Post-Putsch: Why There Should Be Consequences for Enablers of the Capitol Invasion
Post-Putsch: Why There Should Be Consequences for Enablers of the Capitol Invasion
I usually find myself agreeing with Glenn Greenwald, but not today. GG has posted a heartfelt warning against overreaction to the attempted fur-and-horn putsch at the Capitol Building Wednesday. He says the mob trampled on symbols of state power but otherwise did little of consequence, and vilifying them and their supporters will lead to repressive overreach, just like we saw after 9/11. Cool it, says Glen.
Actually, I agree with one piece of this, the use of the “t” word, terrorism. No the mob was not a terrorist brigade; it was mostly unarmed and did not commit mass or random violence to induce passive cowering from the rest of us. There was minimal effort to locate and assault politicians; the intent was mostly to physically prevent the certification of the electoral college votes that would legally end any opposition to the replacement of Trump by Biden.
But that’s why the invasion mattered. Repeat: it was an attempt to physically prevent the winner of an election from taking office. This is where GG misses the point in his narrow comparisons of body counts and weapons supplies.
Yes, it was confused and amateurish, much like the president whose bluster it expressed. But the danger of mob violence is not so much what the mob does as what the police do. If the police (and military) go over to the side of the mob, the mob wins no matter how disorganized or ill-equipped it is.
That’s not a threat when the mob represents the Left, but it is always a risk when the mob comes from the Right. And in fact we did see a softness on the part of many (but not all) Capitol police officers who fraternized with the invaders and forgot (or “forgot”) the part of their mission that was about protecting not only the building, but the political leaders inside it. It is extraordinary that senators and congresspeople were not warned about the breach until their own chambers were under attack. The unwillingness of Trump to call out the National Guard makes it clear that the Guard was unlikely to be so accommodating, which we can take as reassuring news. Nevertheless, we should never forget that the threat of right wing putschists is never just a product of their own arms or numbers but always comes down in the end to whether the armed protectors of the state will resist or join them.
So this is why I disagree with GG about the importance of this event: it was very important. Its purpose was to prevent the winner of an election from taking office, and it is only because Trump’s popularity among those with badges, stripes and guns is not stronger that we could view the invasion as almost a joke and not something far worse.
Because the attempt to overturn a democratic election is so serious, its suppression justifies exceptional measures. Of course, Trump should be denied any media platform from which he can be excluded. Of course, other politicians who gave support to this putsch should be expelled from office. This should take place immediately, understood as a response to this specific episode and not as a precedent for all dissent or demonstrations.
Longer-term, we need to give urgent attention to the characteristics of our political and communication systems that nurtured the Trump disaster. For starters, no private corporation should own the platforms over which most people receive and send communication, except perhaps in the limited role of a common carrier. The rules by which such platforms function should be publicly set for the purpose of enhancing real democratic discourse.
Fine. Plenty time to deliberate and debate the punishment of instigators now. On Wednesday though there was less time to decide and far greater consequences. We came out of this somehow a lot luckier than I would have guessed.
If you ask my 4-year-old grandson what happens when you make a bad decision, his response is: “there will be consequences”.
I’ve given up on Glenn Greenwald a long time ago. With that, I get it. We don’t hold children responsible for the results of following adults.
Well we used to not do that. Now we hand cuff elementary children, charge and prosecute children as adults and use them a leverage against their parents (as in separating them).
We’re not talking children here with what happened Wednesday. Though, I am against persecution. And, unfortunately persecution seems to be a strong personality trait in this nation.
Persecution was on display by those who participated in the storming of the Capitol.
Exemplary punishment is absolutely necessary for two reasons:
1. Getting away with it emboldens the barbarians. Think about the series of lightly punished assassinations and failed putches in Japan that led up to the military coup. Think about the pardons and exonerations that led from Watergate to Iran-Contra to the lie-based war in Iraq.
2. Violence an law-breaking normalizes more of the same, and normalizes the vicious anti-democratic sentiments that underlie them. That is the main point of terrorism.
Terrorism: the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.
So what is the part you don’t get again?
