…chances are [DOT 28/8/22]

one way or another...

…so…gotta admit

C.I.A. Informant Extracted From Russia Had Sent Secrets to U.S. for Decades [NYT back in ’19…pointing out that this effectively blinded the US in regard to what russia might have been up to with regard to the ’18 midterms & the then-upcoming ’20 presidential election]

…I was tempted to go with this as a header image

…because I may have been down something of a rabbit hole when it comes to a certain mandarin mandarin vis-à-vis the whole legal jeopardy thing

Much of the coverage of the Barr Memowritten over a weekend after a 7-hour review of the Mueller Report to justify a public statement to Congress exonerating the former President — continues to magnify the corruption of Barr’s act, rather than expose it.

The memo makes numerous factual errors (errors that can be easily documented thanks to a public record liberated by Jason Leopold). One Judge — Amy Berman Jackson — issued a ruling saying that the memo doesn’t do what it claimed it did (deliberate about whether Trump could be charged). She even included a timeline to show her work. Three more Circuit Judges agreed with ABJ’s opinion that DOJ misrepresented what they claimed they had done — by saying they were making a prosecutorial decision rather than a public messaging decision — in an attempt to keep the memo under wraps.

You’d think that after four judges had called out DOJ for shenanigans with this memo, anyone remotely interested in performing the function of journalism would explain why those judges found the project so suspect, and the import of that to the actual claims made in the memo. CREW spent years doing the hard work of liberating the memo to make it easy for journalists!

Instead, numerous outlets simply parroted the language of the memo that four judges had ruled to be a messaging project, thereby treating the memo as a valid exercise of legal analysis and not a performance of corruption.


The Affidavit for the Search of Trump’s Home, Annotated [NYT]


…that starts to seem like a thing with no end after a while

The Center for Media and Democracy has published the agenda for a recent [Council for National Policy] meeting, held February 22 to 24 at the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, California. In addition, Documented, an investigative watchdog and journalism project based in Washington, D.C., has obtained the membership roster and most recent 990 tax filings required of nonprofit organizations. Together, the materials shed new light on the CNP’s role in disrupting the democratic process. CNP archives illustrate the extensive planning its members undertook to discredit the 2020 election results, undermine local election officials, and incite the protest on January 6, 2021. The House select committee on January 6 has subpoenaed CNP election expert Cleta Mitchell, and the panel is also examining 29 texts exchanged between then–White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Supreme Court spouse Ginni Thomas (a board member of the CNP’s lobbying arm) in support of Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the election. The Conservative Partnership Institute, which has attracted ample attention for its role in election subversion, is closely tied to the CNP, though few reporters have made the connection. The CPI’s chairman, president and CEO, senior legal partner, and senior director of policy are all prominent members of the CNP (see below), and the CPI has served as a public face for CNP tactics developed behind closed doors.
[…you know what…click through…you may feel one way or another about the new republic but it’s like the NYT annotations…that’s not gonna fit in this kind of post in a bunch of ways]

…mind you…it’s also easy…if less familiar these days…to get carried away when things sound like they have potential

Using nuclear fusion energy to power the world has long been two things: the ideal form of alternative energy and a development that’s decades from becoming reality.
For years, the science has proved difficult to master. But over the past year, nuclear fusion has inched closer to reality.

Scientists are mere years from getting more energy out of fusion reactions than the energy required to create them, they said. Venture capitalists are pumping billions into companies, racing to get a fusion power plant up and running by the early 2030s. The Biden administration, through the Inflation Reduction Act and the Department of Energy, is creating tax credits and grant programs to help companies figure out how to deploy this kind of energy.

…but…you know…there’s always kind of a gap between scientists getting to stuff & stuff getting to the rest of us

Yet challenges remain, according to nuclear scientists. The U.S. energy grid would need a significant redesign for fusion power plants to become common. The price of providing fusion power is still too high to be feasible.

…all the same…when it comes to steps in the right direction it’s nice to hear that we (in the broadest sense) might be making some potentially meaningful ones

Commonwealth Fusion Systems, a company spun out of MIT, raised $1.8 billion in December. That came nearly three months after it tested a magnet for its tokamak machine that will allow it to achieve “net energy,” meaning the machine will be able to make more fusion energy than it takes to sustain reactions.

With the cash, the company is building a facility in Devens, Mass., to build and house a full-scale model of the machine, called SPARC, which is slated to be fully operational by 2025. If that model can achieve net energy, the company plans to build a fusion power plant by the early 2030s, which could plug into the energy grid and begin providing power to homes.

