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January 09, 2021

Comments

KC

It's... bad. We shouldn't get a second civil war, but we *also* don't want a substantial increase in domestic terrorism, and that's what we already have, with more very-plausibly threatened. Ideally, they'll all be incompetent (as most have been so far), but I don't really want to bet on that, you know?

TheQueen

KC - they sound like competent people — police officers, state senators and representatives. We’ve been focused on an idiot who wears horns and we are distracted.

Lisa

While a part of me knew this could happen theoretically, I think I was naive in thinking it could/would actually happen. I’ve taken to watching BBC World News as it’s interesting to see it all from the outside, and how other countries are reacting. I saw a great meme this week that said “I’d like to cancel my subscription to 2021. I tried the 7 day trial and it’s just not for me.” I have to hope/believe it will get better, if very slowly.

KC

Yeah. There are definitely semi-competent people involved as well as idiots, but we knew from the way things have been done that there's a mix of idiots and semi-competent people and probably some very competent, very malevolent people who were nowhere near the Capitol that day but who fed info/plans/ideas to the, uh, less bright bulbs.

(I mean, that said: the odds Trump will pardon the whole pack of them are unfortunately non-zero, so maybe this is the easiest way to get a full pardon for being involved in this attack: to directly participate in the part of it that he cheered on, instead of being convicted of incitement/sedition-not-in-person later on? So some of them may be less stupid than it appears. Probably not all of them, but some of them...)

Lisa

I’m seeing today that apparently a lot of the bearded insurgents thought going home and shaving their beards would keep them from being identified/located. Sigh.

TheQueen

KC - this is all starting to feel like Kennedy conspiracies - it’s unthinkable that such a moron could do something significant, so someone else must have been pulling his strings. Probably just morons who lucked out.
Lisa - I keep hearing that if they had thought to wear masks, the mask would have kept them from being identified, but I suppose a mask obscures the face more than a beard? I heard the jackass in Pelosi’s office was identified by his ex-wife. So his beard didn’t save him from that.

KC

I mean, Trump has had a lot of advisors. Barr helped him out in competence terms *enormously* and such, while he was on board. And his advertising crew is stunningly competent, given what they have had to work with (barring Total Landscaping et al). And then there's the honeslty-entirely-too-clever conspiracy theory creators who make them or twist them and pick just the right time to feed them to the crew, and the astroturfing crew, and the Russian bots.

When a National Guard detail is requested for the day of your rally, I'm not sure if it takes any cleverness to see that your group is less likely to "win" if the National Guard is on the ground and thus to say "nope" to that request - it's probably not that hard.

Exactly what people were planning to do within the Capitol, beyond "make them make me president again by force!" was probably a mix, but some would have been those who have been calling for those who are not "adequately supporting Trump" to die; before the 2016 election, Trump talked about how terrible it would be for *liberal* Supreme Court justices to be appointed because it's a lifetime appointment, but then said something like "but you second-amendment folks could maybe do something about that" - which, uh, suggests some things. I don't know whether he's invoked the "second amendment solution" reference in that way against those he claims are "stealing" the election (AUGH they *hand counted* *paper ballots* in Georgia, twice; can everyone please shut up about how wibbly-wobbly-internet-things swapped votes for Biden there?).

I guess: the exact plans for where to go and what to do, beyond "threaten and kill and *MAKE THEM* make me president again": any of those plans that were clever probably originated somewhere other than Trump. (you can be very clever in one way and yet So Stupid in another, so the selfie-takers are not necessarily out of the running as potential clever planners)

I'm fairly sure that there are some clever people behind QAnon; either that or they just accidentally hit on a *really* addictive combination and have kept using it (which takes some cleverness in itself - most people, when they succeed, are tempted to mix it up). The amount of complicit support that has been given to the idea that the election was fraudulent is... amazing, as is the degree to which lies just keep coming back after they've been disproven (seriously, folks, it's *really easy* to look up the number of registered voters in Pennsylvania for *years* and more people were registered to vote than voted, by a really long shot, and *YET* Trump keeps saying that more votes were cast than people registered, and somehow he gets away with it?).

