Wednesday, June 30, 2021

What We Missed Today

Tips on who NOT to visit. Something helpful, anyway.

Did They Find Any Ladders 🪜

Anybody else remember the reports of the makeshift ladders Border Patrol finds next to the wall? It’s a constant problem. Takes only a few dollars worth of material. The wall costs $25-41 million per mile.

That wall (what there is of it) ain’t worth shit.


Largest city in the country without zoning.  “O what a paradise it seems!”

So fuck all y’all.*

L’esprit d’escalier: I should have added Houston is deeply Democratic, with lowest population density of any city in the country.

*It’s my birthday 🥳. Been waitin’ all day to say that. No idea why. But it’s my birthday 🎂. So I can.

What He Said


With All The Talk About Criminal Charges

...and how the charges might produce complete bankruptcy.



The news tells me there record breaking heat in the northeast with "feels like" temperatures of 100F. Now, the heat in Orgeon and Washington, temperatures of 112 or so, is hot. In British Columbia they recorded a temperature of 120F. Those are insane temperaturs in the desert soutthwest, much less in Canada.

But for the northeast?  All I can say is:  “Welcome to Texas.”  I’m in the Texas panhandle at the moment, where the temps are running in the ‘70’s this morning.  On the Texas Gulf Coast we call that “winter.”

“Killers and Rapists” Redux

First, it's worth noting this guy is from Tennessee. Tennessee is not a border state. This is crucial to the thesis that, the farther away from the border you are, the more you fear it. "Fear is the little death, fear is the mind-killer." It also separates a fool from his money.

Johnson's donation of an undisclosed amount to South Dakota's Emergency and Disaster Fund will bankroll the deployment of up to 50 national guard members to the border for as long as two months, according to reports.

And what will they do there?  Bugger all.  There’s nothing they can do.  National Guard have no law enforcement powers.  They can’t usurp or replace the law enforcement authority of Border Patrol officers.  They can sit at screens and say “Yup, looks like somebody’s walking around out there!” They can’t do any more than that.  And why are they needed?  Well, let’s ask the millionaire xenophobic racist:

"People don't respect nothing unless they work for it," Johnson said. "You've gotta work for what you got, and you've gotta respect what other people has — but not shooting and killing and lying and raping and doing other kinds of stuff because they've got free money. It's just chaos with this President, and he don't care."

If you’re still wondering what this has to do with Tennessee: 

“Everybody is tied down from COVID-19 but they let them come over with no shots, no nothing, no coverings over their face," Johnson said. "They ship them out to all the states, like I'm in Tennessee, they ship them out to Tennessee and they don't ask the governor. They just spread 'em everywhere and they don't care about COVID-19."

Like racists of old, who had nothing against N***ers, they just didn’t want their daughters to marry one, Mr. Johnson assures us he has nothing against “Mexicans,” they just need to go “through proper channels.”  And be rejected, because they are disease-carrying rapists and criminals, right?  And they get free money to do it….somehow.  That part really doesn’t make any sense, but it’s the favorite line of racists since at least the end of the civil war:  those black/former slaves are getting something for free that you poor whites aren’t getting, so you should be mad at them!  Not at the white guys who won’t pay you shit for your labor because, why should they share the wealth you are creating for them, with you?

I know, I know, I’m a socialist.  I’ll leave quietly. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

But He’s Popular Among Texas Republicans… that’s all that matters.


I mean, sure, Trump probably thinks this way. But like his fans, he enjoyed the screams and the violence (at his own rallies) and the power to sway hundreds to storm the Capitol. There are credible reports of Trump reacting with glee from the safety of the White House on 1/6.

But he and his fans fear consequences.  And 500 or so of them are facing the legal consequences of their actions.  And suddenly violence and rioting don’t seem so fun anymore.  So the rioters blame Trump, and Trump blames the rioters.

It’s like they were made for each other.

Don’t Pretend You Know What You Don’t Know

There is a grand jury empaneled through the end of the year in New York. I've been told that means the prosecution is working its way up the chain, starting with the corporation itself. I've read charging the corporation inevitably leads to officers of the corporation. I've been told this is just the beginning, that this is the usual pattern for white collar crimes. I've heard this is comparable to Enron, where they started with the company and ended with putting several individuals in jail.

And frankly, I have no clue what’s going on. I’m not in the NYC DA’s office or the NYAG’s office.  Is Trump free and clear?  Nah.  Is he dead in the water?  Not yet, anyway. Will they “be able” to indict Trump?  Maybe.  Certainly can’t say they won’t; unless, again, you’re in one of the relevant offices doing the investigation and making the decisions.

That grand jury wasn’t empaneled in May to sit through the end of the year just to bring these charges.

Oh, That’s Cute!

"Radical transformation”? Lindbergh was an American hero and a fascist. Fascism was actually rather popular in America until Pearl Harbor. The Dixiecrats were openly racist and fascistic. I could go on.

The “radical transformation” is whenever we move away from fascism.


...that and they have no law enforcement authority. Abbott did this already: separated NG soldiers from their families, made ‘em sit around south Texas for months, doing nothing except saying “Yup, there goes another one!” He finally quietly sent ‘em home.

Thanks for playing, South Dakota!

