In the wake of the Twelfth Night White Riot, President* Pennywise has resumed his self-pardon musings. I am on the record as believing that a self-pardon would be unconstitutional and unlikely to survive a court challenge. If I were like my former law professor Con Law, I’d drop Larry Tribe’s name at this point. Oops, I did it again. I cannot help myself. It’s one of my favorite stories.
Why am I suddenly advocating an unconstitutional presidential* self-pardon? For two reasons. First, it’s doomed to fail in the courts. There’s no way even the current SCOTUS has a majority that will uphold an action that clearly makes future presidents above the law. It will also have the comedic effect of extending Team Trump’s legal losing streak.
Second, it will oblige the Department of Justice to indict the Kaiser if Chaos on federal charges. The Sovereign District of New York has been itching to indict Trump since the Stormy Daniels payoff case. A self-pardon will make such an indictment inevitable. That should open the floodgates on federal legal action against Donald J Trump and his criminal associates. A president who has acted like a mob boss should be treated like one. I may have to revive my mob boss nickname for Trump: Don Donaldo, Il Comico Insulto. FYI, I’m not adding Impeached to that nickname. I’m also uncertain if I will call him the Impeached Impeached Insult Comedian if he becomes the first person to be doubly impeached. Too much typing.
Enough about nicknames, back to the law.
A test case is not only necessary to test a self-pardon’s constitutionality, it’s imperative. If it is allowed to stand, all presidents would be above the law. President* Pennywise may like that idea but no one else should.
So, Donald, self-pardon yourself. I double dog dare you. One of your presidential predecessors, Ronald Reagan, was fond of quoting Dirty Harry Callahan played in the movies by Clint Eastwood. He gets the last word:
I dislike criticizing people with whom I usually agree. I prefer to aim my fire at the other side, especially since it’s currently overpopulated by sycophantic Trumpers. In this instance, it’s the rhetorical overreaction to the futile Texas Twisted election case that leads me to criticize some of my fellow liberals. I suspect my views will be unpopular with many. So be it.
I’m on the record as believing that COUP is the wrong word to describe Trump’s doomed attempt to steal the election. It’s a con, not a coup. It’s one of Team Trump’s most successful fundraising gambits ever. It’s also a vivid illustration of why wingnuts like to “own the libs.” It’s so damn easy. One of the few things they’re good at is trolling. My ironclad first rule of internet interaction is DO NOT FEED THE TROLL.
A new word is in use by those devoted to rhetorical overkill in the post-election period: SEDITION. The Attorney General of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, described the Texas Twisted suit as such in his brief to SCOTUS. Others have applied the word to the 126 GOP Congresscritters who supported this idiotic and baseless election challenge. I disagree, it’s sycophancy, not sedition.
My objection to the loaded word sedition is based on our historical experience. Its first major use occurred during the partisan slagging match between Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans over the French Revolution. The former supported it and the latter sided with the British in their opposition. This split resulted in the justly infamous Alien and Sedition Acts, which were a massive First Amendment violation. To his credit, President Adams had qualms about the Acts, but still signed them into law. That led to the second president becoming the first to lose re-election.
We’ll skip the War of the Rebellion as the secessionist South was clearly seditious and move on to some 20th Century examples. The word sedition was slathered over every form of “disloyalty” during the post-Great War Red Scare as well as during the McCarthy period. It popped up occasionally during the anti-Vietnam War protests and was uttered on several occasions by Dick Cheney during the Iraq War.
In our national experience, the word sedition has been applied to suppress unpopular, usually left-wing speech. I am not eager to see it used by the left in overreaction to Trump’s post-election con. Do anti-Trumpers really want to keep company with A. Mitchell Palmer and Tailgunner Joe McCarthy? I certainly do not.
The 126 House GOPers who supported the fakakta Texas Twisted suit were motivated by sycophancy, not sedition. It’s the fear of a primary challenge or the desire to curry favor with President* Pennywise that led them to sign on to Gret Stet Congressman Mike Johnson’s stupid petition. I refuse to dignify it by calling it a filing.
There are many who want to punish the House 126 in some way. They will clearly not be prosecuted since it involves speech, not overt actions. Some want Speaker Pelosi to refuse to seat the 126 using the 14th Amendment as a rationale. In theory, that’s possible but it would be unwise in the extreme. Nancy Smash is too smart to go there. The result of such a refusal would be the disenfranchisement of approximately 94 million Americans. (The current ratio of voters per district is 747,000.)
Refusing to seat the 126 would open a second front in this ridiculous cold war between Democrats and Republicans. It would cede the high ground to the latter as they could scream about their constituents being disenfranchised. This notion is first cousin to the “led the red states secede” group. For obvious reasons, I disagree with this damn fool notion as it would banish millions of people of color and me from the Union. What happened in first in Virginia then Georgia proves that red states can evolve, especially those with large black populations.
For those desperate for the House to punish the 126, a less incendiary idea is to censure the ringleader, Congressman Mike Johnson. His actions take the Gret out of the Gret Stet of Louisiana and he’s not even the worst member of our delegation. This is also unlikely to happen, but it wouldn’t have the effect of needlessly turning the 2020 election into another 1876. There’s a clear victor in this election as will be ratified by the electors today.
