Friday, March 24, 2023

Nobody Could Have Foreseen

The plan to wait until 2028 assumes a fundamental change in the country or the appeal of DeSantis. Either change is as likely as a change in the gravitational constant of the universe.

MTG Lied? ๐Ÿคฅ

I’m (almost) shocked! So prison has reformed them? Or have they been cruelly cut off from news of Dark Brandon?

Suck It Up, Buttercup

But he now faces a civil suit from Gaige Grosskreutz, the surviving person he shot — and this week, he appeared on OANN's "Real America with Dan Ball" to complain about his new legal predicament. 
"Kyle, let me apologize for this whacko, his attorney and the judicial system the way it is today, because you were completely exonerated in your criminal case," said Ball. 
"So they're suing me in the Eastern District of Wisconsin for emotional damages, pain and suffering, humiliation, a bunch of other things, I think conspiracy is one of them," said Rittenhouse. "And it's quite honestly ridiculous, it's frustrating, and I'm just praying it doesn't go anywhere because if they win, this is a new standard for people who defend themselves and are rightfully acquitted in a criminal court. If they're proven to use lawful self-defense, they're gonna say, hey, I know you were found not guilty, but we're gonna come after you in civil court, we're gonna take your money and we're gonna file these lawsuits against you and we're gonna drown you in a mountain of debt."
American jurisprudence is rooted in British law. In British legal history civil suits like this predate criminal cases by centuries.

Welcome to reality, kid. What, you don’t know the story of O.J.Simpson?


He doesn't see any downside to upping the ante," said Phillip. "And why would he? Every time that he's escalated the rhetoric, the response on Capitol Hill from Republicans, even the ones who are typically more measured about Trump, has been to circle the wagons around him. So these things really feed on themselves. When trump sees the reaction to one post, the previous one, calling on his supporters to protest, and he sees that the only consequence of that had been that Republicans basically said, we've got to defend Trump, he goes one step further, and I think that's what we're seeing here. We don't know what's going to happen. We don't know what Alvin Bragg is going to do. But Trump is raising a lot of money off of this kind of rhetoric. And I think that he does not care if he does, in fact, spin up unrest. That's part of the strategy."
Please to be defining the word "strategy" here. What is strategic about crazed, racist and race-baiting rants from Shouty Grandpa about "death and destruction" and "the work of the devil"? And does anyone imagine Trump would stop this immeduately if Gym Jordan didn't dance like a marionette on Trump's strings? Or would Trump just yell louder?
"Well, he raised a whole lot of money by saying, oh, I'm going to be — you know, insinuating that he was going to be indicted on Tuesday, right raise money off of that," agreed anchor Don Lemon. "But this is really disturbing me, because he's been doing this for a while, and I think we can't talk enough about it, where he's been calling these prosecutors who happen to be African-American, saying that they're racist. He called Alvin Bragg a 'Soros-backed animal.' He's turning to his old tricks here of, you know, being racist or racist-adjacent, using that type of language for people." 

Not as much money as before. In fact, his donors seem to be tapped out.  As long as we’re sticking to facts.

"And as someone who's covered trump for years, if you go back and you read his rhetoric — I mean, this goes actually all the way back to the 80s," said Phillip. "Trump has a very long history of calling Black people racist or dumb or using, you know — talking about Baltimore as being, you know, filthy, rat-infested, the same thing with Congressman John Lewis' district in the Atlanta suburbs. So he has a long history of that. These are — I don't know if we can even call them codes at this point, because I think that it's pretty transparent, but they are signals to his base, who are much more prone to see Black people, in positions of power in particular, in a racial lens, even though what the D.A. is doing at this moment actually has absolutely nothing to do with race." 
"I think we've got to just stick with the facts here, wait for them to unfold and not get distracted by what Trump is trying to do, which is to rile up his his base from a political perspective on this issue," Phillip added.
And for God’s sake don’t call it racism! Even “racist-adjacent” is not “objective” enough! Do it like this: Yeah: Soros is just like Adelman. Because "the liberal left" has vilified Adelman relentlessly and turned his name into a shibboleth. You know, the old trick of being racist or racist adjacent.

Haven’t they?

(You mean we can’t “both sides” this? No wonder we can’t talk about it!)


The unsubstantiated threats, now under investigation by the New York Police Department and FBI, were emailed to local government officials at a Manhattan community board, according to police. They came from Russian email addresses in the early morning hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, listing government buildings and schools as the targets of alleged pipe bombs, according to the local board official who received them. 
"The FBI told me that they appear to be coming from Russia," said Susan Stetzer, district manager of Community Board 3, who read the emails to Law360 Friday. The board received four email threats over the three days, often sent from domains under different names, she said. The NYPD confirmed the board was the recipient of the original bomb threat on Tuesday.