It’s not terrorism if ‘you’ are not the one enclosed in a facility under siege
and ‘you’ are not the one being terrorized by the fact you are being rushed to evacuate. No, from where Greenwald sits on his butt, nothing wrong with that. Sheeze!
Few were hurt because they could not get to the Congressmen, Senators, or Vice President. The decision to hurt someone could not be made. When would you storm a building if not to cause harm to the occupants? It sure wasn’t to just say hello.
People can not just break into a place, threaten harm, hurt others, and not expect to be punished. There has to be a reckoning. And for some who stole stuff sat at desks and boasted, the reprisal is coming. A few years in prison for being stupid and misled,
the capital is extremely impressive and beautiful but you know something, not at all modern, and I would never want to work in a place like that. what we need is a new capital city and a new Capitol building in the middle of the country — Wyoming –Nebraska, someplace where everybody can get to it easily with much more modern roads, access to the building with better security. this is the high tech World. I mean you can’t function very well in that beautiful old building.
Trial, conviction and hanging.
well, i hate to see persecution too. i am less sure about prosecution.
there is evidence all over the place that this was planned and organized in high places. that needs to be investigated and made plain. then it probably needs to be punished as an ordinary crime,,, something like a bank robbery that goes bad and people get killed. or kidnapping and people get killed.
i don’t see where people are coming from who say “only” a few people were killed so we don’t need to take this seriously.
i am not talking 25th amendment here or impeachment. it’s not the “sacredness” of the institution, it’s the planned crime that resulted in the death of people.
it’s not the people who participated in the mob who need to be punished. it’s the planners, and the members of the sacred institution and the “media” who enabled and provoked this who need to “face consequences.”
It’s not like anyone should need another reason to hate Greenwald, but now we have it. What an ass.
An interesting point about a crime that is both a felony and results in one or more deaths is that everyone involved with any aspect of the planning or commission of said felonies can and should be charged with murder.
Key to the prosecution of the mob is establishment of their felonious criminal intent. Even tangential deaths that occur during the commitment of a felony are murder, but first must come the underlying crime. That which is true is often not the same as that which can be proven in court. If someone shouts fire in a crowded theater is that a felony? So, I had to look that up and the answer was unexpected. See my next comment.
President Elect Biden’s followers have come to believe that protesters plan to become mobs, trespassers, and vandals.
Of course they would cry foul if that standard was applied to BLM protesters, some of whom became trespassers and vandals. (None of them charged with terrorism!)
Every protester who entered the Capitol Building should be arrested. Every protester who damaged the Capitol Building should be arrested.
The charges should be trespassing and/or vandalism. Not terrorism, not rebellion, not murder, not conspiracy to overthrow the government, not sedition, or any other crime remotely like those.
And if the fragile Democrats want convictions which will stand-up under appeals, then they should settle for those lesser charges.
If we have been using trespassing and vandalism as a standard to define terrorism then our actions around the world are NOT remotely defensible.
Of course trespassing and vandalism have never been defined as terrorism except possibly in Communist China.
Vindictiveness is not a virtue.
Is It Illegal to Falsely Shout ‘Fire’ in a Crowded Theater?
BY Ellen Gutoskey
August 12, 2020
If you asked a few random people to name a situation that wouldn’t be protected under the First Amendment’s “freedom of speech” clause, there’s a pretty good chance at least one of them would mention the example of someone shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater (when there’s no fire). Over the last century, the scene has been used far and wide to illustrate that if your “free speech” harms people, you can still end up in the defendant’s chair. But, as is so often the case when it comes to interpreting the law, it’s really not that simple.
When people first started discussing human fire alarms at packed gatherings, it was less about constitutional debate and more about societal menace. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, there were dozens of tragedies…
[Too long to trash the thread, but take the link. This is not so simple as it is usually taken to be, but still not whacko-land or hard to follow. There just is some history and nuance to it that is more involved than the short hand version.]
If people that publish and comment on blogs had jobs that were as responsible for domestic governance as they like to sound like they are, then they would not have the free time to comment and publish on blogs. I don’t know about you, but I am retired and it is cloudy day threatening to rain again that is keeping me from doing anything useful.
Even if government does look like a three-ring circus, we here are still just sitting in the peanut gallery.
