Saturday, April 30, 2022

Take Money From Police! (Just Don’t Defund Them)

The short version? Operation Lone Star is a failure, and money is going down a rathole. It has accomplished literally nothing, but Abbott can’t admit that, so the state government is going to pay the price so he can keep lying.

No True Scotsman!

Can we still call them "Republicans"? "Day of The Dolphin." 1973.  George C. Scott Patton, as always, got there first.

Punk kids.

And a question for Glenn Greenwald:
"Who's to be the master, then? You? Or the word?"--Humpty Dumpty, to Alice. All words just mean what the person using them wants them to mean. Try to keep up. I'm a dad (and a college teacher) who wants schools to teach our children how to think! Somehow I don't think either one of us is going to get what we want (though what you fear is further proof schools have never taught people how to think, sadly). And in closing:🔥 Why won't the Democrats talk this way, huh?

Friday, April 29, 2022

Through The Looking Glass; Or, Identifying And Minimizing…Something

As I said, a slightly more "scholarly" approach to the question of the Joint Session and the "insurrection" on Jan. 6, 2021. I put scholarly in quotes because my standard is German biblical scholarship, which can make the most densely annotated Supreme Court opinion on the most arcane legal topic look like a single tweet by comparison. I can't explain it better than that, so you'll have to take my word for it, but German scholarship is thorough. In ways that will make your head hurt. Which is to say it's not slight on Judge Luttig's column for CNN, but Hasen is writing for the HLR. It's still not German Biblical scholarship, but it's a much higher standard. 

We'll start with the precis:

Part I of this Essay describes the path to this unexpected moment of democratic peril in the United States. Part II explains the three potential mechanisms by which American elections may be subverted in the future. Part III recommends steps that can and should be taken to minimize this risk. Preserving and protecting American democracy from the risk of election subversion should be at the top of everyone’s agenda. The time to act is now, before American democracy disappears.
That "peril" language still raises hackles for me. It's been used too often by too many people; the seriousness it is meant to lend to this topic is beginning to be unserious.  Cassandra is turning into the boy who cried wolf.  We can only be alerted so many times before we decide the alerts are no longer meaningful. I grew up during the Cold War and under the literal threat of nuclear war.  We were taught to "duck 'n' cover" in school; we knew where the air raid shelters were.  Air raid sirens were tested, to be sure when the time came they'd work (I think I remember being told they would also sound as tornado warnings, but I honestly don't remember that ever happening).  CONELRAD was a symbol on the AM radios in cars, so you'd know where to tune when the sirens sounded.  Tests of the "Emergency Broadcast System" on TeeVee was not for weather warnings, but for the anticipated nuclear ones.

And yet I remember a made for TV movie (back when those were a thing, and not something produced by Netflix) about nuclear war, released in the '70's (IIRC), and how many teenagers (jr. high age, I mean; they seemed much younger than me) on a report about the movie (such things made the news) were so upset at the prospect of nuclear annihilation.  Where had they been?, I wondered.  What rock were they living under?  Mind, they couldn't have been more than 5 years younger than me at the time.  But by then we'd grown tired of living with peril, and we just ignored it. What I had grown up seeing in everything (it's funny now how many "Twilight Zone" episodes from the early '60's involved stories of a post-nuclear war world), five years later had completely disappeared from their cultural radar.

Closer to now, look at the dropping rates of vaccination for covid.  I understand Republicans don't want any more covid relief to come out of Congress.  Enough is enough, even though more is still needed.  Of course, that's mostly politics: why help Biden?  But covid as a concern is so far in the rear view mirror no one wants to pay attention to it anymore.  Constantly prating about perils, no matter what they are, quickly meets the law of diminishing returns. So I think we've already overstated the "democratic peril" of January 6.  Better we just move on, without the histrionics.

That said, Hasen plants this in history a bit more soundly than Luttig (or many Republicans who are never-Trumpers, or just anti-insurrection, do):

Republican claims of widespread voter fraud committed mostly by Democrats, people of color, and union members are not new, but they accelerated after the disputed election between then–Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore in 2000. These statements from a segment of conservatives and Republicans (and resisted by other conservatives and Republicans) persist despite all reliable evidence that voter fraud in the contemporary United States is rare and that when such fraud occurs it tends to happen on a small scale that does not tip the result of elections. The purported “evidence” of widespread voter fraud consists primarily of describing isolated instances of fraud as the “tip of the iceberg” or by taking administrative error or slack in election administration as conclusive proof of malfeasance.

We could drop in here the numerous news reports of true election fraud by individual voters, almost exclusively committed by Trump supporters.  Always the old adages:  "Guilty dog barks loudest."  "The beam in your own eye (which you see reflected as a speck in your brother's)."  Or my favorite now, because it was a schoolyard taunt but turns out to be so true:  "Takes one to know one."  These have to be remembered, and called to mind whenever someone is pointing fingers at someone else.  Which brings up the last adage:  one finger pointing at me leaves three pointing back at you.  What we do ourselves we accuse others of doing, to better hide our guilt.

None of those cases tipped the results of elections, either.

Hasen could use that opening sentence to examine the gutting of the Voting Rights Act by the Roberts court; but he doesn't.  It is tangential to his analysis, but still entirely relevant, even, arguably, central. Republican claims of voter fraud may have accelerated after 2000, but Holder put a rocket sled under them and actually gave them legal support.  Voter fraud, in fact, is the curtain, and the light and smoke show.  What is behind the curtain is what really matters.  That's where the wheels and levers that make the smoke and noise, are controlled.  It's still, in other words, the same old story:  fear of a brown planet.  Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock in the SNL "Election Night" sketch are still not surprised at what's happening.  And white people (by and large) still want to insist the problems are new and caused by "bad actors." I still say they are as American as violence and cherry pie.

The statement of Trump-supporter and attorney Rudy Giuliani is typical of the genre of unsupported, vague allegations. He told CNN’s State of the Union program during the 2016 presidential election campaign: “I’m sorry, dead people generally vote for Democrats rather than Republicans . . . . You want me to [say] that I think the election in Philadelphia and Chicago is going to be fair? I would have to be a moron to say that.”

Landslide Lyndon.  Sound familiar?  I came across this review of Robert Caro's biography of LBJ concerning the 1948 election he barely won ("Landslide" was a derisive sobriquet, like calling a tall man "Shorty".  Ironically, LBJ did defeat Goldwater in a landslide.  And there, many think, our national political troubles began.  I don't think it's even that simple, but I also digress....).  This passage in particular caught my eye:

I think Caro makes a persuasive case that Johnson manipulated and exaggerated his wartime military experience, used his political connections to obtain and to develop radio station KTBC in Austin and stole the victory in the 1948 Senate race. That would be enough to satisfy most investigative reporters or expose-minded authors. But Caro wants to write a morality tale, an epic of democracy betrayed -- and his ambition betrays him as surely as Johnson's conceit about bringing "one-man-one-vote democracy" to South Vietnam undermined him. 