“”? Are they even trying anymore? And if this:

Separately on Friday, a suspicious white powder was delivered to the offices of District Attorney Alvin Bragg in an envelope marked "Alvin," according to the NYPD. 
A spokesperson for the district attorney said that "it was immediately contained and that the NYPD Emergency Service Unit and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection determined there was no dangerous substance." 
A police spokesperson could not say whether the envelope contained any message or information about its sender.

meets the legal standards for “terrorism,” well and good. But it’s not the blood ‘n’ thunder, death & destruction reign of terror we were led to expect.

So maybe we shouldn’t have expected it.

The air is escaping that balloon faster and faster.

1 Of The 31

That’s a BFD.

Well, and so is this:
I can’t imagine this won’t affect judicial orders if Trump is indicted and arraigned. Secondary to the picture is Trump’s continuing idea that what matters most in vote counts.

He’s due to be very disappointed by the judicial system.

Nothin' But Good Times Ahead!

If she meant the one that discriminates between non-white and white, between rich and poor, I'd agree with her.

But "insurrection" is not a crime, and only the Oath Keepers (was it them?  I think it was.  Jeebus, I should know!) have been found guilty of seditious conspiracy, which is probably what you mean by "insurrection."  And the people in jail otherwise, are there for trespass or obstructing an official government function or assaulting (i.e., beating the crap out of) police officers.
Hold on, I'm gonna use that to put some numbers behind this.  Who among the people guilty of assaulting or killing people that day is a victim of a "two-tier system"?  I'll wait for my answer.  Specifics only, please.

Sorry, Marge.  No sympathies.  Not the "two-tiered" justice system you think it is, either.  Unless you mean the one that treats defendants equally under the law regardless of party loyalty or political ideology.  Maybe you think certain people should not be liable for their actions based on their politics.  That would, indeed, be a "two-tiered system."

So just what the hell are you talking about?

Of course, Marge is talking to these people:

Shit.  After all that, we need a palate cleanser. Let's start with real news:
Corcoran said he wouldn't plead the Fifth. One wonders if he didn't...

And then Biden in Ottawa:

I have it on good authority he's looking at the Conservative Party Canada members as he says that. Dark Brandon wants to bring manufacturing back to America.  And Marge is wailing about people being in jail for criminal acts, and McCarthy refuses to speak to the insanity of Trump: Nothin' but good times ahead!

“…and justice for all.”

Isn’t that kind of the point?

When The Facts Are Against You, Pound On The Law. When The Law Is Against You, Pound On The Facts."

"The DOJ is continuously stepping far outside the standard norms in attempting to destroy the long accepted, long held, Constitutionally based standards of attorney-client privilege and executive privilege," a Trump spokesperson said in a statement. "There is no factual or legal basis or substance to any case against President Trump. The deranged Democrats and their comrades in the mainstream media are corrupting the legal process and weaponizing the justice system in order to manipulate public opinion, because they are clearly losing the political battle."

"When both are against you, pound on the table."  Legal adage usually attributed to Clarence Darrow.

Except the jury in the court of public opinion is not the jury in a court of law, so in actuality, Trump's people are just pounding sand.  The conduct of any trials is going to mean a lot more to public opinion than cries of "FAKE LAW!" 



It’s the excuse he’s busy “reviewing DA Bragg’s letter” that makes it art.

Beginning with "I think that he is venting," Miller told the host, "This is a deranged person. We can look at the politics but also just the reality for a second. If you were reading these bleats that he has been sending out for 24 hours out loud in a coffee shop, people would be running away from you and calling for the manager." 
"These are the utterings of an insane person," he continued. "Not somebody that has the mental capacity to be president in 2024. I think that is important to say that clearly. I think it is a reflection he is both angered and upset about the possibility of these impending indictments. Also, sees the political benefit."
Coffee shop, halls of Congress. Pretty much the same thing, right?

Since The Manhattan Grand Jury Won't Meet On Trump Again Until Monday...

Classic example of the "uncanny valley." But I really came here to discuss books. "Is our children learning?"

In his speech before the bill passed, Speaker Kevin McCarthy declared, "We believe parents should know what your children is [sic] learning."

Among other things, H.R. 5, also known as the “Parents Bill of Rights Act,” would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to require schools to provide parents with a list of books and reading materials available in the school library as well as posting curriculum publicly.

It would also require elementary and middle schools that receive federal funding to obtain parental consent before “changing a minor child’s gender markers, pronouns, or preferred name on any school form; or allowing a child to change the child’s sex-based accommodations, including locker rooms or bathrooms.”

