Saturday, September 24, 2022


No, but it could literally be the foundation of my existence. Which would make it a legitimate existential crisis.

There can’t be one where groups or societies are concerned.

Misusing “existential” is the true doom of all language and meaning. I have spoken.

Er, literally, “written.” But you get the idea.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Speaking Of Gape

Can confirm. But wait! It gets funnier! 🀣🀣🀣

How About A 900-Foot Wall Around The Whole Country?

It’s the stupidity that’s infuriating.

And I guess Senator Bat Boy spent all the GOP’s money, so all he can afford is tweets? How’s that polling?

Keeping This Country Gape

I’m sure voters who don’t believe Q-Anon and aren’t MAGA are satisfied with this explanation.

(Oh, alright…
Make America Gape Again.

Portrait Of A Man Scared πŸ’©-less

said, "There's no better example of the left's chilling obsession with targeting political opponents than the baseless, abusive and depraved lawsuit against me, my family, my company by that racist attorney general of New York State, Letitia 'peek-a-boo' James." 
"This raging maniac campaigned for office ranting and raving about her goal, her only goal was we gotta get Donald Trump, we're gonna get him — she knew nothing about me, I never heard of her," said Trump. "In fact, I was watching it and I said, boy, that woman's angry, I don't think she likes me too much. All without having any evidence, she knew nothing about me. Before she had even begun her phony investigation, she went around boasting her plan to weaponize her office against me. Probably working with the federal government, of course." 
“This is a gross prosecutorial misconduct," raged Trump. "The Biden Justice Department should be investigating Letitia James for her appalling and malicious abuse of power ... she doesn't just deserve to lose, she deserves to be removed from office, immediately disbarred, and banished from the legal profession forever."

I want to see his lawyers say any of that in court.

Impotent little man with tiny hands. πŸ™Œ  

Yes, It Is

It’s also important to remember that what Bill Barr says on FoxNews doesn’t mean jack-shit in a courtroom in New York.

I mean, didn’t we learn that after the contempt trial of Steve Bannon? The special master hearing in Brooklyn? The 11th Circuit panel giving the DOJ everything they asked for 5 days after they asked for it? The Special Master telling Trump he has until 9/30/22 to put up or shut up?

Or must we continue to act as if we believe that the only reality is cable TeeVee and/or Twitter?

The Power Of Trump Continues To Roll Over American Democracy

And Trump the politician remains so successful that:
Blake Masters in Arizona, Tiffany Smiley in Washington State and Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania have all made pivots — some artfully, some not — as the ardent, Trump-loyal voters who decided the Republican primaries shrink in the rearview mirror, and a more cautious, broader November electorate comes into view," reported Jonathan Weisman. "These three Senate candidates haven’t quite renounced their questioning of the 2020 election — to right-wing audiences of podcasts, radio shows and Fox News, they still signal their skepticism — but they have shifted their appeals to the swing voters they need to win on Nov. 8."
So support among GOP primary voters is not enough to rule the country? Who knew?

And I will suspend my criticism of reposting Trump’s Truth Social crap πŸ’© because this stuff is just so nuts I can’t see how it does him any good at all:

πŸ’ πŸ’

I don’t have that reaction, but “Rings of Power” sucks.


Netflix series were known for sagging in the middle. A tedious series of episodes that didn’t advance the plot but stretched the series out to at least 13 episodes. They finally got the message; but Prime apparently didn’t.

This “story” is based on some notes from Tolkien in an appendix to LOTR. One appreciates the effort Tolkien put into the narratives of his two books when one tries to wade through The Silmarillion, a book I never could read and finally abandoned to the winds of time (I don’t discard many books, but I do those I know I’ll never crack again.). And I read Kierkegaard and Derrida without being required to.

It is not, then, a compliment to say RoP seems like it was taken directly from Silmarillion. It is that lacking in a narrative.

There is a plot here, but six episodes in it still feels stuck in exposition. Tolkien had a journey (Hobbit) to structure one story, a journey and battles and several subplots for the other. And it all made sense. The only mystery in both tales was what would happen next and how would the good guys win?

The mystery in RoP is: who the hell are all these people (especially “the stranger” and the leader of the orcs), and just what the hell is going on?

As I said: six episodes in, and still no idea.

In LOTR 2/3rds of the story involves the Fellowship broken and two stories which fractures in 3 until it all comes back together at the very end. And from the conversation between Frodo and Gandalf at Bag End to the return to the Shire, you know where the story is going. 

You can imagine the storylines of RoP will eventually combine, but you know it’s going to be a train wreck. There was a reason for the making and then breaking of the Fellowship. What reason is there for all these characters to join in the end of this story? So far none of the groups know each other, and all they have in common is living (most of them, anyway) in Middle Earth.

Clearly a battle (at least) is coming that throws all the characters and narrative strands together, but it’s going to be a series of coincidences that would make Dickens toss the manuscript in the rubbish tip.

