Comparative Political History: The Paris Commune And The American Capitol Riot Of Jan. 6th, 2021

by Shelt Garner

I barely know anything about the Paris Commune, but I know enough to know that it may be the closest comparison one can think up when it comes to the Capitol Riot of January 6th in Washington.

But there are some pretty big differences.

If you look back at what happened on January 6th, we were extremely lucky for a number of reasons — the riot didn’t really have any leaders and it didn’t really have any long-term agenda or ideology. It was just a smash-and-grab coup attempt.

But imagine if there had been some sort of leadership on January 6th. They could have established a security perimeter around the Capitol. They could have taken hostages and they could have formed a “government” at the Capitol building.

If they had had any organization or forethought, they could still be there right now, hold up at the Capitol in their own “commune.” I doubt they would have called it a commune, but that’s what it would have been.

They had a very specific historic opportunity and — thankfully — they completely blew it. They “caught the car” and then didn’t know what to do with it. There won’t be a next time.

Any coup-like event that occurs in the future is going to require a shit ton more work by those involved. I still think given macro trends that while there may still be significant political violence in the coming years, it’s the 2024-2025 period we need to keep an eye on.

‘Catching The Car:’ The Capitol Riot, Reassessed

by Shelt Garner

The key thing we have to appreciate is what a fluke the riot at the Capitol was on January 6th. While future history may prove me wrong — I’m often wrong — it definitely seems as though a lot of things went wrong at the same time on that date.

What happened January 6th was a classic instance of “catching the car.” How else do you explain how gleeful many of the people who participated were? In the moment, most of the people involved had no idea the gravity of what they had gotten themselves into. It was all a big party.

Or, once the beating the shit out of people phase was accomplished by nastier aspects of the mob, it was a party to everyone else. I almost went to DC to “cover” the event for myself and I now find myself sheepishly blanching at what I might have gotten myself into had I gone. I probably would have charged into the Capitol to cover such a historic event, only to get arrested for trespassing, etc.

So, in a sense, I dodged a bullet.

Anyway, I think, in a sense, the terrorists have won in the short term and we’re all terrorized while the actual threat is back to near-zero. So, we’re going through all this pretty much for no reason. The moment people started getting arrested for their participation in the Capitol riot, I think the threat evaporated.

There may be isolated political violence over the next four years, but the Big Ugly has been punted down the road to the 2024-2025 time frame for a number of reasons. A civil war / revolution is coming…just not right now.

Trump’s 2nd Impeachment Gets The ‘Newtown’ Treatment

by Shelt Garner

It definitely seems as though Trump will, yet again, escape justice. Trump is going to behave (for once) and in the context of the change in administrations, by the time we get around to doing anything about him, passions will have cooled and, lulz, “thoughts and prayers.”

In fact, I would go so far as to say the only way we get any justice for Trump is if things go crazy with the impeachment trial in the Senate and before you know it, John Bolton is testifying and additional impeachment articles are being drawn up for the now out-of-office-Trump.

That doesn’t seem very likely.

And Trump definitely seems as though he’s prepping the way for him doing all that pardoning he wants to do so bad, so ultimately, he lives to fight another day politically. New York State will be pressured to stand down that will be that.

Trump will write his “My Struggle” book in political exile and, well, there you go.

In four years, we have to deal with Trump again.

Now What

by Shelt Garner

I had a really interesting conversation with a conservative relative recently. The more I think about it, the more it epitomizes the state of the Republican Party now. He didn’t vote for Trump in 2016. He was given a permission structure to vote for Trump in 2020.

And….now he wants him to leave office early via impeachment or some other political solution.

Talk about whiplash!

What Republicans want is for anti-Trump people to see the Trump Era as value free so they can sit back and chuckle at all the young hack MAGA judges they got as well as the huge plutocrat tax cut. They want that so they can demand that the laws of politics snap back into place — suddenly we’re not talking about Big Ideas anymore, we’re talking about Kamala Harris wearing a tan suit.

Anything, but anything, to have us not talk about what just happened the last four-odd years.

And, remember, the point is that Trump isn’t an autocrat, but just a big olde ding-dong. That’s the thing people like me missed — Trump I kept ascribing to Trump political acuity and acumen that he just didn’t have. So, the United States is an autocracy without an autocrat.

All the conditions are there for us to slip into a Russian-style autocracy, but for one thing — Trump isn’t an autocrat.

The question, of course, is given how all the tools of autocracy exist to be picked up, will someone like Tom Cotton, or Josh Hawley, or Mike Pompeo or Ted Cruz finish the process that Trump began.

I honestly don’t know.

