Thursday Open Thread


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NEXT: Today in Supreme Court History: September 24, 1755

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  1. In my weekly quest to add some non-partisan content to these threads, I'd like to ask what event in history you think we need a documentary spotlight on.
    I'd also accept characters from history.

    I'd love the Lancaster Cotton Famine I brought up earlier, though the Bronze Age Collapse could also use some love.
    Character-wise, I think a movie about Boston Corbett, the man who shot John Wilkes Booth, could be pretty captivating, though a dark comedy might be the better genre.

    Or Pericles. Innovator of Democracy, and also of Empire.

    1. Oh! A The Crown-like multi-season series based on the Caro LBJ bio.

      That's what I really want.

      1. Re Caro: Until the fifth volume comes out - on LBJ's presidency - I think everything will have to wait.
        As crude as Trump is, LBJ was somehow even worse. It's only that we didn't know much about it until later. How a man as vulgar and crude and ugly (his treatment of Lady Bird was shocking) as him could be so capable of seeing the real suffering of black people - and other poor whites - is a complete mystery.

        1. I think Caro laid out how his sympathies and bastardliness worked together in books 2 and 3. Including his post-heart attack sincerely better relationship with Lady Bird.

          The threads of villainy, genius, and empathy in his life are so well balanced, I almost cannot believe he was real.

          1. Psychopaths tend to be like that.

            1. Layperson historical diagnosis is just rank narritivism.

          2. Yes, but Caro's description of how he treated Bird during those dinners they held with Rayburn et al when LBJ was Majority Leader is stunning. LBJ would just mock and ridicule her openly.
            As to the complexity: He described it but I still can't understand this dichotomy. It's like two different men. LBJ as president was much more compassionate - from Day One - then when in the Senate. He was told by his advisers to give a "safe" address after JFK's death. Not mention Civil Rights, et cetera. But he said what good would being president do if he couldn't use the power. He said in that address that the "first thing" needed to be done to honor JFK's life was to pass that bill.

            1. And we still need that fifth volume. Civil rights, the war, protesters. It's an incomplete story without it.
              LBJ's calls/work with King and Wilkins et al was fascinating. King would march during the day and coordinate strategy with LBJ at night. They'd go to Washington and meet with LBJ and the Senate to get legislation passed.
              As John McWhorter argues, the protests today are mostly posturing, theater; they're not doing the hard work of getting legislation enacted. King believed in America. He wanted to be part of it. These protesters have given up on it. That's the horrible part.

              1. No, the protesters want to overthrow America.

              2. I've been to some protests in DC. What strikes me is a profound optimism about America.
                You don't protest what you've given up on.

                But yeah, the character of protests has changed as society has learned how to deal with protests and television media better than it did when they were kinda novel. There's become a nostalgia/envy for MLK's protests on the left.

                Add in that protests are not just about fomenting change, but also solidarity and catharsis and reliving history...nothing is ever simple.

                1. Peaceful protests, no. But this nihilistic rage is not something coming from those who believe in the country, who want to make it better. It's a good country with faults; it's not something to be tossed away.
                  King and the marchers had American flags with them. They wanted to join America not reject it. I'm not sure these protesters believe in that.

                  1. The same class of stale-thinking right-wing jerks said the same thing about the Freedom Riders.

                    I'm on John Lewis' side. The side of history. The side of progress. The winning side.

                    1. Lewis would denounce these nihilistic violent acts. So would King. The emphatically eschewed violence. They marched with American flags.
                      Again: I'm talking about the violent element today not the peaceful protesters.
                      As to history: History doesn't give a damned about what you or I think. People make history; it's not handed down to us. History also shows that people can regress as much as they progress. The Germans in the 20s and 30s were a cultured people. Lots of brilliant men embraced Stalin and communism. Why did History allow that?

                    2. Ok.

                      I agree that the violence is unjustified and criminal, and should be punished.

                      But here's the dilemma. Most of the protestors - an overwhelming majority, are in fact peaceful. You won't learn that from watching carefully selected video on Fox, or listening to Bill Barr, but it's true. It's especially true during the day.

                      So what are the peaceful protestors supposed to do? Not show up? Isn't that giving the violent ones a funny sort of heckler's veto?

                    3. Part of the problem, Bernard, is conflating the daytime protests and the nighttime riots. I'll agree that during the day these events are overwhelmingly peaceful.

                      Then night falls, the peaceful protesters go home, and the rioters arrive.

                      Now, the first few times this happens, you can say, "Well, this guy was innocently there for a protest, and you can't blame him for not knowing there was going to be a riot that night."

                      After the first few times, though, this excuse evaporates, and people who show up for the night event are there for a riot, even if they don't plan on personally throwing any Molotov cocktails.

                    4. It's a sign of overly simplistic thinking to assume there's an easy line between daytime protests and nightime riots. These are not werewolves.

                      What that really does is condemn people as rioters for something other than the act of rioting. Which is a) not how crimes work, and b) suppressing speech.

                    5. It's not that hard to distinguish. No assaults, no arson, no looting?

                      Peaceful protest.

                      Assaults, arson, looting?


                  2. Most of what's going on in the US is still peaceful protests.

                    I totally agree that there's nihilists and opportunists as well. But I wouldn't essentialize them - such people were around in MLK's day as well.

            2. Oh yeah, the Lady Bird section of Master of the Senate has still stuck with me.

              Yeah, Caro talks about some sort of Noblesse Oblige from Johnson's work as a schoolteacher in the 1920s, but I agree that doesn't feel like a complete explanation.

              My favorite part was from Master of the Senate about that committee he formed and poached staff from the executive, while somehow keeping them paid by the executive branch. As they investigated the executive.
              Caro mentioned how historians he had inquired about this with didn't just think it was unprecedented, they could not fathom how it had happened.

              He was such an operator. No one was prepared for him.

              I also think we should bring back drinking to the House and Senate.

              1. Mandatory dinner parties between the two sides. Something, anything to lessen the tribalism. I also think the "shared" histories - military experiences most notably - helped bring people together in previous years. The two sides today don't even have a set of common experiences, myths, stories, events, to rally around.
                Re LBJ: yes, his experience teaching poor Hispanic kids was an early indicator that he was driven by something more than just getting power or self interest.

                1. Not only do the two sides not have common experiences, they don't even live in the same universe. They can't agree, or won't, on simple matters. Facts are meaningless.

                  Now, I do think the right is by far worse than the left. There seems to be a very lucrative career to be made in pushing right-wing ideology and narratives as hard as possible, with zero regard for truth or validity, and there are those making a mint doing that. And those media have become so popular on the right that the politicians have to kowtow to them. Well, they don't actually have to, but they choose to in order to stay in power.

                  On the left there are extremists, and there are non-extremists I consider too far left for my taste, but the lunatics haven't taken over the asylum.

                  Regardless of whether you agree or not, I see no way for the sides to get together. I would say that dissolution in one form or another is not unlikely in the next few decades.

                  1. The saving element (one hopes) is that the two sides literally live separately geographically. One mostly in the cities/urban areas, the others in the suburbs/rural areas.
                    So we have, politically, a "City party" and a "Country party" (not in the British sense of the latter).
                    That separation will mitigate the violence. Federalism too. If we can move on from Trump, get this damned virus fixed, maybe there's hope?
                    Yeah, I'm reaching but it's something.

                    1. OK, but if mitigating the violence is the best we can do maybe it's best to dissolve.

                      Of course even that might not solve things if the environment continues to be an issue. Climate and pollution don't respect national boundaries.

        2. How a man as vulgar and crude and ugly (his treatment of Lady Bird was shocking) as him could be so capable of seeing the real suffering of black people – and other poor whites – is a complete mystery.

          What makes you think he was "so capable" of that at all?

          1. Have you read the books we're talking about?

            1. I read their synopsis. That's good enough for you...right?

              1. It is for determining whether something is pedophilia porn.

                It is not for speculations about the specific motivations behind the object of a 4-volume autobiography.

    2. "I’d like to ask what event in history you think we need a documentary spotlight on."

      The rise of ancient Minoa -- the world's first proto-Western civilization. (Enough, already, about ancient Egypt.)

    3. More work needs to be done on the Sea Peoples. From my understanding, there's already a new narrative forming about who they were and why they "suddenly" appeared.

    4. How about a documentary on Hunter biden
      But here’s just one of the new revelations: Hunter received a $3.5 million wire transfer in 2014 from Elena Baturina, the wife of the former mayor of Moscow, and a billionaire friend of Vladimir Putin.

