Sunday, April 30, 2023

Dear Greg Abbott:

Any reward for finding this shooter?
Vaughn said it does not appear anyone was the target of the shooting. The stray bullet seems to have been fired from a neighborhood near the ballfield. 
“Incredibly bad luck, bad place,” Vaughn said. 
Around the time of the shooting, police were alerted to shots being fired from cars traveling through a nearby neighborhood, Vaughn said. 
The shooting happened about the fifth inning of the Eagles’ game against the University of Houston-Victoria. 
“The announcer said, ‘Shots fired! Shots fired,’” said a game attendee who asked not to be identified. 
The announcement caused the crowd to scatter, the attendee said. 
A vast section of Spring Lake Park on Saturday was filled with hundreds of Boy Scouts, who planned to camp out for the annual Scout-O-Rama. However, the event was called off after the shooting. 
The shooting remains under investigation.
Sorry, I knew I left something out:
The Texas A&M University-Texarkana player was hit once in the chest as he sat in the left field bullpen during an Eagles game, said Shawn Vaughn, Texarkana Texas Police Department spokesman. The incident happened about 6 p.m. 
The player was taken to a local hospital for emergency surgery.

Prayers for his safe recovery ❤️‍๐Ÿฉน. Seriously. Thoughts about the stupid public officials who were so determined to make this situation happen: a player sitting in the bullpen gets shot.  Bad luck has jack shit to do with it. Baseball fields are a”bad place” because there are people responsible for this, and it ain’t just the kids in the cars.

๐Ÿคฌ๐Ÿคฏ

Nobody Knows The Troubles He's Seen

Mark Levin gives Trump another whack at the shovel:
Trump began by saying that former President Andrew Jackson was treated very badly after he broke previous treaties, stole land, and forced the march of Native Americans to "Indian Territory." That land was then taken from the Native tribes and became known as Oklahoma.

"Abraham Lincoln, they say, was, you know, he had a civil war going on," Trump educated Levin. "But Abraham Lincoln was just vilified. But now they say Trump got treated the worst of all."

He never explained who "they" were.

"They!"  "Them!"  Obviously!

"Because what they did was come up with phony stuff. Russia, Russia, Russia. It was all hoaxes. The Mueller witch hunt, which turned out to be 'no collusion.'"

That isn't what Mueller found. He never looked into Trump's potential collusion with Russia. What he did document were at least ten instances of obstruction of justice, which Trump has never been tried over.

"And they had the laptop, they could have figured that out because on the laptop, if you look at it, you could have figured that out easily," Trump said.

HUNTER BIDEN'S LAPTOP ๐Ÿ’ป!!!!

Or, maybe not:

It's unclear what he was talking about, as there was never a "laptop" that belonged to Trump that was part of the Mueller probe. It's possible that it was classified information, but it never made it into the Mueller report. He might be confused about the laptop that was just seized from his staffer involved in the classified documents scandal.

The man's mind is a nest of spiders.  But he had it worse than Lincoln; "they" all say so!
He still doesn’t understand how tariffs work, but apparently “they” are the Chinese. Or not. Who knows? ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿป‍♂️ 

Let’s Connect The Dots

Amid the flood of cookie-cutter MAGA bills that Sanders has shepherded through her statehouse, the ones with the greatest potential for long term damage aren't the high-profile, hot-button bills. Rather, Sanders' keenest stabs into Arkansas' future came with her attacks on public school funding and criminal justice reforms.," Hodge wrote, "The LEARNS Act boosted starting teacher pay from $36,000 to $50,000, but that bump came at a steep price decried by many Arkansas' teachers. The law created publicly funded vouchers — worth 90% of the per pupil funding a school receives from the state — that can be used to pay for private or parochial schools, or even home school. They're called Education Freedom Accounts."
That’s precious little different from what the GOP Lege in Texas is determined to do. That it’s an attack on public schools that began in the latter half of 1954 is pretty damned obvious. And if it isn’t, ask Queen MAGA herself:
But we also need to remember, where we are the Americans, and we should have a lot of pride in our home and our country," she opined. "And that's why we have to recognize the battle that the radical left has brought to our front door because we need to clean up our house." 
"We need to fight for it," she continued. We need to shut our doors. We need to shut our windows. We need to throw out the trash, and we need to clean it up." 
Greene also said she was "solidly supporting Donald J. Trump for president" in 2024.

The fish always rots from the head. And old times there are not forgotten. 

Judgment

The way Chuck Todd went after Ramaswamy: (I’m sure it was somewhat like being gummed by a newt, but for Todd it bordered on real journalism)…I thought he had some close experience with transgendered people, like family or a good friend.

Which is to say “the way I see it” is all well and good, and you can even prate like the rest of us on the internet and show your ass. But it should never be the basis for public policy.

Todd asked a sound policy question; Ramaswamy answered like a dumb ass. I feel the same way about abortion. Everybody knows why “women” (in the abstract) get abortions, and it’s always for the “wrong” reasons. But what do you do when someone you know has gotten an abortion? Question them closely? Decide they are damned? Refuse to see it as they do?

Would you do the same to married friends who’ve decided not to have children? And the first question there is: why is that your business? Do you equally accept their moral authority over your decisions?

Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged.

Ramaswamy is clueless. Paul Stanley is clueless. He betrays no real understanding of being transgendered at all. The same way people imagine women getting abortions as casually as they trim their fingernails, the easier to be against it. You’re entitled to benighted opinions.

You aren’t entitled to just turn them into public policy.

Therein lies the problem.

I Was Going To Ignore This…

But, you know, can’t now. Maybe this is whst triggered Rafael: Ted is so special. Still fighting the last war, while Dark Brandon wins the next one:

And Millennials Say Boomers Are The Problem

He also said we should eliminate the FBI and replace it with a shiny, new…FBI.

And replace everyone in it every 8 years, because we do that with Presidents.

Sure.