Granted, this review is 32 years old, back when nobody was talking about democracy being fragile or so deeply endangered it might end (I've read more reasonable historical analyses that say FDR saved democracy during the Great Depression, which makes sense if you consider the despair of the time had no hope of relief.  We have to put ourselves in their shoes to understand that the future we know was hardly inevitable, or even visible on the horizon.)  I also remember historians in the '70's looking back on 1968 (King died, RFK died, the Democratic Convention in Chicago, the Tet Offensive in Vietnam) arguing that was a year that should have broken democracy, but didn't.  Are the events today really comparable to those?  Were the historians any wiser then than they are now?).  But it's interesting Caro, per this reviewer, wants to paint LBJ as a betrayer (almost a traitor, in the colloquial sense) to democracy.  Yeah, the same guy memorialized by Joseph Califano.  Machine politics (which is what won LBJ the nomination in '48, and probably the election) is old news in American politics.  You want to be upset by it?  Fine.  You want to denigrate it? Go ahead.  You want to tell me it was an existential threat (I hate using the term that way, but it's shorthand now) to democracy in America, I'm gonna laugh in your face.  Your gonna tell me it's so much worse now than it was then, I'm gonna tell you to lay your cards on the table.

Because you ain't holdin' so much as a pair of aces.

Everybody wants you to panic; it's the best way to be sure you do what they want you to do.  Me, I prefer sweet reason. Dare I say, it's what the "Founding Fathers" would have wanted?

Moving on.

The primary purpose of such voter fraud claims, at least until the Trump presidency, was two-fold: First, such claims served as the basis to pass laws, such as voter identification laws, aimed at making it harder for people likely to vote for Democrats to register and to vote. Second, such claims riled up the Republican base and helped with fundraising by convincing supporters that Democrats were cheating and did not legitimately deserve to serve in office. The claims fueled party tribalism and animus, convincing both sides that the other was trying to manipulate election outcomes. The Trump presidency moved the voting wars from a tired debate over the relative threats of voter fraud compared to voter suppression to a new level of delegitimation of the election process itself, raising the danger of election subversion.

I'd argue this is a distinction without much difference.  Making it harder for people to register and vote, and riling up voters with claims the "other side" are illegitimate and don't deserve to hold office, is a "delegitimation of the election process itself, raising the danger of election subversion."  The old ways just weren't working fast enough, so they tried some new ones.  And tried them primarily because Donald Trump refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the electoral process, becuase of his fragile, narcissistic ego. But then, every act of voter suppression recognizes the legitimacy of the elctoral process; it just wants to control it  for the same reasons "political machines" wanted to control it.  What's changed is not the telos; all that's changed are the methods.

And yes, we should oppose those methods.  But we shouldn't act like we just lost the keys to Paradise, and only now are we in the place of wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Better we take up the old Greek notion:  that chaos is the permanent state of things, and only by unceasing effort at control (through reason!) do we manage to contain it.  The forces of darkness, in other words, have always been with us and are always trying to control the system for their own purposes.  Just ask Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock. We don't help ourselves by exaggerating the threat or acting like these conditions are brand new and unique in American history.  If anything, dese are de conditions dat prevail.

Now do something about it.

Which is not to say Hasen is fundamentally wrong:

President Trump did more than double down. He pursued a political and legal strategy aimed not just at sowing doubt but also at subverting the outcome of the presidential election. This strategy, which has no precedent at any point in American history, had many parts, but the best evidence now available shows that this was less about saving face and more about reversing election outcomes.

It is without precedent in American electoral history, but only at the level at which it was conducted.  I'd argue, in fact, that the incumbent pulling these kinds of stunts, making this kind of effort to undermine the laws and the Constitution, was inevitable. It's been percolating in American culture ab initio; it was bound to reach the White House at some point. One of the primary tenets of American democracy is that every person is entitled to their opinion.  An extension of that argument is that every person is entitled to their desired political outcome.  When Rep. Boebert says the LGBTQ "crowd" can just establish "their own Florida," she's saying what many Americans think:  democracy entitles me to the government I want, and if I can't get it, it's because "you" have taken it away from me.  It's not because we should all reason together; it's because it's a zero-sum game, and if I don't win, I lose! The American electorate started out as solely white, male property owners.  The American Dream still, we are told, is to own property, i.e., a house.  White males still resent the fact they finally got the property, but they lost the control exclusive access to voting gave them.  They lost their chance to get the property and so get the vote, and they lost (again) their chance at power.

At least that's an explanation for how the Trump supporters see it.  The question is:  are they a voting majority, or not?  That's a far more pressing concern, IMHO, than what the law allows (or doesn't).  But the law is something we can change; American culture is practically immutable.  The best hope we have is to convince more people to vote.

As to Hasen's analysis of Trump's motives in that paragraph, I beg to differ, although I don't think my critique changes the outcome of his analysis.  I don't think "saving face" and "reversing election outcomes" are two different things to Trump.  Quite simply, Trump wants to reverse the outcome of the Presidential election.  Practically, he can't do that, and the most overlooked reason why not is that, to deny the validity of the votes for POTUS, we must deny the validity of all ballots so challenged.  That would unzip the elections all the way down to dog catcher in some places (Hello, Texas!).  Trump doesn't want to do that, doesn't care if it does that, doesn't consider that would have to happen.  All Trump wants to do is erase the word "loser" from his personal and public biography.  Granted my analysis is based on the same evidence Hasen has access to; neither of us are qualified to psychoanalyze Trump.  But I think my explanation is better than his.  Trump is like MTG asking Meadows to get Trump to impose "marshall law."  She doesn't know what the term means, or what she's asking (effectively a suspension of the Constitution and all federal laws related to Congress and federal elections).  She just wants to be sure her side wins.  Is she interested in "reversing election outcomes"?  Yes.  Does she know what that actually means, as Mr. Hasen does?  No.  I'm quite sure she doesn't.

Hasen's detailing of the facts preceding and following Jan. 6 is well worth reading.  I will note this presents a much more serious reason for concern than anything Judge Luttig wrote about on CNN:

The Georgia law was one of 216 bills across forty-one states that gave or would give partisan state legislators greater control of the election process over state and local election officials, according to a report by the States United Democracy Center, Protect Democracy, and Law Forward.  In Iowa, local election officials could face criminal penalties for sending an absentee ballot application to a voter unless first requested by the voter; in Texas, poll workers could face criminal sanctions for interfering with the activities of “poll watchers,” who can now engage in intimidation and interference at polling places. While many of these laws have provisions that might be seen as aimed at voter suppression, at least some of them appear geared to providing a path for overturning election results. Perhaps the most troubling bills introduced so far, but not passed, are those in the State of Arizona, which would have given the state legislature authority to ignore the vote of Arizonans and appoint its own slate of presidential electors upon flimsy allegations of election irregularities or for any reason at all.