No offense to David French, but IMHO, “Rings of Power” is crap.*

*Yes, I’m still watching it; but then, I’m retired.  I still haven’t learned not to waste my days.

Streisand Effect

And how many people are on Truth Social?

And how many people now get to see it on Twitter?
Truthfully, not as bad; but I could have missed it, too, and never known the loss. it's funny how "Marxism" is such a shibboleth among people who have no idea that "communism" even was (the Berlin Wall came down before this woman was born, I'm willing to bet). And the racism-that-isn't has never gone away. In my day it was just "I don't want my daughter to marry one!" Now it's "equity, inclusion, diversity"...all marks of CRT and all "Marxism." (And "Marxism" was the catch-all for anything you wanted to label "unAmerican."  We even had a House Committee devoted to uncovering such matters; it ran from 1938 to 1975. Imagine such a thing today. But it's funny how "Marxism" is still the go to phrase for all things untenable and to be shunned by all "good" people.)

The "argument I got into on NextDoor about CRT was with someone who insisted "Critical theory" (where critical is actually just a modifier of theory, in general parlance) was instead the "Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School which employs "a specific interpretation of Marxist philosophy" and therefore is, through the terms "critical" and "theory," apparently, a direct antecedent of CRT, ergo CRT = "Marxist" and so also are:  equity, diversity, and inclusion. 

You see why I don't argue with people on the internet anymore?

It's all just an excuse to be a racist, without being one.  Same song, second verse.  This is where I came into the movie.  Everything old is new again.  The more things change, the more they remain the same.

All is vanity and chasing after emptiness.


"Strategy"? What "strategy"? Trump has never won a case in court or brought any of his “enemies” to court since he took office. His strategy against the DOJ hasn’t crumbled, it was smashed to bits, and now the Special Master is pounding the bits into dust.

At least since Election Day in 2020, Trump’s reach has far exceeded his grasp. He is consistently given far more credit than he deserves. As that finally comes to an end, will everyone be surprised?  Or will they just finally notice the emperor is nekkid as a jay bird and poor as a church mouse?

"Our"? Two jokes come to mind, one badly dated and maybe offensive (if so, apologies; I am a creature of my childhood). First one: " 'We?' You gotta mouse in your pocket?" Second: Lone Ranger sees a horde of Indians (sorry!) descending upon him. "Looks like we're in trouble, Tonto." "What you mean 'we,' white man?"

Who is the "our" in that sentence?  Does the press bear no responsibility for trumpeting every move Trump makes? Every fart he issues gets coverage, every belch is examined for meaning.  Sure, people watch/listen/buy the magazine/newspaper, but is the press only a passive agent here, an unpaid press agent for Trump, a national megaphone for his ego?  "Our decision to turn away"?  Hey, media!  You go first!

Trump is and always has been a fictional creation.  Which suddenly makes that Twitter discussion about "fictional characters" make a bit more sense; only in the sense that we truly can't distinguish fact from fiction, and when we're caught in that finger trap, we blame someone else for our failure.

I've reduced my interest in Trump to his legal problems, because those are objective and I can follow the narratives (mostly).  Trump's posts on Truth Social, which someone on the intertoobs will always "helpfully" post for me?  I try to avoid them.  I know what Trump is; I don't need further examples.  He's not really decompensating, or falling apart, or becoming more dangerous (that's the most laughable one!).  He is as he's always been.  We are the ones who insist on reading something, anything!, into what he says/does next.  Remember when he flew to New York?  And we never found out why!  And now nobody cares!

Yeah.  Treat everything he does that way.  See how long his "importance" lasts, then.  I honestly think all the people "warning" us about how "dangerous" Trump is are doing it so they'll be important.  Which is even sadder than being Trump.  And Donald Trump is really, really sad.

White Man’s New Burden

Is it possible DeSantis canceled the most recent flight of immigrants because Vertrol (or Ultimate JetCharters) didn’t want the coming publicity? Or is it that DeSantis has simply decided to move on, and proclaim his white supremacy as another variant of white man’s burden rather than as anti-immigration?

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Local Putz Gets National Notice. Again.

That would be this guy: Also the guy responsible for this flyer:

Sent out not last week, but several years ago (he was ahead of his time).  He was aiming at Harris County District court judges.  That year was marked by the entire slate of Democratic Harris County District judges (all black women) being elected, sweeping all GOP judges out of office.  Oh, you want to know about those charges in the tweet?

The charges stem from Hotze’s hiring of more than a dozen private investigators to look for voter fraud in Harris County ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

One of the investigators, former Houston police captain Mark Aguirre, was arrested in December 2020 and charged with aggravated assault. Prosecutors said Aguirre used his vehicle to run an air conditioning repairman off the road before dawn on Oct. 19, 2020.

Aguirre then detained the repairman at gunpoint and ordered an associate to search his truck, according to court filings. When a Houston police officer happened upon the scene and stopped to investigate, Aguirre said the truck contained 750,000 fraudulent mail ballots prepared by Democrats.

