…if you’re listening [DOT 11/2/24]

you might hear a whistle...

…oh…just fuck off

The former US president could not help himself from painting the decision not to prosecute Biden as further evidence of his own victimisation as he faces legal troubles from his own retention of classified documents. “I did nothing wrong, and I cooperated far more,” Trump claimed in a message to supporters.

…I mean…if the one guy only had a few papers & gave them all back…& the other had a truckload of nat sec stuff laying around on a stage…or heaped up in the shitter…& gave back a half-truck’s worth…I guess…if you’re dumber than this piece of shit…you could call that “more” co-operation…& people could choose to wear a flashing sign around their neck that reads “dumber than shit” to help us identify folks who shouldn’t be considered as intelligent enough to decide anything of import…but…I wouldn’t expect to get as many volunteers as there seem to be happy as the proverbial pigs lining up to be spattered by this sort of verbal incontinence

The special counsel in Trump’s case, Jack Smith, is prosecuting him not only for storing classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago residence but for making false statements, conspiracy to obstruct justice and hiding documents from investigators.

…uh huh…how incredibly…co-operative of him

For all that, the political earthquake of the week was Hur’s report given that 76% of voters already say Biden’s mental and physical health is a significant concern whereas only 48% have a similar worry about Trump even though he is just four years younger.

…there’s…maybe a few ways to look at that…& it would be useful to know the relative degree of concern…speaking for myself, for example…given the option I’d vote for someone who seemed a little more mentally nimble than uncle joe to be the voice of uncle sam…but…since we don’t got that option…how much more pronounced are the mental pratfalls of the superannuated tangerine toddler…because if you actually want to make that choice based on an assessment of the physical & cognitive decline of the candidate…those numbers suggest that I’d be concerned that the sample set has some severely compromised cognitive abilities of its own…if you’re concerned about biden being past his prime but you don’t have a care in the world about the other guy…you’re an actual fucking moron…&…in some places…maybe that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things…but…in some places

There is even better news for Trump in local polls which show him ahead in key swing states. They include Michigan where Biden’s campaign team has scrambled to quell the anger within the US’s largest Arab American population at the president’s largely unswerving support for Israel’s bombardment of Gaza. The Arab American vote in Michigan is larger than Biden’s majority in the state at the last election of about 154,000 votes.

Even among the broader Democratic vote there is no great enthusiasm for the current president. The NBC poll showed that 62% of those planning to vote for him would do so principally as a means to keep Trump out of the White House.

Democratic strategists see that as a strength not a weakness. The Biden campaign is focused on telling voters that they must reelect the president in order to save American democracy from a Trump second term.


…&…sure…it’s maybe a distinction without a difference…but…to me…it makes more sense to think of that in terms of an asset than a strength…either way it’s not a weakness…but…the thing about assets is that they can depreciate based on external market forces, can’t they…& even become liabilities if the market moves against you…but if he’s the only not-that-son-of-a-bitch option on offer…that part’s a constant…broadly consistent with “the fundamentals” of a going concern…& if people are really serious about how much they don’t want the other guy…that capital ought to offer a substantial dividend…but…that michigan thing is more of a concern to my mind than how muddled you can make joe sound on camera…because…well…not to be an absolute fucking downer first thing in the morning…but that’s a constituency that’s watching the world make a lot of concerned noises about this kind of stuff


Airstrikes on the Gaza Strip’s southernmost town of Rafah have killed at least 44 people as more than a million civilians sheltering in the area brace for the possibility of a full-scale Israeli ground offensive on the territory’s last place of relative safety.

As Israeli forces have expanded ground operations steadily southwards in their war against Hamas over the past four months, Rafah – situated on the border with Egypt, and home before the war to about 280,000 people – has become the last refuge for more than half of the strip’s population of 2.3 million.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Friday that he had instructed the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and defence ministry to draw up plans for troops to enter Rafah and evacuate civilians, leading to widespread panic in the overcrowded makeshift tent camps that now cover the area.

…”evacuate”…that what the kids are calling it these days?

An Egyptian official told the Guardian that under no circumstances would fleeing Palestinians be allowed to cross the border into the Sinai peninsula, and that any attempt to relocate them to Egyptian soil would collapse the peace deal between Egypt and Israel.
Israel has carried out airstrikes in Rafah almost daily, even after telling civilians in recent weeks to seek shelter there from fierce ground combat in Khan Younis, just to the north.
Israel’s threats of a full-scale attack on Rafah – designed to put pressure on the Hamas leadership, which is believed to be hiding in tunnels in the area – have not yet been realised, and Netanyahu did not provide details or a timeline in his announcement.

He has, however, implied the operation is inevitable, and appears ready to push ahead despite mounting warnings from aid agencies and the international community that a Rafah offensive would be a “bloodbath”.
Outside Israel, criticism of his statement was swift. The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, said on Friday that a major Israeli offensive in Rafah “can only lead to an additional layer of endless tragedy”.

…that kind of thing can motivate a protest vote…or…a “silently” protesting AWOL vote…& some things reverberate more than others in an echo chamber

The Palestinian militant group, which assumed control of Gaza in 2007, said it would hold “the American administration, international community and the Israeli occupation” responsible if that happened.

…the guy is trying…plenty of shots across the bow from spokesmen or sanctions of one sort or another…& who knows in the background…but front & center

The Palestinian militant group, which assumed control of Gaza in 2007, said it would hold “the American administration, international community and the Israeli occupation” responsible if that happened.

…hard to see that not sounding a day late & a dollar short all round to someone in michigan who has family in gaza they don’t got come november when they’re asked to show up for the sort of elections those relatives haven’t had since they went hamas’ way…& I might think they’d still be better off if they did…that it would be the only way to play that variant of pascal’s wager & make it any more likely that the only possible payout that isn’t a loss actually happens…but put me in front of them…& I’m going to feel pretty shitty making my case

“I’m pushing very hard now to deal with this hostage ceasefire,” Biden said. “There are a lot of innocent people who are starving, a lot of innocent people who are in trouble and dying, and it’s got to stop.”

