‘At least it’s an ethos’

Were the Capitol Hill Commandos nihilists? Or do they have an ethos?

Beats me. They didn’t appear to be granting interviews — too busy smashing cameras and/or taking selfies — but if I were to guess, it seems to me that their ideology starts and stops at Adolf Twitler.

A few clearly had an agenda, but a lot looked like dumb dogs that caught a Cadillac and didn’t know what to do with it. They sure as shit weren’t prepared to drive it.

From the collection of Chairman Bao Wao Wao.

The Weather Underground Organization had a program when it bombed the U.S. Capitol back in March 1971 — armed struggle against imperialism a la Che Guevara and Mao Zedong. Create “two, three, many Vietnams,” as Che advised.

And the WUO decidedly was not above “demands for control and power through seizures of institutions,” as the leadership explained in the 1974 political statement “Prairie Fire,” with the caveat, “Actions are more powerful when they are explained and defended.”

The WUO didn’t exactly drive their program home, either. A bunch of them wound up in the carcel or the camposanto, and a number of their former comrades in the old Students for a Democratic Society split off in other directions, as Mike Klonsky did with the October League and later, the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist); Your Humble Narrator had a brief affiliation with both organizations in the late Seventies after an undistinguished stint with the Socialist Workers Party.

But at least these organizations had an ethos, a plan, a vision, however myopic. What were (are) these new insurrectionists thinking? Give us your best guesses in comments.

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27 Responses to “‘At least it’s an ethos’”

  1. Stan Thomas Says:

    Looks more like a cult than a movement. And the cult leader is motivated only by self-aggrandisement. No plan. No direction. Chaos and anarchy will do just fine.

    • SAO' Says:

      Half cult, half mass mental health crisis.

      If I heard him correctly, Clint Watts (Messing With the Enemy) estimates that Trump has around 15M people ready to take arms for him, around 20% of the folks who voted for him. And given that Trump has had 5 years to tell us what he is all about, and still hasn’t articulated anything, then that’s a lot of people willing to shoot someone for no real reason. Not sure what to call that other than a mental health situation.

    • SAO' Says:

      I have a pretty good family history when it comes to the full spectrum mental health conditions. More than one suicide in the immediate and nearby family, numerous addiction situations, lots of depression, agoraphobia, and a couple of undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenics living in the woods who haven’t been seen in decades.

      Somewhere, in my layman’s wanderings, I ran across a discussion of how societies can have outbreaks of a specific flavor of mental health crises. There’s no evidence that anything is contagious in the traditional sense, but if a culture molds people in a certain way, and then current events bend folks in another, there are outcomes that manifest more prominently in one place than they do another.

      In as non-snarky terms as I can come up, I think we have a significant part of the country that is just plain freaking out. This is way beyond politics, because our politics stopped making sense a long time ago. No one is truly dedicated to the liberal or conservative way of life, because both have become so contradictory that no one can truly claim to be an adherent representative of either political movement. And maybe that’s it. Maybe conservatives, deep down in the reptilian core, have been dealing with the conflict that they think they’re against federal programs but can’t stop using federal programs, and it’s finally made them snap. And now it’s no longer about the politics, it’s about anyone who will tell them they are victims and they are not getting a fair shake and he loves them and they are special.

      You can only live one way and talk another for so long before the internal conflict becomes unsustainable.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Half cult, half crazy. Sounds about right. You need some serious brain-bubbles for “Keep your socialist hands off my Medicare” to make any kind of sense. Charlie Pierce traces it back to Reagan and his “government is the problem” mantra. St. Ronnie of the Trickle-down has been a bobblehead on the GOP dashboard ever since.

      The Washington Post has a piece that notes how the indoctrination of the Capitol Hill Commandos mimics that given Islamic militants.

      Cindy Storer, a former CIA counterterrorism analyst, said that adherents in both cases were drawn to an ideology that emphasizes a loss in control or status. “We had this glorious past and it got screwed up and now we need to do something about it,” she said, summarizing the mind-set. What makes such movements turn violent, she said, is the additional belief that some other entity — usually based on race, religion, or nationality — is to blame for perceived humiliation.

      Clint Watts, a former FBI counterterrorism analyst, compared the rhetoric of Flynn, Giuliani and Trump with the radicalizing messages from leaders of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State that so worried U.S. security officials in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. “A decade ago, we worried [about] al-Qaeda ideologues inciting violence with speech, sending terrorists into places like [the] Capitol,” Watts said in a Jan. 7 post on Twitter. “What did we observe over the past week by our elected leaders, their surrogates and their supporters?”