The truck contained only air conditioning parts and equipment. Hotze’s investigators have not produced any credible evidence to support allegations that Democrats orchestrated a wide-ranging mail ballot scheme in Harris County during that election.
He also sued the Texas GOP to force them to hold a physical, v. virtual, convention during the covid pandemic when almost everything was in lockdown.  A federal judge said it could be physical, not just virtual, but the Texas GOP said:  "No, thanks," and stuck with its virtual convention.

That was in 2020. He beclowned himself again earlier this year (for the primaries) as part of the same mail ballot scheme.  Basically he's been permanently pissed since Harris County went blue.
He's a putz with too much money on his hands and not enough sense to spend it wisely.  Why am I not surprised he's ranting about mind control through vaccines using 5G?  Does he understand any of those words?

I'd be willing to bet not.

This Is Why I Quit Arguing On The Internet. Period.

DeSantis Continues To Make It About Him

DeSantis is giving the Bexar (pronounced "Bear" in Texas, if you're wondering) County  Sheriff more to investigate, but the new question is: why did he cancel the flight?  And why is he so committed to San Antonio?

Especially when he’s getting so much resistance from behind:
Yeah, but: Which just makes it even more fun.

🀑🀑🀑 [Lindell] πŸƒπŸƒπŸƒ

So you've got all this money to throw around foolishly, but you don't have your phone backed up somewhere? My phone is backed up six ways from Sunday, and everything on it (except apps) is shared on my computer, too. And yes, I'm including text messages. Lindell is rich enough to just buy another phone immediately and download the app for his hearing aids, if that's a real problem (who knows? Maybe it is.). That he has lost access to all that information is his own lookout. But look! It gets worse! Remember what I said about "Give me the rules and I'll give you the law, and you'll lose everytime?" Lindell's lawyers had neither the rules nor the law on their side, but they never get past being beat up with the rules. They asked for a TRO. There are rules for a TRO; local federal rules, in this case (there are others, but these count, too):

(1) The request does not comply with Rule 65(b). 

Relevant here, Rule 65(b) provides: 

(b) Temporary Restraining Order.
(1) Issuing Without Notice. The court may issue a temporary restraining order without written or oral notice to the adverse party or its attorney only if:
(A) specific facts in an affidavit or a verified complaint clearly show that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to the movant before the adverse party can be heard in opposition; and 
(B) the movant’s attorney certifies in writing any efforts made to give notice and the reasons why it should not be required. With respect to the requirements in subparagraph (b)(1)(A), 

Plaintiffs filed a verified complaint that includes allegations of irreparable injuries. With respect to subparagraph (b)(1)(B), however, Plaintiffs’ attorney filed no certification. 

I'm guessing the lawyers were aware of Trump's lawyer signing a confirmation he'd turned over all the papers covered by the subpoena at MAL.  Not an excuse here.  

Wait; it gets worse:

(2) Though Plaintiffs cite Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(g) as the basis for their motion, Plaintiffs do not discuss the Rule or cite any authority that might explain why the cellphone’s return is appropriate under the Rule. To be clear, Plaintiffs cite Rule 41(g) in their Motion and in the caption and introductory paragraph of their Memorandum. But that’s it. Rule 41(g) goes unmentioned in the remainder of Plaintiffs’ 18-page memorandum.
This is clownshow stuff.  This is "Call your malpractice carrier before he sets your policy on fire" stuff.

Oh, you want the citation to Trump's case?  It's not as exciting as it sounds.  The court goes on to dismiss the TRO application because....well, let the court tell it:

(3) Whether Rule 41(g) requires the cellphone’s return is not obvious, and that’s understating things. Rule 41(g) allows a person whose property has been seized by the Government to petition the district court for its return. Jackson v. United States, 526 F.3d 394, 396 (8th Cir. 2008). A pre-indictment motion seeking the return of seized property, which the Eighth Circuit has said “is more properly considered a suit in equity rather than one under the Rules of Criminal Procedure,” turns on consideration of several factors. Black Hills Inst. of Geological Research v. United States Dep’t of Justice, 967 F.2d 1237, 1239 (8th Cir. 1992) (citation omitted). These include: “whether the action involved a callous disregard for constitutional rights,” “whether the party seeking return has an individual interest in and need for the property, whether the party has an adequate remedy at law, and whether the property would be irreparably damaged by a failure to return.” Id. at 1239, 1240 (citations omitted). “[W]hen the owner of seized property seeks injunctive relief for the return of property while the case remains in the investigative stage (i.e. before criminal charges are brought), the district court must also balance the government’s interest in retaining the property against the owner’s right to get it back.” Id. at 1240; see also Trump v. United States, No. 22-13005, 2022 WL 4366684, at **7–9 (11th Cir. Sept. 21, 2022) (applying like factors in adjudicating motion for partial stay of district court order). 

I highlighted the best parts: the opening sentence, and then the sentence with the citation to Trump v. U.S.

As I said: clownshow stuff.  With lawyers like this Lindell would be better off acting pro se.  The court would be a bit more lenient, and he'd save a lot of money.  He'd still lose, but he wouldn't waste money on these clowns. 