๐Ÿƒ

๐Ÿคท๐Ÿป‍♂️ 
There is no doubt that we have a crisis of purpose for men, especially young men in this country, and we just need to call these men to something higher," Hawley told Fox News on Sunday.
๐Ÿคท๐Ÿป‍♂️ 
๐Ÿƒ‍♂️ 

Saturday, April 29, 2023

This Is The Way

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc., filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida on Wednesday, accusing DeSantis of orchestrating a "targeted campaign of government retaliation," which would violate the company's free speech rights. 
Disney filed the lawsuit after the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, which houses Walt Disney World Resort, voted to invalidate two development contracts that Disney signed in February. 
DeSantis recently appointed a board to oversee the district housing Disney. 
In Friday's order, U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Fitzpatrick wrote he's related "in the third degree" to someone employed by one of the parties in the lawsuit, which requires his recusal from the case.

If you don’t sit on the Supreme Court, that is.

Professor Vladeck knows this, but I think it’s worth explaining. Rules for lawyers vary from state to state, so what I have to say only strictly applies in Texas.

Texas lawyers are subject to Ethical Guidelines (EG), and Disciplinary Rules (DR). Violating the EG’s can earn you a reprimand. Violating the DR’s can cost you your license.

I mention this because the rules establish guidelines and punishable acts. A basic requirement of due process and equal protection is that you can know what acts are violations of law, whether the punishment is civil, administrative, or criminal.  In Texas, lawyers are accountable to the State Bar (a creature of the state Supreme Court) for their professional conduct (or misconduct). They are held accountable through the DR’s. Without those they couldn’t be, because without those they can’t know what is a violation of the rules.

The Supreme Court doesn’t have such rules; which is part of what Professor Vladeck is talking about. And that’s a large part of the problem. But they are subject to federal law, such as the Ethics in Government Act. And the question is: who enforces that? The DOJ should, but that’s a political as well as legal decision.  

The critical issue here is the feedback loop Vladeck refers to. As a lawyer he knows that’s not just some act of God/force majeur. Someone is responsible for the situation; or several someones, since all 9 Justices signed the letter effectively placing themselves beyond review. They set up the situation, at least, going back to their interpretation of Art. III giving them lifetime sinecure. (There is so much concern with Biden’s age, but Vladeck notes in another tweet that two Federal judges appointed by Nixon are still on active status.) If the court declares itself above investigation, as it has effectively declared itself above the law, will this prompt the “constitutional crisis” the press is always looking for? Going after an ex-President is one thing; going after sitting Justices is another. And already the wagons are circling:
I don’t think the solutions start with DOJ and the courts. I think they start with the Congress; since the Court clearly isn’t up to it. And can’t really be tasked with policing itself, anyway.

I’d Say You Were A Wit, But…

Religious interest and church attendance are in decline in America; gun violence is escalating. One observation shows as much correlation as another.

Of the mass shootings since March 26 of this year, one did take place at a church affiliated school, which I guess means…something? But the rest? I’m not sure of the connection between Buddhism and the Mexican national who executed his neighbors for complaining about the noise. Or the various people fired on, shot, or killed for approaching the wrong house/car. I guess we can blame Hinduism?

I know Mehta means “conservative Christianity” when he blames “religion” in America; and he’d never specify Judaism lest he betray some anti-semitism. 

Which is to say this is all my balls, and Mehta thinks he’s being as clever as Bill Maher. Or as tough;
Mehta is, I presume, smart enough to recognize the difference between correlation and causation. Then again, he’s not clever enough to realize he’s not being clever, so…

Can They Also…

...fire them freely in their front yard?

Inquiring minds want to know….

I Don’t Do “Must Read”….

...except when I do. Like this time.

Dan Patrick: “All Texans Means…”

"...the ones who agree with me. The ones who don’t are just being divisive, and must be excluded from society.”

Tom Nichols is right about what happens next. But Patrick and Abbott also want to raise the reputation of the state universities. Obviously they are stupidly working at cross-purposes.

Back when Rick Perry was governor, he tried to promote state universities hiring more adjuncts and fewer professors on tenure track. UT Alumni made their opposition quite clear, considering what that would have done to the university’s reputation and academic standing. I’m wondering if they aren’t going to rise again.

If that doesn’t happen, Patrick and Abbott are going to be left explaining the exodus of professors and the falling reputations of all the state schools. That would probably begin within a few months after the laws took effect.

These guys are Sooper-geniuses! Except for the damage it would do, I’d almost look forward to them facing the consequences of their stupidity. Because they really are just a pack of god-damned fools who think people who don’t think as they do, don’t matter. I’d like them to finally and irrevocably be proven wrong.

Continuing Political Analysis

This, it seems to me, is fairly easy to understand.
According to the Times, "Led by the special counsel Jack Smith, prosecutors are trying to determine whether Mr. Trump and his aides violated federal wire fraud statutes as they raised as much as $250 million through a political action committee by saying they needed the money to fight to reverse election fraud even though they had been told repeatedly that there was no evidence to back up those fraud claims." 
The report added, "In the past several months, prosecutors have issued multiple batches of subpoenas in a wide-ranging effort to understand Save America, which was set up shortly after the election as Mr. Trump’s main fund-raising entity." 
Asked where Smith and his investigators are headed, Kirschner replied, "Wire fraud is the stock and trade of the federal prosecutors. If you use the wires, it's an old-time term, it used to mean the TV, the radio, the telephone -- now it's the internet -- as part of a scheme to defraud others out of their money."

Not unlike the MAL documents case. Trump still says he declassified everything, but the law disagrees. He fought the law and the law won is easy to grasp, too. Also easy to understand is that those documents weren’t his to keep.  So that won’t go far outside the courthouse; and neither will defrauding people of their money.

Does this mean Trump can’t win in 2024? It means you can’t leave these investigations out of any calculation of his chances. They certainly won’t increase his popularity, nor his approval.

2nd Amendment Rights!

