Monday 11 January 2021

The Trump Insurrection: Primal Urges And Transgressive Images.

Ringing A Clear Historical Bell: The extraordinary images captured in and around the US Capitol Building on 6 January 2021 mirror some of the worst images of America's past.


THERE IS A SCENE in the 1982 movie Missing which has remained with me for nearly 40 years. Directed by the Greek-French movie-maker, Costa-Gavras, Missing chronicles the efforts made to discover the fate of Charles Horman, a young American journalist caught up in the Chilean coup d’état of September 1973. The scene in question depicts the wild celebration of the coup’s success by a seething crowd of upper-class men and women in a down-town Santiago hotel. Raucously and raunchily the crowd are yelling along to Chuck Berry’s suggestive 1972 novelty hit “My Ding-a-Ling”.

What prompted my recall this scene was Julian Borger’s Guardian article “Insurrection Day: When White-Supremacist Terror Came To The US Capitol”. This is how he described Team Trumps’ reaction to the televised assault on the Capitol Building:

A smartphone video of Donald Trump Jr filmed inside the marquee backstage showed him and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, giddy with excitement. Guilfoyle breaks into a hip-thrusting dance and then shouts into the camera: “Have the courage to do the right thing! Fight!

It was Borger’s reference to Guilfoyle’s “hip-thrusting dance” that sealed the connection with Costa-Gavras. That almost obscene combination of raw sex and raw power which both the movie and the video evoke and capture. Sigmund Freud discoursed at length on the phenomenon: this palpable psychic link between Eros and Thanatos – Desire and Death. His disciple, Eric Fromm, in his grim study The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness extends the connection to the excesses of extremist politics: noting the ecstatic battle-cry of General Franco’s murderous fascist militiamen: “Long Live Death!”

It wasn’t just the associations evoked by the memory of Costa-Gavras’ scene from Missing, and Borger’s description of Team Trump’s right-wing raunchiness that had me reviewing – and then reviewing again – the extraordinary images captured by photo-journalists and videographers in and around the US Capitol Building on 6 January 2021. There was something about the way the protesters conducted themselves; something in the expressions on their faces; that rang a very distinct historical bell. I’d seen that look, that stance, somewhere before – but where?

And then, with a sickening jolt, it dawned on me. I was referencing the terrible photographs taken of crowds gathered to observe the all-too-frequent lynchings of African-Americans in the 1920s and 30s.

Killing In Plain Sight: Lynch mob and victims, Marion, Indiana, 7 August 1930.

There are scores of these photographs because, as the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) points out on their website: “Photographs of the brutal lynching, featuring members of the crowd proudly posed beneath the hanging corpses, were widely shared, but local authorities claimed no one could be identified.” The brutal lynching referred to took place in Marion, Indiana, on 7 August 1930. A mob stormed the Grant County Jail and seized Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, two young African-Americans accused of raping a white woman and murdering a white man. In the words of the EJI:

The brutalized bodies of Mr. Shipp and Mr. Smith were hung from trees in the courthouse yard and kept there for hours as a crowd of white men, women, and children grew by the thousands. Public spectacle lynchings, in which large crowds of white people, often numbering in the thousands, gathered to witness and participate in pre-planned heinous killings that featured prolonged torture, mutilation, dismemberment and/or burning of the victim, were common during this time. When the sheriff eventually cut the ropes off the corpses, the crowd rushed forward to take parts of the men’s bodies as souvenirs.

It is this willingness to be photographed in circumstances of extreme violence and depraved criminality that links the lynching photographs with the images gathered during last week’s storming of the Capitol Building.

People around the world have shaken their heads in disbelief at the evident stupidity of the insurrectionists: “Why would they allow themselves to be photographed like that?”, they ask. Why, like the good ole boy from Arkansas who posed for the camera with his work boot firmly planted on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk, would anyone engage in an act of such definitive self-incrimination?

The chilling answer? Because the insurrectionists, like the men and women snapped beneath the suspended bodies of Shipp and Smith in 1930, found it near-impossible to grasp that what they were doing was wrong. In their faces there is no shame, no pity, and certainly no fear of being held accountable. Rather, there is a disturbing combination of excitement and pride. Or, even more alarming, a complete absence of affect – a blankness. As though standing just inches away from two mutilated bodies was the most normal thing in the world.

It takes an enormous amount of ideological effort to produce this aura of invulnerability. The sense of entitlement: whether it be to take the lives of two 19-year-old boys; or to smash your way into the citadel of American democracy; has to be huge. Likewise, the certitude (so clearly evident in the faces of both historical groups) that, first, they are in the right; and second, that they are engaged in delivering a much-needed message about the power of white supremacy.

Crucial to the success of the latter was (and is) the belief that the official guardians of the law will not hinder the delivery of such “messages”. Shipp and Smith could be dragged from their jail cells and murdered in front of thousands of witnesses – many of whom, as we have seen, allowed themselves to be photographed – because it was simply understood that no one in authority would lift a finger to either stop or punish the perpetrators. (Significantly, in light of our earlier Freudian references, the vast majority of “message lynchings” were motivated by White Americans’ deep-seated neuroses about inter-racial sex.)

It is not difficult to understand how the tens-of-thousands of white supremacists who invaded the Capitol might have been gripped by a similar sense of invulnerability. They had, when all is said and done, been sent on their way with the blessings of the President of the United States! Their confidence could only have been boosted by the absurdly lax security measures taken to protect the Capitol complex. If the federal authorities had wanted to stop them, then surely they would have deployed the same sort of massive force that the mere rumour of a Black Lives Matter assault was able to mobilise. How difficult it must have been for Trump’s stormtroopers to interpret the absence of such force as anything other than an open invitation for them to smash their way in – as well as a rock-solid guarantee that they would suffer no serious legal consequences for doing so.

Just how shocked the protesters were by the rank-and-file Capitol Police officers’ valiant defence of House of Representatives and the Senate is readily apparent from the tone of shock and incredulity in the voice of a woman tear-gassed by the building’s defenders. “They maced me!”, she cries indignantly, “They maced me!” It was as if the lynch-mob that broke into the Grant County Jail had been cut down by a volley of deputy-sheriffs’ bullets.

