Wednesday, August 31, 2022

I Can’t Believe Antifa Did This To Him. Either.

So they weren’t planted by the FBI? And what if Stanley Kubrick really did fake the moon landing? 🌝 🫠 At this point I wonder why even the most clueless lawyer doesn’t drop Trump as a client. Then I consider their work product. You’ll have to take my word for it, but that reads like the author got her/his law license by sending in bubblegum wrappers. It still feels like Trump has a lot of input on these things. If I ever had a client insist on that, I’d tell them to get a new lawyer. My name goes in those pleadings, not the client’s. "Everybody does it, Your Honor! Why you pickin’ on me? Obama, Obama, Obama!  It’s not fair!!!!!” I just don’t think this ends well. Translation: this is just a “Hail Mary” until they can get far enough along to figure out a 4th Amendment claim. Same. Honestly, 5-year olds could do better than this.

(Just to be absolutely clear: the FBI staged this photograph to show what they found, where they found it, and what it was stored with/in. This is not a still from a wildlife documentary.)

And tell me you don’t practice criminal law without telling me you don’t practice criminal law:
And they think this is a defense:

🍿

My one experience in Federal Court as a lawyer (stop me if you've heard this one. I.e., you probably have. I'm not trying to be an old man reliving his long-past glories; but suddenly it's relevant again), was over the legal issue of "possession."

I mention it because it might clarify things a bit here.  My client was a convicted felon; as such, under federal law, he couldn't be "in possession" of a firearm.  He was stopped for a busted taillight (if memory serves) and a shotgun was lying in the package tray (this as decades ago. we all drove sedans back then).  It wasn't his, he said.  Didn't matter.  Driving the car with that gun in it put him in "possession, custody, and control" of the firearm.  Back to jail he went.  The "trial" took all of about 5 minutes.

Obviously the trial of Trump, if it comes to that, would take a bit longer (we didn't have a jury, for one thing.  We didn't have a legal argument, for another.).  But the issue of possession is as simple as that.  Trump had possession, custody, and control of those documents (IIRC, that was the language of the statute on firearms; can't say it's the language of the relevant statute here.  But then again, I don't know what the case law is on that statute.  The plain language of the law is not the only consideration here, so this is hardly a legal memo.).  Mixing them in with his stuff indicates an intent to keep them.  That's important especially in the face of so many legal demands that they be returned to the government agencies responsible for them.  (This is where the difference between NARA, responsible for enforcing the PRA, and the DOJ, responsible for enforcing national security laws, come into play.  Alina Habba wants to say this is all about the PRA, which is a trap in another way.  If it is all about the PRA, then the court in Florida has no jurisdiction.  Under the PRA, cases challenging NARA decisions can only be filed in D.C.  No, PRA doesn't have any criminal provisions; but the search warrant wasn't issued because of possible violations of the PRA.  Trump's lawyers really aren't good at this at all.)  Possession is a fairly straightforward matter:  you either have it, or your don't.  Intent doesn't enter into the question.

Did my client intend to use that shotgun, for hunting or a crime? Didn't matter.  He was in possession of it, illegally; that's all that matters.  Trump's possession of the documents, especially after the subpoena, is a clear sign of intent; which intent might be important to an obstruction of justice charge (violating a subpoena and lawful demands to return government property from authorized government agents).

And then there is the question of what he wanted to do with them.  Sell them?  Most likely, actually.  Everything is transactional for Trump.  I don't know what evidence the FBI has on that issue.  But the possession issue?  He had them.  He shouldn't have.  EOD.

Mariotti's Politico column was published Monday.  Today we have the famous picture of files found in Trump's office; of files found in the drawers of Trump's desk; of files found with his TIME Magazine memento.

The only viable defense Trump has is to point the finger at someone else — to claim that he is a hands-off administrator who took the word of his aides that none of the documents at Mar-a-Lago belonged in the government’s hands. But while two of the statutes at issue require the government to prove that the defendant intended to break the law, the DOJ’s repeated requests and demands to Trump — including a grand jury subpoena — will make it hard for him to argue that he did not realize that the records contained national security secrets that belonged to the federal government.

Trump’s defense would have to be that he did not read any of the communications from the government and was told by his attorneys that their meeting and communications with the DOJ indicated that he was in the clear. He would have to claim that the attorneys lied to him and that he never directed one of the attorneys, Christina Bobb, to sign an apparently false statement to DOJ that all of the materials “marked classified” had been returned to the government.

I don't think that defense is viable anymore. Not with all those files with their cover sheets, found in Trump's office alone. And that's why the framed magazine cover matters.  No doubt agents involved in the search can testify the files on the floor for that photo, came from the box with that framed cover in it.  Trump had possession; and he knew it.

Again, the view from two days ago:

It looks like the Justice Department has the goods on Trump. Typically, a criminal defense attorney would be trying to work out a deal in this situation. That may be the best move Trump has left, even if he isn’t inclined to go that route. 

Oh, please, Donald, please: throw us all in that briar patch.  Refuse to take a deal and make this go to trial.  The popcorn manufacturers of America will thank you! 