My Reports Of The Demise Of The Special Master Were Premature

But it won’t be long now. And to all those people who warned Dearie would be very slow: They’re gonna wish DOJ had filed a broader appeal.

Librarians? They’re The Ones With All Those Filthy Books, Ain’t They?

Come For The Insanity, Stay For The Clues

What To Watch For Next

The 11th Circuit took away the SM’s authority over the seized classified documents. I honestly don’t know what else Dearie has to do, but I expect there will be a hearing shortly where he tells the parties his understanding of the order.

It would be a good time for Cannon to revisit her order, but nothing in her actions in this case indicates she has the capacity for such self-correction.

And then this literally just in:
I honestly don’t know what else is involved outside the classified documents. I’m not surprised Popehat’s analysis was right, I’m just still surprised this judge didn’t just cut her losses and dismiss this stinking pile of πŸ’© sua sponte.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022


I love how they adopted DoJ's "red herring" language. It was all the most beautiful of dunks. And, I guess, legally sound, which...that's cool, too.
It’s the judicial equivalent of that scene from The Paper Chase where Kingsfield hands a student a nickel in his lecture and tells the student to call his mother and tell her he will never be a lawyer.

Another Reason Trump’s Lawyers Never Mentioned This In Court

The man should not be allowed anything sharper than a rubber ball. Seriously.

The video is much worse than any transcript. The description in this tweet is absolutely right.
Trump’s efforts to protect his ego from reality is frightening.


For the reasons we have explained, we GRANT the stay pending appeal. The district court order is STAYED to the extent it enjoins the government’s use of the classified documents and requires the government to submit the classified documents to the special master for review.
Pretty sure this means the special master can go back to retirement.


IOW, Judge Cannon was so fundamentally wrong the panel didn’t need to think about it.

And I know you're wondering:
I never imagined an appellate court would move this fast. This is like a glacier suddenly deciding to win the 100 meter dash. And whatever restrained language the opinion uses, delivering this 5 days after the appeal was filed and only 30 hours after Trump’s response is as savage and crushing a rebuke of Trump and the Judge as I can imagine. That judge must feel like a bug on a windshield right now.

I’m going to spend the rest of the evening reading obsessively about this. If you want to do the same:

It Just Gets Worse

Renato Mariotti pointed to this very error earlier this month:

No competent attorney would have approved the production of documents to the government without reviewing and cataloguing the documents provided. You have to know what it is that you’re producing and what, if anything, is still being held back. While attorneys may not have been able to review certain classified documents, the existence of those documents should not have been a surprise to Trump’s team. They should have been aware that they were producing classified materials, raised that issue to NARA before producing, and produced them in a secure manner.

When I was a legal assistant I worked on several civil cases involving document production.  In one case I was ushered into a large room full of all the documents related to construction of a building on UT campus.  I had 8 hours to find what I wanted and tag it for copying.  I then spent weeks collating, categorizing, analyzing, and cataloging those documents to turn them into exhibits for a week of depositions we conducted in the case.  We cataloged all those documents, and I guarantee UT kept a list of all the documents they gave us.  We kept lists of documents we produced to opposing counsel in every case I worked on. To not do so would have been the grossest kind of malpractice.  I really can't believe Trump's lawyers admitted that in open court, except that they were not the lawyers who had anything to do with Trump during the NARA negotiations, the DOJ negotiations, the service of the subpoena or the service of the search warrant.

A catalog of the documents would have told them what the FBI took, if only by absence.

A) he may not have clearance to see those documents, which proves the "irreparable harm" claim the DOJ made to the 11th Circuit (and which Trusty tried to refute before the same court).

B) What does seeing the documents have to do with whether or not Trump "declassified" them? What, they show them to Trump one by one and he says "Oh, yeah, I declassified that one, I remember it. I gave it a little wine and got it drunk and then took it to my bedroom and declassified the shit out of it!"
In other words, the only evidence of this declassification is Trump's word. Which, even if he wasn't a serial liar infamous for his fleeting relationship with the truth, would mean nothing in this legal context. Which is pretty much the argument Judge Cannon bought into; but nobody else seems inclined to purchase.

But the truly worst part of this is how cavalierly and insecurely Trump handled these documents.  Even he doesn't know what he had (does anyone believe he catalogued them, or had staff do it?  Which would implicate them in a breach of national security, so they'd better hope they didn't/are never identified.).  We can appreciate Trump's legal problems; but the country has something of a national security nightmare on its hands, and the rest of the world is wondering what we lost and, more importantly, who has it now?

If I Pick Up A Hitchhiker….

...and drive across a state line, is that human trafficking?

Or how about if the border is with Canada?

More acts of mental violence.
DeSantis is toast. QED. Maybe not at law, but politically? Stick a fork in ‘im. "How will the GOP make a better case to America?” Not this way. Sad.