The story:
"My understanding is that the victims, they came over to the fence and said 'Hey could [you not do your] shooting out in the yard? We have a young baby that's trying to go to sleep," and he had been drinking and he says 'I'll do what I want to in my front yard,'" San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers told KTRK. 
Capers told KTRK the case went from harassment to a shooting very quickly. He said the shooter was drinking that night; police dispatchers initially confirmed the shooter was intoxicated. 
He said that authorities believed some of the victims were trying to shield their children -- with bodies found on top of children who were unharmed. 
“In my opinion, they were actually trying to take care of the babies and keep them babies alive," Capers told KTRK.

Here’s what he’s referring to: 

When authorities arrived at the location, they found several victims shot at the property, police said. Three of the deceased were females and two were males, including the youngest, an 8-year-old boy. 
Two female victims were discovered in the bedroom lying on top of two surviving children, authorities told ABC News. 
Three minors were located uninjured, but covered in blood. They were transported to a local hospital.

This doesn’t happen in the neighborhoods where Texas lawmakers live, so this is fine:

There's always shootings, there's always shooting," she said to KTRK. "There's always people calling the cops and there's nothing being done." 
She said that neighbors would frequently shoot firearms on weekends and holidays and that the sound of gunshots overnight was normal. 
"We were in bed and my kids -- I have two babies -- they got scared, and we're like, 'it's normal they're always shooting.'"

O! What a paradise it seems!

๐Ÿ˜• ๐ŸŒŒ ๐Ÿง 

I’m sure this is an act of savage, disruptive business genius, and I just don’t have the galaxy brain to understand it.

Less Than Zero

What’s interesting about this “analysis” is that it makes no mention of the one actual, and three pending (at least), indictments of Trump, which are certainly “game changers,” too. This is unprecedented territory: a POTUS candidate facing criminal charges in multiple courts and, before May is out, likely being tagged a rapist and liar in civil court.

I don’t think that’s going to expand Trump’s base of support very much.

Yes, Biden’s unfavorables may be high at the moment, but he runs against another candidate, not against himself.  It takes an extraordinarily bad politician to lose to himself. Like, say, Ron DeSantis is currently doing. Joe Biden is not an extraordinarily bad politician.

Trump is going to have to run against his own actions; something he’s already admitting with that desperate appeal to the House to save him from the DOJ. He’s abandoned any hope of a valid legal defense with that pathetic ploy. What simple, understandable defense does he offer to multiple indictments? The phone call was perfect? The speech was perfect? The documents were his? How’s all that worked out so far?

He is already testing the envelope of the court’s warnings about public statements on the Carroll case by posting a link to a scurrilous claim about her case. Hey! It’s not his words!

More of Trump’s antics that will just get him in more trouble. MAGA may love it, but that’s no way to win political friends and positively influence voters. More and more stories about Trump being hauled into court to defend the indefensible is not, by anyone’s standards, a winning political strategy. And as more indictments inevitably come, speculation on what Trump faces harden into concrete facts. And politically speaking, those facts become a cement overcoat.

Biden may not be popular, but Trump is even less popular; and there’s nothing in the foreseeable future likely to change that.

No, Trump’s chances are not zero. But they’re going to get as close to that as humanly possible.

Friday, April 28, 2023

๐Ÿ—ณ️

But! Mike Lindell has evidence which…he still hasn’t shown to anyone… And many people are still saying: Personal anecdote time: I voted today (local school board early voting) on new machines. I should note I’ve been voting since the ‘70’s: on machines, on punch ballots, on computers. I never doubted the integrity of the method. This election represented a shift from a computer to a computer and paper. 

I was given a sheet of paper, labeled as to how it should be loaded; and a code to access the computer. There were only two positions to vote on, so it went quickly. I made my selections, pushed a button, and the machine took my paper and printed the ballot. (This isn’t entirely new to the county, but I vote by mail (like Trump!), so I hadn’t seen these before.) 

I walked the printed ballot over to another machine which scanned it and stored the electronic information that will be tallied for the election results. (I also signed in to vote on a screen, which was odd as I can’t write my signature with my index finger. I scrawl an “R” and a line for the rest, which isn’t really my “signature.” But it’s acceptable for voting security? Okay… I have to sign my mail-in ballot twice, in ink. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿป‍♂️) So the process is to use a machine to create a document which I scan into another machine, and this is better? Before, I put the information directly into the computer. Now, I cause one computer to print a document, and then cause another computer to scan that document into a data base? And this Goldbergian process is progress?

I was standing behind an older (than me) couple who obviously also vote by mail (it’s automatic for voters over 65), and who marveled at the new process. She said it should be done that way for federal elections (yes, it is). Obviously she thought it more “secure.” It does create a paper trail, but if you don’t trust the machine count, why would you trust the paper re-count? How do you know ballots weren’t “lost” (as Trump has alleged, without evidence)? Why do you trust the hand count? If you’re going to be paranoid and suspicious, how do you trust any election results?

I’ve been voting on machines since I started voting. I’m quite comfortable to keep doing so with or without paper.

I watched Barack Obama talk to David Letterman from 2017 (the magic of Netflix) today, and Obama pointed out America puts more barriers in the way of voting than any other democracy in the world. Of course, we started out restricting the vote to white, male property owners who, among other things, could take the time on one day to vote. (Obama raised the example of the single mother, working all week, who can’t take time off on any given Tuesday, or maybe even get to a polling place after work.) It leads me to favor universal mail ballots, postage paid. Of course, that would lead to “fraud”! It’s amazing how many people don’t want to vote, but do want to vote fraudulently. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿป‍♂️ 

But then, the purpose of voting restrictions is not security; it’s to prevent the “wrong” people from voting. Which is, as Obama pointed out, the American Way. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ 

And we regularly find fraudulent voters (like Trump voters voting for dead relatives. Isn’t it curious how Republicans fear “voter fraud,” and almost all the voter fraud cases involve Republican voters? Huh. I wonder why that is…? ๐Ÿค”)

Universal mail-in ballots for all registered voters. It might eventually increase voter participation. And it leaves a paper trail!