Perhaps, if that had been the fate of those white supremacists on 7 August 1930, then the astonishing events of 6 January 2021 would never have taken place.

This essay was originally posted on the website of Monday, 11 January 2021.


Guerilla Surgeon said...

Not only did they not comprehend that what they were doing was wrong, but they almost certainly thought they were going to be hailed as heroes – just as John Wilkes Booth did when he assassinated Abraham Lincoln.
These people are not your brightest and your best, whoever is sending them. :) If you break into a place that's crawling with security cameras, and reporters/photographers who are there for the occasion, if you don't wear a mask, if you mug for the cameras while stealing stuff, it sort of shows that even if you think you're doing the right thing you're not exactly the shiniest button on the blazer.
And of course a number of the police whose job it is to guard the Capitol and the politicians inside of it obviously sympathised with the rebels, given that they were photographed taking selfies with them, and sometimes opened the doors for them. The contrast between that attitude and the reception that a generally peaceful BLM demonstration got is obvious and illustrative.

Nick J said...

Cognitive dissonance from all sides.

For a starter this was not an insurrection or attempt to seize power. The people filmed in the Capitol certainly werent acting like it was the Winter Palace in 1917. You dont wear crazy party hats nor take selfies in you are serious about removing the regime. Yet Pelosi frothed venom at them as insurrectionary traitors, Dems and some Reps called for them to be hunted down and judicially thrown to the wolf. How clever is that in "healing a nation"?

Did the Don tell the crowd to do this? He did say march to the Capitol, nothing about breaking in. Yet the media screams with no evidence that he did. Yet more calls that he isnt fit and must be removed incase he starts a nuclear war (Pelosi again). Theres not a lot of clear thinking going on.

The mob... what the hell did they think they were up to? What kind of idiot would fatally hit a cop with a fire extinguisher?
Conversely why would a cop fatally shot an obviously unarmed woman? Theres a lot of stupidity here.

And now you Chris, "tens of thousands of white supremacists", really? Is therefore the half of the US that voted Trump all a pack of white racists?

And you GS, BLM protests generally peaceful? Are you blind?

This nonsense and cognitive dissonance will carry on and result in further "disagreement" until everybody calms down, and honestly examines each others position, honestly and truthfully.

Tom Hunter said...

Ah! The old White Supremacist boogeyman again.

Don't worry yourself Chris. The following differences are that:

1) A Trump protestor was shot and killed while climbing through a glass door into a hallway full of armed people. All recorded from multiple cameras and with no signs of beng tasered, clubbed or tear-gassed first, let alone yelled at to back off. Find me a BLM protestor during last summer's riots in D.C. to whom that happened. The Air Force veteran with four ME tours behind her will be demonised and then forgotten in exactly the way Floyd George was not.

2) Charges against these people won't be dropped, unlike the thousands of such charges against BLM/Antifa types that have been across the country, sometimes so quickly that they could attend the next night's riots. Even the hopeless, spineless mayor of Portland has finally clicked on this, especially after an Antifa goon punched him the face and now that such riots have achieved their purpose in getting a Democrat elected President. Whether the genie can be put back in the bottle by the Democrat Party is another question.

3) In the wake of Nancy Pelosi's statement some months ago that Trump supporters were "domestic enemies" (no great concern from the Left about the echos of history in that statement), I see that Biden has promised to pass a Federal law on domestic terrorism, and given that "researchers have proved" that such is overwhelmingly Right-Wing in the last decade, I have no doubt who that will be targeted at.

But if you don't want to listen to a RWNJ like me listen to Glenn Greenwald:

There's absolutely a new War on Terror being initiated -- it'd been lurking for awhile, but it's accelerating now for obvious reasons. This new one is aimed inward, domestically. It entails many of the same frameworks.

They're saying it explicitly:

White Supremacists will soon be the least of your worries in the USA.

Tom Hunter said...

Oh and one more thing, specifically for all the Left that constantly yammer on about "Nazis" and the Reichstag fire, here are some similarities that ring more true:

1) The Reichstag fire was started by a communist so there was an actual "enemy of the state" who could be used to tar all other communists as well as their party.

2) The fire was used as the pretext for a crackdown on the opponents of the Nazis, who were the incoming government, not the outgoing one.

3) That government was enabled by the corporate powers of the day in Germany.

4) It was further enabled by having a feeble old man as President.

Geoff Fischer said...

To the best of my knowledge no one was subject to "prolonged torture, mutilation, dismemberment and/or burning of the victim.." in the invasion of the US Capitol building, and to associate the two (which is the main purpose of this post) is mischievous.
Yes, the mob believed that they were justified. They did not consider themselves to be seditious or insurrectionists. They evidently believed they were acting in defence of the republic and the constitution. That is why they wore no disguises (apart from the fellow who dressed up as an American Indian in a piece of political theatre designed to evoke the Boston tea party, who was, in any case, readily recognisable.)
I remember an Auckland lad in March 1969 sitting in the seat of the United States Consul with his feet up on the desk while his anti-war activist friends occupied and took control of the Consulate. No mask, "no shame and no pity" unless it was shame for the immorality of the New Zealand government and pity for the innocent victims of the United States war on Vietnam. That is not something that I would have done myself, but it is what happens when an angry and despised people rise up against a corrupt regime.
You can dissociate yourself from the dubious actions of a mob without going so far as to make yourself the apologist for a tyrannical, corrupt and murderous regime. Just what has "the citadel of American democracy" given the world?. Murder, torture, economic blockades, nuclear blackmail, war and suffering on a massive scale. Now this evil empire is finally succumbing to the wrath of God. It's Commander-in-Chief has been brought down, and its legislature will follow, and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

Trev1 said...

74 million Americans voted for President Trump, including many African Americans and Hispanics. Some lynch mob. Sad to read such rubbish here.

John Hurley said...

I follow Eric Kaufmann as one of the few academics who champions Whites as an ethnic group like all the others rather than "white supremacists" whenever they react to mass migration. As he points out other ethnic groups are encouraged to celebrate their identity whereas whites are supposed to dissolve themselves out of existence in their own countries ("NZ is one of the 5 classic migrant dependent countries").