There’s a public health crisis in this country and Congress needs to take a page out of Bill Clinton’s impeachment playbook. Every time he was asked about impeachment, he’d say something to the effect of “I’m not focused on that. I’m doing the work I was elected to do by the American people.” For the first time, there’s some hope on the COVID front. Vaccine distribution and relief for the American people is what Congress should focus on, not 126 sycophantic House GOPers.
If I wanted to be a member of a party of dick wavers and screamers, I’d be a Republican. I prefer to follow the lead of the incoming Democratic president Joe Biden and be prepared to fight off substantive challenges and shrug off the rest. It’s time for the MSM and the public to expel Donald Trump from their heads. He’s the past. He’s just a troll demanding to be fed. Stop giving him the attention he desperately needs.
155, ORIG. TEXAS V. PENNSYLVANIA, ET AL. The State of Texas’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution. Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections. All other pending motions are dismissed as moot. Statement of Justice Alito, with whom Justice Thomas joins: In my view, we do not have discretion to deny the filing of a bill of complaint in a case that falls within our original jurisdiction. See Arizona v. California, 589 U. S. ___ (Feb. 24, 2020) (Thomas, J., dissenting). I would therefore grant the motion to file the bill of complaint but would not grant other relief, and I express no view on any other issue.
With the blood of “patriots”? I agree completely. Just lean over the nearest tree and open up your veins.
Quite believable, actually. Too many keep denying the impact of the Deep State. People were told Trump would never be allowed to be re-elected by the Deep State. No one should be surprised that’s where we’re headed.
Works for me. Of course, you know she’ll get everything, including your house and car, child support (for all the children torn from their parents’ arms at the border), and a restraining order preventing you from coming any closer than the ten-mile offshore limit…
The Soap BoxThe Ballot Box
The Jury Box<———you are here
The Cartridge Box<———you are here – fire at will
54 posted on 12/11/2020, 5:44:22 PM by rockrr ( Everything is different now…)
Which one’s Will?
Actually, I predicted that the matter of standing would block this case from consideration.My fellow Freepers, while I acknowledge the moral righteousness here and also acknowledge that “no standing” is a typical judicial dodge to avoid making controversial rulings, we have to ask ourselves if one state really has standing to sue over how another state runs its business.
Common sense and morality are not necessarily the basis on how The Law works.
Feel free to try it, shit-for-brains. But you’ll do nothing, just like you didn’t do anything the last ten times you threatened to grab a gun and start shooting.
Civil war… the only solution left. Time to mobilize and resist the criminal US Government.
82 posted on 12/11/2020, 5:46:42 PM by DesertRhino (Dog is man’s best friend, and moslems hate dogs. Add that up. …. )
WOLVERINES !!!! Mount UP!!!
OK, well, I don’t know about anyone else, but as for me – I’m going to war.- Mike out.
83 posted on 12/11/2020, 5:46:44 PM by grobdriver (BUILD KATE’S WALL!)
You’re not going anywhere, you blithering buffoon – except to bed to cry yourself to sleep.
Sorry, you’re right. It was the three Trump appointees who stabbed us in the back. So now I do believe that “Justice” Kavanaugh, whom we all fought so hard for to less than no avail, did in fact rape that woman.
I’ve felt more like a lawyer in the last week than I have in years. Watching the hysteria on the left over the preposterous Texas election case has driven me crazy. It never had a chance. It was a bad joke concocted by someone with no sense of humor. And now it’s over. I told you so.
In a blunt and to the point order, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected this fakakta case tonight. 7 justices didn’t want to hear it. Alito and Thomas would have heard it on procedural grounds but were unwilling to lift a finger to help their fellow wing nuts. It’s over. I told you so.
I eagerly await the Impeached Insult Comedian’s meltdown. I cannot wait to hear him accuse Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett of disloyalty. He thought that by nominating them, he owned them like Vito Corleone after he granted the undertaker Bonasera’s wedding day request. Handing him the election was the service he expected from them. A little evidence would have helped. I told you so.
People on my side of the fence need to forget the process and focus on the result. It doesn’t matter how many state AGs and Congresscritters sycophantically followed Trump off the cliff like lemmings. It’s over. They can go fuck themselves.
The media needs to kick its Trump addiction. He’s the past. He’s just a loudmouth sore loser whose words should bear no weight whatsoever. It’s over. He can go fuck himself.
Just in case my title isn’t clear enough, the last word goes to Gore Vidal:
I hate Senate hearings, especially illegitimate ones. I’m usually the guy who says, “don’t boycott.” But this time I wish they had. I understand the reasons for Democratic members participating but I don’t want any of them catching COVID from the senator we know has had it, Mike Lee, or the senators who refused to be tested, Graham and Grassley. It’s not worth it, y’all.
I have a personal reason for hearing avoidance: the junior senator from the Gret Stet of Louisiana, John Neely Kennedy. I cannot stand watching him hick it up and sound like a hillbilly ninny. He’s the second phoniest man in American politics. Repeat after me: John Neely Kennedy can go fuck himself.
As to the process itself, it’s a rush job to cram an extremist judge down our throats. We all know that she’s itching to reverse Roe, but they keep denying it. I may not be watching the hearings but I’m reading about them and watching the clips. You could cut the sanctimony in that room with a knife.
I’m baffled by the Republican focus on the “injustice” done to Justice Bro. Why do they want to relive that nightmare? It’s not going to help them politically. Just ask Runaround Sue Collins. They know they’re losing, that’s why they’re putting their hypocrisy on parade.
