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Amanda Gorman Made Silvester Beaman Sad, Joe Biden Happy, and John Lewis Dance

The saddest person on the Inaugural stage was not Mike Pence, the outgoing Vice President. Indeed, after what he had to put up with from Trump for the last month, he’s probably relieved if not outright happy. The saddest person was not Amy Klobuchar or other presidential hopefuls who came up short during the primaries, who no doubt imagined themselves as the person taking the oath of office today. The saddest person on the stage today was the Reverend Doctor Silvester Beaman of Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Delaware.

The happiest person on the stage was President Joe Biden, but it’s not because he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States of America. It’s not because the inauguration went off without more violence. It’s not because he can finally *do* things to address all the problems he and we are facing, which had to have been incredibly frustrating as the transition floundered and foundered and blundered its way to today. It’s not because he accomplished what Beau wanted him to do.

The reason Beaman was so sad and Biden was so happy is this: Biden finished before Amanda Gorman spoke and Beaman had to follow her. Honestly, I half expected Beaman to step up to the microphone, ask “Can I get an Amen?”, and then drop the folder with his prepared benediction and sit down. Don’t get me wrong: Beaman’s words were good, but he had to know that he was following something epic.

When I saw Gorman come down the Capitol steps wearing her yellow power coat, her bold hoop earrings, her bright red wrap around the powerful tight braids atop her head, I just sat back and smiled. Michelle Obama looked great in her purple, but she was a member of the audience today. Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez both made their entrances before they picked up the microphone, and were fine, but Gorman owned those steps in a way that no on else did today. Seeing her enter reminded me of AOC stepping onto the House floor in her power red suit as she prepared to respond to being called a “fucking bitch” by Florida Congressman Ted Yoho. Before Gorman opened her mouth, it was clear that she had Something To Say and it was going to be good.

And make no mistake: she did, and it was.

It was incredibly powerful for three reasons. First, Gorman was unapologetically herself: young, African-American, articulate, and proud of all three. She did not cast herself as Maya Angelou or Robert Frost, two earlier inaugural poets. She spoke with the rhythms of rap that are the language of her generation and her community, embracing the whole heritage of Africans on this continent, and conscious of her power in this moment.

Second, Gorman was unflinchingly honest. She spoke of the ugliness of our history at times, at the tragedies we have been through, and the reality of what is going on right now. There were no pious platitudes to paper over the pain that far too many have had to deal with for far too long.

Most of all, Gorman was unimaginably hopeful. If she owned and possessed the four centuries of pain poured out on the Africans brought to this country in chains and their descendants who lived through slavery, official Jim Crow, and unofficial oppression, she also owned and possessed the strength that carried them through it all, forcing this country to slowly and painfully look at its past, decide to change, and actually make those changes begin to come to be.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth, in this faith we trust
for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.

This is the era of just redemption.
We feared it at its inception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour,
but within it, we found the power
to author a new chapter,
to offer hope and laughter
to ourselves so while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert:
how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

We will not march back to what was,
but move to what shall be
a country that is bruised, but whole,
benevolent, but bold,
fierce, and free.
We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.
Our blunders become their burdens.
But one thing is certain,
if we merge mercy with might and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.

And with these words, I thought immediately of John Lewis, the happiest person *not* on the stage today.

Gorman was not mindlessly repeating the words of an earlier generation of activists, but building on them. Just as the 23 year old John Lewis spoke on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, so the 22 year old Amanda Gorman stood at the other end of the Mall, on the steps of the Capitol in which John Lewis served until he died, and she is taking this nation one more step forward. She isn’t asking permission to do this, or suggesting this be done. She is declaring reality: we will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation.

I am glad that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris defeated Donald Trump and Mike Pence. I am relieved that we have made it through the transition between the election and today. I am still shaken by the insurrection of January 6th and what may yet lie ahead on that front. But I am dancing in my living room right now, and am convinced that John Lewis is dancing in heaven today, because in Amanda Gorman we see that the good troublemaking goes on.

How could catastrophe possibly prevail?

Where’s The Anger? Where Are The Consequences?

On January 6 a mob attacked the Capitol. Legislators were rushed out of their chambers and into safe rooms barely ahead of thousands of seditionists. Staff people, Senators and Representatives cowered under desks and behind barricaded doors. People died. Dozens of police were injured, many hospitalized.