This Is The Shit…

...that really doesn’t matter. No slight against the responses, but Shapiro isn’t on Trump’s legal team and what he pronounces is read by tens of people (I didn’t even know he’d supposedly gone to law school). All that really matters is what happens in court. Same thing Trump did with elections. He tried; he tried too hard. The courts rejected him; the government didn’t yield. The courts will decide Trump’s criminal responsibility; not Dan Bongino.

I just keep adding:
Needless to say, this is not what lawyers call a “legal defense.” And this is why she’s talking:

When You Can't Even Keep Steve Doocy On Board

Crime For Fun And Profit

And while we're on the subject of intent: And it wasn't me saying the documents mixed with personal items indicating intent to keep them illegally; that was the DOJ: And I started this earlier, but I'll drop it here: A lawyer is not obligated to do whatever-the-hell the client wants. A lawyer is also a counselor-at-law, which means you advise your client not to do stupid things. So either Trump’s lawyers are spineless jellyfish, or they’re participants in his crimes.  There's really no excuse for exposing Trump this way, except maybe the excuse that they've cleverly gotten DOJ to reveal their strategy against Trump.  But the defense is, what:  he "Declassified" the documents, a double super-secret declassification he only revealed when he was caught with more top secret (and above) documents?  A secret in-his-mind-only declassification which doesn't work that way?  And how about the commingling, indicating clear intent to hold the documents against several requests, one a subpoena ("subpoena" literally means "under pain," i.e., backed by punishment for non-compliance), to hide them even by putting them in his desk drawers and in boxes with personal mementoes (like framed TIME Magazine covers).  My guess is the lawyers for Trump are just learning about this evidence, too.

One wonders if Mr. Kise wants to reconsider appearing as counsel to the FPOTUS. I would be, just based on Trump's posts this morning:  I don't know if Kise has signed any of the documents filed on Trump's behalf in this case (that would mark an "appearance"), but maybe he doesn't want to if he doesn't have to.  Trump's got to be the criminal defendant from hell by now.
I mean, the DOJ just hit Trump between the eyes with a 10 pound sledge hammer, and Trump didn't even blink.

As I've said before, Trump doesn't have any "teflon."  He's never faced a criminal investigation, now he's facing four at once.  Everybody thought New York was capital; then Georgia.  I think the DOJ just trumped everybody.  And while this brief doesn't affect the status of their criminal case against Trump (nothing is revealed they don't want revealed), it's a torpedo right into the engine room of Trump's political ambitions.
Yeah, that hole is definitely below the water-line.

So Why Does He Get All The Media Attention?

I don't think it's just right wing media that's propping him up. Drudge here has the virtue of being honest.  And over at the Bulwark:

I know what you’re thinking:

Who could declare him the rightful winner?
What is that process? What is the controlling legal authority?
How do you have a re-run of an election that took place two years ago?
When would this election take place? Does “immediately” mean tomorrow? Next week? Next month?
How would the nominating process work? Who would determine ballot access for candidates? Would this procedure violate current election laws? What would the campaign finance restrictions be like?

And then there’s the big question: Is this guy forking serious?

I don't need to include the tweet of the "truth" that Trump posted.  You know what Mr. Last is talking about.

That question is more important than you might think. Let’s move down the decision tree:

If Trump is serious, then he is cognitively impaired. There is no way to accomplish the “remedies” he proposes. The idea that someone could simply “declare” him the rightful winner of the 2020 election is preposterous. Who has that authority? Not Congress. Not the Supreme Court. Not the president. There is no piece of paper that can be signed and ratified that would accomplish this goal.

So either Trump does not have the baseline intelligence to understand how the government and the U.S. Constitution function—or he has suffered from some mental decline which has rendered him incapable of basic deductive reasoning.

In either case, even the most ardent anti-anti-Trumpers would be forced to acknowledge that under no circumstances should he be president again.

On the other hand, if Trump is not serious—by which I mean that he does not actually believe that either of these remedies are even theoretically possible—then he is advocating the overthrow of the legitimately-elected government of the United States and rejecting the Constitution.

Maybe this rejection is an expression of authoritarian aspiration. Maybe it’s nihilism. Or maybe it’s performance art.

But no matter what the motivation, the result is the same. It’s sedition. So anyone who wants to throw in with Trump on the “oh he doesn’t really mean it” tip is signing up for sedition and rejects the Constitution.

That’s it. Those are the only options.

I haven't heard much about Trump's "position" on mainstream meda (then again, I hardly "consume" mainstream media anymore.  No brag, just fact.)  But wait, I'll be fair:
NBC goes with the "Q-Anon" frame; if there's any mention of sedition, they buried that lede. And...that's it. I'm looking at Maggie Haberman's Twitter feed, the NYT report who has made Trump her specialty. She quickly posted about Trump's new Florida lawyer; posted a story about how the RNC is not paying for Trump's Florida lawyers (the search warrant case, I mean. So far Trump has four lawyers on that case, only two of them licensed in Florida), and on Trump's blizzard of "truths" in the past 24 hours? Crickets.

Again, to be fair, Ms. Haberman is not the whole of the NYT, and her tweets are her own to post and retweet.  Still:  deafening silence from the Time's premier reporter on the politics of Donald Trump.  And it's not like this morning wasn't a significant effort by Trump:
Nor do I think his insane utterances should be taken seriously.  But his insanity should be.  This is absolutely unhinged stuff.  As Mr. Last says, either Trump has proven himself completely unfit to hold public office or possess anything sharper than a rubber call, or he's thrown himself all in with the sedition camp that says he must be POTUS because he must be in power.