He goes on to note how these conditions have lead to an unprecedented loss of election officials, which endangers election integrity.  There's no talking around that:  this is bad. The irony is that, following the unprecedented problems of the pandemic and lockdown, we had the most secure and well-run national election in our history (well, at least in a long time).  And now we are working hard to undo that progress. It's the old American two-step:  one step forward, two steps back.  We advanced with Brown v. Board; and now we barely pay it lip service.  We advanced with the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act; and now the VRA might as well be repealed.  We advanced in society in general on race issues; but now Colin Kaepernick and the suit against the NFL because it has no black head coaches, and shows no sign of ever having any, despite the majority of its players being black.  One step forward, two steps back.  Thus do we "advance."

So it goes.

Hasen provides a very interesting analysis of what could go wrong as the prelude to his recommendations for what should be done.  Because of the Lutting opinion, I quote this paragraph, which I'll put into context after:

 The argument that Article II and Article I, section 4 give state legislatures virtually unlimited powers over the rules for running presidential and congressional elections — even if their use means violating the state’s own constitution and ignoring its interpretation by the state supreme court — has come to be known as the “independent state legislature” theory.

Article II, Hasen points out, gives state legislatures the power to decide how presidential electors from that state are chosen.  A parallel provision in Art. I gives states the power to set rules for congressional elections, subject to override by Congress.  His definition of the "indepenent state legislature" theory is a bit more worrisome than Judge Luttig's.  In this context the theory also has its limits, because elections, as the courts also understand, are essentially the third rail of American democracy:

[M]ost disturbingly — a legislature might attempt to claim power to simply disregard the results of a popular presidential election and appoint a slate of electors reflecting its own partisan preferences. Such a step would be historically unprecedented, fly directly in the face of our democratic traditions, and likely destabilize the entire presidential election. Once a legislature has made the decision to award presidential electors based on a popular vote and the election has been conducted, it would be both unjustifiable and disastrous for the legislature to unilaterally decide to ignore the will of the people.

And yeah, it could always get worse:

Although the federal judiciary was largely unsympathetic to Trump’s baseless election challenges in 2020, this historical fact was contingent on judges maintaining some fidelity to judicial independence. Such independence is not guaranteed in the future given the fact that the President is in the unique position of picking who will adjudicate future challenges. While he was challenging the results of the 2020 election, President Trump seemed to publicly ask the Justices he appointed to rule in his favor as a sort of quid pro quo for being put on the bench. At a Hanukkah reception in 2020, President Trump told supporters: “All I ask for is people with wisdom and with courage, that’s all,” because “if certain very important people, if they have wisdom and if they have courage, we’re going to win this election in a landslide.” It is hard not to read this statement as being directed at Justices whom President Trump placed on the bench, like Justice Barrett. A future President may learn from Trump’s 2020 failure and seek to identify more explicitly partisan candidates for the Supreme Court.

But that outcome is not far removed from the nightmare scenario in the quote immediately above.  Would the Court be that obtuse, that clueless about it's responsibilities?  Maybe in dissent Alito would (Hasen notes the Justice indicated some support for the "ISL" theory in handling a Pennsylvania election issue in 2020, as the Justice of that Circuit).  But in responsibility?  Seems to me the very integrity of the judicial system would be ripped apart by that one.  And if it is, it comes back on we, the people; because we elected the clowns who appointed the Justices and judges, and the Senators who approved them.  We can't save democracy by destroying it, but we also can't put in place a failsafe that will save democracy from us.

I shouldn't just drop it there, but Hasen's proposals for remedies both legal and political really require a separate consideration.  I make no promises I will come back to it; but I will try.

Time Is a Semi-Circle

It's the "Satanic Panic" of the '80's all over again. Or deja vu, all over again. I forget which. But we've been down this road once or twice before. 

What, you thought the Salem witch-trials had nothing to do with the present? That wasn't a blind, superstitious hysteria.  That was the establishment of power by using fear-mongering to demonize people so the targets could be marginalized and declared "other". With that anything done to take their property, even their liberty, was perfectly legitimate.  Been down this road once or twice before, in other words.  It's really as American as violence and cherry pie.  One step forward is always accompanied by three steps back.  That's the American Way, too.

Alternatively to the claims the world is coming to an end and the Republic is done for because Democrats are not on Twitter 25/8 refuting anything a Republican says anywhere ever: Remind me, how many state primaries have we had so far? And how many yet to go? Personally, I think the general electorate is tired of the crazy, and not inclined to let it in by default anymore.  I'm of the opinion the real crazy actually draws out the rational to be sure the crazy loses.  We'll see.  I could worry about the future; or I could wait to see what it brings when it gets here.  Maybe that's because the older I get the more I realize the future is the past we were afraid of day before yesterday. Last I looked, "you and me" get to vote (well, I don't until November. I've already voted in the Texas Primaries and in the primary runoff.) And Trump's rallies aren't exactly star-studded attractions drawing crowds to fill football stadia. If anything, the attendance is dropping like a stone and Trump fears tomatoes. "Cult mind control"? From this guy? Over people who think Jackie O and Princess Diana are still alive, and Biden is dead? I think that's a level of crazy even Trump doesn't control. He attracts it, makes it leave the house occasionally, but control? It’s more like he makes it easier to know where the crazies are.

Speaking of "control": First, "diversity training" sux, and that's not because of the topic or what it attempts to do. Pedagogically it's a joke.  It’s practically designed for failure. That aside, you can't educate people out of their culture:  not without concerted effort over years, and with their acquiescence.  I knew as a young child that racism was wrong, but I didn't really understand racism, or my own racism, until my encounters with a black seminary student (the only one in the school for most of the time I was there).  She taught me things no "training" could, that even the seminary couldn't do (try as it did).  I'm still a creature of my culture, but I know that now.  That took some combination of life experiences and various graduate programs to achieve, along with no small effort on my part.  Do I still suck at "diversity"?  Yeah, probably.  Not intentionally, but rare, I think, is the person who doesn't suck at it.

But I don't think the alternative is "Fuck it, it can't be done!" Although it certainly can’t be done in a few hours taken from the work week.

Does diversity training really suck?  Don't take my word for it:

Diversity training doesn’t extinguish prejudice. It promotes it.

At first glance, the first training — the one that outlined what people could and couldn’t say — didn’t seem to hurt. But on further inspection, it turns out it did.

The scenarios quickly became the butt of participant jokes. And, while the information was sound, it gave people a false sense of confidence since it couldn’t possibly cover every single situation.

The second training — the one that categorized people — was worse. Just like the first training, it was ridiculed, ironically in ways that clearly violated the recommendations from the first training. And rather than changing attitudes of prejudice and bias, it solidified them.

This organization’s experience is not an exception. It’s the norm.
I can understand that.  Groups form especially quickly around a common experience, and when that experience is learning something that is presented poorly and challenges you to do the hard work of self-examination, the first response is going to be:  fuck this!  Which is something the group (the class) can rally 'round. And it can go quickly downhill from there.