But he got away with still being a "birther" *after* Obama had sighed and finally shown his birth certificate. So. Some of the stuff that looks like it would need cleverness may just be "hey, this psychological manipulation trick worked, we'll try it again" over and over again.

But I wouldn't put it past QAnon to be actually clever. And obviously many of the 2016 voter "persuasion" ads were done by very smart people, and to some degree some of the bots were well-done, too. So there is some cleverness and some smartness in the mix, along with a whole lot of amoral selfishness.

But also, once a group of amoral ringmasters (including Trump) have set people going towards a goal (roughly: come to Washington on January 6 and start a Civil War if Trump is not certified as the next president, basically), they can individually come up with ways to accomplish that, and can see what resources they can add to the people who are making specific plans [like whoever it was who leaked maps/locations or otherwise found how to get to targeted spots], and can copy "prior work" on the topic, and can brainstorm together, etc. So it doesn't take a "puppetmaster" who has total control over the whole plan. Just a whole bunch of leaders pretending an election was "stolen"; a whole bunch of deluded people who were useful tools; some people who applied some portion of their brains to figure out specific assorted plans [some cooperative, some individual]; and Trump wanting the best odds for his mob to win.

(also, the who-shot-Kennedy thing could have been just one obsessed guy who figured out a plan [for that matter, that wasn't necessarily his first try!] and then had a bunch of luck with how things lined up and with being able to make the shot; most attempted assassinations fail, but every once in a while, a bullet will get to where it was intended, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the person behind *that* bullet was so much smarter. We want reality to conform to meritocracy, but... um.)

TheQueen

KC - very alarming news today, it was a planned attach on the 6th, they were on the roof while Trump was still talking, plus, Air B and B isn’t renting out in DC next week for fear of giving space to a terrorist, ala Mary Surratt.

KC

Not renting out anything in DC for the next week is 100% a smart move. To be honest, having the inauguration *somewhere else* would be a smart move!

Obviously, yes, many people planned attacks on the Capitol in advance individually and in groups (I mean: if you have "Civil War, January 6, 2021" sweatshirts made up, you are... intending... things? and also people brought their guns and ammunition and pipe bombs and materials to make a gallows with and zip ties and tear gas and armor and whatnot)(and then there's the Proud Boys uniform swap thing).

Who was on the roof, though? I'm having difficulty finding that one.

TheQueen

KC - roof was probably a rumor - I only heard it once.

KC

I feel like one of the ways to fight conspiracy theories is to become a nation of more-diligent fact-checkers, basically? If we battle rumor and spin and exaggeration, to make logical, evidence-based things the only things (of that sort - I'm 100% in favor of poetry and capybara videos and whatnot) that we pass along, and to try to get at the truth of each thing we *want* to pass along? Then maybe *we* won't be as susceptible to conspiracy theories of whatever kind (and their goals), and also maybe we can hold that as a standard that other people can see and compare against?

(it's hard, though. But it is maybe a good hard, rather than a bad hard? And also it is something that sometimes takes time that is not available, so there is that. But where we do have time, verification is a Good Thing, maybe?)

TheQueen

KC - oh, verification is a good thing, but anxiety is an exciting thing.

KC

True. But: choosing good over choosing exciting: something that is worthwhile so that we are less manipulable, maybe. (in the reverse of the National Parks "what do you think this beach would look like if *everyone* took a seashell" sort of "don't do it if you don't want everyone to do it" thing: imagine what the world would be like if everyone stopped to check before splashing things everywhere online? Ahhhh.)(there would still be silliness and spontaneity, just fewer lynch mobs)

TheQueen

KC - well, that would be wise, but people aren’t wise as a default.

KC

It takes work and stuff. But man, wouldn't it be nice if everyone did it? :-)

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