Wednesday night.

Well, there’s no polite way to put this: there was an attempted coup in the United States earlier today. An angry mob of Trump fans breached the small Capitol police perimeter and invaded the US Capitol. They were waving assorted flags: US, Confederate, Gadsden, MAGA, etc. I believe the Nazi flag was the only one they weren’t openly waving, though I wouldn’t be surprised if at least a few of them had neo-Nazi tattoos.

All the congress-critters got safely evacuated while the domestic terrorists broke inside the inner chambers, snapped pictures at the podium, vandalized congressional offices, stole Pelosi’s mail, and in at least one case walked away carrying a podium. There was no National Guard: Washington DC’s detachment responds to the Defense Department. They did not get called. The first National Guard units were sent by Virginia. This was the first time in over two centuries a key federal building got invaded. The last time was in the war of 1812, when the British stomped all over the capital and set the first White House on fire.

A woman was shot and died after being taken to the ICU. She was one of the domestic terrorists invading the Capitol. She was a 35-year-old who spent 14 years in the Air Force. She was a business owner in San Diego. She was also a terrorist, but that’s not quite how the media is describing her, at least right now. The circumstances of her shooting are unknown right now, but technically it was a suicide. She made a series of really bad choices that ended with her rushing into the Capitol building and getting shot. Like all the rest of us, earlier today she’d woken up, brushed her teeth, had some breakfast, and then ran off to overthrow the government, thousands of miles away from home. I hope she doesn’t get turned into some sort of right-wing martyr.

Incidentally, most of the insurrectionists did not get arrested: they walked away without a scratch. Some of them had guns. Later on, the police found and defused explosive devices in a vehicle parked nearby. Just a few months ago, some storm-troopers used tear gas to disperse some hippies in order to stage a church photo op for Trump. If BLM protesters had done something even remotely like what we saw today, they would’ve been killed. As it was, there was no tear gas, there were no rubber-coated rounds shot at protesters’ faces (several people went blind during the summer protests when that happened to them), and there were no cops riding their bicycles over fallen rioters’ heads. (Seattle’s police did that while being filmed.) There was absolutely nothing done against the terrorists. If there is a better example of white privilege and double standard in the United States, I can’t think of it.

Earlier, Trump had fueled the flame and incited people to come to the Capitol. When the chaos broke out in mid-afternoon, the only message from Trump was a short recorded video in which he made the perfunctory plea for the MAGA mob to go home, and prefaced and followed that statement with more complaints that the election was somehow stolen and it was very unfair. He ended that rant by saying “we love you, you’re very special.” In other words, he made things even worse. Facebook and YouTube removed that video. Twitter disabled the likes, replies, and retweets, waffled a little, and then took it down as well. They also locked Trump’s account for 12 hours. That’s an interesting change of pace from their earlier, pre-election strategy, which was to allow Trump to say whatever he wants because he brought a lot of traffic to their platform. Ho hum.

The congress-critters went back to the Capitol after it finally got secured by the authorities (it helped that the city set up a 6pm curfew), gave a lot of speeches, and voted to throw out the ridiculous objections about the election fraud. (Which no one had been able to find.) Some of the senators gave beautiful speeches. Some of the saboteurs who claimed they changed their minds still sounded mighty passive-aggressive, even as they said they’re withdrawing their objections.

There are rumours that Trump’s cabinet is finally discussing the 25th Amendment option: the VP and the cabinet can remove the sitting president if they believe the president is unable to serve. Since there are just two weeks to go, Trump wouldn’t be able to appeal and take back the power, even if the congress-critters were on his side. (They are not.) If they actually do this, this will be the first time this provision is enacted. But then again, there are have been a lot of firsts… Before Trump, none of the epidemiological simulations even considered a scenario where the sitting president would actively sabotage the CDC’s efforts. Before today, none of the law enforcement trained for a scenario where they have to storm the Capitol and remove redneck revolutionaries. What other strange unprecedented things will we encounter in the months to come?..

The Capitol will be cleaned up pretty soon. Blood stains will be removed. But the impact of it all… The videos, the pictures, the testimonials will live on. Tactically, this is a wakeup call for the right wingers. But strategically, and far more importantly, this will be priceless ammunition for the countries that want to disparage democracy. All they’ll have to do is run all that footage and say, “Is this what you actually want? Just look at them!” More seriously, this shows a huge security vulnerability. The terrorists who got away with it this time will be encouraged to try again and again. (Just like those heavily armed Oregon rednecks who won stand-offs against the feds on several occasions.) If you don’t punish them the first time, you’re essentially inviting them to keep trying until they succeed. This mob was more chaotic than violent, but this is a proof of concept. A group of 30 or so armed rednecks will be able to break in and start public executions if they really want. (This is not a hyperbole: after today, nothing is a hyperbole.)

I am glad I left… If you’re reading this, here in January 2021 or in the future, and if you’re annoyed by my frequent digs at the United States, know this. I don’t hate America. I love America. I fear what America is becoming.

By now, right-wing politicians and media have realized what they’ve done with all their misinformation and incitements to violence. These violent delights have violent ends… There are two possibilities. They will either wake up, stop the misinformation madness, and try to reel in their insane radicalization of their own voters – or they will not. If they try to put the genie back into the bottle, they will either succeed or not. I doubt they’ll be successful: systems have momentum. The mob that stormed the Capitol today will not get de-radicalized – in their eyes, it’s a victory. They successfully stormed one of the key US buildings, they essentially defeated the entire bloated Homeland Security apparatus, they got away with only one casualty and virtually no arrests, and they took a lot of souvenirs. Even decades from now, they’ll brag about this day to their grandkids. (I don’t know how many rioters there were. Definitely hundreds, possibly thousands.) Today, the barbarians succeeded. There’s no incentive for them to retreat or get back to the political mainstream. Systems have momentum, and this loco locomotive will be unlikely to stop. Somewhere out there, there will always be conspiracy sites and far-right-wing outlets giving them all the propaganda they can handle. If there’s money to be made, somebody will cater to them.

Biden’s election got certified in Congress today – good for him. His inauguration will be in two weeks. Will the domestic terrorists try to do the same thing? At this point, there’s really no way to know.

In covid news, Japan is still trying to find a way to host the Olympics. They got postponed from 2020 to 2021, and it’s not looking so good right now… Cases are spiking in Tokyo. Somehow, Japan has managed to not have any lockdowns thus far. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is considering declaring a state of emergency to bring the cases down in time for the Olympics, which will take place in late July-early August. I would be very surprised if they can actually pull this off. It’s not impossible, but it’ll be a huge logistical feat to keep everyone safe. It’s pretty clear that the stadiums won’t be packed…

I’ll go to bed in about an hour or so. I have no idea what will happen in my former country overnight. Will Trump be impeached and actually convicted this time around? Will his cabinet finally grow a spine and depose him with the 25th amendment? Will key officials resign in protest and/or in disgrace? There’s just no way of knowing: after today, anything can happen…

Oh, and almost forgot: both of the Democrats won their races in Georgia yesterday, though by very narrow margins. They are the first Black man and Jewish man ever elected to represent Georgia. Democrats will have control of the senate, and will actually be able to pass legislation and stimulus bills, at least until the 2022 election, due to their trifecta control of the House, the senate, and the White House. So there’s some good news after all, eh.

Good night, y’all.