      Sound familiar? Thinking like that is part of what kicked the Weimar Republic in the slats. And Original Adolf, like his American version, hardly seemed the man for the job. Failed artist, on the dole, disgruntled WWI soldier, party hack, beer-hall blowhard, failed (and jailed) revolutionary.

      We look back at 1932 and wonder, “What were they thinking?” Now we look back at Jan. 6, 2021, and wonder the same thing.

  2. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Stan is on it but it sure is one BIG ass cult. I grew up and worked with a lot of uneducated blue collar guys but never had a lick of trouble with em. Well some punches traded here and there but hell, that’s to be expected when testosterone is in play. Once they had a place to hang out (internet) is when they changed from guys I could have a beer with and go back and forth on the whatevers of life, to strange dudes with some palpable paranoia mixed with downright asshole behavior. It’s one thing to run your mouth off and wear hats that piss people off. A whole nudder ting (Northern Michigan dialect) to actually get off your couch and drag your Carhartt butt all the way to DC. We’ve had nut jobs come here from California just to strap on their tactical gear and parade around with their guns at rallies. Inevitably when these fucktards get arrested they always owe either alimony or child support money, have expired vehicle registrations, have a PPO out on them and other assorted lowlife badges. And a strong affinity for firearms.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The blue-collar dudes I grew up with were mostly apolitical, save for not wanting to get their asses shot off in Southeast Asia. Even then, they just mostly hoped it wouldn’t happen and kept on working for a living while the rest of us acted the fool in the streets between classes.

      What’s different now? A couple more generations that aren’t climbing the golden staircase? The new crowd sees that velvet rope will never be lifted aside for them? I get that people are hopeless and desperate, looking at a future that’s the same only more so; I just don’t see how they think this shit helps.

      Buzzwords like “disruption” and “break things” are popular in the entrepreneurial class, but I think that in their case they imply replacing the disrupted processes and broken things with processes and things that work, and maybe work better. I think the Capitol crowd heard “break things” and thought that would be good enough.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I saw the same apolitical folks growing up in the exurbs of Buffalo, NY. Why worry about politics when you had a job, a wife, a Chevy, and could afford a house? Hell, my stepdad pulled strings to get my kid brother into the GM Academy (or whatever it was called) but my little bro preferred to listen to rock and roll and smoke dope.

        But starting in the eighties, I saw plant after plant close down in Buffalo. My stepdad’s Chevy plant where he worked first on the assembly line and then in the machine shop was first sold to an independent firm, American Axle. Then shut down completely. The waterfront is now barren of steel plants and refineries. As you allude, those who could count on good union scale jobs for lifetime security are now left behind. The Velvet Rope has become a brick wall for many. So sure, there is a hopelessness and a bitterness. And as we know from the Weimar Republic, folks LOVE scapegoats because it provides a clear and easy (if wrong) answer for everything that is falling apart. Build the wall! Ban immigration! Blah blah blah!

        Back during Obama’s administration, he once quipped, in the above context, that for a lot of people, all they have left to cling to is their guns and Bibles. Well, he was not being condescending but being a realist and I think he actually felt for these folks. Then Hillary turned it around and called the same folks deplorables. Meanwhile, much of the Democratic Party has abandoned the working class and has become the party of upscale urban elites. They want to grab the guns and they ridicule the Bibles. I don’t think a lot of them give a rat’s ass about conservative folks in the hinterlands and the hinterland folks loath them in return. Shit, go read the liberal newsletters or social media. For many, the culture war is not just an amusement but a direct assault on values. I grew up in that Basket of Deplorables and know a fair number of those folks. I don’t appreciate the condescension even though I jumped that velvet rope long ago. I think some of the proposals the (D)s have such as making college and trade schools extremely accessible are damn good ideas but we also have to get jobs back that don’t require a valedictorian or an advanced degree.

        Meanwhile to fill the void, Trump has created this facade of populism, much as Hitler did telling Germans that they were the Master Race even as their economy was in shambles, food paid for in wheelbarrows full of marks, and Germany embarrassed by the Treaty of Versailles.Bombast and Big Lies have replaced the hard truth to Make America Great Again. I think we just had our own Beer Hall Putsch. Well, it ended much the same as the one in Munich, except Trump is not headed for the Greybar Hotel, at least not yet.

        Hopefully, the rest of that Weimar history will not repeat itself.

        • SAO' Says:

          Hillary’s deplorable comment may have cost her the election.

          But not because she was wrong.

          She was talking about the future founders and members of Parler who have been unwitting pawns of Macedonian hackers. Her mistake was not making that clear.