Do other parents get a say?  It's a "bill of rights," right? 

Additionally, the legislation affirms parents’ rights to address school boards and receive information about violent activity in their child’s school.

If you're not getting that already, you need to be more involved in school board elections. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said the Republican bill “will not see the light of day” in the Senate and has called the legislation “Orwellian to the core.”

In remarks on the Senate floor Thursday, Schumer described the measure as a “school control bill.”

“If passed, schools across the nation would be forced to adhere to a panoply of federal regulations that take power away from parents and school districts. Again, let me repeat that: it would take power away from parents and school districts, away from educators, and put it in the hands of elected politicians. Again, the GOP that treasured small government, local control, is long since gone, replaced once again, by hard right MAGA ideologues,” Schumer said.
Brought to you by conservatives who think government is too big!  Unless it's doing what they want done.
I agree with this argument/example, even though: A) Nobody reads the Bible; and B) it isn't meant to be read by children; C) or as a novel, or an ethics manual, or in any manner except as the scriptures of a religious community (and so read in the context of that community). This passage from Ezekiel, for example, is aimed at Israel for its faithlessness which has landed it in Exile (Ezekiel writes from Babylon).  It's really not unusual language for the Exilic prophets in denouncing Israel, but no, it's not the stuff I would read to an elementary school kid.  And it definitely needs to be read in the context of a believing community, not as history or a narrative or even literature.  (I have nothing against teaching the Bible as Western literature.  I've done it myself.  But if you're going to provide context for Twain's use of the "N-word" in Huckleberry Finn, well....).

But the jab against "I don't like what I've heard about that book so git it outta tha liberry!" is a sound one, even when the Bible is the example of the falsity of such notions.  There's quite a bit in scriptures that would attack selfishness and greed and capitalism and "The American Way," which people routinely ignore in proving the Bible is a classic in Twain's sense (at least it's usually attribued to him):  "A book which everyone praises and no one reads."
"So much of it"? All of it. Just simply: all of it.

And since the grand jury in Manhattan isn't doing anything today (but Corcoran is testifying!  Too bad that's not on TeeVee):
"Breaking"? I'm so ready for this case to leave the grand jury and enter the courthouse. The number of legal pundits who haven't a clue but KNOW Bragg does/does not have a case, is growing tiresome. The most wrong a lawyer can be is to be sure he/she knows the quality of another lawyer's case that the first lawyer has NO involvement in.

None Dare Call It Racism

God forbid the obvious should be stated: the "ties" racism and it's subset, anti-semitism.

The "ties" are entirely invented by racists and white supremacists.  But heaven forbid we call a white man a "racist."

I still remember when black Civil Rights activists were called "racists," while white police with water cannons and dogs were simply "enforcing the law."
Why can't the NYT do that much? Too grey and too much of an old lady?

Remember When We Were Supposed To Republish This Stuff?

Because ignoring it just made it worse?

We were wrong.

That said, the air is clearly running out of his balloon. Only one word in all caps? SAD! And most of his defense is that he’s a politician? SADDER! And “death and destruction “? He barely promotes it, he just sort of expects it. As an adjunct to being a politician.

He’s starting to sound like Rick Moranis in “Ghostbusters” running around outside Tavern on the Green, talking to horses and promising the end of the world.

Except Moranis’ character was possessed by a demon. Trump is just cracking up.

Louis: You will perish in flame, you and all your kind! Gatekeeper!
Coachman : What an asshole.

Happy Crime Fraud Exception Day!

31 lawyers. Holy crap! ๐Ÿ’ฉ 

We’re Finished Here

Why it matters: Bragg’s response leaves Republicans with little room to maneuver in their effort to dent the probe’s credibility — forcing them to decide whether to venture into the uncharted territory of subpoenaing a local prosecutor. 
What she’s saying: Dubeck [Bragg's counsel] listed four ways in which, she argues, the House GOP’s request for testimony is improper. 
The letter seeks “non-public information about a pending criminal investigation, which is confidential under state law.” 
The requests are an “unlawful incursion into New York’s sovereignty” under the 10th Amendment, which is understood to prevent congressional inquiries into matters delegated to the states. This 
Congress is “not the appropriate branch” to review a pending criminal case. Instead, Dubeck wrote, the courts are the “proper forum” for a challenge. 
Requests for information about the use of federal funding are “an insufficient basis to justify these unconstitutional requests.” 
The other side: “Alvin Bragg should focus on prosecuting actual criminals in New York City rather than harassing a political opponent in another state,” the House Judiciary Committee GOP tweeted after the release of the letter. 
Jordan told Axios he is “reviewing the letter” and declined to weigh in on a possible subpoena.
That's weaselspeak for “We’re finished here.” Jordan is not going to bother trying to obtain an unenforceable subpoena.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