Netanyahu this week flatly rejected the terms of a Hamas counter-proposal for a ceasefire and exchange of hostages and prisoners after the success of a week-long truce in late November. He has also rebuffed US pressure, saying there could be no solution to Israel’s security issues except “absolute victory”.

He said at televised press conference that “surrendering to Hamas’s delusional conditions”, which include a call for a 135-day ceasefire in exchange for the release of the remaining 130 or so hostages, “would lead to another massacre, and to a great tragedy on Israel that no one would be willing to accept”.

In a blow to the hopes of the families of the remaining hostages being held by Hamas, Netanyahu also said they would be released only by continued military pressure on the militant group.
According to the UN, about 10% of children under five in Gaza are showing signs of acute malnutrition. Food deliveries that reach the strip are regularly mobbed by desperate and hungry people, residents say.

Violence triggered by the war in Gaza is escalating across the Middle East, as hostilities between Iran and Israel, as well as the US, move increasingly into the open through the actions of Iran-backed militias in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.

During a visit to Lebanon on Saturday, the Iranian foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, said a political solution was the only way to end the Gaza conflict, and that Tehran was in talks with Saudi officials on the issue.

He also warned Israel against taking any steps towards a full-scale war against the powerful Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, saying it would be Netanyahu’s “last day.” Hezbollah and Israel have traded near-daily fire across the disputed Israeli-Lebanese border since 7 October.

A senior Hamas official survived what Palestinian security forces called an Israeli assassination attempt in Beirut on Saturday in which two civilians were killed. Israel did not immediately comment on the allegation, and rarely acknowledges drone and airstrikes conducted beyond Palestinian territory.


…&…I don’t have a lot of personal acquaintances in gaza…or israel particularly…or…now I think if it…currently in michigan…but…six degrees & all that…so I was hearing from someone I know pretty well just the other day that their israeli colleagues…who until recently are not the sort to profess sympathy for the occupationist brand of zionism…see it…sort of like brexit…even the ones who don’t want it to go that way see it as a civil & political inevitability that the whole of gaza will be reduced to an inhospitable monument to the freshly re-defined concept of never again that has become as foundational to the national psyche as the planes hitting the towers…& once they salt that earth they turn their eye to the west bank…&…honestly…telling myself that’s anecdotal compounded by being chinese whispers…stubbornly refuses to stop it having a ring to it I’d as soon didn’t turn out to be “true”

“Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt. It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him – by then a former president well into his 80s – of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.”

…to take that briefly out of context…sure can see how they’d like to have it be a standard applied to a defendant trying to be in his 80s before he has to answer in court for what he desperately wants to make out is an analogous scenario…which…it goes surprisingly often without saying…it significantly fails to be

Sensitive records were found in 2022 and 2023 at Biden’s Delaware home and at a private office that he used between his service in the Obama administration and becoming president.
Hur identified several reasons why he did not charge Biden, including that the documents may have been taken to his home while he was vice-president, when he had the authority to keep such documents.

…you got the one guy whose admin team were maybe not quite as rigorous as they ought to have been about laying hands on stuff that had business being in a spot when it went there but should have moved out when the next lot moved in to his old official digs…& you got the other guy…who waited until after he had his walking papers in hand to cart off crates of shit he had no business buggering off with…lied through his teeth about having…until he flipped to screeching that it belonged to him & it shouldn’t matter if he said he had it or not because you’ll never find it…& even after they found most of it…including enough to conclude that there still ought to be more of it than anyone’s produced…& prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the man repeatedly perjured himself about matters of national security that must make people like reality winner or ed snowden feel like the joker kinda had a point…or…hell…a few others

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Pierce Bishop was arrested in Hawaii and charged with one count of unlawfully retaining documents related to the national defense and one count of willfully communicating national defense information to a person not entitled to receive such information. Court papers alleged Bishop, who was working for a defense contractor, stored 12 documents containing classified information at his residence. The documents further allege Bishop willfully communicated that information to a 27-year-old Chinese woman with whom he had a relationship.

Bishop pleaded guilty in March 2014. He was sentenced to more than seven years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

…12 documents…seven years…makes you think

Former National Security Agency contractor Harold Martin was arrested for what federal prosecutors described as a theft of top-secret government information that was “breathtaking in its longevity and scale.”

Martin was indicted in February 2017 on charges of stealing and retaining classified documents and other material, according to a statement from the Justice Department. The department further alleged Martin “stole and retained” highly classified top secret documents covering 20 years, keeping them in his home and in his vehicle.

According to the indictment, the documents stolen and retained by Martin contained NSA planning information and information on intelligence collection targets. Other documents, from U.S. Cyber Command, contained information on U.S. military capabilities, some to be used in specific operations, and documents about gaps in U.S. cyber capabilities.

…capabilities, you say…hmm…sounds relevant to that one guy who blabbed about how close the nuclear attack subs could get to other subs without them knowing they’re there…which…for context…is about as scalding hot a bit of tea as you might want to avoid spilling if you want to be taken seriously as a potential head of state…& arguably all by itself more disqualifying than joe’s entire career’s worth of on camera/hot mic gaffes…so…how’d that pan out for harold, d’ya reckon?

Martin pleaded guilty to the willful retention of national defense information in March 2019. In July 2019, Martin was sentenced to nine years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

…huh…only a couple more years than for just the dozen docs…weird…it’s…I dunno…like the principle of the thing is somehow important or something

Former defense contractor and sailor Weldon Marshall was arrested for unlawfully retaining classified information, stored on compact discs and computer hard drives that he kept at his home in Texas. The information included classified documents from Marshall’s time with the U.S. Navy and from his time as a defense contractor in Afghanistan.

Marshall pleaded guilty in March 2018. He was sentenced in June 2018 to more than three years in prison followed by a year of supervised release.

…I mean…as far as I could make out that dude actually did just keep shit…whether deliberately as souvenirs or just like the VP stuff joe failed to dig out & hand off when he moved on…but he wasn’t the actual president when it came up…so

…I mean…even under billy barr it went a little like this

Former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee, also known as Zhen Cheng Li, was arrested on charges of unlawful retention of national defense information. Prosecutors alleged that Lee, while staying at hotels in Hawaii and Virginia, was in possession of two, small books that contained handwritten notes that included the true names and phone numbers of assets and covert CIA employees, operational notes from asset meetings, operational meeting locations and locations of covert facilities.

