- Glenn Sonnenberg
Musings from the Bunker 1/7/21
FIRST, FOUR QUOTES: “Democracy is fragile, requiring leaders with the courage to stand up” who are “devoted not to the pursuits of power, but to the common good.” --President-Elect Biden “Today’s violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump. His use of the Presidency to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens has been enabled by pseudo political leaders whose names will live in infamy as profiles in cowardice.” –James Mattis, Former Secretary of Defense “This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic—not our democratic republic.” –George W. Bush “There are only two parties remaining today—patriots and traitors –Ulysses S. Grant in 1861 Musings from the Bunker #300 (Thursday January 7) Dear Friends, Today was to be a series of “best of” selections on this 300th Musing from the Bunker. But events have taken control. I won’t mince words and I won’t bury the lede. Donald Trump should be removed from office via the 25th Amendment. He has incited rioting, violence and insurrection. He is unfit for office—and has been for the past four years. He is a dangerous man. He is mentally unstable. His administration is a criminal enterprise of self-dealing, retribution and ignorance of facts. He must be removed. If Mike Pence is a patriot, he will call a cabinet meeting to do this promptly. Yesterday was one of the darkest days in American history. Yesterday we got a taste of what our country has devolved into and how things may well get worse. Our president motivated this insurrection in calling forth this “Save America March.” Among other things, he said: “You will never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength. You have to be strong.” Republican leadership and conservative news media encouraged it. This day will be emblazoned in our memories—we will remember where we were and what we did—along with the Kennedy assassination, the hasty departure from Saigon, the Challenger disaster, and 9/11. This was not a assemblage of angry protesters protesting for civil rights or against a war or injustice. This was a group motivated solely for the purpose of ignoring the facts and the results of legitimate elections. The new Justice Department must get at the root of this organization—who, what and when—but one thing is certain. Donald Trump was there. He wasn’t there at the Capitol but he was there in spirit—he inspired, encouraged and abetted them. He will leave office in the ignominy he deserves. The shameless, venal display, fueled by the President and his enablers, is nothing short of sedition. Shame on the President and shame on Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Ron Johnson and others who have seized upon the deranged President’s rantings and unsubstantiated claims, encouraging their constituents to protest. After 60 courts have ruled there is no election fraud, multiple recounts have confirmed results, and the certifications of votes by the States has occurred, they are spewing lies and conspiracy theories solely for political gain and positioning. They should all be impeached or censured. They are COMPLICIT! HEADLINES PILING UP Here are statements that would be headline-grabbing and norm-bending individually, but were happening in real time yesterday:
President encourages protestors in front of the White House and riles them up to go to the Capitol and tell you what you think.
Crowds of protestors flood the U.S. Capitol
Capitol locked down
Gas masks delivered on the House floor
Vice President evacuated from the Capitol
Members of Congress being told to shelter in place, cowering under desks and in cloak rooms
Confederate flags carried to the Capitol
Armed stand-off in front of the House chamber
Protester manning the dais in the House chamber yelling “Trump won that election.”
Capitol police asking for law enforcement assistance.
Officer inside House chamber calling in “officer in distress,” asking for back-up. “We are stretched very thin…”
Woman shot and killed on the Capitol grounds
Pipe bombs found at the Democratic National Committee
And in the past two days:
Passengers on plane with U.S. Senator Mitt Romney chanting “traitor; traitor…”
A state representative not seated in Pennsylvania because their opponent refused to concede and Lieutenant Governor, presiding at the time, escorted from the chamber
Eric Trump (“We’re coming for you and we’re going to have a good time doing it”) and Rudy Giuliani (“Let’s have a trial by combat”) calling for warfare and retribution against adversaries
This is what happens when lies and fake news are allowed to run rampant, fueled by the very people we have elected to protect our democracy.
A gallows and a noose at the Capitol
A man lying down near the Capitol, imitating George Floyd on the ground
A man in red, white and blue face paint in the capitol
A rioter sitting at the chair’s desk in the House chamber
A person with a “Camp Auschwitz” t-shirt
Let’s remember we had people protesting police brutality and killings and they were gassed for a photo opportunity for the President. Peaceful protesters were gassed, arrested and beaten. In this case, we have images of Capitol police helping insurrectionists down the stairs, holding their hands. Were these protesters black, might the response have been different?
SOME QUOTES FROM THE DAY
Former DC Police Chief Charles Ramsey to Trump: “He did this.” He said if he were still Police Chief he would say “Shut the hell up and get out of the way.” He noted that this is “as close to a coup attempt as this country has ever seen.”
Jake Tapper, “Trump is spilling fuel like the Exxon Valdez.” John King, “What the Republicans are doing is not just a fantasy. It’s a dangerous fantasy.”
From the idiotic Mo Brooks of Alabama, who has been stoking this fire for weeks, “At least Socialist Democrats have NOT defunded Capitol police. Evacuating chamber.”