Then the legislators resumed business as if nothing horrible and terrifying had happened. The newly-created Insurrection Party shouted about the theft of an election and lied about their concerns. Democrats responded with facts and logic. In the middle of the proceedings, Sen. Amy Klobuchar appeared on A Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In response to Colbert’s increasingly agitated questions, she said that the important thing was that they went back to the floor and did their job. Like Colbert, I’m stunned by the normalcy she displayed. There isn’t a hint of anger, hostility, or outrage in her face, even when she claimed to be angry about it.

Colbert asks if it upsets her at all that six Senators only changed their votes after they were physically attacked, even though they knew they were stirring up trouble around the country by repeating Trump’s big lie about election fraud. She says (my transcription):

Of course it does. But I figured my job today was to bring as many people with me and with our side as we could and to do it in a way that would give them that space. And the reason I did it is because, I made this case to our caucus, is that I want Joe and Kamala to come in with bipartisan support. I want to leave the what Joe Biden calls the grim era of demonization behind us and actually get things done. … I think what they did was atrocious, but at the same time we have to move forward as a nation.

[1] Colbert, his voice rising with emotion, asks if there shouldn’t be consequences for people who promulgated the lie that the election was stolen, consequences “… so severe that no one will ever think to foment an insurrection against this government again without shuddering at the prospect of what will happen to them.” She moves straight to “I’m a former prosecutor”, and starts talking about jailing the invaders. Colbert tries to focus her on the Senators, but she won’t answer whether they should face consequences. She launches into what a toad Trump is, and never responds about the co-toads. Colbert surrenders.

Nothing changed among Democratic politicians after that. On January 15, for example, I saw Jason Crow, D CO-6, on CNN discussing the revelation that some Representatives or their staffers might have led invaders on a reconnaissance tour of the Capitol the day before the attack, even though tours were banned. The oily flow from Crow could be used to lubricate a Mack Truck.

Where’s the demand for accountability for those shits who repeated Trump’s lies with their own imprimatur? [2] Are there no consequences for lies that undermine our democracy? Are elites just utterly free from any duties? Cruz, Hawley, Blackburn, Hyde-Smith, Marshall, Tuberville, and Kennedy are not stupid. Well, Tuberville is a couple of hundred million neurons short of a human brain. But the rest are pretty close to average in intelligence and a couple of them might pass for bright normal.

There are two who simply should be expelled immediately: Mo Brooks, R AL-05, [3] and Madison Cawthorn, R NC-11. These bastards spoke at Trump’s incitement rally and encouraged the assembled mob to action. There’s video. We know what they said, we know what they meant, and we know what happened. If Speaker Pelosi can ask the House to impeach Trump for his incitement based solely on what he said, what he meant and what happened, why can’t she summon the anger and grief we all feel and throw those anti-democratic shits out of the House?

======
[1] I’ve got a mental draft of remarks in response to objections to certification, starting with “I ask the Gentleman from Texas who told him there was fraud in the election? Was it the loser, the guy who lied about his own election in 2016, and has lied continuously about rigging ever since? Or was it @JohnnyFeathers39873858 Flag Flag? Or one of the witnesses dug out of internet swamps by the Loser’s elite legal team of crack lawyers? Were they vetted by the Gentleman’s brilliant staff?”

[2] I salute Freshman Representative Cori Bush, who introduced a resolution, co-sponsored by Freshman Representative Marie Newman;

St. Louis representative Cori Bush is calling for the investigation and expulsion of any representatives who objected to election certification, saying their actions lead to the Capitol riots that cost five people their lives.

Compare the aggressive action of the Freshman Congresswomen with elderly Senator Ben Carden D-MD. On January 16 on CNN Carden said expelling these seditionists was up to the voters in their states.

[3] There is a resolution calling for censure of Brooks, sponsored by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Tom Malinowski. That’s bullshit. He’ll frame it and use it in the next election.

Insurrection Be Damned: Congress’s Session Resumed

Let me say up front I’m mentally and emotionally fried. Watching idiotic Trumpist traitors trashing the Capitol Building while depriving a majority of the country of their elected representatives’ honest services just plain sucks.