Special Take: I Honestly Cannot Believe Trump’s Lawyers Are This Bad

Although Trump hasn’t cornered the market on dumb lawyers. Dershowitz is reportedly the lawyer on that turkey.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

This Is DeSantis' "Bridgegate"

Buh-bye, Ron. We hardly knew ye; which suited us just fine.*

(*This is why Abbott responds to all questions about his bussing with "Biden must secure the border." A lesson DeSantis never learned.  Abbott has no support outside of Texas, but DeSantis is really not-ready-for-prime-time.)

T'he Day In Performative Litigation

IOW: evidence is evidence, and non-evidence is…nothing. And as Lear said: “Out of nothing nothing comes.”

And trying to say they can't produce the evidence they need to prove the claim they brought, but you can't hold that against us because we can't incriminate our client, is not exactly the legal argument of the ages: But Trump's entire case is built on eating his cake and having it, too. His argument now is that, by putting his pen to paper, Trump renders all documents his personal property. Isn't that enough?
Which is why Trump declassified them, but he can't present evidence of that because it might harm his criminal defense later, so you just have to believe him that the documents are his and he should get 'em back!

Yes, in essence, that is Trump's legal argument before the Special Master right now.

You really don't have to be a lawyer to know it doesn't work like that.  You do have to wonder about lawyers who would try to make those arguments in court.  Yeah, and about any Judge who would take them seriously.  And I don't mean the Special Master.
Ken Paxton isn't ashamed because you can't shame a whore. And why, Mr. Turley, wouldn’t they present that evidence?  No, don't tell him!  Let him figure it out.  Let's go away quietly so he can.....

About Those "Delaying Tactics"

🀣🀣🀣 I do love what follows: If the documents are classified, neither Trusty nor anyone on his team (or in his office) or at MAL (including Trump) can "see" those documents. And "irreparable harm" occurs if they do. That's what "classified documents" are. The attack on NARA is just grandstanding nonsense. Trusty has nothing on his side so he's pounding the table. Juries might be impressed; retired federal judges aren't. 🀑 Zaid is the guy Trump needed for this case. Zaid is also too smart to work for Trump.


 This is almost clever:

The Government again presupposes that the documents it claims are classified are, in fact, classified and their segregation is inviolable. However, the Government has not yet proven this critical fact. The President has broad authority governing classification of, and access to, classified documents. See Dep’t of Navy v. Egan, 484 U.S. 518, 529 (1988).

Congress provided certain parameters for controlling classified information but primarily delegated to the President how to regulate classified information. 50 U.S.C. § 3161. At the same time, Congress exempted the President from complying with such requirements. Id. § 3163 (“Except as otherwise specifically provided, the provisions of this subchapter shall not apply to the President . . . .”).

President Obama enacted the current Executive Order prescribing the parameters for controlling classified information in 2009. See Exec. Order 13526 (Dec. 29, 2009). That Executive Order, which controlled during President Trump’s term in office, designates the President as an original classification authority, Id. § 1.3(a)(1), and grants authority to declassify information to either the official who originally classified the information or that individual’s supervisors—necessarily including the President. Id. § 3.1(b)(1), (3). Thus, assuming the Executive Order could even apply to constrain a President, cf. 50 U.S.C. § 3163, the President has absolute authority to declassify any information. There is no legitimate contention that the President's declassification of documents requires approval of bureaucratic components of the executive branch. Yet, the Government apparently contends that President Trump, who had full authority to declassify documents, “willfully” retained classified information in violation of the law. See 18 U.S.C. § 793(e); AA66. Moreover, the Government seeks to preclude any opportunity for consideration of this issue.

There's a legitimate issue of presumption here:  does the Court presume documents are classified until proven otherwise?  Is that burden, IOW, on the plaintiff (Trump) or on the Government (defendant)?  I don't know the state of the law on that issue, but I'm sure there is one. On that point, in fact, I defer to Asha Rangappa:

But notice how dodgy this is:  the lawyers never say Trump declassified the documents in question.  They only say the government hasn't proven he DIDN'T declassify them (which doesn't exactly shift the burden of proof to the government).  They also say Trump has "broad authority...and access to...classified documents."  As President he does.  Not as a former President.  Again, playing fast and loose with the law.

Ultimately, it's an evidentiary issue; which, being an appeal, is what they are counting on (Appeals courts can't solicit evidence; it must come in the record from the court below): The problem for Trump is, will the 11th Circuit find the trial court abused its authority by assuming the validity of Trump's non-assertion (he's never claimed in court that the documents were declassified) or by rejecting ipse dixit (you'll see) the evidence actually presented by the government?

Also:  is that really the issue?

It does matter to the government:

Which can make it matter to the 11th Circuit; but not in the way Trump wants.  In fact, DOJ's argument there works directly against Trump's argument in his brief.  Odd he doesn't address that issue, though.

And then there's the aid from the "cavalry":

"Take the Administration’s resort to procedural gamesmanship to overcome adverse judicial decisions."

"Or consider the Biden Administration’s collusion with private parties to circumvent ordinary rules for administrative rulemaking." 