We are told the Trump and Brexit result from being left behind economically but he demonstrates it is identity threat. So what is going on here is a reaction to that process.

I was having a discussion today about designer jeans with holes tats and body art. The liberal desire for novelty seems to have charged ahead but they also dominate media and have flooded out resistance. The thing is that so called authoritarian personalities (people who like continuity over constant change) are 30 to 50% inheritable. I wonder if people aren't having a Truman moment when he gets in his yacht and finds the door to his artificial world.

Tom Hunter said...

BTW - if you want a laugh about seething crowds of upper-class men and women you should probably know that Don Jnr's current squeeze, Kimberly Guilfoyle, was once married to current Democrat Govenor, Gavin Newsom, when he was Mayor of San Francisco.

They were described as “San Francisco’s Camelot couple”.

Makes you wonder how far apart the personal politics of these people really are.

Kat said...

Now tell me this man didn't tell it as it is, back in 63'

The Barron said...

1865,a Confederate sympathizer, assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, while others hunted down key members of the cabinet.
1898, in Wilmington North Carolina, organised White supremacist citizens launched a race riot, killed at least 10 African Americans, and forced a Populist / African American coalition city government to resign.
1934, Major General Smedley Butler of the U.S. Marine Corps gave evidence to the House of Representatives of a big business / military plot to replace Franklin D Roosevelt with a fascist government.
From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States, although the number is believed to be much higher.
2021, a Confederate battle flag was carried into the Capital building, a noose was erected on Capital Hill, armed radicals disrupted the joint sitting of the United states government with calls to hang the Vice President and to hunt down the speaker of the Senate.
They might have been dressed in silly hats and flags, but the good ol' USA has form when it comes to violent insurrection by elitist white supremacists.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"And you GS, BLM protests generally peaceful? Are you blind?"
No. I actually read the research instead of getting my information from Fox News or Breitbart. 93% of BLM protests have been entirely peaceful. And of the rest a surprising number of the cases of violence – perhaps not surprising given the nuttiness of the right wing in the US – were performed by white supremacists trying to start a race war. 30 seconds of googling might have saved you some embarrassment here.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"74 million Americans voted for President Trump, including many African Americans and Hispanics. Some lynch mob. Sad to read such rubbish here."
81 million people voted for Joe Biden. And these people were trying to interfere with the legitimate function of Congress – the certification of the election results. Obviously they have no great regard for democracy. Some of them were carrying zip ties – a strange thing to take with you to a protest, or even a riot. They were intent on overturning the result of a free and fair election. It could easily be described as sedition, or treason, given that a number of them were obviously armed. I don't know if this is true in Washington DC, but in many states in the US, if someone dies while you are committing a crime, you are guilty of murder whether you actually killed that person or not. With a bit of luck they will all get the jail time they deserve.
Sad to see someone supporting treason even if it's in another country.

Nick J said...

Reading the blogs overnight, talking to family and friends one thing is for certain, views are violently diverging. We sit on an unexploded bomb that nobody wants defused.

We have Pelosi calling for impeachment and gross punishments for Capitol "insurrectionists" as she hauls more TNT along with the "righteous" of the corporate and "woke" middle classes.

Meanwhile the working class dispossessed of middle America stand staunchly in opposition to any idea that they are wrong and look to resist what they see as a woke techno tyranny.

Cometh the hour cometh the man. Who will pour oil to still uncalm waters. Who will bring wisdom to defuse the bomb? Im not seeing him / her yet.

Some good advice from an ancient man of the people when in extremis; "Forgive them for they know what they do".

Meanwhile we can all help by doing what we can to find unity, common cause where there is discord.

Nick J said...

GS, 7% violent and that too was the result of white violence? And nobody got robbed, property torched either. Great research.

Nick J said...

Also GS, quick Google searches.. funny what it throws up if not properly "censored" .. check this out for accuracy. Who are we to believe?

greywarbler said...

"We must all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately." Benjamin Franklin.

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
― Abraham Lincoln

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”

“I'm a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn't have the heart to let him down.”

“My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.”

“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion.”

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
― Abraham Lincoln

He sounds like a damn good bloke. But - 'an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865.'

It seems that the USA doesn't want to be happy, their religion is skewed, they don't read (and think deeply) enough, and given the apparent powers of USA democracy, large numbers haven't found how to use them appropriately for the country they vow to love, and also for their own advantage of living in a settled, beneficial way shared with all others.

greywarbler said...

I heard on the radio that some of the stirrers and armed men at protests in the USA have been recognised as off-duty policemen. Is this true?

greywarbler said...

John Hurley I think that migrant populations coming to NZ are the result of this country choosing to milk the market of services and assets-for-excess cash/paper to foreigners as an industry, and we have had an economic system of late that finds the clients for whatever we are selling largely outside western countries.

The Barron said...

"Forgive them for they know what they do" ? ? ?
Making van loads of pipe bombs and molotov cocktails and driving to the center of Washington DC during a joint sitting of the US Government takes forward planning.
Carrying armfuls of wrist binds while searching for hostages takes forward planning.
Almost all those identified have long histories of on-line attacks on the very people they went to physically attack.
Almost all had histories of undermining public health measures.
Almost all had histories of publicly and on-line espousing of eugenics, racist and anti-women extremism.
Almost all stated to friends and family that they were going to the Capital to prevent the newly elected Government from forming.
"...know not what they do"
Recent studies have shown just how invested everyday Germans were in Nazism. The amount of disclosure made against their neighbours, the use of malnourished prisoners in business and public works and the number of ordinary Wehrmacht soldiers that committed or at least witnessed atrocities.
"...know not what they do"
Interestingly, under Federal law, for the death of the shot Trump supporter, let alone the Officer, they could be charged with culpable homicide for a death while committing a crime. The instigator of such a crime could be hold culpable under US law.
Sorry Nick J, they knew just what they did. Please don't whitewash.

sumsuch said...

You can't tell me anything about Yank politics. The evangelicals and the plutocratic Republicans. Mary Trump described the Republican Party correctly as 'proto-authoritarian and anti-democratic'.

oneblokesview said...