…which sounds pretty great…although it’s clearly a long way from a foregone conclusion

Moreover, to create an electricity grid through which fusion technology provides large amounts of power, many things need to happen. Universities need to churn out scientists more capable of working on fusion technology. Fusion power companies need to build devices that create more energy than they consume. Scientific and manufacturing materials must be constructed in difficult ways if power plants want to scale.

…I mean…here’s to the good folks of MIT for keeping their eyes on a prize that’s literally out of sight to the rest of us

The new battery architecture, which uses aluminum and sulfur as its two electrode materials, with a molten salt electrolyte in between, is described today in the journal Nature, in a paper by MIT Professor Donald Sadoway, along with 15 others at MIT and in China, Canada, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

…I mean…that we hadn’t seen some of these possibilities seems like it might not reflect so well on how we go about things

In addition to being expensive, lithium-ion batteries contain a flammable electrolyte, making them less than ideal for transportation. So, Sadoway started studying the periodic table, looking for cheap, Earth-abundant metals that might be able to substitute for lithium. The commercially dominant metal, iron, doesn’t have the right electrochemical properties for an efficient battery, he says. But the second-most-abundant metal in the marketplace — and actually the most abundant metal on Earth — is aluminum. “So, I said, well, let’s just make that a bookend. It’s gonna be aluminum,” he says.

Then came deciding what to pair the aluminum with for the other electrode, and what kind of electrolyte to put in between to carry ions back and forth during charging and discharging. The cheapest of all the non-metals is sulfur, so that became the second electrode material. As for the electrolyte, “we were not going to use the volatile, flammable organic liquids” that have sometimes led to dangerous fires in cars and other applications of lithium-ion batteries, Sadoway says. They tried some polymers but ended up looking at a variety of molten salts that have relatively low melting points — close to the boiling point of water, as opposed to nearly 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit for many salts. “Once you get down to near body temperature, it becomes practical” to make batteries that don’t require special insulation and anticorrosion measures, he says.

The three ingredients they ended up with are cheap and readily available — aluminum, no different from the foil at the supermarket; sulfur, which is often a waste product from processes such as petroleum refining; and widely available salts. “The ingredients are cheap, and the thing is safe — it cannot burn,” Sadoway says.

…sure…when you put it like that…why exactly did we go with the ones made of stuff that combusts & is on the toxic end of the spectrum? …although that’s probably besides the point since this aren’t the kind of batteries you could carry around by the sounds of it

What’s more, the battery requires no external heat source to maintain its operating temperature. The heat is naturally produced electrochemically by the charging and discharging of the battery. “As you charge, you generate heat, and that keeps the salt from freezing. And then, when you discharge, it also generates heat,” Sadoway says. In a typical installation used for load-leveling at a solar generation facility, for example, “you’d store electricity when the sun is shining, and then you’d draw electricity after dark, and you’d do this every day. And that charge-idle-discharge-idle is enough to generate enough heat to keep the thing at temperature.”

This new battery formulation, he says, would be ideal for installations of about the size needed to power a single home or small to medium business, producing on the order of a few tens of kilowatt-hours of storage capacity.

For larger installations, up to utility scale of tens to hundreds of megawatt hours, other technologies might be more effective, including the liquid metal batteries Sadoway and his students developed several years ago and which formed the basis for a spinoff company called Ambri, which hopes to deliver its first products within the next year. For that invention, Sadoway was recently awarded this year’s European Inventor Award.
A new concept for low-cost batteries [MIT]

…I mean…obviously there’s still a lot of this kind of thing still trying to tie humanity’s shoelaces together

To secure the vote of Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), party leaders committed to auction off more drilling leases and relax permitting requirements for new projects. Experts say the measures may prolong the environmental damage many Americans now face — especially in areas where petroleum products are produced for export. Now, people in Port Arthur and other industrial communities say they must fight to maintain what power they have left: the ability to comment on — and push back against — polluting infrastructure.
Positioned in the far eastern corner of Texas, close to the Gulf of Mexico and just 13 miles from where the state’s oil was first discovered, Port Arthur has been a hot spot for refining and manufacturing petroleum products for more than a century.