A lot depends on how, exactly, Trump ends his administration. There’s still a decent shot that he’s going to do one last thing that is so astonishing, so spectacular, that it punts our slide into autocracy down the road for a generation.

What’s The Matter With Utah?

by Shelt Garner

Got this mixed up, sorry — Ed.

It appears as though there’s something afoot in the state of Utah. Some sort of January 6th-style assault on the Utah Capitol Building is being planned. Maybe. I know I’m getting a lot of hits on this Website from Utah about my dystopian hellscape scenarios.

Whatever it is, it’s happening soon — January 11th.

This is the same day, I think, Trump is doing his “Remember the Alamo” speech in Texas about his dumb boarder fence. The question is, how well organize is this attack in Utah and what are its goals? My concern is that they may declare their independence or something. If they successfully take the Capitol, they may setup some sort of People’s Government that unilaterally leaves the Union and calls for other states to do the same. Throw in Trump egging other states on and you have a real secession crisis on your hands.

There have been a series of assaults against state houses over the last few months and if they could successfully take over one, that might be a tipping point. If there was significant bloodshed during the Monday assault, that would take things to the next level.

But it’s possible I’ve gotten my information garbled or incorrect. And, yet, it will be interesting to see how everything plays out. Monday could be pretty wild, indeed.

#CapitolRiot: What Did Trump Know & When Did He Know It?

by Shelt Garner

Trump just can’t keep a secret. So, given his public comments leading up to January 6th, it’s beginning to appear as though Trump may have known a lot more about what was going on than we now know.

Usually, during a Trump Era scandal, this is the point when an audiotape of Trump saying something incriminating happens. We all get upset for a few days, then we move on.

But, for the time being, this moment in time feels different and so if something like that did pop out, Trump would face some severe political consequences. Even if he’s got one foot out the door.

I have a general sense at this point that Trump probably knew a lot more about the details of the Capitol Riot than you might think. I doubt he was involved in the specific planning — he can’t keep a secret, after all — but he knew how big the event was going to be and that he might be able to stage a coup using the existing infrastructure that was being built out.

Yet for the time being, I think Trump is going to escape justice yet again. He’s almost out of office and even his extra-political, extra-legal or extra-Constitutional options are kind of limited right now. He could maybe do something in a spasm of panic, but he’s done none of the hard work of autocrat.

My fear now is he’s going to grow extremely passive-aggressive to the point that we start to think he’s a danger to himself our us.

Taking Stock Of A Nation On The Brink

by Shelt Garner

One of the conditions for a civil war – revolution in the United States is there already: the positions of the two sides are beginning to harden. What isn’t there yet is Trump going transaction or there being enough rolling political violence across the country that there are significant domestic political refugees.

Those last two things would be the last stages before the country buckled. And, really, with Trump still president for 10 days, that’s actually not a unlikely as you might think. All Trump has to do is snap — even more so than he already has — and goad people into taking up arms against anyone they feel isn’t MAGA and the other part takes care of itself.

Once America’s transportation system is clogged with Blue people from Red states and Red people from Blue states fleeing for their lives, then, well, we’re going to to show.

But that is so dystopian that I’m just not prepared to believe that’s going to happen. While Trump is going to continue to do everything in his power to destroy the United States, MAGA just isn’t organized enough — or bloodthirsty enough — to leap into the void. At least not yet.

Give them four years to marinate in their hate and I think they will be.

Or, put another way, the great irony of all of this would be if Trump — whose appearance in 2025 was probably about as early as his type political rise was going to happen — squashed what might otherwise be an extremely destructive political movement because he demanded they strike too soon.

But all this could be Trump’s beerhall putsch and he — or someone like him — will be victorious in about a decade. (Which makes a lot of sense.)

The Prospect Of A ‘MAGA Revolution,’ Reassessed

by Shelt Garner

I have long suggested that any MAGA shithead cocksucker touting the idea of a “MAGA Revolution” was an idiot. And they are. They’re idiots for a number of reasons. One is, generally revolutions at least start off with a Leftist bent and also, well, any such “revolution” would likely be a civil war, not a revolution.

But, given the events of January 6th, let’s do a reassessment.

The only time I can think of that there was the prospect of a Right wing revolution was in the early days of the Nazi take over of Germany. The SA were a lot more radical than the the rest of the Nazi movement and they were quickly squashed with they got a little too uppity. The SA wanted a far more radical transformation of Germany life than Hitler was prepared to enact. So Nazism remained a somehow bland version of fascism for a lot longer than it might have otherwise. The really nasty parts didn’t pop out until a few years later.