Not All Texans

My wife and daughter can trace their ancestry directly back to the days of the Texas Revolution. (And other people trace back further than that, I know).  They are, if anything, more “Texan” than Dan Patrick.

His definition of “all” is way too fucking narrow. Not to say bluntly unconstitutional. Not even a majority of Texans want to defy the constitution.

I’m well aware Professor Vladeck is Jewish. I stand with him as a human being and common supporter of the First Amendment protecting religion by preventing the state, any state, from preferring one religious point of view over others, or over no religious point of view at all. As I’ve said before, Patrick is not representing my religious views, either.

Which is also a problem of presuming all Texans think like you do. I’m finding the legislators in Austin are far too prone to presuming all “real” Texans agree with them; and those who don’t, don’t really matter.

At least until they are confronted by those people.

Well, ๐Ÿ’ฉ

Police say Aguirre and his date had parked their vehicles near the downtown restaurant when Nix approached them, saying it would cost $20 each to park their cars, according to a probable cause affidavit. 
Aguirre paid the $40 but was later told by a restaurant employee that Nix didn’t work for the parking lot and had scammed them, police said. 
An employee at a nearby smoke shop later told police he saw Aguirre run back to his car, grab a pistol and go after Nix. The employee said both men went out of his view but he heard a gunshot before 8 p.m., then saw Aguirre “nonchalantly walking back to his car with the gun in his hand” before putting the gun back in his car. Aguirre then walked back to the restaurant and went inside with his date, according to the affidavit. 
Nix was taken to a hospital, where he later died.

A Texas criminal lawyer comments that some of what Aguirre did (get a gun, go back to dinner) could weigh against him. But shooting Nix? Texas law probably provides him a defense. Because, you know, scamming somebody out of $40 is a capital offense. Or should be, if you own a gun. Besides, Aguirre was left standing, he must be the good guy with a gun.

๐Ÿ™€

Wait! Nearly 40% of households in Michigan are below the basic standard-of-living level? And no one sees that as a failure of the economic system?

It’s not the economy. It’s that we accept this situation as normal, needing only to be tinkered with; around the edges,

Say The People Who Need Someone To Stop Them From Wrecking The World Economy

And no, "hope" is not a plan. This should be fun.

The Best Defense Is A Strong Offense

Alito could tell you; but then he’d have to kill you.
"I personally have a pretty good idea who is responsible, but that’s different from the level of proof that is needed to name somebody,” he said, according to the report. 
The justice also said he is sure about one thing: the motive: 
“It was a part of an effort to prevent the Dobbs draft . . . from becoming the decision of the court," Alito reportedly said. "And that’s how it was used for those six weeks by people on the outside—as part of the campaign to try to intimidate the court.”

And brave, brave Sir Robin alone is escaped alive to tell thee. And he wasn’t intimidated! Did you get that part? He stood firm like a mighty oak because, what were they gonna do? Impeach him?

๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ 

Yeah; that means “No chance in hell.”

Those of us who were thought to be in the majority, thought to have approved my draft opinion, were really targets of assassination,” Alito reportedly said in the Wall Street Journal interview. “It was rational for people to believe that they might be able to stop the decision in Dobbs by killing one of us.”

I think I missed the attempted assassination of a Supreme Court Justice. Must have been off Twitter that day.

This is clearly the article JMM was referencing:

His tweet confirmed my decision not to pay for a Rupert Murdoch publication. This Raw Story article tells me I was right. And Josh is right, too.

I still say Alito leaked it. Pretty much for this reason. Why else tease you know who did, but you can never say?

The Good Ol’ Boy Network Is A Good Thing!

At least it is if you read all the reply tweets from people who think the business of America is business! I’m sure the fact that her husband is the Chief Justice of the United States has no bearing on her career or her success.  None. None at all.

Why, it would be unseemly to suggest such a thing! Or to suggest she makes a lot more money for the family from her husband’s position than he earns for that position. That, too, would be most unseemly!

The replies on Twitter came, as usual, from people who didn’t bother reading the article:
Two years after John Roberts' confirmation as the Supreme Court's chief justice in 2005, his wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts, made a pivot. After a long and distinguished career as a lawyer, she refashioned herself as a legal recruiter, a matchmaker who pairs job-hunting lawyers up with corporations and firms. 
Roberts told a friend that the change was motivated by a desire to avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest, given that her husband was now the highest-ranking judge in the country. "There are many paths to the good life," she said. "There are so many things to do if you're open to change and opportunity." 
And life was indeed good for the Robertses, at least for the years 2007 to 2014. During that eight-year stretch, according to internal records from her employer, Jane Roberts generated a whopping $10.3 million in commissions, paid out by corporations and law firms for placing high-dollar lawyers with them.

The woman who revealed this worked with Roberts at the same recruiting firm: 

When I found out that the spouse of the chief justice was soliciting business from law firms, I knew immediately that it was wrong," the whistleblower, Kendal B. Price, who worked alongside Jane Roberts at the legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa, told Insider in an interview. "During the time I was there, I was discouraged from ever raising the issue. And I realized that even the law firms who were Jane's clients had nowhere to go. They were being asked by the spouse of the chief justice for business worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and there was no one to complain to. Most of these firms were likely appearing or seeking to appear before the Supreme Court. It's natural that they'd do anything they felt was necessary to be competitive."

 I will tell you that lawyers who have appeared before the Supreme Court even once are a tiny fraternity. Law firms that specialize in that practice specialize indeed. 

Roberts' apparent $10.3 million in compensation puts her toward the top of the payscale for legal headhunters. Price's disclosures, which were filed under federal whistleblower-protection laws and are now in the hands of the House and Senate Judiciary committees, add to the mounting questions about how Supreme Court justices and their families financially benefit from their special status, an area that Senate Democrats are vowing to investigate after a series of disclosure lapses by the justices themselves.

