Tuesday, January 31, 2023


I said earlier Trump was going to hand his head (and balls, it turns out) to prosecutors. I just didn’t expect him to do it so completely so soon. He is making it impossible not to prosecute him.

“You’re Not The Boss Of Me!”

I’m not sure I want to be treated by a health-care worker who’s only reason for not being vaccinated against an infectious disease is “I don’t have to!”

My doctor still requires I wear a mask on office visits, and I’m comforted by that.

Aside From Ron DeSantis, Who Is This Directed To?

And do we really want the US House to be the Public Health Officer-In-Chief? Do we even care? Seriously, what’s the point of this?

Isn’t this the radical House we’re all supposed to be afraid of? The one that’s going to destroy democracy and end life as we know it in these United States? Is this where that starts?
Or this? You know, sometimes sunlight is the best disinfectant. Leave MTG on committees where she can whine like Trump. Nobody’s getting tired of that!
He sent a big thing out yesterday about, I don't know, fake news," he complained. "He's suing somebody. I'm telling you, folks, I'm just telling you. Nobody cares. I mean, they just don't care." 
Instead, Fredericks argued that Trump should be focusing on problems like the price of eggs. " 
People are hurting and just putting out more Gettr or whatever it is — Truth Socials — about, you know, suing Woodward and CNN or something," he continued. "I'm telling you, it's all grievances. No one cares. They just don't care! I just don't care."

My Grandma Say To Your Grandma: “Gonna Set Your Flag On Fire” 🔥

Investigation concluded, Rep. Comar!

Howdy, Y’all! 🤠

You Know He Means It

Because: (This is the “whiny little brat” defense. Then again, it’s probably the best he’s got.)

Carrying On The Conversation

 I’m trying to have a bit of dialogue here with Walter Brueggemann and TC, so forgive me if I’m a bit ham-handed or unclear, or brief to the point of gnomic. You’ll have to read TC’s post first. So do that and then come back.

Done? Good. All I really want to add just now is that the new underlying connection in what is said there is that God is relational. That’s the point of Genesis beginning with creation, and making it clear God is Creator. God is in relationship with the creation, and just as the origin or shaping source (contra the Greek logos). God is in relation with creation, and humans are part of that creation.

So Israel can question God’s faithfulness, and God can assert God is not human (“Were you there when I laid the foundations of the earth?”) but still care enough about humans to respond to Satan’s challenge against Job’s faithfulness (I really could write a treatise on Job, it’s such a rich examination of this issue of this relationship). No, God is not a good pastoral counselor, but then that’s why we have relationships with human beings, too.

This is a whole consideration, which brings in long-dormant issues of hospitality (also critical in Scriptures). But to reduce it to a core: if you recognize the fundamental, that the record of scripture is about relationships, between God and humanity and humans with each other, a great deal of dross and persiflage falls away, and you get to the heart of the matter. Not that the relationships are one-sided or simple, but that what’s important becomes much, much clearer.

I Should Know Better 😇 🍿

But given the caliber of Trump’s legal representation:
They are trying to take over the world and enslave everybody," she said, likely referring to liberals. "That is wrong; it's un-American, and it goes against everything our Constitution stands for." 
"We will get Donald Trump back in office," she added. "At that point, I think we need an investigation into who actually overthrew the United States government to install a fake president?"
I think I’m safe in assuming this lawsuit doesn’t state some novel legal theory that’s likely to prevail against common sense.

In this case, the fairly simple argument that Trump agreed to being taped, but somehow had “King’s’X’” against the tapes being published. First, I’m pretty comfortable in asserting Trump needs to show an affirmative (legalese for “actual”) agreement not to publish the tapes. A simple "I never said he could" does not suffice.  Moreover, Trump agreed the tapes would be used for a book (this is the basis for his argument that the tapes could not be published). Then what if Woodward had simply published transcripts of the tapes? Would that be substantively different from the act complained of? How?