I wish they weren’t there, but I agree with the Democrat’s focus on health care. The ACA and COVID are winning issues for Team Blue. Since this process is strictly political, they should milk it for all it’s worth.
The clips I’ve seen from day two show an over rehearsed almost comically evasive nominee. It’s the same act that GOP nominees have been doing since John Roberts, but he did it with style and panache qualities that Judge Barrett lacks.
I’m glad committee Dems are scoring points but life’s too short to invite Ted Cruz into my living room. I don’t want to traumatize Kitty Claire Trevor.
A brief thought about “court packing.” I think it’s high time for SCOTUS reform, but I wish our side would STFU about court packing. It’s a pejorative term that was used by FDR’s enemies during his attempt to reform the high court. Call if reform, call it anything else but don’t call it packing. Words matter. I agree with the headline of a recent Josh Marshall post: It’s Not ‘Court Packing.’ Don’t Be A Moron and Call It That.
It’s time to gavel this post to a close. In an attempt to inject some levity into the proceedings, we have two judge songs for your listening pleasure:
This frail-looking and petite woman was so mentally and morally tough that some thought she was immortal. I’ve spent a lot of time around people over 80 in the last decade, so I was not surprised. It was a nearly unparalleled act of will for her survive the sort of major illnesses that would have finished off lesser beings. As depicted by the Krewe du Vieux sub-krewe of Mishigas in 2019, Justice Ginsburg was a fighter,
There have been many marvelous tributes to Justice Ginsburg. Here’s a brief list:
Pierce made an apt comparison between Ginsburg and Thurgood Marshall. As a litigator, Ginsburg followed the trail blazed by Marshall and fought to establish important rights for women. Thurgood Marshall, however, was a reluctant judge. He preferred being on the other side of the courtroom. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was just as distinguished a jurist as an advocate. Those two skills rarely coincide. She was a remarkable person who led an exemplary life both personally and professionally. Above all else, she was a fighter.
While I wish that Justice Ginsburg had retired while Barack Obama was still president, her reasons were based on her experience as a Justice. Each generation of Justices learns a different lesson: Bill Brennan and Thurgood Marshall retired when they did because of the negative example set by Hugo Black and Bill Douglas who stayed on the Court too long. Ruth Bader Ginsburg saw her friend and colleague Sandra Day O’Connor regret her retirement to care for a husband who died while she was still on the court. That was a major turning point as her replacement was Samuel Alito who is an unbending member of the conservative bloc whereas O’Connor was the ultimate swing vote.
We’re on the cusp of another turning point with Justice Ginsburg’s death 46 days before the election. Those of us who admire Justice Ginsburg should follow her example, get off the floor, and fight back. I heard despair and defeatism this weekend. That’s a shitty way to honor a tough old bird like RBG, Dahlia Lithwick said it best:
America has lost a warrior, and it’s OK to be crushed. I am flattened. And I will mourn, because she deserves to be mourned. But we are also facing an almighty battle that will rage in the coming weeks, with attempts to fill her seat in an unseemly and grotesque manner. It will be hard and painful, but if you find yourself feeling hopeless and powerless, then you are emphatically doing it wrong. Because if anyone had a right to say “nah,” it was the woman who couldn’t get a job or a clerkship after graduating at the top of her class. But she pushed on, and then she pushed forward. She stepped into the fight of the phenomenal women who paved the path before, and now, well, it’s time to step into her fight and get it finished. I think the Notorious RBG would have peered owlishly out at all of us tonight and asked what the heck we are waiting for. And I think we can probably honor her best by getting to it.
The confirmation battle is joined. The most cynical man in politics has already discarded the rule bearing his name. The Turtle plans to move a Trump nominee through the Senate. I suspect he’ll do the most cynical thing imaginable and hold the vote in the lame duck session. To do otherwise, would doom the only thing that McConnell cares about as much as SCOTUS, his Senate majority.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham has already flip-flopped on his pledge not to push a nomination through in an election year. Nobody should be surprised. In 2016, Graham called Trump “a kook and a con man” among other ephemeral epithets. Now they’re golfing buddies.
The Democratic minority should announce a concrete and specific Court reform plan. (Don’t call it court packing, that evokes FDR’s failure in 1937-38.) It should expand the number of Justices to eleven. They should also pledge to abolish the filibuster if a Trump nominee is rammed through. It’s time for it to go.
I saw some despairing tweets that a SCOTUS battle would decide the presidential election in Trump’s favor. Color me skeptical. Conservatives who care about SCOTUS and abortion sold their souls to President* Pennywise long ago. In 2020, it’s more likely to galvanize Democrats. A reminder that the Kavanaugh Mess did NOT turn the 2018 mid-terms in the GOP’s favor. The number that counts is this: 204,122 and counting dead of the novel coronavirus.
Back to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was an inspiring figure who will be missed, especially by the young women she inspired to fight the good fight. Women will decide the 2020 election. My hope is that they will be inspired to keep fighting until Democrats recapture the White House and Senate. Vote like the fate of the Republic depends on it. It does.