Roberts wasn’t getting paid just because she was an extra double-plus good matchmaker with a keen eye for legal talent. It doesn’t really appear that way, anyway. And it’s appearance that counts here.

Tweets Are Like Bad Headlines

Jen Psaki, who was Biden's first White House press secretary, acknowledged this dynamic: She noted that the president's remarks on the Silicon Valley Bank crisis must have been a high priority since he delivered them at 9:15 a.m. 
"President Biden does nothing at 9 a.m.,” she said last month on MSNBC's “Morning Joe." "He is a night owl." 
Biden has said he takes his time in the mornings. 
"I'm up at 7, 7:15," he told the "Smartless" podcast last November, adding that he works out from about 8 to 8:45 a.m. 
By the numbers: 
A breakdown of Biden's schedule so far in 2023 reveals how his staff tries to ensure he's at his best: 
Only four public events before 10 a.m. 
Just a dozen public events after 6 p.m. — mostly dinners and receptions with foreign leaders or fundraisers. 
12 full weekends with no public events. 
In response to this reporting, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jen O'Malley Dillon sent a one-word reply: "False." 
Reality check: 
Biden has remained an active traveler, with more than 20 trips this year— including a long, risky and complicated visit to war-torn Kyiv. Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates told Axios: "To quote a young, healthy, and capable AP reporter’s tweet about the president energetically mixing with service members in the middle of a long trip back to the U.S. from Asia: 'I am so tired.'"

And the kicker: 

The bottom line: This likely will be the most Rose Garden-centered presidential campaign in nearly half a century — since President Ford in 1976.

Something you young punks don’t remember. 

Call Me Partisan…

But Trump just isn’t keeping me up nights. I mean, I’d be upset about it if Hillary Clinton was the Democratic candidate again. Actually, even then… The four trials is just the start. Trump is the mob boss with absolutely no power to impose omertร  on anyone. I mean, over 30 lawyers have testified in the various investigations already. This is getting as dizzyingly complicated as Watergate, but that never got beyond a Congressional investigation. The closest we’ve come to this situation since Nixon was Iran-Contra, and Poppy Bush shut that down as one of his last Presidential acts. So this situation is unique in many ways, involving two separate states, and two separate federal investigations.

And Trump can no more stop it than he can stop the sunrise.

Is it concerning that there are people who would still vote for Trump? Eh; I knew people who went to their graves convinced (if you’d asked them) that Nixon was railroaded. Even Ted Kennedy finally agreed with Ford’s pardon; but I never have. Life is never so simply Manichaean. There is never a point where “everyone” agrees that justice was done and the “bad guys” were punished. Hell,  no one ever even agrees on who the bad guys were.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

One Thing I’m Sure Of…

 I have no idea why Fox canceled Tucker and, outside the people who make these decisions there, neither does anybody else.

Carlson’s current contract runs through December 2024, and as of now three sources familiar with the matter told Breitbart News that executives at the network are trying to keep Carlson on contract and not release him until after the 2024 election," the conservative outlet wrote. "The shocking decision to cancel Carlson’s top-rated weeknight program came just days after the network shut down its top-rated weekend program with host Dan Bongino." 
The Breitbart report says that the narrative that Fox News put forth is untrue, but notes that there will likely be disparagement clauses that keep Carlson and any other former Fox hosts from speaking ill of the conservative news network. The article quotes anonymous sources in part, it says, "because Fox News and the broader Murdoch empire are known for their ruthlessness against anyone who speaks the truth about what is actually happening there." 
“As of right now, the plan remains the same: pay out Carlson’s contract and keep him on the sidelines through the 2024 elections,” a source close to Fox News senior executives purportedly told Breitbart News. “They knew they would take a beating for this but everyone — and I mean everyone — is pretty rattled. They weren’t expecting the blowback to be this bad. Hate to say it but it’s clear that Rupert has lost a step or two.”

Including all the reporters who think they do. Maybe some of them will be proven right, but for now, nobody knows nothin’ reliable.

Not that it really matters…

There was a “thought.” And those messages still haven’t been made public. So…maybe. But the people who know aren’t talking. And this version depends on the testimony/texts being so scurrilous that reality will beggar imagination. And probably disappoint. Color me skeptical of a story that depends so much on imagination (“Can you imagine how bad they must be?”).

While we’re on the topic of “nobody knows”:
The story of “why” SBISD canceled the field trip rests entirely on the speculation of one parent in the ABC-13 article. She didn’t know why either, because the district hasn’t explained (and yes, they should have). So yes, the action follows a complaint at a board meeting, but is there a causal connection? Frankly, (and yes, I’m throwing shade), most lawyers would know better than to leap to that conclusion.

I learned a lot, being a lawyer, about causal analysis. This one is of the “trees move and make the wind blow” variety. I’m inclined to blame the Board for this embarrassment; but nobody covered themselves in glory here. Including everyone who thinks this is of vital importance.

And I’m kinda surprised how quickly this became a national story. Even my brother in Chicago heard about it.

Just To Prove I’m Hip And With It And Down With What The Kids Are Doing

And you call ‘em “skeets”: And all the kewl kids are doing it:

“Why Isn’t Life Like TeeVee?”

Sadly, so do I.

That's A Shame

 Meanwhile, we may know know the "trigger" that set Trump off on Jack Smith today:

NBC News is reporting that former Vice President Mike Pence spent 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday speaking before the grand jury impaneled in Washington, D.C. by special counsel Jack Smith.

And in the same investigation:

Special counsel Jack Smith and his team at the Justice Department questioned the founder of the firm about his work disproving Trump's claims.

"Ken Block, founder of the firm Simpatico Software Systems, studied more than a dozen voter fraud theories and allegations for Trump’s campaign in late 2020 and found they were 'all false,'" the Post said, quoting the lawyer. Block previously ran for governor in Rhode Island as a Republican.

“No substantive voter fraud was uncovered in my investigations looking for it, nor was I able to confirm any of the outside claims of voter fraud that I was asked to look at,” he said. “Every fraud claim I was asked to investigate was false.”