Lee was indicted in May 2018 on two counts of unlawfully retaining documents related to the national defense, as well as one count of conspiracy to deliver national defense information to a foreign government.

Lee pleaded guilty and was sentenced in November 2019 to 19 years in prison for conspiring to communicate, deliver and transmit national defense information to China.


…I mean…your orange boy has more than a pair in his hand…& just looking at the cards on the table without knowing what he’s got in the hole…”conspiring to communicate, deliver and transmit national defense information” to “hostile foreign powers” looks like it’s a gimme…whether you see that as filling the straight or rounding out the flush…or…indeed…both…your mere citizen comes up pushing a life term for those sorts of shenanigans, it turns out…well…you can plea down to a modest fine, some probation & a few promises…but you got to admit guilt to get that kind of sweetheart deal

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman immediately sentenced Nishimura to two years of probation, a $7,500 fine, and forfeiture of personal media containing classified materials. Nishimura was further ordered to surrender any currently held security clearance and to never again seek such a clearance.


…so…that’ll be a non-starter, I’d have to assume…&…while your boy jack is arguably a closer fit in terms of M.O.


…the one I can’t remember enough about to track down a link to was a case where the guy had business having the stuff…even with him on the trip he went on…which was also business…but at some point he…went for drinks or dinner or some shit with one of the people he was on the trip to see…& he stuck them in a drawer in that guy’s office…then forgot to take them home at the end…& the dude found them when he went back to work & dutifully rang someone up to say “look, I know how it happened but nobody did this on purpose so if you could send someone over I’d appreciate it because right now I don’t have clearance to open my desk drawer & that’s really putting a crimp in my day”…& that guy got convicted for the absent minded moment…they don’t play where this shit is concerned…well…when the rules are in effect, anyway

Trump was originally charged last month with 37 criminal counts including conspiracy to obstruct justice, concealing documents in a federal investigation and making false statements.

He and his co-defendants are now facing additional counts of obstruction of justice related to alleged attempts to destroy surveillance video footage at Mar-a-Lago. De Oliveira told an IT colleague ahead of last year’s FBI search that “the boss” wanted the server containing surveillance camera footage deleted, according to the indictment.

De Oliveira and Nauta contacted the IT employee after the DoJ told Trump’s legal team that a grand jury was seeking security camera footage from Mar-a-Lago, prosecutors said. Trump then called De Oliveira, according to the indictment.

The superseding indictment lists a new count of wilful retention of national defence information against Trump, in relation to a document detailing a US military plan of attack that he allegedly showed guests in 2021, saying: “See as president I could have declassified it . . . Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.”

…&…I’m not immune to the accusation that maybe I think I’d look fetching in the right tinfoil cap…there’s a saying about those to do with the fit

Last week, Trump said he had received a letter from the DoJ notifying him that he was the target of a criminal investigation into attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 vote. Members of Trump’s legal team met DoJ prosecutors on Thursday, stoking speculation that a decision on whether to bring charges in that case could happen soon.

Trump on Thursday said in a social media post that his legal team had a “productive meeting” at the DoJ. He added that an “indictment of me would only further destroy our country” and that his lawyers had said he had done “nothing wrong”.

If prosecutors bring charges in this case, it would mark the second federal indictment obtained by Jack Smith, the special counsel appointed by US attorney-general Merrick Garland to oversee probes involving Trump.

Prosecutors expand indictment as former US president awaits decision on another potential case [FT – back in july]

…so…if I put on the hat…maybe I’d make some observations about the guy who says none of this would be happening if he was in the driving seat…the one who routinely accuses others of things he’s guilty of & assumes he can take credit for things he didn’t do…& how stark a parallel could be drawn about his ship-sinking-ly loose lips…& his “innocent scrap-booking hobby”…& the curiously well-informed nature of the abhorrent plans that came to fruition on oct 7th…that right there would be a conspiracy theory I’d struggle to debunk

The former president has voiced misgivings about aid to Ukraine as it defends itself from the invasion launched by Russia in February 2022 – as well as to the existence of Nato, the 31-nation alliance which the US has committed to defending when necessary.

…I mean…all due respect to the guardian’s style guide…but I still think of it in upper case…looks less like a typo talking about some dude called nate I could care less about…but that’s a me problem, I guess

On Saturday, Trump claimed that during an unspecified Nato meeting he told a fellow head of state that the US under his leadership would not defend any countries who were “delinquent”.

…& you know he knows what delinquent means on account of how many times it’s described him in court filings

“One of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, ‘Well, sir, if we don’t pay, and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?’” Trump said, adding “I said, ‘You didn’t pay, you’re delinquent?’”

…”I know you are but what am I…that’s easy…I’m rubber you’re glue”…do fuck all the way off with that…& this part?

“No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills.”

…uh huh…from the guy who has a soft spot for the north korean dude…& threw away the nuke deal with iran…& helped his son in law get paid the big bucks by the bank of the bonesaw…& thinks giving vlad everything he wants for christmas is a better deal than posting bond to ukraine to keep his ass in the pocket…&…famously doesn’t pay his fucking bills…mr russia-are-you-listening his god-damned self…paging john wilkes booth…gotta redemption arc storyline coming through, here

As of 2022, Nato reported that seven of what are now 31 Nato member countries were meeting that obligation – up from three in 2014. Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine has spurred additional military spending by some Nato members.

…so…a couple dozen places he’s explicitly declaring are no longer protected by one of the foundational elements of the deterrent that’s its raison d’être

…coming through loud & clear there foghorn assclown

Meanwhile, conservative political commentator Alyssa Farah Griffin said Trump’s comments were “music” to the ears of Russian leader Vladimir Putin

…&…we’re not talking swan lake, here

In 1991, Soviet Citizens Saw Swans On The TV… And Knew It Meant Turmoil [NPR]

How ‘Swan Lake’ became a symbol of protest in Russia [ABC News]

…although…in terms of background music…the BBC aired a dude musing about having had it suggested to them that the man is seriously considering making tucker “rent-a-sucker” carlson his undercard on the ticket…which is an idea that in a sane universe is strictly the purview of the fucking onion…but it’s no more crazy than this being a net positive for him in campaign terms

On Saturday, the former president also celebrated the recent collapse of congressional legislation aiming to address the migration crisis on the US-Mexico border. The legislation was supported by Democratic incumbent Joe Biden, and Trump vowed that – if elected again – he would carry out “a massive deporation operation” on his first day back in the Oval Office.

