Plus: Biden's radically problematic pick
Tim's follow-up article title: Please Don't Squeeze the Shaman
I gotta say, I'm with Charlie on this. The problem is not that the Shaman received too long a sentence, its that a lot of the other people thus far have received too short a sentence. THEY INVADED THE U.S. CAPITOL TO STOP THE COUNTING OF ELECTORAL VOTES (and possibly rough up or hang a few legislators.) This is not ok. Whether you are clearly impaired or of what passes as being in your right mind. This. Is. Wrong. The sentence was just; others, from the planners to the ones who committed violent act, should should receive prison sentences that are longer.
This is in response to JVL's article about Biden pardoning the Shaman in an attempt to get some sort of dialog going.
My response is: what segment of the GoP has demonstrated that it is interested in a dialog (no, sorry, Liz Cheney and the very few other no-longer-GoP politicians really count)? What segment of the MAGA right has demonstrated an inclination to dialog?
Dialog requires the willing and sincere participation of the various groups/people on the various sides. We have kept holding out our hands for that dialog and the other side keeps doubling down on what they are doing. When do you come to the realization that you are wasting your time?
This seems like another misguided attempt to restore a "politics as usual" dynamic in a a time where it is already far too late to do so. The time for this stuff was a couple of decades ago.
I’m am still angry at the QANON Shaman for handing out hallucinogenic drugs at Trump rallies and making them like a fun festival. THAT’S OUR THING, MOTHERF@%KER!!!!!
In all seriousness, I completely agreed with Tim yesterday, but then reading Charlie’s POV, I completely agree with him today. Bulwark is tearing me apart!!!
As someone with a brother-in-law that worked at Attica, I concur with Charlie. The Shaman will be fine.
I agree with Tim that justice is meted out very unequally across the system but if being convinced to be a complete ass (with violent tendencies) by someone in power is the a standard that determines guilt or innocence, we better open the prison doors and let A LOT of people out.
I have little to no sympathy for any of the fools that have fallen under the Q-Anon spell, the MAGA spell, the insert insane conspiracy theory here spell. We have to hold destructive people accountable for their actions.
Just finished reading a similar conclusion about the Shaman's sentence from another writer north of the border. Will repeat here more or less the comment that I left there.
This guy is a first-order wackadoodle, but I've seen no evidence posted that he was not capable of discerning right from wrong in the normal everyday sense. The sentence to Club Fed isn't onerous. But I have to admit, I might be inclined to lighten up on it just a bit in light of the fact that this dude probably has some intelligence ( mental ) issues going on. But not much.
As to those that came to the Capitol both with the capacity and intent to commit violence - and there were plenty of them - and those who may not have, but shirked their consciences and joined right in...no excuses, no "caught up in the moment" bullshit. Let them rot for as long as the law will allow. And then some.
This is admittedly an emotional response, not coolly or calmly reasoned. I suppose it is just the American in me. And by that I mean a citizen who reacts instinctively and strongly when he sees his country threatened. Good thing I'm not a judge I suppose.
Tim's points all have merits, and I'll not strongly gainsay them. But Jan. 6 was serious, dangerous, and deadly business. For all of us. And serious consequences should and must follow for those deserving of them.
Sadly, as a couple of commenters have already mentioned here, those most deserving of the most serious consequences will never see the inside of a cell. And that truly is the American tragedy in all of this.
I'm with Charlie but disagree with both his and Tim's assessment of the shaman being "mentally unstable" simply because of his costume. He and many hundreds of others knowingly invaded the Capitol building. Yes perhaps they were caught up in the moment but please don't attribute mental illness to their behavior; doing so diminishes the reality for those who deal with mental illness (depression, severe anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia). The insurrectionists knew what they were doing.
“Must I shoot a simple-minded soldier-boy who deserts, while I must not touch a hair of the wily agitator who induces him to desert?” - Lincoln
This quote, that Bill Kristol often uses, came to mind as I read this debate about the shaman sentence.
The only problem with the whole QAnon Shaman thing is that we KNOW that none of the actual movers and shakers of the 1/6 mess and the lead up to it will ever face any meaningful sanction or punishment.