He also confessed he was subpoenaed by Smith's office and met with the prosecutors, but he wouldn't reveal what he said. He explained that he sent his findings disputing the voter fraud in late 2020. It means that Trump had even more information and evidence proving that his claims were false. 

Trump calls it all lies and fake news; which isn't even a court of public opinion defense anymore. 


History is hard. It’s hard!

๐Ÿชค

I haven't practiced law in 30 years (I stopped the year after my daughter was born, to go to seminary). All I know about the Disney suit is what I've read on Twitter.. And even I know better than this. Jonathan Turley is, objectively, an idiot. This is just one analysis of why the mouse set the trap, not DeSantis: Civil discovery, as Fox found out, is very broad. And it can very quickly become very public. Whether DeSantis runs for the GOP nomination or not, this stuff is coming out. I think Disney's lawyers are very savvy, and know they are fighting in court and in the court of public opinion. So I don't think they're beyond pantsing DeSantis, whether he's still a GOP primary candidate or not.  Besides, Schorsch says DeSantis will have to turnover documents because it will connect to his Presidential campaign.  But DeSantis is being sued as the Governor of Florida; and his Legislature is working to pass a law allowing him to keep that job while running for the other one.  So the distinction between governor and candidate will be erased completely; as a matter of Florida law.

Be careful what you wish for.

And all this aside from the fact DeSantis is trying to punish Disney for not kissing his ass and saying it smells like roses.  That's gonna wreck his reputation, whether he decides to run in '24 or wait until '28.  Disney has nothing to lose here.

Honestly, you'd expect DeSantis to be smarter than this.  The courts are not a fora that's been working out for MAGA and MAGA associated entities and persons.  I'd have thought that was obvious by now, but still the lesson must be learned.

๐Ÿด‍☠️


It really does say something about "evangelicals," doesn't it?  I know that question puts me in a position of judgment, which I should not, as a Christian, take.  But still....

"I've never understood the victimhood, constant victimhood," host [Joe] Scarborough began. "I'll just speak like evangelicals speak to each other. If you believe, then you're in on the greatest thing you ever have, the greatest story ever told. You've been taught the greatest story, the most extraordinary story ever told so why do you have to wallow in QAnon conspiracy theories? What are they compensating for?"

"Yeah, one of the most painful things for me, I think, in 2020 was seeing certainty about things that were, you know, lies," [Jon] Ward told the host. "That was, I think -- I try to tell the story through my own life, of growing up in a world in which we were pretty isolated from reality in a lot of ways. We were so far inside our church bubble, that I think we became vulnerable to manipulation; we were really in that church bubble for a lot of reasons."

"I unpack a lot of it, but we were busy getting blessed, seeking, you know, emotional experiences in church, learning how to love one another in our personal relationship," He elaborated. "There was not a lot of focus on, in the evangelical church I grew up in, or think evangelicalism writ large, on how to be a good public citizen. It's public character versus private character.

"So I think, you know, there's a lot of fear you've alluded to in evangelicalism," he continued. "People have been telling evangelicals for decades that, you know, Christianity is on the verge of extinction. I think because of that lack of stepping out of that church bubble, that lack of becoming a stakeholder in the public conversation, I think there's been more vulnerability to believe that sort of thing."

Joe gets a great deal closer to reality than Jon does.  Jon is charitable, as I should be; but I'm not going to be as charitable as I should, because what the evangelicals have embraced in Trump is precisely everything that is in opposition to the God of Abraham and Jesus of Nazareth they profess to worship, and I don't see how that statement can be contradicted or even countered.  If they think Christianity is on the verge of extinction then they should either shout "Hallelujah!" because that means the Lord is coming and coming soon; or it means they don't have as much faith as the grain of the mustard seed, and they need to look to their own hearts and repent and consider their sins.

Instead, they embrace worldly power; because that's where their treasure is.

Tell me I've got it wrong.

Trump Can't Rant Against The Carroll Case, So...

Here, I'll provide a partial transcript:

"Biden is guilty of obstruction. 1,850 boxes unchecked. Many found in Chinatown, heavy on classified documents. He has been totally uncooperative, won't show the documents under any circumstances, and is fighting like hell. I very simply went by the Presidential Records Act. Very importantly, it was designed and written for this purpose. Have a right to declassify and did absolutely nothing wrong, but was purposely given by the DOJ and Biden, a Trump-hating prosecutor, Jack Smith," Trump seethed.

"He's a Trump hater. His wife's a Trump hater. His family's a Trump hater. They all hate Trump. They hate him with a passion," Trump whined of the Smiths. "They'll do anything they can to hurt Trump. But he's a harasser and an abuser of our people. In order to obstruct and interfere with the 2020 presidential election, that's why they're doing it. We're leading by a lot in the polls. If I weren't, I believe it would all stop, or if I weren't running, I believe it would all stop immediately, but that's not gonna happen. The public will not stand for this unequal treatment. Joe Biden is guilty. I am not at all. Thank you very much."

He's already slowed down on Bragg.  (Word is Eric deleted his tweet after the judge commented on it in open court yesterday, making a not so veiled reference to obstruction of justice charges.) Time will come when he can't rant at Smith, either.  Got to get it in while he can.  I think we have found something that intimidates Trump into seething silence: a judge.

Nice to know. 

English Majors For The Win!

Of course, it may be that the judge is merely literate, but that's a win, too! (And by the way, yes, it's going well for Tacopina. And yes, like Swift's famous essay, that's sarcasm): It's been noted all over legal Twitter that, without Trump's testimony, Tacopina has to present his defense through this cross-examination. Having the judge diss your questions, or stifle them, is not considered a winning legal strategy. Nor can this be, really: Carroll's lawyers will have little trouble introducing Trump's deposition testimony about that picture now; and even less trouble setting it up for the jury as part of their narrative. The picture is not the point here; continuing objections to Tacopina's questions are. This is not fatal; but it is part of a death by a thousand cuts. You don't win a lot of jury sympathy, usually, by sparring with the judge. Jurors may not now what the grounds for the objection are, but they are more likely to think you're being an asshole, than not.