No One Could Have Foreseen

“Incest, onanism, bestiality, prostitution, genital mutilation, fellatio, dildos, rape, and even infanticide,” the parent wrote in their request, listing topics they found concerning in the religious text. “You’ll no doubt find that the Bible, under Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-1227, has ‘no serious values for minors’ because it’s pornographic by our new definition.” 
The parent points to action by Utah Parents United, a right-leaning group that has led the efforts to challenge books here for being inappropriate. It has largely centered on texts written by and about the LGBTQ community and people of color. 
Based on the new Utah law, something is indecent if it includes explicit sexual arousal, stimulation, masturbation, intercourse, sodomy or fondling. 
According to state attorneys, material doesn’t have to be “taken as a whole” in those situations or left on the shelf during a review. If there is a scene involving any of those acts, it should be immediately removed.
Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, who sponsored the bill to remove pornographic books from school libraries, called the request to pull the Bible “antics that drain school resources.”
As opposed to requests he approved of; those don’t drain resources.
He also acknowledged the parent who submitted the request “really had to go through their Bible study” to come up with the list of examples they found inappropriate. He added: “I hope they paid attention to other parts of the Bible, though.”
He’s clearly not familiar with another book, called a concordance. (A list of all words found in the KJV, and the verses where they can be found.)

The definition used in the statute is clearly written to comply with Supreme Court holdings on pornography. But that’s the problem with trying to write a law that doesn’t really follow 1st Amendment jurisprudence; because it can’t.
"Which is being banned from school libraries?”

I Guess He Knows They Can See Him

(Still not a legal defense.)

I Don't Know What's Been Established About Tik-Tok

I do know what kind of hearing is going on in Congress today. I don't expect any useful information to come from it. And whenever anybody says "Everybody knows," I just discount the allegation automatically. I mean, wasn't that Snowden's argument about the entire internet? Except it wasn't China he was afraid of? So color me skeptical on this topic, until I'm better informed from better sources. In the meantime: I know what's going on with Twitter. Elmo has opened the files to the likes of Mattydickpics and Bari Weiss, so it's not beyond reason he's opened them to foreign governments, too. He publicly buys into the most ludicrous GOP promoted conspiracy theories. Twitter is clearly once again home to racists and white supremacists and Lord knows how many Russian and/or Chinese bots. So why aren't we hanging him out to dry? Is it because Twitter is HQ'ed in America? And Tik-Tok is out of China?

If you're not going to trust one, why trust the other?  If you think we need to ban one, why not the other?

Inquiring minds want to know!

I Told You The Courts Are Not Blind...

...or stupid, or mindless automatons.

Dominion, Smartmatic, FoxNews, and Mike Lindell, Would Like To Have A Word

What about this seems like a political winner in a GOP primary? Or even in Florida?  Without Sullivan, FoxNews and Lindell would be in an even greater world of hurt, because Dominion and Smartmatic wouldn't have to clear the high bar of "actual malice."  (It's still remarkable FoxNews made that so easy for them.  But imagine a world where that wasn't necessary.)

And a reminder that NYT v Sullivan shut down the Southern public official practice of suing civil rights workers and others for accurately describing Southern public officials as racists and white supremacists.  The defamation suits were used as a weapon to silence dissent and public disagreement with state government policy.

So it's a legitimate question:  does Gov. DeSantis pine for the "Good old days" when government critics could easily be sued into silence?  Because especially today, that door swings both ways.

Meanwhile: Best of Dying Twitter

๐Ÿ˜… ๐Ÿ˜‚

I offer no excuse for my sense of humor.

It's Also Not A Legal Defense

Thanks to the 5th Amendment, we'll never see Trump in court answering these charges from the witness stand, under oath.

In England, it would be odd if he didn't testify.

I'm not knocking the 5th Amendment, I'm just saying it's not the only way to conduct criminal trials.

It would be fun to see Trump on the stand in his own defense.  It's really only the 5th Amendment that's kept him from being buried under the jail by now.
And boy are they having fun! Trump’s lawyers, on the other hand, are not having fun.

Still, we can know the company Trump keeps:
I'm not sure that just being in Manhattan is a problem for the jury pool for Trump anymore. Being anywhere among civilized people is more of the problem, now.

Remember When Republicans Were All About "Small Government"?

Yeah, that was actually kinda nice.
One R rep repeated a regular talking point: if parents knew what was on the shelf, they would want this government oversight.
What, the classroom is closed to them?  They're afraid of books?  Of ideas? Do they imagine school teachers keep The Story of O on their shelves? Or Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book? Or The Communist Manifesto?