Monday, June 28, 2021


My daughter got married last October, the height of covid fears. It wasn't going to be a large affair anyway, mostly family; but a lot of them declined. In the end, it was mostly their friends: young, loyal, and not all that afraid of their own mortality (or willing to turn down access to an open bar). A splendid time was had despite the low turnout.

And there were more people there than in this tent in the video.  Hell, I had more people than that on my worst Sunday in parish ministry.

I don’t really care what this guy is saying.  More people know what he said because of Twitter than heard him live.  We really all need to calm down.


At this point you could drop a ten ton safe on the GOP, and they still wouldn’t acknowledge reality. Some of them still believe “Benghazi” was real (the fake scandal, not the event). Roy Cohn. Rudy Giuliani. Lin Wood. Sydney Powell. Whoever is representing Mike Lindell. The guy who filed a "Lord of the Rings" pleading. Ken Paxton.  Too many of them are members of the State Bar of Texas.  They should be disbarred, on pretty much the grounds Giuliani will be.  I’m not holding my breath, however. Yeah, but "He was no Roy Cohn or John Mitchell” is the faintest praise possible.  So, still damning.  I wouldn’t mind seeing Barr disbarred, either.  The grounds are as sufficient as those for Giuliani.

Sauce for the goose is a well recognized legal principle.

We Report, You Decide

Except a "spokesperson" for Trump says this story is "fake news" and it never happened. indeed, who could believe Trump ever acted this way? Miley’s argument was that had no legal authority to muster troops at Trump’s command. Trump also thinks Barr was his personal attorney (there is no a/c privilege between USAG and POTUS).

I’d say the story rings pretty true. Trump really is his own worst enemy.

A Day Without A Mexican

“One way you might define normal is when employers and workers have the same idea of what an appropriate package looks like, and then the issue is matching up the people with the jobs,” said Katharine G. Abraham, an economist at the University of Maryland and a former commissioner at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Clearly part of the problem now,” she said, “is that what employers and what workers think is out of whack.”

Uh...ya think?

 “They know how in demand they are,” said Angelic Hobart, a client service manager at American Staffing who occupied a table at the Maryland Heights job fair. “And I think that is being taken advantage of.” She said she had dozens of manufacturing, warehouse, sales, office and technology positions to fill. But public benefits have made people “very complacent,” she said. And sometimes “their pay expectations are way over what their skill level is.”

Many of the 34 employers and agencies at the job fair said they had raised wages by $1 an hour or more in recent months. And they shared a refrain: There were good jobs available but not enough good workers to fill them, those who were reliable and were willing to work hard.

That’s not the way Elodie Nohone saw it. “They’re offering $10, $12, $13,” said Ms. Nohone, who already earns $15 an hour as a visiting caregiver and was hoping to find a higher-paying opportunity. “There’s no point in being here.”

Her boyfriend, Damond Green, was making his way around the room. He holds two jobs, one at McDonald’s, where after seven years he earns $15 an hour, and another providing home health care. He and Ms. Nohone have a baby on the way, and Mr. Green is looking for one job with higher pay. “Two jobs stretch you thin,” he said.

“I want to do something where my work is appreciated,” he said, “and pay me decent.” His goal is to earn $50,000 a year, or about $25 an hour — roughly the median earnings of wage and salaried employees in the United States.

"Taken advantage of."  Yeah, because workers only deserve the pay employers are willing to give them. Poverty sucks, but you don't deserve better.

The labor market’s deeper problem, said Francine D. Blau, an economist at Cornell University, is the proliferation of low-paid jobs with few prospects for advancement and too little income to cover essential expenses like housing, food and health care.

The pandemic focused attention on many of these low-wage workers, who showed up to deliver food, clean hospital rooms and operate cash registers. “The pandemic put their lives at risk,” Ms. Blau said, “and we began to wonder if we are adequately remunerating a lot of the core labor we need to function as an economy and society.” 

Remember that old joke about "They can't fire us, slaves have to be sold!"?  More truth in that than humor:

Hundreds of jobs were being offered at the fair. A home health care agency wanted to hire aides for $10.30 an hour, the state’s minimum, to care for disabled children or mentally impaired adults. There were no benefits, and you would need a car to get from job to job. An ice rink, concert and entertainment center was looking for 80 people, paying $10.30 to $11.50 for customer service representatives and $13 for supervisors. But the jobs last just through the busy season, a few months at time, and the schedules, which often begin at 5 a.m., change from week to week.

In St. Louis, a single person needs to earn $14 an hour to cover basic expenses at a minimum standard, according to M.I.T.’s living-wage calculator. Add a child, and the needed wage rises just above $30. Two adults working with two children would each have to earn roughly $21 an hour. 

What to do with these ingrates who don't want to work for shit?

Among job seekers interviewed at job fairs and employment agencies in the St. Louis area the week after the benefit cutoff, higher pay and better conditions were cited as their primary motivations. Of 40 people interviewed, only one — a longtime manager who had recently been laid off — had been receiving unemployment benefits. (The maximum weekly benefit in Missouri is $320.)

In St. Louis, the Element Hotel held a job fair to hire servers, bartenders and front-desk receptionists. Housekeepers were especially in demand. Janessa Corpuz, the general manager, had come in on a Sunday with her teenage daughter to do laundry because of the shortage.