The last word goes to RBG’s close friend Nina Totenberg with a tweet for the ages:
A Jewish teaching says those who die just before the Jewish new year are the ones God has held back until the last moment bc they were needed most & were the most righteous. And so it was that #RBG died as the sun was setting last night marking the beginning of RoshHashanah
The Summer Of Sam Fuller continues here at First Draft. The new Fog Of Scandal image is how the murder of Tolly Devlin’s father was shot in today’s PFT film noir, Underworld U.S.A. What’s more noir than shadows? Not a damn thing.
You’re probably wondering what this has to do with the ruling by SCOTUS in the Trump tax cases. Not a damn thing. Don’t jump my shit or I’ll have a Tolly Devlin moment:
I’ve never been compared to a Dutch seer before. I kinda like it. Thanks, Paul. Hmm, I wonder if the Dutch Dude wore seersucker…
The following analysis is as instant as it gets.
There was a clear victory for the Manhattan DA’s office in its case, which re-established the obvious principle that any POTUS is NOT ABOVE THE LAW. Trump’s legal team made preposterous arguments that made him either a king or a deity. The Kaiser of Chaos is neither; that nickname notwithstanding.
Both the New York case and the Congressional case have been remanded to the lower courts to address the details of the complaints so as Yogi Berra probably never said, “It ain’t over until it’s over.”
We may not see the records as soon as we might like but President* Pennywise is a loser in the long run. And he hates losing. Neener, neener, neener. I never get tired of Trump losing.
Other than the rule of law, the real winner today was Chief Justice John Roberts who, like any sensible Chief, prefers to stay out of the political thicket, which is as thick as it’s ever been. Thanks to a president* who is truly as thick as brick, which means as smart as a lump of shit. Make that orange shit and it fits…
Even Justice Bro believes that presidents DO NOT HAVE ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY. The Impeached Insult Comedian is already whining like a stuck pig, but he hasn’t attacked Kavanaugh. Yet. The clock is still clicking.
The cases have been remanded to the lower courts to handle the details. Congress may still prevail if they narrow their subpoena. Btw, that’s a word I can never spell without resort to a spell checker. The mere thought gives me a series of Tolly Devlin moments:
Finally, here’s summation of the case written in the style of Mongo of Blazing Saddles fame:
Donald Trump said his former National Security Adviser John Bolton may face a “criminal problem” if he goes ahead with the publication of his book that is expected to be highly critical of the president.
US President Donald Trump said on Monday that his former national security adviser, John Bolton, could face criminal liability if he doesn’t halt the publication of his new book that is expected to provide an insider account of the Trump administration.
“I will consider every conversation with me as president highly classified. So that would mean that if he wrote a book and if the book gets out he’s broken the law,” Trump said. “That’s called criminal liability. That’s a big thing,” he said.
Bolton, who served as Trump’s national security adviser for about 18 months, is a controversial figure in Washington. He is a Republican policymaker known for his hawkish stance on foreign affairs. Bolton was fired by Trump in September 2019 over simmering differences on a range of foreign policy issues, most notably North Korea and Afghanistan.
‘Addicted to chaos’
In the book, titled “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” Bolton writes that almost every decision by Trump was motivated by domestic politics, and that he committed impeachable offenses even beyond the charges related to Ukraine.
“I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations,” Bolton writes in the book, according to a statement by the publishers, Simon and Schuster.
The book describes Trump as “a President addicted to chaos, who embraced our enemies and spurned our friends, and was deeply suspicious of his own government,” the statement said.
Trump has accused Bolton of not completing the clearance process required for a book by former government officials who had access to sensitive information. While Trump admitted he had not read the book, he said the problem of revealing conversations with the president “becomes even worse if he lies about the conversation, which I understand he might have in some cases.”
“We’ll see what happens. They’re in court or they’ll soon be in court,” Trump said.
US Attorney General William Barr also raised concerns over the pre-publication review process, and added that the Trump administration was “trying to get them to go through the process and make the necessary deletions of classified information.”
Bolton’s lawyer Chuck Cooper has contradicted these statements, saying that his client had painstakingly worked with classifications specialists at the White House National Security Council to ensure classified material is not published.
“This is a transparent attempt to use national security as a pretext to censor Mr. Bolton, in violation of his constitutional right to speak on matters of the utmost public importance,”according to Cooper. “This attempt will not succeed, and Mr. Bolton’s book will be published June 23.”
Bolton should stop this publishing action now. What is he trying to do??And look at Bolton’s lawyer pulling out nonsense from his hat
Also, you can just say “shit” on Free Republic now?
To: Leaning Right
“John Bolton risks facing charges”
You mean like Strok and Paige or Comey or Brennan or Clapper or Schift or Rosenstien or McCabe? You mean that kind of risk? You mean because he stole pages of notes from meetings he attended with Trump and others and used them to write his book. Risks my ass, nothing will happen to him.
Last fall, I devoted much of my blog-tention to the Kavanaugh Mess. I wrote some 20 posts about it and even created a category devoted to all things Justice Bro. I’d effectively retired the category until today when it roared back to life like the monster in Son Of Frankenstein.
The New York Times broke the latest Kavanaugh story in an op-ed which is an offhand way to do it. The headline was on the squishy side, but the story was not:
There was additional agita about the story but I’d rather beat up on Republicans than the NYT today so read this TPM piece to be fully informed on the latest mishigas.