And for just as long, says activist John Beard Jr., the city has been a “sacrifice zone” — one of many low-income communities of color that have borne the cost of the country’s economic growth.
Studies show that cancer risk among Texans rises the closer they get to a refinery. Other research has found that air pollution from oil and gas facilities is associated with chronic kidney disease. The mortality rate from lung cancer in Port Arthur is 29 percent higher than the state average, according to the Texas cancer registry, and 2019 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the proportion of Port Arthur metro area residents reporting chronic kidney disease was 21 percent higher than the Texas average.
“The companies themselves are part of the fabric of those communities,” said Erik Milito, president of the National Ocean Industries Association, which advocates for offshore oil, gas and wind energy businesses. “It’s an economic base that … provides funding for schools and hospitals and infrastructure.”

…wonder what that looks like exactly in a state whose infrastructure comprehensively shat the bed several times over under the steady hand of a party who would prefer the weather would stop proving them to be fuckwits who presumably can’t see on account of being buried head first up the ass of the oil companies whose pockets they have both hands in?

…or…to put that another way

Activists are more worried, however, about what comes next.

In exchange for Manchin’s vote on the new law, Senate Democratic leaders promised to support his proposal to streamline the federal permitting process under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Magna Carta of environmental law. Congress is expected to take up that legislation as soon as it returns from August recess.

A draft version of Manchin’s proposal obtained by The Post suggests that this permitting “side deal” would cut the time period for public comment on projects from three months to two, tighten deadlines for agency environmental reviews, and set a five-month statute of limitations on lawsuits against potentially problematic permits.

“We are already the area of least resistance,” Kelley said, adding that without strong legal protections for public input, “you don’t have the money, you don’t have the power. Basically, you don’t have a voice.”
Environmental groups are rallying against the permitting changes, which Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) aim to pass before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. Appalachian activists, concerned about a West Virginia pipeline that would be approved as part of the deal, have planned a demonstration in D.C. next month calling on Democrats to vote against the proposal.
But activists fear that the changes will be attached to must-pass legislation, such as a continuing resolution to fund the government — making it difficult for progressives to oppose.

…I mean…he/it is what it/he is

Manchin, a conservative Democrat who receives more campaign financing from the fossil fuel industry – including pipeline companies – than any other lawmaker in Congress, had agreed to back his party’s historic climate legislation before the crucial midterm elections. But only after he negotiated a side-deal to fast-track the MVP.
The deal is a sweet one for the pipeline’s supporters. Democratic leaders agreed to advance separate legislation in September that would “require the relevant agencies to take all necessary actions to permit the construction and operation of the MVP and give the DC circuit jurisdiction over any further litigation”.

This could help the pipeline company circumvent judges who have suspended construction and overturned permits over environmental concerns, and have future legal cases heard in an appeals court in Washington, which is considered more favourable to developers.

It’s part of a broader set of concessions negotiated by Manchin to diminish environmental protections and expedite permits and construction of pipelines and other energy infrastructure, limiting legal challenges by concerned communities and environmental groups.

It also mandates new oil and gas drilling deals in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico – places that environmentalists have also fought in court to preserve. Any public lands given over to solar and wind developments must be accompanied by millions of acres handed to oil and gas – tying the US to planet-heating energy projects for decades.
The Mountain Valley pipeline would stretch 303 miles across steep forested Appalachian mountains, farmland and a thousand or so streams, rivers and wetlands, transporting liquified shale gas from north-western West Virginia to southern Virginia.

It will cut through karst terrain – complex geological structures created by the breakdown of soluble rocks like limestone and dolomite – characterised by springs, creeks, caves and sinkholes. This Swiss-cheese like underground landscape has blessed the area with abundant water sources, but the porous, unstable nature of the land makes it vulnerable to contamination, according to the US Geological Survey. Recent heavy rains led to mudslides and slippage across the region, and pipeline opponents argue that putting anything volatile in the ground is too risky.

…& there’s plenty of other…wait-it’s-worse? stuff out there to get lost in

Twitter executives deceived federal regulators and the company’s own board of directors about “extreme, egregious deficiencies” in its defenses against hackers, as well as its meager efforts to fight spam, according to an explosive whistleblower complaint from its former security chief.

The complaint from former head of security Peiter Zatko, a widely admired hacker known as “Mudge,” depicts Twitter as a chaotic and rudderless company beset by infighting, unable to properly protect its 238 million daily users including government agencies, heads of state and other influential public figures.