      News the mainstream media missed

      1. In my weekly quest to add some non-partisan content to these threads

        Is that so hard for you?

        1. What's more partisan than refusing to do a major studio blockbuster about Burisma starring James Woods as Joe Biden and Kanye West as Hunter?

        2. I did not realize an investigation of actual corruption was political.

          Allegations of non existent collusion and corruption for political purposes would be inappropriate for this thread.

          But Hunter Biden's corruption is actual corruption

          1. This is a thread about people's favorite history bits, not examples of begging the question.

            Even Sam Gompers managed to be less one-note than you.

            1. yet you brought LBJ

              Perhaps a double standard - or do double standards not apply to you

              1. LBJ is actual history. If you knew anything about Caro's biographies you'd know it's not a hagiography.

                You posted naked grasping about the upcoming election.

                1. Hunter Biden corruption is actual history - recent history, but it remains actual history.

                  Your naked double standard is only grasping at denial

                  1. No one is buying it, Joe.

                    1. No one is buying it, Joe.

                      As if you weren't already sufficiently self-deluded, now you believe that you speak for everyone.

                2. LBJ is actual history.

                  Everything that has ever happened is "actual history".

                  1. Thanks for the word from pedantville.

                    What event in history would you like to see some focus on?

                    1. Thanks for the word from pedantville.

                      Pointing out the silliness of your attempt to claim that historical events are not "actual history" simply because they're more recent than the things you want to talk about is pedantry?

                    2. Everyone knows that bringing up Hunter Biden wasn't about history.

                      Now, you just going to pick dumb fights, or do you want to talk history?

                    3. Sure. How about your history of pathological dishonesty?

                    4. Sarcastro, he just wants to pick dumb fights. You should know that by now.

                    5. Yeah, but I like to sometimes give Wuz chances to not pick dumb fights knowing he will hang himself on his own petard.

              2. The Senate Republicans just struck out -- swinging, pathetically, after months and millions of investigation -- on Hunter Bider, but joe_dallas is keeping the faith!

          2. All Johnson's witnesses, including especially Kent, testified that Hunter Biden had no influence on US policy. The report establishes nothing, not that that stops the RW lie machine.

            Does the GOP want still more hearings, a la Benghazi? They, and you, and NR, need to stop with the great conspiracy theories.

            1. The Senate Republicans admit there isn't a shred of evidence Hunter Biden ever affected U.S. policy. Here's their forlorn quote : “the extent to which Hunter Biden’s role on Burisma’s board affected U.S. policy toward Ukraine is not clear.”

              If it's unclear to them, you can bet it's crystal clear to everyone else. But buried in their findings is an explicit instance of corruption by - you guessed it - the Trump administration.

              Amos Hochstein, who serves on the board of state-owned Ukrainian oil and gas company Naftogaz, testified former Energy Secretary Rick Perry pressured the Ukrainian government to place Houston businessman Robert Bensch on the board of Naftogaz. Other DOE officials pressed Kyiv to sign an agreement with a “private business entity connected to Mr. Bensh” per the report. Bensch was a major campaign contributor to Perry.

              Joe_dallas wants to battle corruption? Maybe he should start with the only solid allegation found in the Senate report. He should demand further investigation of Perry and Trump.

              1. The argument wouldn't be that Hunter was affecting policy, but that his dad was, on his behalf.

                1. Which has also not been proven, despite massive incentives for the GOP to dig up anything in that direction.

                2. Brett : Your GOP senators said this : “the extent to which Hunter Biden’s role on Burisma’s board affected U.S. policy toward Ukraine is not clear.

                  That means they found no change in U.S. policy affected by Hunter's position, whether thru Joe Biden or the Easter Bunny. Two points :

                  (1) It's fair to assume they used the most tenuous standards in looking for influence, which makes their failure all the more stark.

                  (2) it's not surprising they failed. The best case against Joe Biden was always over the firing of Prosecutor Shokin, and it's laughably phony. How phony? The senator who led this hatchet-job report - Ron Johnson (R-WI) - also signed a letter demanding Shokin be fired at the time. Hilarious, huh? You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried.

        3. "Is that so hard for you?"

          He had to relief the boredom from your topic somehow.

    5. A full-on about the never-ending struggle for ratings supremacy between the networks, starting around the time NBC was forced to divest itself from one of its networks. Ending, lets say, with the advent of "reality TV" and singing competition shows. You'd see the decisions about which TV shows to put on the schedule as each network tried to establish itself as dominant. Watch Fred Silverman invent jiggle-vision and ride it to the top. See NBC build Must-See TV and eventually start losing Thursday nights to horny-doctor shows aimed at women.

    6. I'd love to see a documentary on the brainwashing paranoia of the early Cold War, from its origins in the Korean War to concerns about subliminal advertising (Vance Packard's Hidden Persuaders, Richard Vigary(sp?)'s subliminal techniques). The 1950s was awash in anxiety about mind control. Plenty of movies (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Manchurian Candidate) that dealt with the idea of hidden controllers of people. Not hard to see the antecedents for all the fake news and Deep State ideas floating around today—the loss of certainty over what we know and whether mysterious forces are in charge.

      1. Mr. Hook -- the brainwashing of our Korean POWs was real and freaked out a lot of people.

        1. No, it wasn't. A few POWs did switch, but most pretended to get better treatment and went along with the paranoia to not be blamed for selling out their fellow POWs. I've done plenty of research on the subject—there was no grand brainwashing conspiracy beyond regular interrogation.

    7. As to John Wilkes Booth, I always thought Dr. Samuel Mudd got a raw deal -- all he did was provide medical assistance to an injured man -- and if he'd been involved, he wouldn't have kept the boot he cut off Booth.

      1. He was damned by casual association. We should be well familiar with that in the “woke”, “cancel culture” era.

    8. Sarcastr0, I am going to surprise you. I would actually like a deeper discussion of the American time period 1600 - 1650. Why, you ask? Something happened in that time period; socially, attitudinally and culturally; that changed America. Specifically, social attitudes and acceptance toward slavery. I would characterize the change in social attitudes toward slavery in that 50-year period this way:

      1600: Slavery is morally wrong, but a necessary evil for some people.
      1650: Slavery is not only desirable labor-wise, but also morally justifiable.

      If you look at the periodicals and writings of the time, this change in social attitude comes through. I have often wondered how that societal change came about. I don't that lady from NYT really helped to answer this question. And we should answer that.

      It is a question I wondered about for many years. Had I taken a different path in life, I would have studied history. Sadly, my commitments don't allow me the time to pursue that.

      My second favorite time period to study is the time from the destruction of the Temple in 70AD, to when rabbinic writings started in earnest (roughly 200AD). That 130 years is a total unknown to me. What motivated these men? What happened in the diaspora? The Talmud is an on-going 2000 year conversation. How did it start?

      What do you think? Crazy? 🙂

      1. Both of those sound good, though I might widen the growth of American abolition to include England, which I understand was what lit a lot of that fire.
        But I actually think you've hit on the way the properly push back on the 1619 project - don't just call it wrong and bad and America-hating; instantiate another project that does a deep dive into the legitimate deep abolitionist tradition in America. As an added bonus, it was basically entirely religiously based.

        Learning about the growth of the rabbinical tradition seems to me like it could be pretty anthropologically important generally, given how monotheism has grown and it's varying relationships with holy teachers since then.

      2. I think the fact you point to explains all manner of moral "enlightenment" whereby a profit-motive brings revelation that what benefits your pocket is also blessed by the Lord. The prosperity gospel seems to me to basically turn this unfortunate fact of human psychology into a religious principle.

      3. Commenter_XY — For a masterful historical treatment of the development of attitudes toward slavery—presented with full respect for the topic's complexity—read Edmund Morgan's, American Slavery, American Freedom.

    9. The long-time mystery about the disappearance of Aaron Burr's daughter Theodosia Burr Alston, sailing from South Carolina to her recently returned father in NYC. Her painted portrait turned up in the shack of an indigent resident of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The painting was given to a doctor from the mainland who treated the resident, and later he discovered just what he had.

      Include some background on the wreckers who inhabited the banks in the early to mid 19th century, making their living salvaging shipwrecks along the coast. According to ship owners and insurance companies, the wreckers did much to encourage wrecks, including extinguishing lighthouses and moving lamps along the shore to look like other boats.

  2. Here in Massachusetts, our recently deceased and beloved Chief Justice Gants has voted 4 times from the grave! 2020 keeps getting weirder and weirder! See SJC 12738, 12808, 12868, and 12826.

