Smear Campaign: Some Serious Sh*t Happened at the Capitol Riot
On this episode of democracy-ish, Danielle and Toure are “just gobsmacked” after watching the congressional hearings on the Capitol insurrection, and plenty pissed about just how willfully unprepared law enforcement was that day.
Members of Capitol Police, Metro Police and Capitol security testified at Senate hearings this week as part of a Congressional investigation of the January 6 attack.
A former Capitol Police chief claims a FBI report warning that extremist groups were "preparing for war" never made it up the chain to him. Other witnesses claim they could never have foreseen the violence that ensued that day. Is that because the rioters were white?
Elsewhere in the epic unpreparedness department, the state of Texas (and one of its senators) failed its people by neglecting to plan for harsh winter weather. What does this tell us about the GOP’s commitment to the American people?
The investigation into 1/6 unearths more uncomfortable truths about America, like the fact that “we live in a world where people go to the Capitol and smear feces on the wall,” says Toure.
“I assume it was their own … and they probably were not rolling with hand sanitizer,” he adds. “So they wiped it… somewhere, and went through the 1/6 seditious treasonous insanity with shit on their hands.”
The whole thing just reeks.
“Putting aside the intellectual delusion of worshiping Donald Trump, believing in the Big Lie and going to the Capitol full of entitlement and victimhood to attack American government, you're the sort of person who smears shit on the wall in protest,” Danielle says. “What is wrong with you?”
She doesn’t usually like to use dehumanizing language like she’s about to do –– because of the way it's consistently used against Black people. But the seditious shit-smearers are an exception.
“These thugs are fucking animals. They make monkeys and apes in zoos look civilized,” she says. “But these are the same motherfuckers who tell us, as Black people, that we are animals; that we have no couth, no character, no morals, no values.”
But that’s what they are.
Episode Highlights –– MAGA Poop on the Walls
Surprise! It’s a violent white riot
As Danielle watched former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund claim that law enforcement just didn't expect the level of violence that unfolded, she was thinking: you can't fucking plan for shit you refuse to look at.
“White people are violent,” she says. “They have a history of violence in this country. And they said so out loud on major social media platforms” –- but the authorities “just chose to look the other way.”
Sund told senators that the Capitol Police intelligence unit received an FBI report the evening before the insurrection warning that extremist groups were coming and "preparing for war." But he claims that report never made it up the chain to him.
“How does that not make it up the chain?” Toure asks.
Other witnesses said the Pentagon was reluctant to deploy the National Guard.
It seems that law enforcement was concerned about the optics of an aggressive offense after its disastrous response to the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer
“But it's weird,” he notes –– “the fear of being too harsh toward these white people.”
They came prepared for war
Toure heard one witness in the hearings say: They had guns, and I didn't want to escalate the situation, so I didn't take out my gun.
“When the fuck have you ever heard a cop say they didn't want to escalate the situation?” he asks.
“I didn't even know that they knew how to de-escalate,” Danielle responds.
She was unnerved by the witnesses’ consistent refrain: We didn't know it would get this bad.
But Danielle knew that was bullshit. The cops, many of whom bravely fought to protect our elected officials, all live in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia corridor. They must have noticed that the orange-crush cult was converging on the Capitol days before the attack.
And, as Toure points out, police were well aware of an uptick in passengers on flights and trains, as well as an increase in hotel reservations. Trump’s team also knew, from folks on the ground, that the influx of people into D.C. was “extremely Trumpy.”
Those Trumpists weren’t shy about planning their onslaught on social media. In retrospect, that should’ve been a sign.
When former Capitol Police Chief Sund said the insurrectionists came with t-shirts, toxic chemicals and pipe bombs “as if they were prepared for war –– I'm saying, motherfucker … they actually were-- and they told you,” Danielle says.
“They used chemical weapons,” says Toure. “What are we in, Syria? One of the Capitol Police officers has a burn on her face that still hasn't healed yet.”
It is “just plain good luck this was not far worse,” he adds. But as many pundits have pointed out, if the terrorists are not punished, 1/6 will be viewed as a dress rehearsal for far worse.
When white people ‘protest’
Even as the MAGA crowd prepared for war, their confidence depended on an attitude that “whiteness has toward whiteness: They won't act like animals,” Toure says.
It’s instructive to compare the Capitol Police’s preparation for January 6 to how Louisville, Kentucky prepared ahead of the grand jury decision about the Breonna Taylor case.
Even though there was no intelligence that suggested protests would be anything less than peaceful, the authorities “shut the entire fucking city down” ahead of that decision.
Donald Trump tweeted a “save the date” to his followers on December 19. So law enforcement had several weeks notice to prepare for what the president promised would be “wild.”
Yet “no one thought, let’s board up some shit or at least create a perimeter around the Capitol building,” Danielle notes. “That if you want to hold your little KKK rally, you need to do it miles away, because we are securing the area? So I'm confused how this didn't happen.”
What’s even more striking: When the Black Lives Matter protests happened over the summer, 400 people were arrested that day. Nobody was arrested on January 6.