One of those is hard-core porn.  The others would just be incomprehensible to most public school students.  I was reading Kierkegaard in high school, and while it wasn't the Sunday school lesson I'd gotten in church, it was actually 20 years later before I really began to understand it.  

"Inappropriate" is such a stupid standard for censorship.  Hard-core porn is unsuitable for anybody.  Below that, you're just fretting that your kid will know something you don't.  And frankly, I don't want government oversight over that my kid can read in a public school.

I'm guessing these people don't give their kids much access to books anyway.  That's not a reason to use government to keep my kids, or everybody else's kids, away from books.
Is it fascism if it only takes one person to overrule all the rest of us? Asking for a friend...


We get comments!

 I of course started to respond to this until I realized that, despite various attempts, and occasional skims, I haven't read The Sickness unto Death.

You will recall I last tackled Kierkegaard a few years ago (The Concept of Anxiety) and did a blog post and you had a few comments. I'm not sure that Kierkegaard is quite as (Protestantly) orthodox on soteriology--there he seemed to conclude that Adam brought sin in the world, not uniquely, but as each of us does. In my skims of TSUD I haven't seen so much of atonement as another excruciatingly painful bout of self-examination.

I can't fault your overall read of the gospels. If I had to put a label on it I would call it Christian humanism, and I share it. But for all my enthusiasm for what might also be called Erasmian Christianity I have also a growing appreciation of what, in modern times, has been a mostly Protestant venture in juxtaposing human beings with God--ala Kierkegaard or Barth or even Tillich. We come up radically short. And of course the result of that isn't, for the vast majority, a depth of Kierkegaardian anxiety and despair, or Barth's sense of the fearful otherness of God. But for those of us nuts enough to think theology valuable, these kinds of deep dives help keep us from the complacency that sometimes passes for Christian comfort.

Give me a year or two and I'll give you a response that's actually informative!

First, a confession:  I still have to read COA (I think I have the Lowrie translation, The Concept of Dread.  I do prefer the Hong translations, they're much more readable.)  SK probably isn't terribly orthodox on soteriology. I just find myself wholly unorthodox these days.

Let's have a beer and talk about it!

I resonate with Annie Dillard's idea of the complete Otherness of God, one she roots in Judiasm (though she is Christian).  I have vague recollections of her description of it from one of her essays: something about if God actually paid attention to worshippers they might all be blasted to bits by the gaze.  Very in keeping with depictions of encounters with the Almighty in the Hebrew scriptures, you understand (Moses glowing from the reflected glory of God on Sinai; Elijah meeting God in an earthquake and a whirlwind, but God is not in either; Ezekiel seeing only the glory of God (the light shining off the Presence) atop the throne chariot; even Paul on the road to Damascus, struck down by a blinding light (the glory, again).  That kind of thing.)  To me that's the basis and reason for worship (to wander off task a bit):  it's for us, not for God (the usual modern critique of worship:  why does God need it?).  I (wandering further) tried to lead worship in a way that the encounter with God (however it came) was enough to change your view of the world for the rest of the week.  It was meant to be the inverse of "recharging your spiritual batteries" so you could "face the world again."  Rather than God being a battery charger, the living presence of God was so fundamentally Other that the world, by contrast, was a piece of cake.

There's also the root there for Christian humility, which I place more in the "first shall be last, last first" teachings, and in the Matthean parable of the sheep and goats:  "Lord, when did we see you?"  Take that seriously, along with the absolute Otherness of God, and you've got good grounds to be humble.

And so we come back to "How should we then live?", Tolstoy's question which has become so important to me, especially as I am as out of touch with other people as I have ever been (I don't lead a church, I don't teach a class, I don't practice law and have clients; not anymore).  No, that's not self-pity or a sad thing.  But I'm well aware I'm effectively on a desert island, and my interactions with other humans are in crowded stores and noisy restaurants (excepting the people who work in these places whom I encounter for mercantile reasons).  So I'm a bit less interested in "The Individual," and much less enamored of what I see as SK's emphasis (in SUD) on Augustine's "God-shaped hole" (which is not what Augustine meant any more than SK meant a "leap of faith" is a leap in the dark, but anyway....).  I don't think our hearts are restless until they rest in God.  But I do think the value of Christianity, and the salvation of Christianity. lies in how we live, not in how we confess ("confess" here not carrying the meaning of "confession of sins," which is a practice of Christian humility and not to be idly gainsaid or even ever set aside.  Indeed, I read somewhere that that Catholic practice of the confessional came out of the practice of the Irish monks as a spiritual discipline among them.  I wish there were a Protestant counterpart. I could have used a confessor when I was in parish ministry.  I'm not sure it would have changed any outcomes (most of the ministers I knew and trusted were as helpless as me), but it would have made life a bit easier.).

