The reaction is all overblown. In some vague sense this was indeed a coup attempt, but in such a pathetic weak disorganised and always utterly hopeless way that it doesn't really deserve the name. Better said, it was a riot, with (as many have commented) laughably weak policing in stark contrast to how BLM was handled. But - as is evident from the pix and vidz - the rioters had no plan, and no idea what to do when they got in. And they could not have had a plan, because what could it have been? Seize the building and hold it? Why: what use would that be: none at all. The only plan that would make sense would be: seize-and-hold and then wait for the national insurrection, which you've just inspired. But, there was none, and their could not have been, cos all the nutters they could dredge up were in the riot.
This brings me to part B, the twilight of the Trump. Various folks have said that Trump will remain dominating the Repubs; might even run in 2024, and so on. I don't believe it. He has not the patience, or the staying power. He will just fuck off and ghost-write his memoirs, or retreat to playing golf, or some other stupid thing.
Which I'll update as interesting things come in. Do I agree with "Don’t exaggerate the threat of the Capitol rioters" from Spiked? Mostly. Certainly the initial stuff. But he disappoints with his But I’m more worried about the anti-democratic elites - which he mostly targets at fb and Twatter for blocking the Mango Mussolini. I think fb and Twatter are being reasonable; even restrained. But I do hope this small episode isn't used to push for yet more securitisation of pols.
Effort to impeach Trump again gathers pace after 'attempted coup' at Capitol says the Graun, and plenty of others (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would move forward with impeachment if Mr Trump did not resign immediately). Mostly this is rather unattractive you-lost-we-won-now-we're-going-to-grind-your-face-in-the-dust kind of stuff, which is the antithesis of democracy. Remember, part of making transitions violence-free is the assurance that the losers will not be punished - just look at all those African (or Syria) strongmen hanging grimly onto power because if they lose it, they'll be strung up.
At this stage, impeachment seems symbolic, perhaps even nakedly political: there seems little prospect of it going through in time, and perhaps the only real Dem aim is to be able to say later "but Repub X refused to join in". The Dems are spinning the symbolism as "no bad deed should go unpunished" but I don't agree. Lots of bad deed should go unpunished. The best thing to do with Trump is to forget him, not martyr him.
Update: there is unclarity on this. For example, Mitch McConnell: Senate can’t consider Trump impeachment until after term is up would make the impeachment moot; and I think the Dems know this, but they still want to go ahead. So all the twatting about nuclear codes is so much drivel. Is it even possible to impeach someone once they've left office? This tells me that “shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” which makes me doubtful that it is possible (though the linked article convinces itself otherwise).
Update: Twatter and Free Speech
Twitter permanently suspends Trump's account says Aunty. I have mixed feelings about this. As so often happens (I've seen this on wiki too) after a long period of trouble the actual words cited as outrageous appear rather if not totally innocuous then as rather thin grounds for a ban. The hyperbolic responses that this is the death of free speech are foolish, with proponents of that view unable to see the contradiction in Trump's widely-reported comments on the attempt to silence him.
The first amendment says "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press" and that is good; but that says nothing about the decisions privately made by private entities. Wiki's FoS page says Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction. and the only difficult word there, for these purposes, is "censorship", which it defines as the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient." Censorship can be conducted by governments, private institutions, and other controlling bodies. I consider the inclusion of private entities dubious.
Anyway, my mixed feelings: shutting Trump's account may calm things down, at a time when some calm would be valuable; it also sends a signal concerning what are the limits of tolerable behaviour. But it seems terribly late to be doing this, and in not-very-long it will be irrelevant. This kind of political censorship should only be done if necessary, and I am very doubtful that it was necessary.
* It was all a waste of time: Congress confirms Joe Biden's victory - Beeb.
* Editorial: Another call for the justices to speak to the country - SCOTUS blog: an examle of the kind of thing that won't happen.
* IS TRUMP READING BREITBART OR THE GUARDIAN? - though I preferred the original title.
* Capitol riot: Recriminations and arrests after Washington violence - Beeb - for all those saying "why hasn't X been arrested?"
* Social Censorship: The First Offender Model - SSC
* Quotation of the Day… nationalism, socialism, liberalism.
* SCOTUSblog: Justices issue more orders from Friday’s conference, decline to fast-track election-related cases. The Supreme Court on Monday morning issued more orders from the justices’ private conference last week. After adding 14 new cases to their docket for the term on Friday afternoon, the justices were not expected to grant review in additional cases on Monday – and they did not. Monday’s order list was nonetheless noteworthy because the justices turned down a group of requests to expedite the consideration of petitions for review in cases seeking to undo the results of the 2020 presidential election. The denial confirms that the justices will not consider the petitions until after the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, effectively rendering the disputes moot.