As I understand it, it was the viciousness with which Hitler got rid of them that made people sit up and take notice that he was not the clown everyone thought he was.

So, is it possible there may be a “MAGA Revolution” sometime soon?

After January 6th, I have to say my answer is now a firm “maybe.”

The key to any such “revolution” would be Trump. If he really leaned into going transactional as he really began to lose his mind, then, yes, there might be significant rolling violence across the country that might be marketed as a “revolution.”

But the United States is a big, big country and the while things might get bloody and scary for a while, the moment Biden is in control of the U.S. Military, the dynamic of things changes rather dramatically. I guess the difference between a “revolution” and a “civil war” would be how much of any significant action on the part of MAGA had the thin veneer of legality to it and how much didn’t.

If it was a revolution, rather than a civil war, then at its onset, there would be some sort of SA / SS attacks on state capitals across the country. This, sadly, has already begun to happen. But, like I said, the United States is a big country both in geographic size and population, so while you probably could pull of a successful MAGA revolution in, say, North Dakota by simply seizing the a few cities, if you attempted any such “revolution” in a Southern state, all you would do is incite a race war.

Not that a lot of Turner Diaries reading Proud Boys wouldn’t want that, but a revolution, by definition, is even more radical than a civil war and a lot of conservative-but-not-MAGA people would likely blanch at the atrocities that MAGA “revolution” would entail from day one.

As such, what might happen is a combination civil war – revolution. In the sparsely populated Red States of the heartland, you might have secession, while in the South, you just have a regular old race war in conjunction with a “revolution.”

But all of that — at least for the time being — is rather dystopian even for me. A lot — maybe all of it — depends Trump. If he really and I mean REALLY loses his mind, then his followers may get their revolution – civil war sooner rather than later.

I still think it’s more likely to be closer to 2025.

So, as Mitt Romney would say we have to all “hold our breath” for a few more days to see which way things will go.

Of Trump Potentially Using The ‘Presidential Text Alert System’ Instead of Twitter

by Shelt Garner

I’m pretty good, in a vague way, of calling what Trump is going to do in the Final Days. I pretty much called the significance of January 6th, though I didn’t call anything specific — just that it would be important.

But anyway.

One interesting thing is Trump still hasn’t snapped like I thought he would. I thought he would get into a logic trap and go REALLY CRAZY. But he’s still the usual olde crazy. One sign we would get that he was totally off the reservation would be if he started to do a quick succession of things that did not really help him as the House rushes to impeach him — again.

One of those things would be to use the Presidential Text Alert System — usually reserved for, like, announcing nuclear war — as something akin to a replacement for Twitter now that he’s lost that account.

There’s a lot to take into account on this front.

Remember, in real terms, Trump’s era is over, so he would have to do something that slowed time down significantly for there to be a even more of a mad rush to get rid of him. Trump has yet to do something REALLY FUCKING CRAZY like incite sedition using the Presidential Text Alert System to shoot out a tweet to everyone in America’s phone. In, fact, he seems pretty chill compared to what I expected he would be at this point.

Something would have to change, and change fast — like in the next 48 hours. Yes, he’s supposed to have a press conference at the Alamo, but, really, even if he went Howard Beale at such a conference, he only has less than two weeks in office.

The Final Days of Trumplandia.

Trump would have to go transactional — start a war, tell his followers to overthrow the government in a specific type way or, say, use the Presidential Text Alert System to do any number of really crazy transactional things.

But him just blabbering at a press conference wouldn’t be enough. He’s been doing that for some time now — four years — and it was only when he went transactional in front of a crazed hoard near the Capitol that it mattered to anyone.

So, really, while Trump is, in fact, a massive self-own artist, as of right this second, he’s going to escape justice, just like he always does. Only time will tell.

Trump, As Always, Has His Fate — And Ours — In His Own Hands

by Shelt Garner

So. Trump has less than a fortnight in office and if he simply plays golf — or stays catatonic — he’s safe. He will cruse into retirement and that will be that. But this is Trump we’re talking about, so it’s possible that at any moment Trump will really fucking flip out.

But I’m beginning to think maybe he’s not going to freak out. I think that now that he’s lost his Twitter account that he’ll just stew in juice quietly and that’s it.

And, yet, as Mitt Romney suggests, we may just have to “hold our breath” for the last few days of Trump’s time in office. There’s really no way to know one way or another at this point.

I dunno. It definitely seems as though Trump is going to escape justice — again — because he just isn’t going to do anything more to cause problems. It’s less than two weeks. He really is going to have to freak the fuck out before anyone in the Republican Party thinks seriously about getting Trump out of office before the 20th.