity, while they sat at home. My belief in the Enlightenment and liberal democracy is worth dying and killing for in extraordinary circumstances — say, that of my grandfather fighting in WWII. But in some sense, the whole point of the Enlightenment is that normally you don’t have to die or kill for it — just argue and sometimes change your mind. People have left their homes, killed and died for liberty and justice, but also for Hitler and Stalin and Jim Jones. Ashli Babbitt, as we now know, died for her belief in the insane QAnon conspiracy theory. For that, she shares the moral responsibility with those who brainwashed her, as well as with the breathtakingly incompetent Capitol Police. But certainly, the fact that someone martyred themselves for X is not an argument for X’s truth or even its plausibility.

  130. Gerard Says:

    fred #119

    And this is also my reply to comments by Richard, Michael Bacon and Scott on this question.

    > At this point, you really think anything will ever change the minds of people who still support Trump after what went down?

    I do think there is hope that at least a few of them will change their minds. We’ve already seen that a number of Republican politicians who were supporting Trump’s efforts to overturn the election have reconsidered.

    As for the Trumpists among the population, I think the events of recent days have put them face to face with the delusional nature of their beliefs. They thought their actions would have huge support among Republican politicians, perhaps the police and security services and the general populace. Also I’m quite sure they expected continued support from Trump himself. Instead he ultimately disowned their actions (at least to an extent) proving that he is the type of man who would gladly put others lives at risk to further his goals while being completely unwilling to take the same risk himself.

    So yes, I think many of these people are now feeling quite disillusioned and that there is an opening for them to seek a degree of reconciliation with reality here. I fear that another ultimately ineffective partisan attack against Trump may instead push them ever deeper into their own belief systems and lead us further down the road to serious civil conflict in the near to mid-term.

    The goal of impeachment is to remove the President from office. If you impeach him but that goal is not achieved then I would say you have failed. In politics trying and failing to accomplish a goal is likely to be perceived as evidence of weakness, not of strength.

  131. Sandro Says:

    Scott #121:

    I absolutely favor the Democrats moving on impeachment as quickly as possible! Firstly, even if it doesn’t help, I think that it’s unlikely to hurt. Secondly, I do think that it might help, primarily by forcing all the Republicans to go on record about whether they support the insurrection.

    I wouldn’t get your hopes up, and it could very well do considerable harm. Polls right now are evenly split on whether impeachment is warranted, whether to invoking the 25th amendment is warranted, and whether Trump even incited the mob. Maybe this will change as people have more time to reflect.

    peak.singularity #114:

    Yeah, funny how 4 years ago it was the Democrat party that looked like it was about to implode, now it’s the Republican one…

    Both are out of touch with the people, so that’s not surprising. They did incredibly poorly in the election and all of the corporate Dems were blaming the progressives, despite the fact that many progressive agenda items are incredibly popular among both Republicans and Democrats.

    I had previously thought that Trump’s term might serve as a wake up call, but disappointingly, the establishment just slept right through those alarms. I then hoped the pandemic could catalyze real change, they just hit the snooze button a few times. Hopefully this fiasco will be enough, but at this point, I’m banking on the cynical outcomes now, which is not encouraging.

  132. Tuxaios Says:

    Scott, how do you feel about looking at the events on the 6th from the following positive outlook? The whole situation will cause some deep introspection amongst many agencies and will hopefully add further safeguards that could prevent a real and seriously orchestrated coup from an actual intelligent and sane wannabe dictator in the future who may even have possible help from foreign governments. Perhaps we could look at it from the point of view that “It’s terrible it happened, but it can help us prevent much worse”.

    Essentially, while we can agree that the whole situation is truly horrible, it can perhaps help us safeguard the democracy in a better way in the future. I am scared at the thought of what a capable and intelligent psychopath president would have been able to achieve, given what Trump has done with more or less the strategy and chess planning capabilities of a toddler.

  133. Scott Says:

    Tuxaios #131: Right, the upside of pretty much any terrible thing that happens is that, if you don’t waste the opportunity, it can give you the knowledge and motivation and political capital to prevent something even worse. One could say the same about Covid.

  134. Raoul Ohio Says:

    Sandro #130

    Actually, everyone in the world knows impeachment is warranted. That includes you.

  135. Nathanson Says:

    Scott #128

    Which side has the truer or more plausible belief is completely irrelevant. In war it doesn’t matter who is right, only who is left.

  136. Michel Says:

    Scott #128. I was heartily surprised reading you using these words, I was just pondering that Trump should be considered the ‘Jim Jones of democracy’ before I read your comment.

  137. duck_master Says:

    After pondering some more about the invasion of the Capitol last Wednesday, I realized that it was probably Moldbug!fake, so I’ve decided to rescind my offer in my previous post #77. (For anyone who really wants to follow up on this, I reoffer it with the deadline of the prediction extended to the end of 2021 and the odds adjusted to 80% against.)

    Also chorasimilarity #125: I also feel bad for Sci-Hub being banned from Twitter, but I’m not very surprised due to the recent spate of bans/suspensions from Twitter (@browserdotsys, @visakanv, “Dr. Roller Gator”, etc., and most recently, @realDonaldTrump).

  138. ed Says:

    Preach it Brother Aaronson!

  139. william e emba Says:

    The 14th amendment, section 3, seems very germane. What is the need to wait for impeachment and questionable trial? As a bonus, perhaps it can be used to remove Hawley and Cruz.

  140. mjgeddes Says:

    Well, what happened there in the Sates, wasn’t exactly unexpected Scott, Trump had been whipping his supporters into a frenzy for 4 years, some sort of ‘explosion’ was inevitable eventually. As others said , it could have been much worse. This time it was more like a ‘damp squid’ than a big explosion (although still damaging to democracy), but what about next time?

    I think the theory of memes does clearly have some truth to it. Ideas do spread a bit like viruses, and this is what happens after purveyors of misinformation and conspiracy theories (e.g QAnon) are allowed to aggressively spread viral misinformation via social media.

    Now people are complaining about the ‘purging’ of the big ‘super-spreaders’ of misinformation from social media, the number one spreader of baloney bring Trump himself, who finally got censored out of existence. It’s unfortunate that this power is concentrated in the big tech companies, but even if social media was much more decentralized, you’d still need a way to damp down ‘viral misinformation’ from the system, or it would simply consume society.

    What I haven’t really ever grasped until recently, is the extent to which individual agents are all simply *dynamical systems* that are embedded in vastly larger ones! We are merely components of what Goertzel calls ‘the global brain’. We’re embedded in vast, ancient super-systems: evolution, groups, communities, nations, and academic, religious, political and economic entities. What is happening with social media is simply the system ‘purging’ the most virulent memes , unfortunate, but necessary.

    There’s a key lesson for cognitive science here: we’re *aligned* precisely to the extent that we recognize our embedding in larger systems, be they social or trans-personal. This applies to both humans and to the coming post-humans, like AGI.

    There really 3 different social tribes, the reds , the blues and the greys. The reds emphasize ‘social groups’ (tribes ), the blues emphasize ‘memes’ (words and thoughts), and the greys emphasize ‘contracts’ (agreements). The greys are the most advanced, ultimately merging the red and blue frames into a unified centralist position. Both memes and social groups are important, but ultimately, these should really only be tools for forming consensual agreements (contracts).

  141. Bertrand3 Says:

    Here’s a more sober take on the situation from Glenn Greenwald.

    https://greenwald.substack.com/p/violence-in-the-capitol-dangers-in-bbe

    “Those who argued in the summer that property damage is meaningless or even noble are treating smashed windows and looted podiums at the Capitol as treason, as a coup. One need not dismiss the lamentable actions of yesterday to simultaneously reject efforts to apply terms that are plainly inapplicable: attempted coup, insurrection, sedition. There was zero chance that the few hundred people who breached the Capitol could overthrow the U.S. Government — the most powerful, armed and militarized entity in the world — nor did they try.

    “Perhaps many view it as more upsetting to see august members of Congress hiding in fear of a riot than to watch ordinary small-business owners weep as their multi-generational store burns to the ground. Undoubtedly, national reporters who spend much time in the Capitol and who have long-time friendships with Senators and House members are more horrified, far more so, by violent gangs in the Capitol rotunda than on the streets of Portland or Kenosha. But that does not mean that rational restraint is unnecessary when searching for sober language to accurately describe these events.

    “There is a huge difference between, on the one hand, thousands of people shooting their way into the Capitol after a long-planned, coordinated plot with the goal of seizing permanent power, and, on the other, an impulsive and grievance-driven crowd more or less waltzing into the Capitol as the result of strength in numbers and then leaving a few hours later. That the only person shot was a protester killed by an armed agent of the state by itself makes clear how irresponsible these terms are. There are more adjectives besides “fascist treason” and “harmless protest,” enormous space between those two poles. One should not be forced to choose between the two.”

  142. Renato A. Laguna Says:

    I believe Mike Pompeo is behind last week’s incident. He was also involved in the failed coup of Juan Guaidó against Maduro.

    Trump’s self-declared victory in the elections is very reminiscent of Guaidó’s self-declared presidency of Venezuela.

  143. ultimaniacy Says:

    Bertrand3 #141:

    I stopped taking Glenn Greenwald seriously a long time ago, but this is a new low even for him. The idea that hundreds of people all just decided on an impulse to storm the Capitol, and then actually succeeded in breaking into one of the most heavily guarded buildings in America with no planning and no coordination, is so blatantly ridiculous that I can only assume Glenn is just fucking with us now.

    The fact that the insurrectionists had an unrealistic, incomplete plan and had to give up after a short time doesn’t make this not an insurrection/attempted coup. Unless you want to argue that Hitler didn’t attempt a coup with the Beer Hall Putsch either.

  144. Tomas Says:

    Greenwald misses the point (perhaps intentionally so). It was all about pressuring Congress to take back a free and fair election that, as Mitch McConnell himself said, was not particularly closer. Step back for a moment and consider the staggering irresponsibility of the President of the United States, and the Senators who supported the objections. Telling his millions of followers, over a period of two months, that the election was STOLEN from them, in the “greatest crime country has ever seen.” Telling the thousands who were there in person to march over to the Capitol to protest a certification vote that has been routine for the last 140. Trump called Senators asking them to slow the vote down, while the riot was still going on. In other countries, insurrections, guerrilla movements, and civil wars have started in this way. Is the US immune?

  145. Tomas Uribe Says:

    [Typo fixes for previous comment:
    closer -> close ; 140 -> 140 years.]

  146. ira Says:

    Bertrand3 #141:

    Read this and tell us if you still think the putsch was an unplanned, spontaneous, harmless ‘event.’ And then send it to GG

    https://t.co/ov27pAHKt4?amp=1

  147. Paul Beame Says:

    It is highly unlike that impeaching Trump will remove him any sooner than January 20. (It isn’t even clear that removing him would be a positive overall: once removed, he could be legally pardoned by Pence in the name of healing, just as Ford pardoned Nixon, instead of trying to rely on the dubious notion of self-pardon.)

    But that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done. It is mainly about the stain on Trump that will last in the history books, both on him and can be spread to future candidates who act like him. Impeachment may also have some potential for helping neuter him in the remaining days. This stain does not require any Senate action, which I would not expect to take place before Jan 20 given that McConnell will be majority leader until Harris is sworn in. Impeachment is something the House does, not the Senate.

    “Doubly impeached” is a label that would be hard to shake. Trump is very aware of the power of labels and has been effective in using them. What about other labels for Trump himself that he would be unable to shake? He has been correctly labelled a “narcissist” and many other things (including “delusional” which maybe removes too much agency), but none of the labels that I have seen has been the kind of label that will naturally resonate with those across the political spectrum in the US. A label that might just fit the bill, but I have not yet seen in mainstream media/punditry is:

    “Worst sore loser in American history”

    Please pass it on…

  148. JimV Says:

    The next Trumps are out there and watching. Impeaching and convicting Trump might just deter some of them. In any case it is the just, fair, right thing to do. As a final incentive, it would remove the financial burden of his presidential pension and Secret Service protection from taxpayers.

  149. peak.singularity Says:

    duck_master #137

    Ironic title, Moldbug usually being one of the biggest “fans”, blow-iating his screeds around…
    But I’m way too harsh, after all, he’s pretty much saying what I did, just better !
    “Fishing in the Rubicon” and “Wandering around the building, confused about why the level isn’t ending”, indeed !

    ultimaniacy #141

    Come on, “Beer Hall Putsch” ?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_Hall_Putsch
    At least Hitler didn’t have his head so clouded in wishful thinking that he thought that he could successfully stage a coup *without fucking showing up* !!

    Moldbug is right, this is a goddamn farce.
    And Greenwald is only wrong in the sense that he’s confusing Trump’s incompetence and delusion for the lack of intent.
    But still, Trump didn’t actually join them, and treating these Trump followers – that are stuck in an imaginary parallel universe and only caused minor physical damage (the symbolic one is arguably much worse) – and their sympathizers, with maximum harshness, like terrorists that caused 9/11, isn’t going to help with the reconciliation that Biden called for.

    (BTW I’m particularly pissed about how the French are falling with Daesh in the same exact trap that Americans fell into with Al Quaeda.
    “We’re going to destroy our democracy, that’ll show those democracy-haters !”
    And especially since they had the front row seats to the American trainwreck !)

  150. Michael Gogins Says:

    About social media and demagogues, President Trump and other like will be booted for good reasons in a bad way from social media, but the underlying technology will support an underlying “private freedom of speech (wink wink)” medium like Parler, or something else. Right now many Trumpists are moving to gab and no doubt there are others I don’t know about. As long as strong encryption and onion routing are feasible that can be done, as far as I understand it. I approve these technologies, but this is a real dilemma.

  151. Deepa Says:

    The recent attack on the U.S Capitol helped me realize that I had unfairly dismissed as unlikely, warnings from this blog and some other sources, that Trump would try to do something like this. Maybe we have caught this terrible movement early enough. Just as Biden had to do very little campaigning and just let Trump destroy his own chances by being himself, perhaps this movement has begun to self-destruct simply by being itself for everyone to see.

  152. peak.singularity Says:

    Michael Gogins #150

    I’m against the ban of Parler on Google Play and *especially* on the Apple App Store, where there’s no alternative way to install programs. In fact they (and also Microsoft, Canonical…) shouldn’t be allowed to own both an app store and the OS it resides on.

    Finally, as you say, it’s ineffective (and also politically damaging).

    It’s the job of agencies like the FBI to directly infiltrate dangerous organizations, they have been doing it for decades (recently, see the takedown of Silk Road and regularly of various pedophile websites, even though they are on the dark web), and they do not need new powers to do that (maybe extra manpower and especially better organization – I’m still baffled that the Capitol was stormed while the organizers were basically shouting about it from rooftops for weeks).