So much for "training."  I've been through this, not in classroom settings, but with on-line programs.  I know the law generally related to workplace harassment and civil rights, so I can do those "trainings" with one eye on the screen and one ear barely listening (if you haven't done them, you have to answer questions correctly to "pass" and get credit for each section of the whole course.  Annually.  You get to where you remember the answers, rather than "know" them.)  Truthfully, most of the training I've been subjected to comes down to:  "Treat people the way your Mama (especially if she was a Southern Mama) taught you to:  with respect."  But yeah, that's a damned hard lesson to learn, or we'd all have learned it in the first grade.

Obviously we didn't.

I just saved you from reading the rest of the HBJ article:

The solution? Instead of seeing people as categories, we need to see people as people. Stop training people to be more accepting of diversity. It’s too conceptual, and it doesn’t work.

Instead, train them to do their work with a diverse set of individuals. Not categories of people. People.

Teach them how to have difficult conversations with a range of individuals. Teach them how to manage the variety of employees who report to them. Teach them how to develop the skills of their various employees.
Something tells me most organizations don’t see their primary purpose to be teaching employees “how to have difficult conversations with a range of individuals.” The only place that ever tried to teach me to do that expressly was seminary, and that’s a large part of the reason I was there. It was also the express purpose of the education there.

Back to the drawing board.

Where we find FoxNews, which probably doesn't remember writing this chyron:
In fact, they deny writing it at all. If you ask them about it, they’ll say you’re lying and ask you why you want to lie on television. (Irony!)

Money Talks

Barack Obama was a notorious leftist. By 2012 he made Chomsky sound like Mike Luttig. And Biden? He makes AOC look like a Bircher.


If Elon Musk wasn’t rich no one would pay any attention to him. Being rich does not mean you have anything intelligent to say.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

"Context Is All"

Okay, so, let's read it.

Trump and the Republicans began executing this first stage of their plan months before November 3, by challenging as violative of the independent state legislature doctrine election rules relating to early- and late-voting, extensions of voting days and times, mail-in ballots, and other election law changes that Republicans contended had been unlawfully altered by state officials and state courts in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Michigan.

These cases eventually wound their way to the Supreme Court in the fall of 2020, and by December, the Supreme Court had decided all of these cases, but only by orders, either disallowing federal court intervention to change an election rule that had been promulgated by a state legislature, allowing legislatively promulgated rules to be changed by state officials and state courts, or deadlocking 4-4, because Justice Barrett was not sworn in until after those cases were briefed and ready for decision by the Court. In none of these cases did the Supreme Court decide the all-important independent state legislature doctrine.

Thwarted by the Supreme Court's indecision on that doctrine, Trump and the Republicans turned their efforts to the second stage of their plan, exploitation of the Electoral College and the Electoral Count Act. 

I will pause to interject that it isn't clear that any, or even a majority, of those cases would have gone the other way with Barrett making up the 9th vote, or that the Court would have gone full bore for the "independent state legislature doctrine."  We'll come back to that via Judge Luttig's opinion in a moment.

Trump and the Republicans began executing this first stage of their plan months before November 3, by challenging as violative of the independent state legislature doctrine election rules relating to early- and late-voting, extensions of voting days and times, mail-in ballots, and other election law changes that Republicans contended had been unlawfully altered by state officials and state courts in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Michigan.

These cases eventually wound their way to the Supreme Court in the fall of 2020, and by December, the Supreme Court had decided all of these cases, but only by orders, either disallowing federal court intervention to change an election rule that had been promulgated by a state legislature, allowing legislatively promulgated rules to be changed by state officials and state courts, or deadlocking 4-4, because Justice Barrett was not sworn in until after those cases were briefed and ready for decision by the Court. In none of these cases did the Supreme Court decide the all-important independent state legislature doctrine.

Thwarted by the Supreme Court's indecision on that doctrine, Trump and the Republicans turned their efforts to the second stage of their plan, exploitation of the Electoral College and the Electoral Count Act.

The Republicans' plan failed at this stage when they were unable to secure a single legitimate, alternative slate of electors from any state because the various state officials refused to officially certify these Trump-urged slates.

So part of what's required is enough states, or even one, in 2020, to offer legitimate alternative slates of electors.  The key word there is "legitimate."  It doesn't mean electors proposed by the state GOP (which was tried, in some states).  When they couldn't get the states to play along, the conspiracy relied on Pence and non-legitimate electors to carry the day:

Thwarted by the Supreme Court in the first stage, foiled by their inability to come up with alternative state electoral slates in the second stage, and with time running out, Trump and the Republicans began executing the final option in their plan, which was to scare up illegitimate alternative electoral slates in various swing states to be transmitted to Congress. Whereupon, on January 6, Vice President Pence would count only the votes of the illegitimate electors from the swing states, and not the votes of the legitimate, certified electors that were cast for Biden, and declare Donald Trump's reelection as President of the United States. 

Here's where it gets very speculative (predicting the future cannot be otherwise):

Trump and Republicans are preparing to return to the Supreme Court, where this time they will likely win the independent state legislature doctrine, now that Amy Coney Barrett is on the Court and ready to vote. Barrett has not addressed the issue, but this turns on an originalist interpretation of the Constitution, and Barrett is firmly aligned on that method of constitutional interpretation with Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch, all three of whom have written that they believe the doctrine is correct. 

They can't get to the Supreme Court without a case that takes them there, and they can't challenge an election on the "independent state legislature doctrine" without acts that seemingly violate that doctrine.  In short, 2024 would have to recreate the situation of the covid pandemic.

The independent state legislature doctrine says that, under the Elections and the Electors Clauses of the Constitution, state legislatures possess plenary and exclusive power over the conduct of federal presidential elections and the selection of state presidential electors. Not even a state supreme court, let alone other state elections officials, can alter the legislatively written election rules or interfere with the appointment of state electors by the legislatures, under this theory.


Trump and the Republicans began executing this first stage of their plan months before November 3, by challenging as violative of the independent state legislature doctrine election rules relating to early- and late-voting, extensions of voting days and times, mail-in ballots, and other election law changes that Republicans contended had been unlawfully altered by state officials and state courts in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Michigan. 

In the paragraph I elided Luttig notes the Supreme Court has never adopted this doctrine.  I quote this to note the basis for the complaint (and invocation of the doctrine) was that election law changes had been implemented because of covid and the immediate response to altered conditions the pandemic required.  Unless they can make that claim again in 2024, or one like it, they can't get to the Supreme Court.  The Court wasn't all that interested in the cases that were brought in 2020, because the courts are notoriously anxious not to interfere in elections.  Bush v. Gore involved enforcing the deadlines of the Electoral Count Act, and even then the Court tried to issue an opinion as minimally as possible (it wasn't possible).  The courts may weigh in on redistricting, but when it comes to elections their most common practice is not to interfere within a certain time close to the election date.  I don't really see even the crazy Roberts court swinging for the fences on this one, or reaching down into the lower courts to pluck up some vaguely relevant case just to impose the independent state legislature doctrine and give Gorsuch and Barrett the warm originalist fuzzies.  It could happen, but it seems about as likely as Pence throwing the election to Trump at effectively one minute before midnight.