The hotel, which is on a major bus line, raised its starting wage to $13.50 an hour, the second increase in two months. It also offers benefits and a $50-a-month transportation allowance. The number of applicants shot up — to 40 from a handful the previous month — after the second wage increase. 

Take this job and shove it!  For real, this time.

(Remember that movie, "A Day Without A Mexican"?  America has always had more than a bit of classism in its racism, and many a "poor white" is regarded as no better than a "lazy [fill in the racial group/epithet of your choice here]."  Yes, there are bad employees; but just as much, there are bad employers. I've worked for more than a few of them, and the number that hire the majority of the overworked and underpaid is quite high.  Who wants to work for an asshole?) 


"Lord, When Did We See You?"

Except the reason for such laws is not cruelty, but to maintain public spaces (like parks) for the enjoyment of the public.

This sounds very bad:

A Charlotte, North Carolina, city council member's outrageous suggestion last week that people who share food with the homeless should face criminal charges has touched a nerve in the community.

"People [are] still bringing food and money and resources directly to the folks that are out there right now," said Charlotte City Council Member Tariq Bokhari, in remarks reported by local station WBVT. "They're only making themselves feel good, they're hurting the ultimate folks, perhaps we explore making that a misdemeanor."

Bokhari says he wants residents instead to donate to charities that provide services, rather than directly to homeless people. But some of the people who work with such charities appear dumbfounded.

"In what world when we as a society are at a place where we would criminalize the act of humanity, care, and consideration and compassion for others in any way, shape, or form—there's a huge problem," responded Kenya Joseph, of the nonprofit Hearts for the Invisible Charlotte Coalition.

Except no one has been arrested for what the Council Member said, because a suggestion is not a criminal law.  For that, you need California:

In August 2018, police handcuffed Don Lemly, age 72, at Doheny State Beach as he tried to share food with homeless people gathered there. According to Lemly and his wife, the arrest involved excessive force. They allege park ranger Nicholas Milward "knocked a soda away from Don Lemly that he told jurors he feared could be used as a weapon, grabbed him and walked him over to a curb, cursed at him to sit down, handcuffed him and cited him for failing to comply with a police officer's orders." When Lemly cited an earlier ACLU settlement that protects the rights of people like him to share food with the homeless, Milward allegedly called the ACLU "a freaking joke."

Yup; seems pretty clear who's on the side of the angels here:

"We believe that people, no matter what their circumstances, deserve to have decent food," Lemly, who volunteers with an interfaith coalition, told jurors. "If people who are in comfortable circumstances like I am don't stand up for what's right and call out somebody who's a bully in law enforcement, then our society is in big trouble." 

Yup; jurors.  Mr. Lemly was tried by a jury of his peers, and convicted.  Godless rat bastards, right?  But why did they rule against him?  For that, you have to go to the newspaper account:

Milward [the park ranger who stopped Mr. Lemly's acts; he was in a state park] acknowledged in testimony that he’d made the comment about not serving when the Lemlys arrived, but he said he didn’t decide to stop the meals until later, after he’d dealt with an unruly man who was there for the food. Milward said he was concerned the man would return and cause more trouble.

“I felt it was best to take away what was attracting him,” which was the food, said Milward, a state park ranger for 13 years and a lifeguard for seven. “I didn’t want him to come back and start another confrontation.”

When the Lemlys told Milward they had a right to feed the homeless people there because of a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union, Milward replied, “The ACLU’s a freaking joke.”

He then knocked a soda away from Don Lemly that he told jurors he feared could be used as a weapon, grabbed him and walked him over to a curb, cursed at him to sit down, handcuffed him and cited him for failing to comply with a police officer’s orders.

A bystander captured the encounter on his cellphone, and photographs show bruises and bloody cuts on Lemly’s wrists from the handcuffs. Jurors saw everything several times during trial, then deliberated about three hours before siding with Milward.

The verdict ends a legal crusade that Don Lemly described in testimony as a righteous cause. The 72-year-old retiree told jurors: “If people who are in comfortable circumstances like I am don’t stand up for what’s right and call out somebody who’s a bully in law enforcement, then our society is in big trouble.

“I’m fortunate enough that I have the time and availability to be able to pursue this.”

The jury’s decision also follows key defense testimony from Milward and other law enforcement officers about ongoing problems with the meals and the people they bring to the beach. A sheriff’s investigator who spent a month watching those who arrived for the meals compiled a report for the city of Dana Point that concluded 70% of the roughly 600 people served had criminal records.

“The majority of the people that attend … are criminals. Drugs. Domestic violence. Stabbings. Fights,” Milward testified. “I knew a lot of them by name and date of birth.”

He added: “I feel that it didn’t do the state beach well to have that event daily.”

I assume Ranger Milward knows their names and dates of birth from their arrest records.

So, are the jurors Godless rat bastards?  Or are they persuaded that feeding people brings people to the park they pay the rangers to keep away from them so they can safely enjoy the park?  And is this attitude selfish and wrong?  Or is Mr. Lemly's attitude selfish and wrong?

I submit the answer is not an easy one.

Reinhold Niebuhr pointed out almost 100 years ago now that what is moral for me, an individual, is not something I can impose on you; either as an individual, or as a society.  I can behave morally, like Dr. King, by opposing unjust laws and accepting the punishment of the law in order to point out the unjustness of the law.  I think that's what Mr. Lemly is trying to do; I'm just not sure he hasn't gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick.