    Despite all of the cases being unanimous, it is a very bad look for our state's highest judges to record the votes of a dead colleague based on how they voted in internal court deliberations. I hope this behavior will be scrutinized or addressed by the other branches of the Mass government or the local press as a proper check on judicial power. I am skeptical however of getting much engagement due to the unanimous nature of the opinions and the desire to include CJ Gants' name, a champion of racial justice issues, on the three recent opinions that deal with racial issues in order to cement his legacy in that area.

    For people familiar with other state court systems - do any states explicitly allow by statute the votes of a dead judge to be used in the adjudication of a pending case? Any courts allow this by historical practice or internal court rules?

    1. I don't know about any courts *allowing* this, but a similar situation was the subject of Yovino v. Rizo, 586 U.S. _____, 139 S.Ct. 706 (2019), in which the SCOTUS was asked to intervene in a case where a 9th Circuit en banc panel answered a question 6-5, with the author of the majority opinion being Judge Stephen Reinhardt ... who died 11 days prior to the en banc decision being filed. The SCOTUS, Justice Per Curiam writing, reversed, noting that "federal judges are appointed for life, not for eternity."

      Other key language:

      "As for judicial practice, we are not aware of any rule or decision of the Ninth Circuit that renders judges’ votes and opinions immutable at some point in time prior to their public release. And it is generally understood that a judge may change his or her position up to the very moment when a decision is released."

      My disclaimer, of course, would be that I'm not a Massachusetts-licensed attorney, and can't opine on Massachusetts law, but the takeaway from Yovino should be that absent a rule that decisions are made and fixed at some time certain prior to public release or filing - i.e., if a judge retains discretion to change his/her vote in the interim - then a decision is not final until filed, and it's a fundamental violation of ... common sense? Due Process? Jurisdiction? ... to count that judge's vote.

      1. Appreciate the input - I am familiar with the Yovino v. Rizo but noticed that SCOTUS was seemingly careful to cabin their reasoning to federal courts and did not base its reasoning on a constitutional provision that would be automatically applied to state level court systems. Interesting how difficult it proves to categorize the misconduct. I for one think it is best understood as one or more judge usurping power from both the inherent vested judicial power in a statutorily created judicial seat on an appellate or high court (by voting on behalf of "that seat" even when it is unoccupied) and the inherent power of the executive to appoint and the senate to approve a replacement individual before the judicial power of "that seat" can be used. Curious if anyone else has thoughts.

        Also, in the spirit of 2020 getting even weirder, today the Mass Supreme Judicial Court issued an opinion authored by the dead Chief Justice Gants who had previously *just been voting while dead*. See Commonwealth v. McCalop SJC 12845. "Chief Justice Gants participated in the deliberation on this case and authored this opinion prior to his death." See link: Very curious to see what type of spiritual medium or Ouija board they are using. Must be quite good.

    2. "It's 90% of Massachusetts judges who make the other 10% look bad."
      ---- Howie Carr

    3. Wasn't there a recent Federal Case where a Judge died before the final decision was reached and his vote was included because that's how he voted in conference? I'm a little fuzzy on the details.

  3. How long will it be before the middle class rises up and simply starts shooting these BLM thugs? And while that will be a very bad thing -- vigilante justice *always* is, at this point, is it a necessary thing?

    The U-Haul truck with rioter supplies in Louisville is well documented -- this thuggery is well organized. Who's paying for it?

    1. If a mob shows up on my street, and someone tries to burn my house down, they are going to get shot. It's as simple as that. If the mob then turns towards me because I've shot the arsonist, and charge towards me, a bunch of them are going to get shot. (This is why homeowners need high capacity magazines, by the way.)

      1. What if the mob shows up on your street because you already shot one of their peers and you aren't facing any consequences? What if you killed a member of their family and aren't even arrested for it? This is why mobs need high capacity magazines too.

        1. Bingo. Making high capacity magazines available to homeowners makes them available to mobs and drug gangs too. Don't assume it's over just because your side fired the most recent shot.

          1. What does that even mean?

            1. Not sure what part you don't understand, the part about mobs having Second Amendment rights too, or the part about if someone fends off someone today with a high magazine weapon today, they may come back tomorrow better armed themselves.

              1. Mobs descending upon a residence or person are acting illegally. What you are saying is like saying an armed robber has second amendment rights. Just stupid.

                1. But the point is that up until someone has a criminal conviction, he's got just as much right to buy weapons of mass destruction as you do, even if he's planning a mob for that night. And if you don't want prospective mobs being able to access weapons of mass destruction, the only way to accomplish that result is to make it difficult for anyone to acquire weapons of mass destruction. So long as large magazine weapons are legally available for sale, the BLM folk have just as much access to it as you do.

                  1. "weapons of mass destruction "

                    LOL You think rifles are weapons of mass destruction.

                    1. I think large magazines are weapons of mass destruction. There are a number of victims of school shootings and workplace shootings who would agree with me.

                    2. I think large magazines are weapons of mass destruction.

                      That's because you're just another idiot who likes to redefine terms into utter meaninglessness.

                    3. Thinking a part of a rifle is a weapon of mass destruction is even stupider than thinking a rifle is.

                      You still have to pull the trigger each time. A weapon of mass destruction kills multiple people thru one action.

                    4. The 61 dead and 412 injured in Las Vegas might think so.

                    5. The 61 dead and 412 injured in Las Vegas might think so.

                      And they, like you, would be wrong.

                    6. Ooh, the pedants are out in force this thread. I guess if you can't win on the merits you pick dumb fights.

                    7. Ooh, the pedants are out in force this thread. I guess if you can’t win on the merits you pick dumb fights.

                      Your desire to defend dishonestly (and downright stupidly) hyperbolic rhetoric is unsurprising.

                    8. Wuz, please be a dear and sit quietly while the grownups talk.

                    9. Wuz, please be a dear and sit quietly while the grownups talk.

                      Do you even know any grownups?

              2. Except that there are *way* more of us than there are of you.

                1. Dr. Ed, admit it. You really don't believe in democratic values, do you? You'd be happy with a Mussolini-style fascist uprising so long as your guys were the ones standing once the smoke cleared.

                  1. We live in a REPUBLIC....

                    1. We live in a democracy as well.
                      As Prof. Volokh has pointed out before.

                    2. This is a pretty funny response. Won't even bother with a lame denial to the charge of fascism, but instead fixates on a pedantic distinction between democracy and a republic. Pathetic stuff.

                    3. Dr. Ed, you are aware that "republic" is Latin for democracy, and "democracy" is Greek for republic?

                      Res - thing. Publica - people. Thus, republic is "the people's thing."

                      Demos - people. Kratika - rule. Thus, democracy is "rule by the people."

                      I'm sure you can find a hair to split in there somewhere.

                2. Except that there are *way* more of us than there are of you.

                  Which explains why you keep losing the popular vote in national elections (whether for President or Senators or Congresspeople)?

                  Try again.

        2. That's not the hypothetical I was discussing. But it's pretty dumb. If I shot someone and it was entirely justified, e.g., shooting an arsonist trying to burn down my house, and a mob shows up because I was acquitted of any wrongdoing, then I would be justified in defending myself again. You seem to be saying that mob retaliation for justified self defense is O.K.

          1. Some people might disagree that killing other humans to prevent property damage is justified. Your line of thinking is what motivated Kyle Rittenhouse to drive to another state to "protect" property he doesn't own with an assault rifle and kill 2 people. The far-right loves to justify violence as "protecting property" because they know they have the benefit of that property being passed down through generations, while institutions and society have also spent generations working to keep property out of minorities' hands so they can't make that same justification.

            1. Shooting an arsonist in the act is certainly justified if your family is in the house.

              1. Keep stroking your murder-boner over a fantasy that you're going to catch some black guy huddled in the bushes trying to set your house on fire and you get to shoot him. The more likely scenario is your fantasy about justified killing will evolve into other situations where you think you're also justified in killing people until you don't know where the line is. "Protecting my house? Of course that's justified. Protecting my neighbor's house? I'm allowed to protect others, so yes that too. Protection against vandalism? Well, that can escalate so yes I can shoot then too. Protection of nearby businesses? I'm just protecting my community, I can do that so yes I can shoot then too. What if the 'mob' hasn't done anything, but they look like they're about to? Why yes, I can shoot to prevent imminent harm, that's reasonable. What if I confront someone first and they get mad that I confronted them? Why, I'm allowed to stand my ground so yes I can shoot then also." It'll go on and on until there are so many scenarios you believe it's justified to shoot someone that you'll be convinced you'll have to do it eventually, it's a matter of when not if, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

                1. I have flagged your comment for review on this basis:

                  "(As usual, please avoid personal insults of each other, vulgarities aimed at each other or at third parties, or other things that are likely to poison the discussion.)"