"When it is unable to engage in procedural gamesmanship to cast aside unfavorable judicial decisions or engineer a collusive settlement to preempt them, the Biden Administration has resorted to blinding itself to adverse precedent and its prior representations altogether."

Those are quotes from the amicus brief.  Those are not legal arguments.  They read more like extracts from Twitter.  And why are the collected heads of the Attorneys General of 11 states making an argument like this?  Because the district judge's ruling is indefensible:

The Biden Administration’s track record supports the district court’s refusal to credit the Administration’s ipse dixit about the contents of documents it seized during its raid of President Trump’s private residence. 

In other words, it's a lame assault on the credibility of the government, by attacking Biden's policies which they, as Republicans, don't favor.  I mean, who you gonna trust, judges?  A serial liar like Trump?  Or those FBI agents who now work for the Biden Administration?

I don't think the 11th Circuit will be impressed.

Then follows in Trump's brief a longish argument about the Presidential Records Act, summed up by this footnote:

The ultimate disposition of all the “classified records,” and likely most of the seized materials, is indisputably governed by the provisions of the Presidential Records Act (“PRA”). See 44 U.S.C. §§ 2201, et seq. Thus, at best, the Government might ultimately be able to establish certain Presidential records should be returned to NARA.  

There's two problems with that argument:

1) "The United States shall reserve and retain complete ownership, possession, and control of Presidential records; and such records shall be administered in accordance with the provisions of this chapter."

2)  "The United States District Court for the District of Columbia shall have jurisdiction over any action initiated by the former President asserting that a determination made by the Archivist violates the former President’s rights or privileges. "

Trump's making the wrong argument in the wrong court.  He brought this suit, not the DOJ.  He can't raise claims under the PRA in Florida.  EOD.  And he can't make a rule 41 claim to recover the documents.  If they are "Presidential records," he has no right to them.  If they aren't, he needs to be in DC arguing his claims under the PRA.

The rest of the brief covers the question of "irreparable harm" (the standard for lifting or modifying the court order) and jurisdiction for an interlocutory appeal.  Sensible pleading, that, and I'm in no position to critique the arguments made.  But I'm not impressed  with the "classified records" that may or may not be (who's the government to say they are, amirite?) argument, or the invocation of the PRA, which does their case far more harm than good.

Since I First Read About This On Twitter

I had trouble getting a handle on what SM Dearie was doing.  But it comes down to something quite simple: You see, the "declassification" issue is a red herring which Trump's lawyers have never brought up in court (because they'd face sanctions for lying to the court).  So I was a bit confused as to why Dearie was bringing it up, and insisting it was important.  Well, it's rather simple:  "personal" records would not be classified, period.  Presidential records could be.  The beginning point of the analysis of which is which, is to determine which ones Trump claims were "declassified," thus, arguably, making them "personal."  Not that Dearie is accepting that argument ab initio, as Cannon clearly did; but because Dearie can't begin to analyze and then classify (i.e., put into categories; not "classify" under national security law) documents into groups until he can understand the nature of the documents.  He can't, in other words, do the job the judge assigned to him without settling the classified/declassified issue first.

So he's told Trump he needs to know what Trump claims he declassified.  And Trump's lawyers don't want to do it, because: sanctions.  They know it's bullshit.  They know they can't prove it.  They're not going to so much as submit an affidavit from Trump saying he declassified them in his mind prior to January 20, 2021, because they'd be sanctioned for submitting false evidence and trying to mislead the court.

Trump's lawyers, IOW, are a clown car of idiots who should have seen this trainwreck coming from a long way off.  That's one of the primary jobs of a lawyer: anticipate trouble for your client and counsel them on how to avoid it; help them to avoid it, if they accept your counsel (you can't do it despite their objections).  These lawyers have walked Trump into a box.  Dearie is holding a hearing today; and they have a deadline to respond to the 11th Circuit that....well, just expired.  And Dearie is also wondering why Rule 41 doesn't apply (since Trump wants the documents back), and Rule 41 requires the issue of possession be resolved before the official who issued the search warrant.

Which wasn't Cannon.  Which raises the fundamental issue of jurisdiction:  what relief can Cannon give Trump, if there is no authority for her to grant it?

This case is neither a maze nor a Gordian knot.  It's just a stinking pile of crap.  Which, by the say, is a pretty good metaphor for anything Trump tries to do. And the funniest part:  all the pundits and non-lawyers who said this was another "delaying tactic" by Trump; and how slow Dearie would be.  And now Trump is already complaining that Dearie is moving too fast.  My view, as a retired person?  Dearie is retired, and he wants to get back to doing whatever he was doing in retirement.  This job is Xmas money for him, and he wants it over with so he can enjoy the holidays with family.

Screw Trump.

BE VERY AFRAID!!!!!!!!!!

The weird part is all the people sitting there quietly, listening. You know most of them are thinking: "Yeah. I'd watch that movie."

GOP Outreach

All Rubio is missing is the international pedophile rings. Oh, wait! Where goes Trump, goes the GOP all.