…I mean…”I can break it when I’m not president so clearly that means I can fix it just as soon as you make me not go to fucking jail” is an abjectly cretinous proposition on its fucking face

1779, from French crétin (18c.), from Alpine dialect crestin, “a dwarfed and deformed idiot” of a type formerly found in families in the Alpine lands, a condition caused by a congenital deficiency of thyroid hormones. The word is of uncertain origin. By many it has been identified with Vulgar Latin *christianus “a Christian,” a generic term for “anyone,” but often with a sense of “poor fellow.” Related: Cretinism (1796).


…but that’s par for this particular bankrupt course

Trump has been performing strongly in public opinion polls against Biden, who defeated the ex-president in the 2020 election. Nonetheless, he is grappling with more than 90 criminal charges.


…&…he’s out here chumming the waters by flirting with pitching babies & bathwater into the incident pit because someone fucked up the mix in his tank & the fucker has the bends already…son of a bitch shouldn’t have been allowed to make it to that depth in the first place…it’s a grossly irresponsible failure of risk analysis anyone let him on the boat in the first place…much less kitted him out & let him dive over the edge the way he did

Leonard Leo’s advocacy and financial network played a major role in Trump’s judicial nominations and confirmation hearings as part of his years-long push to make the courts more friendly to conservatives and their causes. Justice Clarence Thomas once joked that Leo was the “No 3 most powerful person in the world”.

…uh huh…spoken in jest…says the fucking jester

Leo is the co-chairman of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization that counts five of the current nine justices as current or former members. He also heads a well-funded financial network that works to advance rightwing causes, having received a massive $1.6bn donation to boost his work. His maneuvers have been part of the recent scandals at the supreme court, including a payment he directed to be paid to Thomas’s wife, Ginni, the Washington Post reported in 2023.

Through this extensive network, he is tied to several of the filers of amicus briefs in the 14th amendment case that could prevent Trump from running for re-election. In those briefs, a variety of conservative groups argue against Trump’s removal, aligning with Trump’s arguments that he should remain on the ballot.

…&…they look like getting their wish…you know that particular motley fool will be there with bells on

According to research by Accountable.US, a non-profit that focuses on calling attention to special interests in US politics, Leo has ties – including professional associations, funding through his own groups or those he’s exchanged money with, and allies in the Federalist Society – to a handful of groups that filed amicus briefs against Trump’s removal.

The ties are part of a pattern, documented by Politico, of Leo himself and his network being connected to amicus briefs in high-profile supreme court cases in recent years. The Politico review also found “multiple instances of language used in the amicus briefs appearing in the court’s opinions”.

In this instance, Accountable.US found ties between Leo and the following groups or their lawyers that filed amicus briefs in the 14th amendment case: Citizens United, the Public Interest Legal Foundation, the Claremont Institute, Landmark Legal Foundation, Judicial Watch, Jones Day, Wyoming’s secretary of state Chuck Gray and America’s Future.

Citizens United, a conservative group whose name is synonymous with the 2010 supreme court ruling that allows unlimited political spending by outside groups and corporations, filed a brief alongside Steven Calabresi, Leo’s fellow co-chair of the Federalist Society. Other lawyers tied to the society are signed on to the group’s brief as well.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation’s brief is co-filed with a man who has been featured in more than 100 Federalist Society events, and the group has received funding from groups tied to Leo. The Claremont Institute has also received funds from groups tied to Leo’s funding network, and the brief’s author wrote a book that includes a quote from Leo on the back cover and featured in society events.

Leo has complimented the chairman of the Landmark Legal Foundation as a “great patriot” and “our old Federalist Society stalwart”. The Judicial Watch president is also president of the Council for National Policy, which Leo has reportedly been involved with. Jones Day, a conservative law firm whose attorneys authored an amicus brief for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has given money to the Federalist Society, and the firm is where Leo, Trump and others met to come up with a list of supreme court candidates.

The lawyers who filed Wyoming secretary of state Gray’s brief include a Federalist Society contributor who’s received a fellowship from the group. America’s Future has gotten funding from a group that’s exchanged millions with Leo’s financial network.


…so…I dunno…it’s quite possibly an offensive analogy…but…in relative terms it seems like a minor degree to me compared to the shit all that’s been talking about…& I just mean in a largely superficial sense…but when it comes to the trio fighting a rearguard action to not be made asses out of while forming the rump of the roberts court…hearing them out on the the 14th amendment case they all seem determined to adjudicate without attending to the merits of the publicly & repeatedly on the record insurrectionist bona fides of the salient material facts…might be as close as I can get to how joe’s line on how things should go between israel & palestine presumably sounds to palestinians in michigan…&…honestly…even if I can see how they got there…it does not fill me with the warm & fuzzies

That the six conservative justices would come to this conclusion, text be damned, was largely expected. And I anticipated that Chief Justice John Roberts would work hard to craft an opinion that brought the liberal justices on board, so that his eventual ruling wouldn’t seem so drastically partisan. But the upshot of yesterday’s arguments is that Roberts will not need to convince them: At least two of the liberals seemed as eager to keep Trump in the running as any guy sitting in a diner wearing a MAGA hat.

The arguments opened with Jonathan Mitchell, representing the Trump position, giving a master class on how not to argue in front of the Supreme Court. Mitchell, whom readers might remember as the former Texas solicitor general and the architect of Texas’s SB 8 anti-abortion bill, spent an incredible amount of time arguing against himself. The justices literally brought up arguments that they wanted him to make, to help him win the case, and he responded by telling them that they were wrong, or that he didn’t want to make the point because he didn’t think it would help him. (As an example, Mitchell almost refused to argue that Trump was denied due process in the Colorado proceeding, even though there were justices interested in that point). If Trump were, you know, skilled enough to follow along with a Supreme Court oral argument, he might be menacing ketchup bottles over this quality of representation.