Yes, there is this:

Only last month, in a case from North Carolina the Court declined to hear, Moore v. Harper, four Justices (Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh) said that the independent state legislature question is of exceptional importance to our national elections, the issue will continue to recur and the Court should decide the issue sooner rather than later before the next presidential election. This case involved congressional redistricting, but the independent state legislature doctrine is as applicable to redistricting as it is to presidential elections.

But the reason the doctrine would have applied in 2020 is because of changes made due to covid.  Unless 2024 reproduces those conditions (or some like them), the doctrine can be imposed and still not be invoked.  Besides, the Court and GOP legislatures are doing enough to suppress the vote as it is.  The efforts Luttig alludes to were all efforts to expand the vote.  We don't seem to be at much risk of that anytime soon.

The Republicans are also in the throes of electing Trump-endorsed candidates to state legislative offices in key swing states, installing into office their favored state election officials who deny that Biden won the 2020 election, such as secretaries of state, electing sympathetic state court judges onto the state benches and grooming their preferred potential electors for ultimate selection by the party, all so they will be positioned to generate and transmit alternative electoral slates to Congress, if need be. 

Well, seeking to; that's not really working out all that well at the moment, and there are laws that could constrain their efforts, or even see them removed from office.  Could it get ugly?  Yes.  Could it result in stolen elections and, effectively, the overthrow of our democratic systems?  No.  Frankly, I'm more worried about the complete evisceration of the Voting Rights Act.  I'd actually kinda like to know Judge Luttig's thoughts on that line of Roberts Court cases.

Although the Vice President will be a Democrat in 2024, both parties also need to enact federal legislation that expressly limits the vice president's power to be coextensive with the power accorded the vice president in the 12th Amendment and confirm that it is largely ceremonial, as Pence construed it to be on January 6.

Vice President Kamala Harris would preside over the Joint Session in 2024. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have any idea who will be presiding after that, however. Thus, both parties have the incentive to clarify the vice president's ceremonial role now.

That much I completely agree with.  It is clear the VP presiding as President of the Senate at the Joint Session called for by the Electoral Count Act is acting in a ceremonial role, as the Joint Session itself should largely be; and that role should be limited as Judge Lutting outlines (arguably it already is, since no law can contradict the Constitution; but it would be good to bring the statute clearly in line with the 12th Amendment).  Congress itself should not have the ability to challenge the election without better grounds and more requirements for the Joint Session recognizing such complaints and acting on them (although it would take the concurrence of both houses under the present statute, and I don't think we ever got anywhere close to the Congress deciding who the POTUS would be).

In short, we had a concatenation of circumstances (covid, primarily) combined with a POTUS who never should have been allowed into the White House on a tour, much less as the chief resident, and a set of laws and practices which were challenged but actually held.  The Supreme Court refused to put a thumb on the scales. Despite Trump's efforts, not one state went along with his insanity, and Pence refused to play his part in a Gilbert and Sullivan production of democracy in America.  Will Secretaries of State go along with Trumpian demands?  If they do, they will have to act alone, and I don't think any individual in office has the courage of those convictions.  Ron DeSantis is acting because the Florida Legislature is giving him what he wants.  He's not ruling by fiat, or in defiance of the rest of the government of Florida.  Nobody bent to Trump's idiotic whims in Georgia, even though Georgia was as Republican as Texas at the time.  "Sympathetic state judges"?  That's rather dismissive of state judges as a whole.  So far only one "sympathetic" federal judge, appointed by Trump, has created any real mischief, and that was over a mask mandate the FAA was probably going to rescind soon, anyway.  Awkward and over-reaching and displaying her complete unfitness for the bench, but we knew that.  Not good, but not exactly the death knell of the Republic.

I'm more worried about the clowns on the Supreme Court.  The real dangers lie in what's going to happen to Roe v. Wade, or the unrolling of everything back to a Lochner doctrine, or even further back to Plessy or Dred Scott (yes, I'm that pessimistic.  No, they can't get around the rock in the river of the 13th Amendment, but they can undo the coverage of the 14th if they choose.  At this point, I wouldn't put it past them.  I'd have said Griswold and Loving were written in stone; but the drilling into that bedrock has begun, and the dynamite is being wired as we speak).

One more irony:  Trump clearly thought his play with Pence was weak, and he was counting on the angry mob to do what Pence would not.  Had it not been for that angry mob, the histrionics of Hawley and Cruz might well have been forgotten long before Inauguration Day, and the investigation into how the objections were coordinated and Trump was pressuring Pence and state legislatures refused to toss democracy overboard for a petty demagogue with small hands, might never have happened.  We are reading Luttig's opinion and talking about his concerns because of the dog that doesn't bark in his column:  the insurrection.  If all you had was Luttig's opinion, you wouldn't know anything happened on January 6, 2021, at all, except that the Joint Session was a bit out of the ordinary.  Luttig's opinion is important to understand the legal process of electing a POTUS, but it is also extremely limited.

And he found it necessary to write it for all the reasons he never bothers to address. And that upon which he is silent, is actually even more important than what he says.  Which puts his opinion in the proper perspective; it seems to me.


A much better (and longer) analysis. Which I may get back to you on , when I’ve finished it.

"Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel!"

Same energy.  And what makes Mr. Cohn think school boards that want to pass such rules listen to their lawyers?  It's the answer "I don't have a clue" that makes it art. I really wish Democrats would talk more about this.

Staring Into The Abyss


 “It’s so important to have accountability and have that trust restored because otherwise you’re going to get more of it," [          ] told the group. "There’s no accountability? Yep. They’re gonna start arresting political opponents. They’re gonna start throwing political dissidents in jail. They’re going to parade people and interrogate you for your free speech... You really think if there’s no arrests made from 2020, if there’s no real exposing of it and getting these people and holding them accountable, you really think they won’t do it again?"

If I don't tell you who the speaker was, could you guess?  Pretty extreme stuff, huh?  Still, can't be from Twitter.  People on Twitter never speak, they just shout into the twittervoidverse.  Too many characters, too.  But it could as easily have come from some lame left wing twitter account as from some wacko Trump supporter.

No surprise it comes from a wacko Trump supporter. But it's the language of all the comments on Twitter (at least) that want Trump (and everybody else in the GOP) held "accountable."  "Accountable" is the new one-size-fits-all word that is what we get from our justice system. Hint: no, we don't. Because we don't have a "justice system," or an”accountability system,” we have a "carceral system," that is meant only to punish people who are easily punished (poor, non-white especially, charged with physical rather than fiscal crimes).  It's hard to punish someone for a fiscal crime because it's so inchoate, and there are so many people involved.  Martha Stewart going to prison for securities fraud was simple.  Martha Stewart is not the chair of a multi-national corporation that employs thousands.