Among the most serious accusations in the complaint, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is that Twitter violated the terms of an 11-year-old settlement with the Federal Trade Commission by falsely claiming that it had a solid security plan. Zatko’s complaint alleges he had warned colleagues that half the company’s servers were running out-of-date and vulnerable software and that executives withheld dire facts about the number of breaches and lack of protection for user data, instead presenting directors with rosy charts measuring unimportant changes.
In addition, the whistleblower document alleges the company prioritized user growth over reducing spam, though unwanted content made the user experience worse. Executives stood to win individual bonuses of as much as $10 million tied to increases in daily users, the complaint asserts, and nothing explicitly for cutting spam.

Chief executive Parag Agrawal was “lying” when he tweeted in May that the company was “strongly incentivized to detect and remove as much spam as we possibly can,” the complaint alleges.

In an interview with The Post, Zatko described his decision to go public as an extension of his previous work exposing flaws in specific pieces of software and broader systemic failings in cybersecurity.

…but…I don’t know if I can get this across…in amongst this kind of bullshit

An official for an anti-abortion advocacy organization in Texas was arrested earlier this month for allegedly soliciting a child for sex, according to a criminal complaint obtained by NBC News.

…the level of sheer fucking incompetence demonstrated in the legal defense of a certain well-known twice-impeached florida retiree is genuinely something to behold

…I get how it makes me sound a little crazed…but it’s almost like it’s so performatively bad that it isn’t even really a bona fide attempt to make a case for any sort of legal defense but an out & out hail-mary style delaying action right down to the part where the lawyers who don’t want to admit to being lawyers in any legally-binding sense on account of all the lying in the documents seem apparently to be too inept to successfully submit digitally

…as is often the case you might be better served to listen to ms wheeler than myself

…but…seriously…if these are the cards he’s playing against stakes of this magnitude

…so…uh…yeah…sorry…like I said…rabbit holes everywhere I looked this morning…I’m going to go sniff out some tunes & some coffee…not necessarily in that order?

…maybe it’s just me…but…I can’t help but notice that there are an awful lot of ladies out there who seem like they’ve reached a point of up-with-this-I-shall-not-put…&…well…orange-you-glad-he-lost isn’t exactly what you’d call a slick talker…so…color me interested in seeing where this might all wind up?



    • …gotta hand it to you…even with the pretty broad tastes of some of the more musically knowledgeable folks hereabouts the sheer breadth of things you induce youtube to shunt your way is truly something to behold

      …I feel very boring if I think about it too long…but I think it’s safe to say I did not anticipate that making an appearance in my morning?

      • to be honest….that one blindsided me when it turned up too

        now i have a new favourite band..uhh group? honestly im not sure if they are a band or a dance group…or both…they put out some fantastic stuff tho

  1. …so…I don’t want to jinx it or anything…but that wishful thinking I mentioned belatedly in the comments on yesterday’s DOT…however unlikely it might be to pass go & despite the part where I definitely don’t get to collect $200 bucks if it ever does…I’m apparently not the only one who can’t help but wistfully contemplate a certain acronym cropping up in the eternal defendant’s future?

    A combination of all or some of these charges could also open the way for Trump to be prosecuted for a pattern of criminal acts under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (Rico) statute. Although Rico is more commonly associated with prosecution of organised crime, Willis used it seven years ago to convict 11 Atlanta teachers of fixing test scores for their students.

    The district attorney has brought in a Rico specialist for the Trump investigation.

    The special grand jury can sit until next May, giving it plenty of time to gather evidence. But unlike regular grand juries, which meet for only two months and issue indictments, it can only submit a report recommending prosecution. Willis must then decide whether to follow that recommendation and appoint a regular grand jury to seek an indictment against Trump or anyone else.
    The Brookings Institution said that if Trump is charged with a crime, he is likely to claim that he cannot be held criminally liable for his actions as president. But it said that defence is likely to fail, because immunity from liability only extends to actions taken by the president that were within the scope of his lawful duties.

      • Yup. From NOLO:

        To convict a defendant under RICO, the government must prove that the defendant engaged in two or more instances of racketeering activity and that the defendant directly invested in, maintained an interest in, or participated in a criminal enterprise affecting interstate or foreign commerce.

        Who does this sound like to you?

        Quick shorthand, when Trump tried to contact different states and convince them to do illegal shit, he triggered RICO. That’s not all that does it, but it’s a big part. And if he contacted foreign governments like his buddy Putin, that’s … well, hoo, boy.

        • The sense I get with RICO is that it’s basically the glaze on a bundt cake — it’s an option that only comes into play if you already have a bunch of fully baked criminal charges. So I wouldn’t think about them now until the rest of the case is a lot clearer.