…even my #1 fave conspiracy theory can’t put enough sugar in this medicine to stop the bile rising

Still, it was only when Jason Murray, the lawyer representing the effort to keep Trump off the ballot, rose to argue that the justices really started tipping their hands. Roberts, along with justices Samuel Alito, [credibly]* alleged attempted rapist Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, all asked Murray why one state—Colorado—should be allowed to decide who gets to be on the ballot for, essentially, the rest of the country.

*[…that would be credible in the sense that I found the lady vastly more credible than the “justice” in those hearings…not words I’m putting in mr mystal’s mouth]

Murray had a credible answer for this, one that usually wins in conservative circles: states’ rights. Murray said that Colorado had the right to determine its own election rules, and the Constitution grants “near-plenary” power for the states to determine their own election processes for federal officials. This is a point conservatives make constantly when they’re defending the right of states to, say, institute voter ID laws, close off early voting, or make any number of rules that restrict voting rights and limit voting access to poor people or people of color.

But here, states’ rights didn’t satisfy the conservatives, and didn’t persuade Justice Elena Kagan, who had the exact same concerns as the conservatives did. She worried about the lack of “uniformity” that would happen if the court upheld the Colorado ruling. She (like Roberts and Alito) kept hammering on hypotheticals, in which one state would exclude Trump while other states would exclude “other” candidates, and we’d be left in a situation where each state would have entirely different ballots for the presidential election.

…because of course the dems will perforce be scrabbling to put their own insurrectionist man-children with an abundance of criminal indictments on ballots hither & yon because that’s how “both sides” works

Murray, again, had a basically credible answer to this. He said that we had to trust states to apply their own laws faithfully. He pointed out that insurrection was pretty rare and it was unlikely that states would cynically use the standard for political means. Now, I think we all know that Murray’s hopes and dreams are flatly wrong, given that we’ve all seen what red-state governors like Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis are capable of. But as a legal proposition, the court shouldn’t be deciding cases based on what it thinks bad-faith politicians will do with its decisions. At the very least, if bad-faith political maneuvers are a thing the court now cares about, it might try applying that standard to its voting rights and gerrymandering decisions first, instead of only suddenly becoming concerned about this when an insurrectionist runs for president.

…&…red state legislatures that like things like book burning & are scared out of their wits by a man in a dress & a wig…unless it’s collude-y rudy, I suppose…they’d happily designate disagreement with their current articles of faith as insurrection if it meant they could redact their opponents from a ballot or two in a swing district…so…it’s only nuts because it presupposes the traction it will find with the lunatic wing…but…bleeding fucking nora

Kagan wasn’t buying Murray’s wishcasting though, and neither was Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Jackson echoed all of Kagan’s concerns, but added one other: that the president is not an “officer” as defined by the 14th Amendment. I was, frankly, shocked when Jackson started to push this point. The “not an officer” argument is ridiculous. It’s an idea that the Colorado trial court latched onto (the trial court found Trump to be an insurrectionist, but kept him on the ballot; the Colorado State Supreme Court overruled that and barred Trump from seeking office) to avoid kicking Trump off the ballot, and something that conservatives have since bandied about as a potential way out for the court. Jackson has already established herself as the most “textualist” justice on the liberal side of the bench, the one most eager to go toe-to-toe with Neil Gorsuch into the trenches of the Oxford English Dictionary and the original meaning of the Magna Carta. But she generally avoids playing pedantic word games as if the entire Constitution were a New York Times crossword puzzle waiting to be solved. Unlike Gorsuch, she never misses the forest for the trees.

But she did yesterday. She dug into the fact that the 14th Amendment doesn’t specify that it applies to “the presidency” the way it does other “offices” that insurrectionists cannot hold, and then seemed eager to invent a number of reasons for why that is so. I’ve read the same briefs she has, and it would seem she was unpersuaded by the overwhelming historical evidence that the writers of the 14th Amendment obviously did not think that a president who engaged in insurrection could ever run for president again. Instead, she argued that the authors of the amendment were primarily concerned with preventing voters in the South from returning Confederates to office through local or state elections, and somehow just didn’t care if they voted for a former rebel to be president of the entire nation.

I can only assume that the The Wall Street Journal and National Review will soon write op-eds praising Jackson for her intellectual consistency in the face of partisan pressure. I think the best way to understand Kagan’s and Jackson’s political calculations in this case is to realize that they’re far more worried about closely contested states kicking Joe Biden off the ballot than they are about solidly blue states kicking Trump off.

…elie has forgotten more shit about these people & the web of jurisprudence that’s been spun since those fathers went a’foundin’ than I’ll probably ever understand…but…I feel him on the disappointment?

Only Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the most senior liberal, seemed to maintain her skepticism about Trump’s argument throughout the hearing. But even she sounded resigned to the inevitable. Her questions meandered a bit and lacked the righteous punch she usually brings to the bench. She did not sound like a person gearing up to be the lone holdout in an 8-1 case; she did not sound like someone preparing for a blistering dissent. Instead, she sounded almost like she was playing for an important footnote in a unanimous opinion.

…maybe it should read “We feel it would be irresponsible to confine our opinion to the specific fact-pattern wherein, as is clearly the case in this instance, the proposed candidate did, as a matter of public record, solicit, encourage & materially aid in an attempt to subvert the peaceful transition of power after being shown to be the loser in both substance & spirit as expressed by the acknowledged will of the people – otherwise obviously our unanimous ruling would perforce reflect that the plain language of the 14th amendment would necessitate the opposite finding. It is our position that no other potential political candidate in future will be so conspicuously guilty of disqualifying behavior & have thereby concluded that it is better to cut our losses than die on this hill”…with some citations & a bit of latin if they can summon the will

The lack of liberal dissenters was the most disappointing thing to me about the hearings. That’s because I believe Roberts will be highly motivated to find a 9-0 solution to this case. If the liberals had put up more of a fight, it might have gotten Roberts to trade something in order to get them on board—not in this case, but on some of the other huge Trump-adjacent decisions the court will have to deal with. Perhaps 9-0 here but an agreement to not grant a stay in the Trump immunity case could have been scored. Perhaps an agreement to hold the January 6 insurrectionists accountable for obstruction of Congress. Something. The justices say that this kind of horse-trading doesn’t happen, that they take every case on its own merits, but I straight-up do not believe them. I think trading and deals and wink-nod agreements happen all the time, and I think this was an opportunity for the liberals to extract something for their votes. An opportunity the liberals gave up in their eagerness to stop Texas from banishing Joe Biden from the presidential ballot or whatever other Republican bogeyman they think is hiding under their beds.

