A Day That Will Live In Ignominy
January 7, 2021
Yesterday provided another example of President Trump’s flagrant disregard for democratic norms. Never in our nation’s history have Americans stormed the Capitol. It was appalling to observe. America is fortunate that it avoided four more years of Trump, as the end result could have resulted in the complete erosion of all democratic norms.
At Daily Pnut we think of ourselves as nonconventional. When everyone is focused on issue A we seek to consider if issue B is worth attention. In the spirit of that perspective, we urge Americans to, of course, reflect, dwell, and focus on the last 24 hours (the elections in Georgia and the unleashing of insurrectionist forces on the Capitol). But we also recommend people step back to broaden their aperture and consider how certain nations are taking advantage of America’s weaknesses: China’s imprisonment of pro-democracy Hong Kong activists (timed perhaps at the nadir of American power) and how social media, specifically Facebook and Twitter, remain rife with misinformation on the election and the pandemic, and have directly contributed to the erosion of civic and democratic values in America.
The Good News
- Germany to require women on large firms’ boards (Al Jazeera)
- Domino’s Pizza To Pay Up To $1,200 Special Bonus To Hourly Workers In December (Nasdaq)
“If we desire a society of peace, then we cannot achieve such a society through violence. If we desire a society without discrimination, then we must not discriminate against anyone in the process of building this society. If we desire a society that is democratic, then democracy must become a means as well as an end” — Bayard Rustin
“Most of wars or military coups or invasions are done in the name of democracy against democracy” — Eduardo Galeano
A Day That Will Live in Ignominy
(Saul Loeb via Getty Images)
After weeks of lying about the legitimacy of the 2020 election and refusing to accept the results, President Trump again riled up his supporters and urged them to march on the Capitol Building Wednesday as a group of craven congressional Republicans objected to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. “We will never give up, we will never concede. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved,” Trump declared to the crowd, some of whom chanted “USA!” or waved anti-Biden banners.
Inside the Capitol, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell made an unusual plea — aimed at those Republicans who vowed to contest the certification — to dispense with their specious scheme for the sake of democracy. But in rare defiance of the Senate leader, Ted Cruz of Texas rose to make his insupportable case for the establishment of a congressional commission to audit the results of the 2020 election. Minutes into his self-aggrandizing oration, Cruz was interrupted by a mob of pro-Trump activists who had torn down metal barricades at the bottom of the Capitol’s steps and were storming the building. They were met by officers in riot gear, who were clearly outnumbered.
What followed next was nothing short of jaw-dropping, unprecedented sedition. Hundreds of deluded people forced their way past guards and into the building, while those legitimately inside stayed concealed and Secret Service members rushed to safeguard Vice President Pence. Armed lawbreakers faced off with police as others committed acts of domestic terrorism, breaking windows and forcing their way into congressional offices. Tear gas was fired, one woman was shot, and numerous police were injured.
Trump remained in the Oval office watching the chaos and violence on TV, tweeting lame “instructions” to the rioters to stay peaceful. Later, he posted a message on social media in which he told them to “go home,” while continuing to lie about the election being stolen and telling the insurrectionists “we love you” and “you’re very special people.”
Additional Capitol Hill Reads
- America shaken as violent pro-Trump mob storms Capitol building (Guardian)
- President Trump Just Used Social Media To Attempt A Coup (Buzzfeed)
- It’s time to deplatform Trump (Verge)
- American carnage: how Trump’s footsoldiers ran riot in the Capitol (Guardian)
- In photos: the pro-Trump mob coup attempt that took over Congress (The Verge)
- Mayhem Erupts At US Capitol : The Picture Show (NPR)
- Arrests at the Capitol: 13 arrests made so far, but more expected (Vox)
- ‘White privilege on display’: police hypocrisy condemned after pro-Trump insurgence (Guardian)
- Trump turns once and for all against Republicans who won’t help him steal the election (Vox)
- States Also See Protests — And Angry Responses — To D.C. Violence (NPR)
- Election Officials Blame Trump’s Rhetoric For Stoking Violence: Protests Halt Congress’ Electoral Count: Live Updates (NPR)
- US Capitol: World leaders react to ‘horrifying’ scenes in Washington (BBC)
- Watch a tearful Trump supporter ask C-SPAN if her president lied to her (Vox)
- Pennsylvania GOP Refuses To Swear In Democratic Incumbent After His Victory (NPR)
- Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton deride US Capitol breach in pointed statements (CNN)
- Opinion: Seth Moulton writes that he expected violent assault on democracy as a Marine in Iraq, but never imagined it as a US congressman in America (CNN)
- Political violence is not just for poor countries anymore (Aeon)
- This Is a Coup (Atlantic, $)
Free & Fair Elections For Hong Kong? Beijing Votes No.