                  1. Republicans sure love their partisan, hypocritical, viewpoint-driven censorship . . . especially when imposed by a 'champion for expression' from the Federalist Society.

                    Carry on, clingers. While you still have a bit of time left, anyway.

                  2. Lol oooo okay snowflake, sorry if I hurt your feelings. My comment was a commentary on the dangerousness of the line of thinking you were talking about with being justified about killing people while defending your property and mowing down mobs with "high capacity magazines," but yeah, what I said was offensive. Flag this one too because I called you a snowflake, making you clutch your pearls in disgust at the incivility I'm showing in a discussion about justifiable mass murder.

                  3. In the meantime, can you also respond to his point?

                    1. In the meantime, can you also respond to his point?

                      The fact that you think he actually made any sort of coherent/substantive "point" is just...sad.

                    2. Of course you see examples of his coherent/substantive “point” in news accounts all the time. What's even more interesting (and troubling) is to see the reaction from some type of people to those stories. Curtis Reeves gets into an argument with someone in a movie theater. The other person throws popcorn at Reeves, so he shoots and kills him - and then claims self defense. A busybody harangues a man & his family over a parking spot, who violently shoves him aside. He pulls a gun and shoots the man who is then clearly backing away. Three yahoos decide a man jogging down the street must have done something wrong. They corral him by car & person, then shoot him dead when he tries to fight his way out.

                      In each of those cases you can read pages of comments from nutters carefully analyzing how a useless death might somehow be justified. It's all there, bright and obvious on the surface : The yearning their precious gun may somehow become relevant as a Tool of Justice, and the religion of "self-defense" which gets twisted & bizarrely convoluted as religion so often does.

                    3. Nice try, but his comments were specifically with regard to defense against someone attempting to burn down your house, not some senile fool who committed murder over a beef about popcorn in a movie theater, nor comments made by random anonymous individuals about that and similarly irrelevant incidents.

                      So should we chalk you up as being intentionally dishonest, or just really dumb?

                    4. Nah, we should chalk this up to you being willfully obtuse. Because he didn't restrict his point to the fantasy of shooting your way out of a burning house, mowing down BLM zombies as you clear a path for faithful loving wife & cherubic children. That's your daydream, not his.

                      Brian Thomas' specific point was how elastic the concept of "self-defense" can become, particularly when you have a gun-nut boner. My supporting point was you see that happening all the time (which is bad) and then see scores of people torturing logic to defend it (which is worse).

                      If you want to address those points we're perfectly happy to hear what you say.

                    5. Because he didn’t restrict his point to the fantasy of shooting your way out of a burning house

                      And yet that was the subject to which he was responding. That he then decided to go off on an a tangent based entirely on his delusion about his own psychic powers regarding the individual to whom he responded does not mean that he made any sort of valid "point".

                      I'm now leaning toward you being a liar AND an idiot.

                    6. Wuz, you wouldn't recognize a substantive/coherent point if it bit you in the butt.

                    7. Brian Thomas’ specific point was how elastic the concept of “self-defense” can become

                      The fact that you and he are both so stupid that you're incapable of distinguishing between defense of one's home against someone attempting to destroy it and possibly murder those within vs someone shooting a theater patron over some popcorn does not make for a "point". It just means that you're both stupid.

                    8. Wuz, you wouldn’t recognize a substantive/coherent point if it bit you in the butt.

                      Apparently you're under the deluded impression that you haven't already made yourself look like enough of a fool today. OK. By all means then, tell us how you think shooting a theater patron over an argument about popcorn is comparable to defending your home and those within against an arsonist attempting to burn it down when it comes to the concept of self-defense. This should be entertaining.

                    9. Wuz, among reasonable people the two are not comparable, but that's not the point. The point is that in the heat of the moment, people subjectively think they are the victim, no matter what the actual facts are, because that's how human nature works. Even if they started it. Even if they are the aggressor. Even if they use force entirely unnecessary to the situation. Human nature is that you will always (or almost always) think you're in the right, even if nobody else agrees with you. And one of the dangers with all the guns out there (especially with large magazines) is that it makes it easier for stuff to escalate and for people to get killed.

                      Now, I'm going to make a larger point. You seem to be under the impression that tossing out insults is valid argumentation. It isn't. If you actually have a reasoned response to something someone says, by all means share with the class. Maybe they're wrong; maybe you misunderstood what was said (as you seem to have here). In either event, some of us come here for reasoned discourse, including with people we don't always agree with, rather than mud wrestling.

                    10. The point is that in the heat of the moment, people subjectively think they are the victim, no matter what the actual facts are

                      Someone is unjustifiably trying to burn down my house with my family inside. You think that me identifying as the victim (and/or doing the same for my family) in that scenario is subjective in any meaningful way? And if even the same universe of subjectivity as shooting someone over a popcorn argument?

                      I'd say you can't possibly be that stupid...but I'm unable to find any evidence to support giving you that much credit.

                    11. And since that would be a stupid argument there’s a pretty good chance that’s not the argument I actually made. So either your reading comprehension skills are lacking or you’re flat out misrepresenting what I said.

                2. Keep stroking your murder-boner over a fantasy that you’re going to catch some black guy huddled in the bushes trying to set your house on fire and you get to shoot him.

                  It's always helpful when the childishly simple-minded...such as yourself...self-identify so the rest of us know who to not take seriously. Thanks.

            2. "Kyle Rittenhouse to drive to another state to “protect” property he doesn’t own with an assault rifle and kill 2 people

              NO. That's not what the video shows -- regardless of why Rittenhouse was there, in both cases he attempted to flee a clear threat to his physical safety and was pursued.

              The first perp was chasing him when someone discharged a handgun, I believe the perp did. He may have been shooting at Rittenhouse, he may have been shooting at streetlights, but what would you presume?

              And the second situation involved being chased by a mob, kicked in the head, and then I believe a brick.

              In both cases, this was protecting his life, not property.

              1. The first perp was chasing him when someone discharged a handgun, I believe the perp did.

                I don't know what that belief is based on, but multiple videos of the initial chase and shooting show a handgun being discharged by someone who was not in the same spot as pedo-boy.

          2. " You seem to be saying that mob retaliation for justified self defense is O.K."

            It's worse than even that -- killing a White man is OK, killing a Black man is not -- the sole distinction is skin color. It's the same mentality that the Klan had in Mississippi 60 years ago.

            It was wrong then, and it is wrong now.

            1. killing a White man is OK, killing a Black man is not

              Ed, despite what you think, a vanishingly small number of people think that. BLM does not think that.

              1. BLM does not think that.

                It's interesting that you think of the thousands/millions (I have no idea what the numbers are) of individuals who identify themselves as supporters/part of the BLM movement actual individual each capable of independent thought, but as members of a single hive mind.

                1. LOL, OK Wuz. White murderers are everywhere, thanks to free will.

                  This is a very dumb argument to make.

                  Instead, perhaps look for countervailing evidence.

                2. LOL, OK Wuz. White murderers are everywhere, thanks to free will.

                  This is a very dumb argument to make.

                  Yes, it would be...if it were actually the argument that I or anyone else had made. But it isn't. And as always you're playing straw man games.

      2. There is spotty video of the event, so it's not clear cut self defense (not that it matters). The local Soros funded DA charges you with 1st degree murder. Your GoFundMe page is shut down. You're fired from your job, as is your wife. Media portrays you as a white supremacist, and your comments her are found and a Media Matters intern goes through years of material to find some trolling of Rev and takes it out of context. Meanwhile the Republicans you elected to protect you from the mob say they will do something to help but actually don't. You may get a 10 minute speech somewhere, unpaid.

        Have faith in the Lord, you'll need it. I would only shoot someone who was actually in my home or business. Even that won't help you though, ask Jake Gardner...oh wait, you can't.

        1. " I would only shoot someone who was actually in my home or business. Even that won’t help you though, ask Jake Gardner…"

          You'd probably get the same answer out of Breonna Taylor, who was shot by armed intruders in her house because a member of the household was armed. It's almost like once the number of armed people gets high enough, it's hard to tell where all the bullets are going until they stop in one of your loved ones (or their neighbor's wall, which is of course, much, much more serious.)