* Parler sues Amazon for kicking it off the internet.
* The Economist explains: Can the Senate hold an impeachment trial after a president leaves office? The constitution does not forbid it, but it is uncharted territory.
* Sedition Charges Are Almost Always a Terrible Idea: Laws against sedition have historically been used by insecure officials to punish critics. J.D. TUCCILLE
* YouTube suspends Donald Trump's channel - Beeb. It kinda looks like his power is ebbing away.
In many Congressional districts, the primary is more important than the general election. In those districts, extreme partisan politics is rewarded and centrist politics is punished. This makes bipartisan legislation impossible, because a representative who votes for such legislation will be branded a traitor and voted out of office in the next primary.
But why is this so? In a simple model of politics (the real election, not the primary) voters are sprinkled left-to-right, and each of two candidates wins all the electors "closest to them"; which is to say, all the electors on the side away from the other candidate, and all the ones in-between that are closer to them. This model tends to push candidates towards the middle of the spectrum.
Now consider the primary. Exactly the same applies, except the electorate is different - most points are now either to left, or to right, of the center. So why do we see quotes such as the above (that do seem to have some basis in reality). I'm thinking of primaries in districts where one side is almost certain to win, so the primary is effectively the real election - but nonetheless, the same logic would appear to apply: you should get candidates pushed half-way out, not to extremes.
I'm not sure; it's an interesting question. I'm inclined to believe in a rapid recovery from Covid, looking somewhat on the bright side by hoping for a not-too-badly-fucked-up-vaccination, but a recovery probably accompanied by much more homeworking, which will help suppress emissions. And I'm more optimistic than KC about new solar+wind+tech-in-general, and China and India's adoption of it, and decline in their usage of coal.
Nordhaus expands on his reasoning.
My pic is of Christmas Unikitty who, let me remind you, will tolerate No Negativity At All (as seen as a full-size model in the local Grand Arcade).
Per comments, we have our own betting ring running:
* Anteros: offers £150 (to my £100) of KC's side, up to 2023.
* rustneversleeps: $100 of KC's side, up to 2022.
* Tom: $50 of KC's side, up to 2022 (I presume).
All bets in your preferred currency. I'm not sure exactly what we use as CO2 emissions data... we'll have to be gentlemanly about it; probably (per comments Global Carbon Project). I propose that if it is "close" - defined in some sensible way, possibly as in different data sets give different answers - then the bets are void; they only pay if the answer is "clear".
Jan: Socrates, himself, is particularly missed; A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he's pissed (42) - Australian wildfires. Bonus: reviewing drafts, I decided to publish the fragment 0.5°C makes a big difference for mitigation?
Feb: Tasting the whole worm; or; "Pielke shumps the jark?" (13).
Mar: Coronavirus days: policy? (30).
Oct: Me on USAnian politics (51).
Dec: A warning on climate and the risk of societal collapse? (61).
The theme for the year is clear enough, but the winner is the more abstract legislation of June. And so another year has slipped by... Happy new Year to all and my thanks for your continued readership.
Note: this isn't the post reviewing what the Coronavirus year has been like, I'm still turning that over in my mind.
Me, D and E on top of Point Louise, Ecrins on a cloudy day. Follow the link for more pix. And any resemblance between the title and the picture is, I swear, entirely accidental and only noticed in arrears.
Exciting new feature: books of the year (prompted by someone else doing it properly). Except it isn't really that, it's just the books I have reviewed. I do these partly to record what I have read, but it's an incomplete list. And, a couple of films.
Dec: Look to Windward
Nov: Howard Zinn: A People's History of the United States (incomplete)
Aug: Bastiat: The Law
Jul: Consider Phlebas
New Year's Day 10k: 40:50.2. A minute slower than last year. HR max 167, 4 lower.
We've finally left. In one sense I think "thank goodness the endless chatter and speculation is finally over"; but I very much doubt it is. My initial view - which you're doubtless interested in - is that the "deal" looks not totally insane, in that it roughly mimics EU membership whilst regrettably losing things like free movement; but really it looks like "why would you bother" - the nominal sovereignty gains appear weak enough to be not worth it, except to fanatics.
But I hope to think about this more carefully in future.
And, well, I suppose the promoters of "Singapore-on-Thames" will get their chance to show they mean it. Ho ho.
* My Top 12 Blog Posts of 2020 by David Henderson
* When May We Be Happy? by Bryan Caplan