          Our mistake was not keeping up with current events and realizing that, for every Amazon, there was a Silk Road out there. For every Twitter, there are a dozen Parlers and worse. And for every Facebook, there is … well, Facebook.

          Because, make no mistake, the deplorables who attacked the Capitol were not created by T*****. They were there in 2015-2016, plotting the same thing against Clinton. Electing T**** just bought them a couple of years of not having to act quite yet.

        • SAO' Says:

          Minor clarification:

          // Back during Obama’s administration, he once quipped, in the above context, that for a lot of people, all they have left to cling to is their guns and Bibles//

          Was during the campaign, not during his administration. And if he had lost, that would have been Exhibit A.

          At least twelve times, he recited the same pitch, perfectly crafted, about how voters pay attention to issues. They rank them, typically economic first, then maybe social, on down the list. And when they don’t hear anyone making progress with Issue#1, they move to the next. Nothing controversial, and no one had a beef with it. The first twelve times. But the thirteenth, he was in a hurry, probably tired and bored, and he hamfisted it. Teed off a real wormburner, into the sand trap.

          The interesting part is, everyone who was anyone knew it was a verbal hiccup, but they also knew it was an opportunity. So, of course, the knives came out. And wielding the sharpest was Hillary, trying to set up Ivory Barry as an elitist. Proving Obama’s point, people clung to his guns and God statement. Somehow he dodged the bullet, but the same people manipulated by the “clinging” were just sitting there waiting to be triggered by “deplorable.”

          Politics sucks.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        It’s too complex an issue to blame on “Ooh, a Democrat was mean to me ’cause I rode a rusty Huffy to school, I hate him!”

        Education (or the lack thereof) plays a role, I expect — glossing over history, civics, and critical-thinking skills in favor of preparing grads for the old economy instead of the new one.

        Speaking of the economy, there’s capitalism. Corporations like profits, Americans like cheap goods. Talk about your death spiral. I like cheap shit, the company likes fat profits, so the manufacturing jobs (including mine) move overseas, which means I need even cheaper shit because this Circuit City job doesn’t pay worth a damn. And I don’t have it anymore anyway because the U.S. service sector continues to consolidate into fewer and fewer hands. (Radio Shack didn’t work out either.) So here I am on the welfare and the food assistance, picking up a box of staples from the church a couple times a month while the F-350 and the flat-screen get repo’d and the wife ran off with a colored fella and it has to be somebody’s fault, amirite? Where my guns at?

        I remember the GOP being all about choices, bootstraps, personal responsibility, all that good old shit. Shouldn’t that imply stepping off the tracks when you see that globalization train a-comin’, comin’ round the bend? The Democrats were more collectivists, we can do it together, etc. Shouldn’t that imply joining your union, paying your dues, doing the work to see that your decent jobs don’t go away (or at least go away a little less rapidly)?

        And whether you’re red or blue — that shit is totally backwards, by the way — it’s also smart to devote a tiny bit of your time to tending the fire for your tribe. Don’t like your representative? Study up, find a better one. Do a little work for that person, make sure you and your friends are registered, and vote.

        The economy and the government are us. It’s not enough anymore (if it ever was) to sit grumbling in the back seat and then, when the dipshit up front crashes the car, crawl out of the wreckage and shoot a passer-by.

        • khal spencer Says:

          The rusty Huffy comment is symbolic. We all know how powerful symbols can be when one is nursing a grudge. Many, rather than work harder, get mad and look for excuses to get even. Vote for Trump. As Larry’s wife said, right?

          The outsourcing of decent work has been going on for half a century over GoP and Dem administrations and we haven’t figured out how to get the workforce into something competitive and I’m not sure how government not only brings horses to water but forces them to drink. Its not just up to government. Some folks are motivated, some want excuses. My wife accuses me of being elitist because I expect every working class kid who had an abusive stepfather and put himself through college on his own to put the nose to the grindstone and get a fucking Ph.D. Well, maybe not a Ph.D. but otherwise guilty as charged.

          I’m not bitter. I look up at the heavens and say “thank you”. I just don’t expect too many favors in life.My biggest advantage in being a kid was a mom who expected us to be smart, took us to the library twice a month, and treated us like we were supposed to be responsible for ourselves. I think family is the basis for success. Not sure how I survived mine but when I look at the deep dysfunction in New Mexico families, it doesn’t surprise me that our schools are a mess.