Or maybe he hasn't; but his motives need to be examined just as surely as the "bullies" he calls out (Mr. Milward?).  The jury didn't think the law was wrong, nor its enforcement.  Does that indict the jury?  Or does it point up the fact laws are written to provide order in society?  Disorder is what the ranger saw, and he saw it as his job to restore order, for the sake of all the people in the park who were not Mr. Lemly, or of his moral persuasion.  Are these things right, or wrong?  More pointedly, are they cut and dried?  Are they black and white?

Just because people have criminal records doesn't make them bad people; but it doesn't mean they are good people who are misunderstood, either.  We can't really draw a simple, us v. them, conclusion from these facts. Because the problem is not who comes to the park to hand out food, and who comes to receive it.  The problem is the problem of homelessness and hunger is not solved by these actions.  I remember a few years ago when business owners complained about homeless people gathering near their shops.  That was the impetus for ordinances banning handing out food on the sidewalk.  Yes, it seems cruel; but we're foisting the problems of homelessness on business owners, aren't we?  We're not solving it; we're barely putting a band-aid on it.  And the actions of feeding people with handouts like this just prolongs the problem and makes somebody lose the pleasure of the state park, or even their business, because drawing homeless people to those places drives other people away.

And who has the morally superior authority to make that decision for society?  Do we ignore creating one problem because our moral superiority says we must solve this problem? Who declared us morally superior to anyone, and made us arbiters of who pays for problems society resolutely refuses to address?  The homeless clearly do; do we alleviate that problem by creating another one?  Or do we just create two problems out of one?

My sympathies are with the homeless; with the people I see standing under thunderously loud overpasses near me, in heat and cold, begging for a few dollars.  Helping them harms no one, so far as I can tell.  But would it harm a business if such people gathered in its parking lot, looking for handouts?  Probably.  Do we alleviate their homelessness by driving that business, well, out of business?

If you remember "Dennis More" from Monty Python days, you remember it involved several skits in the half-hour show where Dennis rides back and forth playing an ersatz Robin Hood, robbing from the poor to give to the rich.  He succeeds wildly; the poor are flooded with his largesse (lupins; a flower), the rich are cold and lupine-less.  When he realizes his system of simply taking from one group to give to the other hasn't really solved anything, he realizes:  "This redistribution of wealth is trickier than I thought!"  Trust me, in context and as delivered by John Cleese, the line is hilarious.  But if we're handing food to people in defiance of local laws, we are just making ourselves feel better about ourselves.  We're not solving the problem of homelessness; we're just assuaging our guilt that it is a problem in our society.

That's not really a morally superior position.  And complaining about the laws that punish such "charity" is not really getting at the problem, either.

This business of seeing God and doing something solely for the sake of the God we see; hungry, naked, in prison; is trickier than we thought.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Who Is This Guy?

And why do I care? I mean, you can’t fix stupid. And if I’ve learned anything, it’s that the crazy will always be with you.

Well, that and the surest sign you are making someone an “other” is to accuse them of doing it. I mean, “my enemy is a disgusting Other who harms innocents” is the quickest way to make your enemy the other who harms innocents. Innocents like you; and people who agree with you.  That door is hinged to very easily swing both ways.

Goodbye, Pork Pie Hat

Not least because of the caption of that photo. The article itself says Barr started his challenge of Trump’s electoral claims in December 1st. So Barr waited a month after the election, ignored Trump’s lies before the election, and really only had six weeks, not “months,” of the Administration left when his conscience, or his integrity, was finally aroused.

And now he doesn’t want to go down with the ship. Because now he learns that ETTD.

But it isn't that simple, either.  I don't condemn the article, because it includes the story of Barr's resignation.  If you remember the fatuous and slobbering letter he wrote Trump about all Trump's accomplishments, a letter disguised as a resignation letter, turns out Barr did that because he feared Trump's anger when he told Trump he was resigning.  And it worked:  Trump read the letter in Barr's presence and, obviously flattered, said "This is pretty good."

All Trump ever cares about is Trump.  And Barr didn't have the balls of a pre-pubsecent child.  I've worked for assholes before; it took me awhile to realize all they could do was yell at me; which, in the long run, isn't so much at all.  I used to be intimidated, but while I'm hardly imposing myself, I don't intimidate easily anymore.  I know how much of it is bluster and empty threat.  Barr, apparently, has never learned that lesson.

He was never fit to be AG of the US.  And this pitiful attempt to protect his "reputation" just proves it.  ETTD, but you have to be dead already to enter Trump's orbit, so maybe being so close to Trump just reveals it.

I Think You Missed It, Senator

a) Biden announced a bi-partisan infrastructure bill. b) a condominium collapsed in Florida. c) people are trying to decide whether or not to go back to work, and what work to do.  For the first time in a long time, many people are choosing not to accept the peonage of being a wage slave (something you know nothing about. Senator).

I think you missed it. CRT is last week's news.  It's already wrapping the fish that's in the garbage.

Where Were You…

...during the heyday of the  televangelists? Robert Tipton? Jim and Tammy Faye? Oral Robert, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson? I feel like I’m only scratching the surface. And that was just the latest iteration. Don’t get me started on populism, which gave us good things but also the enduring mess that is the Texas Constitution (and a lot of southern state governments since Reconstruction).  Or the first “Great Awakening” (not a fan), or the “second,” or the third. Not to mention racism, classism, sexism. This is just American history. The part we all live, the part we never admit is as American as mom and baseball and the Constitution.