It’s theft conducted under our noses. Not of an election, because the election is done and the results are known, having been certified by all 50 states and a lack of evidence of voter fraud produced in at least 59 lawsuits contesting the election.

No, the theft was of our time and energy today, our faith in government, and the effort of our elected officials who we are paying to perform specific tasks today as outlined in the Constitution. These poorly-educated, overgrown, mouth-breathing brats stole from us because they are unable to get their way, because they’ve been unwilling to organize and persuade other Americans to join their cause and elect their candidate.

But after their pointless tantrum incited by their equally idiotic leader, they’ve fled the Capitol Building. It’s been swept by the FBI and Congress has resumed their work under Article II, Section 1:

The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.

The Senate has now voted to certify the election results for a number of states. Of the original 13 senators who planned to vote against certification, only six refused to certify the election conducted in Arizona.

They are Senators Cruz (R-TX), Hawley (R-MO), Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Kennedy (R-LA), Marshall (R-KS), and Tuberville (R-AL). Many on Twitter are calling them the “Seditious Six.” There may be more joining their ranks as the Senate continues to debate and certify more state election results.

The House is still in debate; there are some doozies offered up from the likes of Matt Gaetz who in his floor speech claimed Antifa had stormed the Capitol Building today.

I do hope Gaetz calls the family of the Trump supporter who was shot and killed today at the Capitol to explain his conspiracy theory. Maybe he can justify her death.

~ ~ ~

Rumors continue that administration officials are looking into invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump due to his inability to do his job. Trump had refused earlier to call up federal resourced to push back the mob and protect Congress; Pence eventually ordered the National Guard to deploy. This may have convinced the unnamed officials more action should be taken but as of an 11:14 p.m. report in The Hill, VP Pence had yet to be approached about the 25th.

The National Association of Manufacturers had already sent a letter encouraging Pence to use the 25th Amendment. The House Judiciary Committee Democrats sent a letter to Pence asking him to pursue the 25th Amendment. It’s doubtful this is enough pressure to persuade Pence and a necessary critical mass of cabinet secretaries or acting heads of cabinet level functions to take action.

Two governors have called for Trump’s removal, and both Twitter and Facebook have placed Trump’s social media accounts on short-term suspension due to his tweeting inciting content violating terms of service. Facebook-owned Instagram, Google’s YouTube, and Snapchat have also removed some of Trump’s inciting content and/or placed his account in suspension.

And of course there are calls for impeachment, many from the Democratic Congressional Caucus. Speaker Pelosi probably won’t budge until she believes a clear majority in the Senate would vote to convict and remove Trump if Pelosi were able to rally the House to impeach.

~  ~  ~

So the House slogs on into the night toward certification of the election. It’s not clear what time exactly the vote will take place, only that Pelosi is committed to working through the night to make it happen.

We’ll continue to feel frustrated like former Obama administration official Ben Rhodes, who said, “If you don’t impeach and remove a President for staging a coup, what’s the point of impeachment.”

We’ll continue to be annoyed by the minimization of Trump’s sedition by moderate Democrats like Sen. Carper:

But we aren’t going to give up. We are a majority who believe in this democracy, many of us in spite of how badly it has treated us and our forebears under white supremacy.

We’re going to remember while we wait that as angry as this situation makes us — watching white supremacists trash the Capitol while noting how little action law enforcement has taken against them — there are Americans who are completely invested in keeping our democracy for us.

From the Black Americans of the Capitol janitorial staff who cleaned up after the seditionist mob left the building:

To the journalists who continued to work in lockdown and in some cases arrested by Capitol Police while they were trying to report on the story unfolding, while allowing those who participated in rebellion and insurrection today to leave Capitol grounds:

And those Congressional staffers who kept it all together:

Especially the cool-headed Senate staffer who remember to grab the ballots from the Senate floor before the mob entered, preventing them from being burned.

Fingers crossed here that the republic still stands in the morning.

~ ~ ~

Oh, one more thing: newly-elected representative Derrick Evans should be expelled from the House:

See 14th Amendment of the Constitution, Section 3:

Section 3
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Kick his ass out the door. He doesn’t believe in the Constitution and already failed the oath of office.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE — 1:25 AM ET —

Okay, I lied…I’m still up and glued to my desktop, watching the House.