The details of the correction and tweet deletion aren’t important. What’s important is that this story reaffirms that Kavanaugh committed perjury during his confirmation testimony. Josh Marshall re-posted this tweet from last year to reinforce the point:
This is critical exchange. Kavanaugh is clearly lying about Renate. It is obvious to anyone who has ever been in high school or college that this was sexual shaming, calling her easy. He's lying. Lying when everyone knows it. pic.twitter.com/l6N3h7jZO0
Lying may be commonplace in the Trump era, but it shouldn’t be rewarded with a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court. The Republican response contains no surprises. It’s best summed up by this meme:
Where do we go from here? We know that Justice Bro will not resign and that his colleagues are unlikely to pressure him to do so. Justice Thomas lied at his confirmation hearing as well and he’s been a Supreme for 28 years.
Impeachment is popular in many quarters including among Democratic presidential candidates. While I’m favor of impeaching the president* in what would be a symbolic act, I’m not inclined to support a move against Kavanaugh when there is NO CHANCE of his removal from office. 17 members of the current Senate are unlikely to admit they screwed the pooch on the Kavanaugh confirmation and vote to remove him.
Impeachment is an arrow that should be kept in the quiver until the Democrats control the Senate and White House along with the House. It may happen sooner than many think.
Sometime soon, I’ll share my 1980 In 2019 theory but right now it’s underbaked and I don’t want to post it until there’s the possibility of a Hollywood handshake. That’s Paul Hollywood of Great British Baking Show fame, not the town in Southern California. Who wants to hear the dread phrase soggy bottom?
I agree with everyone who is outraged by the return of the Kavanaugh Mess. BUT I think we should resist smart and focus like a laser beam on ousting the Kaiser of Chaos and Moscow Mitch. As much as Kavanaugh deserves to be impeached, it should wait until there’s a chance for removal or perjury charges to be filed. The earliest possible date is January 2021. Mark your calendars.
Repeat after me: revenge is a dish best served cold.
Just when we thought things couldn’t get any uglier, the Insult Comedian doubled down on his egregious bigotry. He briefly stepped back from the brink after Republican blowback over his remarks about “The Squad,” but he cannot help himself and was soon back to inciting the red-hatted hordes. It’s just the latest offensive language offensive by the party of Trump.
Trump’s latest racist comments led me to me ponder two legendary Supreme Court cases. In the first case, Schenck v. United State, Oliver Wendell Holmes (surely the best name in SCOTUS history) enunciated the “clear and present danger test.” 50 years later the Supremes limited that test in the case of a Klansman named Clarence Brandenburg, not to be confused with Clarence the goofball angel in It’s A Wonderful Life. In Brandenbeurg v. Ohio case, the Court held:
When it comes to the First Amendment, I’m down with the late Justice Hugo Black who was a free speech absolutist. BUT just because incitement speech can be legal does not make it socially or politically acceptable. We cannot ban it unless it directly provokes violence BUT we can attack it at its source: the Trump regime and the GOP.
We’re seeing the effects of the Current Occupant’s vicious and racist attacks spring to life among his supporters. Rhetorical bombs are being tossed across the country.
Internet courage was also displayed by this group: they removed this offensive image as well as its even more offensive caption, “Political jihad is their game. If you don’t agree with their socialist ideology, you’re racist.”
That is, of course, Geoffrey Hughes’ character, Onslow, from Keeping Up Appearances, not one of the Illinois GOP honchos. But now that I think of it, all you have to do is add a Bears or Cubs hat and Bob’s your uncle. Your uncle, not mine.
They justified the racist image with this gobble-de-gook:
State Republican Chairman Tim Schneider responded to what he called the “bigoted rhetoric” in a statement, according to the Tribune.
“My intense disagreement with the socialist policies and anti-Semitic language of these four congresswoman has absolutely nothing to do with their race or religion,” he said. “I urge everyone who opposes them to keep the rhetoric focused on policy and ideology.”
Instead of gobble-de-gook, one might call this an Illini lie. Schneider is a German-sounding name, perhaps he should go back to Germany. Of course, German law takes a dim view of incitement speech for obvious reasons. Been there, done that.
The current political environment is ugly and getting uglier by the nano-second. Trump and his supporters will stop at nothing to keep him in office. I am genuinely concerned that this will result in even more politically inspired violence than we’ve already seen.
Like Pontius Pilate, Trump will wash his hands of any responsibility the next time someone gets hurt, especially if it’s one of The Squad. I have no sympathy for that devil, y’all.
And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
Trump and his followers are stirring the pot with their incitement speech. At the risk of sounding like an entry in the dictionary of political cliches, they will eventually reap the whirlwind and pay for their actions in the fall of 2020. But it will take hard work and persistence. And Boris Badenov and ilk may help Team Trump just as they did in 2016:
Repeat after me: Republicans lost the popular vote in the mid-terms by 9 points. Their only hope for victory is to depress Democratic turnout by hook or crook and pray for protection from the electoral college. Never forget: massive turnout by the people Trump is trying to otherize is the cure to what ails the country.
Since bomb throwing is the metaphor of the day, the last word goes to 10cc:
You’re not hallucinating. That is indeed a signed John Paul Stevens baseball card. It was created by David Mitchner who mailed it to Justice Stevens during the 2016 World Series. You know, the Cubs’ first championship since 1908. Justice Stevens returned the signed card and the rest is history. The photo of Stevens in Cubs gear dates from 2005 when he threw out the first pitch at a Cubs-Reds game in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.