JimH – Idiocy. To you really think that the guy shown invading with a cluster of police-style plastic arm restraints was not intent on kidnapping, if not murder? More generally, those people were deliberately interfering with an important constitutional exercise that confirmed an election. An election that was clearly valid, as the dozens of phony lawsuits, all ruled specious for lack of evidence by (majority Republican) judges shows/
Also, among the actual political elites of the Democratic Party, then there is a triumvirate of dubious ambition and despair encroaching on their contentment. They have no real leader giving direction for this brief lame duck moment. The standard bearers during the Trump administration will soon be passing the baton making this pregnant moment perhaps their last in the sun. Kamala Harris will likely eclipse Nancy Pelosi in importance to the party. They are frightened of the responsibility that their party will soon assume. So, this is a great time for retribution if there ever was one :<)
In the United States of America we do not prosecute crimes until they are committed.
Contemplation of a crime is not a crime unless that crime is actually committed!
If only I could find comparably good reasons to explain why Republican Party geeks and elites are so incredibly asinine.
it always makes us said to see someone with only one eye. but a little less sad if we know he poked it out himself.
i am not much of a believer in vindictiveness myself, and I don’t believe that every member of the mob came with an intention to hurt people. But the videos show some people at least who certainly did have an intention to hurt people. what do we do about them?
and the evidence is clearly that the mob was organized and inspired by at least the President of the United States, with the aid of the people who have supported his lies for the past four years. This is as close to treason as i care to get. it is certainly an effort to seize power in America by non-democratic means. To have a chance of getting rid of this cancer I would set aside my normal dislike of locking people up. We at least need to have a very public full scale investigation of the conspiracy.
If you like listening to the awful lies…always hedged with pious sounding appeals to “liberty” and “freedom”… of the President’s enablers, I can only think you have a damged brain, or a damaged soul.
I can’t claim to know what the government should do, or God does do, about such threats, and such damage, but I would like to see at least an effort to prevent it….short of cruel and unusual punishments of course.
[Apparently you are not a lawyer.]
“A criminal conspiracy exists when two or more people agree to commit almost any unlawful act, then take some action toward its completion. The action taken need not itself be a crime, but it must indicate that those involved in the conspiracy knew of the plan and intended to break the law. A person may be convicted of conspiracy even if the actual crime was never committed.”
[Bold does not make it so.]
“If only I could find comparably good reasons to explain why Republican Party geeks and elites are so incredibly asinine. ”
I am not a member of the Republican party and I do not defend them.
So one person may contemplate doing a crime with impunity, but if two people share their contemplation of doing a crime and then one of those two people acquires one of the tools needed to perform that crime then both of those people that shared their contemplation of that crime are guilty of criminal conspiracy.
thanks for the linked article. itis good tolearn that a subsequent court modified Holmes dishonest dicta. Debs did not shout fire in a crowded theater. He advocated a political response to a political act, exactly the kind of free speech protected by the Bill of Rights.
Unfortunately we can’t count on the Supremes to reliably do any better than this.
My reply to JimH seems to have disappeared. I am too lazy to rewrite it. Tried to point out to him that a crime was committed. SOME of the mob were obviously intent on causing grievous bodily harm (this is beyond the crime of invading the Capitol), and there is clear evidence the crime was organized and inspired by Trump, as part of a conspiracy to overthrow democracy in the United States. Reason enough for at least a thorough public investigation. And while I am not a great believer in punishment, I would like to see steps taken to prevent this from happening again.
Your definition of conspiracy requires some action.
I doubt that carrying plastic ties around would convince the US Supreme Court of the trespassers additional criminal intentions.
Intent is not a punishable offense.
Trespassing is a crime, conspiring to trespass might also be a crime. But that could amount to double jeopardy, or to expose the judiciary to ridicule.
A thorough investigation will be done. No one can reasonably argue against that.
I wholeheartedly agree that this should not repeated. That can be solved by posting more police inside the doors. And without the appearance of a draconian police state.
I also found your linked article very interesting. Thank you.
waste of my time to write even this: you are a waste of my time.
there is plenty of evidence of “additional criminal intentions”
the crime itself was a crime. the deaths make it homicide, intentional or not.
the organization and inspiration of the crime by Trump, and by the people you listen to for your “ideas” makes it treason.