I'm pretty sure it unravels from there.  I would be less sure if Christina Bobb wasn't one of his attorneys, and if he didn't just waste a great deal of money and judicial resources in a futile attempt to get the DOJ to return the seized documents to him that ended in such a harsh rebuke from the appellate court against the trial judge I'm surprised they didn't levy sanctions against her (I think they would have if they could have). Not to mention the suit that did end in sanctions for Trump and his attorney, and the suit he withdrew because the court warned it considered that suit as frivolous as the other.

Let's just say his legal track record is really, really not good.

Adding: this morning brings further proof Trump’s Roy Cohn games have run their course:
Precedent is not only set by published appellate court opinions. Something courts are reluctant to do can become more likely when the same parties try the same stunts too many times. Those tactics work against private parties who are paying lawyers to go to court. As I’ve said before, Trump is facing governments, who have lawyers just for this kind of thing. Cohn’s tactics don’t work now (the federal Fair Housing case Trump and Daddy list decades back is a case in point). And courts are conservative: they don’t like to do what hasn’t been done before. But if one court sanctions the party(ies) for egregious behavior, it becomes easier to seek similar sanctions elsewhere.


Monday, January 30, 2023

In Order To Save The Village…

...we have to destroy it?

What, again, is the endgame here? Saving the economy? Or just “cutting spending”? And is that for any other reason than a Democrat is in the White House?

I honestly expect the House GOP to be so divided on this issue that the Democrats will have the few they need to pass a clean debt ceiling increase.

These idiots really have no idea how to even hold the government hostage. They don’t realize they’re holding the gun to their own head.

“Brand Jesus”

I’ve seen some of these ads, with the tagline: “Jesus gets us.” Not terribly impressive, or carrying much of a message.

What’s eye-popping here is the expense of running ads during the Super Bowl. Per the article, critics of the ad buy ask:WWJD? Fair enough.

I’m guessing Jesus would want that money spent on people. It is easier to spend money on abstract goals like the “desire to see the Jesus of the Bible represented in today’s culture with the same relevance and impact He had 2000 years ago.” Which is doubly ironic, since the impact Jesus had 2000 years ago was limited to 12 men and Paul of Tarsus, and starting about 30 years after his death, the communities that created the canonical gospels. The only record we have of those communities now is the four gospels.The actual impact was felt in 312 CE, when Constantine I converted to Christianity, and brought the entire Roman Empire with him. It was at that point Christianity moved to the center of the world.

A Super Bowl ad is not going to replicate that history.

But more to the point: is the purpose of Christianity evangelism, or is it service to others? Arguably, despite the so-called “Great Commission” of Matthew, the weight of the gospel teachings are that we are our brothers and sisters keepers; or at least, their welfare should be our concern.  Their material welfare, not just their spiritual welfare.

It is much easier to fund an ad campaign than to organize help for people. People are messy, complicated, and refuse to be just what we want them to be. Ask any parent: after learning to live with your spouse, it’s the great lesson of parenthood: your children are people, too. Dorothy Day understood you have to live with people in order to justly serve them, because you have to respect them as people, flesh and bone rather than abstractions. The incarnation of God as ptochoi, the poorest of the poor, made the same point. Even the Creator has to approach people where they are, and serve them in order to teach us the importance of service.

It is such a hard concrete lesson we have heaped layers and layers and layers of abstractions on top of it, the better to avoid the reality. More fool us.

Reality Is Out In The Hall Getting Shitfaced

Oh well, anyway, Trump gave a campaign speech this weekend, his first of the 2024 campaign. It sounds like it was a real snoozer. It was in a high school auditorium, for the state GOP convention. Only Newsmax, OAN, and Real America's Voice played it live. And bless his heart, but it sounds like he thinks windmills are making all the airplanes crash now.

That's right, they don't just create bird graveyards now. They “kill all the birds, destroy all the planes, and our beautiful oceans and seas and everything else.” The wind turbines are apparently escalating their murderous behavior.

The tweets with video of all this are at Wonkette.

Trump said "so many people" ask him for help becoming a US citizen, and he tells them "go to the southern border, just walk across the line." He said a rich guy he knows can't become a citizen, even though he's studied so hard, and Trump just told him to go to Mexico and walk across the border. All of this is real and it happened. 