Thinking otherwise is naive.
Sure some of the water carriers (people like Rudy or Powell) are going to suffer to some degree. The visible people down at the low end are going to get some kind of punishment.
The political "leadership" involved? Nothing. Trump and his immediate advisors? Nothing. At least not for any of the insurrection/coup stuff. You might get some action on financial irregularities or other small potato stuff. Deals will be cut, fines will be paid, no actual guilt will be admitted.
So part of what happened to the Shaman is in part payment for THAT. It isn't fair or just, merely an artifact of our humanity.
Another part is that if you dress up and make yourself highly visible and are outspoken, you have made yourself a symbol. You courted it. You reveled in it. When you area symbol you get acted against in a symbolic manner in return. This is both appropriate and just.
There is a saying: The nail that sticks out gets hammered. Shaman meet hammer.
He got the minimum sentence. It could have been worse. For some of these people, it SHOULD be--but won't be.
Symbolic action requires a responsive symbolic action.
WRT McCarthy: Just another example of politics as performance art. The vast majority of our politics today is just that--much sound and fury signifying (to the person doing it) nothing. BUT, it doesn't actually signify nothing--it has meaning and resonance to the intended audience. That is the danger that people ignore and have ignored over the last several decades.
The behavior of leadership sets the tome for the behavior of the mob. The observed behavior tends to set the HIGH bar for that behavior--because the mob will go lower than the observed--and then the leadership has to go lower to maintain their illusion of control, their illusion of leadership. See Gosar for an example of this. He isn't leading the way, he is simply following.. but his following lowers the bar, again. It becomes a self-reinforcing cycle.
WRT the Comptroller thing: I have not read her work, so I have no comment on it. From an optics standpoint, WHY would you appoint this person? This is yet another example of the Democrats unnecessarily shooting themselves in the foot. This is the political real-life equivalent of feeding the trolls.
Charlie quotes the WSJ Editorial Board:
"Ms. Omarova thinks asset prices, pay scales, capital and credit should be dictated by the federal government. In two papers, she has advocated expanding the Federal Reserve’s mandate to include the price levels of “systemically important financial assets” as well as worker wages. As they like to say at the modern university, from each according to her ability to each according to her needs…"
The Federal Reserve's mandate now is to control inflation and produce full employment. Where has this mandate taken us? Well, asset price inflation didn't violate the Fed's mandate to control consumer inflation, so the Fed embarked on a policy of making the holders of assets richer on the theory that this would produce full employment. Yesterday I wrote about how good irrigated farm land where I live went from roughly $2000/acre to $10000 over a few years as a result of Fed policy. So the economic power of the owners of the land expanded greatly relative to the economic power of, say, the hired man who actually farms the land.
Bottom line: It is not crazy to recognize that the inflation rate and the unemployment rate are far from the only measures of economic well-being. Making policy under the current mandate where these two measures is all that matters, leads to perverse results like I tried to communicate with my farm land example.
The Achnecarry Agreement was a plot by the 7 major oil companies to turn global oil into a cartel. They succeeded. There is no tackling climate change with the money they procure. The agreement itself is anti-democratic. It states, that if a smaller oil company threatens that As-Is system. Then the other 7 will summarily purchase the company and incorporate them into the system. This is under the guise that they are technologically advancing the company to improve the system. You can only find one book to ever source The Achnecarry Agreement. And I only found it in a San Francisco library. A book titled the "Iran Oil Wars". Altho, it has been 14 years since I wrote the thesis. Who doesn't have a conspiracy theory about banks? Heck, the far-right has been shouting to end the banking institutions and replace them with gold for over a decade. I can't wait for them to start pounding Ms. Omarova over her words. She is naive in her thinking no matter how well thought out but the right will once again confirm my belief in the detrimental hypocrisy. The right is producing vigilantes that storm Capitals and murder rioters under the guise of self-defense. The worsts the left is doing is making me put him/his in my email signature.
You don't want to go to prison? Then don't do the crime. They all find God after they are caught. There was a time he would have been tried for treason against the United States. All of them would have been judged as traitors. But since it's 2021, Chansley's white and a Mama's boy who needs a vegan diet, he only received 41 months.