And yet Robertson couldn’t win a primary (if memory serves), all those named are just footnotes (at best) to history, and Trump is no more likely to be re-elected than he is to be reinstated to the Presidency. He did a rally in an Ohio backwater so he won’t have an empty arena on camera, although nobody’s watching. GOP  consultants insist if 2022 is about Trump, Democrats win. Trump insists everything in the GOP is about Trump. 

This world contains all kinds of people. Even in America, the majority of them don’t like Donald Trump. He just still hasn’t figured that out yet.

Welcome to the world.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

What If Trump Held A Rally…

...and nobody cared? Hopefully the wedding was good: the world is certainly the richer for it. See what you missed? Yeah, it’s the internet. Somebody’s gotta go off like a bottle rocket. 🚀 

This is absolutely the most I know about it.
Wait; found a bit more: No idea what crowd size was. Don’t really care. Yeah, there's some of those after every election. Somehow democracy survives. So nothing has changed since his inauguration 4 years ago? I wonder if other fascist strongmen have this problem?

One Wonders…

...if one must be completely oblivious to Trump’s behavior in order to be around Trump. Money Trump raised going to anyone but Trump? Huh? Biden has been in office 5 months. Why hasn’t he fulfilled all his promises yet? And DeSantis, Trump, and even Gov. Absent are determined to refight the last war; the one Trump lost. 2018 was then; this is now. Trump supporter? No, no, I said Trump-adjacent! And not all that close, really.  Meanwhile, at today’s Trump rally: You must be at least this old (points at old, grey-haired self) to get that reference.

And, this day in history:
Nowadays we just call the cops to shoot ‘em! Progress!

Stress Test

The overlooked point in this is Honore telling Velshi the Pentagon lawyers knew the situation didn’t meet the Constitutional requirements for using troops.

In other words, if Trump had ordered troops onto the streets under the Insurrection Act, the Pentagon might well have treated it as an illegal order. It seems that is what stayed Trump’s hand.

If Trump was a stress test of our democracy, we passed. But we don’t need another one.


I had seen the headline of the Politico article already (and ignored it; it's Politico, after all. Joe Biden was doing national politics when the Politico reporters were still a gleam in their daddy's eyes. Seriously.)  But then put that caption (Biden goofed!) up against the pull quote Ms. Haberman notes, and the pulled thread unravels the tapestry.

Biden may lose his temper once in a while (which honestly is even funnier), but this is kabuki for the GOP.  They went to the border first (uselessly), then chided Harris for going to the root of the immigration problem coming to the border.  When she finally went to El Paso, she was:  (a) too late; (b) at the wrong point on the border; (c) hadn't been there twice yet.  I'm only surprised Politico didn't worry that story for a week or more.

Biden is playing 'em all like a fiddle.  He didn't goof.  He knew exactly what he was doing.  Even the story that "aides are scrambling" is probably a leak to Politico alone, knowing they'd run with it like a dog with a bone.

Dogs are cute; they ain't necessarily that smart.  Maggie Haberman is smart.


Stay informed.

Once Again, With Feeling

Denying a motion for new trial is virtually a ministerial act. No appeal from a trial can go forward without first requesting a new trial from the trial court. Every appeal you’ve ever heard about, including returning the case for a new trial, started with a request for a new trial in the trial court.

All this means is that Chauvin plans to appeal.

This has been your free civics lesson. You’re welcome.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Old Times There Are Not Forgotten

...or, Shouting The Quiet Part Through A Bullhorn.

Not that teaching some white people how to behave would be a bad thing. It’s just that the best teaching doesn’t come from the whip handle. Funny he doesn’t know that.

Or “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”?
'Cause it looks like a lotta truth is gonna be told.

30 Years On

Is it me, or is it obvious that building is tilted?

Why Won’t The Democrats DO Something About GOP Voting Laws?

I'm So Old I Remember When Donald Trump Controlled the GOP

And because I'm not through with Giuliani yet (but I'm trying to cut back!): And on top of that, Biden announced an infrastructure deal. It may not be a great bill, but it won't die in the Senate because of the filibuster. Which makes it more than Trump ever accomplished.

I really think Trump's political stock is body-surfing down the tubes.

Oh, To Have Been A Fly On the Wall

Something else from the same book:

According to Bender, Milley viewed the unrest around Floyd's death as a political problem, not a military one.

He told the President there were more than enough reserves in the National Guard to support law enforcement responding to the protests. Milley told him that invoking the Insurrection Act would shift responsibility for the protests from local authorities directly to the President, according to the excerpts obtained by CNN.

Milley spotted President Abraham Lincoln's portrait hanging just to the right of Trump and pointed directly at it, Bender writes.

"That guy had an insurrection," Milley said. "What we have, Mr. President, is a protest."

And there was this:

I'm old enough to remember that Gen. Curtis LeMay wanted to nuke North Korea, Cuba, and Vietnam. Gen. Milley is a vast improvement.

It always comes down to people.  Which is why elections always matter.

I Think He's Right....