          The other thing is that RICO is more of an enhanced version of regular conspiracy charges, so it’s often not charged if there are easier legal ways to get the same effect. Sort of like chefs tend not to use fancy rum in a bundt cake lime-coconut-rum glaze if you can’t taste the difference between it and regular stuff.

          Now I want a bundt cake.

          • …doubtless true…& I think I remembered to include the part where the special grand jury that got that RICO specialist in can only recommend rather than pursue those sort of charges so it’s at best somewhere on the horizon

            …but…at least as I understand it…the particular thing they’d be considering would be georgia state RICO charges…& I believe a federal option is available when it comes to the RICO stuff…or certainly that’s the distinct impression I’ve got from the stuff I’ve read about how that works?

            …so I guess in terms of right now I’m mostly hoping that’s having a similar effect on the as-yet-unindicted-co-conspirator as the sword did on damocles?

  2. As someone who’s never been a big fan of lawyers… I have to say that they are a necessary evil profession and you want to have as many of them on your side as possible.

    The fact Trump’s being crushed by lawyers who know the law better than he does, and the fact that Trump has historically used lawyers like he (allegedly) uses adult diapers has come back to haunt him in the worst way. You try to hire the best lawyer possible, but even a bad lawyer (the Lionel Hutz’ of the legal world) is better than representing yourself.

    How I learned that lesson…

    The first signs of my dad’s dementia was the fact he lost his filter. He was the initiator of the fights he had with his new neighbors because he couldn’t control his mouth which ended up with him in the back of a police cruiser for two hours. The squabbling went on for almost 3 years.

    Unfortunately, the neighbors decided to try and push the issue by suing my parents (but through a paralegal.) Fortunately, I went to school with a pretty good litigation lawyer and one of my sisters has experience dealing with legal matters in HR. I’m not excusing my parents behavior which I found embarrassing, but the neighbors weren’t going to get away with extorting my parents for money.

    My dad wanted to hire a cheap lawyer. I told him that hiring my cousin would be a bad idea (he hates that I call him Korean Lionel Hutz but I’m not far off the truth as he’s an ambulance chaser.) It turned out I already knew a good lawyer and sicced him on the neighbors. I didn’t want retribution, but I wanted them to stop their bullshit (and I read the riot act to my parents as well.) The neighbors stopped when they realized we came to fight.

    Fortunately, it only cost me a bottle of 25 year old Scotch, but the parents and the neighbors are like North and South Korea (complete with a tree cutting incident) glaring at each other over the fence line/DMZ with nary a shot or word spoken. I’m okay with that.

    That’s all due to the work of a good lawyer.

    30 years younger me would have laughed.

    • …the pro se thing on that filing wasn’t (as far as I can make out) ever a real suggestion he’d try to be his own lawyer…its way weirder than that…though that doesn’t alter the part where you make a sound point or that you have my sympathies about negotiating with litigious parental neighbors

      …but they filed this crap not in the court more or less on the doorstep of mar-a-lago but way out of their way in an effort to shop for a favorable judge the way he’s been quite strident about being a matter of culpability when accusing democrats of doing it…& it contained things that would seem to imperil the legal license of any attorney who signed it off…so they tried not to?

      …as with so much of his “legal” defense they seem to be approaching things from a position of imagine-if-this-was-how-any-of-this-works…& when you compare it to the literal legions of unfortunately competent & accredited lawyers out there willing to dot their Is & cross their Ts for some morally-bankrupt shit for political reasons


      …for him to look this much like he’s out there on ice a lot thinner than he is…I dunno…but I like to think he might sleep worse than me these days?

    • I think you’ve basically outlined Trump’s problem here:

      1. He can’t hire competent legal representation because he doesn’t pay his bills. Lawyers, like the rest of us, prefer to not work for free.

      2. The “case” seems unwinnable for Trump at this point, at least from my limited legal perspective. Any attorney would be signing on to a disaster. And Trump won’t. shut. up. The very first rule of legal jeopardy is ask for an attorney and shut the fuck up.

      3. Even if Trump were flush with cash (which seems doubtful as the State of New York presses onward and will probably dismantle the Trump Organization), there’s a HUGE reputational risk for any attorney that attempts to defend him. Yes, IF you pulled it off, the upside would be huge, but I think the hole is way too deep now.