  153. William Gasarch Says:

    Before the insurrection this was my favorite novely song/music video about Trump not leaving office:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELgA3S996Ng

    After the insurrection, its this:

  154. haifa Says:

    Nathanson #135:

    We are not at war at the moment, unless I missed something…

    I know that some very pessimistic minds are predicting a second American civil war in the future. but I don’t see how that can happen unless, as in the first time, at least several states decide to force their way out of the union. For the foreseeable future neither the reddest states, nor the bluest ones, seem interested in secession so I don’t think there is cause for worry for the time being.

  155. Anon Says:

    Scott – you say debate is done. You no longer tolerate Trump supporters. You support calling them insurrectionists. Not just a few hundred who were in the building and were taking pictures and selfies but all Trump supporters. You have a recent count. There are 75 million Trump supporters. This is despite 5 years of one-sided media saying they are terrible. Trump increased support among Black men, Black women and Hispanic men and Hispanic women. Only decrease was in white men. Now you say, remove them all from Twitter. Suppress their point of view and freedom to speak and this will stop everything in a few weeks.

    Interesting what if this was flipped? A Democrat supporter shot and nearly killed an R Senator and several other R politicians. Then the Big Tech companies and media all suppress your side. Of course, the shooting part already happened. Steve Scalise shot along with 5 others. Limited media outcry. But let’s pretend Bernie supporters goes too far, they take and burn the Capitol instead of downtowns. You are grouped in with the thousands of trouble maker. You are not allowed to express any views online, smartphones etc… Does this make you want to go along? Agree to be suppressed. Or does this make 1 million out of 30 million want to resist? As a strategy, is what is happening now …the suppression of online access going to get the desired result or will it inflame the opposition? You have Big Tech on your side. Which side has more veterans and what skills do they have? Have you thought this through?

  156. fred Says:

    As usual, Sam Harris’ take on last week events is interesting (warning: some cursing ahead)

    https://samharris.org/podcasts/230-insurrection-lies/

  157. Deepa Says:

    Fred #156: I listened to the Sam Harris podcast. He and others speak about people who believe in conspiracy theories as weirdos and complete scum.

    A general question for everyone – How do you know what sources of information to trust, without expertise in the domain that the information pertains to?

    I guess the answer lies in somehow building great judgement.

    We have all made mistakes with this in our lives, have we not? One of the smartest people I have ever known, my grandfather, who was a scholarly high court judge in India, happened to believe in homeopathy. There was no internet when he was alive, but he was an avid reader. I cannot understand how he fell for this fraud. His background was math and law, not biology.

    Rather than have complete disdain for the people who are in the Trump cult, perhaps we ought to think of them with some sympathy. The extreme disdain for them is part of the problem.

  158. Deepa Says:

    Fred #156:
    I forgot to say, the Sam Harris podcast episode was FANTASTIC. Thank you.

  159. atreat Says:

    Scott,

    “And on that note: all further comments from the insurrection camp will be left in moderation.”

    You said the above, but you aren’t actually doing it. Instead, after you posted this I still see insurrectionists here playing this down and still finding a way to make themselves the victims and furthering their grievance politics. Please enough. Enough.

    Moderate the crap out of them and only allow good faith comments going forward. This is *your* blog and you have absolutely responsibility to provide them a forum. OTOH, I’d say you *do* have a responsibility to deny them one.

  160. Daniel Björkman Says:

    While I heartily agree with the gist of the post, I’m not sure the police’s uselessness against the angry nuts at the Capitol can be blamed on racism. Haven’t they also been rather passive against BLM rioters? I think the more probable explanation is that they just generally tend to fold in the face of angry mobs. Especially when someone might be filming them and they might get into trouble if something goes wrong.

    This is not letting them off the hook, though, considering how gung-ho they famously are when they have the numbers and the guns and the advantage. It seems that they are Dirty Harry when some helpless unarmed civilian isn’t being fawningly deferential enough, but Officer Freaking Friendly when it’s their own skin on the line.

  161. peak.singularity Says:

    More in the vein of “This is a farce, but symbolically this is very, very bad” :

    https://indica.medium.com/i-lived-through-a-coup-america-is-having-one-now-437934b1dac3

    (Note that this is from November !)

  162. Michael Gogins Says:

    atreat #159,

    I personally appreciate that Professor Aaronson lets some conservative and pro-Trump comments through. That is because, as a liberal, I definitely want to know what the other side is thinking, and a moderated selection of these comments does that for me without drowning me in lies.

    The back and forth at times takes on the semblance of an argument, and an argument is always instructive.

  163. fred Says:

    Deepa #157

    I’ve been wondering about that too.

    Conspiracy theories have always existed and I’ve been very concerned by their increasing hold on the general public.
    I’m the kind of guy who was arguing with 911 truthers whenever I was visiting ground zero (and cops there would tell me to just move on).

    Since about 2000, I started noticing a trend where traditional “science oriented” cable TV channels like Discovery Channel or the History Channel started to shift their programming towards pseudo-science shows (calling it “pseudo-science” is quite charitable).
    There was also lots of constant debate about creationism vs science (during the W.Bush era).
    And social media has accelerated the spread of all this exponentially.
    The same forces have also learned to use the excuse of free speech (and that the science process is about ‘keeping an open mind’) to squeeze reason into a niche.
    I think the only way to effectively fight this is with better education at a young age.

  164. peak.singularity Says:

    I found another metaphor, though it’s almost literal :

    They are toddlers playing with guns, led by toddler-in-chief who is throwing a temper tantrum because he lost (even though someone more adult would have noticed that he did almost win, and would have been happy with that, thinking about the next time – which isn’t going to happen for Trump now).

    —-

    Daniel Björkman #160

    As for the baffling law enforcement response, compare with the yellow vests demonstrations, what the law enforcement used to protect government buildings :

    Hmm, for some reason I’m unable to find the exact picture that I had in mind, but these might remind you of the one I’m talking about :

    An earlier demonstration, in Paris :
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/stagire/27530185251/in/pool-agfaphotoapx100

    A yellow vests one, in Lyon :
    https://cdn-s-www.leprogres.fr/images/DE888D2D-5CD6-486C-8E81-F6CE518FDA54/NW_raw/13-heures-la-place-bellecour-sous-haute-surveillance-photo-le-progres-xavier-breuil-1551528510.jpg

    And lots of people, including me, have been complaining about the use of explosive anti-riot grenades that got several people killed (the first death dates back to 1970s !) and resulted in several dozen protesters losing their hands.

    And this isn’t all : at some point it was even decided to use anti-terrorist army units, which are *not* designed to deal with riots (armor, shields, non-lethal weapons), but instead have lethal assault rifles (and no appropriate protection?), which they were even allowed to use !!
    Though, thankfully, the goal seemed to be more to concentrate the anti-riot units where they were the most needed, and for the army to only be a worst case scenario backup, doing static defense of the most important buildings :
    https://www.lemonde.fr/police-justice/article/2019/03/20/les-militaires-de-sentinelle-seront-mobilises-pour-l-acte-xix-des-gilets-jaunes_5438862_1653578.html (fr)

    Finally, the protesters, many of which never took part in a demonstration before, were sometimes stopped, sometimes arrested (one day saw more than 2000 arrests !), sometimes held for abusive amounts of time to prevent them to join the demonstration, sometimes because they just had anti-teargas masks with them, sometimes the possession of a yellow vest (which is mandatory to have in a car !) was an aggravating factor :
    https://www.liberation.fr/checknews/2019/03/16/des-personnes-ont-elles-ete-condamnees-pour-un-masque-et-un-gilet-jaune-dans-leur-voiture-comme-l-a-_1715532 (fr)
    (Of course anyone that would have dared to bring a gun would have been stopped, and likely held for a long time before being condemned and jailed.)

    In a way this mandatory yellow vest taken as a symbol parallels guns used as symbols of freedom by some people in the USA. This creates a lose-lose situation for the law enforcement and justice : can’t allow them to bring them (gun possession being, for good reasons, illegal around the Capitol), and arresting/punishing them for it looks bad to a non-negligible fraction of the population.

    So, why wasn’t a response similar to the yellow vests applied to the Capitol march ?

    Because Trump used every single pull and dirty trick he still had to prevent effective law enforcement ?

    Because a part of law enforcement effectively supported the coup attempt by either doing nothing or effectively interfering against anti-demonstration preparations ? (I’ll note that AFAIK Trump isn’t particularly liked in Washington, nor in the top ranks of FBI and law enforcement ?)

    Because of incompetence ? (“This cannot possibly happen here” despite all the signs to the contrary -thinking, a bit like before 9/11, but even more clueless ?)

  165. Deepa Says:

    Fred #163 : Despite fake information reaching them, people have always had their filters. You say lack of proper education destroying these filters.

    Maybe so. Let me remind you though, that Bobby Jindal, who has a B.S in biology from Brown university, believes in creationism.

    It is probably not about science education because people with good judgement existed before science was invented.

  166. peak.singularity Says:

    And yet another interesting blogpost :

    https://themargins.substack.com/p/the-first-phygital-coup

    Well, first, he’s wrong because “phygital coups” have been happening for at least a decade now in various countries. However, they were usually accompanied or followed shortly by *actual* (successful) coups. I just can’t see this happening (in the short term) here.

    I agree that “This did tremendously further the movement.” via the attention and the symbolism. It looks like the angry counter-reaction will help it some more.

    He’s also right about the confusion of opponents. Trump has been doing it masterfully since he got into politics, by his very nature it seems. (There’s Boris Johnson that does the same, but seemingly as an act.) But confusing the opponent is not enough to succeed in a coup. At “best” (if not willing to play the elections game any more) he can cause utter chaos, at which point some power-hungry, competent strongman is going to stab him in the back and take power for himself (and be welcomed, as dictatorship is preferable to utter chaos).

    —-

    He raises a good point about “Social media is not real life, until it is.”
    I’ve been boycotting Twitter and Facebook for years now (“It’s long been socially acceptable to caps lock, rage-type profanities as a Facebook reply”), and trying to avoid the people that use them, but what can you do when even journalists (that should know better!) take what is posted on Twitter/Facebook at face value and even end up addicted to them themselves ?
    (Funnily, I now can’t point anymore to Trump as Exhibit A of the cesspool that Twitter is.)

  167. fred Says:

    Deepa,
    right, it’s not just about science education.
    As our environment becomes more and more digital and abstract, we’re losing some connection to base reality. And the social isolation from the pandemic has made this even worse.
    Before early 20th century, people were in touch with the harsh reality of constant discomfort, pain, disease, and death, and the limitations of space and time (to communicate with a friend, they had to write a letter and wait for days if not weeks for a response), people didn’t have to constantly fight back an infinite stream of engineered brain distractions or being constantly assaulted by the opinions of countless strangers, their social sphere was limited and they had to be patient and learn to live with their own mind.
    So, a better education has to also include basic training of the body and the mind. Things like surviving in the wilderness, or meditation retreat, or go help in some developing country.

  168. chorasimilarity Says:

    duck_master #137

    >I also feel bad for Sci-Hub being banned from Twitter, but I’m not very surprised due to the recent spate of bans/suspensions from Twitter (@browserdotsys, @visakanv, “Dr. Roller Gator”, etc., and most recently, @realDonaldTrump).

    I would not put in the same bucket suspensions for political reasons and suspensions for other reasons. The suspension of Sci-Hub is not political.

    That is why I asked Scott here, what he thinks. Scott writes a post on a political subject for his fellow citizens, but he is also a fellow researcher.

    There are different time frames here. I am sure that the lost of the Library of Alexandria was considered a minor subject back then, compared with the political events of the moment. But then time filtered what’s important from what’s not. Likewise, today a private company deplatforms the comparable Library of Alexandra because of private company rules. It will certainly be an event far more significant, as a symbolic gesture, than the suspension of a particular politician from reasons internal to a particular country.

  169. Scott Says:

    chorasimilarity #168: Sci-Hub is obviously illegal and obviously a boon to humanity with almost no downsides. I don’t know if Twitter felt legally compelled to ban them, but more importantly, I understand that Sci-Hub remains accessible and people have been widely sharing information on how to access it, always with ironic finger-wagging about how you should NOT click on it. Indeed, Twitter’s banning may have just generated more publicity for Sci-Hub.

    I think it’s plausible that Alexandra Elbakyan, who founded and runs Sci-Hub, will be universally understood in the future to have been a heroine. Maybe universities will even have statues of her.

    Long-term, the only solution might be for governments to pass laws that nullify restrictive copyrights for all taxpayer-funded research papers, including retroactively. That might be politically possible only with big one-time payments to the current copyright holders, loosely analogous to the payments that were repeatedly proposed in the US to Southern plantation owners for ending slavery in the decades before the Civil War (of course, the South rejected all such proposals).

  170. peak.singularity Says:

    The main issue with deplatforming is that platforms have taken a disproportionate importance, despite being “Minitel 2.0” regressions compared to the normal Web / Internet :

    https://www.fdn.fr/actions/confs/internet-libre-ou-minitel-2-0/ (fr, 2007)

    https://greenwald.substack.com/p/how-silicon-valley-in-a-show-of-monopolistic

    This wouldn’t have been an issue if antitrust did its job and getting kicked from Apple App Store / Google Play Store wasn’t tantamount to getting evicted by your landlords without them even going through a judge or calling a police officer, and them being the only two landlords in the whole Western world (one of them being magnanimous enough to let you live in your tent in his garbage dump).

    https://onezero.medium.com/how-to-destroy-surveillance-capitalism-8135e6744d59

    As for Amazon (AWS, Cloudflare), the situation is better… except on the user’s side, where trying to boycott them is tantamount to breaking most of the Western Web / Internet :

    https://gizmodo.com/i-tried-to-block-amazon-from-my-life-it-was-impossible-1830565336 (Jan. 2019)

    —-

    Continuing with trying to figure out wtf happened with Capitol’s police (lack of) preparation :

    https://taibbi.substack.com/p/were-in-a-permanent-coup (Oct. 2019)

    Yeah, so Washington/FBI et al. hates Trump all right.

    Now this is getting into somewhat wild conspiracy theory
    (but then the other explanations feel quite incredible too) :
    is it possible that the FBI et al. gave Trump and his “proud boys” just enough rope to hang themselves by not stopping them in advance ?

    Again, assuming that it was obvious a long time in advance that Trump would try ever more reckless, but ineffective ways to cling to power, and considering that we now know that the FBI was aware in advance of what was happening, and even seem to have convinced some of the most dangerous Trumpers to stay at home ?

    (Am I posting too much ?)

  171. ira Says:

    re: Sci-Hub

    In what moral universe does research that is paid for by taxpayers not belong to those very same taxpayers ?