There's really not a third-course "objective" position to have on these statements.  Although I guess you can just say "Q-Anon" and "well, there he goes again," and leave it at that.  It makes sure Trump gets the media attention; and the journalists get the eyeballs.
Slate did manage to cover Trump’s meltdown without writing a heavy opinion column.
It’s not exactly Grey Lady worthy (not a complaint), but it shows what is possible.

You'd think that would at least interest the "political journalists" who take up so much space on cable TeeVee and Twitter. But, maybe not.

It's kind of a broken system, when you think about it.

The Funny Part

Per the DOJ brief to which the original of this photo was attached, the TIME magazine cover is evidence of intent to keep the documents, one of the crimes being investigated. Commingling means you are trying to keep them, and not treating them as classified or property of the government.

So the GOP here is pretty much putting their foot in it up to their knees.

This Is NOT Clipped Out Of Context

To be fair to Mr. Walker, I don't doubt his sincerity in wanting to help people. I just doubt his ability to speak coherently enough long enough to actually champion a policy or a law in the United States Senate.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Okay, So Here’s The Thing 🐈‍⬛

Nobody cares what Lindsay Graham says. Nobody cares what the WSJ editorial board says. And that coulda come straight outta CPAC. When was the last time CPAC influenced the electorate? When was the first time? Or the WSJ editorial page? Or Lindsay Graham? And are we “losing America”? Or are we just losing Truth Social? Funny thing: if it weren’t for people retweeting Trump’s posts from a failing website, he’d be pretty effectively silenced. I mean, it is fun to see what a cracked pot he is: But the world is not a richer place for knowing what Trump posted last.  Might as well re-tweet 4Chan and Q messages, right?  If Greg Sargent weren’t up in arms over the WSJ editorial, I’d never have heard thei ludicrous argument (I use the term loosely). And Lindsay? Same prating ass he’s always been.

Just this morning I read that Steve Bannon thinks (or says he thinks; plausible deniability, I guess) that Trump can be instated as President because, well....

Bannon said that Trump will take power because 2020 electors cannot be certified for Biden -- even though the electors were legally certified before the president's inauguration.

"You're going to not be able to certify the Biden electors and by not certifying the Biden electors, the Electoral Count Act of 1887 and our beloved Constitution have a way that what's supposed to happen," he opined. "That is a contingent election where you vote by state party delegation. And guess what? Even with Liz Cheney of Wyoming voting for the Democrats, I think we still win 26-24."

"So let's do it," the podcaster added. "Let's start the contingent election this week. Let's do it. That's what we should do. And, MSNBC, suck on that."
Because MSNBC determines election outcomes?  Sets the dates?  Pronounces what presidential election law is?

No one takes this seriously, and there's no reason they should.  Steve Bannon is a braying ass. Nobody cares waht Steve Bannon says, except for the (slight) entertainment value.

I’m of the opinion Trump “commands millions” because the talking (now tweeting) heads say so. It’s like polls announcing “approval ratings.” What’s the basis for that?  Trump's approval ratings for 4 years were consistently well below his disapproval ratings, and yet he got 7 million votes in the only poll that counts.  That would have won him re-election if Biden didn't get more votes.  And now Biden's numbers are really no better (or worse) than any recent sitting President's numbers (much better compared to Trumps, btw) at this time in their terms.  But what does that mean?  Mostly that candidates may not be ashamed to be seen with Biden on the campaign trail.

Of course it also means the talking heads have something to prattle about on TeeVee. Steve Kornacki and Amy Cooke can pontificate on what the future holds; well, what it holds this week.  Next week brings another future, and then the future we actually get forgets whatever Cooke and Kornack said just a few weeks ago, and the whole thing spins on.  Trump "commands" 35% of the GOP base?  Sez who?  Oh, that's right!  Polls!

Which drive pundits to be afraid, be very afraid!  And compete to be the Cassandra who scares us the most with that is coming but never comes.

90% of the internet is used as an outrage generator. The other 10% is cats and recipes. 🐈 

How Can I Ignore This?

I think he knows "Truth Social" is going down the tubes. Actually this is probably context: Trump is always blaming everyone else; it’s a lever to manipulate people, to him. But compare that to this: Ann Coulter may be right. Trump may really be done.

Guilt And Death πŸ’€

You don’t decide whether you are dead; others do. (One more reason “my death” is not possible. Why would I ever agree to it?)

You also don’t decide if you are criminally guilty; others do. That process usually starts with the police asking questions.  And yes, arrest and incarceration can be a kind of death; call it a "death-in-life."

This really isn’t complicated.

The Theology of Scarcity

Pretty sure it wouldn't anywhere. Texas has a statute barring pornography from being distributed or shown to minors. It's language tracks the Supreme Court rulings on what pornography is, and it ain't what upsets a few ladies who read something about it on Facebook. So despite this case is out of Virginia, I would expect it to be replicated across the country, sooner or later.