I’m sure those ties were to be used to seal trash bags.
Parties that not only believe but participate in the violent overthrow of the government have no place on the ballot. Ban them.
Plastic ties are not all created equal. Not sure which ones were being carried, but if the narrow black under 12″ plastic ties were expected to be used as hand restraints then perhaps confinement in a mental health institution instead of a prison would be appropriate. The large whitish translucent plastic ties have fewer applications. All UV resistant ties for permanent outdoor installations are black.
In any case it appears that prosecution is going forwards for simple unlawful entry violations for now, but it will include a large number of rioters since they identified themselves all over the place on social media. If higher charges of conspiracy are sought then the requisite action would not need to be overly compelling if the evidence of conspiracy itself is compelling enough. However, it will depend upon the deliberation of jurors.
What happens going forward is more important to me than what is past. Decades off and on working with lawyers has made me a stickler on law though. Everything I did in large system asset management which had any relationship with procurement had to be legal in every way from who paid for lunch to the written details of justifications and specs and accounting for liquidated damages and performance bonds.
If there will be further such demonstrations in all 50 state capitals, then results may vary. Ironically the states in which Trump got the largest share of the vote would be least likely to tolerate pushy protesters.
Of course the biggest problem with conspiracy charges would be the vastness of the web of perpetrators and the trove of conspiracy evidence that they left on social media platforms. Apparently they still have not figured out that social media is not the best place to communicate plans for illegal acts.
I understand that you are madder than hell and you want Republicans to pay a price, any Republicans.
Where was this concern about treason and sedition when Republican Congressmen were actually being shot?
Trespassing and vandalism are trivial in comparison to shooting at elected Congressmen.
I am a registered Independent. Vindictive party politics worry me and they should worry everyone.
“Where was this concern about treason and sedition when Republican Congressmen were actually being shot?”
[James Hodgkinson was shot and killed on the spot. Case closed. Wrong case? Then try being more specific.
BTW, I really have no particular desire for Republicans to pay a price. I can imagine no higher price to pay than that they pay just by being themselves. I certainly could not live like that, ignorant and empty. I do however want all people to understand the law for which they profess to have such high regard and a little understanding of history would not hurt either. Of course none of that actually effects my life, but it does make conversation a lot less ridiculous. ]
“What is Reckless Endangerment?
Criminal Law / By Stephen P. Shepard
Reckless endangerment is when a person commits an act with awareness that his or her conduct created a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another person and consciously disregarded that risk. Contrary to popular belief, causing an actual injury to another person or causing another person’s death is not necessary to support a charge of reckless endangerment. However, if there is an injury or death involved, the person who committed the act need not have actually intended for the injury or death to occur. The accused must have acted recklessly and not merely carelessly or as result of an accident, mistake, or an honest error of judgment. ”
[I am not sure whether conspiracy to commit reckless endangerment manslaughter has ever been tried before, so federal prosecutors may end up setting new legal precedent before this is over. In any case the social networking evidence along with the fact that a mob showed up forcing their way into the capitol buillding that resulted in five deaths should be a slam dunk if the federal court will hear it.]
The great thing about trolls is that they teach one to compose their thoughts meaningfully and well enough to be understood without doubt. Adversity places the demands on us that our friends will not. So, learn to love trolls for the good they do your mind, despite the weight they place on your heart.
An “unfortunate (?) reality” of liberal republics is that legal process determines outcomes more often than moral sentiments. Yes, this is just as readily seen as a “fortunate reality” since our moral sentiments often portray our worst feelings rather than our better angels.
re trolls. you are right, but i think i will leave them to you, they wore me out (their purpose?) over Social Security.