      4. I’m not entirely sure that any associate of Trump’s won’t also be subject to legal action. We can’t be sure if he’s got photocopies of top-secret documents or more boxes squirreled away. Literally being in Mar-a-Lago at this point is risking becoming an accessory. It’s one thing to lose a case — it’s quite another to be arrested for espionage because Trump casually mentions to you he’s got 18 more boxes somewhere. Some of this stuff is so secret you’re not supposed to be anywhere near it.

      5. If intelligence agents are being murdered as the result of this, people are risking their lives by getting involved. If a foreign power decides to start removing loose ends, you want to make sure you’re in a different zip code than Trump. The MAGA Secret Service ain’t gonna step up for you. That’s a way-out-there crazy-time theory, to be sure, but every time I think this thing has been capped off, MORE SHIT COMES OUT.

      • …yeah…it’s a lot to take in


        …& if this isn’t what crashing & burning looks like in slow motion it’s a startlingly good impression?

        …got to admit, though, in these days of taking your laughs where you can find ’em I do get a chuckle everytime I see someone suggest the acronym really stands for Making Attorneys Get Attorneys?

        …another thing that I find interesting in a similar fashion to the bit in that emptywheel thread that talks about roger stone’s get-outta-jail paperwork is the part where as I understand it the fine print says the statute of limitations clock only starts when.you.stop.criming

        …which as you point out he seems insanely unwilling to contemplate even at this juncture like some ambulatory avatar of the sunk costs fallacy

        …it’s like we can all of us quite literally only imagine what this must look like from the perspective of anyone who’s in a position to see the whole picture…but people with a vastly better understanding of US law & judicial procedure that I’m ever likely to have seem to think he looks well on the way to be pretty comprehensively fucked if things keep going the way they are ever-so-slowly going?

        …target letters going out…subpoenas coming to light from months ago the DoJ still wouldn’t have breathed a word of had he not forced their hands in what seems like an effort to try to find out what witnesses to further attempt to tamper with

        …hell, murdoch jr. (doubtless following much more expensive legal advice) is taking on some relatively obscure australian newsite for libel (in what is apparently his best shot at winning such a case jurisdiction-wise) by making the same argument he’s defending fox news against in the dominion voting case

        …the amount of dominoes on the table in my wildest dreams has got to the point that I’m losing count so it’s a good thing @butcherbakertoiletrymaker ‘s around to bring me back down to earth

  3. As someone who lived in both Houston, Texas and Central Coast of California within a 4 year period, people look at me funny when I tell them taxes take a bigger chunk of your income in Texas than in California, but it’s absolutely true.

    And in Texas, your taxes get you a lot less than they do in California.   And when you figure in all the fees that governments in TX are charging for every goddamn little thing it really starts to add up.  It costs three times as much to renew a drivers license or register a car in TX.  Every single state park has surprisingly high fees for use, unlike California.   Property taxes in Harris County were off the charts.

    In summary, things are nice in California and things suck in Texas.

    • When I run into right wingers in MA who bitch about taxes I have to make a point of informing them that they pay way less in overall tax burden than they would in TN where I used to live. They of course don’t believe me and then I tell them about the 9.25% sales tax on EVERYTHING including food, at which point they go “WTF they tax FOOD?!”

    • …yeah…I saw something about that…it seems a sketchy call since there certainly appeared to be abundant grounds on which to deny it…but…& again I get how it makes me sound like I invest heavily in tinfoil millinery…but I wonder if there’s something else going on because it doesn’t seem like that actually helps him get to having an actual defense?

      …it might just be that cartoon I almost used for a header image…but for what he did to be worse than I thought there’d have to be at least one other shoe left to drop…so what’s left that justifies this level of increasingly poorly hidden malfeasance in the cause of trying to keep his head above water long enough to try the doesn’t-matter-’cause-ya-can’t-indict-me defense again?

      • Wheeler is great. A glimmer of hope I have for the NY Times is that today’s front page above the fold article on looming obstruction charges for Trump is that the byline was Charlie Savage, not Michael Schmidt, Maggie Haberman, Peter Baker, or one of their other clowns. Savage usually tracks reasonably closely to Wheeler’s perspective.

        The thing that’s come up is that a special master would probably only help Trump muck with any future data collection. DOJ already has a ton.

      • Trump apparently appointed the judge who’s allowing the special master nonsense. Which tracks, obviously.

        I’ve said it before, but Trump’s legal machinations are like an octopus squirting out ink to confuse and delay predators. This seems to be of a parcel with that strategy.