And the actual securities fraud charge that started the investigation was dropped.  She was convicted on obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and lying to federal investigators.  From the time of the offense to her trial was roughly 3 years.  I happen to think that was using an atom bomb as a flyswatter to even investigate her, but it's proof that if they want to investigate you, they will find a reason to prosecute you, and likely convince a jury you deserve to go to jail.  Pay attention, kiddies:  you can't lie to federal investigators if your lawyer tells you to shut up on advice of counsel.  Investigators are not your friends.

I bring that up because NY City has been investigating Trump's company for 3 years.  They say it's taken that much time because the situation is that complex.  And they're only bringing civil charges, not criminal ones.  The bar for a judgment in a civil case is lower than in a criminal case.  The criminal case against Trump in New York seems to be dying on the vine, because the NY AG isn't convinced there's enough there, there.  Most people don't want to hear that, but what they hear on the internet/news/Twitter is not what a court of law calls "evidence."  And then, of course, unless that evidence puts Donald Trump in the Conservatory with the candlestick, which has blood on it and matches the dent in the corpse's skull, you probably won't get a conviction anyway.

Trump may run the company, but there's no "captain of the ship" doctrine in criminal law.

Better, as I've said many times before, to let the law take its course and quit worrying about why Trump is not in prison yet.

Besides, you really want to sound like Liz Harrington?  That shit is completely unhinged and not even grounded in the understanding of the law that exists in most low-rent TV cops 'n' robbers shows.

Do you want to stop Trump from "doing it again"?  Change the Electoral Count Act.  No, it won't put Trump behind bars, but it will stop him from trying to steal the election in 2024 (though how he does that if he needs the VP, as President of the Senate, to throw ballots back to the "right" states when the VP for the next count will still be Kamala Harris, is a point nobody can explain to me.  Anyway, it could be a more competently scurrilous incumbent next time, so still: change the law.)  Besides, even if you put Trump behind bars, there's no bar (sorry!) to him winning the election fair and square.  Locking him up won't provide much accountability if he runs for and wins the White House in 2024.  The only remedy there is impeachment, but that's never gonna happen (yes, he could be impeached, if only to bar him from holding federal office again, ever.  Yes, the Congress could do that just on the strength of the final report of the January 6th Committee.  No, the Senate would never vote for conviction, unless you get a Democratic majority that reaches above the 2/3rds threshold without Manchin or Sinema.  Or probably a number of other Democratic Senators currently in office.  It ain't gonna happen, IOW.)

So sure, it would make you happy to see Trump in prison orange.  It wouldn't be the closure you think it would be, though; or the "accountability."  You're gonna have to wait until about 50 years after Trump's last day in office, when the only person who still publicly thinks Trump did a good job is Roger Stone (like the cockroach, he will always be with us), for that "accountability."

Maybe take up a hobby instead.  It'll be better for you.

Viva La France!

Same energy. The concern of the French restaurant seems more sound and reasonable. And recalling the old adage: “If you’re so smart, how come you’re not rich?”, the richest man in the world is absolutely incompetent when it comes to expressing ideas. QED. And since we’re on the subject. I’m sure Musk’s outline of free speech and how it works will bring them all back.

There Is Always Room For Dissatisfaction

The only thing surprising here is that this is surprising. To anyone. Speaking of which: Pretty sure the radical leftists were saying the same thing in the 60’s. And since everything old is new again: Pretty sure MTG thinks the Pope is Satan's minion as a matter of course. The funny part is the right-wing Catholics think she’s on their side. Strange bedfellows indeed.

“And All The Blacks Can Go Back To Africa!”

I’m guessing she’s too young to remember that one.

Yes, being an old fart is becoming a theme around here. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Sure Enough, It Got Worse

I’m surprised I haven’t heard this one locally yet. It’s as valid and credible as what I have heard.

Then again, Election Day for this one is May 7. Still time for it to get worse.

(There are campaign materials showing up alleging the district is violating state law (by teaching "CRT," or that white children are "guilty" of...something; and crazier stuff still.) Of course, only the three candidates promoting this trash can "save our children."  Except if anyone knows of this happening in the district, or has direct knowledge that the heinous things alleged are being done by a teacher, they are obliged RIGHT NOW! to report it to the school administration, or, if they think the administration is hoplelessly corrupt, to the TEA.  Electing three school board members won't do a thing, and doesn't help the children in such dire need of protection.  Of course, it's not about the children; it's only about gaining power.  Too bad for them there really isn't any there to be had.)

What I Was Saying About Local School Board Elections

We'll see if my diagnosis/prognostications are correct, but my suspicion is the larger number of voters in this school district don't care for concerns about "wokeness" and "ideology," but only about "Is our children learning?" I think they also aren't that upset with the idea of single-member districts, which is (supposedly) another issue of the election, even though the Board can only settle the suit or fight it (so far they are not settling), they can't vote to make it go away.

I think the extremists have just about run their course.  I also think the majority of school district voters (at least) aren't really angry about things.  I know the Twitter pundits tell us our only hope is to get angrier than "they" are; but I'll put my money on people calmly rejecting the raving lunatics, because they are scary, if nothing else.

But we'll see.

People Forget There Are Always More Interests Involved Than The Person Presently At The Microphone

When will we ever learn?

If Elon Musk Shutters Twitter.... will only begin to atone for its sins for allowing this to be seen by any other human being. Now please make it die. Because I can never unsee it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Question For The Senator

"How many nations has NATO attacked?"

Marshall Law, Cardinal Sin, and Major Major Major Major Walk Into A Bar...

martial law, temporary rule by military authorities of a designated area in time of emergency when the civil authorities are deemed unable to function. The legal effects of a declaration of martial law differ in various jurisdictions, but they generally involve a suspension of normal civil rights and the extension to the civilian population of summary military justice or of military law. Although temporary in theory, a state of martial law may in fact continue indefinitely.

In the English legal system, the term is of dubious significance; in the words of the English jurist Sir Frederick Pollock, “so-called ‘martial law,’ as distinct from military law, is an unlucky name for the justification by the common law of acts done by necessity for the defence of the Commonwealth when there is war within the realm.”

Such “acts done by necessity” are limited only by international law and the conventions of civilized warfare. Further, the regular civil courts do not review the decisions of tribunals set up by the military authorities, and very little authority exists on the question of remedies against abuse of powers by the military. In Great Britain and many other jurisdictions, such questions are of little significance in view of the modern practice of taking emergency or special powers by statute.

Martial law involves the temporary substitution of military authority for civilian rule and is usually invoked in time of war, rebellion, or natural disaster.