It's a very tough call! I agree with Tim's larger point that (paraphrasing) the bad parts of the system aren't made better just because someone on the "other side" is victimized by them. Even when I thought of myself as a Republican I was very defense-oriented, largely because I didn't trust the state's ability to act fairly and competently when depriving people of their liberty and property (let alone their life).
I agree with Charlie that 41 months for *a fucking insurrection* is not out of line, but I agree with Tim that if he had dressed more like Don Jr he would have gotten a much shorter sentence.
I'm actually really glad you're speaking to Lukianoff today, Charlie. I think the Bulwark needs to pay more attention to problems on the Left.
On the one hand, it's great that there are all of these Never Trump conservatives and anti-woke liberals trying to "clean up their own house", so to speak. The problem is that those people tend to focus either heavily or exclusively on "their own house" to the point where one can be forgiven for wondering which "house" they actually claim membership in. And to the extent that they are forming communities of listeners/readers around podcasts or Substack subscriptions, those communities often end up seemingly composed primarily of people from the other side of the aisle who are attracted mostly to the validation of hearing their views come from people they wouldn't normally think of as "one of them".
Seriously, go look at the comment section of Bari Weiss's "Common Sense" Substack. You'd think it was Tucker Carlson's blog with the number of Trump supporters you'll find there, even though Weiss generally presents as a traditional liberal. And rarely does she seem to take on issues that the right wouldn't sympathize with; her piece promoting getting vaccinated, for one example, brought the anti-vax crazies out of the woodwork. All of which causes me to worry that, much as I like her, she's perhaps inadvertently cultivated a strongly right-wing readership, and set up strong financial incentives for herself to avoid alienating them.
Needless to say, if these heterodox thinkers on both sides of the aisle are serving mainly as gourmet alternatives to the junk food dished out by the other side's radicals, and mostly being ignored by the people they're purportedly trying to reach, they're not "cleaning up" anything. This is why we so badly need people who, while challenging their own side, are still willing to firmly hold the line against the worst of what they have traditionally opposed.
For the record, I think the Bulwark does a pretty good job of that, certainly better than most. But at times I think they've been a little bit too willing to downplay the threat of left-wing illiberalism because - and I agree with this - the Right is the far more immediate threat. So I always smile when Charlie gives one of his "tough love to our progressive friends" disclaimers. We need more of it.
Sykes: "That nominee —Saule Omarova — has proven to a be disastrous miscalculation by the Administration. . . Omarova may be a respected scholar and a wonderful person who is being unfairly maligned. But her nomination undermines Biden’s claim to govern as a centrist, while providing the GOP with mountains of grist."
Perhaps Omarova is a cunning head fake by foxy Joe Biden
WaPo: "For example, Biden initially favored Michael Barr, an aide to former treasury secretary Tim Geithner, as comptroller of the currency; when Warren and other progressives objected, Biden instead nominated Saule Omarova, a vocal critic of Wall Street whose confirmation is in jeopardy."
Biden's first pick is foiled so he nominates an un-confirmable second pick with the intention of sliding his first pick back in after the second pick's inevitable rejection by the Senate
Avoids an intraparty clash with Warren et al
I read Tim's piece and while I usually find myself in almost 100% agreement with what he wrotes, this piece was ....puzzling, to say the least. After outlining the three asserions Charlie quoted here, it goes on to say - "If we set aside everything we knew about the events of January 6, I have to imagine the vast majority of those in the broad small-l liberal(tarian) middle would generally agree with these three statements.". That is a really really odd framing. I'm trying to imagine that sentence in any other setting. 'If we set aside everything we know about <insert catastrohic event here>, I have to imagine....those in the broad middle would have to agree that someone who glaringly and willingly participated in said event should not not receive the recommended punishment'. Makes no sense. Why would we set aside everything about the Jan-6 catastrophy while considering sentencing for a willing participant in it? The fact that the instigators of the siege should receive a harsh punishment does not take away the necessity of justice being handed down to those who acted brazenly and shamelessly in - as he says - 'their right-wing violence internet cosplay in real life'!