…he doesn’t actually reference marcy’s magic sparkle pony by name…but…I wouldn’t be altogether surprised to see smoke coming out of his ears

I’ve said repeatedly that there is no way in hell the Supreme Court would allow the likely Republican nominee to be stricken from the ballot. I’ve said repeatedly that courts and judges simply do not have the strength and courage to end Trump’s presidential campaign as a matter of law. I’ve said repeatedly that the only way to be rid of him is to defeat him at the ballot box, again, and beat back his forces who will try to steal the election, again.


…I dunno, folks…I wouldn’t expect it to be anything but a thankless task…but…if you maybe know some michigan voters of middle-eastern extraction…who don’t think joe is worth standing in line to check a box for…maybe beg them to do it for the rest of us or something…because a vote not cast anyplace the verdict isn’t certain is a vote for the agent of combover chaos & his craptastic crew of cootie-phobic conspirators…&…look at the contextual cognitive markers that comes with on the side

Overwhelmed by remorse for the criminal acts he had committed, Vitale suffered a nervous breakdown. The former boss felt “guilty” and “impure” to the point that, upon his release from prison a year later, he voluntarily went to the police station in Palermo to confess to two murders. He also provided the names of dozens of other bosses involved in criminal activities. Diagnosed with diminished capacity and schizophrenia by doctors, he was placed in a psychiatric hospital. When he was released, the mafia had already condemned him to death. Vitale was killed with two gunshots to the head on 2 December 1984.

The case of Vitale was the first of its kind studied by Prof Girolamo Lo Verso, a psychotherapist and writer who more than two decades ago started offering a course at the University of Palermo on the psychology of the mafia, in the heart of a city where the shadow of Cosa Nostra – the Sicilian criminal organisation – once loomed large. It today boasts dozens of students and research findings that have highlighted the psychiatric impacts experienced by current and former mafia members, their relatives, and their victims.

“The mafia is not just a criminal organisation,” Lo Verso said, adding that on entering members renounce their sense of self and begin a psychological process to insulate them against remorse. “The new affiliate is taught that the only rules that matter are those of the clan. Everything else, including the rules of the state, counts for nothing […] Becoming part of Cosa Nostra is like entering a cult in which members must leave behind their own identity,” he said. “As long as they remain part of the mafia, they do not experience remorse or regret. They do not feel pain or sorrow, even when it comes to killing.”
Everything changes, Lo Verso said, when something disrupts the mobsters’ lives. “As long as they are integrated into the mafia family, the bosses do not show any kind of psychological suffering,” he said. “Their own ‘self’ is suppressed because they identify totally with the mafia and their thoughts conform to those of the clan. However, things change when there is a break, a detachment from the mafia, for example, when an arrested mafioso decides to collaborate with the authorities.
Those who are turned to testify against the mob, the so-called pentiti, are the ones who suffer the most among the mafiosi: transferred to secret locations in northern Italy and cut off from their former lives, psychologists who have worked with them described them as among the most devastated individuals they have encountered. Alone, rejected and branded by their former clans as traitors, many are dependent on medication.
Psychiatrists and psychologists have also noticed that an increasing number of the family of mobsters suffer from mental illness. When in the 1980s and 1990s the Italian state began to dismantle the clans and prosecute their members, their children especially started to experience profound existential crises. Their fathers were no longer perceived, as according to mafia lore, as men of honour, but as heartless criminals forced to flee from the police or imprisoned for decades without any possibility of seeing them.
“They do not need [therapy]. Bosses, as long as they remain in command or play a role within the organisation, even if in prison, do not suffer from any mental problems,” Lo Verso said. Their lives, the psychologists say, are marked by pure psychopathology, specifically delusions of omnipotence and a lack of trust towards others.
The Palermo research is also looking at the impact of the mafia on society as a whole. “There are places in Sicily, even today, where discussing the mafia is done cautiously, speaking in a low voice” says Giordano. “Omertà is one of the many psychological consequences the mafia has on society. Understanding these aspects of Cosa Nostra can help us recognise it and, consequently, why not, fight against it.”


…woke up this morning…your mama always told you you’d be the chosen one…your papa never told you about…right & wrong…uh huh…can see how you might be wondering where your gat be at

…but…it’s sunday…& I’m more of a douglas adams fan anyway…so I’ll stick to knowing where my towel is, if it’s all the same?

…gimme a minute…or several…& maybe a little somethin’ somethin’ in my next cup o’joe…& I’ll look out a bit more of the better-sounding stuff…or…if you’re just getting started…there’s always this kind of stuff to flesh out some details

WaPo has an overdue profile of Mike Roman, the guy who threatens blow up the Fani Willis prosecution by exposing a romantic relationship between her and prosecutor Nate Wade.

It describes how the guy who recruited a bunch of the most prominent Republicans in swing states across the country to sign onto fraudulent certificates claiming Trump won had previously served as — basically — a spy, first for the Kochs and then for Trump.


…or…if you’re really kicking back & taking your time…this’d keep you busy for a good half-hour or so?

How Mark Meadows Became the Least Trusted Man in Washington [NYT]

…sorry…I was supposed to be S-ing TFU…errr…you hum it & I’ll see about carrying a tune?

…couldn’t find music for space cadets…so music for astronauts will have to do, I’m afraid
…actually…kinda digging the big brass rage ting…so how about another?