A big, strong man, with tears in his eyes, who said "Sir" a lot. (Trump has absolutely no idea how citizenship works.  I'm pretty sure his most ardent followers don't, either.)

Note: at the beginning of that clip right there, Mr. Dictionary claims that he "came up with" the word "caravan." Wasn't that nice of him?

Other bits an pieces: He said the Taliban couldn't fight at night, because they didn't have the "binoculars" for that. Amidst some other incomprehensible babbling, he said the National Archives are "far left." 

But this is why I wanted to quote Wonkette:

The 2016 election was a unique event, and Donald Trump only "won" because of some extremely specific conditions that are unlikely to ever be precisely replicated. Historically unpopular candidates, FBI meddling in the political process, a Russian attack in support of Trump -- y'all remember. Russia tried to attack 2020 for Trump, but it wasn't enough.

Maybe he was never that special to begin with. He was just different in 2016, and that, combined with all those factors that helped him cheat his way into a "victory," was enough to creep him across the finish line. Didn't work in 2020.

Will the tired loser even make it out of the primaries this time? You know, assuming he isn't in prison?

Funny thing about prison (though):  it isn't a bar to a President taking office. 

Because qualifications for the Presidency are in the Constitution (art. II). And being in prison is not a bar to the office.  Even being an ex-felon is no bar. The "Founding Fathers" (I hate that term, but we're stuck with it) probably didn't imagine criminals and ex-cons would be elected to public office because they tried to reserve the vote to people like them.  That didn't last long, and the Jacksonian branch of American democracy struck a deep root (Jefferson never imagined the Jacksonian line of American democracy.  He was thinking of gentlemen farmers like himself.).  The history of America is littered with ex-cons being elected, or re-elected, to public office. The more interesting question is:  how will Trump campaign if he's being tried in New York and Georgia and possibly D.C. (federal charges)?  And maybe in Florida on federal charges over the documents, depending on how venue obtains (I would assume Florida, at this point).  He's already hurting his criminal defense(s) with his public statements (all admissable in court, at least presumptively so).  If his attorneys couldn't shut him up on the campaign trail (fat chance!), he'd guarantee himself one or more convictions.  And appealing those cases wouldn't automatically keep him out of jail while the appeals are pending.  Again, he could still run for office; he'd just be a lot less effective doing so from a jail cell, where his access to the outside world could be very constrained.

The rest of that analysis, however:  💯  Dead right.  The concatentation of circumstances that was the election of 2016, right down to the baggage Hillary Clinton rightly or wrongly carried, is not going to be repeated in 2024.  Trump actually did better in the popular vote in 2020 because he had the incumbency, and there is always an electoral tendency to stick with the devil you know than the devil you don't know.  Turnout was low in 2016, and that paved the way for Trump, via the electoral college.  4 years later the revulsion for Trump boosted turnout to near historic levels.  If Trump runs again in 2024, that boost in turnout could well happen again.  4 years is not long enough to forget.

Joe Biden was not Hillary Clinton, and he bested Trump fair and square.  Given the choice again in 2024, Trump will probably do poorer and Biden, the incumbent, even better.  Will Trump make it out of the primaries?  Probably, especially if the field is crowded once again.  DeSantis may defeat Trump outright among the GOP faithful, but Ron has no chance north of the Florida border.  In fact, Biden will beat any GOP candidate like a rented mule.

Whether, at his age, he should or not, is another question.

By the way, I heard some "man on the street" interviews with MAGAheads in South Carolina, because Trump was there and Nikki Haley is from there, and reporters gotta pundit about 2024.  One person insisted Trump was the best President since Ronald Reagan, which made me realize most people have no idea what Reagan did or even stood for.  As an example:
I mean, Reagan had Reykjavik, but he never praised Stalin. The true MAGAheads are living on their own planet; or at least in their own reality.

In That Spirit

Half the reason I post tweets is I do this on my phone more than on my computer. I might not say it the way the tweet did, but I’d have come to the same conclusion.