When martial law is in effect, the military commander of an area or country has unlimited authority to make and enforce laws. Martial law is justified when civilian authority has ceased to function, is completely absent, or has become ineffective. Further, martial law suspends all existing laws, as well as civil authority and the ordinary administration of justice. In the United States, martial law may be declared by proclamation of the President or a State governor, but such a formal proclamation is not necessary. Although the U.S. Constitution makes no specific provision for the imposition of martial law, nearly every State has a constitutional provision authorizing the government to impose martial law. The power of martial law, once held to be nearly absolute, has limitations; for example, civilians may not be tried by military tribunals as long as civilian courts are functional. Nonetheless, within the bounds of court decisions, a military commander's authority under martial law is virtually unlimited. Martial law has been declared nine times since World War II and, in five instances, was designed to counter resistance to Federal desegregation decrees in the South. Although a climate of mutual aid has always existed between the military and civilian law enforcement and should continue to exist, Department of Defense personnel are limited in what they can do to enforce civil law. Military personnel cannot be used in surveillance or undercover operations, and they may not be used as informants, investigators, or interrogators unless the investigation is a joint military-civilian operation in which the military has an interest in the case's outcome.

Amanda Marcotte:

As I write this, for instance, a top trending topic is "Marshall Law." That refers to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's efforts, after the 2020 election, to pressure Donald Trump into staging a military coup. Of course that's an important story — in theory. But in practice, the substance of the story is being ignored in favor of a morbid fascination with Greene's apparent ignorance. (Just in case you're not on Twitter and have been living in a hermitage, she misspelled "martial law" as "Marshall.")

This isn't about the danger that folks like Greene and Trump pose to democracy. It's about extremely online liberals who can't resist a chance to show off their superior command of grammar and spelling, compared to the right-wingers they hate, and it's about the fact that mockery matters more to the Twitter algorithm than the potential end of democracy does. Something like Kushner's Saudi scandal — which is fascinating to read about, but doesn't drive "engagement" or angry debate on social media — doesn't even stand a chance in such an environment. 

The ignorance of MTG is not because she is seemingly illiterate.  Yes, English spelling is an absurd briar patch.  As Bernard Shaw pointed out, a likely spelling of "fish" could well be "ghoti" (the "gh" from "tough," but not "through," mind; the "ti" from "lotion," or take your pick of replacement consonants at the beginning of that word.  Can't recall now where the "o" was supposed to come from, but even my examples are my own, not necessarily Shaw's originals).  He wasn't wrong (and why does that word begin with a "w"?).  No, it's not about the spelling, or at least it shouldn't be.  It is about the ignorance.

MTG is a member of Congress.  Odds are she had no idea what "martial law" means, except it puts one person in power and that person is on her side, so that's fine with her.  She was, in other words, all in favor of forgetting the oath she'd recently sworn (did it mean anything to her anyway?) and setting fire to the Constitution because the wrong person had won the Presidential election.  Was she aware of the implications of what she sought? Consider the matter a bit more carefully:

Martial law is justified when civilian authority has ceased to function, is completely absent, or has become ineffective. Further, martial law suspends all existing laws, as well as civil authority and the ordinary administration of justice. 

Did events on January 6th justify "a suspension of all existing laws, civil authority, and the ordinary administration of justice"?  I don't just mean the riot in the Capitol building, I mean the joint session of Congress.  That's actually what Ms. Greene was referring to.  She wanted Trump to dissolve Congress, suspend the Electoral Count Act, and declare himself re-elected by power of suspending all the laws, and the Constitution.

Yeah, that is "an important story."

Martial law has been declared nine times since World War II and, in five instances, was designed to counter resistance to Federal desegregation decrees in the South. 

I'm assuming "since World War II" refers to anytime after V-J Day.  I'm curious what the other 4 were for, but it's interesting it was imposed 5 times to counter resistance to desegregation.  Seems to me that's an important part of the story, too.

I won't jump on the bandwagon of those jeering at the Congresswoman because she can't spell.  I will say it displays her ignorance and her unfitness for office (sadly if that was all it took to get the House to eject you, the House would be no more than 1/3 full at any one time).  I will point out it's disturbing that her failure to even know what the correct word is indicates she has no idea what she was calling for, or even more, why.  Or she did, and she has no regard for the Constitution or the laws of the land.  The only thing she understands is that the right people should be in power, and the wrong people should have no say, no voice, be given no consideration.

Pretty important story after all. Maybe a horse's kick to the head is too subtle for some people, huh?

Monday, April 25, 2022

Burning Down The House 🏫

This is a complex area of the law, but Texas School boards do not set curriculum, and their policies cannot conflict with state or federal law. (Steve identifies himself as a "disgraced Texas-based far-left writer," and his location as "The City of Hate, Texas."  I could guess further, but I'm satisfied he's talking about a Texas school board.)

According to the Texas Education Agency, this is what school boards are expected to do:

Texas school districts and charters are overseen by school boards. The boards of independent school districts are elected by the citizens of their communities, while the boards of charter schools are appointed.

In each instance, the school board oversees the management of the district or charter school and ensures that the superintendent implements and monitors district operations.  The board and the superintendent work together as a team to bring about the best education possible for the boys and girls they serve.

To make sure they carry their job out appropriately, school trustees are required to receive training in the laws and rules of the state education system.

TASB (Tas-bee), the Texas Association of School Boards, broadly outlines the duties of the Board this way:

What is the role of a school board member?

School trustees work together to:

Ensure that a shared vision and goals are adopted for the district. 
Ensure that systems and processes are in place to accomplish the district’s vision and goals.
Ensure progress and accountability to goals by allocating resources and support and establishing ongoing feedback and progress measures.
Advocate on behalf of all students to enable them to be successful.
Work effectively as a collaborative team member with fellow board members and the district superintendent.

Here is rough but concrete example of what school boards can do:

Adopt goals and priorities and monitor success

The school board sets the course for the district’s schools by adopting goals and priorities to keep the district moving in a positive direction. The board has a vision statement to guide it when setting goals. An example of a vision statement is:

Our students:
• Choose to be productive members of society who are fully equipped to continue their preparation for the future
• Are confident and self-assured. They have a positive vision of the future and goals to achieve their vision
• Are well rounded academically, physically, and spiritually
• Are proud of their school and community and appreciate learning as a life-long endeavor
• Are creative problem solvers who make sound decisions
• Value and accept diversity
• Feel safe at school

Our learning environment provides:
• An evolving and innovative curriculum that meets the diverse needs of all students and equips them to be positive and contributing members of society
• A highly qualified, dedicated, and caring staff recognized as the best
• Homes, classrooms, and campuses working together in harmony to support a safe and nurturing educational experience
• Modern technology and training that maximizes learning for all
• Proactive and effective communication between staff, students, and their guardians that ensures student success
• The optimal staffing and facilities to meet the needs of all students

Our district and community:
• Work as a team providing resources necessary to achieve a world-class education
• Recognize the district as the heart of learning, caring, and support for all the community
• Acknowledge education as a privilege and proudly accepts responsibility for the learning process 

To that end, the board reviews regular reports from the administration on district operations and progress toward goals.