But I still think NYC thinks to much of itself, and has no idea how little influence it has, culturally or politically, in places like, say: Houston. Fourth largest in the country; most ethnically diverse in the country; about 1600 miles away. Sorry, NYC, we aren't really looking to you for guidance.

If There Were....

"Legal" Twitter would have been shuttered a long time ago. 

Which wouldn't be entirely a bad thing.

I Am Reminded...

...of the famous speech in "A Man For All Seasons" where all the laws in England are cut down the better to pursue the Devil. Of course, then when the Devil turns on his pursuers, where is the protection of the law? Without law, where is justice?

AG Garland is right.  It doesn't matter how "bad" Sessions, Barr, and Whitaker were.  Independent IG's are better than the AG siccing his deputies on the former AG's of the former administration.

This Looks Like A Planned Demolition

Or something out of a Hollywood disaster movie.

I'm not trying to start a conspiracy theory.  It's just a comment on how sudden and complete the collapse is. It looks exactly like a building implosion.  Which makes it scary as shit.....

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Beating The Horse Before It's Completely Dead

Giuliani supposedly has "big names" representing him in his license suspension proceedings (I'll take that as read, I have no idea myself).  So why are they this stupid?

"He's a valued member of the legal profession, he's a valued member of this country," said Bannon. "He was talking about Peter Navarro's analysis of facts and others, and three thousand affidavits, three thousand affidavits that he had. And now you see in Arizona, you see it in Georgia, you see it all over. And you're telling me that that's — this appellate court suspended his ability to make a living, and try to humiliate and shame one of the greatest living Americans that sacrificed more for his country than virtually anybody ... that's what we're doing because he spoke up about an illegitimate election that we know now was illegitimate because the receipts are going out in Arizona and other places. Is that why they suspended his license, sir?"

"They were of the view that the statements he made were proven to be untrue," said [John] Leventhal [attorney for Giuliani].

Does going on Bannon's podcast have some strategic value for a case before the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department?  Because I'm not thinking they're the audience for Bannon's podcast, or too interested in his opinion.  Then again, neither is Levanthal.   Leventhal's job is to change the view of the court as to the facts.  Does he see Bannon as a way to do that?  Or is his client running this circus?

These guys are fuckin' geniuses, I tells ya!

Raw Story calls Leventhal a "Trump ally."  Maybe this is what it takes to be in Trump's inner circle.  Maybe you have to be as committed to the narrative as Trump is.  Which is to say you have to be just as stupid.

At this point, if any one institution is going to "save democracy," it's clearly going to be the courts.
Clearly there's a pattern here (although it's a bit premature; Giuliani hasn't been disbarred, yet. Patience, grasshopper.)

More Takes

On Rudy. Et famille.

And here's a summary of just some of the things the three-panel court found sufficient to suspend Giuliani's license.  This is going to be about facts, and the facts are not Rudy's friends. 

There Are 50 State Bars in America

And they all function quite differently.  I can't begin to comment on how New York licenses and disciplines attorneys.  I can only say that, in Texas, a disciplinary action like this would have to come from the courts, but only because the State Bar filed suit against an attorney to get the courts to take such action.

And I can only say, from my years of reading the reports of disciplinary action taken by the State Bar of Texas in its periodical (they publish them almost like classified ads:  in the back, in briefest possible explanations) that attorneys get disciplined for various infractions of the DR's (IIRC, it's been awhile), which are enforceable, v. Ethical rules ("EC's," if memory serves; but it's been 30 years since I had to think about this, so....), which are guidelines and not enforceable.  The "E's" are the guardrails, the "D's" are the laws you get pulled over for violating (or even arrested for). 

I haven't made a scientific survey, but actual loss of license seems only to occur where client funds are involved; usually playing fast and loose with an escrow account (where the retainer, basically, is deposited.  Until it is earned, that money is technically the client's.  Using it in ways that aren't covered by the retainer agreement is a fast-track to disbarment.)  I know there are lesser disciplinary actions; usually the majority of reported disciplinary actions are far below the level of disbarment.  But I couldn't tell you how common suspension was; or how common it is as a preliminary matter (i.e., before a final hearing).

So the question in the tweet is the question any competent non-New York lawyer would be asking.  But let me give you a quick explainer, too.  Interlocutory actions are quite rare in the courts, despite the fact you hare about "preliminary injunctions" all the time.  For every one you hear about, there are hundreds of thousands of cases where no one even tries to get one, because the bar (no pun intended) is high.  To get an injunction before final hearing (i.e., trial, usually), you have to show you are likely to prevail at trial, and so the reasons for the order then, are the same reasons as now; the only difference is, the harm is ongoing and needs to stop now.  So if the court wants to stop the harm now, it means the courts about 2/3rds convinced it will also want to stop the harm after a full evidentiary hearing (i.e., a trial).

Which means Guiliani's professional goose is probably fully and well cooked.  Whether this action is ordinary or "political targeting," it indicates the court doesn't think much of what the evidence before it (not everything you've read on-line; there is a difference) says about Guiliani's ability to uphold the ethical canons of the law in New York State.

So whether this is normal in NYState, or extraordinary, it doesn't bode well for Giuliani.  It also reaffirms that the courts aren't playing games, even if the politicians continue to.  Everybody freaks about Trump continuing to complain about "fraud."  60 court cases said there was no fraud.  If Pence had tried to turn his ministerial duty into a constitutional crisis, the courts would have had to declare that a non-starter, too.