The problem with tweets is they’re too damned short to do anything but reiterate what we’re already thinking.  Long-er form writing is sometimes the only way.

And I still don’t have to type it out myself.

The GOP Continues To Steamroll Its Way To Victory

And Trump continues to build national support for his Presidential bid: No, he really did:
“Because of the Weaponization, Targeting, and Unprecedented Harassment, I believe that I have more lawyers working for me on this Corrupt Law Enforcement induced Bull…. than any human being in the history of our Country, including even the late great gangster, Alphonse Capone!" he wrote. "This is all being done for POLITICAL REASONS in that I am leading everybody, Republicans & Democrats, by big numbers in the Polls. The Disinformation Specialists are at it again, full time. The Fake News is their TOOL!"
"Alphonse”! Ooh! Shows respect! America First! Except…. So much winning!
This is clearly how you create an unstoppable political juggernaut.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Glass Houses

Has Tedla ever actually sold a "cybertruck"?

Meanwhile, in Wonder-land:
Verdict first, trial after.

No, I’m not off-topic: Speaking of peddling influence: And then there’s the complete inability to peddle influence:
Forcing the discussion of the unpopular tax puts the GOP in a political bind that seems doomed to repeat itself for the House’s slim majority," the report said. "McCarthy must walk a tightrope between appeasing the renegade factions of his caucus and disassociating the party from policy proposals that could hurt Republicans at the ballot box." 
The CNN Poll shows 73 percent of Americans say House Republicans are not focusing on the country's top problems. There are just 27 percent of Americans that believe the House GOP's priorities are in the right place. It doesn't bode well for Republicans as they begin debt ceiling battles with the president.
But McCarthy does dig a nice hole. Ironic self-description? Or subconscious admission of incompetence? Speaking of which: The next two years could be fun after all. I mean, two years of Trump saying his opponents are bigger liars than he is? Comedy gold!

In the meantime, the GOP will work hard to restore our faith in government:
And what Gym Jordan can’t do, Cancun Cruz will: Cruz has no influence over the FBI (or anyone else, for that matter), and he knows no court is going to authorize a search warrant on this insane conjecture (damn that 4th Amendment!). What will be fun is watching him try to get someone not on FoxNews to listen to him.

And if they do, all he can do is bleat  He certainly can’t do a damned thing to get a search warrant issued.

Impotent bleating by the party in control of the House is not a winning strategy.

Still, I’m Enjoying It

Not a lot of Jews where Jordan comes from? Or human beings, for that matter?

And does he think stoves operate on gasoline? Or all cars run on Natural Gas?

Or does he just think we’re that stupid?*
And while we’re on the subject of repellent Republicans: I dunno: I think it’s possible to be appalled by the parlous state of “classified documents” in America (who is keeping up with those things?) and still understand the difference between the situation of Biden/Pence and the situation of Trump. I mean: Scrape away the bullshit about Biden’s complicity, and yeah, there is a systemic problem. But Trump is still on the hook for how hard he tried to keep those documents; not just that he possessed them. Even Chuck Todd gets it. Still, I’m enjoying it. "Establish permanent manned [sic] presence on the moon“? 🌚 This is ”Trump working for you” how, exactly? (The expense of maintaining that alone is mind-boggling. The moon is an airless rock. How do you live on that without everything being supplied from earth?) And the guy who couldn’t cope with Covid is going to establish a national wireless high speed internet? Don’t we have that already (if you can afford to access it)? (And he’s not saying it would be publicly accessible.) And we conclude with Republicans behaving like Republicans: It’s really hard not to be disgusted by them all. (Whoops! There I go being polarizing again!)

*Silly question. Clearly enough people in Ohio are.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

A “Mandatory Stove” In Every Pot!

