Riot!

“According to prepared remarks, Pittman told lawmakers that Capitol Police knew two days before the insurrection that militia and White supremacist groups would be at the Capitol on January 6, and some of those people planned to be armed.
 
Pittman outlined four things that made the department ill-equipped to respond to the attack: a lack of manpower, not having the right equipment on hand or easily accessible, a lack of consistency in following the process for sealing the building and communication over radios and the public address system being hard to hear during the attack.”
 
See Democrats stunned by briefing on Capitol’s security before insurrection: ‘It was only by pure dumb luck’ more weren’t killed
It’s hard to think of an explanation for how a bumbling idiot like Trump could with endless repetition of a few silly phrases could come close to taking out the legislative branch of USA. I suppose it fits my theory of how many human disasters happen in our age of technology. Multiple layers of safety can be defeated by multiple layers of error.

It’s like a plane crash of a perfectly serviceable plane caused by information overload, wrong perception of the problem, wrong steps to correct the wrong problem, indecision and the crew fighting to defeat each other’s actions. Trump’s riot was the same.

Despite ample warning of widespread derangement, anger, and chaos, Trump going out of his way to create disorder before, during and after the election, little was done to secure the Capitol. Trump called to Washington his hordes of deplorables on January 6 for the stated purpose of disrupting the certification of the electoral college, properly appointed by the states. He gave an inspirational speech to the Trumpists on top of several heated speeches by sycophants. The Capitol Police treated the whole thing like a Sunday picnic. The police had no reason to think anything was normal that day, but they did. The police seemed not to believe their own eyes or averted their eyes to what was happening on the property. No one was authorized to use deadly force, about the only thing that would have stopped the assault. No one took personal initiative to convince rioters that their actions were disastrous. Instead the Capitol Police caved just slowly enough to allow targets of the mob to run and hide.

Just a little more initiative on the part of the police or the rioters would have been sufficient to give a better outcome or a greater disaster. What would have happened if the rioters had been able to hold a show trial and executions or a burning of the certificates of the electors? The whole nation would have been on the brink of dictatorship or uncivil war. As it is we have a nearly paralyzed legislative branch and an executive branch leading no one who wants to be lead. Ordinary citizens are not respecting the result of the election. Ordinary citizens are refusing to wear masks to save their lives and the lives of millions. The campaign of vaccination is a disaster. The epidemic is a disaster. The economy is a disaster. Yet, no one seems motivated to do the things necessary to save USA from sinking into a post apocalyptic period.

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Is The Republican Party A Terrorist Organization?

Terrorist: “a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.”

For years now, the Republican Party, the Government of the People party, has declined to rely on the people to choose a government:

  • They’ve gerrymandered to the extreme congressional districts to prevent election of members of the Democratic Party
  • They’ve passed laws and rules to prevent minorities from voting including providing tiny numbers of polling places and causing huge lines to vote even in the midst of an epidemic
  • They’ve chosen a demagogue as leader and replaced a serious platform with his whims which change daily
  • They’ve supported violence against immigrants and refugees to prevent increase of minority populations
  • They’ve refused to do their constitutional duty to advise and consent on the nomination of judges by a Democratic president
  • They’ve advised armed militias to attack or threaten with violence politicians and leaders of opposing parties
  • They’ve repeated outrageous lies endlessly to brainwash the public
  • They’ve abused the courts with frivolous lawsuits to delay the processes of government
  • They’ve threatened with physical violence anyone who speaks against the GOP or its leader

Not accepting the results of the latest election is only the latest in a long string of outrages committed by the party. Even after a failed attempted coup representatives publicly state the Democrats have not won the presidency. Trump gave a rousing speech to his fighters on their way to kill or capture the vice president and anyone else who stood in their way.

Biden should instruct his DOJ to declare the GOP a terrorist organization and start “taking names and kicking ass”. It’s the right thing to do. If not now, we may be seeing the repetition of

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Niemoller

It’s not enough just to speak out about the GOP. It’s time to take action.


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US Stock-market Is Going Crazy

OK, stock markets are full of optimistic folk spending money where they think it will make money for them. I get that. It’s a “leading indicator” of how the economy and various businesses might do in the future.

However, we are in a situation where the US stock markets are expressing extreme greed by investors while USA is

  • in the midst of a pandemic and not doing well,
  • in the midst of political upheaval with ~33% of the population seeking violent overthrow of government, and
  • the National Guard is being mobilized to squelch an uncivil war.