          Agree with just about everything you said. The nation is illiterate and gets its news from its individualized bubbles, so its not surprising people don’t know jack shit about history, economics, socialism v capitalism, or that “leaders” only talk to their own tribes. One reason Meena quit teaching was it was getting harder and harder to do a good job. She got into a fight with the pharmacy school over the nursing school’s demand to water down the technical writing requirement. She said “that’s it”. Illiterate pharmacy help is not a good idea.

          In a crude way, tariffs are an effort to make it too expensive to outsource the TV, car, toaster, etc. overseas but I don’t think they work. And my fellow Murrcans have to realize that you don’t get your economy back by sitting at home and bitching while eating a bag of Cheetos. Neither do we get it back with dumb rather than smart regulation. Right now, we get all our rare earths as well as the refining and manufacturing to make them into high tech stuff from China. Part of the reason is that the Chinese work hard. Part is that we made it virtually impossible to mine and refine rare earths in the U.S. with environmental and safety laws, so corporations do what they do best. Find it better, cheaper, and faster somewhere else. Its a national security issue and we have to find a middle ground and do better.

          My brother, the one I talked about yesterday, never finished community college. But he finally got tired of being on the low end of the totem pole. Got himself a job in the water authority, worked his way up to supervisor and then passed the management exam. Said he didn’t want to be humping pipes underground in his fifties. He saw the writing on the wall. I think he is a good role model. Don’t just sit there, eat cheetos, and vote for Trump. Do something. Or as those socks from Pat said, “Do Epic Shit”. I think we need trade schools and directed education but knowing what the target will be in five years is hard. CC level education should be dirt cheap (as it was in Hawaii when my better half commented that her students paid more for a pair of shoes than for a course).

          I’m pretty demoralized and pessimistic after this weeks riots. I don’t think its a guarantee that we will save this Republic.

          Kinda complicated for a blog comment and reply, eh?

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Herself is another fine role model. Paid her own way through undergrad (English degree, not exactly a ticket to riches), went to work in bookstores, got married and divorced. Eventually worked her way up to managing the B. Dalton Bookseller in Fanta Se, where in a momentary lapse of judgment she married me.

          When the bookstore bidness went pear-shaped (remember bookstores?) and we moved to Bibleburg, she moved into adventure-sports retail for a while, then worked for the bank in Weirdcliffe, did a little more adventure-sports business, and finally decided that none of this was exactly getting the cattle to Abilene and went for her masters in library science at the University of Denver, which as you might guess from the moniker is in Denver, not Weirdcliffe.

          Well sir, she arranged for grants and loans and then set to covering what I called the Great Circle Route, driving from Weirdcliffe to Pueblo to Denver to Weirdcliffe for work and study, overnighting with friends in Pueblo and Denver to save money, just getting ’er done by the sweat of her brow. Got the sheepskin and moved steadily upward through a series of pro gigs until she landed at Sandia, which is a very pro gig indeed.

          She’s living proof that you don’t have to stay on the canvas once you’re down. Get up and start swinging.

          • khal spencer Says:

            Yep. Get back up. But one gets back up faster when one has corner men in the ring with you.

            One thing Hillary said that rang true is you need a village to raise an idiot, er, I mean a child. I had great public school teachers, a couple of key friends in college that broke radio silence and told me to pull out of the power dive, several college profs who saw me metamorphose from a drunk to a workaholic, and a graduate advisor with the patience of Job. All that was possible back when we were all on the same team and could afford to take time out to help a buddy. I think we do need a little more socialism in this country. We all need to make an occasional pit stop and have someone there to help us change the wheels and power fill the fuel tank.

  3. Pat O’Brien Says:

    I think the goal was making a sociopath the dictator of a United White States of America. It’s an exclusive men only club, you know.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    Cult of personality, period. Trump has no ideology other than being head of the American Narcissist Party. I don’t know what this followers think in there except FREEDUMB!

    I think all this has been aggravated as the Dems climbed over themselves during the primaries to outflank each other on the left. Many of those in attendance or in support probably have a serious allergy to Beto, Kamala, Cory et al driving their love for the fakery of Trump. Trump and his fake redneck bombast has become for many the bulwark against all those goddang socialists that are gonna take our guns, make our wives wear Birkenstocks on hairy legs, nationalize the economy under that commie Green New Deal, take down our monuments to Good Ole Boy Heroes, and then come for our pickup trucks and Confederate flags.

    So there.

  5. JD Says:

    Food for thought and potential discussion amongst us “cyclists”:

    1. Ranked choice elections: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/theres-a-reason-why-lisa-murkowski-can-threaten-to-leave-the-republicans/ar-BB1cBQXL?li=BBnb7Kz
    2. Is another American civil war possible? Probable?
    3. Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue

    I’m scheduled for COVID shots in late Feb and March.
    Best to all….stay safe and healthy!! 🙂

  6. khal spencer Says:

    Some words from Beau.