Frankly, I don't think the internet yet appreciates just how much of a sea wall the courts are, and have been.  They are a significant part of democracy in America, too.  They are a significant reason why democracy has held firm.  They are a signficant reason why some of this shit has not gone down, and why some of the players, from the rioters at the Capitol building to people with access to the last POTUS, are going to face consequences for their actions.

The mills grind slowly, but they grind exceeding fine.

Yes, but that's what makes it so extraordinary.  This is akin to a TRO, a "hold" entered by the court ex parte, without hearing from the other parties.  It's even harder to get a TRO issued than it is to get a temporary injunction issued.  Rudy may have rallied some "excellent" lawyers, but it would seem the facts are hard against him, and the court is not inclined kindly towards him.  And that's the "extraordinary" part. 's what I'm sayin'!


As opposed to "then"? And speaking of making shit up: The ingenuity is almost impressive. If we could only harness that energy as a force for good; like solving actual problems people have.

Connecting Nothing With Nothing

Cotton literally represented the wealth we now associate with "Silicon Valley," even if we don't mean the specific location in California when we say that anymore (in fact, who says that any more?).  Cotton was "king" the way "tech" is now.  White settlers in Texas wanted slavery so they could cash in on that kind of money.  By the time it happened we'd joined the Union and then left it again.  If it wasn't for oil, we'd still be battling Mississippi for last place.

Oil saved Texas from Mississippi's fate.  I see that crumbling now, as our roads are not properly maintained and our electrical grid can't even handle higher than usual temperaturs in June, but our Governor insists everything is fine in this best of all possible worlds except for how we vote, what the Democrats in the House did in the regular session, and CRT.  Oh, and a few other GOP boogey-men they'll raise again in July, if they can.  Of course, if the power goes off, nobody's gonna stay in the Capitol building long....

Thank God for oil and Mississippi, or we'd be the poorest state in the union.

When Journalism Is Merely Flacking*

The generation of Lennon/McCarthney? Dylan? Paul Simon? Or John Prine? Leonard Cohen? Neil Young? (I'm trying to compare apples to apples here; pick others if you like.  And yes, I should be able to think of other female songwriters, so additions are gratefully accepted.)

And I'd kinda hoped we'd used up "Genius" by now.  The Romantics brought it to the fore, and it should have been wrung out of meaning by the time the Victorians were center-stage in British literature.  That word alone is the mark of a tyro.

I won't have it.  I won't have it.  I love some of Ms. Mitchell's music; and the mark of her quality is the covers of her work (especially the ones that are better than her originals).  But "genius"?  Greatest of her generation?

Not even close.

*The occassion for this seems to be the release of "demos and outtakes" from her album "Blue," now 50 years old (is it possible?).  I was playing "River" as a modern Christmas classic long before anyone else realized it was one; but she's just a good writer of her era.  My appreciation of her music is almost all personal and sentimental (easy to be sentimental about things familiar from 50 years ago).  Does she transcend her age?  I think maybe Dylan does.  Maybe.  Still too soon to tell.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Two Reasons To Watch This

One: because it's an encouraging statement about the quality of our military leadership. Two: Matt Gaetz' reaction is priceless. "At long last, sir, have you no shame?"

Run To The Border

First, I'm trying to reconcile that frame, with this one: So either she's doing it in response to pressure (finally!), or she first made the wiser decision to visit the countries these people are fleeing, to try to start with the root of the problem. Or would you prefer the efforts of the former guy? The ones that shamed us before the nations? And truthfully, I like the way she handled the issue with Lester Holt:

“I’ve never been to Europe,” Ms. Harris said to the NBC anchor Lester Holt when pressed about why she had not visited the border as part of her work addressing migration. “I don’t understand the point you’re making.”
Harris is going to El Paso:  a Democratic stronghold, political birthplace/home of Beto O'Rourke, site of the massacre in a Wal-Mart when a crazed Trump supporter from Dallas came down to "stop the invasion."  Apparently that's the wrong part of the border.
Not a chance in hell Trump was going to be there with Gov. Absent anyway.  They'll go out on to somebody's property on the river where crowds won't gather and hoot at them for being bigots and fools.  But it does point up the foolishness of the entire "Why haven't you been to the border yet?" conversation.  El Paso?  Somewhere around Del Rio (where Abbott was most recently)?  That border is almost 2000 miles long, and runs through New Mexico, Arizona, and California, as well as Texas.  Hell, as the crow flies it's almost 700 miles from El Paso to Brownsville, on the Gulf Coast. 

How the hell does a visit to El Paso, or to Del Rio, constitute a visit to the "border"? The problems in the Valley are not the problems in the Trans-Pecos are not the problems in Baja California.

The bullshit we get so worked up about is such:  bullshit.

Knowing The Truth Will Just Hurt Your Knuckles

So this contains a better explainer of CRT than I've seen so far.

Critical race theory is a discipline, analytical tool and approach that emerged in the 1970s and ‘80s. Scholars took up the ways racial inequity persisted even after “a whole set of landmark civil rights laws and anti-discrimination laws passed” during the civil right movement, Daniel HoSang, professor of ethnicity, race and migration and American studies at Yale University, said.

“These scholars and writers are asking, why is it that racial inequality endures and persists, even decades after these laws have passed?” HoSang said. “Why is racism still enduring? And how do we contribute to abolishing it?”

