Oh, shoot. I mean Oh shot.

Where I live, I became eligible for a COVID 19 vaccine on January 11th.  I wasn’t able to get through to a place where I could sign up until January 12th, and my appointment is March 26th, 73 days away.  My wife and daughter are both medically fragile, but neither is eligible yet.  My wife’s younger sister, who isn’t medically fragile, was vaccinated on the 11th in Florida.  It’s great that vaccines are now available, but the delivery system is far from sorted out.

I’d be fine with people who object to masks on the grounds of personal freedom if by not wearing one they only risked their own lives.  But that’s not the case.  A mask doesn’t stop the virus, it stops the airborne droplets that carry the virus.  So, a mask mostly protects people around the wearer. And you should wear it even if you don’t think you’re sick.  That’s because some people carry the virus and are contagious without having any symptoms, and the ones who get symptoms are contagious for days before symptoms show up.

I like a phrase that’s going around my daughter’s office.  If wearing a mask makes you light-headed, maybe you ought to brush your teeth more often.

It has nothing to do with the subject of this blog post, but my son and my niece are both alumni of the University of Alabama, so “Roll Tide!”

Trump Lost. Get Over It II!

I was crazy about the girl I was dating when I was 16-years old.  Still, we did argue a lot, mostly about religion.  She didn’t convince me of anything, but I did convince her to find a different boyfriend, so I won!  Right?

What I learned from that is never to argue with anyone about any faith-based belief system.  Faith-based belief isn’t limited to religion:  it includes politics too.  I did manage to resist, but this week I was sorely tempted to argue with my friends who think attacking the US Capitol last Wednesday was either excusable, or right.

One of the worst things about politics in America (and it’s not recent at all) is that way too many people are willing to excuse behavior that is wrong when it’s done by people you agree with politically.  There are lots of things that are objectively just plain wrong, and breaking into the US Capitol to try and derail Congress from performing its constitutionally mandated duty is one of them.

Some (but not all) BLM demonstrators turned to rioting, arson and looting over the summer, and that doesn’t make it okay for some (but not all) pro-Trump supporters to storm the US Capitol.  If one group was treated more harshly than the other, it doesn’t mean both should be treated less harshly, it means both should be equally condemned and punished.  Three lefts make a right.  Two wrongs don’t.  And while rioting, arson and looting are incredibly wrong, rioting, arson, looting, and sedition are much worse.

Plus, I’m much less likely to attack you if you punch somebody else in the face than if you punch me in the face.  So, the people who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday ought to expect Congress to come down hard on them, because Congress can, and because it’s Congress they punched in the face.

To be clear, I lean more conservative than liberal, but I didn’t vote for President Trump either time he ran.  While I didn’t expect him to incite what happened last Wednesday. I did expect from Trump the kind of behavior he has exhibited throughout his Presidency and before.  In fact, in 2016, for the first time in my life, I didn’t vote for President at all.  On the other hand, efforts to remove Trump with fewer than two weeks left in his term of office serve only to express how angry Congress is at the President for inciting the attack on the Capitol.  The 25th amendment isn’t going to be tested and while the House may be able to impeach him for a second time, Senate Democrats would need at least 17 Republicans to vote with them in order to remove him from office.  It’s debatable whether such a vote should succeed in the Senate, but I’m almost certain it won’t.  If they are not sure they can succeed, impeaching Trump again is far more political theater than anything else.

By the way, former UN Ambassador and National Security Advisor John Bolton pointed out this week that the 25th amendment won’t work on a President a lot of people think is mentally ill.  The way it’s supposed to work, the Vice President and a majority of the cabinet advises Congress that the President is unfit.  The President can then dispute that and if he (or eventually she) does dispute it, the matter goes to Congress which has three weeks to decide.  During those three weeks, you would have two people, the President and the Vice President, each claiming the right to exert executive power within the federal government.  If a President were in a coma, the 25th amendment would probably work.  If the VP and Cabinet thought he was crazy and he disagreed, not so much.

Trump Lost. Get Over It!

Just as I urged people to accept that Trump beat Clinton in 2016, Biden beat Trump in 2020.  Disagree with Biden all you want but get over it.