The problem is not machines or algorithms or audits. The problem is who votes, and how can we change that so that only the “right” people vote. All the screeching about “fraud” is eyewash. I know I’m stating the obvious, but can we stop discussing “voter fraud” and all agree the only issue is who’s allowed to vote. “Voter fraud” just means “Gotta find ways to restrict the vote to the right people. The extreme right people.” Making as much sense as ever. 🤔 

When is it “completely idiotic”? Assuming “completely” means “can’t get more idiotic.” What’s the yardstick? I also want to know what a “mandatory stove” is, and are they anything like “Coco Chow,” which equally makes no sense, even though I accept that it’s offensive. Or at least it’s meant to be. I just can’t quite figure out how (oh, the reference to a dog I understand; it’s the reference to a couturier I don’t understand).

Fahrenheit 451

In case you hadn’t heard:
The latest change is a sweeping act of legislation that requires all public schools to go through a vetting process for their books. The books have to be reviewed by a trained media specialist or librarian to make sure they're appropriate for children," said Falls. "So, last week, I, an educator of Manatee High School in Bradenton, Florida, got a memo that gave me three choices: I could pack up all the books from my classroom, cover them up, or run them through their vetting process. If I chose to go through with the last option, I'd have to get approval for them to remain on my classroom shelves."
"Woke” means people who read books.

The Scary Thing Is, He Thinks He’s Working

I’m sure Taibbi is on it. Later Musk entered a church for a private one-on-one with the Creator. Musk invited God back to Twitter. The people must affected are the ones least listened to. Finally! A solution to the nation’s most pressing crisis we can all get behind!

Views You Can Use!

The entire GOP is going to run to the right of Trump. Nothin’ but good times ahead! Investigating Barr? For? Sort of where the classified documents are, the problem is the system so easily exploited by Barr. But isn’t that the Iago problem? It’s a matter of individuals; and how do we protect against them?

As for finishing the Kavanaugh investigation: again, what for? To prove he’s a pig? What, you need more proof? And to do what? Embarrass Kavanaugh? He won’t be impeached, and he won’t resign? What’s the outcome here? “We told you so”?

Investigating the FBI? I’m good with that. Who, pray tell, does it? The Church Committee? The House Oversight Committee? Maybe the committee on weaponization of government?

Sorry. I’m getting really tired of performative outrage.
Trump’s first rally of the year is in a high school gym in New Hampshire, for the New Hampshire Republican State Committee. No more than 200 people are expected to attend.

Hasn’t Trump always based his support on the size of his rallies?

Trump will undoubtedly declare 200,000 were in attendance.
Really curious to see how they pull this off. Being responsible for governance and being irresponsible for governance are really two different things.

Well, He Built The Wall And Closed The Border

Which Biden immediately tore down and threw the border wide open.

So Trump can do this, too. And it will stay there as long as he is President-for-Life. And can keep saying it’s there.

Sometimes I wonder if the problem is we quit teaching fairy tales. Lotta life lessons in fairy tales. We don’t seem to know them anymore.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

AI Did It

An AI that writes strikes me as verifiable proof of the infinite monkeys theorem.  If that theorem actually involved monkeys, typewriters, and infinity:

The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type any given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare. In fact, the monkey would almost surely type every possible finite text an infinite number of times. However, the probability that monkeys filling the entire observable universe would type a single complete work, such as Shakespeare's Hamlet, is so tiny that the chance of it occurring during a period of time hundreds of thousands of orders of magnitude longer than the age of the universe is extremely low (but technically not zero). The theorem can be generalized to state that any sequence of events which has a non-zero probability of happening will almost certainly eventually occur, given enough time.

In this context, "almost surely" is a mathematical term meaning the event happens with probability 1, and the "monkey" is not an actual monkey, but a metaphor for an abstract device that produces an endless random sequence of letters and symbols. One of the earliest instances of the use of the "monkey metaphor" is that of French mathematician Émile Borel in 1913,[1] but the first instance may have been even earlier.

Variants of the theorem include multiple and even infinitely many typists, and the target text varies between an entire library and a single sentence. Jorge Luis Borges traced the history of this idea from Aristotle's On Generation and Corruption and Cicero's De Natura Deorum (On the Nature of the Gods), through Blaise Pascal and Jonathan Swift, up to modern statements with their iconic simians and typewriters. In the early 20th century, Borel and Arthur Eddington used the theorem to illustrate the timescales implicit in the foundations of statistical mechanics.