At a meeting [of the Texas State Board of Education] to discuss the social studies curriculum for K-12 students, one woman identified herself as a mother named Jenna.

"You refer to our flag, bonnets and mockingbirds as a significant symbol to a Texas community," the mother opined. "No, these are emblems of identity and instill pride and connection with our home."

She said that learning about "the importance of collaborating with various cultures" was inappropriate because children should learn about their own "culture" first.

"This revision wants to teach a first grader who is still putting notes to the tooth fairy under her pillow about following Gandhi's lead to a peaceful protest," Jenna gasped. "A first grader! CRT is already rampant and baked into our curriculum and we don't want to be good little global citizens where are borders are considered a military zone."

"It's a border and it's good!" she exclaimed. "Teach that. This is the land of the free, home of the brave. Be brave!"

State Board of Education Member Marisa B. Perez-Diaz observed that the witness had been unable to point to specific Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) that contain the standards that she was complaining about.

"Be specific about what you're talking about so that we understand that you actually have a legitimate concern or it's not something you're just hearing and reading and repeating," Perez-Diaz advised. "I guess I want to understand what on the history of how borders were created do you know about?"

"I'm not an expert," Jenna shot back. "I don't appreciate your, um, belittling. I didn't come here with a Ph.D. and I didn't come up here as an educator or somebody on one of these work groups. I'm coming up here as a parent."

Perez-Diaz insisted that she was not belittling the parent.

"You just told our chair that you'd read it somewhere or you heard it, you don't know," the board member explained. "And that is not a belittling. I'm just acknowledging what you have yourself said."

ds

Let me start with context here:  the Texas State Board of Education is an elected body from single member districts across the state.  Granted, most Texans don't know we vote for these positions (you should see the typical state ballot; we elect everyone from street sweeper (well, if feels like it) to Governor.  At the county level alone we elect multiple county court-at-law and district judges, as well as justices of the peace, constables, sheriffs, municipal court judges, up to Court of Appeals judges, Supreme Court judges, and Court of Criminal Appeals judges.  And that's just the judiciary.  There's also the Railroad Commission, the Secretary of Agriculture, the State Board of Education, the General Land Office, the Lite Gov,....and on and on and on.).  But we do.  And that shows in this record of one part of one hearing.  It's kinda like a statewide school board, but with the power to tell local school districts what to teach, and local school boards what to do.  And then you get this nonsense.

I actually heard something similar to this in comments at a local school board meeting earlier in the summer.  The same mindless appeal to "CRT" is a shibboleth empty of meaning but charged with menace.  Nothing about the borders, though; although I find it to be a truism that the farther one is from the border (Texas' border with Mexico is the longest of any state), the more one is afraid of what goes on down there.  There's a whole literature, both sociological and literary, about borders and how they represent "dangerous" places where all the "wrong things" happen. My experience is borders are the most interesting places, where barriers between nations, races, tribalism, etc., break down rather than harden into walls.

This lady clearly wants more walls.

I titled this "The Theology of Scarcity" because this woman's diatribe is fine example of that idea.  It's the idea that there isn't enough to go around, so we need to horde what is ours and preserve it. It's also the idea that what "we" have is under attack, is threatened, and will be lost if we don't preserve it.

"You refer to our flag, bonnets and mockingbirds as a significant symbol to a Texas community," the mother opined. "No, these are emblems of identity and instill pride and connection with our home."

She rejects there all notion of a "Texas community," because that community includes Mexicans and Texicans and blacks and, now, 50 years after Vietnam (the war, I mean), Asians of different descents (Vietnamese don't consider themselves Japanese, if you know what I mean) as well as whites (who still divide into rednecks and roughnecks and upper and lower economic classes, etc.).  I have no idea what "home" she is trying to identify with, but I doubt I'd be welcome there, lily-white as I am.  I assume I'm too educated, for one thing.

And I just like mockingbirds (well, not that much; we called 'em "catbirds" when I was young, because they love to harass cats in the open. They have kind of a nasty attitude, do mockingbirds. Worse than jays.) and bluebonnets (actually more native to south Texas.  I hardly saw 'em in the wild until I moved to Austin, where they are more common.  More common now because of Lady Bird Johnson, but I doubt Jenna would get that connection, either.  Lady Bird championed wildflowers in Texas, going so far as to get a ban on mowing along state roads and highways in the spring, when the wildflowers bloom.  We're all the better for that, too.  Community, you see.)  Jenna wants none of that.  She wants her tribe preserved like a lost tribe in the depths of the Amazon, because she's afraid of what she'll lose if she doesn't concentrate on the scarcity of what she has.

"It's a border and it's good!" she exclaimed. "Teach that. This is the land of the free, home of the brave. Be brave!"

She's just made it clear the border is good because it is militarized; which would be a surprise to people on the border, who are growing weary of the disruptions to daily life brought about by Abbott's free use of the National Guard to stop and inspect cars and trucks plying their daily business.  But she's also saying this is the land of the free because of the brave, which would shock the "Founding Fathers" who more or less agreed freedom came from free people, not from a quasi-military state and soldiers standing along the borders.

I'm guessing Jenna isn't as concerned with the Canadian border.  Not enough brown people there, at least in her imagination.