        Bizarrely, a number of MAGAs still believe Trump is re-electable, and that would provide him immunity to prosecution. So all of these actions are delaying tactics to get him to 2024. The likelihood of him getting re-elected is actually pretty low, and honestly any declaration of intent from him would be a huge boon to Democrats. But there’s this weird cadre of MAGAs that don’t realize he’s pretty much over at this point.

        I will say the only thing I can see upending that is, God forbid, something happening to Biden. A Harris run would energize the racists and that would throw things more into the toss-up category.

  4. The issues with going electric in a massive way are definitely substantial. The good thing is that a huge amount comes down to known engineering issues rather than stuff like colonizing Mars which seems ridiculously theoretical.

    This article from the New Yorker is interesting — it talks about efforts to develop mass storage that doesn’t use batteries.


    Things like using solar power to lift huge weights during the day, and then releasing the weights at night to let gravity turn generators.

    The basic engineering is straightforward, the main issue, much like fusion may show, is how to get to scale. And the economics in terms of overall energy spending aren’t even that bad — what’s hard is the Koch and Putin types are so committed to fossil fuels that they have been using political power to create massive government muscle against the switch.

    Expanding the grid is definitely going to have big costs, but compared to strip mining and oil spills it’s a big net positive. And that’s even before climate change.

    • …back before people were harvesting batteries from wrecked teslas to use as storage for domestic power I remember reading about a bunch of enterprising ways your more off-grid folks had used like moving gases in & out of pressure states not unlike the effect a refrigerator relies on but to soak up & then return potential energy derived from solar panels or an archimedes screw or whatever DIY hydro set up

      …I have a hard time wrapping my head around what the infrastructure looks like when you scale it up to meet urban or industrial needs…but thanks for that, either way…it’s interesting stuff

      • The article talks a bit about gas compression as one of the things being developed, and they talk about how it’s viable in some areas where the geology is right. It also suggests there probably is no single method that will be used.

        I think realistically we would be looking at engineering projects on a scale like water infrastructure, which is huge. There are a couple of reservoirs I walk by which each cover many acres, and they’re only a fraction of the much larger regional water infrastructure, a lot of which is hidden underground.

        But these two reservoirs were built about 150 years ago with horse- and manpower and possibly some steam engines, and they have just become part of the landscape. I don’t think we’re looking at engineering mysteries so much as political ones.

      • Not gonna help much for electricity, admittedly (although here in places like most of MN,  where there is *usually* regular, fairly steady wind & sun you can use that!), but for home heating, it’d be really nice if we could convince more folks to go the old-fashioned route of masonry heaters/stoves for winter heating.

        Yeeees, they *do* produce CO2… BUT, when they’re designed & made properly,you only fire ’em up 2 (maybe 3) times a day, annnnd they burn hot enough/clean enough, that they burn up pretty much all the soot/creosote/junk that gets left behind from conventional woodstoves;





        Yes, those *are* a lot of Mother Earth News articles–that was where I originally learned about them.😉

        In the late 90’s, the *first* time I flunked out of college–before the current internet era–I discovered that one of the local libraries “up home” had a nearly-complete (*from the beginning!!!*) subscription to Mother Earth News, along with an extensive back-collection of Rodale’s Organic Gardening Magazine.

        Since I was slightly rudderless, as to “what I want(ed) to be when I grow up,” but i did like learning, I began reading them–learning SO many things, and ngl–*began* getting frustrated over the fact that we’ve known both what the problems we’re facing are, *and how to FIX them, for twenty-five fifty-plus YEARS now!🙃🙃🙃

        But those old issues of Mother & OG–like the Foxfire books & magazine (something ELSE that library had!), are a wealth of old-school knowledge, and while technically geared toward “Hippie sorts,” Off-Gridders, Homesteaders, & other assorted “Oat-ey/Crunch-ey sorts of folks,” there really IS a lot of great info, that COULD be used by the folks in power, to make better long-term economic regulations & decisions–if we *MADE* them do the right thing for humanity.

    • …well…I’m about the farthest thing from a lawyer so I wouldn’t take my word for it

      …but of all people the NYT editorial board seem to think you ought to?


      …& andrew wiessmann [(@AWeissmann_), a former Justice Department prosecutor and senior prosecutor in Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation, is a professor of practice at the New York University School of Law and the author of “Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation.”] had this to say alongside that

      Above all, the redacted affidavit (and an accompanying brief explaining the redactions), which was released on Friday, reveals more evidence of a righteous criminal case related to protecting information vital to our nation’s security.
      Indeed, the redacted affidavit details some of what was found in a preliminary review of material earlier returned by Mr. Trump at the repeated requests of National Archives officials, including “184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 67 documents marked as confidential, 92 documents marked as secret and 25 documents marked as top secret.” An agent who reviewed that earlier material saw documents marked with “the following compartments/dissemination controls: HCS, FISA, ORCON, NOFORN and SI.”