An AI program does not work randomly, in the mathematical sense; but I would argue it does work randomly in the generally accepted sense.  Unless we can attribute consciousness to the program, meaning it understands both the words it uses and the ideas it produces with those words.

Then again, most of my students could barely be shown to clear either bar, let alone both, so maybe that's unfair to the computer.  (No, I'm not being sarcastic.)

Then again, the theorem, taken as monkeys producing text which eventually or inevitably produces Shakespeare, is an interesting gloss on the so-called "Turing Test," which some have said AI has already passed.  If monkeys could produce Shakespeare, would that pass the Turing Test, too?  Why, or why not, as the old essay test prompts used to ask?  The theorem is just a metaphor, really; but if we could create the reality with an AI program, would it prove Shakespeare superfluous to needs?  (Where "Shakespeare," too, is a placeholder for creative human beings.)

I wonder.  Frankly, I can't (yet) tell the difference between the claims currently being made for AI and the monkeys, except the processing speed of computers reduces the need to stretch time out to infinity and the requirement of enough monkeys to concievably achieve the goal.  Because the presumption of the theorem is not just a non-zero probability of something happening, otherwise we wouldn't need the theorem.  We could just settle for:  "It could happen!"  Which is pretty much what "any sequence of events which has a non-zero probability of happening will almost certainly eventually occur, given enough time" means when it's at home.*

So has AI created a brave new world?  Or has it just created an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite amount of time, energy, paper, and typewriter ribbon?

The key to the metaphor is that the monkeys don't know what they are doing, but given world enough and time, they, too, could do it (mostly because monkeys have hands similar to ours, though I'm not sure their thumbs would be much use on a keyboard; but their sitting posture is much like ours, too…) Except, of course, they couldn't; and that's what makes AI both A and I.  Supposedly.

But what is intelligence?  AI is reportedly writing essays and class papers; but that only proves class papers and essays are by and large a matter of tropes and cliches du jour.  Few of us write like, or want to write like, Bacon or Montaigne (or Shakespeare, for that matter.  As magical as Shakespeare's characters may be (magical in the sense of fully human), it is Shakespeare's language that is the marvel.  Could he do the same things in Modern English that he did in Early Modern English?  Signs point to "No."  But who can say?).  Is that good, or bad? If we programmed AI to reproduce Bacon's style, would it be praiseworthy?  Or just seem like a waste of computing power?  Who needs  Francis Bacon redux, after all?

So is AI really I? Or is it just reductively approximating an human activity and repetitive of whatever it is programmed to produce, which is whatever the programmer and the approving audience deems “good writing”? Because AI doesn’t know what good writing is. It doesn’t even know what it is doing (nor is it aware it’s doing it). Even a dog or a cat, which can display intelligence, is aware of its self as a being (without being necessarily self-aware) in space and time (again, without necessarily abstract concepts of either) and in relation to other creatures.

Is a computer running an AI program?

And then there’s the question of creativity which, despite the tweet, AI is nowhere near. AI cannot exceed its program and write in a style original and unique, much less create the neologisms or deathless phrases of a Shakespeare (or even the conceits of a Donne). If our modern language changed enough again, as in Elizabethan times, to encourage invention and new artistry among our poets and writers, would AI lead the way, or only at best slavishly follow along? And there we reach the real limits of AI for, never being human, it can only be useful as its output is judged so by humans. And AI, not being human, will always at best ape humans; which means always, at best, being one step behind humans.

About writing Twain said:

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
Will AI ever know that difference? Only if it can be human, and so think like one.

*Yes, I know, the theorem is an explanation of why it could happen. I’m not being reductionist, just focusing the argument for rhetorical purposes.