I just don’t get it. How can anyone be optimistic in this situation? I saw bad things coming years ago and got out of US stock markets. I did well as a result. It seems to me US GDP will be sluggish for at least a year, maybe two and many small businesses are ruined, homelessness and hunger stalk the land, the national debt is exploding and USA still has no national health insurance. USA has regressed to a 1960s kind of economy before everything happened to modernization: women at work, automobiles being cranked out at home, clerical work was in great demand, etc. Now the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting desperate. I can see crime spiking. I can see political instability for decades to come. If millions are this angry over Trump losing an election, how angry are they going to be when Biden undoes 99% of Trump’s “accomplishments” and Trump et al rot in prison? What are GOP members of government going to do for two years after they voted to suspend the constitution and elect the loser of an election? How is the DOJ going to dispense justice in crimes in which the DOJ was complicit and 33% of jurors think criminals are unfairly treated? Whence cometh this optimism in the markets?

It seems to me this is a bubble soon to burst. The Ds and Rs are never going to agree on how to fix anything. They can’t even agree on how to get rid of Trump, let alone Trumpism. I’m glad I live in Canada where we have problems but we can fix them. Not so in USA.

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This Is What Happens When People Elect A Crime Boss As Leader

“Read the full transcript and listen to Trump’s audio call with Georgia secretary of state”
 
See Full transcript: Trump’s audio call with Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger
The investigation of Trump during the impeachment revealed he conducted “business” just like a crime boss in an organized criminal gang. Worse, a family-run gang. He speaks vaguely but with clear meaning to subordinates. Vagueness gives Trump deniability. Infinite repetition of incomplete thoughts gives subordinates clear knowledge of what the boss wants and they try to give him what he wants while skipping details. It might work in court but it might not.

Add this latest element to a long list of crimes and Trumpism is in for a world of hurt once Trump is out of office. If Trump will go to the extreme of asking republicans in charge of running elections to lie for him, he will do anything in the next couple of weeks to escape justice. I used to think Trump would give a farewell tour of the world with a final stop in Moscow but now I’m thinking Trump believes his supporters have the will and tools to keep Trump in power by force. He’s called for a rally in Washington the day of the certification of results of the Electoral College. Trump may well imagine himself riding up to Congress on the back of a tank

Let’s hope I’m wrong and January progresses according to the constitution of USA rather than with a messy coup or uncivil war breaking out. We don’t need either of those in the midst of a pandemic.

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Banning Sales Of Combustion Vehicles

“The UK government was due to make an announcement on the possibility of a more ambitious timeline for the ban of combustion vehicles in the coming few days, and sources have already told both the BBC and the Financial Times that the ban will indeed be brought forward to 2030.”
 
See UK To Ban Sales Of Combustion Vehicles By 2030 — Report
I’m old enough to remember that UK had to ban the burning of peat back in the day just to make air breathable. Banning ICEs is a good thing to improve the air and to reduce global warming but there should be some exceptions made. I think there are arguments to be made to retain some ICEs for emergency vehicles or long haul vehicles. There are still a few things for which ICEs perform better and for most EVs the physical size of a battery still limits the hours of operation/distance covered. In many cases, one can make an EV last a shift but what if an emergency demands unplanned overtime or the emergency means traveling a distance with a low state of charge?

Redundant coverage of territory or redundant staffing might manage these situations but going all BEV won’t solve all our problems. Indeed, there will be some critical mass where there will be so few ICEs around that fueling and maintaining ICEs will become a problem. I will definitely need a battery-powered lawn mower if that happens and it takes two hours to mow my lawn by burning gasoline. Current battery-powered mowers only last about an hour and I need to run my snowblower at any temperature even in high winds… 🙁

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Biden’s ToDo List

I am disappointed by the apparent state of the upcoming US Senate but Biden/Harris seem to have won the White House. They are going to need a serious To Do list:

  • Choose new Attorney General who will prosecute Trump Inc and appoint a special prosecutor on Day One. There is enough evidence of obstruction of justice in the Mueller Report to obtain an arrest warrant and the special prosecutor should be able to get all of the White House’s records and Trump’s financial records including IRS.
  • Invite the Gang of Eight in for a meeting to fast-track COVID-19 response plan, a declaration of limited war with Russia including kicking Russia out of Ukraine and Syria, bombing Russia’s cyber-warfare capability, bridges to Ukraine, and the Black Sea port held by Russia in Crimea, a blockade of all travel to/from Russia including surface, air and military vessels and planes (give them 24h to set course to Russia or be attacked), and a plan to organize the world to relieve Syria of the Assad regime and repatriate refugees.
  • Set up czars/czarinas to develop a detailed plan for universal medical care insurance not including a hodge-podge of insurance companies with multiple plans for coverage, to develop a coherent response to Global Warming including development of renewable energy, heavy promotion of EVs, retraining of fossil-fuel workers for manufacture, installation and maintenance of renewable energy infrastructure, to develop a coherent response to failing infrastructure all over USA, to sort through Trump’s crazy list of executive orders keeping/improving anything useful and undoing everything else, to develop a plan to immediately grant citizenship to all Dreamers who are not dangerous criminals and to overhaul immigration/refugees response ASAP,  to develop a plan to overhaul US education from top to bottom including massive investment in teachers, schools, curricula, especially science and mathematics education and to develop a plan to restore social order in USA including education about stupid conspiracy theories and propaganda, voting rights, and eliminating the Electoral College which is anachronistic and serves no purpose except to allow bizarre minority crackpots and demagogues to rule USA.
  • Revise USA’s affairs to balance the budget and pay down the debt of the government in a reasonable period of time. This means a proper tax-code and “regular order” of budgeting.

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To Bee Or Not To Bee

Last spring, several of my plum trees flowered but did not bear fruit. I blame a severe cold snap late in May for that but I also did not see a lot of bees that early in the season. Should I set up a beehive next spring? Just in case I decide to do that, I’m recycling some old lumber into a Langstroth hive.

Nearly 30 years ago, TLW and I built a big house in a small town north of Winnipeg. As usually happens there were some leftover pieces of lumber. Some were 2X6 inch boards used as studs in the house. I used these extras as shelves in my workshop resting on a steel frame. All these years later, I’ve only put them to use occasionally, hoisting a deer or supporting a table in the garden. Normally, one uses 1X8 or 1X12 boards to make Langstroth boxes but the bees would not mind more thermal mass and insulation, so I will make Langstroth boxes using 2X6s. The interior dimensions matter. The outside will be increased by about twice the thickness.

I’ve fired up the old table-saw and cut pieces about half an inch long to make precise cutting easier later. I ripped rabbets on the boards to allow a ship lap joint to make the 2X6s into pieces 2X9-5/8. Some waterproof glue, clamps and nails will increase the height of the box to Langstroth “deep” dimensions. Then, I will bevel the ends to make a mitre-joint reinforced by nails.

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State of Play

“In the U.S. Senate race in Texas, incumbent Republican John Cornyn leads Democrat M.J. Hegar among likely voters, 49 – 43 percent. Seven percent are undecided. On September 24th, Cornyn had 50 percent support and Hegar had 42 percent, also with 7 percent undecided. ”

See Pennsylvania (PA) Poll – October 21, 2020 – Texas In Play: Biden And Trump | Quinnipiac University ConnecticutIt’s not certain but there is some movement at the “top” and “bottom” of the ticket in Texas and both Biden and Hegar could win. That would pretty well seal Trump’s fate and offer Biden good support from Congress.

What a different world we will live in if Biden comes to power with a Democratic Senate and House. Pray that good intentions become good deeds and that as much as possible of Trump’s damage can be undone without destroying USA altogether. We live in dangerous times. What will Trump do as a lame duck? Play golf? Declare war on someone? Roil the markets? Go after his enemies? All of the above?

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Soon, The Old-Guard Democrats Have To Go

See Lindsay Graham Getting a Hug at Amy Coney Barrett’s Hearing Just Put Democrats Over the EdgeSome of the leading Democrats are getting very long in the tooth. While they are well connected and great at fund-raising, they are growing out of touch with USAian society and the younger members of the party. After they win this election, they should step aside. This includes Biden who is older than I am. The time to be a mature wise leader is in the 50s, not the 80s.

In particular, Biden is all about a public/private partnership for universal health insurance. That’s nuts. Allowing insurance companies to shift the high-risk people to the government is nuts. Insurance is about sharing risk, not packaging it. The problem with USAian health insurance is its complexity. Adding another layer to that is a bad idea. Go directly to single-payer universal coverage. It’s efficient. States can administer it. The feds don’t have to foot the whole bill, it can be a cost-sharing thing. It will give healthcare providers a simpler way of earning revenue. It will give sick people assured healthcare. The time when you are least able to pay for healthcare or fill out voluminous forms is when you are sick. Do the right thing.