Please let this be it, the end in sight.

Sedition in Progress: U.S. Senate in Lockdown [UPDATE-9]

[NB: Updates will appear at the bottom of this post. /~Rayne]

Trump-supporting protesters breached the U.S. Capitol building where the joint session of Congress had been underway.

The Senate has been gaveled out and members of Congress evacuated along with VP Mike Pence.

The protesters have now halted and delayed the execution of Article II Section 1 of the Constitution, during which Congress turns over to the President of the Senate — the Vice President of the United States — the certified results of the elections in each of their states for ceremonial acknowledgment of the presidential election’s results.

In short, Trump supporters are engaged in rebellion, insurrection, and seditious conspiracy inside the U.S. Capitol building.

This coup attempt isn’t over.

 

UPDATE-1 — 2:53 PM ET —

Secret Service whisking Pence off the chamber floor here:

Press were asked to secure doors. What the hell does that say about security?

Trump incited this and he’s encouraging it with neglect. There’s no sign Trump has done anything to call up additional security personnel like former AG Bill Barr did this summer to protect Trump during his ridiculous photo op.

 

UPDATE-2 — 3:01 PM ET —

The joint session was still in debate as the video above shows. The session was gaveled out about 2:15 PM ET.

And then Trump tweeted this:

When Congress reconvenes it should immediately move to impeach and then remove Trump from office.

He has failed to uphold his oath of office by obstructing the Constitutional duties of Congress and its President Pro Tempore, by inciting rebellion, insurrection, and sedition.

 

UPDATE-3 — 3:37 PM ET —

Weapons were drawn.

There’s a report of a person shot.

And Ivanka is doing her performative head-patting. (click on date+time in Acosta’s tweet to open)

Put a leash on your demented and lawless father, sweetheart. Anything less is just idle chatter.

Spencer Ackerman’s not getting any response to questions about law enforcement response.

Sure would be nice to know if former AG Bill Barr knew this was coming and quit when he did because of it.

Basically Trump quit without giving notice.

Just finish the job, Congress — impeach and remove his ass.

 

UPDATE-4 — 3:57 PM ET —

Trump has allegedly ordered up the National Guard to respond to the violence in the Capitol. But it’s still pretty rocky inside.

What an absolute disgrace, utterly embarrassing. This is a BBC reporter from India sharing this on Twitter.

 

UPDATE-5 — 4:20 PM ET —

Quite a few people are making similar observations about the response to protesters breaching the capitol building.

Gee, what could possibly be the difference? Whatever it is, it’s visible from abroad.

Yup. The violence we saw this summer was police-driven, not BLM.

 

UPDATE-6 — 4:30 PM ET —

This is some weapons-grade stupid, both the PC left up unsecured, and the idiot intruding in the office taking pictures of this intrusion. (click to open image)

 

UPDATE-7 — 4:46 PM ET —

So Popehat asked…

And lo, there were uninvited Confederates in the White House.


UPDATE-8 — 5:40 PM ET —

There. Are. Bullet. Holes.

Jesus Christ.

At least the FBI SWAT team is now in the building, though specific location details aren’t being shared.

I guess we’re back to watching for the joint session to re-gavel into order though it will only happen after the building has been cleared. There have been claims members of the mob will continue hide out and remain in the building as long as possible.

 

UPDATE-9 — 6:08 PM ET —

From Yahoo News:

By the time the president strengthened his calls for cooperation with the police, his protesters, many of whom were armed and had not passed through a metal detector, had already broken through a police barricade and entered the Capitol’s Statuary Hall. An improvised explosive device was found on the Capitol grounds, NBC News reported, and at least two IED’s were discovered on the 300 and 400 block of Canal St., according to a law enforcement document obtained by Yahoo News.

In his statement to the public this afternoon, Joe Biden said today’s events “borders on sedition.”

What Trump did with his continuing incitement, including his most recent statement to his supporters, was sedition. No toeing the border. He incited rebellion and insurrection to delay and obstruct Constitutional duties of Congress.

As a result of this lawlessness, someone has died.

Congress, impeach and remove Trump before he can do any more damage. Again, he’s literally not doing his job.

Why did Pence have to give the order after having been whisked off the Senate floor??

Updates will be appended here at the bottom of this post.