Scarcity means there is never enough, and what there is already is soon to be lost if it is not physically protected and ideologically guarded, if it is not ringed with armaments to prevent intrusion, and constantly restored to prevent erosion.  It's really no different an ideal than the one that fired Plymouth plantation; and it always ends just as Plymouth did:  with the borders between "us" and "them" dissolving as not enough of "us" see a reason to avoid "them," and the compelling ideas that founded "us" seems less compelling over time and to younger generations, and pretty soon the walls protect an emptied space inside.  Scarcity eventually creates scarcity, and from that cries its point proven.

And it is, isn't it?

 "I'm not an expert," Jenna shot back. "I don't appreciate your, um, belittling. I didn't come here with a Ph.D. and I didn't come up here as an educator or somebody on one of these work groups. I'm coming up here as a parent."

It's not that Jenna is not an expert.  But her use of the term "parent" indicates, again, she is trying to protect her children from a world that is not exactly like her.  Plymouth plantation becomes the metaphor, here.  Established to be apart from the world, it could not hold on to those who did not choose that kind of isolation.  Abbey Gethsemani springs to mind (a friend who lives in Louisville related a story of a recent visit there; he and I visited together decades ago).  Abbey Gethsemani thrived before Merton, and remains after, because the people there choose to be there: to be cloistered, to live apart from the world, to maintain a world within the walls and live by that world's rules.  Think of the Abbey as an example of the theology of abundance.  I told my friend of the Lovely Wife's new interest in beekeeping.  He mentioned he met the prior of the Abbey on this last visit; and he's also the beekeeper for the Abbey.  He does it without even a mask (beekeepers tell me that's really all the cover you need.  Bees go for the face, because their biggest threat is bears, and the face is the only part vulnerable to bees.).  I don't know how the Abbey supports itself; I presume they sell honey, among other things.  Most monasteries have some trade with the world.

Drifting back to the anchorites of medieval Europe, the most extreme of the cloistered sets.  They literally underwent a funeral service and were treated as "dead" to the world; and spent the rest of their days in a cell, "anchored" to God usually by living in a small room inside a church.  Visitors could come and speak to them, ask for prayers, receive spiritual guidance and counseling.  So they had renounced the world, but not people. Plymouth plantation wanted to renounce the world and build a new one with select people.  But then the people selected the world, and the whole thing dissolved.  Jenna can, if she really wants, establish her own world for her family; but she can't make the rest of the world conform to her fears and insecurities.  The theology of scarcity always runs up against that problem:  that the world refuses to participate in their anxieties.

Is the theology of scarcity the way of the world?  No.  The birds that come to my backyard feeders don't despair if I let the peanuts run out on the tray, or fail to refill the seed.  They come back when food is available again.  They eat what is available, and find other food or just stand by, until it is available again.  People grown anxious.  People fear scarcity.  People create most of the troubles they have.  People draw lines, create borders, insist none shall pass and that only their family shall know what is to be taught.  For them other families have no reality, are even a threat to be blockaded.

Perez-Diaz added: "My point in asking you the question about borders is that is a clear example of why we need the standards the way that they have been written because this country did not always have borders. This country, we're sitting on stolen land."

Members of the audience erupted at the mention of "stolen land," forcing the chair to call for quiet.

"That isn't something that is in the standards," Perez-Diaz noted. "But what is in the standards is understanding our indigenous roots and understanding how indigenous communities have been impacted and those sorts of pieces of our history are very important."

"And so, again, I ask, what do you remember about learning about indigenous histories?" she wondered.

"I don't remember very much about indigenous histories," the witness admitted. "I'm sorry I can't answer your question about what I learned about indigenous communities and the border. I know our border is open right now and thousands are flooding over!

I have a pretty good idea what Jenna learned about indigenous histories, because it's the same thing I learned:  nothing.  I learned about Columbus and his enslaving of native peoples here when I read excerpts from his fellow traveler's book, in a Norton Anthology of World Literature for a course I taught.  That was not so many years ago, and the book itself was written in the late 15th century as a stern moral warning to the Spanish crown.  Gold, of course, was more important, so the moral lesson was lost.  But that text existed for over 500 years and if I hadn't been assigned a World Lit course to teach, I might still be ignorant of if.

So much for my "education."

A patch of ice, and it doth not a winter make; but it's a simple example of a much larger problem, one Ms. Perez-Diaz is keen to remedy, and good for her.  Texas history alone has been so whitewashed for so long that any mention of the importance of non-whites in Texas history will still make members of the audience erupt, and force a call for order.  But the theology of scarcity insists "our border is open right now and thousands are flooding over!"  The theology of abundance, the fundamental behind the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, of Moses and the prophets, is that there is plenty for all, and our highest calling is to share in joy, not horde in fear.

Surely joy is greater than fear, and better.

“Undoubtedly Another Delaying Tactic”*

*that seems to be the only way the pundits can frame Trump’s court filings. “Bizarre,” “groundless,” “futile,” or “idiotic” are apparently not “objective” enough.