Ironies Abound

This happened in the very school district I was writing about this morning. Though I have to say, off the top, this school district has more schools in it than the one I attended from elementary through high school; and it still does. I'm a little clueless as to how "Spring Branch ISD" was going on this field trip. That would be a mass migration of about 33,000 students, so I'm guessing that's not what was being contemplated. Anyway...

Main Street Theaters' performance of "James and the Giant Peach" is marketed for those in first grade and up. Based on the children's book of the same name, it's a story about a boy who goes to live with less-than-loving relatives.

"It's 'James and the Giant Peach.' It's full of wonder and curiosity," the theater's marketing director, Shannon Emerick, said.

Spring Branch ISD was supposed to go on a field trip to see the performance, but this week, parents were told the field trip was canceled and weren't told why.

Well, not at first was this explained:

"Initially, I was not. The general email that went out to parents was, 'We are not going to be able to participate in this. We are going to do something else,'" Spring Branch parent Cheri Thomas said.

Thomas told ABC13 this may have started during the public comment portion of a recent school board meeting. She said a parent shared her concern about the actors playing multiple roles that were both male and female, saying it's drag.

Thomas said it's not drag, and if it were, she wouldn't find it a big deal.

"Drag is not a big deal. It's theater. It's art. It's been part of our culture for years," Thomas said. 

I quote Ms. Thomas because I agree with her; and for another reason, which is the reason I mention all this at all.  Be patient....

Thomas said this should not be the school or community's focus in the first place.

"I don't think it's a big deal. I think it's overblown, a manufactured crisis," Thomas said.

She feels parents should be the ones to decide if their kids get to go, not the school district.

Yup.

Turns out no "drag" was involved, unless you consider original performances of Shakespeare and and proper performance of "Twelfth Night" and almost anything by Monty Python to be "drag,"  The district's official explanation was:

"Spring Branch ISD's pending field trips to the Main Street Theater performance of James and the Giant Peach are being canceled due to concerns raised about the age-appropriateness of the performance."  

But I suspect Ms. Thomas was right, and this came trickling down from the school board.  It's the crazies at the tail wagging the dog, and I'm sick of it. But that's still not why I posted this story.  The last sentence of the news article is:

We did reach out to Spring Branch ISD parents, who were happy the field trip was no longer going to happen, but none of them chose to comment. 

Chef's kiss.  What a bunch of cowards. 

Identity and Boundaries

I'm sure my boycott of Maybelline cosmetics will be very successful. I'm struggling to understand why he cares. Except that his world-view can't tolerate the concept. Which sounds like a personal problem, to me. How does he feel about the legitimacy of women? Or children? Or non-white people, for that matter? And who is he to decide what a legitimate identity is, anyway? Does it affect his identity? Which is why it sounds like a personal problem, to me.  Sort of like this:

A new theory has emerged. According to the source, Fox Corp. chair Rupert Murdoch removed Carlson over remarks Carlson made during a speech at the Heritage Foundation’s 50th Anniversary gala on Friday night. Carlson laced his speech with religious overtones that even Murdoch found too extreme, the source, who was briefed on Murdoch’s decision-making, said. Carlson told the Heritage audience that national politics has become a manichean battle between “good” and “evil.” Carlson said that people advocating for transgender rights and DEI programs want to destroy America and they could not be persuaded with facts. “We should say that and stop engaging in these totally fraudulent debates…I’ve tried. That doesn’t work,” he said. The answer, Carlson suggested, was prayer. “I have concluded it might be worth taking just 10 minutes out of your busy schedule to say a prayer for the future, and I hope you will,” he said. “That stuff freaks Rupert out. He doesn’t like all the spiritual talk,” the source said.

Carlson's remarks, I mean; not the fanciful new idea that Carlson spoke publicly of prayer and Rupert freaked out.  The Vanity Fair article that quote is from goes on to surmise Murdoch fired Carlson because his former fiancรฉ liked Tucker and was herself "religious."  So Murdoch woke up to that just before he walked to the altar (oh, wait, he wouldn't, would he?) and fired Carlson to take her favorite show off his channel.  So we're still in the land of wild speculation on that topic.

No, I'm interested in Carlson's remarks here:

 Carlson told the Heritage audience that national politics has become a manichean battle between “good” and “evil.” Carlson said that people advocating for transgender rights and DEI programs want to destroy America and they could not be persuaded with facts. “We should say that and stop engaging in these totally fraudulent debates…I’ve tried. That doesn’t work,” he said. The answer, Carlson suggested, was prayer. “I have concluded it might be worth taking just 10 minutes out of your busy schedule to say a prayer for the future, and I hope you will,” he said. 

Gotta say it kind of freaks me out, too, because when your argument has failed, to resort to "They won't listen!  Because they won't agree with me!", and then dismiss discussion as "totally fraudulent," is to engage in both un-civic behavior, but also petulant behavior.  I know Tucker Carlson and his ilk will never agree with me on almost anything, and I'm okay with that.  I can't silence them or pray God will silence them or smite them or change their hearts because their hearts are not mine ("Jesus loves me, but he can't stand you!").  I can only oppose them in the public square with my voice and my opinions and, at the ballot box, with my vote.  I think DEI makes America better, rather than "destroys" it.  A lively discussion, debate, argument on the topic is something I welcome, even if I change neither hearts nor minds. 

And even if other hearts and minds think mine should be silenced.

Wow! NRA's Still Going With That, Huh?

That NRA tweet is only a month old. The day after that tweet came the Covenant School shooting; and then three random shootings of people at the wrong houses at the wrong times.  And then the shooting mentioned in that tweet.

Just for context.....