I start out tinking they are just uninformed, so i try to tell them a few facts worth thinking about. which they ignore if they can find three words they can hang a colorable (to them) counter. you don’t want to go down that rabbit hole with them. they won’t learn anything, and you will have wasted your time…. which in my case is getting pretty valuable.
and yes, you are right about moral sentiments, still, in the words of Aragorn, “it is a man’s [job?] to tell the difference.” a long history of court decisions that found a legal argument to do great harm to a person, or a nation, does not leave me prepared to say “the law” must be respected.
in fact you understand nothing. I am fairly sure you never will. I tend to think in terms of good and evil, so I think that evil has got hold of your mind and will not let it go until and unless you find some glimmer of longing for the good that leads you to reject evil, with difficulty and over time. when being evil begins to hurt too much, and I think it will, a heartfelt cry for help is sometimes answered.
plastic ties, of whatever color, are prima facie evidence of intent to do harm.
the plastic ties in question were white. i don’t suppose they had any intention of letting their prisoners lie out in the sun for months.
[To the extent that I ever got less awful at tennis then it was entirely thanks to a windowless brick wall of the school building across the street from my apartment in the early 80’s. Considering how awful that I had been before, then it is fair to say that I learned a lot bouncing stuff off a brick wall.]
re: Plastic ties.
[Ordinary cable ties are 75 pounds tensile strength. Flex cuffs have a tensile strength of 250 pounds.]
In any case cable ties are just supporting circumstantial evidence. A mob conspiring on social media to gather to storm the capitol to gain entry, which any reasonable person could predict might result in persons injured, which did indeed follow through with such conspired plan resulting in five human deaths is entirely sufficient basis for criminal prosecution and conviction. Everything else is just further confirmation.
Ongoing investigation into the social media evidence may determine that more serious charges are realistically prosecutable. I just do not have access to such information. My guess is that no one else here does either.
Despite my age, a certain amount of my day is spent marking time waiting on my wife until after her lunch break, which we just had. Once she lets me back in the kitchen after readjusting her partial plate, then I will do a load of dishes and be on my way. My wife will continue to work until she is either laid off or reaches the SS full benefits age for her cohort, 66 years and 8 months which she hits in May 2025. I can hardly wait.
the trouble with the brick wall is that it never hits back any harder than you can hit, and never in a surprising direction.
not sure what the breaking strength of a plastic tie has to do with evidence of harmful intent. i thought you were the one who thought it unlikely the guy was carrying them for the garbage bags he was going to use to clean up the mess. anyway, they were the white ones.
The zip tie subject was raised by JimH (con) and EMike (pro) as evidence of an action taken towards fulfilling a criminal conspiracy, which I introduced by definition and then followed with a comment that may have gotten them moving in that direction.
I wrote “…if two people share their contemplation of doing a crime and then one of those two people acquires one of the tools needed to perform that crime then both of those people that shared their contemplation of that crime are guilty of criminal conspiracy.”
However, no tools are required to fulfill a criminal conspiracy when the mob itself is the tool and showing up at the capitol was their action in following through on their conspiracy. After they showed up and forced their way into the capitol building then they were guilty of criminal conspiracy to commit every crime that they had previously discussed doing on social media. The challenge for prosecutors will not be insufficient evidence, but rather all the time that it will take to go over that evidence and then decide how deep they really want to bury those tools.
I hope to find a Youtube of a Robert Johnston song that would be a fitting analogy to the issue of zip tie gauge.
[This is an analogy to the zip tie breaking strength issue.]
32 – 20 Blues by Robert Johnson
“…She got a .38 special but I believe it’s most too light…”
[What a man.]
I think I agree with your legal analysis, but I get dizzy following the argument.
[Whatever the prosecution will be then most likely it will be for breaking actual written laws using a preponderance of actual evidence. Our impressions of events regardless of how certain we are of them don’t make that high bar.
Here is link that gives definitions of all those words like treason that people have been carelessly throwing around over the last week. -]
Laying Down The Law On “Sedition” vs. “Treason” vs. “Insurrection” vs. “Coup” …
There are two possible paths that prosecutors could take. Either will result in a show trial. The difference will be in who the show is for and how it plays into events in the near future and the ultimate outcome.
One path would be to pursue an emotional set of charges like treason and insurrection to satisfy the liberal hunger for retribution. Perhaps with really lucky juror selection the case could be made if there is no one to pay for good defense lawyers. Odds are this path would end in acquittal, but if money for lawyers runs out then they might take a plea deal. However, future events might cause a reversal of fortune for both prosecutors and the accused under this scenario.