"All Others Pay Cash"

I still want to see some posters with the added "All Others Pay Cash" at the bottom. But a rainbow flag and in Arabic? *chef's kiss* as the kids say.*

I will note this is a controversy in Carollton, which, as the article notes, is a hotbed for this crap in schools right now (and a hotbed of racism, which apparently they were proudly 'round there).  I'm not hearing anything about it in Houston ISD (the largest ISD in the state), not even any attempt to take over the school board by Patriot Mobile.  Then again, HISD has single member districts and is a hugely diverse district covering many square miles (huge in geography and student body, IOW).  Patriot Mobile probably knows better.

The kind of people they'd put on the school board won three seats in my ISD (don't know if Patriot Mobile financed them, but somebody did).  They're already flailing.  I expect one will not win re-election, and I don't think their minority of 3 will expand in the next board election.

Still thinkin' about those posters, though.  Lots of languages spoken in Houston.  Posters in Arabic and Vietnamese and Urdu would not be amiss, methinks.

*And yea, the school board could be sued over this.  That would be good, too.  Not for the district taxpayers, but for the idiotic law.

The Excuses Are Already In Re-Runs

And that's why Trump has a hearing in a civil case he brought to get those documents back? Because the FBI planted them in the first place?

The court can't return property to you which you have no possessory or ownership claim to.  Even Trump's Gang of Idiots knows that much.

Are Republicans in disarray, yet?

When You're Not A Lawyer But You Play One On TeeVee

The first round of defendants are charged with voting while ineligible, a third-degree felony in Florida. This law applies to any voter who casts a ballot “knowing he or she is not a qualified elector.” In other words, prosecutors must prove (to a jury, beyond a reasonable doubt) that the defendants knew their votes were illegal. Clearly, they had no such knowledge. Election officials told them they could vote, and provided them with all the tools to do so. DeSantis likely hoped they would agree to a plea deal, but voting rights lawyers have already stepped in to ensure that they will fight the charges in court.

And here's the fun part:

Perhaps the governor won’t mind when the criminal case against these voters falls apart. His intention, after all, was to create a chilling effect on others’ rights, frightening eligible residents out of trying to vote. He has put a target on the back of every Floridian who was supposed to regain full citizenship under Amendment 4. Plenty of formerly incarcerated people might look upon this episode as proof that it is not worth attempting to rejoin the electorate. Even if every defendant is ultimately acquitted, DeSantis’ quest to prove that he can undermine democracy just as viciously as Trump remains intact. 

That may win enough hearts and minds in Florida to keep DeSantis in the governor's office.  But the general electorate actually seems concerned with the state of democracy in America; and DeSantis' track record won't be something he can hid.

Does Trump Speak For The GOP, Or Not?

I’m not sure Biden’s statement has much news value left. Trump continues to be our man on their side.

Monday, August 29, 2022

What If You Had A World Changing Event And Nothing Changed?

Or you were the tree that fell in the forest that no one heard?

I suppose it’s possible the whole world is out to silence Lindell. Or maybe just nobody’s interested.

Or at least not in the forest.

Because It’s There

VERY demonstrably false. Then again, if Trump told me it was raining, I’d stick my head out the window. I certainly wouldn’t believe him.

FoxNews Will Have The Vapors All Over Again

And then do what? Defend what Lindsay Graham said?

"Old Rocky Face, Look Forth!"

So I'm back to my question: "Why wasn't "America being tested" in the civil rights struggle? Or the anti-war movement, both of which roiled the streets of the '60s. Well, some of the streets; and a few of the campuses. It was 1970 before that "ferment" reached Kent State, where none of the anti-war protestors (a minority of the students) were shot or killed; and where all the National Guard soldiers were excused because the students were either doing bad things (protesting an illegitimate war) or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time (on their college campus going to class).  No, none of the students doing "bad things" were shot, but guilt by association supported the law enforcement-military power structure, so, you know; that's fine.

I saw riots in the streets when King was killed.  I saw police riots in Chicago in '68, and in the streets of Selma and Montgomery and Birmingham and on the Edmund Pettis Bridge, but non-white people were the reason for the riots (they were demanding justice, in each case), or college students and "hippies" were involved (Chicago), so it wasn't "America being tested," it was "justice being done" and "order being restored."  Hoover spied on King, and COINTELPRO spied on a lot of people, but again, that wasn't "America being tested."  The gross injustices of Jim Crow and segregation didn't "test America."  But now that white privileged people are complaining about how Trump is being treated (and not quietly also about how non-white people are not showing enough respect and obeisance to white people), America is "being tested."

How does that work again?

Revelations about Tuskegee (the experiments even now only 90 years ago) and the Tulsa Massacre (just over 100 years ago now, but only recently "rediscovered"), rolling people down the street with water cannons, dogs assaulting peaceful marchers, JFK shot in the street, and then King, and then RFK; and none of that "tested America"?  Yeah, maybe it did, but it's curious the hand-wringing is at its worst because the people we are supposed to be afraid of are white people.  When non-whites are violent?  Well, you know, we kinda expect that.  It's subtle racism one way ("those people are animals!") or the other ("well, consider how unjust we've been to them.  They can't help it!").  White people threaten violence? "It's the new civl war!  It's the end of civilization as we know it!"  I know there was fear of "civil unrest" when the Black Panthers were a force to be reckoned with, but when it's the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, it's suddenly "a republic, if you can keep it.  And you probably can't."  We were pretty darn sure the republic was bigger than the Black Panthers.  We don't seem to be as sure about the Proud Boys.  Huh.