The police are a gang… and they like it
Toure is still a bit perplexed that the cops were so easily overrun at the Capitol.
“I've interviewed a lot of police officers,” he says. “If one police officer feels in danger, he pushes a button on the radio and everybody within range is supposed to drop everything they're doing and come to his aid.”
Not just the police department, but transit, traffic, everybody.
“They're a gang. And they're supposed to function like a gang.”
They want that reputation, he adds. They want us to think they don't know how to de-escalate. That they're wild. They’re cowboys. They're going to overwhelm us.
“That reputation works in their favor. As soon as the cops show up, everyone gets scared. Most people who I know don't think to fight the cops because they know you're gonna lose. Who fights the cops and wins?”
“White people,” says Danielle. “White people in Michigan. White people at the Capitol. White people in Florida. It's because they believe the police are their security force.”
And white folks tend to have a you work for me mentality, Toure points out. “That when I need you, I'm going to send you on my errand. You are subordinate to me. I pay your salary.”
Law enforcement’s epic fail
January 6 was “perhaps the largest test of American law enforcement in recent memory, if ever,” says Toure. “They completely failed in terms of fielding the information, taking it seriously, and funneling it upwards, creating barriers and reinforcements.”
At every Black Lives Matter rally he attended last year –– of every size –– there were plenty of cops per capita.
“I was like, this is a peaceful rally. You guys don't need to be here. But they were like, if you guys are going to march, we're going to be there, infiltrating. In plainclothes, in uniform, whatever.”
But when 30,000 people descended on the Capitol, you’d think someone would’ve thought we needed a bunch of people –– even “just in case they should, I don't know, start walking off in some direction we don't want?”
It makes no sense, says Danielle. They told the entire internet they wanted to murder Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi, AOC. But the hearing suggests that the authorities thought they didn't really mean it. That they wouldn’t really do anything… because they're white.
Ted Cruz: He can lie, but he can’t lead
The Senate hearing is remarkable because a few insurrectionists themselves are asking questions.
Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz showed a lot of “audacity to even be at the fucking hearing,” after “showing fist bumps of solidarity and tweeting their support of insurrectionists.”
“We live in a banana republic,” she adds.
And, keeping it classy as always, Ted Cruz was texting during the hearing –– “probably talking to his travel agent,” says Danielle.
Cruz had to be shamed into flying back from an ill-timed family vacation in Cancun, while AOC and a handful of other non-Texan Democratic congresspeople showed up to raise money, hand out water and do what leaders do: Lead.
“It's just symbolic of how little the GOP actually cares about people. Now, if there had been a major Texan corporation that was in trouble, Ted Cruz would have snapped into action,” says Toure.
‘It’s not the snowstorm that killed them’
Dozens of Texans have died in the aftermath of a snowstorm and cold snap that the state was unprepared to tackle.
“Let's be clear, it's not the snowstorm that killed them,” Danielle says.
“It was the deregulation of the electric companies by Republicans over the past 15 or 20 years. Now, if they didn't die from freezing to death or their roofs collapsing … we're hearing stories of people being totally wiped out financially.”
That’s because utility companies in the state have no ceiling to what they charge, even when prices surge. And like most of us, many Texans pay their bills with automatic debits from their checking accounts.
“There's no one to block them [the utilities] because Republicans deregulated that shit,” she adds. “So now people are wiped out to the point that they can't even pay their mortgage.”
History keeps repeating itself
This week, we learned just how much the NYPD and the FBI conspired to enable the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X following a former police officer’s deathbed confession.
“He was part of the group that created a phony arrest for Malcolm's number-one bodyguard, thus leaving him vulnerable,” Toure explains. “So he and other NYPD people could be there at the Audubon Ballroom to affect and witness the assassination –– the execution –– of Malcolm X. So we have the NYPD setting up and murdering someone who was trying to help us and make our lives better.”
It has had a “reverberating impact on everything that has happened since then,” he notes.
And the cops keep right on murdering Black folks.
Last year, Rochester, New York police officers put a hood over the head of Daniel Prude and held him down on the pavement until he lost consciousness. He later died in hospital and his death was ruled a homicide. But news broke this week that those officers won't face charges for his murder.
Toure notes that the police are incentivized to make arrests, not to promote public safety. And they are not punished for what they do in the context of those arrests.
“With our tax dollars, we employ terrorism,” says Danielle. “We call them police officers, but they are terrorists. With our tax dollars, we employ members of Congress who are terrorists or are okay with terrorism –– and now they don't even pretend to care.”
“This country is exhausting,” says Danielle. “It really is. Earth is ghetto and I would like to leave.”
Toure’s not arguing there.
“It wasn't a 2020 problem. It was an American problem. It doesn't matter that the calendar has changed.”
Next week, Danielle hopes to be reporting from the Red Planet.
“We seem to be able to make oxygen there but we can't make cops stop killing Black people.”
Hang on, everyone. Mars isn’t colonized yet.
Check out the frustration, rage and absurdity that was the 2020 election on democracy-ishas Danielle Moodie and Toure discuss the current state of the political climate and our country from a Black perspective.