  172. Nick Says:

    I don’t mean to derail this thread with CS stuff, but I have a question and a comment about some Busy Beaver remarks.

    1. “The Busy Beaver Frontier” says:

    As we’ll see, there is a reason why Turing machines were a slightly unfortunate choice for the Busy Beaver game: namely, the loss incurred when we encode a state transition table by a string of bits or vice versa.

    I’ve read further on, but I still don’t understand this. Could someone explain?

    2. I was rereading “Who Can Name the Bigger Number?” and noticed this:

    What about the third Busy Beaver? In 1965 Rado, together with Shen Lin, proved that BB(3) is 21. The task was an arduous one, requiring human analysis of many machines to prove that they don’t halt — since, remember, there’s no algorithm for listing the Busy Beaver numbers. Next, in 1983, Allan Brady proved that BB(4) is 107.

    This is close, but not quite accurate. The Lin-Rado proof entails the human analysis of only forty “holdout” programs, and the analysis involved is not difficult. I wouldn’t call the proof “arduous”. However, Brady’s proof is indeed arduous, and does require human analysis of many machines. IMO, the Brady “proof” blurs the line between formal proof and heuristic conjecture. Not because any of it is wrong or sloppy or anything like that, but because AFAICT it amounts to an exhaustive empirical study. The Lin-Rado proof is not like this, and should be regarded as a more-or-less standard computer-assisted proof.

    This minor factual error doesn’t show up in the revised version, so maybe bringing it up is pointless.

  173. Scott Says:

    Nick #172: It’s fine, people are already on other topics anyway! And I’ve been in near-catatonia for a week, just doomscrolling and reading hundreds of perspectives about whether democracy in the US will die or survive, and it’s about time I went back to thinking about things that make me happier!

      I’ve read further on, but I still don’t understand [the issue of the loss incurred when we encode a state transition table by a string of bits or vice versa]. Could someone explain?

    I explain this more in Sections 5.3, 5.4, and 5.5. The issue is that if you have an n-bit string x, then of course there’s a Turing machine (call it Mx) that prints x on the tape, but the number of states that you need for Mx might be a little more than the information-theoretic limit. I.e., if you then want to go in the opposite direction, and encode Mx by a string, you’ll find the string has slightly more than n bits: say, n+O(n/log(n)) bits (using the best known construction, due to Ben-Amram and Petersen from 2002). Even though this sounds like a technical issue, it stands in the way of proving many obvious-seeming properties of the BB function: for example, that BB(n+log(n)) is vastly larger than BB(n) for all large enough n. Whereas we can prove those properties for variants of BB based on “conventional,” string-based programming languages.

    As for “Who Can Name the Bigger Number?” — keep in mind that I wrote that essay more than half a lifetime ago! 🙂 Nevertheless, thanks for the correction. When I get a chance, I’ll remove the description of the Lin-Rado proof as “arduous.”

  174. John Stricker Says:

    Interlude: Some words of caution.

    The Trump speech wasn´t really inciting, as can easily be checked via video or transcript. Accordingly, and in reality, the overwhelming majority of his supporters wasn´t incited at all (although some were probably confused through enemy infiltration). Notwithstanding the extraordinarily manipulative media reporting, which is worse than useless and abysmally wrong and evil and really beyond all polite words. And now, in addition, the obvious social media / internet services discrimination against Trump supporters, and the call for their “reeducation” or similar being broadcast practically everywhere, as well as the Trump impeachment / removal-via-25th-amendment farce…

    …meanwhile, D.C. is full to the brim with armed forces. Which is actually a good thing; when the proof about the treasonous election fraud will be revealed and it will be in fact Trump who will be inaugurated on january 20th into his second term, all in full accordance with the US constitution (you´ll see), they will be able to handle the real rioters with ease, if it comes to that. Another spectacular self-own of the democrats (and “weak republicans”), in short: of the enemies of the United States, and the enemies of Trump.

    So, brace yourselves for a complete shake-up of your preconceived notions of the reality of what is actually happening. “Adjusting your priors” I believe you call it, and it will be epic.

    See you on february 1st.

  175. Scott Says:

    John Stricker #174: Allowing through moderation so everyone can see where my Trumpist commenters now are epistemically.

    How confident are you that Trump will be inaugurated next week? Confident enough that you’ll agree to accept Biden as the duly elected president in the (admittedly bizarre and improbable) event that you turn out to be wrong? 🙂

  176. John Stricker Says:

    Scott #175:

    “Allowing through moderation so everyone can see where my Trumpist commenters now are epistemically.”

    I appreciate to be on record. Small objection though to your use of a possessive pronoun, and a probably unwarranted plural; my impression is that the consensus among Trump supporters is that he is finished, certainly for the coming presidential term.

    “How confident are you that Trump will be inaugurated next week?”

    95%

    “Confident enough that you’ll agree to accept Biden as the duly elected president in the (admittedly bizarre and improbable) event that you turn out to be wrong? 🙂”

    Yes. 100%.

  177. mjgeddes Says:

    Holy moly, #174, #175, #176

    You Americans are a funny lot! Half of Republican supporters are apparently perfectly fine with overthrowing democracy and installing a theocratic-dictatorship instead, but they’re up in arms because…ah… twitter moderated some of their posts? Right, got it.

    You know John, in the end it ain’t gonna be either ‘left’ or ‘right’ winning, because it’s gonna be computer scientist running the show. The de-platforming of Trump is just a preview, of what AGI is gonna do.. it’s gonna de-platform ALL the politicians. So with super-intelligence, Americans might actually get a sort of theocracy after all, just not at all the one Trump supporters were expecting 😀

  178. Chip Says:

    John #174/#176: Put your money where your mouth is. You have assigned a 95% confidence to the claim “Trump will be inaugurated next week”. I’m assuming that when you say “will be inaugurated next week” you mean that Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the Oath of Office to him, as opposed to some BS “alternate” inauguration. If that is not the case, clarify what you mean.

    If SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts publicly administers the Oath of Office of the Presidency to Donald Trump on Jan. 20th, I will donate $200 to the charity of your choice. Since you are 95% confident that will happen, you should be willing to put up $3800 in return, but I’ll go easy on you and only ask you to risk $600. If SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts does not publicly administer the Oath of Office of the Presidency to Donald Trump on Jan. 20th, you have to agree to donate $600 to the Capital Area Food Bank (https://www.capitalareafoodbank.org/donate/).

    The loser of the bet has to make their donation by midnight EST on Jan. 23, and will forward the email donation receipt (with all headers) to Scott to allow him to confirm that the loser of the bet has carried through.

    For the bet to work, Scott has to agree to participate by (1) confirming agreement of both parties to the terms of the bet using the email addresses used in submitting the comments, (2) verifying that the loser has forwarded a copy of the donation receipt including email headers, and (3) in the event that the loser does not make the agreed to donation, posting a comment to that effect. Willing to do that, Scott?

    How about it, John?

  179. Coolguy Says:

    Scott, I think it’s likely that what is about to be revealed will break your brain. You will be completely unable to come to terms with it, maybe permanently. Either way, four more years baby.

  180. M Says:

    Scott #93: It seems to me you’re committing a bit of bait-and-switch here. First you say that *what happened* was the strongest argument imaginable for BLM. Candide III #90 then points out that the police’s response was stronger than against BLM protestors. And then you change to, well, what *would* have happened had BLM stormed the capitol is the strongest argument possible for BLM.

    But to think that what would have happened in that counterfactual case would have been way stronger, you probably need to already think that BLM’s central contentions are right. So this is a much less impressive argument, in my view.

  181. David R Says:

    Is there some way to identify the future posts of Gadi, John Stricker, and Coolguy (in case they change their posting names) so that I know to completely ignore anything they say?

    Chip, you are letting him off too easily with a charity bet. Make a personal bet. He’s gonna hate paying you a lot more than paying a charity when he loses, and that will hopefully help to keep his confidence in outrageous claims in check better for the next time. You can always donate the money to charity later without telling him.

  182. Mitchell Porter Says:

    Regarding the people (Gadi #15, John Stricker #174, Coolguy #179) who think proof of election fraud, or some other last-minute deus-ex-machina, will materialize in time to keep Trump in office… where does this belief come from? QAnon? Trust in Trump?

  183. FeepingCreature Says:

    Three observations, a few days late:

    – First, I think all the damage has been done long before this point. Trump had already made noises about not accepting a loss in 2016; if that was not an immediate criterion of exclusion from ever holding a position of power, I don’t think anything he said in December 2020 is particularly worse.
    – Second, if you allow me to draw an analogy to the rise of the Nazis, I think the biggest issue was not Trump but the total bungling of the way the Election was handled in the Corona crisis. 43% of Republicans supporting a violent takeover is not a problem with Trump, it’s a problem of broad illegitimacy for the entire democratic system, and I believe it’s primarily a late-stage consequence of the splintering of the media landscape (as per Neutral vs Conservative) – and more currently, while the election does, as far as I can tell, not have a credible fraud problem, it has a crippling *image* problem. You simply cannot have a two party system and have the constituents of both parties vote separately and by different mechanisms; that will always lead to fraud-looking anomalies.
    – Third, that the police and Secret Service didn’t shoot *more* people is not particularly surprising. I’m going to draw an analogy with BLM here, but not in a sense that this riot/ineffectual insurrection attempt (an insurrection without military support? Sure…) is similar to a BLM riot, but that the police response is similar to the BLM police response. As far as I can tell, when faced with a marching group of people beyond a certain scale, the police will *always* prefer to give ground if they can do so without losing anything genuinely important. BLM in Portland exceeded that threshold, and so got to set a police station on fire with little resistance; MAGA in DC exceeded that threshold and so got to hang out in the Capitol for a few hours. I think what we’re seeing isn’t police *weakness* but police pragmatism; they prefer to give ground if you can give up something of low importance, and just collect people after. Note that no politician or policeman died in either case; this is not luck, but successful tactics. In other words, *both* protests looked dangerous because they happened to aim for a goal that they could take without hurting the state; as soon as people exceeded those bounds, they were put down.

  184. David R Says:

    FeepingCreature #183

    To your second point, no one forced people of the two parties to largely vote by different methods, there were just multiple methods provided and people chose. By your reasoning we should only ever allow one method of voting I don’t see why that is obviously a good idea. And as for Trump not being the problem, I will have to strongly disagree. It is pretty clear that the rhetoric of Trump and his cohorts had a huge influence on people’s view of the election.

    Also, characterizing what happened on Jan 6 as “hang[ing] out in the Capitol for a few hours” is a bit disingenuous. People died. If they had managed to get to the members of congress, do you really think they would have just had a stern word with them?

  185. fred Says:

    Heh, as a joke I was saying to a colleague
    “all those military troops in DC, maybe that was the actual long goal of the Capitol assault last week, maybe that will be what accomplishes the real insurrection”.

    And then all this would be a smoke screen
    https://www.npr.org/sections/congress-electoral-college-tally-live-updates/2021/01/12/956170188/joint-chiefs-remind-u-s-forces-that-they-defend-the-constitution

    If that were the case, that would be a really impressive feat of organization, which would make the organization of an effective covid vaccination look like a walk in the park.

    But the reality is that all we’ve witnessed is just driven by the narcissism of a salesman conman from Queens and the habitual incompetence of the US government at every level.

  186. Scott Says:

    FeepingCreature #183: Of course I agree with you that the authoritarian impulses were completely obvious since 2015 (and not even hidden), with the only thing remaining the actual attempted putsch! That’s the point of all of us who now get to say, as was said during yesterday’s impeachment debate: “we told you so.”

    Regarding the theory that the Capitol Police were just being smart and tactical by retreating: I could almost believe that, if the police had later arrested everyone as they tried to leave the building instead of actually helping them out (!!), and if it weren’t for all the reports of the police posing for selfies with the attackers, giving them directions to Schumer’s office, and so forth.

  187. Harry Johnston Says:

    FeepingCreature #183, I’m confused by the claim that “no politician or policeman died in either case”, were you unaware of the death of Brian Sicknick?

  188. FeepingCreature Says:

    Scott #186 : I didn’t know that with the police, that’s pretty spectacularly terrible even if largely from an optics perspective. The fact that the police have been behaving in a similarly hands-off manner with BLM protests at scale, even if they didn’t chum up with them, does indicate to me that there’s similar tactics at work though, particular highly problematic misbehavior aside. That said, from cursory googling I think the number of arrests actually about match the arrests seen at an individual BLM protest; CNN puts it at 61, which matches the per-day numbers I’m seeing on Wikipedia for the Portland protests.

    I don’t mean to imply that Trump wasn’t always terrible in this way; I just don’t think this is “Trump planned an insurrection” so much as “Trump has no consideration for the sort of things you just can’t say or do in a democracy” – the thought “the thing I am doing is dangerous to the state of the country as a whole”, I’m pretty sure, never entered his mind, *ever*, at any point during his campaign *or* presidency to begin with. So to me the particular spectacular failure of self-control he showed now is not evidence for a deliberate attempt to seize power, because there is no better behavior to contrast it to. Which is why I think it’s a legitimacy/consensus problem more than an insurrection problem. Trump is the sort of person whose normal behavior exposes these systemic issues. When a democracy cannot handle a Trump (which, so far, I’ve still seen no solid evidence for – oh, for the ability to statistically evaluate alternate worldlines…), the problem is with the country, not with Trump, and cannot be solved by filtering out Trumps, because that just ends up selecting for a more stealthy Trump.

    In other words, don’t worry about preventing Hitler 1923, worry about preventing Hitler 1934.

  189. John Stricker Says:

    Chip #178: Sorry, but I´m not a betting person.

    (Replies to mjgeddes #177 and others will have to wait until later when I am home from work, since for some reason I can´t copy and paste there at the moment…)

  190. John Stricker Says:

    mjgeddes #177:

    “Half of Republican supporters are apparently perfectly fine with overthrowing democracy”

    That depends wholly on whether the election was fraudulent.

    “it’s gonna be computer scientist running the show. (…) just a preview, of what AGI is gonna do..”

    If you think so. I think it´s people, and up to the people.

  191. John Stricker Says:

    Mitchell #182:

    I can´t speak for the others, of course, but I personally don´t follow QAnon much, let alone closely, although of course I know about it. Trust in Trump… plays a role for me, yeah. (I can already hear the comments “Cult! Cult! 😉 )

    Why would I say such a strange thing?

    For me, the assumptions are different: Trump is not a narcissist, but has a deep love for people and for America. I find this view perfectly compatible with pretty much everything I ever learned about him, and going well before his time in politics, too. I could link stuff, but I doubt Scott will like that. Maybe I do a post on my own blog later and indicate how to find it.