The other path would be to pursue charges for which there exists a preponderance of evidence for less sexy charges that still carry minimum sentences of several years. Prosecution would be stretched out long enough to capture the maximum deterrent effect from the news cycle as well as exhaust funds for defense lawyer fees. Then a plea deal could be reached after the message had been sent and the lawyers all well paid.
If the right-wing extremists continue their activities over the coming weeks, then prosecutors will take option one, since by then their juror selection problem would have been solved for them. In that scenario then I am in favor of public hangings for all the rebellious mob. So, for now this is not at all a done deal. We might forgive a one-off, but if more people die for this insanity, then a lot more people will die for this insanity.
The news that I am hearing tells me that stupid desperation has overtaken what little sanity exists on the right wing fringe. There have been some outrageous threats made for attacks around the country over the next week or so. The FBI, ATF, and justice department really do not like the wing-nuts, even if some of the local LEOs do. Reactionaries need to check what is in their Kool-Aid. This is not only a war that they cannot win, but it is also a war that many of them will not survive whether KIA or executed later on. Well, I can live with that even if they cannot.
Though a senior FBI official has claimed earlier that the bureau had no prior knowledge that Pro-Trump extremists might seek to harm anyone at last week’s protests, The Washington Post reported Tuesday that FBI officials in Virginia issued an internal report on January 5 warning that extremists were planning to go to the nation’s capital in order to to carry out a “war.” According to The Post, the FBI document reads, “as of 5 January 2021, FBI Norfolk received information indicating calls for violence in response to ‘unlawful lockdowns’ to begin on 6 January 2021 in Washington. D.C…An online thread discussed specific calls for violence to include stating ‘Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and [Antifa] slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal.”…
My take has been from the start that precautions to prevent the January 6 intrusion into the capitol by right wing extremists were not taken because the right wing idiots in the US Congress had yet to take the threat seriously themselves. Well problem solved.
I think I generally agree with what you are saying, but
First, I use “treason” to mean what appears to mean the way it has been used in public discourse at least since the time of Burr.
I have no faith that the courts will stricltly follow their own legal definition.
I would not charge the idiots with treason, though some are homicidal maniacs. I would charge Trump and Fox and certain congressmen (senators) with treason… they have intended the overthrow of the government since long before this event. This adds the “by violence” to the charge. Certainly more guilty of treason than, say, Burr, the Rosenbergs. Assange, Snowden, Manning et al.
I have, since I became aware, despised “the law” and the judges and politicians who use it to satisfy their own evil emotions and protect their own position in the world. I would not call for charges against any of the “traitors” in this event except that they have been calling their opponents traitors for years and they need to be made to realize, or the people need to be made to realize, that they themselves are the traitors…as the word is used by them if not by “the law.”
i am afraid i have no appetite for hangings or even prison.
i do have a desire to see people understand their folly, and be prevented from causing further harm. I don’t see that “retribution” or what people call “justice” achieves that.
hate to see the liars get away with it.
I don’t particularly have an appetite for hangings, retribution, or even justice, but if the rebellion is escalated then I would not be for continued patience either. If they want to make it a matter of survival, then so be it. Too bad for them that they are on the wrong side of that, but I have never been the roll over and surrender type. If they say someone has to go then let it be them.
yeah, if it gets to that I would be on your side.
but youwere the one who suggested it was liberasl need for retribution that was driving an over charging (treason as opposed to vandalism) of the perpetrators.
i agree with that, but what is driving an under charging of the instigators?
could you make a deal with your advertisers to print their ads at the side of the screen, or at least disappear when the victim clicks the x.
very aggravating to not be able to write in the comment box because an ad won’t let you see it. or wait to click the post comment box until the ad gets out of the way in its own good time.
Initial charges are limited to direct physical evidence and verifiable testimony. It takes a lot longer to dig through social media and organize who to charge with what for criminal conspiracy.
thanks. i hope it works out that way. on the part of the web that i see, it does seem to be moving in that direction.
don’t know if you saw the movie “Z”. we need something like that. but i am not sure it worked out so well for the Greeks….. you might want to read “Adults in the Room” by Yanis Varoufakis, if you get the time [he describes events 40 years or so after Z.]