A Day In The Life

What would such a bill even do? Suspend Medicare payments for in-home Covid tests (so Rick Scott can say Democrats cut Medicare, again?)? Cancel all healthcare for Covid patients? Purely legislative theater? A futile and stupid gesture that probably won’t get beyond a vote on the House floor? Well, that narrative just got more complicated: "Corrupt" = "whatever helps Democrats." Anything that makes it easier for people to vote makes it harder for Republicans to gain control. QED. Yeah, but the Trump story is old and boring. The media needs a new, shiny thing to chase. That’s pretty much how news works. Old gossip is old; new gossip is shiny bright! I wonder if attendance was mandatory? But everyone criticizes journalists, so they must be doing something right! Right? Yeah, but…his documents! Mike Pence is running Florida? Who knew? (Men: no loud suits or loose t-shirts. Women: no exposed limbs or décolleté. Seems fair.)
As flagged by Daily Mail politics reporter Morgan Philips, Rep. Cory Mills (R-FL) this week passed out some grenades to his fellow Republicans along with a note encouraging them to be cooperative and diligent. 
"Welcoming you to a mission-oriented 118th Congress," the letter begins. "I am eager to get to work for the American people, and I look forward to working with you to deliver on this commitment." 
Mills then explained the significance of the grenades he was handing out with the letter. 
"In that spirit, it is my pleasure to give you a 40mm grenade, made for a MK19 grenade launcher," he wrote. "These are manufactured in the Sunshine State and first developed for the Vietnam War."
Maybe we can get Florida to secede? No comment. Bill Barr replaces John Mitchell as the most corrupt USAG in modern history:
Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham never disclosed that their inquiry expanded in the fall of 2019, based on a tip from Italian officials, to include a criminal investigation into suspicious financial dealings related to Mr. Trump. The specifics of the tip and how they handled the investigation remain unclear, but Mr. Durham brought no charges over it. 
Mr. Durham used Russian intelligence memos — suspected by other U.S. officials of containing disinformation — to gain access to emails of an aide to George Soros, the financier and philanthropist who is a favorite target of the American right and Russian state media. Mr. Durham used grand jury powers to keep pursuing the emails even after a judge twice rejected his request for access to them. The emails yielded no evidence that Mr. Durham has cited in any case he pursued. 
There were deeper internal fractures on the Durham team than previously known. The publicly unexplained resignation in 2020 of his No. 2 and longtime aide, Nora R. Dannehy, was the culmination of a series of disputes between them over prosecutorial ethics. A year later, two more prosecutors strongly objected to plans to indict a lawyer with ties to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign based on evidence they warned was too flimsy, and one left the team in protest of Mr. Durham’s decision to proceed anyway. (A jury swiftly acquitted the lawyer.)

The entire endeavor was unethical; in the legal, not just the moral, sense. In a just world Durham and Barr would lose their licenses; at least.

Well, that’s better. A reminder that Nehls last job was as a sheriff, which also has no requirements for employment. Redemption is not a concept the GOP is going to embrace; but it’s still a good concept. Sometimes it’s a good concept. Schadenfreude.

Legal Beagles

Actually the WaPo lawyers are probing Nunes’ claims to figure out how strong they are, what defenses they can raise against them (up to and including dismissal, if possible; but it rarely is), and whether they should seek a settlement or a trial on the merits.

“Fend off” is what people who don’t know anything about civil suits think defense lawyers do;  but it’s not at all what they do for their clients.
Similar; and equally unsurprising. Whether or not Trump’s testimony should be compelled requires a hearing or it’s reversible error on its face. Due process, yada yada yada. This is neither nefarious nor surprising. If defendants aren’t entitled to their witness, the court needs to air that out. You don’t do “discovery” in criminal cases (that’s in civil suits, and yes, it is quite broad). At best you can require the prosecution turn over any possibly exculpatory material. As for the analysis, incitement could include what Trump did prior to the J6 speech. Although I doubt the judge is going to stop the trial while defendants fight Trump for his testimony (not a legal consideration, but what it would come down to). What the judge will decide is whether or not the defendants are entitled to Trump’s testimony. That will depend on what they can show they expect from Trump, and what fact issues it will raise relevant to their defense.

Which is pretty much how trials function.