          1. I'm fairly ignorant of the Taylor cause, they all kinda blur together.. Wasn't there a warrant being served? Was it no-knock? There's been a broad coalition of lefties and rightists against those for quite some time. Cases are hardly comparable really.

            As for over penetration and the fear of endangering your neighbors; a shotgun with buckshot is preferable for home defense unless you live in a rural area. If I used a rifle, I'd only do so with frangible ammunition.

          2. Breonna Taylor was hit in the crossfire -- her boyfriend fired first.
            And she was an accessory to her other boyfriend's drug dealing.

            I don't favor these warrants, but she was no blushing virgin.

            And no one mentions the WHITE baby that was maimed by the flash.bang thrown into his playpen...

            1. Believe me . . . at the Volokh Conspiracy, someone will speak up for 'the WHITE baby.'

          3. "member of the household was armed"

            No, because he shot at people before he identified the target.

            1. Kinda like the police did? Or were they trying to kill Breonna Taylor? At least the boyfriend only fired once, not 20 times.

              1. They were shooting at the origin location of the shot, she was standing nearby.

                He shot first, he has the greater duty to pick his target.

                1. The whole thing was a cascade of bad police practice, from the cut-n-paste no-knock warrant to police firing blindly into an apartment building.

                  As for your point, shouldn't police be more careful than regular citizens who, in this case, didn't even know what was coming. Walker shot once, hit once. The police shot dozens of rounds and hit an innocent bystander. That's ridiculous. Why did they feel free to just let loose with a barrage of bullets whereas a citizen acting in self defense only took one shot at a target he could see? Probably because the private citizen knows if he lets loose with multiple rounds and hits a bystander, it's prison, while the police know they are not accountable. Bystanders don't matter. After the first few shots, they were not reasonably "returning fire" they were getting revenge. Or they were firing scared, which is maybe worse as it evidences incompetence.

                  Radley Balko goes through all the evidence and pretty conclusively demonstrates what a shit-show the police put on in this case. Conveniently, none of the officers involved in creating an insanely dangerous situation (while violating all sorts of procedural protections against just this sort of thing) for no good reason has to fear any consequences, though their multiple fuckups ended with a dead woman. This is why people are angry. No accountability.

                  (And then they tried to charge Walker, lied on multiple post-incident reports, appear to possibly have pressured a witness to support their version of events, tried to smear the victim, and otherwise acted nearly as dishonorably after the fact as they did before killing Breonna.)

          4. who was shot by armed intruders in her house because a member of the household was armed

            Odd that you left off the "and fired first" part (not to mention the illegal activity she had willingly participated in, which was the reason for the warrant in the first place). It's almost like you're being intentionally dishonest in your characterization of the incident.

        2. "Even that won’t help you though, ask Jake Gardner…oh wait, you can’t."

          Was Gardner that right-wing pansyboy who took the coward's way out (the "full LaVoy?)?

          Accelerated, self-imposed replacement is as good as any other, I guess.

          1. "I don’t favor these warrants, but she was no blushing virgin."

            "...pansyboy who took the coward’s way out..."

            You guys are having some kind of a contest, aren't you.

    2. I think the "BLM thugs" would say the "middle class" has been simply shooting them for a long time without repercussions. Maybe the "BLM thugs" thinks their "vigilante justice" is simply self-defense at this point. Don't you people love self-defense? Isn't that a perfectly acceptable and noble reason for killing other people, like your hero Kyle Rittenhouse?

      1. They'd be wrong then. They can think what they want, but the vast vast majority of the people they are killing have never shot another person in their life. Shooting Paul because you have a beef with Pete is not justice in any world.

        1. Right, just like our beef was only with King George and no one else was hurt because of our quarrel.

          Shooting Paul because you have beef with Pete is not justice, but shooting back at the government when the government is killing you is sticking up for yourself.

          1. Ah, who knew random store owners were the government? Or random reporters? Or people just walking/driving down the street? The rioters could have made an actually justifiability argument if they'd limited themselves to government buildings and agents of the state, but they didn't. So they can go choke on all the harm they've done to innocent people.

            1. Where was this outrage when the government was doing the random killing of people, such as those asleep in their bed? What about a couple of hicks killing random people just out for a jog without any consequences? What about the killing of people exercising their second amendment rights like Philando Castile? What about the far-right thugs running over protestors in their trucks? What about the reporters being beaten and arrested by police for covering the protests? Where was all the outrage at these injustices? I care for the random store owner who loses his stuff unjustifiably, but one side is taking the brunt of the harm and it isn't through property damage.

            2. I do not agree with this argument, but I'll articulate it just so you understand what the rioters' argument is. Their argument is that random store owners benefit from institutional racism, and maybe once it impacts them they'll do something about it.

              1. Yes, a random store-owner will totally embrace anti-racism after a BLM mob loots his store. They've really thought this through!

              2. "maybe once it impacts them they’ll do something about it."

                Yes, but you might not like *what* they do about it.

        2. " Shooting Paul because you have a beef with Pete is not justice in any world."

          It is in Louisville, where you can shoot unarmed people in their homes because SOMEONE in the house has a weapon.

          1. It is in Louisville, where you can shoot unarmed people in their homes because SOMEONE in the house has a weapon.

            You mean, when you're standing next to the individual with the weapon and he opens fire first, and you get caught in the return fire?

            1. When he was acting in reasonable self defense? Still not Breonna's fault or Walker's fault. The police did it and it was their collective screw up that resulted in Breonna's death. But, conveniently, no police officer is accountable for her death.

              This was such a clusterfuck, it is unacceptable that only the most reckless officer will be charged with anything (a minor crime) of the many officers whose laziness, incompetence, and lack of regard for the safety of the community resulted in the death of Breonna. They all get to keep their jobs and, as far as I know, have not been held to account in any way, including for the after-the-fact deceptions (e.g., "no injuries").

              1. Let me ask you this: Who was responsible for the decision to obtain and execute the warrant?

                1. The Louisville PD and particular individuals (whose names I don't know at this moment) were responsible for obtaining the warrant (in that, they got a bad warrant on old info and so, are responsible for it being a bad warrant and, originally, no-knock at that). The Louisville PD was responsible for executing the warrant. They obviously didn't do their homework on that either and, the officers who killed Breonna Taylor were given direct responsibility for executing the warrant and messed that part up, including by firing roughly 30 rounds into an apartment (and surrounding apartments) that was occupied by they didn't know who because, again, they fucked up the execution part of the warrant from start (send the ambulance away, no surveillance on the apartment, announce was, if heard at all, by one person who reportedly had to be cajoled through three police interviews to recall it) to finish (found nothing in the apartment then claimed they didn't actually search for the contraband they expected to find after killing someone, and then wrote a report indicating "no injuries").

                  The Louisville PD as an institution screwed up every part of this incident. Why?

                  The particular officers involved in the actual killing of Breonna Taylor screwed up their part in it. Why?

                  And, yet, the officer who fired shots into an innocent woman aren't even charged with involuntary manslaughter? The officer who blindly fired shots into the apartment and just as easily could have killed her or another innocent person also walks away with no culpability whatsoever?

                  Police should not be above the law.

        3. the vast vast majority of the people they are killing

          Huh? Exactly how many people has BLM killed?

          How many have right-wing kooks killed?

          1. There's debate over the numbers, but it's certainly not non-zero, and it's certainly greater than those killed by "right wing kooks" in this context.

            Some say 36 for the former.

            Interesting how you never say "left wing kooks," eh?

            1. Plenty of left-wing kooks.

              Where do you get 36?

              And what does "in this context" mean? You only want to count certain killings. Is that right? No Dylann Roof. No Robert Bowers - a Soros hater, apparently, like Dr. Ed. No Kyle Rittenhouse. No James Fields, etc.

              1. I meant in the context of the riots that have come since the Floyd incident.

                1. It's helpful to ignore all the other things that prompted the riots and made the Floyd "incident" ("oopsies, I accidentally killed him") just the final straw.

                  1. In your view how many "Floyd 'incident[s]'" are there a year? One problem with killer cops is that their responses often lack proportionality. Which is a frequent criticism leveled at protesters, too, when they edge towards violence.

                  2. It’s helpful to ignore all the other things that prompted the riots

                    You mean, like mobs of idiots completely ignoring the facts and instead relying on a bullshit narrative? Like when these same idiots start destroying stuff in response to an armed perp blowing his own head off when corned by LEOs?