The battle will be never ending, they were fascists, no fascists involved. blah blah blah
Both statements will be true as their proponents will pick out examples amongst the general population of the protestors.

So there were tens of thousands of protestors... what were 98+% of them there for?
Can I suggest that they were there to protest what they saw, rightly or wrongly as an election shredded with fraud.

As with all mobs(BLM as well) they get infiltrated by those who want to cause mayhem and damage for whatever their twisted minds think. Like Mr Tarrant, they have a belief system that we can not comprehend and then that belief system takes over.

Like many, I think it ludicrous to use words like Terrorists, insurrection etc. However it seems that some American leaders use this labelling to gain points? create drama?

I am a political tragic and understand that a high proportion of public politics is about creating and living inconsequential drama(makes the participants feel important).

But with many western nations is has become common place to hit the hyperbole button to generate clickbait at any opportunity.

Sad really

Nick J said...

Barron, I followed GS advice and did a Google, are you referring to thiese twp pipe bombs and cooler of molotovs found inside a vehicle?
I have no doubt that some of the people at the protest came with bad intent. And planned bad things. Why didnt they take these in and use them? Crucially they didnt.
Id ask were all the protesters armed dangerous rwnjs, or were most just pissed off people who believed for whatever reason that they had been defrauded out of an election?
Im not whitewashing. My point is that to hit these people who large numbers of Americans agreed with with the full force of the law will create more division, more resentment, more unnacceptance.
You may see it differently but I see a need for de-escalation, not retribution. That path leads to violence, real terrorism, civil war.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I'm not quite sure what the purpose of your link to the "National Pulse" is Nick, but I certainly wouldn't use them as a credible site after doing a slightly longer Google search.

And after years of deliberate Republican division of America, after years of deliberate stroking of these people who feel abandoned, I don't think it should be up to the Democrats to heal the country. Pretty sure it won't be possible anyway given Mitch McConnell's attitude towards the normal bipartisan cooperation, without which American government finds it difficult to operate, and which has been withheld since the Republicans took the Senate.
Those people started an insurrection. I notice now that many of them are saying "I was caught up in the moment". In an attempt to weasel out of charges. This doesn't need deescalation, it needs denazification.

David George said...

Some very long bows drawn here I'm afraid Chris.
What occurred was simply an example of the madness of crowds, the dangers of the mob; what happens when otherwise reasonable people surrender their reason, individual morality, culpability and responsibility to the collective insanity of the mob. God knows we've seen plenty of far worse examples in history - the French revolution, the Red Terrror, Nazism and so on. Has everyone already chosen to forget the mass storming of the Senate Offices in protest at the Brett Kavanaugh nomination.
I've just been reading about the 1996 storming of the Aussie parliament by left wing activists.
Very similar except there was no question over the legitimacy of the election as in the recent US case. Excerpt follows.

David George said...

On the 1996 Aussie riot at parliament.
"So, in August 1996, they marched on Canberra. The “Cavalcade to Canberra”, they called it: a motley rag-tag of thuggish unionists, career “Indigenous activists”, far-left extremists, students and dole-bludgers. This action was well-funded and planned: scores of buses and even a special train were used to ferry its army of agitators to Canberra. Trade unionists alone amassed 47 buses.

Still, the event was touted as a peaceful protest, and no doubt for many of those taking part, that’s exactly what they intended. But a rump of hardcore thugs from the notorious Construction Forestry Mining and Engineering Union (CFMEU) and Indigenous activists clearly had other ideas. Arriving well-armed with sledge-hammers and other weapons, they were “well fuelled at a boozy barbecue”
"Where, contrary to the media narrative, the Washington protesters appear to have been unarmed (unless selfie-sticks and flags count as “weapons”), the Parliament House attackers came obviously prepared for violence, armed with all manner of weapons. These included sledge hammers, wheel braces, and a heavy steel trolley. Rioters also tore steel stanchions from the entrance in order to batter down the doors..

Once inside, the rioters smashed internal doors, looted the Parliament House shop and ransacked the Members’ Hall. The entrance hall became a battle-zone, spattered with blood. More than 60 police were injured. Rioters attacked police with weapons and threw acid and urine. The melee went on for two hours before the rioters were finally driven out of Parliament House and scuttled back to their waiting buses and dispersed."
Lushington D. Brady

Tom Hunter said...

it needs denazification.

The most Far Left extremist here, so much so that he's been called out by Chris himself for his 100% one-eyed approach to having No Enemies To The Left, goes full Nineteen Eighty Four in his cold-blooded rage.

The good news for GS is that he has plenty of supporters:

PBS principal counsel Michael Beller dreamed up big plans to punish his political opponents once Democrats are inaugurated in the White House.

“We go for all the Republican voters, and Homeland Security will take their children away,” Beller said in comments caught on tape and published by Project Veritas, comparing President Donald Trump to Hitler* while saying the kids of Trump supporters should be sent to “re-education” or “enlightenment camps.”

“They’re [re-education camps] nice,” the tax-payer-funded attorney promised. “They have Sesame Street characters in the classrooms, and [the children] watch PBS all day.” Without them, Beller prophesied, the nation was breeding a new generation of evil, intolerant children who Beller demanded be subject to 20th-century-style internment.

“Kids who are growing up, knowing nothing but Trump for four years, you’ve got to wonder what they’re [Trump supporters’ children] going to be like. They’ll be raising a generation of intolerant, horrible people — horrible kids,” Beller said.

PBS has apparently fired this fanatical creep after video of his comments emerged on video. Project Veritas strikes again, although that won't stop lefties from dismissing them as they have before, probably via mediabiasfactcheck. com, whom the likes of GS try to gaslight people as being fair and balanced because they simply reflect what GS already thinks - while he accuses his opponents here of exactly that.

Nick J said...

GS, I knew you would damn the messenger as being a site of the "Right" so therefore unreliable. I watched the video, it seemed to concur with the article. I also found several other articles that concurred. Im sure however that anything that doesnt concur with your narrrative must be unreliable or lying.

greywarbler said...