And just when you think that somewhere behind the blather and empty phrases and meaningless "threats" and barrage of verbiage, there's a Machiavellian intent to be the next Hitler:
Yes, in her forthcoming Trump tome, set for release on October 4, New York Times scribe Maggie Haberman reports Trump spent the days following his loss telling aides that, despite a long-respected custom to do otherwise, he would not be leaving the White House on January 20. “I’m just not going to leave,” Trump told one aide, according to Haberman. “We’re never leaving,” the then president told another person. 

I mean, I'd read this about Maggie's book before; but then you think about it, what Trump was proposing was to be a spoiled child who wouldn't go on the family trip because he'd just cross his arms and stay in his room.  "THEY CAN'T MAKE ME!" Which, given that he's a, what, 72 year old man at that point, is pretty astonishing.  And makes me ask again:  why does anybody treat this superannuated toddler like he's serious? He has no power, but we just keep giving it to him.  It's like the news talking about Trump going full "Q" in Ohio over the weekend.  So?  Do you secretly fear he really is going to bring "The Storm"?

 "Q" are the idiots who gathered for days on Dealey Plaza, waiting for JFK and his son to return to them from the dead.  They're the idiots who think there's an international pedophile ring run by Democrats who rape children and drink their blood and are so good at it there's no evidence of it, until Trump brings "The Storm" and provokes mass arrests and, for good measure, mass executions on television because, apparently like Mike Lindell's "proof" of election fraud: once it is revealed all will fall down and realize it is true, at once!  Even the Supreme Court will have to agree!

Yeah, it's a religious (tinged) type of belief, similar to the vision of Jesus returning in clouds of glory when every eye shall see and every ear hear (full disclosure:  I'm not down with such an apocalyptic vision as the true "endgame" of Christianity or history, at all).  But that is, to be fair, why it's nuts; because nothing in human history works like that, or can, or will.  And Trump has no interest in "Q" anymore than he does in Christianity, except as it can be a tool for his self-aggrandizement. And the minute it can't be, he's bored with it again.

I remember in the '70's, before disco (which was a mid-decade thing), we had "Jesus Freaks,"  Young people who acted like hippies but suddenly loved Jesus, and ran around shouting "One Way!" and sticking their index fingers in the air. (They were very Johannine Jesus freaks.)  Everybody thought they were crazy except the fundamentalist and evangelical churches, who, before Falwell, weren't all that interested in anything but saving souls and staying pure, i.e., apart from other Christians who weren't fundies or evangelicals.  They were a bit leary of the "freaks," but struggled to accept them because their theology (the freaks', I mean) was fundamentally fundamentalist/evangelical.  Point is, nobody mistook 'em for Nazis.  I know "Q" has changed the meaning of the symbol, or at least tried to.  But I see a bunch of Jesus freaks there, especially because Jesus freaks were mostly white.  And it's still "Q" and Dealey Plaza, and mostly people who are stone nuts.  If that's the crowd Trump is reduced to selling himself to, I think the GOP is gonna go the way of the Whigs a lot sooner than expected.

Trump was a toddler with a shotgun when he was in the White House.  Now he doesn't have the shotgun; and he's just a 74 year old toddler.  If "Q" is all he has, he really does have nothing.

So Do I

Coffee service envy is real.

According To Xianity Today, I’m A Heretic

"Orthodox" is carrying a lot of baggage there. Neither of those opinions are unorthodox outside fundamentalist/evangelical Christian churches. The second one is a little more widely accepted, but it’s becoming more orthodox by the day.

But according to this article I’m both a heretic and a bad theologian. However, I’m in good company.
Overall, adults in the US are moving away from orthodox understandings of God and his Word year after year. More than half of the country (53%) now believes Scripture “is not literally true,” up from 41 percent when the biannual survey began in 2014.

I’m surprised it’s that low, actually. The article argues this is a sign Christians, even fun/evs, are conforming too much to the world. I think those numbers indicate they still have too much influence on American culture. The idea that scripture is “literally true” is theirs alone, and only 100 years old. “Orthodox” is usually a millenia or so older than that.

At any rate it’s not a doctrine that’s widely accepted as orthodoxy in Christianity at large.

Now there is a question of the Arian heresy: that Jesus was created by God but was not of God. Jesus was not, in other words, God. This touches on the nature of the Trinity. In christological terms,, was Jesus of the same substance as God, or was he of similar substance? The Council of Nicea couldn’t settle the question, so they accepted both: Christ was “homoousias” AND “homoiousias.” Same AND similar. Giving rise to the old adage “not an iota’s worth of difference between them.” (The “iota” being the Greek letter “i”.)  73% of evangelicals believe Jesus was created by God, while 43% think Jesus was just a great teacher. Which is, frankly, problematic; but not surprising. Both positions are considered heresies (the Arian heresy) in “orthodox” Xianity.