You’re probably wondering why I paired Justice Stevens and pitcher/author Jim Bouton in a tribute. They’re both people I admired who died recently, that’s why. Besides, I’m notorious for my oddball combinations. Stevens and Bouton were both genial, kindly men who loved baseball. It’s time to uncouple this Odd Couple; one that’s almost worthy of the late Neil Simon.
Let’s take them in order of demise. We’ll use the time-honored Odds & Sods device of the New York Times link thingamabob as subject headers/dividers.
I failed to pay proper tribute to Jim Bouton last week because of the Wednesday flood and the approach of Whatever That Was Barry. He had a mediocre career highlighted by two fine seasons with the New York Yankees in 1963 and 1964. He blew out his arm in 1965 and by 1969 was trying to make a comeback as a knuckleball pitcher with the expansion Seattle Pilots. The Pilots lasted one year before being sold and moved to Milwaukee where they ditched the awful uniforms and became the Brewers.
1969 was the dividing line in Jim Bouton’s life. It was the year that he recorded the diary entries that would become the sensation that was Ball Four. Bouton was pilloried by the stuffy, ultra-conservative baseball establishment for admitting that ballplayers were human beings. Mickey Mantle drank and played hungover? A huge shocker in 1970 but no surprise to anyone who actually knew the Mick.
Along with Catch-22, Burr, and Breakfast of Champions, Ball Four was my favorite book of that era. Heller, Vidal, and Vonnegut were pretty lofty company for a washed-up pitcher to keep. But all four books were irreverent and hilarious; influences I try to put to good use as a writer.
Teen-age me was thrilled to learn that someone who played my favorite sport was an anti-war liberal with a wicked sense of humor. Ballplayers pretended to be apolitical paragons in those days. Bouton was a breath of fresh air.
One of the best tributes I’ve read to Bouton is by my friend Vince Filak. He focuses on Bouton’s unique voice and exceptional story-telling ability. It’s a helluva good read.
“A ballplayer spends a good piece of his life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.”
Let’s move on from a former Yankees/Pilots/Astros/Braves pitcher to a zealous Cubs fan.
John Paul Stevens always maintained that he was a conservative and that SCOTUS had moved so far to the right that he looked like a liberal in contrast. I think of Stevens as the sort of liberal Republican that is largely extinct in 2019.
He grew up in Chicago, which was a town dominated by a corrupt Democratic political machine. The natural thing for an independent minded lawyer was to become a liberal Republican in the tradition of fellow Supremes Charles Evans Hughes, Harlan Stone, and Earl Warren. Stevens’ appointment was by far and away the best thing that Jerry Ford did during his brief presidency.
In our conversation, three consistent themes in his jurisprudence emerged: his belief in the duty of the government to be neutral; the duty of judges to be transparent; and the need for judges to interpret the Constitution in light of the entire scope of its history, including the post–Civil War amendments, rather than stopping in the founding era.
Those are themes that all judges should aspire to but are sadly lacking among today’s conservative justices who are eager to gut precedents they dislike. That’s what John Paul Stevens meant when he called himself a conservative. He wanted to conserve what was best in the law and reform the worst.
Governor Kay Ivey hasn’t announced whether or not she’ll sign the bill BUT she’s a blue-haired right-winger from central casting so she’s expected to do so. That will be the day that stars really fall on Alabama.
Anti-choicers have been “praying” for this ever since Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. It’s why they support Donald Trump who has pledged to only appoint judges who will strike Roe down. Unfortunately, it’s the only promise he’s kept. Thanks, Mitch.
I’m usually cautiously optimistic that Chief Justice Roberts will land on the side of precedent since he’s a genuine judicial conservative as well as an institutionalist. Unfortunately, institutionalism is on the run in the Trump era. Besides, the Chief’s record on abortion rights issues is clear: he’s apt to be just as eager to reverse Roe as his wingnuttier colleagues.
In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer acknowledged as much. Overruling precedent typically requires a “special justification,” Breyer wrote, but “the majority does not find one.” Instead, it merely decides that Hall “was wrongly decided” and should go. “The law has not changed significantly since this Court decided Hall,” Breyer pointed out, “nor has our understanding of state sovereign immunity evolved to undermine Hall.” All that has changed is the composition of the court. He added:
“To overrule a sound decision like Hall is to encourage litigants to seek to overrule other cases; it is to make it more difficult for lawyers to refrain from challenging settled law; and it is to cause the public to become increasingly uncertain about which cases the Court will overrule and which cases are here to stay.”
It is “dangerous,” Breyer concluded, “to overrule a decision only because five Members” of the court disagree with it. “Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next.” And if there were any doubt which cases Breyer was alluding to in this dark denouement, he cited the portion of Planned Parenthood v. Casey that explained why Roe should be upheld. The justice has hoisted a red flag, alerting the country that the court’s conservative majority is preparing an assault on the right to abortion access.
Justice Breyer rarely writes such scathing dissents: he’s usually the soul of moderation and courtesy. That’s why we need to take him seriously. Shit meet fan.
I am not eager for the Alabama law to reach the Supreme Court but that’s its likely destination absent an unlikely veto by the Governor. We’re on our own now.
Massive resistance to desegregation was a thing after the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. The Supremes erred by using Felix (The Hot Dog Man) Frankfurter’s phrase that desegregation should be implemented “with all deliberate speed.” What followed was deliberate delay, not speedy progress.