      The markings for top-secret and sensitive compartmented information indicate the highest level of security we have. Those levels protect what is rightly described as the crown jewel of the national security community.

      Especially with information classified at that level, the government doesn’t get to pick and choose to defend the nation’s top secrets based on politics — it doesn’t matter if the person in question is a Democrat or Republican, a former president, a secretary of state or Edward Snowden. These documents belong to the government, and their having been taken away posed a clear risk to our national security.

      …which…reads a lot like a “yes” to me…albeit a qualified one in perhaps more than one sense?

  5. …if my .gif game was better (or I could remember the name of the tune the video was for) there’d be a little clip here of snoop dogg using both hands to form that westside W while flipping the bird with both middle fingers

    …pretty sure it involved some crossed fingers & it feels like it would be appropriate?

  6. Trump’s not going to jail because rich and powerful people only face punishment under very certain, very specific circumstances:

    • you steal money from other rich people (the worst offense)
    • the crime is so heinous that it you eventually can’t hide it
    • you stop being rich or powerful
    • you’re foreign and cross America’s interests

    Trump may hit No. 2, depending on how much we care about foreign spies getting killed (spoiler: Republicans won’t unless Hillary Clinton did it) and he might eventually cross the Rubicon on No. 3, but he has almost no liquidity now and lots of people would give their lives for him if he even asked … which is a sort of permanent power.

    This strikes me as the worst legal crisis he’s faced since he announced his run for president, but is it enough for him to actually face real consequence? Eh. Still highly unconvinced.

    • …I guess if I was trying to put the pieces of the picture together to give me the best shot at ticking those boxes I’d be hoping that the desire to make abundantly clear to the #4 category just how far the US might be willing to go he’d wind up as collateral damage in a way that would see him filed under exception #3 along the way in parallel with whatever level of #2 winds up playing out in the public eye

      …even then jailtime for him personally probably doesn’t have better odds than a coin-toss…but I don’t think that coin has to land on an edge anymore?

      …mind you…I do keep trying to persuade people that despite appearances I’m actually inherently optimistic so I can see feeling like that coin falls the other way as being how it reads?

      • …also…& this might not be altogether far-fetched…given how fast & loose he’s played the campaign finance stuff & who might rely on some of those moves if he gets to be enough of a liability that it starts looking like cutting into those revenue streams in anything other than the immediate term specifically to him…which it very well could once they start looking at who his various PACs & super PACs have paid how much for what & voters start baying for finance reform

        …maybe he could even tick all the boxes

        …what can I say…I’m a dreamer?

        • #5 it becomes expedient for another powerful ally to throw you under the bus


          I’m still waiting for DeSantis to turn on him. I can see it happening and that dude is too power-hungry to wait for 2028


          • DeSantis and Trump hate each other. But DeSantis won’t cross Trump out of fear of MAGAs. DeSantis has gone all-in on fascism. He’s not even making pretenses of democracy any more, and he’s counting on that to get the MAGAs on his side. BUT he can’t do that if he pisses Trump off.

            Trump on his side considers DeSantis a useful tool, but if DeSantis gets too big for his britches, Trump’s narcissism will kick in and he’ll attack DeSantis and that will be that for DeSantis’s political ambitions.

            It’s a weird dance — Trump has dementia and several other mental illnesses, and DeSantis is gingerly trying to massage his ego and position himself as “heir,” but Trump’s narcissism makes him believe he’s immortal and he doesn’t think he needs a political heir. And as his dementia progresses it becomes more and more likely he’ll just go off on DeSantis one day, “like an old man, trying to send back soup at deli.”

            • …since I seem to be all-in on the wishful thinking today I’m going to fondly imagine that they both think they’re the scorpion & the other schmuck is the frog…& since it doesn’t much matter which one of them’s right if they’re both wrong about a third party pulling their poisonous ass out of those waters before they drown…I guess you could say I’m rooting for this to shake out according to the grand tradition of classical tragedy…shakespeare…sophocles…I’m not fussy

              …so here’s hoping it all ends up more “rosencrantz & guildernstern are dead” than “waiting for godot”?

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