    What can be said for sure is that currently and for some time, the views on Trump are and have been extremely divided and bifurcated.

  192. John Stricker Says:

    David R #181:

    “Is there some way to identify the future posts of Gadi, John Stricker, and Coolguy (in case they change their posting names) so that I know to completely ignore anything they say?”

    How about judging by the content?

    “He’s gonna hate paying you a lot more than paying a charity when he loses”

    Only if he plays…

    “that will hopefully help to keep his confidence in outrageous claims in check better for the next time. You can always donate the money to charity later without telling him”

    Wow.

  193. fred Says:

    Scott #136
    “That’s the point of all of us who now get to say, as was said during yesterday’s impeachment debate: “we told you so.””

    Besides getting a special commemorative medal for it, this “we told you so” thing is freaking useless when you think about it…

    In all the plausible paths Trump’s brain could have taken in the last 4 years, lots of very different opinions could have been correct or wrong at this point, in hindsight.

    Take the actual claim at the start of his presidency that he would start a nuclear war. That’s an even greater danger than his lack of respect for the constitution, because it threatened the survival of humanity.
    But, that hasn’t happened… so were we just lucky that his brain didn’t glitch him into pushing the button… or we dodged the right circumstances by a hair? Or maybe it’s not something he would actually seriously consider? Who knows? Who to believe?

    Then the other thing is: okay, let’s say such an opinion has to be taken absolutely seriously, because it’s coming from the best expert at predicting the actions of psychotic personalities… then, what to do with that certainty?

    Use it as an excuse to remove Trump by force, by either attempting a coup against him (therefore subverting the very democratic rules we hold so dear) or a JFK style assassination?

    E.g. if you were that convinced that Trump would start a thermonuclear armageddon, then isn’t it your duty to take him down no matter what? Or you’re just gonna wait for the atomic mushrooms and say “I told you so!!!”

    (btw, that’s the premise of the movie “The Dead Zone”, from a Stephen King book, where the main character suddenly gains the ability to see the future and realizes that the soon-to-be-elected president will start a nuclear war, and he has no choice but try and stop him at all costs).

    Otherwise, the only “reasonable” option for the rest of us was to wait until he could be voted out, which did happen.

  194. Raoul Ohio Says:

    Scott #186,

    You say it is OK if police retreat because they are vastly outnumbered, but only if they arrested everyone as they left?

    not sure that adds up.

  195. fred Says:

    John Stricker #191

    “has a deep love for people and for America.”

    You’re trolling us, right? Haha!

    To me, *everything* I knew (as a New Yorker) about pre-politics Trump always pointed to him being driven only by his ego and a total lack of empathy and ethics.

    And let’s add to this his failure as a businessman.

    And at a basic level, there’s something clearly very wrong with his “sense of aesthetics”, zero class, zero taste… but that’s the very thing that allowed him to become a reality freak-show celebrity.

    What sums it all up for me is the way he treated Pence last week… someone who’s been nothing but the most loyal to him in the last 4 years.
    With Trump, loyalty and friendship is a one way road!

  196. Scott Says:

    Raoul Ohio #194: You’re forgetting that by the time they cleared out the building, the National Guard was there, so the police had the upper hand. And yet they let almost everyone go anyway … and then, in one of those crazy, “only in a crumbling republic” stories, the FBI and other agencies used digital sleuthing to track them down over the following week.

  197. DavidG Says:

    John Stricker #191
    Trump’s deep love for people and for America has of course been evident long before his foray into politics. Look at Trump University for example, which despite not being a university, promised to make a successful investor of anyone with the cash. What could be more generous? And yet Trump haters called it a “massive scam”. Trump’s willingness to settle out of court to the tune of $25 million just shows how benevolent this much misunderstood man is.

  198. David R Says:

    John Stricker #192

    “How about judging by the content?”

    Then I’d still have to bother reading it. Seriously though, I am not so arrogant as to think that I could not be misled by a bad argument on a topic I know little or nothing about. But I am confident that I am not interested in paying heed to the thoughts of anyone as detached from reality as yourself or the others I mentioned.

    But I tell you what, if what you say turns out to actually happen, I’ll read every word of every post of yours I see. Maybe you can spell out more of the details of what you think is going to happen? Or is it just, Trump reveals evidence of election fraud (presumably actual evidence, not the stuff we’ve seen so far) and is therefore inaugurated on Jan 20 instead of Biden?

    P.S. Why “See you on february 1st”? The inauguration is on Jan 20.

  199. John Stricker Says:

    Chip #178:

    “If that is not the case, clarify what you mean.”

    For clarification: yes, I mean exactly that: proper, constitutional, public inauguration of Donald J. Trump, administered by the Chief Justice.

    …on second thought, on this exceptional occasion I am prepared to bet the symbolical sum of USD 100,00 against which you may put any amount of your choice, provided you agree to three small changes:

    1. Change “charity” to “charity or other, as long as not for personal gain”
    2. Change payout day to up to and including january 31st.
    3. For privacy and anonymity reasons, no emails involved, only gentlemen´s agreement.

    Other than that, if you (and Scott, who I hereby declare I trust as an intermediary) agree, I am game!

    Ready when you are.

  200. Scott Says:

    John Stricker #199: Sure, I can be an intermediary if you want—although I’d rather be in on it myself, and put up an additional $100!

  201. John Stricker Says:

    Scott #200:

    “I can be an intermediary if you want”

    Well, it was Chip´s idea, and I merely meant to state my agreement. But yeah, I am very happy if you do!

    “although I’d rather be in on it myself, and put up an additional $100!”

    Very funny… But see, nobody is stopping you! *sticks tongue out*

  202. John Stricker Says:

    For those who wish to step into the ostensible craziness that is my Trump support:

    As I have pondered somewhere above, I have now posted a first installment on my view on Donald Trump on my blog; it is on dreamwidth, like my name, one word, no blank space.

  203. John Stricker Says:

    Gadi #15:

    “I now think Trump is a disgusting manipulative piece of shit, but for completely different reasons than what you think. I don’t think you have the slightest clue of what’s going on”

    I am curious what you are talking about; could you please link me up, or perhaps suggest search terms? Scott will probably object to actual links.

    Or leave a comment to the desired effect on my blog? Thank you!

  204. John Stricker Says:

    David R #198:

    We appear to have very different ways of information intake…

    “I am confident that I am not interested in paying heed to the thoughts of anyone as detached from reality as yourself”

    Good for you.

    “But I tell you what, if what you say turns out to actually happen, I’ll read every word of every post of yours I see.”

    This makes no sense whatsoever, unless it is meant to be ironic, in which case it is merely stupid.

    “Maybe you can spell out more of the details of what you think is going to happen?”

    See my blog for more information.

    “P.S. Why “See you on february 1st”? The inauguration is on Jan 20.”

    I am referring to my comment #124.

  205. matt Says:

    A silly, but maybe useful, suggestion: one or both of the major political parties should switch to approval voting for their primaries. It seems to me that 2-party politics is fundamentally broken. While Biden is a moderate candidate, and perhaps that’s why he won, there are a lot of less moderate candidates out there, especially because the primaries in both parties encourage less moderate candidates. But, changing national election law is practically impossible. However, a party can make changes easily. So, more knowledgeable people, what would happen if one or both party did this?

  206. John Stricker Says:

    fred #195:

    “You’re trolling us, right? Haha!”

    What do you think? (No, I´m not.)

    How you describe Trump is a somewhat plausible, and certainly widespread, perspective. But I submit that a different perspective is also consistent with the facts. See the New York Times Magazine article from 1984 that I am linking to in my blog post “My view…”. Other than that, I agree to disagree.

    “What sums it all up for me is the way he treated Pence last week… someone who’s been nothing but the most loyal to him in the last 4 years.”

    This is actually a great point. Why the sudden rift between them, after their strong relationship these last year? Could be Trump is losing it, and Pence is doing the right thing. (But no 25th amendment?) Could be it is for show… (See my blog for details. Not trying to promote it, just don´t wish to clutter this comment section even more than I already do.)

    “With Trump, loyalty and friendship is a one way road!”

    Yeah. You could not possibly be more wrong.

    ————–

    DavidG #197:

    Don´t know much about Trump University, not really intending to get into it.

  207. Dan Staley Says:

    John Stricker #206: What confuses me is why you think any amount of evidence presented in the next few days would cause Trump to be inaugurated on Jan 20.

    I’m imagining if, in 2016, Hilary Clinton had presented incontrovertible evidence that the election had been stolen a few days before Trump’s inauguration. Would I be happy that my favored candidate actually won? Sure! But it seems like the fastest reaction I could possibly hope for would be that every member of Congress, the Senate, and the Supreme Court, no matter how liberal, conservative, or moderate, would be so convinced that they would pass an emergency bill (possibly it would take a constitutional amendment?) to un-certify the election. They would then force the states to re-count votes, either discarding votes proven fraudulent or including votes proven uncounted. Then those states would need to re-send their electors, the election would need to be re-certified, etc.

    This process would be unprecedented in American history, and would likely take weeks at minimum. During that time, the current president’s term would expire, and the Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan, if I’m remembering correctly) would have become acting president. So no matter how convincing this secret evidence is, it seems like the most you could hope for this coming Jan. 21st is no inauguration at all, and an Acting President Pelosi.

    I’ll admit I haven’t read your blog, so if you do have some explanation how things could move so fast then I apologize, but I simply can’t imagine any explanation that makes sense. I’m far more worried that, come the 20th, you’ll see Biden inaugurated, see Trump claim on Fox News that AOC broke into the White House and stole the evidence or something, and go back on your claim that you would 100% accept Biden as the legitimate president, because you “didn’t realize how deep the fraud goes.”

  208. lol Says:

    Who is crazier? Trumpers or P=NPers? Gap-P hard to get sample statistics?

  209. Chip Says:

    John #199:

    “For clarification: yes, I mean exactly that: proper, constitutional, public inauguration of Donald J. Trump, administered by the Chief Justice.”

    Sounds good. I propose the following way of determining whether you win the bet: there have to be photos or video of John Roberts doing this in a news story describing the event on the Fox News website. Agreed?

    “I am prepared to bet the symbolical sum of USD 100,00 against which you may put any amount of your choice”

    I’m willing to stick with $200 (USD) on my end.

    “provided you agree to three small changes:
    1. Change “charity” to “charity or other, as long as not for personal gain””

    Come on John, are you telling me you can’t come up with an organization with a 3- or 4-star rating at Charity Navigator (https://www.charitynavigator.org/) that addresses a problem you’re passionate about for me to donate $200 to if you win? No disease you’ve lost a loved one to, no local homeless shelter/food pantry organization, nothing like Wounded Warrior Project? This one I’m sticking to.

    “2. Change payout day to up to and including january 31st.”

    I’m OK with this one, as long as we’re clear that there are no extensions after that. The above mentioned Fox News story has to appear (or not) by midnight EST on Feb. 1, 2021 and the loser has to make their donation by midnight EST on Feb. 4, 2021. Is that acceptable?

    “3. For privacy and anonymity reasons, no emails involved, only gentlemen´s agreement.”

    In a world with throwaway webmail addresses and anonymous prepaid Visa gift cards it should be possible to figure out a way to address privacy concerns while retaining accountability/verifiability. _In theory_ Scott already has your email address. If you’re uncomfortable (should you lose) sharing meatspace address or last-four-digit CC number info on the donation receipt with Scott, allow me to suggest the following alternative to preserve privacy while creating verifiability:

    * Make the donation using a $100 prepaid Visa gift card from Walmart (either plastic or electronic) (https://www.walmart.com/ip/25-Vanilla-eGift-Visa-Virtual-Account/804050128 with a $100 balance or https://www.walmart.com/ip/Visa-100-Gift-Card/55844027)

    * Post a comment with the (now empty) card number, expiration date, and CCV to allow folks to verify the donation via https://balance.vanillagift.com/ (not sure if they require more login info after you enter that, I’m assuming they don’t — anyone have experience with one of these?).

    I suppose that could allow someone other than you to play “I am Spartacus!” and make the donation on your behalf if you lose, but that doesn’t bother me. As long as Capitol Area Food Bank (https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=17859) gets their $100 if you lose, I’ll be happy.

  210. Chip Says:

    John #199: BTW, apologies for assuming your meatspace coordinates lie within the US. If that isn’t the case (the German content on your blog and referring to “USD 100,00” rather than “$100.00” suggest you might not be), I’m certainly willing to try to find mutually agreeable terms that take any issues that creates into account.

  211. David R Says:

    John Stricker #206

    “Why the sudden rift between them, after their strong relationship these last year?”

    Gonna go out on a limb and say it has something to do with Trump inciting an insurrection during which his supporters chanted “hang Mike Pence”.

  212. ANonymous Says:

    fred #193: “Otherwise, the only “reasonable” option for the rest of us was to wait until he could be voted out, which did happen.”

    no, another option (available since 2017) was to pressure your senators and representative to restrain or, if necessary, impeach him as well as campaign for those candidates who would promise to do so. Many did in 2018, but not enough.
    If some Trump support was actually due to dismissing or disbelieving the early warnings, the “I told you so” serves the purpose to remind these supporters of their decision and to induce a reevaluation of their priors so that they are more careful next time a candidate with little regard for democracy and the rule of law is on the ballot. (will not be long, I’m afraid)

  213. Michael Bacon Says:

    From John Stricker’s latest blog post. I invite everyone to try to find one thing in his links that even purport to support the stated conclusion that Donald Trump will be remain President post January 20th.

    “I predict Joe Biden will not be inaugurated. Instead, President Trump will have a second term, in full accordance with the US constitution.

    My reasons for this strange position are, among others and in no particular order:
    – Reasoning from different assumptions about Trump than the usual ones: he is not a narcissist, but cares deeply about America: “One man could turn this country around” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAgJAxkALyc), his speech wasn´t really “inciting” and nobody really got “incited” (https://twitter.com/LiteraryMouse/status/1348150810929213441, speech transcript https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/donald-trump-speech-save-america-rally-transcript-january-6), historical pieces like https://www.nytimes.com/1984/04/08/magazine/the-expanding-empire-of-donald-trump.html with some insightful information, crazy-seeming tweets like https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-world-stop-killing-itself-response-twitter_n_5fd36430c5b68ce171875630.”

    He is simply a troll

  214. Scott Says:

    lol #208:

      Who is crazier? Trumpers or P=NPers?

    Now there’s a question one can’t answer without a deep philosophical analysis of the meaning of “crazy”! 🙂 Assuming that by P=NPers, you mean people who actually claim to have a proof, they’re many orders of magnitude rarer than Trumpers (and so, just by a selection effect, might be “crazier” on average by conventional criteria), yet they’re also orders of magnitude more harmless.