- Early Wednesday, Hong Kong police arrested over four dozen pro-democracy activists and elected officials for violating the national security law. 53 detainees were accused of attempting to choose anti-Beijing candidates to run in the city’s legislative elections set for September. Police also entered the offices of at least one law firm and three news media organizations, demanding documents.
- The arrests began before dawn and sent chills through Hong Kong’s already demoralized opposition camp. Beijing imposed the new security law last June to quell months of fierce pro-democracy protests, and the crackdown on any dissent in Hong Kong has been pervasive and relentless ever since.
- One academic called Wednesday’s move a “total sweep of all opposition leaders,” and said the security law was “aimed at the total subjugation of Hong Kong people.” She added: “There should be no expectation of elections in any sense that we know it, if and when elections are held in the future.” (NYT)
Additional World News
- The storming of the U.S. Capitol echoes violent breaches elsewhere in the world (WaPo, $)
- Iran May Pass #MeToo Law Outlawing Sexual Violence Against Women (NYT, $)
- North Korea’s Kim Jong Un acknowledges ‘painful lessons’ as economy suffers (WaPo, $)
- Alipay And QQ Are Part Of Trump Ban On Chinese Software Apps (NPR)
- ‘Worst nightmare’: Zimbabweans suffer amid rising COVID cases (Al Jazeera)
- Toronto Home Prices Hit Record in 2020 on Pandemic Buying Frenzy (Bloomberg)
- Scaling roofs and mountains, Philippine students battle to take online classes (Reuters) Pink Floyd was wrong: “we do want education.”
- Syrian Air Defense responded to an Israeli attack over south Damascus (Reuters)
- Virginity tests for female rape survivors outlawed by Pakistani court (Guardian)
Election Day Is Finally Over, 2 Months After It Started
(Michael M. Santiago via Getty Images)
- It’s official — Democrats will control the Senate for the first time since 2015, and both houses of Congress for the first time in a decade. On Wednesday afternoon, amid a Trump-fed insurrection at the Capitol Building, 33-year-old documentary filmmaker and investigative journalist Jon Ossoff was declared the winner of Georgia’s second runoff election. He received more than 35,600 votes than his Republican opponent, 71-year-old David Perdue.
- Reverend Raphael Warnock, 51, garnered over 73,400 votes against his Republican opponent, Kelly Loeffler, 50. Both results exceeded the margin of 0.5 percentage points that would have allowed for a recount.
- The 100 member Senate is now evenly split at 50-50, and since the Veep serves as President of the Senate, Kamala Harris will break any tie votes. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will take over the reins from Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as Senate majority leader. (CBS News)
- Democrats’ victory in Georgia Senate runoff could save net neutrality (Verge)
- Raphael Warnock has won his race, becoming Georgia’s first Black senator (NYT, $)
Double-Edged Fobs: Who Needs Hotwiring With Good Old-Fashioned Idiots?
- Success in 2021 is simple: don’t leave children and pets unattended in the car, don’t leave your car running when you go to the store, and don’t leave your key fob in the cupholder.
- Zach Sobel should have known better when he left his Audi running outside a Brooklyn pet store last summer, with his French bulldog Calvin and a spare key fob inside. Not surprisingly, when Sobel returned, his car and its contents weren’t there.
- Fortunately this story ends happily, with police recovering Sobel’s car and Calvin about four hours later in Manhattan. Maybe Sobel thought he was being careful by taking his keyfob with him when he went inside the store. But he’d forgotten about the spare one in the glove box.
- Car thefts had been declining for years since the hotwiring heydays of the 1980s and 1990s. The introduction of keyless ignitions beginning in the late 1990s resulted in the number of stolen vehicles being reduced by more than 50%. Technology, it seemed, had solved the problem of stolen vehicles; that is, until people started leaving their fobs sitting in their cup holders.
- Now, there’s a new wave of car thefts, albeit more often for joyriding than chop-shopping. Even so, police say forgotten fobs and keyless technology have contributed to soaring stolen car cases, and they’re frustrated. “This is a very stupid problem to have,” said a Hartford Police Department official on a day when five stolen cars were recovered in the city and about 12 people — half of them teenagers — were arrested. “The technology that was created specifically to eliminate car thefts, such as key fob technology, is now being used against us.” (NYT)
- It Spied on Soviet Atomic Bombs. Now It’s Solving Ecological Mysteries. (NYT, $)
- Watch a Robot Dog Learn How to Deftly Fend Off a Human (Wired)
- An Existential Crisis in Neuroscience (Nautilus)
- A day in the life of a London food bank (Al Jazeera)
- You’re not going to believe this one: Denmark launches children’s TV show about man with giant penis (Guardian)
- How the Soviet Union’s end sparked a grand rewilding (BBC)
- Key ingredient in coronavirus tests comes from Yellowstone’s lakes (NatGeo)
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