  1. of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.


    mental state of willfulness?

    really? im remembering that one for the next time im in court for whatever i dont remember doing whilst blackout drunk

    if i dont forget to

    • …it’s the mens rea thing…for which the trump family defense is basically…can’t have a guilty conscience if there’s no conscience to be found…or indeed…consciousness…that’s how donj got adjudicated to be legally too stupid to convict for colluding with russian actors to influence the election

      Mueller’s findings: Too stupid to conspire. Too incompetent to obstruct. [WaPo from years back]


      …right up there with “I was drunk, your honor – if I’d been sober I never would have lied to the policeman” in a DUI case…in fact…I’d say your case was considerably stronger if there was a blackout involved

      …a guy once taught me the turkish for “no brain, no hangover”…but I didn’t realize at the time it might be admissible in court or I’d have made more of an effort to remember how it went?

      • Was the Turkish guy hot? Or don’t you remember? A college friend of mine had a Turkish boyfriend, Ali, and he was incredibly hot, but he had this weird obsession with anal sex (my friend was a woman.) So that got tiresome. I would have…well, that’s enough.

        • …not that one…though…those weren’t especially hard to come by ashore…the catchphrase was a favorite of a hirsute guy in marmaris the way I remember it…who was a decent sort…despite his whole job description being to hang out on the street & try to talk passing trade into his establishment he told us with no trace of concern for his employers that we could get the same food only better for a fraction of the price from a kiosk he gave us directions to…& we went back & bargained his joint down to a bulk discount on beer at about 50p a go…which at the time would have been about 4 for a buck…at about 2/3 of a pint per

          …if the really rather talented cover band act up on the roof had been able to speak english as fluently as you’d assumed from the aplomb with which they parroted lyrics in the tongue…you’d probably have been quids in there, though…or, if you prefer…in like flynn?

  2. …feeling bad about the bad taste that post left in my mouth…& that “needs more horns” lot with the line in cover versions made me think of this crew

    …coulda filled out the quota just from their catalog, really…& they’re undeniably more fun to listen to

    …so…that might sweeten the pot a little for folks who’d have had a nice lie in before they ran into this?

    • …pretty sure if you went in & swapped out all my posts for just that .gif…our butcher might be so deliriously overjoyed it’s possible he’d do himself a mischief

      …really, it’s only how I wouldn’t want that sort of thing on my conscience that keeps them up

      …but…fair point?

      • Don’t listen to the Philistines. You are our David Foster Wallace or Thomas Pynchon. A novel that’s only 300 pages long? That’s just the wind-up. It’s 1,200 pages? That’s more like it!

        • …see now that made me compare my overlong posts to one of those binders leslie knope would have…but I couldn’t find a suitable clip of that sort of scene…& then I found this

          …only that made me think of the bit where leslie gives a rousing speech & everyone’s chiming in with a “we’re with you” chorus…& april punches a fist in the air & says “let’s burn it all down”…& when they all look at her she shrugs & says she wasn’t paying attention…but…struck out again…so…here she is in a popularity contest

          …which I’m pretty sure shows up in the “best of” showreel

          …but if I don’t stop there I’m gonna start racking up ron swanson clips till it’s time to go home?

  3. Time for my regular PSA about polling. It is complete, utter, unadulterated bullshit. Seriously, when the word “poll” is uttered or encountered, you need to completely disregard any conclusions drawn from it.




    • …you’re not wrong…but sometimes things like that bit of the venn diagram their questionnaire netted them where you got worried about joe being non compos mentis but unconcerned about a guy who it wouldn’t surprise me is on adolf’s own private cocktail of intravenous assistance…is sort of like dunking my head in ice-water

      …I’m not sure health benefits are up there with your actual dip in sub-zero waters…but it feels like it dislodges some cobwebs in the mental attic I apparently live in…possibly for the safety of others?

  4. I just can’t take anymore the Trump ludicrous, threatening, reality. Whatever the Republicans are doing from a PR/media pov, it is time for the Democrats to take off their gloves and do the same. Every single interview, commercial, or speech from/for/by Biden should start with a reiteration of Trump’s convictions and settlements, featuring those against women. And including the shut down of his nonprofit and university. And the convictions of his business team. And then those of his advisors. Followed by a list of the foriegn business assets compiled by his grifter children. Interspersed with his photo ops hugging the Russian and North Korean dictators, and the January 6th insurrection. Perhaps a tagline of “Trump: A convicted criminal who counts criminal associates as friends, counts war criminals as allies, and is counting on you to be too stupid to see his attacks on democracy.”

    • …I wouldn’t know one myself…but based on conversations with friends…I apparently do know a guy who knows a guy…or possibly an app or a website…that would take that bet…& not, like, on the darkweb in crypto…at least not to the best of my knowledge, anyway…although after the run they had in belgium I doubt they’d let you make it an accumulator?

  5. …sigh…& the hits keep coming


    …when I heard it on the BBC it sounded more like “a couple of people have told us now…” than “per official statements from ukrainian military that our guys haven’t told us are making shit up”…but newsweek acknowledged it had been acknowledged a couple days back?


  6. That final link about Mark Meadows is a great read with a lot of new reporting.

    One issue, though, is that the article avoids talking about how much Meadows has cultivated the DC press while lying to them endlessly. It’s something that Tim Alberta wrote about explicitly in his long article about Meadows’ chronic lying.


    There’s a sore spot for the Times political desk, because Meadows has been a regular background source for them going back to his days in the US House. Talking about how much the DC press collaborated with Meadows and his blatantly false efforts would have opened up a can of worms for people like Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker.

    Draper talks about Meadows personally opened the floodgates for kooks to infiltrate the White House when he was Chief of Staff. This happened just weeks before the first Covid lockdowns hit the US.

    And yet the Times’ top White House reporters were silent on this hugely relevant issue. For all of her access, Haberman never explained during the worst days of Covid how Trump became a massive vector for disinformation on dangerous fake cures for Covid.

    It wasn’t for a lack of sources – one thing Draper and Alberta have explained in detail is how many close enemies Meadows has. It’s because reporters like Haberman and Baker were deliberately insulating Meadows despite his deep unreliability as a source.

    It makes no sense in terms of traditional access journalism, where there is a quid pro quo relationship to trade favorable coverage in exchange for real information when it was needed.

    Haberman and Baker were trading favorable coverage for lies. And it happened because they wanted to advance a lot of Meadows’ agenda.