How did the assault on the US capitol building keep America great or make it great again?  It was a deplorable insurrection, a seditious act.  The people who participated were not great patriots.  Keep in mind you don’t have to succeed in a seditious plot to be prosecuted for it.  In fact, if you manage to violently overthrow the government, your chances of being prosecuted probably evaporate. 

I read today that the chief of the capitol police force resigned as has the sergeant at arms of the House, and Sen. Schumer said he’ll fire the sergeant at arms of the Senate.    

These things seem reasonable to me considering security was a complete disaster as the House and Senate met in joint session.  All security and intelligence personnel in Washington and in the federal government were well aware that President Trump called on his supporters to demonstrate in Washington on January 6th as Congress met to verify the results of the Electoral College vote.  Anyone who looked on the internet could easily find that some of the people planning to attend were talking about storming the Capitol.  So, plainly, and depending on how optimistic or pessimistic you are, the storming of the Capitol was possible, likely or inevitable.  Then, President Trump addressed the crowd, claiming once again that the election was stolen from him, and urged them to march on the Capitol.  In my opinion, that eliminated possible from the odds of storming the Capitol, leaving only likely or inevitable.  What happened must have been anticipated and should have been prepared for.

I have a little knowledge of building security and riot control.  I was once a low-ranking enlisted man in an Army unit trained to do this work.  My role was not to strategize, but it was public facing. I narrated an Army training film on the subject, and two demonstrations for the FBI National Academy.  The Capitol Police Force is fairly large, over 2,000 officers, but that’s not big enough to control a crowd the size of the one that gathered.  Other agencies should have been involved from the start.  Instead of the light-weight barriers around the building, concrete ones (the kind you need a small crane to move) should have been deployed.  Multiple agencies including DC police, National Guard, FBI, other federal police agencies, should all have been on site.  Demonstrators should not have been allowed to get close enough to the Capitol building to storm it. 

A show of force was once considered the initial step in crowd control.  Now it’s thought to stir a crowd up.  Still, National Guard and other reinforcements should have been inside the Capitol Building before the march started, ready to move on to the steps if things looked like they’d get out of hand.  Most, if not all the doors to the building should have been locked too.  There is so much more that security agencies could have done to prepare for what happened, and prevent these people from threatening the lives of our elected representatives who were meeting to carry out a constitutionally mandated process. 

And to those people who insist there should be “an investigation,” how many reviews does this election need?  Local election officials, state officials and numerous state and federal courts have all reviewed the myriad of lawsuits filed on behalf of President Trump.  Recounts were counted and recounted.  More than sixty cases have been denied in court, by judges who are Democrats and Republicans, some of whom were appointed by the sitting President, but followed the law, not the President’s desires, and not the rabble.  Should investigations continue until you get one whose decision you like?  If that happens, what is to prevent the people who didn’t come out on top in that investigation from demanding yet another?  And the most important question of all.  Rudy Giuliani suggested trial by combat to settle this.  Exactly who did the President’s lawyer want President Trump to fight to the death to decide this?

If there was a Democratic, liberal or socialist conspiracy to fix the election, shouldn’t the people involved have been able to win more local elections too?  Shouldn’t the people involved have been better at keeping that conspiracy a secret?  Are John Bolton, Lindsey Graham, James Mattis, and Mitch McConnell well-known commie conspirators?

Could elections be run a little better?  Sure.  There are minor irregularities in almost all elections.  Seldom do those affect the result.  A few votes change, but except in the very closest contests, say in New York’s 22nd CD, they rarely if ever affect the outcome.  Almost no evidence of fraud was submitted in court.  In at least three cases, the President’s lawyers withdrew their cases when asked to produce evidence.  The election was not covered in powdered sugar.  It didn’t contain raisins or currants.  It wasn’t stollen, and it wasn’t stolen either.   

Things I Know

Happy New Year.  And just to get the formalities out of the way, the Sisyphus Project is copyrighted 2021, just as it has been every year since it started in 2008.

I’m not an accountant, but I used to play one in real life.  I was reminded of my past life in accountancy because the first baby born in Suffolk County NY in 2021 was born at Stony Brook University Hospital, and the baby’s father is an accountant.  Of course, he and his wife are delighted with their new baby girl, but he did say he had hoped she would be born on New Year’s Eve, not right after midnight on New Year’s Day.  Why?  Because if she were born a couple of minutes earlier, she would have been an income tax deduction for 2020.