Most reporting on legal matters is by people who have no clue what they’re reporting on.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

It Was Known As “HUAC”

It operated from 1938 to 1975 (although its ancestry dates to 1918). It became a permanent committee in 1945. It was formed to investigate creeping Bolshevism in 1918, and spent most of its existence worrying about communism. That concern culminated in the Hollywood black list and, separately, the investigation of Alger Hiss.  But by the ‘60’s it was no longer as powerful as it had been in the ‘50’s.  Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman redeemed themselves by mocking the Committee, rather than respecting it or fearing it, in their joint and several appearances before it. Nothing deflates a bully like mockery. Being a committee created by law, it tottered on until 1975, when it was finally folded into the Judiciary Committee.

And if you think our House clowns are uniquely clownish (or dangerous):

It was during this investigation [in 1938, of the Federal Theater Project, which was overrun with commies , ya know]that one of the committee members, Joe Starnes (D-Ala.), famously asked Flanagan whether the English Elizabethan era playwright Christopher Marlowe was a member of the Communist Party, and mused that ancient Greek tragedian "Mr. Euripides" preached class warfare.
Oh, that’s hardly the only time:
In 1946, the committee considered opening investigations into the Ku Klux Klan, but decided against doing so, prompting white supremacist committee member John E. Rankin (D-Miss.) to remark, "After all, the KKK is an old American institution."
So is the U.S. House of Representatives.

I don’t think the House Committee on Weaponization is going to run for 37 years (or longer than 2), or become a permanent committee (HUAC only became one because Congress passed the law that Truman signed. Truman was never going to be suspected of being “pro-communist). I don’t see Biden signing such a law. Or the committee lasting long enough to get a Republican president to sign it.

2 years of pretend government that already won’t face the risk of a government default. This could be fun after all.

Blink Blink Blinkety-Blink Blink

This is going to really please the base.

So It’s Not Just Me

(One of my favorite films.) Trump wants to be POTUS. So does Pence. Trump and Biden are under criminal investigation, and everyone can see he should shut up about those topics, but he doesn’t. Biden is expected to talk more than Trump does because “transparency.” And it would make the job of the White House Press Corps easier. Not that they really work anyway. Sitting around the White House waiting for the Press Secretary isn’t exactly work. The question on the minds of every American. So the media has to try harder? Or tut-tut that the people are sheeple?

More Bad News For Joe Biden

And more exoneration for Trump, because everybody’s doing it! And the important question, as always: why did it take so long for this to be made public?

That’s really the only issue America cares about!

God bless us!

Is This A Great Country, Or What?

Nonfatal gunshot wounds (GSWs) account for most firearm injuries in the US, yet most firearm violence studies focus on deaths, including those about mass shootings. Every day, more than 230 people sustain a nonfatal GSW in the US, or 1 every 7 minutes. The clinical importance of nonfatal GSW injuries by assault is amplified because most fatalities (61.2%) are suicides and most deaths (76.6%) occur outside the hospital. For every firearm-related fatality of all types in the US (not just those from CPMSs), 2.5 injured individuals are treated for nonlethal GSWs. Historically, for mass shootings alone, 1.5 to 1.6 patients sustain nonfatal GSWs for every death.

Combat Mode

And putting that “rigged election!” claim in context:

Sounds Familiar

 I’m old enough to remember HUAC (which has a lovely history), so tell me again that everything old isn’t new again.

Pence Is Letting Us All Down

A) Wait! What did Pence say? I wanta hear about this about a dozen times! Maybe it was this? B) We can’t talk about the system yet! We still have people to blame! (Or maybe 2 Republicans v. 1 Democrat means we have to change the focus to something besides individuals.) Dear Mr. Parkhomenko: Get off Twitter! Now! For your own sake. Has she explained why it took so long for us to find this out? Do we know how long it took for us to find this out? Isn’t that her fault? While we’re talking about government inaction: Has Matt Taibbi seen the Twitter files on this? Promises made, promises broken. Happiness is a warm gun. Bang-bang. Shoot shoot. And January isn’t over yet. What is she trying to cover up? Good to know.