  7. Pat O'Brien Says:

    These were delusional cultists, who are addicted to social media, and think that loyalty with the trurmp clan is a two way street. It isn’t, as the q tip finally learned. Pobrecito. People like this used to be isolated, and friends, family, and others they knew would not coddle them. Give them a place to go with anonymity where they can spew their lies and hatred with like minded people, and you have an endless feedback loop of delusion. Their only goal is destruction and chaos. Dumpster’s message on not attending the inauguration was an invitation for more violence, with Biden Harris, and Pence as the likely targets. If they want equal treatment under the law, then treat them like BLM protestors.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, the disparity between how cops treat white people and how they treat dark folks and eco-hippies remains mind-boggling. I’m looking forward to finding out just who intercoursed the penguin on Capitol security, and how. Had the Capitol Hill Crusaders been a bunch of BLM-DSA types hollering about the proletariat the jails, hospitals, and morgues would have been full for miles around.

      And the SS boys must be looking forward to Inauguration Day. Maybe not. “Doc, can you give me some eyes in the back of my head, maybe some more in the knees and elbows? I want to be able to see everything.”

    • khal spencer Says:

      BLM protestors are not trying to overthrow the government. They are trying to get equal treatment under the law. These clowns in their positive feedback loop social media circles are trying to overthrow lawful government. I won’t say what I think we should do with them, but having a few bayonets aimed at their assholes is a hint.

  8. Dale Says:

    Khal said this.

    “I don’t think a lot of them give a rat’s ass about conservative folks in the hinterlands and the hinterland folks loath them in return. Shit, go read the liberal newsletters or social media. For many, the culture war is not just an amusement but a direct assault on values. I grew up in that Basket of Deplorables and know a fair number of those folks. I don’t appreciate the condescension even though I jumped that velvet rope long ago. I think some of the proposals the (D)s have such as making college and trade schools extremely accessible are damn good ideas but we also have to get jobs back that don’t require a valedictorian or an advanced degree.”

    I agree with Khal, but the republicans only profess to support the working class. The republican party was and is against:
    Social Security
    Civil Rights
    Environmental damage (at first they were, and then they were not)
    National monuments (lately)
    Equitable taxation
    Refugee acceptance
    Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…

    • khal spencer Says:

      Oh, most of the GOP is the Greedy Old Party. I lost respect for the GOP when folks like Jacob Javits were kicked out by folks like Al D’Amato. Its been downhill ever since.

      There is no reason a person should be worth hundreds of billions of dollars while a large portion of the population doesn’t have a pot to piss in. I did a calculation the other day. If Jeff Bezos decided to give away all his wealth and enter an ashram, he could cut a check of about $150,000 to every employee in Amazon, based on Bloomberg News estimate of his net worth. That says something about wealth distribution, which trickles down to a host of other socioeconomic problems.

      First thing I would do if I were a Dem in this Congress would be to introduce a bill to make a major change of course on income inequality via the tax code or trade policies. I think its time that the top few percent took one for the team in an effort to keep this nation from flying apart.

      I don’t know if O’G saw it but there is a bill prefiled on the Senate side in NM to have a statewide mil levy dedicated to education. If that helps even out resources between rich and poor jurisdictions, it is a start. We pay our teachers shit here.

      Click to access 218762.1.pdf

  9. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Well, here is very last comment about the traitor and the state of politics here. I would not presume to tell anyone here what they should do, but I will tell you what I do. I registered as an independent, no party affiliation, so no one takes my vote for granted. Then I decide who to vote for like I was hiring them, which is what you are doing . Education, training, experience, and their position on the issues. Then the interview by watching their speeches, interviews, going to their website, and looking what they have done and said in the past. I will finally say that I went to a war for my country and fulfilled my social contract with my “friends and neighbors.” It was a useless war, but that doesn’t matter for this soap box moment. Point is that I went to a war; I guess a concession speech was too big an ask for the traitor. He should resign or be fired this minute. Remember those who don’t support that, because that shows you what they are.

    • Dale Says:

      As an non-afiliated voter you don’t get to vote in the primary election (in most states) where a candidate is chosen to run against the opposition. Since we have only two parties in the US, this leaves the candidate selection to members of those same two parties, and this allows them to be primaried. This happened in Maryland several years ago and we ended up with tea party Andy Harris (gerrymandering gave it a big boost).

      Somtimes I wish for a parliamentary system that would allow minority parties to be functional.

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