          2. Huh? Exactly how many people has BLM killed?

            That depends. How many of the > 6,000 black Americans who commit murders annually (and that doesn't even count the murders where the race of the perpetrator is listed as "unknown"...though if we use their share of the "knowns" as a guide we can add another ~1,900 to that tally) would you estimate self-identify as BLM?

            1. How many of the 16,000 or so murderers would you estimate self-identify as Christians?

              Is Christianity responsible for their killing?

              1. How many of the 16,000 or so murderers would you estimate self-identify as Christians?

                Is Christianity responsible for their killing?

                Did you hurt yourself hauling that goalpost the full 100 yds down the field? Belief systems are concepts, not people. They have no agency. Your question was how many people have been killed by BLM. In other words, how many people have been killed by other people who identify with the BLM movement.

                When you figure out what the hell you're actually babbling about, let us know.

                1. how many people have been killed by BLM. In other words, how many people have been killed by other people who identify with the BLM movement.

                  This is not what he asked, and your translation is not an intellectually honest one, as it falls into exactly the fallacy of association pointed out by bernard11 *in the post you are replying to!*

                  So you seem to love going around calling people liars, pathological liars, etc. How often do you find that people you disagree with are being dishonest?

                  1. and your translation is not an intellectually honest one

                    ROFLMAO!!!! Stop it.....I'm gonna' pee......

                2. Right. So my question is how many have been killed by Christianity?

                  I mean, if a killing by someone who "self-identifies as BLM," is to be ascribed to BLM then surely a killing by someone who self-identifies as a Christian - who identifies himself with the Christian movement - ought to be ascribed to Christianity.

                  No goal-post moving here, wuz.

                  Just because a murderer might, or might not, say he supports BLM doesn't mean the crime was committed by BLM, any more than a murder by someone who supports the Baptist Church, or the Dallas Cowboys for that matter, was committed by the church, or the football team.

                  1. I mean, if a killing by someone who “self-identifies as BLM,” is to be ascribed to BLM then surely a killing by someone who self-identifies as a Christian – who identifies himself with the Christian movement – ought to be ascribed to Christianity.

                    No goal-post moving here, wuz.

                    There absolutely is, as you've switched from apples to oranges. Blaming something on "Christianity" (a category of religious belief) is very different from blaming something on "a Christian", or "Christians". The former is a concept rather than a corporeal entity (or entities) with agency. "Christianity" has never killed anyone. However, many people who identify themselves as "Christians" have. So it makes no sense to ask how many people "Christianity" has killed unless you're actually referring to the individuals who make up the set of people who identify as "Christians".

                    Similarly, it makes no sense to ask how many people "BLM" has killed unless you're referring to the set of individuals who consider themselves aligned with that movement.

                    But if you're actually asking something as meaningless as "how many people has a concept with no agency killed" then there is no answer. On the other hand, maybe you just did such a poor job of phrasing the question that what you really meant was, "How many people have been motivated to kill someone due to their belief in 'X'". And while that at least is meaningful, it's nigh impossible to answer, and so is a pointless question.

    3. I think the time is getting very close whereby people are going to slam the breaks on this joy ride. It will be fun to watch it happen. Have lots of popcorn ready.

      1. You may be right about the timing. Around the 3rd of November, the decision will be made. Enjoy your popcorn.

        1. Right-wingers want to return to the past. It's time for better Americans to vindicate that wish by politically bombing the clingers back to the Stone Age.

    4. Interestingly enough the woman who rented the U-Haul and was out there yelling " Get your shields here!" works for some Soros funded bail organization AND also involved in Charlottesville testimony (allegedly she was a victim).

      Weird, huh?

      4Chan is doing more for this country than Worthless Wray and the Commie FBI.

      1. 4Chan.

        That explains a lot.

        An activist prepping defensive gear in anticipation of protests as not illegal, nor is it some SOROS conspiracy.

        1. The non-clingers around here may not recognize the proximity of the Volokh Conspiracy to 4chan, FreeRepublic, Stormfront, RedState, Gateway Pundit, etc.

        2. "An activist prepping defensive gear in anticipation of protests as not illegal, nor is it some SOROS conspiracy."

          Strawman, Gaslightro.

          1. Ah. So what you said was interesting wasn't actually interesting nor should I draw any conclusions from it.

            OK, dude.

            1. You were trying to draw conclusions from the facts present comment?

              Doesn't look like it to me.

          2. Looks like Ed picked up the nonsense you were laying down:


            So who is trying to gaslight who, eh?

            1. What's nonsense about it?

        3. "An activist prepping defensive gear in anticipation of protests as not illegal, nor is it some SOROS conspiracy."

          I'm not so sure about either.

    5. Everytime you post your fantasies about other people taking violent action against those you hate (liberals, transgendered people, minorities, etc), you remind me of the Looney Tunes cartoons with Spike the big bulldog and his yappy pal, Chester, who's always eager to encourage him to act tough. We get it: you're a cheerleader for violence because the thought of other people getting the shit kicked out of them or worse really turns you on, but there's no way you'd actually do anything like that yourself. You're a yappy little Chester who wants to live vicariously thru Spike's violence.

        1. He's an idiot.

          You're an all-talk, obsolete bigot at a fringer blog.

          Everyone has problems.

          1. LOL. You didn't have to tell it like it is, Marge.

        2. I have flagged your comment for review on this basis:

          “(As usual, please avoid personal insults of each other, vulgarities aimed at each other or at third parties, or other things that are likely to poison the discussion.)”

          1. Yeah, I used to do that too. I've given up. I'm not even sure why Prof. V asks people to be civil anymore.

            1. It probably seems a handy fig leaf, in several respects.

  4. I'm going to edit and re-post a question I asked Brett in last week's open thread, which went unanswered. The ensuing seven days hardly made it less relevant:

    What do you say to someone who insists the sky is plaid, and when you point out that it’s indisputably, factually blue, laughs off your response as Plaid Derangement Syndrome?

    I neither deny my own biases nor expect anyone to refrain from telling me why my question itself proves my TDS. All I ask is that first, put partisanship aside and answer the question, meta, as if there were no Trump, anti-Trump, or anti-anti-Trump.

    1. Maybe it went unanswered because it's not the neutral hypothetical that you think it is. You seem to be saying that the faults you find in Trump are indisputably, incontrovertibly so, just as that the sky isn't plaid; but in fact, they are debatable. It's really a very poor analogy.

      1. And the sky is not always blue, either....

        1. Fine, but when was the last time it was plaid?

          1. I've seen persistent contrails weave a plaid formation in a very dry sky.

            1. I wish I could be confident you're kidding.

              1. Plaid: a pattern of unevenly spaced repeated stripes crossing at right angles.

                As you may or may not know, there is a "highway in the sky", five lanes wide, five lanes high, for planes going to Europe -- they follow the coast north and then turn once they get to Nova Scotia. (The return path was over New York State.)

                So if you are miles offshore, you can see numerous white stripe going in one direction, and other (lower) ones going at a right angle to them.

                QED, "plaid."

        2. stop everything. This is a historic day!
          Dr. Ed got one right!
          It's one of those things that you have to admit is possible but you never expect to see in your lifetime.

      2. *Sigh* I'm asking you to answer it as if Trump didn't exist. Substitute Obama Derangement Syndrome if you want. Sure, I think that's an absurd false equivalence, but for purposes of this question I don't care. I'm asking at a higher level of abstraction than any partisan details.

        1. The short answer is, much of, if not the entirety of, what you are asserting are "indisputable facts" are either opinions, or quite disputable facts.

          Happy now?

      3. The Publius : You seem to be saying that the faults you find in Trump are indisputably, incontrovertibly so

        There was a thread going strong just yesterday where Trump's supporters insisted he had no special distinction as a liar. That was "plaid sky" in abundance. Leo Marvin clearly has the greater share of truth in this one. We grown so numb to Trump's lying, petty childishness and crude transgressions they barely register anymore. With a normal president (or normal human being) in the White House you'd see days of screaming scandalized headlines on just the minor stuff we just shrug-off from this buffoon.

        It will years before we have the historical distance to understand just how grotesquely bad President Trump was.

        1. In a few years, most right-wingers will be denying they voted for or supported Trump.

      4. He asked you to set aside Trump. He is asking how others deal with discussing undisputable facts with people disputing them. So how do you deal with it?