    • …you know what they say about birds of a feather…& that part about how he’d tell anyone & everyone what they wanted to hear especially his meal ticket…& if he didn’t have the answer the fatuous floridian desired…he’d go forth & try to make a passable imitation look like a thing…which actually is a quote from the lady with the article 5 tweet iirc…& that’s a feedback loop for the people you’re talking about…lot of self-reinforcement going around those houses

      …that being so…was sort of more impressed that the same rag ran a piece willing to straight up say the guy was twiddling his thumbs while the capitol was being over-run while telling people pleading for someone in that office to pull their finger out & get on the case…all he could come up with was “baby don’t wanna”…& that the whole fucking circus could have gone differently if mark meadows wasn’t such a spinelessly sycophantic windsock of an empty suit

      …imagine haberman posts better pageviews than anything of that length…but it ain’t nothing they put it on the record that way?

      • It’s not Haberman in 2020 vs. Draper in 2024, it’s really a question of what Haberman produced in Spring 2020 vs. what she could have produced if she had cared.

        I’ve gone back and read some of her reporting during that absolutely horrifying period, and it’s striking how muddy her writing is and how uninformative it is. People were desperate for information at that time, and from an audience metrics perspective, having her lay out in a straightforward manner what she must have known would have taken off.

        And of course from a simple perspective of integrity and public service, putting out the White House’s massive incompetence in the face of a massive body count is as big of an obligation as you can imagine.

        But she clearly saw her job as protecting as much of the White House as possible, and keeping her reports opaque, confused and just plain boring.

        How can you be boring in the middle of a pandemic? Haberman found a way.

        Correctly portraying what was going on in the White House as a crisis – a word the Times uses with maddening inconsistency, often for trivia – would have grabbed a lot more eyeballs than the stuff she wrote which covered up for Meadows in a cloud of passive voices.

        And as Draper and Alberta’s reporting shows in great detail, there has never been a shortage of insiders willing to dish on Meadows, offering gripping, interesting news. Even if she had a concern about maintaining access, critical reporting would have been sustainable if she had wanted to pursue it. She simply didn’t.

        • …sure…that’s the feedback loop of mutual self-reinforcement in action, isn’t it?

          …some journalists rock the boat…& some cash their checks because they help smooth out the bumps & steady the ride so the horses don’t spook…in this analogy horses are submersible…just go with it…point being she’s like a bizarro wolverine…the very best at what they do…& what they do ain’t nice…but she could always claim to have fresher word from higher up the chain of command so her byline never lost its buoyancy to sink below the fold…if you’re running the cost benefit analysis she’d even been giving good mileage, too…so that’s her comfort zone & she feathered her nest every which way

          …even so she’s only one example…& they are legion…so what she is to the times is kinda what the times is to the wider media landscape in at least a few ways…not the worst because there’s just so much worse on offer…but otherwise not unlike a once great washed up drunk of a trial lawyer who once in a while has a moment of lucidity & pretty much nails an argument that would sweep a jury off its feet…though…despite kinda liking that analogy…I can’t think of an example of maggie coming through like that…so it probably falls apart…like a cautionary tale of a barfly…&…back in the game

          …sorry…I probably ought to go have a lie down?

  7. Hey RIP, thanks for the Boo Radleys & A3 today, love it but man, you need to get some sleep & stop doom scrolling!

    I have been saying this forever but maybe now is the time?


    Why we can’t have nice things?


    and why the media will do anything they can to return the Trump gravy train back to office even if it forever fucks this country…

    • …ok…so now I’m gonna sound like I’m fiending for a fresh fix on the doomscrolling addiction…but I feel like you dropped one link more than you meant to & another one not as much?

        • …is that why we can’t have nice things? …wait…I know this one…can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it so it must be true…the real swindlers, right…are the underprivileged and disenfranchised people locked in a kafkaesque system, see…because…& you’ll want to be sitting down for this part…some of them…learn to game the system…the audacity, right?

          …that stuff that article is about…those are significant transactions…not the sort you can make without being…well…more significant that a welfare queen…so that can’t be a real problem…it’s all perfectly straightforward…ask anyone at the country club if you don’t believe me

    • The thing that drives me crazy is that covering Trump may have seemed exciting to them, but I think they’re kidding themselves how exciting their reporting was to everyone else.

      Maggie Haberman kept a lid on years of details she had gathered and then spent months pulling together her magnum opus on the Trump presidency, but no matter how hard she tried, her book is completely forgotten. It was nothing more than a grab bag of random facts, and she failed to put together a worthwhile portrait of him despite his being an absolute monster.

      Audiences for political news have continued to shrink despite the fact that Trump has never left the news. But news organizations remain stuck on him. And at this point I have to believe a lot of the problem is that they are clueless how to meet demand.

      All evidence is that public interest in the climate crisis keeps growing, but the political press covers it as an afterthought. If political reporters can’t find compelling copy from fires, floods, and tornadoes, maybe the problem is with them.

      It’s fair to say you can’t cover the climate crisis the way you cover the White House or a presidential campaign. But that would mean to an organization that wants to expand its audience that they should massively rethink their methods and models. The media’s leadership is too dimwitted to lead, though, so they just double down on their old ways.

      • …I don’t think they really mean “exciting”…I think they mean “titillating”…& to your point…I think they felt like they had all the safety of a disney corp certified rollercoaster they got to get paid to ride while the whole world hung on their every word…in it for the thrills but secure in the belief it couldn’t come off the rails

        …when actually they were looking at the kind of production issues that end up with part of the plane flying off while it’s aloft with a full complement of souls…& somehow failed to take note of the part where they had their head in the clouds & nobody could even see the fucking tracks from here

        …back in the day that’s the kind of people who get eaten by large animals & probably don’t have a lot of kids…but now…we have twxitter?

      • That is definitely part of it but the big media outlets don’t cover climate change because their main advertisers are BP, Exxon, & Koch Industries.  You don’t shit where you eat so to speak.

        • …belch any number of toxic substances all over &/or into every last thing everyplace…sure…but actually shit…heaven forfend…that would be unseemly…& we can’t have that now, can we?

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