At the base of this is human discontent writ large plus a sense of grievance that has become second nature to a lot of men. We as humans have to learn how to behave appropriately, how to get along with our community. Many men do not learn this. How many parents instil basic 'manners' in their boys, they just criticise them when they do not please their parents, and often that message is inconsistent. Girls need similar messages, but are not allowed by society to let out every feeling, yell, wrestle with others, act up (secondary school boys
from St Bedes fooling about on airport baggage system etc).

We have males with no self-control, no habit of thinking through their problems and past their feelings, drinking or drugging, and taking that to excess. There is no meeting of concepts of higher thought, philosophy, critical thinking, because it doesn't come from home and schools have been encouraged to drop humanities subjects which cover human behaviour, though that is a science and been pushed into 'hard' science that can feed business leading to new products, new technologies. The males not achieving this are basically left to rot. If they behave rottenly, as they will, 'the devil finding use for idle hands and minds', then it is all predictable in this uncertain and inhumane world that there will be a reaction.

Hence USA Capitol Hill excesses, and in NZ a 31-year old man taking an axe to glass panels at the Beehive. Another in NZ aged 38 stabbed his mother's dog and suggested the same for her after a drinking session with friends. Parents need to do better in guiding their children in how to deal with their times of stress, sadness and disappointment, and find their own inner strength and coping mechanisms. As his mother tended to the animal, which was bleeding profusely, McVicar threw the weapon into the kitchen sink then continued to watch television...Stephenson [Counsel] said McVicar self-reported struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder but accepted there was no evidence before the court of that...Judge Michael Crosbie noted the defendant had violence and firearms convictions in his criminal history, as well as disorder charges from an early age.
(I note that it was similar behaviour to that of Grace Millane's killer; he dealt with the body in a considered fashion, wiped that death from his mind and was off to enjoy the rest of the evening with someone else. Cold and can be labelled as psychopathic, but this is unlikely to be all due to nature! Emotional intelligence which has been discussed for years, has to be learned; that then leads to different responses to stress and anger.)

greywarbler said...

Further on Emotional Intelligence - EQ. Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.

I am drawn to the easy-to-understand Transactional Analysis which teaches that everything move we make, every word we say is communicating something. It's been considered a psychoanalytical tool but it is so simple and useful and should be uncoupled from the grand and exclusive aura that has limited its availability to untrained ordinary people.

A couple of short links about Transactional Analysis - TA.
and (This will raise your stress - talks quickly
with background of lightning sketches. What would your adult decide about this video?)

It is of no use in this late state of human attempts at civilisation, to just note behaviours that we consider bad; it is important that we act to change to bring our humanity in its rational behaviour mode to the fore. Our culture is changing and there must be demands for the change to carry forward the good that we know, not have it swamped by authoritarian and sneering machine-minded culture that hits our minds with the thinking that humans are stupid, illogical and all our known faults. We must remember to bring positivity and firmness of resolve into this situation and limit the faults without trying to stamp them out, and practice thinking that is positive and rational, and ensure it results in similar outcomes.
I don't know if I like this Ted talk - it has good points about reasoning:

A couple of short links about Transactional Analysis - TA:
Idea for discussion:

The Barron said...

Penalties in the criminal justice system are not just for retribution, but also deterrent. If democracy in Washington is under mob threat, then so is every 'down ballot' election. Every mayor, sheriff, judge and dog catcher could be challenged not in the courts but in streets.
If the United States cannot function as a democracy under the rule of law, what chance in the developing world for peaceful transfer of power?
These were not young people putting flowers in the rifles of the national guard, they were those with the stated aim to reduce the civil rights of other Americans.

Kat said...

More from that young man in 63........

Oh, the time will come up
When the winds will stop
And the breeze will cease to be a breathin'
Like the stillness in the wind
Before the hurricane begins
The hour that the ship comes in
And the seas will split
And the ship will hit
And the sands on the shoreline will be shaking
Then the tide will sound
And the waves will pound
And the morning will be breaking
Oh, the fishes will laugh
As they swim out of the path
And the seagulls they'll be smiling
And the rocks on the sand
Will proudly stand
The hour that the ship comes in
And the words that are used
For to get the ship confused
Will not be understood as they're spoken
For the chains of the sea
Will have busted in the night
And will be buried at the bottom of the ocean
A song will lift
As the mainsail shifts
And the boat drifts on to the shoreline
And the sun will respect
Every face on the deck
The hour that the ship comes in
Then the sands will roll
Out a carpet of gold
For your weary toes to be a-touchin'
And the ship's wise men
Will remind you once again
That the whole wide world is watchin'
Oh, the foes will rise
With the sleep still in their eyes
And they'll jerk from their beds and think they're dreamin'
But they'll pinch themselves and squeal
And know that it's for real
The hour when the ship comes in
Then they'll raise their hands
Sayin' we'll meet all your demands
But we'll shout from the bow your days are numbered
And like Pharaoh's tribe
They'll be drowned in the tide
And like Goliath, they'll be conquered

Guerilla Surgeon said...

" no question over the legitimacy of the election as in the recent US case. "

Bugger me. If only there were a way of proving that the 2020 election was won by fraud, in front of a court consisting of Trump appointed right wing judges. What could we call it......... I know, we could call it "evidence".

The crazy is jumping borders.

greywarbler said...

I'm not necessarily for the unionists in this but note the emotive-laden prose dripping with prejudice:
On the 1996 Aussie riot at parliament. "So, in August 1996, they marched on Canberra. The “Cavalcade to Canberra”, they called it: a motley rag-tag of thuggish unionists, career “Indigenous activists”, far-left extremists, students and dole-bludgers. And the author's name is out of the box - is it satire - (Lushington D Brady)? What a moniker for a fond Mummy and Daddy to place on the brow of a babe!

Doug Longmire said...

We sat and watched the US election results on Fox News.
We saw LIVE - scrutineers (Republicans) being physically evicted from polling/counting stations. I repeat - live on TV.
We also saw the confusion of some polling/counting stations being closed in a hurry, for no rational reason at all.
Question:- Would anybody accept this interference in election/counting process in New Zealand?

Chris Trotter said...

To: Doug Longmire.

No, Doug, you didn't see that.