I think the root of my objection is the fundamentalist/evangelical culture we both grew up in.  I've seen true charitable work done by the large Southern Baptist church here in town, but too much of the theology is about soteriology is about having the right ideas, or at least claiming to.  As Jeremiah said, speaking for God:  "The heart is devious; who can fathom it? I, God, test the heart..."  We are known by what we do, in other words.

"Lord, when did we see you?"  "What you did for the least of these, you did for me."

So I don't think I'm tossing out the baby with the bathwater (nor did you say I am!).  It's the Romanticism of SK I can't hold onto anymore. I admire the Romantic movement, we are all living in its utter transformation of how we understand ourselves in the world.  But the emphasis on the personal, rather than the communal, is a bit more than I can give credit to, anymore.

Let's have a beer and talk about it!* ๐Ÿป

(*Something I understand Luther liked to do.  You can't too much dislike a man like that!)

Old Enough To Remember...

Then AG John Ashcroft ordering the statue of Justice that stood behind his DOJ podium be draped because the female figure was topless.

There is, indeed, nothing new under the sun.  And art imitates art imitates life:
Maybe it just needs a figleaf:

However, the difficulty in claiming that Matt Groening and his writers "predicted" the censorship of Michelangelo's "David" lies in the fact that campaigns to cover up nude works of art in general, and "David" in particular, have existed for centuries. The prevalence of fig leafs on classical statues is testament to that, as Alexxa Gotthardt wrote for the website Artsy in 2018:

Take Michelangelo's famous sculpture "David" (1501–04), a muscular, starkly naked depiction of its namesake biblical hero. The work scandalized the artist’s fellow Florentines and the Catholic clergy when unveiled in Florence’s Piazza della Signoria in 1504. Soon after, the figure’s sculpted phallus was girdled with a garland of bronze fig leaves by authorities.

60 years later, just months before Michelangelo’s death, the Catholic Church issued an edict demanding that “figures shall not be painted or adorned with a beauty exciting … lust.” The clergy began a crusade to camouflage the pensises and pubic hair visible in artworks across Italy. Their coverups of choice? Loincloths, foliage, and — most often — fig leaves. It has became known as the “Fig Leaf Campaign,” one of history’s most significant acts of art censorship.

A more recent example, described by the website of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, came in the mid-1800s, when the Grand Duke of Tuscany presented Queen Victoria with a 6-meter-high cast of the original statue:

"The story goes that on her first encounter with the cast of 'David' at the Museum, Queen Victoria was so shocked by the nudity that a proportionally accurate fig leaf was commissioned. It was then kept in readiness for any royal visits, when it was hung on the figure using two strategically placed hooks."

There is indeed nothing new under the sun. 

Your Sand Is That Way, Congressman ๐Ÿ‘‰

I really want to see Gym go to the full House for a subpoeana which a judge then refuses to enforce for so many reasons I can't begin to catalog them all, but starting with the fact Congress has no legislative interest in interfering with the lawful conduct of an investigation by a state into violations of its law.

How Does AI Improve On This?

Tucker isn’t giving away the ballgame here. Tucker is reinforcing his position,

Who is telling the lies and what the lies are is a matter of definition. More particularly, it’s a matter of group identity. 

When the group I belong to says another group is lying, I don’t critically examine my group because sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. My group is not a goose! Yours is! Isn’t that clear?

We don’t need ChatGPT to write a blogpost on this. Much more effective for a TeeVee personality to just say it on air.

Who reads blogposts anyway?

Hoist On His Own…

The intense media scrutiny on the Trump case and his global notoriety also make it unlikely that other venues would make jury selection any easier, says Beidel. “Where can he go that’s not media-saturated? Where is the place where no one knows about this case or investigation at this point?”
So the argument is Trump can’t get a fair trial anywhere because he’s successfully sought notoriety and media attention all his adult life?

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

๐Ÿ‘‰ ๐Ÿ‘ˆ

And this has what to do with a secure border?
House Republicans have sent letters to at least three universities and a think tank requesting a broad range of documents related to what it says are the institutions’ contributions to the Biden administration’s “censorship regime.”

The letters are the latest effort by a House subcommittee set up in January to investigate how the federal government, working with social media companies, has allegedly been “weaponized” to silence conservative and right-wing voices. So far, the committee’s investigations have amplified a variety of dubious, outright false and highly misleading Republican grievances with law enforcement, many of them espoused by former President Donald Trump. Committee members have cited supposed abuses that include the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago, its investigations of Jan. 6 rioters and the Biden administration’s purported use of executive powers to shut down conservative viewpoints on social media.
Go ahead, explain.  I'll wait.