  215. fred Says:

    ANonymous

    “no, another option (available since 2017) was to pressure your senators and representative to restrain or, if necessary, impeach him as well as campaign for those candidates who would promise to do so. Many did in 2018, but not enough.”

    First, I don’t think Schumer needed any more convincing from me.

    Second, it’s my opinion that the way the Dems handled Trump for the last 4 years has been really counterproductive.
    If not for the coronavirus, Trump would have a second term.

  216. fred Says:

    Scott #214

    Let’s not forget the third and even craziest category: the P!=NPers who claim to have a proof!

  217. fred Says:

    That fact that we currently have more troops deployed in DC than in Iraq and Afghanistan combined… we should send the bill to Trump.

  218. fred Says:

    Scott,
    is there a way for you to capture the IP address of posters?
    Given that some posters here are claiming that Trump will overthrow the president elect next week, with a 95% probability, either they’re trolls or totally deluded idiots, or they are themselves involved in the planning of a coup, and it’s something that could interest the FBI.

  219. fred Says:

    Trump refusing to pay Giuliani’s fees (a mere 20,000$ a day)… that’s just terrific.

  220. John Stricker Says:

    Dan Staley #207:

    Appreciate your comment. I do not know how it will happen exactly, sorry.

    “This process would be unprecedented in American history”

    Full agreement, no doubt about it. In its consequences, world-changing.

    “I simply can’t imagine any explanation that makes sense.”

    Understandable.

    “I’m far more worried (that you) go back on your claim that you would 100% accept Biden as the legitimate president”

    Worried? Why? (Also, I am serious. I am standing by everything I said.)

    —————–

    lol #208, Scott #214:

    Happy to contribute as a sample.

    —————–

    David R #211:

    That´s certainly one way to look at it.

    —————–

    Michael Bacon #213:

    Not trolling, providing background.

  221. Scott Says:

    fred #218: I seriously doubt the FBI has the tens of millions of agents needed to track down every nutty Internet comment by every Trumper!

    Even though I’m tired of arguing with the Trumpers, I decided to make an exception for one making a clear, falsifiable, empirical prediction that will come back to bite him in less than a week.

  222. fred Says:

    Scott #220

    Sure, if nothing happens, who cares.
    But I meant after the facts in case something does happen and fails…
    Because if it does happen and succeeds, then obviously the FBI would no longer have a chance to go after anyone involved, heh.

  223. John Stricker Says:

    Chip #209 and #210:

    “I propose the following way of determining whether you win the bet: there have to be photos or video of John Roberts doing this in a news story describing the event on the Fox News website. Agreed?”

    Agreed.

    “I’m willing to stick with $200 (USD) on my end.”

    Very good.

    “This one I’m sticking to.” (not changing point 1, charity)

    I am unhappy about this, but in honor of these exceptional times, I will agree.

    “I’m OK with this one, as long as we’re clear that there are no extensions after that. The above mentioned Fox News story has to appear (or not) by midnight EST on Feb. 1, 2021 and the loser has to make their donation by midnight EST on Feb. 4, 2021. Is that acceptable?”

    More than acceptable. Agreed.

    “_In theory_ Scott already has your email address.”

    He has it in practice, as those of everyone commenting here, I presume. That is (among other things) why I agreed to his being an intermediary.

    “As long as Capitol Area Food Bank (…) gets their $100 if you lose, I’ll be happy.”

    So will they :-). (And, after a while, me probably too.)

    Thank you for your suggestions. I will think of a good way that will work. I absolutely intend to honor the bet if I lose.

  224. John Stricker Says:

    @fred

    #215

    “If not for the coronavirus, Trump would have a second term.”

    You don´t say.

    #217

    “we currently have more troops deployed in DC than in Iraq and Afghanistan combined”

    For a minimalist inauguration ceremony? Huh…

    #218

    Please.

    ———————-

    Scott #221: Fair enough.

  225. OhMyGoodness Says:

    Fred #195
    I have no personal experience with fraternities but suspect the fact that Pence in college turned in his fraternity brothers for the heinous crime of drinking beer calls into question his sense of loyalty.

  226. OhMyGoodness Says:

    John Stricker #224

    I wish you were right but I will take a $100 wager also with loser to pay $100 to Navy Seal Foundation.

  227. fred Says:

    From the Belgian Consulate in NYC

    “Dear fellow Belgians,

    We hope this message finds you in good health and that you have all been keeping well during the holiday season.

    After the incidents of violence that occurred at the US Capitol last week, we would like to inform you that according to law enforcement officials as of Sunday Jan 16th nationwide protests may start occurring at least to Jan 20th, the inauguration day.

    Security measures are being stepped up by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies preparing for the possibility of violence.

    In view of these latest developments, we would like to advise you to be very cautious of your whereabouts in the coming period. To help you in this matter, we thought it would be useful to send you some safety tips.

    * The most important things to do if you want to avoid unrest is to stay abreast of the news and remain calm.
    * Do not leave your home or go into the street.
    * In case you hear gunfire or explosions outside, stay away from the windows. Do not be tempted to watch the activity from your window. Draw the curtains or blinds to prevent shards of broken glass entering.
    * If you come across a demonstration, don’t become inquisitive, just leave the area and find another route to your intended destination.
    * Should you need to go to an area which experiences a lot of demonstrations, try not to go alone. Where possible take someone with you and operate as a team looking out for each other. Keep close and maintain visual contact.
    * Avoid any place where police or security force action is in progress.
    * If you find yourself caught up in a protest or riot keep to the edge of the crowd where it is safest. Try not to be identified as one of the demonstrators by keeping well away from the leaders/agitators
    * When leaving the fringe of the demonstration just walk away – don’t run as this will draw attention to you
    * Never drive through a crowd
    * If you find yourself in the path of a crowd, take the nearest side road, reverse or turn around and drive away calmly.
    * If telephone connections and or internet are down, keep yourself informed through media radio & TV.
    * Make sure you notify your relatives that you are safe.

    For any crisis situation you can always reach our 24/7emergency line: 917.[,,,]

    Hoping that you will not be affected by the demonstrations and that no major incidents will occur,

    Take care and stay safe!”

    The USA used to send warnings like that to their citizens living in “shitholes” countries (as our dear President Trump calls them).

  228. anon Says:

    John Stricker’s gonna pay up the same way that Trump pays up.

  229. Jon Awbrey Says:

    Trump spent his entire campaign and his whole term in office grooming his mobs of red-hatted brownshirts to do exactly what they did on January 6 — and all the people who deja-vued his master’s plan and all the people who saw that history repeating again could not wake the rest of the country until the Day of Epiphany, and even then and after that the GOP is still trying to keep the wool over the nation’s eyes.

  230. Richard Says:

    Getting back to the impeachment, I wonder if it would have been better strategy if the Democrats had taken a stance of demanding a Senate trial before the end of the current term and then dropping the matter after Biden is sworn in (on the grounds that Trump is no longer president).

    The trial will just be a circus with a lot of nonsense arguments. Any republican can have it both ways and say “I think that what Trump did was terrible, but technically cannot vote yes for reason X”. (Where X is some legalistic/constitutional BS.)

    And, regarding the argument that a conviction (unlikely as it is) would prevent Trump from running again, I think that this would only create a smoother path for a Tucker Carlson type to become Trump’s replacement (who would worse because he’s more shrewd). Isn’t it better to allow Trump to stay in and help splinter the Republican party?

    Anyway, how short can the Senate trial be? Can they make it last just one day?

  231. mjgeddes Says:

    Hard to tell whether the hard-core Trumpers really are nuts, just trolling , or con-artists. Perhaps a mix of all 3, but I don’t think they really believe the conspiracy stuff that strongly, as is shown by the fact that they just keep shifting the goal-post. As soon as one crazy idea is debunked, they just switch to another one, and so on ad infinitum. My sense is that it’s a lot of motivated cognition , they’re ’emotionally invested’ in the idea of Trump as a sort of modern saviour of conservative ideas, an ‘unholy brew’ of white nationalism and Christian fundamentalism.

    You can see John shifting the goal posts already, “Trump will be inaugurated on the 20th”, but if not then, “give it another 10 days”, just you wait and see. But if Biden is in fact President on Feb 1st (which of course he will be), then John will switch to “Trump will be completely vindicated in the Senate trial”, just you wait and see. And after that, in a month or two later, he’ll say something like “Biden won’t last, Trump will be back by the end of the year”, just you wait and see, and on and on .

    There is a real concern here though. Biden seems a decent guy who may last one term, but his health isn’t good, and it’s likely he won’t run for a second term. Now I’m sure Kamala is a decent person, but she didn’t do well in the primaries, and has certain disadvantages that would make her very vulnerable to another charismatic, conservative demagogue in 2024, there’s a real possibility Trumpism may indeed come back in 4 years time.

    Now, really at this point the environmental and political demons are just too severe and too complex to be fixed by human hands. The world has to hope for friendly AGI to deliver the big bail-out and secure the ‘win’ for humanity. And I do think AGI is very doable within the next 8 years. It can be done in less than a decade. In fact a recent paradigm-smashing Deep-Mind paper actually makes me think that we’re literally just a stone’s throw away from AGI *right now* ! (and no it’s not the paper on AlphaFold or any of the papers about deep learning, it’s the paper titled ‘Making sense of sensory input’ for those who are interested).

  232. Scott Says:

    Richard #230: The problem is that, until the next Senate is seated, the Democrats have no power over the timing of the impeachment trial. Mitch McConnell does.

  233. William Gasarch Says:

    P=NPers vs Trumpers is hard to say.

    Lately I’ve been getting papers that claim to solve Hilbert’s 10th problem using… wait for it…
    Quantum Adiabatic Computers (I may have spelled Adiabatic Wrong. If they can get the math wrong I can get the spelling wrong.)

    That is crazier than P=NPers, and is more like pi=22/7 exactly (my Dad was one of those),
    or trisectors (no, my mom was not one of those), since its provably wrong.

    But as Scott points out, whether P=NPers or H10-Quantum-solvers or pi=22/7 or triectors are crazier than Trumpers or not, the math cranks are far less dangerous.

    Normally I post a presidential quiz on my blog the week of the inaugural, sometimes a few days before. This year I am posting it the day after… just to make sure I don’t have to change some of the answers.

  234. Michel Says:

    fred #218 : IP adresses are useless if people use webmail (hotmail, gmail etc). You just get the server. Clever trolls use that. Of course, you can always catch the dumb ones, but would you care?

    Michel

  235. peak.singularity Says:

    https://acoup.blog/2021/01/15/miscellanea-insurrections-ancient-and-modern-and-also-meet-the-academicats/

    And especially, from the October one :

    “Thucydides sees no escape from [the stasis] cycle, but it could be done and indeed his own native Athens would do it in 403, restoring the democracy after a spiral of civil strife had led to a brutal oligarchy at the end of the Peloponnesian War (in a series of events too complicated to get too far into here). As Andrew Wolpert points out (in Remembering Defeat: Civil War and Civic Memory in Ancient Athens (2002)) they did it through the combination of an amnesty for all but the very worst of the oligarchs (the aptly named Thirty Tyrants themselves), combined with a redefinition of the democracy which wrote the oligarchic faction out of the Athenian story, substituting in its place a constructive fiction that all of the Athenians had really been supporters of the democracy at heart, providing a way for even some collaborators with the oligarchy to reinvent themselves as Athenians loyal to the democracy. Which is to say, they do it through – wait for it – compromise and constructive, inclusive redefinition of the polity (combined with accountability for the worst offenders – which was also, by the by, part of the Roman Struggle of the Orders as well, e.g. the fates of Appius Claudius Crassus, Spurius Oppius Cornicen and the exile of the second decemvirite).”

    I’m not as sure as Bret Devereaux about Biden being able to do it well, as can be seen from him calling the insurrectionists as ‘terrorists’, which is technically true, but the unfortunate comparison with 9/11 that Americans are going to make isn’t going to help when 1/8-1/4 of the population is going to feel themselves called ‘terrorist sympathizers’.
    (This term could perhaps be used in the future with success, but like the blogpost hints, not before there’s a strong pro-democracy Democrat-Republican coalition that would ostracize the insurrectionists.)

    Speaking of coalition, Biden could throw some bones to the Republicans by :
    – Mentioning in passing that Black Lives Matter violence isn’t acceptable either (we truly live in Orwellian times when a racist-leaning slogan – just try to invert it! – is being lionized, while its universalist version mocked. Where is Martin Luther King when you need him?)
    – Continuing the antitrust investigations against the GAFAMs, and showing his displeasure about the “platform bannings” of Republicans that didn’t go through government channels (see the blogpost’s insistence on the ‘Law coalition’).
    (Speaking of which, has *any* left-leaning USA politician criticized *any* of the “platform bannings” ?)

  236. John Stricker Says:

    OhMyGoodness #226:

    “I wish you were right”

    Coincidently, so do I :-).

    “but I will take a $100 wager also with loser to pay $100 to Navy Seal Foundation.”

    While I have been offering no bets myself, only reacting to Chip´s suggestion, I will also agree to your wager, under the union of his and your terms.

    *** NOTE: This will be the last bet I will agree to on this or indeed any other matter. ***

    ———————

    mjgeddes #231:

    “Hard to tell whether the hard-core Trumpers really are nuts, just trolling , or con-artists.”

    I wonder how many ´Hard-core Trumpers´ you actually know… I mean, really know.

    “Perhaps a mix of all 3”

    Perhaps.

    “You can see John shifting the goal posts already”

    Please.

    “Biden seems a decent guy” (…) “I’m sure Kamala is a decent person”

    This means that you have done no research whatsoever on either of them, and are only following media hearsay.

    ———————

    William Gasarch #233:

    “Normally I post a presidential quiz on my blog the week of the inaugural, sometimes a few days before. This year I am posting it the day after… just to make sure I don’t have to change some of the answers.”

    Huh? Why?

    cough*craven*cough

    At this point, I would like to call upon Scott Aaronson and William Gasarch to make the following amends if I turn out to be correct:

    That, if I ever decide to publish a mathematical paper, be it on P/NP, Riemann Hypothesis, or why not, a whole ToE (go big or go home, right?), both of them have to

    – read the whole thing, word for word (this will be hard), and
    – judge it entirely on its merits (this will be very easy ;-D).

    😀

    What say you?

  237. ultimaniacy Says:

    John Stricker #191:

    “(I can already hear the comments “Cult! Cult! 😉 )”

    If the shoe fits…

  238. John Stricker Says:

    Addendum:

    Dan Staley #207, my comment #220

    On further reflection, and fully agreeing with your point that the Biden votes will have to be decertified, and the Trump votes certified, presumably with some “discussion” (ya think?!), and the whole process being FULLY CONSTITUTIONAL (VERY important, for the nation, and for me personally), the ´evidence´, whatever it will be, would have to drop no later than probably monday (Martin Luther King day, incidentally). Of course, SCOTUS might have to get involved (although I hope not), which would take even more time…

    It will be a close schedule at any rate. We shall all bear witness.