        1. Since you asked... "how others deal with discussing undisputable facts." You need to ask yourself a couple questions.

          1. Is it actually fact? Or is it opinion (IE "he had no special distinction as a liar."). If it's opinion, it's different.

          2. Is it actually "undisputable?" IE "The sky is blue." That's quite disputable, and depends on many things. It can be blue, black, grey, purple...etc.

          3. Are you actually discussing the same thing? IE, Plaid is a pattern. Blue is a color. These are different. Something can be both plaid and blue at the same time.

          Those are some of the major issues. There are very few "undisputable facts" that people actually dispute.

          TDS is something else entirely. It's the view than (almost) anything Trump does is wrong, because it's Trump doing it. To answer concerns of "TDS" you need to ask yourself "If Obama did this action, would I respond in the same way? Or would I respond differently?"

          How Bernard answered a couple days ago with regards to Trump's peace treaties in the UAE and Bahrain with Israel is a good example of TDS. If Obama had done it, it would have been celebrated. But since Trump did it, it was discounted, and even discouraged and denegrated to an extent.

          1. 1. Yes. The hypo uses the plaid sky example to establish that you are discussing something with another person who is denying a fact about the world. I think a better example would be flat-earthers, but choose your own adventure.

            2. Yes. Maybe the use of blue as the "actually" color was in error, but plaid as the not color communicates that it is actually not plaid.

            3. Ignore plaid versus blue. What do you do when faced with someone who insists on a fact that you know not to be the case, and when you insist on the fact, they accuse you of being the delusional one.

            TDS has nothing to do with the discussion. Leo already instructed you to set aside President Trump.

            1. 1. Sure. In this case

              2. If blue as the "actually" color is in error, there's a big problem with your argument.

              3. If you're ignoring the entire plaid versus blue argument, there's a much much bigger problem with your argument, and you should re-examine your entire position...

              4, TDS was the start of the discussion. It's rather different from "denying facts".

              5. Perhaps you would like to reframe as a different argument?

    2. "What do you say to someone who insists the sky is plaid,"

      What are your definitions and axioms?

      1. Yeah, that's cute, but in that example as in this one, for the >99% of respondents who share the same definitions and axioms I do, it's bullshit.

        1. Of course it's bullshit.

    3. "What do you say to someone who insists the sky is plaid, and when you point out that it’s indisputably, factually blue, laughs off your response as Plaid Derangement Syndrome?"

      The sky isn't indisputably, factually blue. it's black. But it's OK to mock the plaid-claiming guy.

      1. "The sky isn’t indisputably, factually blue. it’s black. But it’s OK to mock the plaid-claiming guy."

        How about the blue claiming guy?

        1. I'd definitely mock him right after I finished mocking the intentionally misinterpreting the questioner's meaning guy.

      2. Keep mocking. It did wonders for you in 2016.

        1. So how about answering the question, Ed? What would you say to somebody who insists your disagreement with his plaid sky assertion is Plaid Derangement Syndrome?

          1. Refusing to accept a premise is not thinking the sky is plaid. Your assertions are not fact, they are just subjective opinions.

            You assert Trump is historically awful, horrible etc. Others don't agree. Its just a difference of opinion, its not a dispute over facts.

            1. Bob, your inability to accept a simple arguendo stipulation, e.g., "there is no Trump" speaks volumes.

              1. Everyone know you are discussing trump.

                But it applies across the board. Disputing an opinion is not thinking the sky is plaid.

                1. You keep avoiding the premise. You do know there are objective facts in the world. I know you do. So just pretend somebody responds to your assertion of one of them by saying you have Objective Fact Derangement Syndrome. What do you do? What do you say?

                  Of course you know how I think that applies to Trump. I'm not trying to hide it. But it's a different matter. You can answer the abstract question without agreeing with a single thing I believe about Trump. So step out of the thunderdome for the whole 30 seconds it will take to answer. That's all I'm asking. I promise to return to our regular blood sport as soon as you're ready.

                  1. I would say your fact was not in fact a fact but rather a mixed opinion and fact assertion.

                    1. Is "the Earth is round" a mixed opinion and fact assertion? If so, you have to explain to me wtf you're talking about. If not, then please tell me what you'd say to someone who called your assertion that it's round a product of Flat Earth Derangement Syndrome.

                    2. No, its an incorrect statement.

                      Its not "round".

                    3. My bad for feeding the troll.

                    4. You know what, Bob, my hand to God I originally typed "roundish," but I changed it because I decided the meaning was clear enough and it would be insulting of me to imply anyone would pick that nit.

                      Well mea culpa, you're smaller than I gave you credit for.

                    5. "The earth is round" is a fact. But that doesn't mean that whatever you said to Brett last week was a fact.

                      Quite frankly, I'm not sure what the earth and sky have to do with the whole thing.

                    6. Your original blue/plaid question was so dumb that pedantry is a completely proper response.

                    7. Why are y'all so scared? Just answer him.

                    8. "Why are y’all so scared? Just answer him."

                      Sigh. Fine, I'll bite. I would say, "Gee, it doesn't look plaid to me. And what is Plaid Derangement Syndrome? I've ever heard of that. Is Plaid Derangement Syndrome a thing?"

                    9. Ah, good times....

                      So, let's summarize a few different items.

                      1. Very often, things that are asserted to be "indisputable facts" are actually opinions.
                      2. Much of the rest of the time, items asserted to be "indisputable facts" are in fact, very disputable.
                      3. For the very small subset of items that actually are indisputable facts, there is not really much argument about. Because they are, as above...indisputable.
                      3a. But of that subset that might be disputed, often the "dispute" comes from people asking different questions and discussing different things.
                      4. "Trump Derangement Syndrome" (TDS) or its close analog "Bush Derangement Syndrome" doesn't really apply to any of this, and is actually completely different.

                      Everyone happy?

      3. The sky has no color whatsoever, what we perceive as color is caused by the shorter wavelengths (not just blue, but also indigo and violet) being scattered by the atmosphere, which is why the presence of longer wavelengths increases as sunrise and sunset approaches, starting with what photographers refer to as "the golden hour" where yellow predominates.

        Weather conditions also change the shade of blue perceived, along with sometimes literally bending light so that you can literally see over the horizon. There are "weather breeders" and the like as well.

        And if jet contrails repeatedly cross each other at a right angle, then the sky is technically plaid -- although to one who forecasts weather on the appearance of the sky, the persistence of the contrails is far more significant.

        And Trump Derangement Syndrome is real....

        1. Wow, Dr. Ed, you sussed out a flaw in my hypothetical which undermines the very essence of what I was getting at. No sentient person could have discerned my meaning and risen above such an obstacle.

          In addition to being intentionally obtuse, your argument is idiotic.

          1. If your hypothetical is a poor hypothetical, perhaps you would like to reframe it?

            1. The hypothetical is fine for anyone interested in engaging it. If that's nobody, I can live with that. And if its defects screen out bad faith respondents like you, all the better.

              1. Well, that seems like a no, you don't want to reframe it.

                In fact, your hypothetical is quite good, in that it points out the many, many flaws in your original statement, and why what you propose is quite problematic.

    4. OK, I genuinely didn't see that, but I have no problem with answering here.

      Nothing you're "pointing out" is remotely indisputable.

      If you ask people what color the sky is, most of the time 99.9% of the people are going to answer the same. On any given occasion the answer may be blue, grey, on rare occasions red or green, but they'll all be giving the same answer.

      If you ask people about something, and the split is 50-50, or 60-40, or even 70-30, you're not in pointing out the indisputable territory. And if you think you are anyway, you've got problems.

      1. Brett, you're evading the question I'm asking, and answering another one. I have no problem discussing that question. We discuss versions of it here all the damn time. I was merely asking for a 30 second break from that discussion to answer a different, more abstract question that's divorced from the partisan valence of all our usual discussions.

        To wit, when 99.9% of the people are answering the sky is blue, black, grey, green, red or any variation thereof that happens to apply at the moment, what do you say to the .1% guy who says "no, it's tartan plaid, and your refusal to see that is entirely a function of your Tartan Plaid Derangement Syndrome?" What do you think about that guy? What do you tell your wife about him?

        We can disagree about the implications of those answers for life in this country on this planet in the year 2020. I have my own theories, some of which extend beyond politics and with which you might actually agree. Others I'm quite sure you wouldn't. But the hypothetical itself is uncontroversial enough, and ought to be simple enough to answer if you're inclined to do so. If you aren't, that's your choice and I can't force you. Neither would I want to. I just don't think it's that big an effing deal.