I thought non-white people were supposed to be the existential threat and the scariest ones.  Yeah, I know that's terribly racist, and I mean it rhetorically, not as a legitimate point of argument.  But then why is it the fear factor is driven up and meant to be taken more seriously when white people are the ones supposedly ready to take arms against our very society?  Because the only people truly terrified of the non-whites rising up to destroy everything white people had, were the racists whites we're now supposed to be so afraid of.  The very scary people are the white people we expect to be civilized.  Whoops!  There's that racism again!  Or is it just America's hidden wound?

And I still wonder:  what's the benefit of being afraid?  Cui bono?  The scary people?  Or the people telling me to be afraid of the scary people?

"That's So Fetch!"

Because if they don't, THERE WILL BE RIOTS IN THE STREETS!

Yeah, I'm kinda tryin' to make that happen.  The phrase, I mean; the phrase!

A New Twitter Drinking Game!

Or maybe just a running scorecard. And the eternal debate: does it count if somebody pontificates on it on Twitter/cable TeeVee? Or does it only count if there is a FBI investigation of it? Or, more restrictively and accurately, if Trump is actually charged with it?

Come on lucky 18!

OR THERE WILL BE RIOTS IN THE STREETS!

You have been warned.

"OR THERE WILL BE RIOTS IN THE STREETS!"*

*The new "boy who cried 'Wolf!'." Me, too. Everybody demand to be President! It's the only way we'll make this work!

The Fix Is In

The fine print there (well, it is fine print to these old eyes) is that the Court has set a hearing on a motion to appoint a special master, and has indicated to the parties the Court is inclined to appoint such a master, "without prejudice to the parties' objections."  Which translates as "there is no decision, and the parties can come to the hearing with their arguments, which will be heard and considered fairly; but let's get on with it."

What a special master does is actually not much.  It's a position akin to a guardian ad litem in a family law case:  a third party assigned to report to the court on the welfare of the children in a divorce.  The guardian basically represents the interests of the children, but not as an attorney (that would be an attorney ad litem, which is sometimes assigned as well).  The appointment of a guardian does not prejudice the interests of either adult party to the divorce; but it protects the interests of the children.

Trump is claiming he has executive privilege and attorney-client privilege issues in the material seized by the FBI.  Much as people on Twitter and cable news yammer about who does have executive privilege, Trump or Biden, that yammering does not settle the issue.  A court has to settle that issue.  One way to do that is to appoint a special master to review what the FBI took, and determine if any of it is subject to privilege.  The parties can then argue that point in court, all the way up to the Supremes, if necessary.

That's the way the system works.  Much as you may despise Donald Trump, he has legitimate legal interests to protect, and the court must see to it that, if they are legitimate, they are protected.

So, isn't this judge giving Trump what he wants ASAP and therefore unfairly?  No.

I said before this judge is treating Trump as if he were pro se.  I mean by that judges don't hem in pro se plaintiffs with thickets of laws.  That doesn't mean judges give pro se parties what they ask for.  It just means judges may appear to accommodate the parties; and then rule against them because, even giving them the full benefit of the doubt, they haven't made their case.

Has the judge decided Trump is entitled to a special master?  I don't think so. I think he's just telling DOJ that's what he's inclined to do, just to speed this matter along.  Consider:  this is a civil case.  There are certain deadlines that have to be observed, such as the issuance of a summons pursuant to filing a new case, and service of that summons, and then the nearly three weeks allowed the defendant to file an "answer," and first appear in the case.  After that, usually, the court entertains motions like applications for special masters.  So, ostensibly, it could be late next month before the court were to actually get around to starting this process. (Yes, ordinarily it does go faster, because the private party's lawyers contact the DOJ and they work out a deal that is taken to court to be memorialized and put into effect.  Again, Trump suffers from completely incompetent counsel.) 

A-HA!, you cry!  The judge DOES favor Trump!  Not so fast.

This lawsuit is a piece of high profile nonsense.  It's largely Trump trying to keep this case in the public eye by having court hearings to point to, and to claim "delays" by DOJ that are actually just the timeline of any lawsuit as prescribed by the rules of procedure.  The judge is not favoring Trump, the judge is dismissing Trump ASAP.  Had the judge followed the ordinary course of such cases, there would have been no action on the motion until DOJ had answered the suit, filed it's response and brief outlining its arguments, plaintiff's counsel filed their brief, a hearing, and then, eventually, an order from the court on the motion.

The judge is essentially asking DOJ to come forward with evidence and arguments why a special master is moot, by the end of this week.  (This motion also tells the plaintiff to get his ducks in a row, ASAP.)* Again, that's how the legal system works.  We've all heard of "taint teams" and we all "know" the FBI has been reviewing these documents for weeks; may even be through with that review.  But that needs to be put before the Court as evidence, which evidence may include there is a taint team report which can be reviewed.  The judge may even appoint the master just to review the conclusions of the "taint team" and have a third-party witness to how the FBI handled this investigation so far.  Think Cyber Ninjas having to admit Joe Biden not only won AZ, but by more votes than previously thought.  Not exactly a sterling silver win for Trump.