  239. William Gasarch Says:

    To John Stricker, your comment 236.
    I am waiting for after the inaugural to post my prez quiz since I have questlions like

    How many people have been president?

    My current version of the quiz assumes that Biden is president on Jan 20 so that gives one answer.

    If something happens and its still Trump then I have to modify the answer.

    So— what is your issue with that?

  240. ultimaniacy Says:

    So John Stricker has now made two whole blog posts on his view of Trump, as well as four others on the election and recent surrounding events, and still has not presented even the semblance of an argument for his claim that Trump is going to be inaugurated on the 20th. I think we all know that he’s trying to run out the clock because his argument doesn’t actually exist.

  241. anon Says:

    John Stricker, if you love the constitution so much why don’t you read some of it? Start with amendment 14, section 3.

  242. John Stricker Says:

    ultimaniacy #237:

    “If the shoe fits…”

    It doesn´t.

    ——————-

    My comment #238:

    “Of course, SCOTUS might have to get involved (although I hope not), which would take even more time…”

    I have thought about this some more and am now convinced that SCOTUS will not play a significant or even any role pertaining to the presidential inauguration and its process, since it would detract from the important and necessary constitutionality, as well as hinder uniting the nation, because of accusations of partisanship. Although keep in mind that it was surprisingly (?) neutral regarding the election protests and lawsuits from the republicans…

  243. John Baez Says:

    A Washington Post story by Peter Hermann gives a real feeling for what the scene at the Capitol was like. I’ll quote a bit:

    Blinded by smoke and choking on gas and bear spray, stripped of his radio and badge, D.C. police officer Michael Fanone and his battered colleagues fought to push back rioters trying to force their way into an entrance to the U.S. Capitol.

    The officers had been at it for hours, unaware that others in the mob had already breached the building through different entrances. For them, the West Terrace doors — which open into a tunnel-like hallway allowing access to an area under the Rotunda — represented the last stand before the Capitol fell.

    “Dig in!” Fanone yelled, his voice cracking, as he and others were being struck with their own clubs and shields, ripped from their hands by rioters. “We got to get these doors shut.”

    An officer since 9/11, the 40-year-old Fanone, who has four daughters, had been working a crime-suppression detail in another part of the District on Jan. 6. He and his partner sped to the Capitol when dispatchers broadcast an urgent citywide emergency call.

    “They were overthrowing the Capitol, the seat of democracy, and I f—ing went,” Fanone said.

    The officers at the West Terrace eventually pushed people away from the doors. It was only then that Fanone saw the immense, volatile crowd stretched out in front of him and realized what police were up against.

    “We weren’t battling 50 or 60 rioters in this tunnel,” he said in the first public account from D.C. police officers who fought to protect the Capitol during last week’s siege. “We were battling 15,000 people. It looked like a medieval battle scene.”

    Someone in the crowd grabbed Fanone’s helmet, pulled him to the ground and dragged him on his stomach down a set of steps. At around the same time, police said, the crowd pulled a second officer down the stairs. Police said that chaotic and violent scene was captured in a video that would later spread widely on the Internet.

    Rioters swarmed, battering the officers with metal pipes peeled from scaffolding and a pole with an American flag attached, police said. Both were struck with stun guns. Fanone suffered a mild heart attack and drifted in and out of consciousness.

    All the while, the mob was chanting “U.S.A.” over and over and over again.

    “We got one! We got one!” Fanone said he heard rioters shout. “Kill him with his own gun!”

  244. John Stricker Says:

    Dan Staley #207, my comments #220, #238 and presumably #239 (once out of moderation):

    After even more consideration, I now predict the timeline as follows:

    The “Big Important Event” (or a number of smaller ones) happens until monday, at the latest.

    There will be all kinds of societal and political uproar.

    State legislations will rescind their Biden certifications, and will send certifications for Trump to Washington.

    Trump will have more than 270 Electoral Votes.

    House and Senate will certify in a joint session.

    Trump will be inaugurated on january 20th.

    (Details may vary.)

    (I apologize for the piecemeal posts. I will endeavor to collect further thoughts together before posting.)

  245. William Gasarch Says:

    To John Stricker

    The part of my comment you quote is that
    I will wait until Thursday to post my Prez Quiz since some of the answers might have to change- like how many presidents we’ve had, how many vice presidents have gone on to be president, maybe other questions. In a nutshell I am saying that since I do not know who will end up being prez, I am being cautions and waiting.

    Your response is that Scott and I should read any paper that you write on P/NP or other math problems.

    1) What is your issue with my posting my quiz Thursday rather than earlier?
    2) What does when I post my quiz have to do with reading your papers?

    I ask non rhetorically and am curious about your answers.

  246. Michel Says:

    Now what surprises (nice word for ‘galls’) me mostly is this:
    The ones still questioning the voting results forget that about 60 judges threw out the claims. And I am fairly sure that, considering the voting balance, about 50% of those decided against their personal preferences and their political views, but instead decided for the law, for justice, for their oaths to the people, like the other 50%. And all these should be considered incompetent or corrupt?

  247. peak.singularity Says:

    I wonder if, just like the ‘Hong Kong’ flu of 1969 (and the ‘asian’ flu of 1957′), the current Covid pandemic will be forgotten in a few decades considering everything else that has been (and will be?) happening ?

    https://nypost.com/2020/05/16/why-life-went-on-as-normal-during-the-killer-pandemic-of-1969/

    Probably not, as in 1969 the medias and the governments (and therefore the population) mostly ignored the pandemic, and 1969 was otherwise a remarkable year ! (Woodstock, &c.).
    And even though that flu was probably more deadly than (so far) Covid has been, Covid has already hit the USA more than that flu, and what happens in the USA tends to play a central role in the medias all over the world.

    And of course Covid is not over yet, and is likely to get much worse (UK strain) before it gets better, especially with the vaccination having barely started.
    (“We’re fucked” seems to be a common refrain – meanwhile the (non-UK?) western governments seem to not be reacting like the UK strand is a game changer, in a repeat of the way Covid hasn’t been treated seriously before the first lockdown – with the first UK strain case having been spotted in my city I’ve now bought half a dozen N95 masks, and will have to check if the “Covid pantry” dating from the first lockdown is still fully stocked).

    But then, neither are the other news ‘over’, so who knows ?

  248. John Stricker Says:

    William Gasarch #239 and #245:

    Thank you for engaging me in good faith. In comment #153 you posted two reasonably funny videos that make fun of Trump. In comment #233 you wrote “P=NPers vs Trumpers is hard to say.” From this I took that your position is that Trump and his supporters are ridiculous (and of course wrong), and to be made fun of.

    Yet you changed your habit of posting your presidential quiz from before to after the inauguration, which is of course reasonable; but if you are as confident that Trump will not be inaugurated as I am that he will be, why would you do that?! Surely it will never happen?!

    My response was a tongue-in-cheek stab at you (and Scott) for ridiculing “us Trumpers” (yeah, i said it!), and that in case you will be proven to be in the wrong about “us”, you should make amends, in being “punished” by more hideous crackpottery :-D!

    Other than that it has nothing to do with the other.

  249. D Says:

    Trumpists ought to recognize they are part of a cult.

    It is run by people such as Steve Bannon who understand how to appeal to them uniquely.

    The cult leaders cynically spin out conspiracy theories. Claims that have partial evidence, which is enough to satisfy the cult members. I hope the millions in the cult recognize they are being manipulated.

    The Bannon podcast is a good look into how this is done. He runs an ad a minute from seedy businesses, raking in the dough, and every episode ends in a cliffhanger saying Trump is about to come back. It is done dramatically. The members seem to be willing themselves to help him realize it, I guess?

    I hope Trumpists recognize they are wasting time that could be spent improving their actual lives. They are destroying themselves by belonging to this cult. Many of them even send small amounts of money to Trump. Please take a look at this and get out of the cult.

  250. John Stricker Says:

    ultimaniacy #240:

    “I think we all know that he’s trying to run out the clock”

    I object. I know no such thing.

    “because his argument doesn’t actually exist.”

    I am indeed not making a lot of arguments here, or even on my blog (isn´t it nice to agree on something?); my goal is to provide background and alternative perspective and insight.

    The “proof”, or whatever it is that will change the presidential election as it now stands, will not come from me! I do hold the view that it will be a mass experience.

    ———————-

    anon #241:

    “John Stricker, if you love the constitution so much why don’t you read some of it? Start with amendment 14, section 3.”

    All right.

    Ah, the “insurrection” that never was. Lesigh.

    ————————

    John Baez #243:

    How anyone can still take the Washington Post seriously is utterly beyond me. But suit yourself.

    ——————-

    Michel #246

    This is not a bad point, and one I alluded to in my comment #242, and I intend to take it seriously:

    I do not consider all the judges that threw out republican challenges and lawsuits concerning the election, be they democrat- or republican-leaning (for want of a better description) “incompetent or corrupt”, although I do some; in fact I absolutely appreciate upholding the law, even and especially against personal leaning! And if that is what they did, not only am I fine with it, but applaud it.

    Now comes the crucial part: I believe Trump understands and agrees that elections should not be decided by judges! (Sounds crazy, I know… but you must be getting used to that by now ;-D )

    …but this raises an extremely important question, namely: Where is recourse against election fraud to be found?! So in my view, those challenges were, for the most part, actions to bring this issue into public view! (And also the corruption that no doubt occurred, and to confuse the enemy by feigning incompetence and weakness.) And President Trump will, in my opinion, suggest very soon ways to make the elections more secure. A LOT more secure.

    ——————–

    peak.singularity #247:

    “And of course Covid is not over yet”

    While this is true, I think you´ll find that very soon Covid will not play much of role anymore. Certainly not in the way it did in the months before the elections…

  251. Jelmer Renema Says:

    @ Peak singularity 247: The news out of the UK is that the increase in COVID cases seems to be much more attributable to their inexcusable ‘it’ll be over by Christmas’ policy rather than the increased infectiousness of the new virus variant. It seems London, with the new variant and a lockdown, is now at R less than 1, which means that this variant can be contained with measures acceptable to Western democracies.

  252. D Says:

    I support impeachment, prison, asap. I have not been following the news – hope it will happen.

    The spell has to be broken. It is like any other cult fundamentally, except that the leader became U.S president. To understand all Trumpist phenomena, I think we need to simply understand how cults work.

  253. mak Says:

    Found a loophole in the bet: the Biden inauguration will actually be Trump in disguise..
    Apparently, QAnon cultists believe the movie “Face/Off” was a documentary.

  254. Dan Staley Says:

    John Stricker #244: I’m fairly certain that the chain of events you describe is *not* constitutional. There’s no provision in the constitution allowing for states to un-certify their results, nor for the House/Senate to certify a different winner after already certifying one.

  255. Mitchell Porter Says:

    peak.singularity #247

    “I wonder if, just like the ‘Hong Kong’ flu of 1969 (and the ‘asian’ flu of 1957′), the current Covid pandemic will be forgotten in a few decades”

    It has been a massively disruptive event globally, on the level of 9/11 or the 2008 financial crisis. It will cast a much bigger historical shadow than those other pandemics. But yes, with enough time it would eventually become just another thing that happened once, like ‘Cuban missile crisis’ or ‘fall of the Berlin wall’.

  256. mak Says:

    Reposting link for #253 above.. Apparently, QAnon cultists believe the movie “Face/Off” was a documentary.

  257. Mitchell Porter Says:

    It seems to me now that by crying election fraud and holding rallies to “stop the steal”, Trump ended up doing more damage to his political legacy than any of his opponents could have done.

    I have tried to understand what he might have been thinking. Claiming fraud even before election day might have a tactical value, in that it will allow results to be challenged, and perhaps a few will change in an advantageous way. Also, claiming fraud allows him to avoid saying that he was beaten; and he has a lifelong habit (which seems to have worked in the business world) of elevating himself and denying anything that makes him look weak or wrong.

    If I try to understand Trump’s relationship to truth: he seems to claim loudly as truth, whatever possibility would be most agreeable or convenient, and then dares reality to prove otherwise. And perhaps as a politician, he became so used to dictating reality in this way, that he thought he could dictate the outcome of an election that, in certain respects, was quite close. But if so, it’s massively backfired.

  258. Michel Says:

    I do not know if it is clear to the US readers of this blog, but many Europeans like me found the storming of the Capitol a horrifying event and have followed the news ever since, and worry as much as many of you. Many country leaders have reacted very concerned, often directly to Trump to stop and denounce these attacks on democracy, which he failed to do timely. For us he is not only a ‘clear and present danger’ to the US and to it’s democracy, but also to world peace. Trump has personally been responsible for dragging down the reputation of the US in the eyes of the western world. Xi and Putin will be raising a toast together probably, together with many other autocrats in the world: “so much for democracy”. I look forward with trepidation instead of joy to coming wednesday. May reason prevail.

  259. John Stricker Says:

    Dan Staley #254:

    Hm… fair point. This is then quite a quandary for constitutionality, and it wrecks the timeline I predicted (which perhaps I shouldn´t have done anyway).

    While I have more thoughts on this, perhaps it is best to wait and see what happens. I stand by my comment #176 (last line especially) and my bets with Chip and OhMyGoodness as agreed upon.

    ———————

    D #249:

    I appreciate your comment, which seems to come from a place of kindness. But I am afraid that actual cult members will not see what you are describing in clear words.

    “It is run by people such as Steve Bannon who understand how to appeal to them uniquely.”

    Somewhat paradoxically, I was never a fan of Steve Bannon and didn´t really know what he was even about, except of course the “racism/white supremacism” thing that was widely reported in the media, which they of course said about Trump as well and which I didn´t and don´t believe. Then I came across a video maybe 3, 4 weeks ago, first interview with Frontline PBS from last january, which to my surprise I really liked and agreed with a good deal. He displays a lot of love for the common (wo)man, american and elsewhere. So I suppose he roped me in as well 😉 .

    Although I did since check out his podcast, but somehow it is not for me. Maybe it is the format.

    ————————-

    Michel #258:

    Appreciate your fellow european perspective.

  260. William Gasarch Says:

    This is to Stricker 248.
    (Side note- its really odd having a debate within the comments of someone elses blog. At least it’s odd for me.)

    This comment is non-partisan.

    You make an interesting logical error which I will tell my class about when I teach logic.

    1) some people think Trump was a good Prez, Some people think Trump was a bad Prez
    2) some people think the election was stolen (so Trump really won) and some people think it was a fair election (which Biden won)
    3) some people think that Trump will end up being president, some people think Biden will end up being president.