HoSang described critical race theory not as “content,” or a “set of beliefs,” but rather an approach that “encourage[s] us to move past the superficial explanations that are given about equality, and suffering, and to ask for new kinds of explanations.”

In the introduction of Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement, a seminal collection of the foundational essays of the movement edited by principal founders and scholars like Kimberlé Crenshaw and Neil Gotanda, the editors write that critical race theory is about transforming social structures to create freedom for all, and it’s grounded in an “ethical commitment to human liberation.”

I was talking to a friend of mine, someone I've known for 60 years (!), who just retired from ministry (!!).  When I mentioned that churches have a culture that is almost genetic (the last church I served was 150 years old, and the roots of its culture reached back to the beginnings of the congregation), he immediately knew what I was talking about, and he agreed.  I mention that because what Dr. HoSang is talking about there is what I understand as the "genetics of culture" of an institution; or, indeed, a nation.  To give you a more prosaic example, I've been reading Forget the Alamo!  It's a history both of the Texas battle for independence and how the myth of the Alamo has been so important to Texans for so long. 

In brief:  Texas was a problem for Mexico because Mexico didn't have a strong enough central government to control the largely unpopulated Mexican (then) state, and the few who did try to settle there were soon run off or killed by the Comanche (largely; and for good reasons of their own, as it turned out).  So Mexico needed enough people there the groups could fend off attacks from the natives, and basically settle the place.  The same interest the government in D.C. had as they urged people to "go West," mostly with land grants, etc. (the western portion of the U.S. was settled with the heavy involvement of the federal government, not in its absence or in spite of it, as man Westerners like to think).   The settlers in Texas wanted the money from cotton (which, at the time, was Google/Amazon/Microsoft/Apple, all rolled up together), and that meant slaves to tend the cotton fields.  It was the only viable economic model available at the time (but we are NOT a racist country!  We just needed cheap labor.  Or something.)  Now, Mexico, having thrown off the peonage system of Spain, thought slavery abhorrent (they were right!).  So for quite some time the weak government in Mexico (Mexico City is a long way from San Antonio, especially on horseback) couldn't control the settlers in Texas bringing in slaves as "indentured servants" (complete with contracts the slaves could never complete the terms of).  But slavery in all of Mexico was still illegal.

The slavery of blacks also fed the resentment of Mexicans, especially mestizos (the ones you think of as "Mexican."  Mostly they have Aztec/Inca/Native American blood in their ancestry.  It's as proud a one as any daughter of the Mayflower; or the Republic of Texas, for that matter.  But I digress....) by the Anglo settlers.  Racism against the Tejanos was all too easy, and frankly, until early in this century, they were written out of Texas history, and especially out of the battle for the Alamo (which was more of a slaughter than a battle, but again, I digress....).  The upshot is, Texas culture was formed and forged in racism.  In East Texas when I grew up it was mostly aimed at blacks; east Texas is mostly western Louisiana (of course we just erased Chicanos from Texas history and culture as blithely as anyone else).  In central and south, hell, most of the rest of Texas, it's just as brutally aimed at Tejanos/Chicanos/Latinos.  I'm not sure if they prefer any label at all.  But we know who to hate, or to call "dirty" or "lazy" or "dangerous."  Gov. Abbott says he's going to start arresting "illegal" immigrants for trespass and other misdemeanors.  Whether he can is one problem; but his cops won't be picking up me, or most of my friends and family, simple because we register as "white."  I know people from El Salvador, though; and I wonder if they'll have to show their citizenship papers.

It's a rotten system.

The proponents of CRT in that article point out it isn't about individuals, that in fact the theory is not aimed at chastizing anyone or blaming anyone.  It wants to examine how race has affected laws in our country, laws we think have no racial bias or basis at all, and show that they do.  If that is shown, it is to be a tool for correction, not a club for beating someone else into submission, not a position from which to claim moral or legal authority to wield power for retribution.  The aim is reconciliation, not revenge.

But then there's that splinter in your eye, which is but a reflection of the log in mine.

Think of it this way:  imagine you have a rod, a wooden dowel, between your fists.  Now, you are pressing as hard as you can on that dowel, trying to drive your fists together.  Along comes a slight external force on the dowel, enough to displace it.  What happens?  Your fists slame together, or course.  

The dowel is whatever lie you want to preserve.  You are pressing on it because you imagine it is the only way to preserve it.  Release the pressure, and you may lose it, and then what? Displace that lie by the external force that effectively redirects the energy of your two fists,  and you aren't immediately set free; your eyes don't open, the sun doesn't bathe you with warmth, butterflies don't gather about you.  All that energy makes your fists slam together.  Letting go of the lie hurts.

The log in your eye requires all the effort you can muster to ignore.  You don't see it because you work so hard to not see it.  You put an extraordinary amount of energy into not noticing it, and when you are forced to, the revelation that frees, at first hurts.  It's a self-inflicted wound, but still: it hurts.  You don't blame your fists for crashing together; first, you blame the external force that displaced the dowel.  You don't blame yourself for ignoring that log with all your might; you blame the person who makes you finally see it, finally do what you've worked so hard not to do.

The purpose of CRT is to make you see the log; see the log, and then remove the log.  But that's why people resent it so.

True, dat.