Another “heresy”, the article says, is that “the Holy Spirit is not a personal being.” Now, orthodox Xianity holds that Jesus is the only “personal being” of the Trinity. But what I literally don’t understand is this argument:

To be fair, the Spirit of God is often described as an impersonal force throughout the Bible (sometimes as a dove, a cloud, fire, wind, or water), but these are all just metaphors for the Spirit’s personal presence.

Isn’t the Bible literally true? But metaphors are not literal. So doesn’t that “make[] it easy for individuals to accept biblical teaching that they resonate with while simultaneously rejecting any biblical teaching that is out of step with their own personal views or broader cultural values"?

Seems like pretty bad theology to me (I’ve always had this problem with Biblical literalism). But this is where it gets interesting, starting with the definition of evangelicals:

It’s clear that US evangelicals (defined by belief and church affiliation) share some core faith convictions. Well over 90 percent agree that God is perfect, God exists in three persons, Jesus’ bodily resurrection is real, and people are made righteous not through works but through faith in him.

I’ll give them the first three as Biblically grounded (although the concept of the Trinity is from the early church, based largely on Luke’s references to the Holy Spirit). And the bodily resurrection is really only attested to in John. Mark ends without Jesus being seen; Matthew ends with Jesus seeing Mary and Mary Magdalene, and a rather odd story about guards being bribed to say the disciples stole the body from the tomb; and Luke ends with Jesus on the road to Emmaus, but somehow unknown until he’s revealed, at which point he disappears; and later he ascends into heaven. John even has Jesus tells the women not to touch him at the tomb, and then enters a crowded, locked room without using the door or a window. So he has a body (he shows the wounds to "Doubting" Thomas), but he walks through walls? The only truly bodily resurrection story is when he serves fish to his friends.

But the fourth one, justification by faith, while widely accepted by Christianity, comes solely from Martin Luther. Then again, a lot of Xian orthodoxy comes from doctrine, not Biblical interpretation. So these Biblical fundamentalists are rather loose with just how fundamental Scripture is.

I’m not saying this article is wrong; but their view of orthodox Christianity is a very skewed one. And their theology isn’t all that good, either.

The argument in the article pulls a verse from Psalm 51 which I was confronted with in my first church by a member who wasn’t all that comfortable with children being born damned. Here's the King James version, more or less in context:

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

2Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

3For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

4Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

5Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

6Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

9Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

The verse the article relies on is verse 5.  What I’d say now is that the Psalmist clearly meant (in her/his context) to express her/his humility before God.  Verse 6 is the key: the "inward parts" where God will make the Psalmist know wisdom. If anything, the Psalmist is confessing a natural state (from birth) of not knowing wisdom, and so needing to know learn it from God, learn it so deeply it erases the innate, or born to, state.

Or you could go full Calvinist and insist it means humans are born damned and can't escapse that fate, except that some are born "saved."  Or quasi-Calvinist, and insist anyone can be "saved" if they just "get right with God."  But I find my analysis to be a far more Biblical view, identifiable from Genesis through Paul, of the human condition and humanity's relationship with the Creator than the idea we are all damned to hell without God’s divine intervention, one we must earn if only by faith alone. When you think about it, the latter is a pretty screwy idea of existence. God says the creation is good in Genesis 1. Do we arrogate to humanity the god-like power to make it (and us) bad by one act of defiance by one person long, long ago?

And in the original social context of this Psalm, it is a confession of selfishness to the community.  Sung by the assembled worshippers (one presumes; or just heard by them) it is a confession of self-centeredness and an expression of a desire to return to right relationship with the children of Abraham.  We do these words a great injustice to interpret them as if they were post-19th century lyrics or even mid-20th century confessional poems.  The concepts of self we take for granted now simply didn't exist when these psalms were written and first used in worship.

Which is the problem of anachronism and literalism and doctrine.  Most of what the CT article describes as "Biblical" is actually just doctrinal (like the doctrine of "original sin").  Accept it if you like, but don't assume it is handed down from God and you stand at God's right hand with a full understanding of the will of God Almighty.  That is arrogant in the extreme, the very opposite of the humility Psalm 51 prays for.  I have no problem with rejecting the Arian heresy (and amazing how persistent these "heresies" are, isn't it?), but that's because accepting them rather destroys the central tenets of Christianity. Then again, a "heretic" is no longer put beyond the reach of God and King, and Christianity itself has never resolved the issue of the nature of the Christ.  It just papers over it with the label "holy mystery," so the issue is really just down to one of argument.  And on all matters involving disagreement I tend to look at the story from Luke:

Now an argument broke out among them over which of them was greatest. But Jesus, knowing what us on their minds, took a child and had her stand next to him.  He said to them, "Whoever accepts this child in my name is accepting me. And whoever accepts me, accepts the one who sent me. Don't forget, the one who has a lower rank among you is the one who is great."

John said in response, "Master, we say someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he isn't one of us."

But he said to them, "Don't stop him; in fact, whoever is not against you is on your side."

Luke 9:46-50, SV

"Because he isn't one of us..."  Takes me back to Psalm 51; which is a good place to end this.