    You are assuming that
    If Bill thinks Trump was a bad president and that Biden won the election fairly then Bill thinks Biden will be sworn in on Wedensday.

    Not necc true. Bill might think that Trump will find some way to stay in office. (What does Bill really think? He is just being careful about when to post his quiz, just in case.)

    More generally, looking at points 1,2,3 there are 8 possible views a person could have.
    I wonder if, for every combination, someone has that view.

    And indeed, my view (bad prez, fair election, might still get a Trump Presidency) is probably rare, though probably not as rare as Bad Prez, Unfair election.

  261. John Stricker Says:

    William Gasarch #260:

    You are of course entirely correct, and I am actually pleased you will use my mistake in your class.

    Needless to say, I am much less logically-gifted-trained-and-able than you and was therefore speaking in less formally-correct terms.

  262. Richard Gaylord Says:

    Scott:
    Comment #232 January 15th, 2021 at 10:21 pm
    “The problem is that, until the next Senate is seated, the Democrats have no power over the timing of the impeachment trial. Mitch McConnell does.”
    I’m surprised that you’re ignorant of the rules. read
    https://www.senate.gov/about/resources/pdf/1868-impeachment-rules.pdf
    so in fact, the Democrats have total control over the timing of the trial.

  263. Michael Says:

    @Richard#262- The problem was that the Senate was in recess:
    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/mcconnell-rejects-emergency-session-for-trial
    “The Senate is in recess but can be summoned to return for an emergency session if the two party leaders, McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., agree. Schumer wanted an emergency meeting to hold the trial and remove Trump from office before his term expires, but a McConnell spokesman said GOP aides told Schumer’s office that McConnell would not agree.”

  264. neelankatan Says:

    Ugh go away John Stricker. It’s January 19 and Trump just extended best wishes to the new administration. Do you still think your moronic prediction will come true? Scott for chrissakes please do something about this nutjob spamming the comments section.

  265. Léon Planken Says:

    Long-time lurker from the Netherlands here.
    I want to echo the comment from Michel #258, and also express my appreciation for John Stricker. Although I don’t agree with your point of view, I admire the civil and sometimes lightly humorous discourse: a relief in these polarised times.

  266. mjgeddes Says:

    John’s promised ‘evidence’ finally dropped. Trump is a con-man. I’m shocked I tell you, shocked ! 😀 All his stuff has been hauled away in moving trucks and he’s given his farewell speech. He’s milked his supporters dry and now he’s making off with all the loot.

    Trump raised over $200 million on the ‘fight election fraud’ scam, and he couldn’t resist one last con on the way out, offering to ‘sell’ pardons

    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/01/trump-pardons-allies-collecting-money.html

    “The efforts to obtain pardons from the outgoing president have only grown more feverish recently after it became clear Trump had no way to challenge his loss to President-elect Joe Biden. Those who have managed to turn pardon-lobbying into a lucrative business are selling their ability to get the ear of the president who is known to care little about protocol.”

  267. John Stricker Says:

    neelankatan #264:

    Sorry, but these colours don´t run. But I agree it does look sort of dismal for my position. Like I said before: have more thoughts, let´s wait and see, will honor my bets; and I will also hear out all criticism and derision that Scott will allow through moderation.

    —————————

    Léon Planken #265:

    Thank you 🙂 . Incidently, you are the second dutch online friend I made today…

    Hopefully, the extreme polarisation will, over time, diminish again.

  268. Deepa / D Says:

    The American govt has a fresh start today.

    I hope Trump retires to oblivion, his supporters find true happiness leaving this cult behind, Biden governs wisely from the center, and that we deal with the pandemic like a well-governed country would.

    Wish you all the best, Biden & Harris!

  269. David R Says:

    In contrast to neelankatan #264, I think Scott should set up a live stream of John Stricker’s face during the time of Biden’s inauguration for us all to enjoy.

    I’m kidding of course. But now that today is the day, I am honestly curious how you are feeling John Stricker? Still at 95% confidence that Trump will be inaugurated? If Biden is inaugurated, then will you still think there is some significant chance that Trump will be inaugurated sometime in the next few weeks?

  270. Zur Luria Says:

    This is such an exciting day: Trump is gone! This seems as good a place as any to kibitz.

    Trump’s departure has left a vacuum behind. What will the headlines scream about in the coming four years? What will Biden’s goals and achievements be, other than not being Trump? What should we wish for ourselves in the next four years?

    On the Covid front, there is a clear path forward: Vaccinate everyone as fast as possible. Hundreds of thousands more may die, but now we know what we have to do.

    But the deep division in American society is here to stay. The problem is that there is just no way to get someone who hates you to like you. Biden must try to be the best president he can and hope that the results speak for themselves.

    With respect to foreign policy, Biden should follow Trump’s lead.

    In the world Obama (and Biden) left us in 2016, civil wars were raging in every country from Nigeria to Pakistan (with the sole exceptions of Morocco and Jordan). Hundreds of thousands lost their lives, and many millions of refugees brought Europe to its knees. A frickin Caliphate controlled most of Syria and Iraq.

    Trump leaves a much more peaceful world behind him. Honestly, the kind of progress that has been made in the middle east would have been unthinkable four years ago.

    Of course, many liberals refuse to accept the reality that Trump’s isolationist approach to foreign policy and Kushner’s focus on economic cooperation rather than seeking justice for oppressed minorities have been amazing successes. I can only hope that Biden isn’t one of them.

  271. ultimaniacy Says:

    A reminder to everyone that Stricker has already pre-committed that he will wait until at least 12 days after the inauguration before he admits that it was in fact Biden and not Trump who was inaugurated. Given that this is obviously nonsensical on its face, and he has not even attempted to explain the reason for the delay, I take this as a thinly-veiled way of saying “I’m never admitting I lost the bet and there’s nothing you can do about it”.

  272. Scott Says:

    John Stricker #267: The part that got me the most was the utter confidence that you expressed in your wackadoodleism. You didn’t merely believe or hope that Trump was going to unveil his secret plan this morning to reverse the election result, but in comment after comment affected to be 100% certain about it.

    There’s a tiny part of me that feels sorry for you at this moment. Only a tiny part, but it’s there.

    Congratulations to the new President and Vice-President!

  273. Dan Staley Says:

    John Stricker #267: I’m not going to offer you criticism nor derision, but instead advice: Learn from this. Always remember it’s possible to be completely and utterly sure of something, but still be wrong. And in the future, bae your beliefs more on evidence, and less on gossip (no matter how much regard you hold for the gossipers).

  274. atreat Says:

    All,

    “I will also hear out all criticism and derision that Scott will allow through moderation.”

    What you need is a mental hospital. I don’t say that derisively nor is it meant as criticism. You’ve been living under *extreme* delusion akin to a psychotic break from reality.

    To those who are placing bets with this mentally unstable man or would be giving derision I think are not understanding the gravity and consequences (both personal and for society) of so many having such extreme delusion.

  275. penttrioctium Says:

    Oh be quiet Stricker, and go reevaluate your epistemology.

    It’s official, America is back. LIBERALISM WINS AGAIN!!

    Time to get back on those trend lines, there’s stuff that needs to be done.

  276. Tamas V Says:

    Scott #272: Wait, it’s not over yet, it may be just a new, extended timeline… but until Trump is back, I hope you’ll find some time for writing the second installment on CH.

  277. neelankatan Says:

    I’m reposting this spectacularly cocky post from user Gadi #15 some weeks ago. My favorite part is where (s)he says: “I don’t think you have the slightest clue of what’s going on, and you wouldn’t believe me if I told you

    I’m going to make the following prediction: by 21th of January, Trump will be inaugurated.

    Before that, you’ll see a noticeable shift in republican and democrat behavior that will appear to come out of nowhere, and they will say that these protests proved that the people still demand an explanation. You’re going to see an investigation and suddenly, you’re going to see the evidence the other side talked about, and all the news media which seemingly ignored everything will suddenly talk about it. And before you know it, somehow the whole mood will change and you will be shocked too. And magically, within 14 days, the “nation” will heal and unite behind Donald Trump after everyone hated him so much.

    I’m just going to put up this prediction, so that in 15 days from now I get to say I told you so. I also had change of heart and I now think Trump is a disgusting manipulative piece of shit, but for completely different reasons than what you think. I don’t think you have the slightest clue of what’s going on, and you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.

  278. OhMyGoodness Says:

    atreat #274

    Unfortunately I don’t believe Biden supporters are any less susceptible to delusions than are Trump supporters. Delusions an individual shares are seen as reasonable beliefs while unshared delusions are considered batshit crazy. This is common and often related to the power of a simplifying ideology over mass human thought.

  279. fred Says:

    OhMyGoodness #278

    Sure, there is craziness on the extremes on both sides, feeding on each other, in some downward spiral.
    But the problem was that the president himself was standing on one extreme, which made things way way worse.
    We needed someone who’s “middle of the road”.

    “The middle of the road is all of the usable surface. The extremes, right and left, are in the gutters.”
    — Dwight D. Eisenhower

  280. cyan Says:

    neelankatan #43, #277: tip of the cap to you but you’re technically one day early 😜

  281. Brian Says:

    Richard Gaylord #262: “so in fact, the Democrats have total control over the timing of the trial.” [Referring to Scott’s saying they didn’t back on the 15th]

    No, Scott was right and the Democrats still do not have control of the Senate agenda quite yet. For Democrats to control the Senate they needed several things to be completed: 1) Georgia’s new senators seated, 2) Alex Padilla sworn in to replace Kamala Harris in the Senate, and 3) Kamala Harris sworn in as VP.

    When all that has happened the Senate will be split 50-50 and VP Harris will have the tie-breaking vote to give control to the Democrats. So far 3) has just happened and 2) may have happened as Harris was going to swear in her Senate replacement today. But 1) will probably not be for another day as Georgia has just certified their elections today I believe.

    So Scott was right, and it’s probably not a good look to accuse others of being ignorant.

  282. Scott Says:

    Michael #263 and Brian #281: Thanks very much for explaining!

  283. Martin Mertens Says:

    What a relief. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I might be up for some math and science posts in the near future!

    Speaking of which, hey Scott: Suppose I’m the kind of person who is quite happy to assume the law of the excluded middle and the axiom of choice. If I knew what large cardinals were I’m guessing I’d assume those too. Does this suggest I should lean a certain way on the continuum hypothesis?

  284. Scott Says:

    Martin Mertens #283: Alas, none of the commitments you listed seem to help decide CH one way or the other.

  285. John Stricker Says:

    Well, that was disappointing.

    Time to negotiate my surrender, I guess.

    So, first things first: Congratulations to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on their inauguration!

    Second: I hereby concede my bets to Chip and OhMyGoodness. As verification method I suggest I take sufficently anonymized-but-expressive screenshots of the respective payment processes, which I will send to Scott (if he agrees) who can then forward them to you. I will perhaps choose to utilize the whole agreed-upon time period as stated in comment #209. (Detractors please see fourth point below.)

    Thirdly, to those who wrote more friendly, or honestly worried comments: thank you, but I was just mistaken, not delusional; I am and will be fine. I came prepared for all eventualities (wouldn´t have engaged otherwise in this “hostile environment” 😉 and have no regrets. Whatever else remains I will contemplate in the coming days and weeks.

    Forthly, to the less charitable commenters: it is getting tiresome. Perhaps you can do a little better.

    Lastly, this has been quite an experience. In some ways pleasant, in other ways less so. I wish Scott well, and everyone here as well.

    Ultimately, I wish the American Republic well. Long may it last.

  286. Sipulipekka Says:

    I just came here to comment that I will treat the dignified surrender above as evidence that civilized agreements over disagreements over signifigant and testable matters are possible and solvable. Non-American here – I wish your nation the best. May it survive and be well and let other nations be well as well to the extent that it realistically can.

  287. DavidG Says:

    Suddenly it seems America has become America again. You had me worried for a moment.

  288. fred Says:

    An exclusive look at Trump’s special letter to Biden (he couldn’t just choose one, so he picked all of them):

    https://s3media.247sports.com/Uploads/Assets/508/800/9800508.gif

  289. Scott Says:

    John Stricker #285: Your concession is gratefully accepted. Even if not quite like this, I too have had cherished theoretical assumptions crumble before my eyes, and it’s never easy, but clearly acknowledging one’s mistake (as you have) is hands-down the way to go. Cheers!

  290. John Stricker Says:

    Thank you, Scott.

  291. D. L. Yonge-Mallo Says:

    I would like to hear from Gadi #15 and CoolGuy #179 about any updated thoughts they might have about their predictions.

    Bravo to John Stricker #285 for admitting to being wrong. That’s a pretty rare thing to do. But I wonder if you will be re-evaluating your opinion of Trump?

    I can easily understand why a Trump supporter would object to the description of Biden or Harris (or either Clinton) as “decent” people. All career politicians seem to have done unsavoury deeds of one sort or another (and perhaps that’s what it takes to succeed in politics). But if you can see their faults that the mainstream media mostly ignores (to preserve access or decorum or whatever), how can you fail to see the many worse faults in Trump which the media regularly points out? How do you explain his various business scams? His infidelity to his wives? His disloyalty to his underlings? His nepotism and obvious attempts to enrich himself and his family using his Presidency?

    Even if you think the media might be too gleeful in portraying Trump as a narcissistic conman, I can’t understand how anyone could think that portrayal is false, given that his lawsuits, conflicts with former employees, divorces, and statements about women, minorities, and foreigners are matters of public record. How can you accuse someone with a positive view of Biden/Harris of having “done no research whatsoever on either of them, and are only following media hearsay” at the same time that you hold a positive opinion of Trump, when even a little research shows that he’s much worse?

  292. Chip Says:

    John #285: Kudos on your gracious concession. Scott doesn’t have to forward anything to me, I’m willing to take Scott’s word as to whether whatever you provide to him is convincing evidence of a donation. So you don’t have to dig back through the comments, here is a direct link to the Capital Area Food Bank home page: https://www.capitalareafoodbank.org/

    OMG #226 didn’t provide a link to his charity-of-choice — the Navy SEAL Foundation homepage is: https://www.navysealfoundation.org/

    Interesting to see a number of articles today about the different ways folks in the Qanon community are coping:

    https://slate.com/technology/2021/01/how-qanon-believers-reacted-to-the-biden-inauguration-hint-not-so-well.html

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/01/20/qanon-trump-era-ends/

    Atreat #274: On the contrary, I am painfully aware of the danger posed by the toxic brew of Bircher- and Protocols-style conspiracy theories married to a Pre-Mil/Pre-Trib eschatology in which political opponents get identified with the Forces of Evil that has emerged on the Right in the US. If I had some grand strategy for convincing people to exercise a higher (or, given some of what comes across my Facebook feed, a truly minimal) degree of critical thinking and self-awareness of cognitive biases, I’d be working to implement it. Absent that, if I can leverage the situation to put some food in the bellies of hungry area residents, I’ll settle for that for now.