While you're working on that, do you mean this "open border"?
Asking for a friend. I really hope his lawyers are getting their money up front. "My death, is it possible?" Does he understand the main drawback to martyrdom is that you don't get to enjoy it? Mostly why I'm not getting to wound up about it. That, and I'm old. I'm too old to get excited about much of anything. Which is why Moms take their young children, right? Yeah, you'll never make 'em happy. I love the idea that we kinda know fake from real now (if it weren’t for algorithms and modern technology), but in the future we won’t be able to know at all. Especially juries!

Except juries deal with fake evidence all the time.  DNA evidence is not real because CSI says so. It’s evaluated in a courtroom by competing experts and the jury makes the final call. Same with fingerprints and eyewitness accounts and forgeries and faked evidence, etc., etc.,etc. There is indeed nothing new under the sun. It all has to evaluated. As good as fakes are, they can be discovered.

For example:
Trump is a LOT fatter than that (on the right) and he could be taken down by two healthy 10 year old girls, you wouldn’t need 10 cops (“big guys, with tears in their eyes”). These are both clearly fan-fic.

AI generated fake evidence/information can be evaluated the way I learned to spot bought essays. You learn to evaluate, which is the only way you know true from false anyway. Well, except in TeeVee shows where they do the thinking for you. But sooner or later you have to learn that real life isn’t like that.
When you point a finger at me, three more are pointing back at you. I guess that works! "A fool and his money ๐Ÿ’ฐ are soon parted.” ๐Ÿ’ธ You can stop anytime you want. I think we all get it. The wisdom of crowds. The "genius" of the right.  ๐Ÿ’ฏ  And your reminder that local criminal practice is local. Bookkeeping matters, too. And there was a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions had an experience of schadenfreude all at once.

May You Live In Interesting Times

Could be even more interesting: Inquiring minds want to know! Don’t count your chickens… ๐Ÿฃ  If the documents have been surrendered, any further appeal is moot. Corcoran is going to testify, sooner or later. If this is about national security/Espionage Act violations, this could be very, very bad for Trump. Maybe even 14th Amendment bad. ๐Ÿค” (Yeah, I’m really spitballin’ there.)

And just because I like it:

"LOCK 'EM UP!!!!"

As I never tire of saying (but should): if you're clamoring for your political opponents to be arrested and jailed because you don't like whatever it is they are doing (my personal choice is Gym Jordan at the moment) you're literally no different from empty greene.

Who is a buffoon.  Don't be a buffoon.  It's so unbecoming.

Not That I'm Surprised

But now the appealing parties have to get the Supreme Court to take an interlocutory appeal (or whatever it would be. What do I look like, an appellate law expert?) if they can, and get an administrative stay out of them.

It could happen.  But 773 words 30 minutes late, v. 6455 words 24 minutes early?  I just think the appealing parties are outgunned here.  And considering this is a grand jury proceeding, I don't think the Supremes want to get involved at all.  The appellate court had to; the Supremes (again, note the lack of expertise avowed here), have discretion.

I think the massive bulldozer of the GOP investigation plows on.
Eh. Dismissed for mootness. Although consideration might affect electoral outcome.

Once Again, My Commenters Are Ahead Of The Curve

Never trust a Florida governor who eats pudding with his fingers where he can be seen doing it.
I'm old enough to remember a hapless Jerry Brown trying to eat a tamale in San Antonio, without removing the corn husk first.  To be fair, his advance people never should have let that be handed to him (it's not a taco, i.e., it's not "street food").  How many politicians have come to an end by being handed food to eat in public?

Of course, DeSantis was just eating in public.  And whether the story is true or not, it is now.

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Fear And Loathing On The Metaphysical Campaign Trail

Yeah, my copy is that old.  $1.95.  Dem was de days!

So I'm trying to read The Sickness Unto Death and I just can't do it.  No, not because it's hard (it's remarkably easy, really); because it's so dated.  The premise is Augustinian:  that the individual soul without full awareness of God is in despair, and only via the right theology of Christianity can this despair be remedied.

Kierkegaard would kick at that reductio description, but I'm sticking with it.  And I'm just so through with this metaphysic and the soteriology built on it that I just can't wade through S.K.'s argument.  To begin with, S.K. is Augustine read through Luther (who was an Augustinian monk) filtered through early Romanticism (i.e., the 19th century).  The link to S.K. is through Luther, because S.K. was a seminary student all but ordained into the Danish Lutheran church.  This family tree yields the fruit of an excessive (to my mind now) emphasis on the individual and individual salvation (the hallmark of Romanticism and, later, of American fundamentalism).  S.K.'s emphasis is on the internal nature of the individual and the self which is a relation of the self to the self.  Yeah, I get what he's getting at, but I can't but see it as all persiflage and handwaving.