Congresswoman Norma Torres: “This is the United States of America and this is what we have to go through, because Trump has called on homegrown terrorists to come to the Capitol and invalidate people’s rights.”
President-elect Biden: “This is not dissent…this is disorder…it borders on sedition…”
WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN AFTER THIS
Besides our democracy and beyond our somnambulance as facts are thrown to the curb, not believing “this could ever happen here” our innocence has been torn away. It can happen here. And this will continue, with gun and ammunition sales at alarming highs. But here’s what else we can expect:
Investigation in the failures of the security around the capitol, notwithstanding warnings
Investigation into the organizers of this gathering
Prosecution of many of the protesters, whose faces are clearly visible on film
Censure of those who incited to violence; possibly including prosecution
An accelerated move to constrain social media publishing lies and incendiary rhetoric and hate speech without consequence. Twitter has tried a bit—but Facebook and YouTube hardly at all. Curiously, YouTube finally indicated today it would prioritize “real news” in its feed.
A commission to create a Model Elections Code, to once and for all propose reasonable rules that states should follow
My opinions are no secret to you all. I believed the objections to the certification of President-elect Biden’s victory were baseless. The members of Congress who yesterday allegedly believed that our election process is flawed and that an election was “stolen” today stopped their political posturing about “stopping the steal,’ not because they saw any evidence to change their minds but because it was always a cold and calculated, shameful attempt to curry favor with their most loony supporters. And it has been shown to be the lie that it always was. We cannot forget the names of those initially supporting this crazy seditious scheme.
DEAR FRIENDS WHO SUPPORT TRUMP
I have been patient with my friends who continue to support President Trump, thinking their support was based upon some ideology, some sort of support of Trump’s “strength and honesty,” or some great fear of a liberal destruction of our country. I have concluded that they have been possessed by the same tribalism as Republican lawmakers.
To them I say that this no longer is a question of politics. It is a question of morality. It is a question of patriotism. It is a question of honesty. It is a question of democracy. It is a question of facts. It is a question of acceptance of the verdict of the people.
This morning I read a post from a conservative friend of mine who openly abandoned Mr. Trump. Another de-registered from the Republican party today. They still have legitimate policy differences with the Democrats but they have principles. It’s not too late for the rest of you to abandon Trumpism and the anti-science, anti-democratic, anti-truthfulness, sedition that it embodies.
I no longer have patience for you. You are complicit in supporting the President and his supporters continuing to espouse baseless conspiracies and inciting violence. Now it is reaching its denouement. And I don’t think it ends here. We have nothing left to talk about. There is nothing to say. I can see no theory by which you can continue your support of this anti-American behavior.
SOME GOOD NEWS TODAY
Jon Ossoff’s election to the U.S. Senate has been called by the Associated Press. He exceeds David Perdue’s total by more than .5%, outside of the spread that would require a runoff. Mitt Romney, not usually one for irony: “It turns out that telling the voters that the election was rigged is not a great way to turn out your voters.”
Democrats now control the Senate, ensuring some action—any action—to address COVID and the economy.
Merrick Garland is nominated as Attorney General.
Mitch McConnell and Mike Pence FINALLY stand up to Trump’s absurd assertion that Congress (or the Vice President) can overturn an election—JUST TOO LITTLE AND TOO LATE
CONSPIRACY? I have been railing against the rampant conspiracy theories out there, unfounded, without evidence or facts. But I suggest there just may be something unseemly here. Mr. Trump has been encouraging protesters to come to Washington to protest for a while. He, Eric Trump, Rudy Giuliani and others have used incendiary language that incites violence. The DC Metropolitan Police and the Capitol Police have known of this coming and yet security was light and the rioters were practically invited in. Michael Flynn and other bad actors were pardoned. Mr. Flynn since has been encouraging using troops to maintain power. I suspect we will learn a lot about the organizers of this riot and I think some pretty senior folks will be implicated. POWER AND INFLUENCE Let’s be clear. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz have pursued the unthinkable. Period. Full stop. They know the facts. They know the Constitution. They know Mr. Biden won. They are pandering to a wild and violent base and are abetting terrible behaviors. Indeed, Mr. Hawley raised his fist in support of the thugs. Congress should censure these people. MITT ROMNEY GETS THE LAST WORD While I mean no disrespect for President Obama, I remain proud of my vote for Mitt Romney, one of the last principled members of the Republican party. I derive some comfort from the words of the last Republican I voted for. I cannot conceive of voting for a Republican in the foreseeable future: “President Trump has disrespected the American voters, has dishonored the election system and has disgraced the office of the presidency.” and… “This is what the president has caused today; this is insurrection.” And that’s what it is. The criminal enterprise that is the Trump administration has thirteen days to go… It can’t happen soon enough. Stay safe, Glenn PS: Tomorrow, the shame of Hawley and the misrepresentation of history. Next week, books, movies, and ideas...promise!