Team Trump is following its own path of massive resistance in regard to Congressional subpoenas. The Insult Comedian has bragged that he runs the “most transparent administration in history” when, as always, the opposite is true. Projection thy name is Trumpy.
The Trump regime specializes in lies, cover-ups, and delay. They’ve made an art of kicking the can down the road in an audacious attempt to delay the president’s* day of reckoning. I halfway expect Rudy to use the phrase “with all deliberate speed,” he’s surely heard of it. Trump just as surely has not. Nothing exists if it doesn’t involve him.
The law is on the side of the House oversight committees but not only is the law an ass, it’s a slow ass. It’s one of the few things Trump knows: litigation is tantamount to delay. It’s why he *always* threatens to sue whenever things go against him. The good news is that Congress has deep pockets but the process is inherently slow. In fact, it moves “with all deliberate speed.”
March is the cruelest month in New Orleans for allergy sufferers like me. The weather has been sunny and cool; perfect for outdoor activity. The rub is the oak pollen that can be found everywhere. It coats cars, sidewalks, and any surface it can light on. It makes me feel itchy and my nose run like a broken faucet. The most dramatic symptom involves my eyes, which resemble red gravy in sockets if such a thing is possible.
Enough bitching about my allergies. This week’s theme song was written by Richard Thompson and was the title track of his 1983 solo album. It was his first record after breaking up personally and professionally with Linda Thompson. It’s one of his finest albums featuring some of his best songs and that’s saying a lot.
We have two versions of Hand Of Kindness for your listening pleasure. The studio original and a live version from Cropredy circa beats the hell outta me.
Now that I’ve extended the hand of kindness, it’s time to jump to the break. Given the RT album cover, we may have to do so at the Chelsea Embankment. Splash.
Once again, New Orleans showed the world how to turn adversity into a party. I’m talking about the widespread local boycott of the Super Bowl. It was easy for me. I rarely watch unless I have a rooting interest in one of the teams. I wasn’t down for some of the dumber aspects of “no-call gate” such as claims that the Saints wouldn’t have gone to the big dance after a similar bad call, or that the Rams were cheaters BUT we *wuz* robbed. I blame the league and the referees, not the Rams who lost in one of the dullest Super Bowls in years. Yawn. Brady and Belichick won again. Yawn.
New Orleanians quickly moved from the Super Bowl controversy to an argument over the Krewe of Chewbacchus. It’s a geek/sci-fi parade that sprung up a few years back. I like the idea but hate the execution. I like parades to move quickly and not stall for hours as Chewbacchus invariably does. Yawn.
The head of the krewe styles himself, not as a humble Captain, but as “The Overlord.” He floated a trial balloon that they *might* exploit a loophole in city ordinances and allow commercial sponsorship. That’s a big NOLA no-no: the krewes, not corporations, throw a party for the city and its citizens. The “Overlord” quickly crawfished and claimed he was just joking but I know a deflated trial balloon when I see one. Pop goes the geek weasel.
This week’s theme song was written by Steve Miller and was the title track of his1976 hit album. The Fly Like An Eagle single was a monster hit, peaking at number two on the Billboard charts.
We have three versions for your listening pleasure: the original SMB hit, a live version with guitarist Joe Satriani, and a cover by my homeys, the Neville Brothers:
Now that we’ve soared like eagles, let’s jump to the break, Hopefully, there will be a tailwind so we won’t break our tail feathers or is that bend? Beats the hell outta me.
Sorry for using the word mess twice in the post title. It does, however, describe the state of the nation after the messy confirmation of Justice* Bro. He earned his asterisk by lying to the Senate and the way the Feebs took the I out of the FBI. To paraphrase the late Sue Grafton, I was NOT for Investigation.
GOPers have been celebrating like high school jocks since Chinless Mitch and his minions “rammed” the nomination through. SNL had a locker room celebration sketch as its cold opening. It was an excellent idea that was poorly executed. The #BeersForBrett meme on twitter was much funnier albeit unintentionally so. You know my thoughts about that: ain’t nothing funnier than unintentional comedy.
On Friday, I wrote about Susan Collins’ long-winded apologia for Brett Kavanaugh. I have to give her credit for making a Supreme Court nomination about her instead of the nominee. Her Sunday show appearance did not exactly cover her in glory:
Sen. Susan Collins on Christine Blasey Ford: "I do not believe that Brett Kavanaugh was her assailant. I do believe that she was assaulted. I don't know by whom, and I'm not certain when, but I do not believe he was the assailant" https://t.co/Eg5jp9thkLpic.twitter.com/LpeNmNNsY4
The “I believe she was attacked but he didn’t do it” line makes no sense whatsoever. But we’re living in the age of the YUGE LIE so logic is out the window. Little Joe Goebbels would be very proud of Republicans.
I said on Friday that “Susan Collins is horrible” I have an addendum: Lindsey Graham is even worse. He spiked the ball on the tweeter tube after the vote:
I am not among those shocked by Lindsey Graham’s transformation from John McCain’s wingman to all-out Trump sycophant. He’s a people pleaser who is drawn to power. Power in the GOP is concentrated in the Insult Comedian and the MAGA Maggots. Lindsey is like a moth to flame. This moth is up for re-election in 2020.