Also, Biden is walking on eggshells about the environment. He has the right idea but he needs bold measures instead of telling labour unions what they want to hear about fossil fuels etc. He should be all-in on The Green New Deal. He should appoint AOC as czarina in charge of getting universal healthcare and The Green New Deal on track. Both of these span departments so an overseer enthusiastic about the programmes is needed, not Biden/Harris. AOC does not need to be in a full time position. She can still function in the House as a representative. If Biden insists on conservative approaches he should ask AOC to announce consultations with experts and the public to devise a made-in-USA approach that works. Give AOC 90 days to make a plan and the legislative branch 180 days to make it into law. It will take Biden that long to untangle the messes Trump has created anyway. He has fires to put out while AOC and other young energetic Democrats can light new fires under the bureaucracy to move USA into the 21st century.

Biden should be putting his DOJ into attack-mode against Trump and Trumpism. There are crimes aplenty there. A special prosecutor is in order along with all kinds of search warrants and cooperation from State, Justice and IRS. SEC should be looking at insider trading. Justice should be looking at obstruction, criminal negligence causing death, crimes against humanity and emoluments. Likely Trump will go into hiding in Russia or Saudi Arabia so lots of international investigations should proceed. Then, Biden should put State and Defence into attack-mode on Russia. Essentially, Russia has committed undeclared war on USA for years with no response whatsoever. Biden should seek a declaration of war from Congress. He should seize all russian ships and planes outside of Russia beyond a certain date, create configurations to drive Russia out of Ukraine and Syria and set Assad, Putin, North Korea and China straight. Trade deals, global treaties and defensive alignments all have to be put right. That would likely take all of Biden’s energy for a year or two at which time he could resign knowing he’s fixed things. Harris can steer the ship Biden will have put on course.

Another thing Biden has to fix is bringing SCOTUS into line with USAian society. It is crazy to believe that folks who drafted the USAian constitution who were all right with slavery and women not being empowered are somehow infallible and their words must be interpreted as written and as meant. Surely those writers did not envision angry young men armed with AR-15s storming the MI legislature to intimidate legislators and shooting thousands of civilians annually forever when they wrote the second amendment. SCOTUS has to be revamped and the constitution with it. Biden should ask the “conservative” skunks on SCOTUS to resign and if not push for impeachment. If that doesn’t work, he should add four or five liberal justices. He should confer with SCOTUS and ask them which remedy they prefer…

I expect the Government of Pigs party to go into a long decline after 2020 so the Democrats have an opportunity to achieve many things which have only been aspirations until Trump wrecked things.

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A Death In The Family

Shortly after midnight yesterday the last member of my father’s siblings died at the age of 101. She lived through so many eras of Canadian history: the Dirty Thirties on the farm, WWII in a village on the prairies, the migration to the city of Winnipeg, decades of life in the city, caring for elderly parents, the down-trodden and nieces and nephews, my generation, life on a meager pension and finally fading away in a nursing home. Rest in peace, Aunt Divona.

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God, Sorting Them Out

In the war in Viet Nam, some jaded commentators proclaimed, “Kill ’em all. Let God sort them out!”. It’s a commentary on how ugly war can be. The news that Trump is infected with COVID-19 has similar connotations.“The Twenty-fifth Amendment (Amendment XXV) to the United States Constitution deals with issues related to presidential succession and disability.”

25th Amendment
On the one hand, civilized humans don’t wish a deadly virus on anyone, but, on the other, it is sweet irony that the guy who eschewed masks, wished the epidemic would “go away, like a miracle”, and called it a hoax, should succumb. However this goes, Trump will proclaim himself an innocent victim, “the Ds did it”, or that he is the president who survived COVID-19. Before the election we should know the truth and it will set us free. If Trump does become very ill, will Pence have the courage to invoke Article 25? How would Pence v Biden go?

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WHAT?

Having watched the debate last night, I’m left with some impressions. Biden v Trump was sane v insane, calm v angry, sensible v crazed, focused v scatter-brained, good v evil, etc. I have to wonder what drug Trump was under. Wikipedia: “The symptoms of amphetamine psychosis include auditory and visual hallucinations, grandiosity, delusions of persecution, and delusions of reference concurrent with both clear consciousness and prominent extreme agitation.”

People who watched that “debate” will no doubt run screaming to the exits of Trumpism. Expect fear on a widespread scale about what this monster will do in his “lame duck” period.

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