Clown College Law

This is what the "Parlatore Law Group" thinks passes for a legal analysis:

 It has become abundantly clear through this investigation that the institutional practice and procedures within the White House for the handling of classified materials drastically differ from the long-established standard operating procedures employed by various agencies of the intelligence community as well as the U.S. military. As demonstrated by the discovery of documents with classification markings1 in the homes of President Trump, President Biden, and Vice President Pence, deficient document handling and storage procedures are not limited to any individual, administration, or political party. A legislative solution by Congress is required to prevent the DOJ from continuing to conduct ham-handed criminal investigations of matters that are inherently not criminal.  

That's an argument for a jury trial, where you are pleading with the jury to ignore the instructions they are about to get from the judge.  It's not what you lead with, in other words.  It's the last desperate Hail Mary to save your client from his own destructive actions. And I'm not sure how Congress can "prevent the DOJ from continuing to conduct ham-handed criminal investigations."  There's that matter of ex post facto laws, after all.  That road runs both ways.  You can't criminalize what wasn't criminal at the time of the act; but you can't decriminalize what was criminal; not without a pardon for individuals, as well. You can, for example, decriminalize marijuana possession.  But the people in jail for it at the time that law passes, are still guilty of the crime that is no longer a crime.  They have to be pardoned, or receive a commutation; or have a specific commutation written into law.   I don't think the current Congress is going to act soon enough to get Trump out of the trouble he's in; if only because he so determinatively put himself there.  A law that would save him would have to save a lot of other people, too.  Even by the terms of this letter, as we'll see, that would be completely untenable.

When President Trump left office, there was little time to prepare for the outgoing transition from the presidency. Unlike his three predecessors, each of whom had over four years to prepare for their departure upon completion of their second term, President Trump had a much shorter time to wind up his administration. 

Would that be because he refused to accept reality until January 7th?  Yeah; Trump stands accused of killing his parents, and now pleads for special consideration because he's an orphan.

Besides, what Administraiton prepares for leaving office in the first year of their second term?  And Presidents have left office after one term since the Presidential Records Act, including Carter and George H.W.  But no President stops being President until Inauguration Day, so there's always a scramble.  If Trump's staff weren't up to the task, the fault lies with Trump, not the staff.

NARA unfortunately has become overtly political and declined to provide archival assistance to President Trump’s transition team. Interestingly, in its Press Statement NARA cites every recent President after Jimmy Carter as having received the same assistance with “archival and security standards”. Yet, President Carter, the last President before President Trump to not receive archival assistance found documents with classification markings in his home, which he returned to NARA (though apparently without an accompanying DOJ criminal probe).

I highllighted the key distinction between the situation of Mr. Trump, and of Mr. Carter.  As well as the situations of Biden and Pence; there are suspicions Trump still has classified documents he has not returned despite a court order he do so.  That's all the distinction you need to start a criminal probe, as Parlatore well knows (or should).

Whether NARA’s departure from routine pack-out procedures for President Trump was intentional or a product of the compressed timeline, it did not take custody of the documents and this made necessary the transfer of boxes of documents to President Trump’s heavily secured home at Mara-a-Largo. To be clear, had NARA offered President Trump the same assistance that it had provided to all previous Presidents, he would have accepted the offer and there would have been no reason to transfer the documents to Mar-a-Lago. 

Yeah, that's what happened.  Explain, then, why Trump didn't return the documents to NARA when asked to.  Because MAL is more heavily secured than a government SCIF?  Besides, the FBI found documents in Trump's desk.  "Heavily secured"?  It is to laugh.

This letter goes on for 10 pages, and it really is, as Mark Zaid says:

an effort to "shape facts so Trump is not guilty of/responsible for obstruction."  The question is:  why are they making this argument to the House?  The courts have this matter, have had it for several months now, some of that time at the instigation of Trump.  There is nothing the House can do about this, even if they try to.  So what's the endgame here? Yeah, this has the flop sweat of absolute desperation all over it. And I think there's a reason Zaid, a skilled lawyer who works in the area of national security law and litigation, doesn't even bother with the letter's conclusion:

The solution to these issues is not a misguided, politically infected, and severely botched criminal investigation, but rather a legislative solution. DOJ should be ordered to stand down, and the intelligence community should instead conduct an appropriate investigation and provide a full report to this Committee, as well as your counterparts in the Senate. Armed with the appropriate knowledge, we respectfully suggest that your Committee hold hearings and make legislative changes to: 

1. Correct classified document handling procedures in the White House; 

2. Standardize document handling and storage procedures for Presidents and Vice Presidents when they leave office; and 

3. Formalize procedures for investigations into the mishandling or spillage of classified material, to prevent future situations where DOJ is inappropriately assigned to conduct an investigation. 

Because all of these "solutions" already exist in the law.  The problem is not the vaguenss of the law; the problem is Trump's disobedience, indeed indifference, to the law.  Point 1 is entirely Trump's responsibility; but he signally failed in it and now, being called to account for his actions, wants to displace responsiblity on, not other persons, but the law itself.  It's always a desperate move when you blame an abstraction for your problems.

Point 2 already exists, and has since at least the presidency of Jimmy Carter.  Again, Trump just didn't want to follow the procedures because they stood in the way of him taking what he considered to be his property.  Which, by the way, included several gifts given to the Presidency while he was in office, which have been found (and some not yet found) in his properties.  I'm sure that's the fault of handling and storage procedures, too.

Point 3 is exactly what Trump is going through now, after 18 months of effort by NARA, without involving the DOJ, to get documents back Trump absconded with.  We know Trump told staff to move documents around at MAL, and refused to return documents to NARA, which refusal culminated in the search warrant investiation of MAL.

This letter is an absolute joke.  Any attempt to act on it by the House will result in the same clown show as the Manhattan hearing Gym Jordan conducted which had as much effect on Alvin Bragg as a fly landing on window of the courthouse building the day of Trump's arraignment.

And for pity's sake, PROOFREAD YOUR LETTER!
(Yeah, I know; my typos are the stuff of nightmares. But this is why I just type "MAL" anymore. Still, I'm not signing a letter to multiple public officials, am I?)