    OMG #278: Purely as an empirical question, I don’t think the evidence supports both sideism here. That’s not to say that there aren’t Democrats who hold beliefs that are equally unfalsifiable or contrary to the data, but the magnitude of the problem is not even remotely symmetric. Consider the Macedonian clickbait farms back in 2016 — these were folks with no political agenda, but they mostly aimed their products at Trump supporters because that was what was profitable.

  293. Sipulipekka Says:

    #291: I apologize for responding with a video link (a stand-up piece by Carlin), but I think it hits the spot. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1iIUUVjeQ0

  294. OhMyGoodness Says:

    John Stricker #285

    I believe you are an honorable man and I don’t need any proof of the payment that I am sure you will make.

  295. aram Says:

    John Stricker, congratulations on making a falsifiable test of your beliefs and updating accordingly.

    Can I ask what led you to believe Biden wouldn’t take office? Was it qanon? Or something else?

  296. Michel Says:

    A different perspective: (moving from QAnon to canon)

    I think it is time to convince everybody that the government is indeed in the hands of a strange sect that has taken over both the Chamber and the Senate: Many of them socalled ‘religionists’, believing in many unproven claims like god (aka God, Hashem, Brahma etc ). Even worse: many believe in fully abstract concepts such as democracy, the right to freedom of speech and other freedoms. All scientifically unprovable!! Also many of them are also convinced heterophiles* and even flaunt this openly. A scary lot indeed. Even evolutionists among them. And still about 100% of the voters choose (chose) these people, showing how deluded they are. Be wary!

    *(enjoying other-sex marriages)

  297. Scott Says:

    Michel #296: While your latter examples are just silly, the “religionist” example is interesting. While I don’t doubt that Biden is sincere in his Catholicism, the important point is that when he’s weighing what his advisers tell him about (say) mRNA vaccines or climate change, the Book of Revelations presumably plays no more role in his thinking than it does in the thinking of Richard Dawkins.

    In contrast to that, though, there are still many people, including ones with great political power, who really do literally believe the scriptures of their religions more-or-less as people did centuries ago, all the way to the point of wanting to cleanse the world of infidels. And those really are among the most terrifying people on the planet.

  298. John Stricker Says:

    All: thank you! (Especially OhMyGoodness.)

    For those with further questions: my apologies, but I have said all I had to say on the matter.

  299. Chip Says:

    Re: OMG #294: John, I’m also willing to put you on the honor system rather than having you send anything to Scott. I’m sure the SEALs and hungry folks will appreciate your donations.

  300. John Stricker Says:

    Thank you Chip, I appreciate it.

  301. OhMyGoodness Says:

    Scott #297

    I am often reminded of the Book of Revelations, in logical form, when I hear or read the latest apocalyptic prediction from Gore, Biden, AOC, et al.

    The Seventh Climate Seal will be broken within the next year and mankind will irrevocably disappear from the face of the earth. Gaia will no longer tolerate our injustices-it is an existential threat for humanity. When the forecasts are wrong by the used-by-date then of no consequence for the belief system.

    This logical form has played well through the centuries and so no surprise it is still in use. The mechanics of tithing has been upgraded to version 2.0.

  302. ThirteenthLetter Says:

    “I viewed the stunning passivity of the police yesterday against white insurrectionists in the Capitol as one of the strongest arguments imaginable for BLM’s main contentions.”

    Scott, I have to ask if you were in a coma all year?

    Let’s spell it out. What happened to the “white insurrectionists”? Everyone in the country outside of QAnon dead-enders has denounced them (rightfully so), the FBI has been hunting them down and arresting them (rightfully so), they’re going to have a book of charges flung at them (rightfully so), and they got absolutely zero of what they demanded (rightfully so.)

    What happened to the BLM “peaceful protesters”? Their charges were virtually all dropped, every corporation endorsed them, Kamala Harris donated to their bail funds, and they got streets named after them as well as actual police defunding in several cities. And even now, if I was criticizing them under my own name I’d be unemployed tomorrow.

    For this to be equivalent treatment, never mind better, you’d have to imagine that after the Capitol riot corporations started putting red-white-and-blue Qs in their Twitter avatars, the rioters were celebrated in the media as their charges were dropped, and Joe Biden graciously agreed to a power-sharing agreement with Donald Trump. Needless to say nothing remotely like that happened.

  303. Blissex Says:

    «What happened to the “white insurrectionists”? […] What happened to the BLM “peaceful protesters”?»

    But the response of the authorities to the previous violent attack and occupation of Congress by “white insurrectionists”, even if it was widely praised and endorsed, was also pretty brutal:

    https://www.workers.org/2018/10/39345/
    «At the vote confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 6, woman after woman screamed out in protest from the Senate gallery and was carried away by guards. … People were pounding in outrage on the closed entrance to the Senate floor. … U.S. Capitol Police said a total of 164 people were arrested that day for “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding.” … The depth of opposition to Kavanaugh was revealed when on Oct. 4 over a thousand people from throughout the country, mostly women, demonstrated on Capitol Hill. … At the Senate Hart Office Building, crowds saying “NO” to sexual assault and to the reactionary agenda that Kavanaugh represents flooded the atrium and every floor. Over 300 chanting, militant protesters were arrested that day. … There were too many acts of indignation and outrage at Kavanaugh’s nomination to list them all. … Outrage against Kavanaugh broke out initially on July 9 at the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill … During Senate Judiciary Committee hearings the first week in September, over 227 demonstrators were arrested.»

    At the similar violent attack and occupation of the HK Legislative Council, which was also widely praised and endorsed in the USA Congress, the reaction of the authorities was also pretty brutal:

    https://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2019/07/01/hong-kong-protesters-legislative-council-matt-rivers-vpx.cnn
    https://www.bbc.com/news/av/stories-49157807
    «On 1 July 2019, hundreds of protesters stormed Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, (Legco), spraying graffiti and defacing symbols of the Hong Kong law-making body. The ransacking of the government building marked a turning point in a protest movement against a now suspended extradition law.»

    Clearly the attackers in 2018 and 2019 were “freedom fighters” and those in 2020 were “terrorists” :-), but the response of the authorities was pretty brutal in all three cases.

  304. ThirteenthLetter Says:

    Blissex #303: If the Capitol police treated that gang of “white insurrectionists” brutally in 2018 as you say, then that’s just further evidence against Scott’s thesis, no?

  305. Calvin Says:

    So, it’s three weeks later, although I’m sure many still feel strongly about the matter. I know what that feeling is like, the burning, yelling rage. It’s called hate. Sure, you attempt to justify it, maybe saying it’s okay because it’s okay to hate Nazis. Does hating Nazis make anything better? It certainly feels good, to hate, but I’m sure there are plenty of people who would attest that meth feels good. Who are we to tell them otherwise?

    I put forward, for your inspection and hopefully introspection, that you are not yourself when you hate. Ask yourself, if you have children, how does “you” feel when “you” looks at them? Maybe tired, exasperated, but definitely loving. Could “you” imagine feeling the way about your children as you do about trumpists? Of course “you” could not hate your children, but someone else could, maybe a Nazi, which is when “hate” comes in and starts talking for “you.”

    Now putting aside the quotes, if you lets hate do all the talking, you starts to fade away. The neurons in your brain that reinforce when hate talks grow, those that look on your children lovingly shrink. Of course, it would take a lot of hate to outweigh the love you have for your children, but you should still be careful. Hate can feel quite good in its intensity, whereas love is most of the time more subtle in its effects, warm fuzzies instead of hot sauna, a delicious meal instead of meth.

    Do you feel the need to make excuses for love, the same way you do about hate? You’d have to be pretty heartless to say, “it’s okay for me to love my own children.” It is not something you would ever apologize for, because it is good to love your children. So why do you need to apologize for hating? If it’s good, you can just do it and everyone will understand.

    But then, if you hate the other with such a conviction that you need not defend it, what will you do when someone comes along who doesn’t feel the same way? If someone comes along and says, “I know trumpists, and I cannot hate them,” will you not begin to hate that trumpist-sympathizer? It is not then something that anyone is allowed to disagree upon. If you don’t hate trumpists, then you’re as bad as they are and deserve the same fate.

    What fate is that? To live happily and peacefully ever after, unmolested and unharassed? No, they engaged in the “harm” of not agreeing with the moral precepts, and if they go unpunished then others might get it in their head that trumpists don’t need to be hated. So punish them, maybe make them wear a yellow T everywhere they go and tell them “May you live the rest of your lives in shame.”

    Not that these extrapolations are inevitable, I recently read a post on this blog that had some funny ideas about treating a hated group with compassion. Too bad it was written by the same guy who wrote the above spittle-flecked post. Nobody’s perfect, I guess.

  306. Scott Says:

    Calvin #305: On reflection, you are absolutely right. I hereby retract this post and apologize for it.

    But let me be clear: I retract and apologize not because I was wrong about Trump, or because Trump supporters did nothing to merit my hate. If you just, like, look at the thing objectively, I was right about Trump, and his supporters did plenty to merit a reasonable person’s hate! Instead, I retract and apologize because, were I further along than I currently am on the path of grace and wisdom, I would’ve focused less on my (understandable) feelings of hate for those who reveled in the gleeful cruelty and lies of the last four years. I would’ve focused more on figuring out some actionable ways to build bridges and make the world a little bit better than I found it, just like Obama and Biden and other center-left politicians are always urging in their speeches. They’re right about it, even if (being human) they don’t act that way themselves 100% of the time.

  307. anon Says:

    Scott #306: Okay, so is it time to all come together now, arm and arm and unite? Or, do you believe there is justice to be served?

    My opinion: I think it is reasonable not to hate Hitler, Jeffery Dahmer, or other such men, simply as a method to cope with the all consuming nature of such emotion. But to call them redeemed? To call them innocent? To absolve them of their destruction? To unite behind them? This is what you are being asked to do when Republicans call for unity. They are manipulating you to get away with their crimes. There has to be truth, reconciliation, and justice. We were all witnesses to a man being pinned down on his throat on the street by the knee of the government, for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, a large part of that time after he was already dead, for the crime of… allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy a pack of cigarettes.

    Meanwhile, the actions and inactions of the Trump administration led to 474,288 deaths as of today, with at a bare minimum, 276,442 of the deaths directly attributed to the fact that Trump declined the opportunity to act upon the advice of his own health advisors until March 16th, at least 3 months later than the earliest possible time for action. If Trump simply had done everything he eventually did do, 1 week earlier, is it estimated that 60% of the deaths could have been avoided: https://trumpdeathclock.com/. So is it time to hold hands and sing with our Republican brothers and sisters who support Trump? Are they pure and innocent people who just happen to randomly awry? Is mass murder in style this season?

    Republicans who voted for Trump in 2016 I understand, and do not hold to fault. Hilary Clinton was not a popular candidate, and colloquially Trump was considered a wildcard candidate, even though his evil was in plain sight if you looked at him beyond the surface level. But to vote for him again in 2020? You want to unify with those kinds of people? Not me. I want to help them. I want to cure them. Because they are sick. Demented. Sadistic. Evil. To unify with them is to be complicit in their crimes. Justice must be served to Trump, insurrectionist politicians must be expelled, and the American epidemic of sadism must be cured.

  308. Tom Grey Says:

    [#3 comment] This is the post, with the last comments, which I’ve been thinking about for a week. Tho not this reply.
    Calvin #305 “the burning, yelling rage. It’s called hate. Sure, you attempt to justify it, maybe saying it’s okay because it’s okay to hate Nazis.”

    Why were the Nazis so bad? Because they dehumanized other people, Jews, Gypsies, and political opponents – which allowed them to justify using violence against those they insulted and felt superior to.

    Scott #306 “I retract and apologize not because I was wrong about Trump, or because Trump supporters did nothing to merit my hate.”

    You should be repeating some action or result that merits.
    Like “He left Top Secret documents on an illegal server outside of the gov’t” (not Trump tho)
    or “He obstructed justice to let off his Sec. of State for her illegal server” (not Trump)
    or “He illegally spied, worse than Nixon, on the other side’s candidate” (still not Trump).

    At least Anon #306 does blame Trump for Fentanyl overdosed, Covid positive, meth using George Floyd’s death by police restraining him, brutally tho in accordance with then-current (since revoked) police manual procedures for refusing to go into the squad car because he “can’t breathe”.
    Really? That’s Trump’s fault?
    Or the Chinese Communist Party virus from Wuhan, probably created partly from funding by the US – those deaths are Trump’s fault?
    We should all hate the FDA and the CDC, full of career bureaucrats (mostly voting Dem) far more than Trump for this.

    “The violent insurrection now unfolding in Washington DC is precisely the thing you called me nuts, accused me of “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” for warning about since 2016.”

    You’ve really been warning of brownshirts since 2016 – and NEVER saw Trump supporters being violent until 2021?

    Far more than many of the BLM protests, the capitol protest against a stolen election was “mostly peaceful”.
    5 people died: 3 Trump supporters of heart attacks or problems in crowd crush.
    1 Trump supporter shot in the neck, to death, despite being an unarmed female (trespassing and attempting to enter thru a window). No imminent threat. No attempt to arrest her.
    Ashli Babbitt was more clearly killed by police, tragically and somewhat unjustly (not innocent) than was George Floyd. [Had the police not come Floyd would likely have died, more peacefully, from overdose – like thousands of others, under Trump and under Obama.)

    5th person who died – Police Officer Sicknick. There’s no evidence of head trauma, no video of him being hit with a fire extinguisher. Did you believe Trump supporters killed him, thanks to NYT lies? / (unnamed) law enforcement officials?
    They’re still not sure what killed him, but after the protest riot, he went to the police station, and only the next day went to the hospital, where he died. Maybe a blood clot.
    [3 years ago I almost died of a blood clot in my heart – no good reason why. Now on meds, walking instead of running in my retirement].

    Glenn Greenwald will be getting more Rep publicity if he continues being truthful:
    “Condemning that [Jan 6] riot does not allow, let alone require, echoing false claims in order to render the event more menacing and serious than it actually was. There is no circumstance or motive that justifies the dissemination of false claims by journalists…

    Yet this is exactly what has happened, and continues to happen, since that riot almost seven weeks ago.”

    Are you going to echo false claims?

  309. anon Says:

    Scott, how could you post #308 from Tom Grey instead of laying it to rest in moderation? Shame on you.

  310. Scott Says:

    anon #309: Honestly? I didn’t even read it. It’s been quite a week. I’m going to close down this thread now.