What you saw was a crowd of unauthorised people being kept away from those doing the counting - as they had to be, given their obvious intent to interfere with the process.

If the evidence of fraud or interference had been there, it is inconceivable that Trump's supporters would not have seized upon it and presented it to a judge as proof of their claims. But, as the whole world knows, no judge was presented with this sort of evidence. Of the approximately 60 cases presented to US courts across the country, all but one or two very minor claims were rejected.

The election was free and fair - as testified by Trump's own Attorney General and the relevant official from Homeland Security.

That all these facts are well attested and known to everyone for whom evidence still matters does not, however, make the slightest difference to people like yourself.

The refusal of Trump and his supporters to live in the real world lies at the heart of the tragedy currently gripping the United States. It is a sickness, born of an immense anger at the direction of America's demographic evolution.

Antonio Gramsci said: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”

You, Doug, and millions like you, are the morbid symptoms.

David George said...

Thanks for the comment Greywarbler. Lushington D Brady is a pen name, he's an Aussie commentator hence the colourful language.
Semantics aside, his point was the similarity of the riots (recent US and 1996 Aussie) with the difference being that the Aussie rioters had no reservations about the legitimacy of the election of the John Howard government - it was, in fact, a rebellion against the will of their fellow citizens.
The whole question of the consent to be governed is a very fundamental part of functional democracy. The recent Capitol protest, the 2016/17 "not my President" protests and the Aussie example quoted should seen be for what they represent, an assault on the basic premise of democracy itself.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Nick. In the absence of a reason for posting that particular link I merely said that the source is unreliable. Actually I didn't say it, fact checkers say it. I made no comment on the accuracy of the article, which seemed irrelevant to our discussion. I had not said that Trump encouraged the seditionists in that particular speech. He is however very clever at stirring things up without committing himself. He is a stochastic terrorist.

Doug Longmire said...

Interesting comment Chris.
I am mildly surprised that you have descended to personal insults. I have hitherto regarded your opinions with respect, even allowing for Left wing bias.
I was reporting on what I was watching on TV. You are the first observer that has interpreted those actions in that way.
It is interesting that no other main stream media that I can recall did any reporting on these events.

greywarbler said...

Doug Longmire brings out the quip-quote-quest in me. Here are a few snippy ones.

“Humans see what they want to see.” ― Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

“Chaos is merely order waiting to be deciphered.” ― José Saramago, The Double

“And those who were seen dancing, were thought to be crazy, by those who could not hear the music.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Politics, noun. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.” – Ambrose Bierce

“During a campaign the air is full of speeches — and vice versa.” – Anonymous

“Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” – George Orwell

“Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right?”– Robert Orben

Chris Trotter said...

To: Doug Longmire.

What continues to astonish and depress people all over the world, Doug, is the inability of Trump supporters to admit that they are wrong - or even that they have been misled - in relation to the 2020 Presidential Election.

My interpretation of the scenes broadcast on Election Day (and the days immediately following) are neither novel nor original, it is how every professional journalist characterised the actions of the Republican supporters who attempted to break into the counting centres - especially in Detroit, Michigan.

If you felt personally insulted by my description of the problems that views such as your own are causing for the American republic, then I apologise. But, you really do need to accept that for as long as you, and those whose views match your own, remain not only on the wrong side of history, but also on the wrong side of reality, you will be criticised.

And being on the wrong side of reality is no little thing. People who hear voices in the air commanding them to rescue the world from evildoers are capable of perpetrating terrible acts of violence. That is why there are currently more armed American servicemen and women in Washington DC than there are in Afghanistan.

Ideas - even ideas that are demonstrably wrong and crazy - have consequences.

Doug Longmire said...

Thanks for your response Chris,
Also thanks for your journalistic expertise in bringing those reports on the U.S. election to my attention. To be honest - I did not look into those other media in any detail at the time.

You have misinterpreted my views, I am NOT a "Trump supporter".

You are quite right that being on the wrong side of reality, be it ultra Left or ultra Right, will attract deserved criticism. And extreme views of that type are very counterproductive.

I have spent most of my adult life as a pharmacist, viewing events and extreme claims by using the scientific method to analyze events and opinions. In other words - look for evidence. Hence I do not recommend homeopathic "treatments." I do not accept conspiracy theories.

Thanks again Chris.

greywarbler said...

Thanks for the background on 'Lush'. It is indeed interesting to compare the influx of protesters to their political centre in Oz and USA. Different places, different spaces.
But quoting a satirical piece in a comment on reality is inadvisable. In these days of television playing 'reality' shows that are managed and tailored to divert the audience, it is hard to know what is satire, or whether it will become reality tomorrow.

It is interesting also you bringing up that Oz happening. In recent years' upset about bombings in London and elsewhere, I thought of the past and the Croatians and their activity in Australia in the 1960's.
Perfect peace is rare anywhere I think, and short-lasting.

greywarbler said...

Kat Your verses have universal meaning I believe, but perhaps a particular one with the Americas Cup contest happening around Auckland! Much of it fits that scenario well I think.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

So this is why conservatives are always angry.

Thought I'd inject a little humour into this somewhat angry and dour discussion.

And conspiracy theories certainly do have consequences Chris. Obviously so does the freedom to express them. Unregulated freedom of speech and conspiracy theories just took five lives.

greywarbler said...

News about the Capitol riot. I wondered about reports of supposedly stable citizens being involved. Radionz -

A man clad in a 'Camp Auschwitz' sweatshirt, a gold medal-winning Olympic swimmer, and a Proud Boys supporter are among those arrested by the FBI in connection with riots at the US Capitol, the Department of Justice says...

(Distasteful, much!) The sweatshirt also bore a skull and crossbones and the words Work Brings Freedom echoing the German slogan atop the main gate at the original Auschwitz camp...

Also unveiled was a criminal complaint accusing the Olympic gold medalist Klete Keller of civil disorder, unlawful entry and disorderly conduct.

The Justice Department said it had brought at least 70 cases in connection with the riot at the Capitol, in which five people died as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the building, scaled walls and ransacked offices.

John Hurley said...

Here's some context

Chris Trotter said...