Adopt policies and review for effectiveness

A key responsibility of the board is to adopt local policies that guide how the district operates. Local school boards govern by adopting policies that must be consistent with and within the scope allowed by federal and state laws and regulations. Important decisions are made based on district policies. District policy also provides a record of the decisions the board has made.
I don't mean to give you a legal opinion on what's reported in these tweets. I just want to point out it's quite dubious the school board, if it tries to pass and implement these "policies," can actually do so.  That "vision statement," for example, is vague and amorphous and full of glittering generalities.  That's also about as explicit and directive as the Board can be.  Its job is to see that such generalizations are at least generally being followed.  If they aren't, if students are failing at record rates and the center cannot hold, all the Board can do about it is fire the Superintendent and hope the new one they hire will fix the mess.

There's an obvious 1st Amendment problem right there, with any definition of "pornography."  The one proposed  probably doesn't even conform to Texas law, which means it’s void ab initio.  Although, yeah, the first hurdle is finding a plaintiff willing to go to court on this.  Teachers?  Don't be ridiculous.  No employee of the district will, either.  Neither do they want to enforce it, however, because while the board can fire the superintendent, they can't fire employees at will, or without district action first (a teacher caught in an offense that marks their removal is investigated by the administration first.  The Board doesn't act as a French Revolution kangaroo court.)  

Texas law also won't allow them to withhold pay without due process of law. I imagine Federal law has similar provisions. I can also guarantee this district has an office that does nothing but handle applications for, and administration of, federal grants. These policies will move the granting agencies to deny all grant applications, and maybe even cancel the ones outstanding.

District employees who implement these policies will themselves be parties to lawsuits, along with the district (and why would they put themselves in that position?).  The legal costs of these policies will rise exponentially, not to mention, as I say, all the federal money that will quickly dry up or be clawed back (or both).  This is a very, very bad thing; but mostly it will be bad for the students.  Teachers will flee this district just to avoid being caught in the cross-fire.  Administrators will quit (or take retirement) rather than uphold these illegal and unworkable policies.  

And if you think the schools can run without administrators, fuck around and find out.  Grants alone take a staff of people to handle:  application, administration, accountability, distribution.  Standardized tests have to be received by people, distributed by people, collected by people, and returned to the state for grading by people.  School budgets (something else the Board is responsible for overseeing) don't write themselves, and tax rates aren't set by portents and signs and wonders. Parents call schools to talk to administrators who might no longer be there (principals are people, too), and will begin (at least) to wonder what's wrong with their child's school when nobody is in the office to answer the phone.

In the aftermath of COVID when many people haven't returned to their jobs and quitting is seen as a rational response to insanity (rather than grin and bear it because what's the alternative?), teachers are already leaving classrooms.  This district is about to drive itself straight to hell, IMHO.  The backlash won't come from lawsuits and ACLU defenses of the 1st Amendment.  It will come from people fleeing the burning house because, post-COVID, that's now seen as a rational response to irrationality.

I forgot to mention there is a final authority in all this, and that's the State of Texas.  Again, per the Texas Education Agency:

Should the management of a district or charter fail to carry out its duty, the commissioner of education has the authority to impose a sanction by installing a monitor, conservator or board of managers. At any given time, only about a dozen of the more than 1,200 school districts and charters receive this type of school governance intervention.

I've seen the TEA do this once to a school district in the area.  They actually forced it to merge with another school district in order to save the schools for the children.  TEA threatened to take over Houston ISD (largest in the state), which threat was enough to get them to straighten out (that quarrel was among board members elected from single-member districts across the geographically vast ISD).  If the school district referred to in these tweets passes these policies and the apocalypse occurs (the revelation of how foolish they are, IOW), the TEA would very likely take over, fire the school board, and bring the district back into alignment with state law regarding how school districts are run.

And rule no. 1 is:  TEA sets the curriculum in the classrooms; not the school boards. 

It is noted, in comments, and quite rightly, that the goal here is to abolish schools. Texas tried that, giving public money to private schools. It was such a disaster it was repealed within 2 years, and no one has seriously raised it again. Rural areas, where most of the GOP voters live, support their public schools because they don’t have an abundance of alternatives. All this noise about CRT and pornography is being made in the suburban districts. But “school choice” is not going to be a live option any time soon. Most of this now is simply people angry and looking for something to take it out on.

The Permanent Long Slog

The other side of this is calls for Democrats to win the mid-terms (and 2024) NOW!  Electons are won on Election Day, which is to say: what happens between now and then matters, especially what happens much closer to then. The political junkies on Twitter may be all excited, but the average voter barely cares about their state’s primary, much less November.

I live in Texas and I’ve already voted three times (primary, special state election for Constitutional amendments, school board election), and still have a ballot to cast in the primary run-off. Don’t start bothering me with November, I’m already getting school board candidate robo-calls.

Can we get a break from the permanent campaign?
This argument is sound: Then collapses into "Evil must be eradicated and everyone must think like me!" There’s another Hitler out there, too; if we allow the conditions that led to the collapse of Weimar Germany to be recreated. Punishing Germany for WWI didn’t exactly teach them a lesson, did it? (Yes, I’m a broken record.) But would Germany today re-elect Hitler? Not anytime soon. And Hitler at least took a broken economy and created one of the great military powers of European history (yes, at what horrific cost?). But Trump was so incompetent he just drove the economy into a ditch. Who better is coming along? DeSantis? He’s going to raise taxes on 2 Florida counties just because he’s pissed off. He's forced Sen. Rick Scott to cancel his Disney+ account (Scott is a big Marvel fan?  Who knew?). O, the humanities! These things are a recommendation for national leadership? Who is the Hillary Clinton DeSantis will run against?

And who is Biden running against?  Because he doesn't really mind the Macron comparisons, especially if his opponent is Trump again:

The conditions that led to Trump weren’t exactly an indifference to democracy (an indifference Rick Wilson earned a good living from). It was, if anything, an excess of democracy. The party machinery that ran everything from smoke-filled rooms gave way (for many reasons) to primaries, which shifted the powers from the center of the parties to the fringes. No one worried about “primary voters” when conventions chose Presidential candidates. Now they rule the parties, more by perception than real authority. The parties themselves are so shrunken they are virtually meaningless, except for their lock on ballot access in all 50 states. That’s really the only reason they are important. (Trump is raising more money than the GOP. That’s one more reason he is perceived as the power in the party.) With the best of intentions we created the conditions that allowed for Trump and single-person rule and blunt demagoguery.  Indeed, the Republicans have benefitted from that since the days of Reagan (and further back the failure of Goldwater). It wasn’t complacency that led to that, or we’d still have the smoke filled rooms and conventions that actually elect candidates.

Being anxious (the opposite of complacent) isn’t really going to fix that; or anything else.