Trump may get his special master; but it will be as pyrrhic a victory as getting the affidavit released (which he fought for in the public arena, but never in court!).  By scheduling a hearing on this issue ASAP, the judge is giving Trump what he wants, but not in the way he wants it.  If the court were to treat Trump's counsel like the bumbling idiots they are (and deserve to be so treated), this case would drag on for months, and Trump would scream about the "corruption" in the legal system because he was being treated "unfairly!"  Giving Trump the hearing he asks for while giving the DOJ a heads up on what to bring to the fight, is actually undercutting Trump.  This case will probably be over by the end of the week.  

And Trump will have to find something new to scream about.  It's notable he's said nothing about this on his social media platform; at least nothing that's been widely reported.

*I've actually been in hearings sort of like this, where one party comes ready to scream "unfair!" because the other party has a perfectly sound explanation for everything they've done.  The party screaming about fairness inevitably says "Your Honor, we knew nothing about this!", to which the response is:  "All you had to do was ask us."  Judges don't like to mediate disputes between parties where one side has stupid lawyers.

Clearly I'm not keeping up with the headlines:
The Justice Department told a federal judge that its review of the records seized identified only a “limited set” that might “potentially” be attorney-client privileged.

The department indicated that the privilege review — conducted by a “filter team” designed to screen attorney-client information from investigators probing potential criminal violations related to national-security-related documents stored at Trump’s Florida residence — has been completed.

The review appears to have only sought to isolate any potential attorney-client privileged documents and left unaddressed Trump’s claims that some of the documents are covered by executive privilege.

The details came in a brief filing prosecutors submitted to U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, who is handling a motion Trump filed last week asking for a so-called special master to oversee the government’s handling of the documents and to segregate and return any privileged materials. Trump’s delay in filing the motion — he waited nearly two weeks after the Aug. 8 search of his property — appears to have given the Justice Department time to finish its review.

I'll just point out the "brief filing" is using an adjective, not a legal term of art.  The document linked in the original is only two pages long; well, three with the signature page.  Tells you how worried the DOJ is about this.

“Before the Court issued its Preliminary Order, and in accordance with the judicially authorized search warrant’s provisions, the Privilege Review Team (as described in paragraphs 81-84 of the search warrant affidavit) identified a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information, completed its review of those materials, and is in the process of following the procedures set forth in … the search warrant affidavit to address potential privilege disputes, if any,” the prosecutors wrote.

I think (criminal law is not my area of expertise; in fact, nothing in law is my area of expertise anymore.  You get what you pay for.) this throws the case back to the magistrate, who will the the proper party to review the work of the taint team.  That jurisdiction issue I mentioned way back when (you look it up; I can't do everything!).

DOJ is expected to file a more detailed reponse by Tuesday night.  The hearing is set for Thursday.

This is very, very close to "game over."

If The Fulton County DA Makes Lindsay Graham Testify To A Grand Jury, There Will Be Riots In The Streets

Right?

The “F” Word

I guess not saying  "fascism" made his statement more palatable. Game, set, match. Well, until Trump says/does something else. Or unless we can start a conversation about the “R” word. "Riot" is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

“The First Thing We Do…”

Which "lawyers"? 🀣🀣🀣 

But yeah, Trump’s lawyers suck:
I’ll freely admit that’s not going to keep me up at night.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Texas, Our Texas

Tens of protestors. Kinda why I posted this. I would just point out Roanoke is in Denton County, so DFW area. In the’70’s a hotbed of televangelists as they became televangelists. Today? Easily as liberal as Austin (as are all the major metropolitan areas in Texas). That whole “Austin is the liberal oasis in blood-red Texas” is also 50 years out of date.

And frankly, if families want to take their kids to drag brunches, who cares? Cross-dressing is as old as civilization, and has bugger all to do with transgender children or sexual preferences. Do we ban families from watching “Monty Python” movies next?

I Don’t Disagree With The Concerns

But the posts of themselves are not criminal (nasty little thing called the 1st Amendment), and Trump did not incite Jan. 6 with an intemperate tweet or stirring rhetoric the day of. That event was planned and organized, and that’s the reason he should be prosecuted.

And besides, does anyone imagine a Trump in prison will be a silenced Trump? It’s not like he’ll be in solitary or buried under the jail. I know some people on Twitter imagine Trump in a dungeon so far underground it can’t be found, or Trump in chains with a ball gag.  Truth will be far more prosaic.

Calm down, people. Trump is not about to overthrow the nation or start a civil war (Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat, Wilson. If you’re gonna quote somebody to justify your worst case scenario, don’t make it William “Cyberpunk” Gibson. I mean, his whole vision of the future and the internet was passΓ© before the kids forgot who he was. Not an impressive authority on the undistributed future, all I’m saying.) or inflame the passions of thousands (not even hundreds) with a post on Truth Social. Which is probably going to be bankrupt and gone by Hallowe’en anyway.

Really gotta start living in the present and quit inventing horrible futures in order to scare the children. Like Trump’s schtick, that act has so been done.

Time to move on. Future’s coming, and nobody really knows what it looks like. But it’s not the apocalypse. As Dylan said: “Nothing is revealed.”
Well, except that. Some things refuse to change.