To: Doug Longmire

In these febrile times, Doug, everybody seems to be on a hair trigger.

Once again, my apologies. This time for a series of mistaken assumptions!

Glad to have you aboard!

The Barron said...

"... we know, or should know, that every decrease in power is an open invitation to violence- if only because those who hold power and feel it slipping from their hands, be they the government or be they the governed, have always found it difficult to resist the temptation to substitute violence for it."
Hannah Arendt, On Violence (1969)

greywarbler said...

GS Now we are wondering - is it true? Life is so confusing these days.

David George said...

Thanks grey, that essay was not a satirical piece, some colourful phrases and a pinch of humour but not satire. Unfortunately the full essay is paywalled so you're going to have to take my word for it.
Lushington D. Brady:
"Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard.

I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In last decade or two, I've voted at times for just about all of the major parties and quite a few of the minor ones.

My vote may have changed, but those basic working-class values I grew up with never have."

Nick J said...

Barron, you are quite correct on the need for deterence. These people overstepped the mark. My point is that the current hysteria for retribution would lead to the creation of martyrs to a "cause".
You are also right that these were not hippy flower children, and id contend that the crowd included some pretty unsavoury types with bad intentions who do need to be brought to book. That said Id also contend that the majority are not so. I see no point in driving these people into the arms of extremists merely to assuage the retributive rage of one side.
That said Im not sure sense will rule

Nick J said...

Tom, the Left, like the Right is a church with many houses. It includes both literalist / fundamentalists and others of more moderate inclination.

I have long struggled with the extremes of 20th century authoritarianism, of both Left and Right. There are a lot of people currently suggesting extreme solutions such as deNazification. These things are easy to say, but words preceed action and somebody will man the trains to the camps, and others turn a blind eye.

You are right to have called GS out on this issue, he does tend to be black and white and lack any doubt. Sometimes he is also quite right, allowing other opinions however eludes him.

Myself, I'm still calling for calm, circumspection and common threads.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I suspect it is true Grey, although the treatment given it amounts to satire, which is probably all it deserves, although I no that was a genuine perfessor.

Incidentally Chris congratulations for rescuing a true believer. And kudos to Doug for changing his mind in the face of evidence. That doesn't happen very often around here.

Nick J said...

GS, stochastic being arandom sample of probability... wont stand legal scrutiny. You could be right but to hang a crime on Trump requires proof. On both sides I see people who stochastically are liars and frauds. Thats my very non partisan position.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I’m somewhat saddened that Chris’s blog has become a haven for conspiracy theorists, although it’s always been a little that way. But I thought I might – just for the “lurkers” – go through some of the election conspiracy theories that have been propounded by Trump followers and show how a bit of fact checking can help to debunk them.
Firstly I’d like to say that in spite of all the “thousands” of affidavits that people have signed saying they witnessed electoral fraud very few are prepared to go in front of a judge and swear this when there is a danger of indictment for perjury. In fact I have seen only one, and she seemed drunk, and the judge has dismissed her evidence as ridiculous.

Firstly I’d like to address the idea that somehow the voting machines, which were claimed to have something to do with Venezuela (easily proven false records show the company was founded in Florida and incorporated in the US), flipped votes for Biden. They did a hand recount in Georgia after this accusation was made. Done by a Republican governor I might say. It found that the votes tallied pretty much exactly, no matter what method you use to count them. It is instructive that Dominion, the manufacturer of the voting machines has sued various “news” organisations and individuals over this, and all have retracted – very hurriedly. One particular individual who hasn’t retracted is I suspect, in for a very bumpy ride.
Of course after that, apparently dead people were voting, or people were voting multiple times. They checked a statistical sample of the votes against the signatures, and found that no one had in fact voted multiple times. Of course that’s not good enough for conspiracy theorists who now want to check every vote no matter what the expense. And this is the party of small government. Investigations have also shown that while there were a few mistakes, pretty much all those dead people were very much alive.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Thirdly, it is claimed that more people actually voted then there were voters in some states. The BBC has a very comprehensive rundown on that – the person who made that accusation made it about Michigan, and the counties he named were in Minnesota. But even so, the BBC went through the actual records and found that in each of these counties in fact fewer people voted then there were on the electoral rolls.
Similarly when the records were checked in Detroit where a similar claim was made, the turnout was approximately 50%.
And then there were the people excluded from observing the account which Chris has already dealt with. But alongside that, there is the idea that pizza boxes full of fake votes were delivered in the dead of night in order that they be wrongly counted. I don’t think anyone actually showed the open pizza boxes with the votes in them, Occam’s razor suggests that perhaps they were pizzas ordered to feed vote counters and various officials which were working throughout the night – or at least until very late. I might say that’s a damn sight more than I got when I was counting votes I brought my own cake. 😊 this is another one where a judge found the evidence not credible.
It’s illustrative that out of the 60+ court cases brought by people associated with Trump, none of them have proceeded beyond an initial hearing and most have been dismissed as unfounded, although the Texas one was a question of standing – or the right to bring a case before the court.
Both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have said that the election was probably the best run ever. As has the DOJ and the Electoral Assistance Commission. And to be honest I feel if they can’t prove fraud to a Supreme Court that has been stacked with extreme right/extremely religious (which is often the same thing in the US) judges there is no case.
When you look at this logically, although there is some individual voter fraud in the US – usually undertaken by Republicans I might say judging by the ones that are prosecuted – fraud on this scale would have to involve thousands if not tens of thousands of people. People from almost every government agency in the US, plus local political parties, police – in fact I find myself thinking maybe 100,000 or more. There is now an algorithm that will give you a rough idea of how long the conspiracy would last without someone blowing the whistle, depending on the number of people complicit in it. I haven’t done the maths, but I suspect this one would last no longer than five minutes.

greywarbler said...

gosh gs you have gone where angels couldn't be forced to tread. With your record of comments here, I believe you and thank you for doing the hard graft. I am no angel in this circumstance, but I think you get the noble prize. I can't help thinking that politics has become a subterfuge for us at the restaurant at the end of the world while the immensely rich think up their next evil plan. Life happens while we are planning other things eh!

Nick J said...