The key to Lindsey Graham’s character can be found in a New York Magazine profile I quoted a few weeks back in an Odds & Sods outing:
It is perhaps useful to know that Graham grew up in a bar. His parents owned the Sanitary Cafe, a watering hole and pool hall popular with local textile workers, in a town called Central, in a region known as the Upcountry in the northwest of the state, a budding Appalachia.
Graham, his parents, and his sister, Darline, 13 years younger, slept in one room behind the bar, and Graham worked at the bar after school. There he honed the skills that have defined him in politics: Always be charming, ready with a joke and a story; don’t make enemies; keep grudges private; defuse open conflict and resolve fights out back.
Repeat after me: Graham is a people pleaser. The people he wants to please are the president* and his horrible base. Senator McCain has left the building. A reminder: McCain patched up things with George W Bush during the run up to the Iraq War to maintain his viability in the Republican Party. In fairness, I doubt he would have gone over to Trump or attacked CBF with the vehemence of his former sidekick. He had more integrity than that. Graham has none. He’s a pussy, he should grab himself.
Where do we go from here? I understand the temptation to form a circular firing squad and start shooting at other Dems. I’m mad at Joe Manchin too. His vote *was* cast in a cowardly manner BUT we need the numbers if the Dems have any chance at taking the Senate. I understand why people want to cut him off but I’m keeping my eyes on the prize, which is a Senate majority. It remains daunting but it’s well-nigh impossible without Manchin and Phil Bredesen in Tennessee. I affixed a clothespin to my nose while writing this paragraph. You gotta do what you gotta do. I completely understand if others don’t feel this way.
My assumption has always been that the losing side in the Justice Bro* war would benefit the most politically. Republicans got what they wanted, it’s more of a sugar rush that may dim in the next month. If it helps them, it helps them more in the Senate than in House races.
Something else that will help Democrats when the sugar rush wears off is Trump’s inability not to brag and take credit for the Kavanaugh victory. His tendency to overplay his hand may well lead to a backlash. We’re in the age of the backlash, after all.
A reminder that Democrats should NOT run on impeachment of either Trump or Kavanaugh. That *will* extend the GOP sugar rush. Besides, it’s what they want us to do. When your opponent sets an obvious trap, you should sidestep it. Two words Democrats *should* run on are: OVERSIGHT and INVESTIGATION. Those are promises we can keep: even a Democratic Senate will not be able to convict an impeached president* or justice*.
It’s time for us to get both mad and even. That’s not an easy feat but we need to get our base out as well as wooing suburban women who dislike Trump and are disturbed by the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. Women are the key to this election: I’m going to get out of the way and let y’all do your thing.
I lasted for 2/3 of Collins’ speech and couldn’t take any more. It was not the speech of someone who agonized over her vote; except for lip service to Roe, it was a speech Senators Cornhole or Graslley could have given. She sounded like Kavanaugh’s floor manager instead of a reluctant yes.
It’s high time for the MSM to stop calling Collins a moderate. She’s a conservative and always has been one. Enough.
Kavanaugh will be confirmed tomorrow but the mess isn’t over. It’s time to take the fight to the hustings and get our voters ready to turn out in massive numbers. I eagerly await the many investigations the House will unleash on the GOP; one of which should be about the Kavanaugh mess.
I did not plan to write about the Kavanaugh Mess again tonight. The last piece was written on the fly. It was quite literally instant analysis: I wrote it in 30 minutes. Not bad for a rush job if I say so myself, and I do.
That blog post was written and posted before I heard about the latest weird twist in this dizzy drama: Kavanaugh’s Wall Street Journal op-ed article. This is yet another unprecedented development: Supreme Court nominees do NOT write articles defending their demeanor and judgment:
“I was very emotional last Thursday, more so than I have ever been. I might have been too emotional at times. I know that my tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said. I hope everyone can understand that I was there as a son, husband and dad. I testified with five people foremost in my mind: my mom, my dad, my wife, and most of all my daughters.
“Going forward, you can count on me to be the same kind of judge and person I have been for my entire 28-year legal career: hardworking, even-keeled, open-minded, independent and dedicated to the Constitution and the public good. As a judge, I have always treated colleagues and litigants with the utmost respect. I have been known for my courtesy on and off the bench. I have not changed. I will continue to be the same kind of judge I have been for the last 12 years. “
The piece feels like a bad rush job. It weaves together elements from Kavanaugh’s opening statement at the pre-sexual assault allegation hearing with new material. It seems to have been assembled this afternoon as protesters swarmed about Capitol Hill.
The op-ed feebly attempts to address many of the questions that Judge Bro’s ranty testimony gave rise to. There’s not a judge in the country who would tolerate such behavior in their courtroom, including Brett Kavanaugh. Who among us can forget this exchange with Senator Amy Klobuchar:
The only reason for the last-minute op-ed is that someone needs help getting to yes. I’m done trying to read the minds of conservative Republican Senators, but Kav’s handlers wouldn’t have pulled this stunt if they had the votes. They might have them by the time of the cloture vote but they didn’t have them as of 7:30 EST tonight. I’m not getting my hopes up but the situation remains fluid. A friend of mine described fluid as my F-word.
This whole thing gets curiouser and curiouser each day. That’s why I call it the Kavanaugh Mess.
That concludes this episode of Instant Analysis Theatre.