You will say I am rejecting Xianity, but I'm not.  I'm embracing what I understand are the true teachings of the gospels, and I don't see anything in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth (even from John's gospel) that dwells hard on the metaphsyics of the soul and the internal necessity of soteriology leading that soul to a relation that relates the self to itself grounded in the Power that posited it.  Mostly I see Jesus telling us to live a full life, we must live for others; put them first and ourselves last.  And while I see the humility Kierkegaard is trying to enforce on the soul before the Power that posited it, I don't see that as the same humility as the first being last, and the last first.  Because that humility only works within a society.  Kierkegaard's meditation might work for a lost soul on a desert island, but in a society I think the emphasis needs to be less on "the individual" (S.K.'s favorite subject) and more on the individual's relation, not to the relation of the self to the self, but to one's brothers and sisters.  Who are, after all, the Christ.  "Whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me."

Not a lot of concern there for your inner angst, or lack thereof.

So what is my concern with the state of my self that wants to eliminate despair by "relating itself to its own self and by willing to be itself the self is ground transparently in the Power which posited it"?  Maybe cloistered monks seek that goal, but I know even the anchorites didn't, because this seems to posit some very powerful navel-gazing.  And do I really need to "Get right with God!" (the fundies are ever with me) before I can offer help to someone who needs it?  Jesus said don't bring your offering to the temple until you've squared things with those you have wronged, or who have wronged you.  Isn't that the direction?  Isn't worrying about the internal state of my eternal soul (the self is, but is not, the soul.  Don't worry about his metaphysics too much here.), a peculiarly Lutheran preoccupation, I might add, rather like ignoring the needs of my brothers and sisters (who are everyone who is not me) while I ponder too long over an attractive floor covering?

The large rooms of which you are so proud are in fact your shame. They are big enough to hold crowds--and also big enough to shut out the voices of the poor....There is your sister or brother, naked, crying! And you stand confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.

Ambrose, 4th Century

Or, you know, the state of my despair.  Yeah, I just think the parable of the sheep and the goats is a better lesson on how I should then live.  There's just too much Luther (the person) and 19th century Romanticism here for me.

Which would put me out of sorts with Fear and Trembling, too.  If it weren't for the panegyric on Abraham, and the description of the perfectly quotidian and middle-class Knight of Faith which caused me to write in the margins, in the early '70s, that he was describing my father.  And the general discussion of the nature of faith (rather than the metaphysical nature of the soul) which Derrida picked up in The Gift of Death.  Yeah, I owe too much to Fear, misunderstood as it so often is (that whole "leap of faith" thing is not the idea so many people think it is).  Besides, it gave Hunter Thompson the title of the greatest piece of reportage on a political campaign ever written:  Fear and Loathing On the Campaign Trail '68.  Come to think of it I need to look for a copy of that....

Except for some of the Edifying Discourses (and even then!), I fear I'm leaving S.K. further and further behind.  The 19th century was an age ago, wasn't it?*

*I should expound on this, or defend my thesis; but more and more I don't have the energy.  Or maybe it's the interest.  I grow more and more comfortable with what I think, and less and less interested in imagining objections to it which I must answer.  Old age that is tied to me as to a dog's tail, I guess.  Or maybe it's an old man's contentment.  It would be unwise to call it an old man's wisdom.

(Let me put it this way:  what is important to me as a Christian is my relationship to others (and I don't mean "friendly" or even "kindly," but simply my connection, my actions toward, others), not my relationship to myself (back to the question of talking to myself, and who is talking to whom?).  Christianity teaches me to be in relationship, and the state of my self is the least important element in that relationship.  Which is not the same as advocating self-abnegation (too far to the other extreme), but this intense focus on the state of the self (and its nature) is just too much Romanticism for me, and the worst part of it (from Wordsworth to Byron, and back again.  If, as I do, you see them as the two poles of that preoccupation with the "individual."). I just think the question of "how am I doing with God?" is answered with the parable of the sheep and the goats, or indeed most of the teachings of Jesus' ministry:  "How are you doing with your brothers and sisters who need food right now?  Or a visit?  Or a coat?  What's your relationship with 'the least of these'?" Because the law and the prophets are all about how we treat each other; not about how we align ourselves metaphysically with "the Power" that posited the relationship so we can shake off feelings of discomfort and disquietude.  I mean, even the heathen can do as much!)