Grey, how perceptive. I recently saw on Youtube a UK footballer saying that he wouldn't take the knee for BLM because they were a Marxist organisation.

On GS advice Googled kicked it and lo and behold the RW sites said yes they were, the LW sites a resounding no. Not satisfied Youtube came to my aid, old videos of the main BLM founders stating their support of Marxist analysis. Does that make you a Marxist... think "stochastic". Not satisfied to the BLM site, blank denials. Who to believe? Simple, Im white, they say Im racist. Nothing stochastic in that statement. Im not. They can take a running jump.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Nick. So one maybe two of the founders of the BLM movement claim to be "trained Marxists. So what? For one thing we have no widely accepted definition of what a Marxist is, and it's interpreted differently by different people.
Certainly BLM policy says nothing about destroying capitalism, and I doubt if many of the hundreds of thousands of people who either belong to the official organisation or support its aims in the US are Marxists. Indeed most of them wouldn't know a Marx if one bit them in the bum – like most Americans. Marxist is just a right wing snarl word as far as I'm concerned. Particularly in the US.
And when you think about it, Marx actually predicted:
1. The rising inequality we see today. "Poverty in the midst of plenty".
2. The regular economic crashes we seem to have every 10 years or so. Constant instability.
3. Increasing globalisation.
4. The demise of small business and the rise of large global firms.
5. The necessity for constant rapid technological change and restructuring.
6. The growth of automation and the temporary, possibly permanent loss of jobs.

He was a man of the 19th century and it might be a bit much to expect him to be correct in every detail given the overarching nature of his theories. He certainly didn't put enough thought into what was supposed to supersede capitalism, and I think he probably underestimated capitalism's ability to reorganise itself to put off collapse.
I think it's good to use a Marxist perspective to analyse what's happening in the world today, I also believe that something has got to replace the unregulated capitalism we seem to have gotten ourselves into. Does that make me a Marxist? I certainly don't want to see another Stalinist Russia or Maoist China.
But even so, you give me a right wing thinker who has as much predictive capacity as this? After all, how did the "End of History" work out? Fukuyama had his 15 minutes of fame criticising Marx, but his predictions have largely failed.

I must say also, it's a typical tactic on the right to pick out the most extreme member of an organisation and assume that everyone in that organisation supports their opinions. Tarring everyone with the same brush – and it's a very effective one to. But it's extremely disingenuous.


greywarbler said...

You bright show-off with your multi-syllable word/s Nick J! What's 'stochastic' when it is at home? (Note - I'm being sarcastic.) Remember we are not taught in NZ about words beyond the common 500 or so, or the sort of thinking where a large vocabulary is likely to be used. Our big words are limited to the specialist jargon of one of the professions where we can find our niche and our aim to become comfortable and self-satisfied. As such, knowing widely isn't needed or encouraged; better that we get into the top sports team at sec. school, which is likely to be appreciated by people or machines sorting through our CVs; 'Good teamwork, shows ability at successful target setting etc'.

Nick J said...

Too true Grey, I read too much to care about sports or school work. Never read the approved texts at the right time, but discovered early that people love the sound of their own voice. Therefore to pass, listen carefully to teachers and lecturers and quote them back even though most of it is tosh... keep own opinion on the down low until they give you the certificate.

Nick J said...

GS, I think we are as one with regard to Marx's powers of prediction. When it comes to his path to Utopia (dialectic materialism) I part ways. I studied Marx at uni, the man had genius methodology such as class by relation to production. To me his greatest contribution was to strip the emperors clothes and describe naked capitalism. Compared to the majority of classical economists he stands aloft if heretical.

That said his diagnosis was only to be resolved by class conflict and the imposition of a dictatorship of the proletariat. In every case this has been enacted in real life millions have died.
You ask for Right wing predictive thinkers, it is a bare cupboard. History didnt stop for Fukuyama. Real oracles require philosophers. Neitzsche predicted the horror of a post Christian world.

Your statement about BLM. Years back a prof of sociology, a Marxist wandered into a class of we young impressionable students. Marvellous events were he said happening under a genius fellow called Pol Pot in Cambodia. It seemed too good to be true, it was. I have never forgiven the fool for this. His kind, Marxists and Post Modernists represent a poisonous alternative to a poisonous reality. For those that care for their fellow man there is nothing to be gained from their tainted ideology. My socialism doest need authoritarian force and violence.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Nick. I suspect that there are few if any of that stripe of Marxist left. In spite of all the hooha about cultural Marxism taking over the world. At the request of one of our more right-wing posters here I did take an interest in various right-wing "thinkers". I saw a debate between Jordan Peterson and some European philosopher – more of a discussion than a debate. When it came to naming the influential cultural Marxists, they couldn't come up with more than about half a dozen between them, none of whom were influential or I probably would have heard of them. So I think you're fussing about very little. :) And incidentally, BLM is not run by its founders. It is not run by any one person or any tiny group of people, if you look into it it's way beyond that.

greywarbler said...

Nick J Your words resonate. keep own opinion on the down low until they give you the certificate. Them's good words for survival in a tech-industrial world. Following the line that we are taught and presented with every day brings to mind the quote from Robert Frost: Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

The other path leads to some industry with people prepared to devastate our planet and dismiss fellow human beings and showing up in NZ building rockets so as to explore and study the stars. That comes from people whose brains and culture have been prepared for them by nurture of a toxic kind, which then converts to machine-like thinking, putting targets for a chosen activity before people. It ultimately is about gaining advantage to themselves first and foremost.

For example, I read the summary of the two days before the USA decision to drop the nuclear bomb on Japan. The techs were for trying it out (an example of rationalising over rationality as night follows day, after working to a target for some time, scientists and technicians single-mindedly wanting to test the product's efficacy). And the thought that nagged the politicians was of the next election and how a war-weary nation would feel if the people knew that it would have ended earlier, with x thousand of personnel not killed in the interim, because the government refused to use it for principled reasons.

I have been pursuing my higher learning about philosophy, world events etc in an informal, curious way with serendipity causing me to dip into previously unknown areas and hadn't come across that idea from Nietzsche about Christianity. But I was caught by this from Kierkegaard -