  5. I don't believe I've seen any analysis of how many times a President has failed to nominate a Supreme Court justice when they had the opportunity to do so. My guess is it is zero.

    That being said, I would think that the various bloggers that support federalism and bemoan the imperial presidency would appreciate the fact that the Senate exercises the authority vested in it by the Constitution. The Senate actually rejects candidates from time to time so using the advice and consent power is not out of the ordinary. Likewise, they should be more upset by attempts to pack the court to get the desired political outcome. A half-hearted condemnation and offering a compromise normalizes the threat.

    1. Also, it seems ironic that for all the ink spilled on how this President is an existential threat to the Republic, they are totally fine with the Democratic threats to our norms. In fact, Republicans need to appease the Democrats so they don't blow up our institutions. There does not seem to be any self-reflection that their analyses have emboldened the Democrats to act ever more extreme. (Or, more likely, realized that they are reflecting that mob mentality rather than causing it.)

    2. Currently, when there is a vacancy in the last year of the term, presidents are 29 for 29 in nominating someone.

    3. " The Senate actually rejects candidates from time to time so using the advice and consent power is not out of the ordinary."

      Indeed they do, by holding a vote where the "not confirmed" votes outnumber the "confirmed" votes. Do you remember what the vote total for Justice Garland was?

      1. Can you tell me the names of the other nine nominees to SCOTUS that the Senate didn’t act on?

      2. When Supreme court nominees are rejected by the Senate, it is actually more common that they are not acted on, than that they get a vote and lose it. That's the historical data.

    4. The issue isn't whether or not President Trump has the right to nominate a replacement - of course he does, just as President Obama did. The issue is the actions of the Senate in 2016 and the rationalizations used then, and their actions and rationalizations now. You can continue to pretend otherwise, if it makes you feel any better.

      1. No, I'll agree: In 2016 McConnell gave one excuse for a raw exercise of power, in 2020 he changed the excuse. If I actually had any respect for McConnell, this might lower my opinion of him.

        It is none the less the case that, when Presidents send a Supreme court nominee to a Senate of the opposing party, they are frequently rejected, and when rejected, this usually is by simply ignoring them. And when Presidents send a Supreme court nominee to a Senate of the same party, they generally get a vote, and generally are confirmed.

        And this is the case both in election and non election years. Nothing remotely unprecedented happened in the Garland case.

  6. And this isn't being mentioned -- and this is CNN...:
    "Jamarcus Glover, Breonna Taylor's ex-boyfriend, was arrested on drug charges ... Glover was a focus in a narcotics probe by Louisville police that eventually led officers to execute a "no-knock" warrant on Taylor's home in March....Glover was also arrested the night Taylor was killed but released on bail."

    This wasn't as much of a screwup as the media would have us believe -- they had the right residence, she was just in bed with a different man. And her sister states that she knew he was a drug dealer.

    Well, associate with known criminals, there are consequences....

    1. The boyfriend shot first, too.

      1. "The boyfriend shot first, too."

        So did Han.

      2. The police knocked, but didn't say who they are. Strangers banging on the door demanding you open up seems roughly the scenario you above talked about shooting people for above.

        Gonna ignore Ed's 'She was no angel' garbage.

        1. Yea, I agree with you. I wasn't making a judgement, just supplying a fact. I would be inclined to shoot someone who breaks down my door.

          1. I think the facts are going to have to get sorted out here. They sound less "open and closed" then the media would want us to believe. But then again their agenda is to get cops hurt and promote race riots so no big surprise there.

            It is also lost on people that even the it was not the police breaking down your door and you shoot blindly through the structure the functional conclusion is you are going to probably start a gun fight. And when that happens usually a lot of people get hurt and die. being legally justified is nice and all but doesn't bring the dead back to life.

            1. I've heard reference to "another fact" that we don't know yet.
              That said, I do question the wisdom of search warrants like this -- wouldn't it be safer to arrest the perp in his vehicle?

              Speaking of vehicles, it's come out that the U-haul full of riot supplies was rented by someone with ties to George Soros...

              1. Oh STFU.

                Ties to Soros?

                You've made this pointless comment several times. How many more do you plan?

              2. See Ed, your guys have spent weeks peddling crudely fraud accusations the evil "globalist" mastermind Soros was behind BLM. Include the ugly claptrap that he was also behind illegal immigration and this smear campaign stretches back years. I almost wish your side was more open about this as they are in Hungary. There's the Rightists hardly bother with pretense why Soros is their choice whipping boy.

                So now you have one protester with - "ties" - to Soros? Do you think that salvages months of lying & disgrace? Not a chance.

            2. It appears only one side was shooting blindly. Walker shot once and hit an unidentified intruder.

              Meanwhile, the police blindly shot dozens of rounds into an apartment occupied by they didn't know how many people and hit an innocent bystander, but not their target. I mean, if shooting blindly through a structure is known to cause a high risk of causing innocent people to die, maybe the police really shouldn't have done that. You think that's one of the points of the protests?

          2. But wouldn't you also shout for your girlfriend to dial 911?

        2. Sarcastr0...I don't think we know enough about what happened. No bodycam footage? Conflicting eyewitness reports? Questions about her paramour and drug dealing?

          Something tells me there is a lot more to this sad story.

          1. We don't know everything, but we know enough to know the cops royally screwed this one up, which resulted in deaths.

            1. Lots of people screwed up here, starting with a woman who made the mistake of letting a known drug dealer into her home.

              I'll bet she didn't object when he spent his drug money on her...

              1. I'm no expert on Kentucky law, but it probably isn't illegal to let a known drug dealer into your home, and even if it were it surely wouldn't be punishable by death.

                1. Under clinger rules, though, if you do that and you're black, and the police impose the death penalty, you're estopped to complain.

                  And if clinger rules apply anywhere, it's Kentucky.

                2. I’m no expert on Kentucky law, but it probably isn’t illegal to let a known drug dealer into your home, and even if it were it surely wouldn’t be punishable by death.

                  No, but it's part of a pattern of poor decision-making (including her participation in her ex-boyfriend's criminal activities) that put her in that situation. No, that doesn't mean that her decisions warranted a death-penalty, but it's certainly a factor in how she ended up there.

                  1. "No, but it’s part of a pattern of poor decision-making..."

                    Nobody that comments on this blog gets to criticize others for poor decision-making.

                    1. Nobody that comments on this blog gets to criticize others for poor decision-making.

                      You got me there.

                  2. including her participation in her ex-boyfriend’s criminal activities

                    Unproven allegations. And entirely irrelevant, even if true.

                    Now, what about all the poor decisions by police:

                    Obtain a warrant on outdated information.

                    Make it a no-knock warrant using cut and paste material from a different location involving different facts.

                    Fail to do actual police work that would have let you know how many people were there and, maybe, just actually knock and announce in the middle of the day?

                    Send the ambulance away prior to conducting the wholly unnecessary raid.

                    Continue to execute the warrant after already apprehending the subject.

                    Allegedly convert it to knock and announce but only one neighbor allegedly heard the announce part (and that after, reportedly, he denied hearing the announcement in the first two police interviews....but I am sure there was no pressure there and a totally legit recovered memory).

                    Spraying an apartment with bullets without knowing how many people are in the apartment, without being able to see what you're shooting at, and, to boot, being absolutely terrible shots (while, to reiterate, the untrained civilian who had no idea what was going on and was scared out of his mind managed to show accuracy and restraint both.....why the 2nd amendment boosters aren't lauding Walker as a hero is...well, I have guesses why.)

                    And then, of course, the after the fact shenanigans including:

                    Failing to timely render aid and completing a report indicating "no injuries".

                    Finding nothing in the search after the killing, but then claiming you didn't do the search after the scene of a killing? Seriously?

                    Charging an innocent man acting in self-defense with the killing for which police were solely responsible. And trying to pressure that man into making false allegations against Breonna Taylor.

                    Etc., etc.

                    The actions of the police and prosecutors were entirely outrageous from start through to the AG's dishonest post-grand jury press conference.

                    1. Now, what about all the poor decisions by police

                      Whataboutisms? Do bad decisions by others somehow make her decision-making good?

                    2. You don't understand what whataboutism is.

                      You want to criticize allegedly poor decisions by the victims in this case, though none of those decisions were reasonably likely to result in someone getting shot. Making bad choices in men is not (or should not be) a capital offense.

                      It isn't whataboutism because I am not asking about police decisions in a different situation or the police making bad dating choices that have nothing to do with the outcome here.

                      Instead, the police made objectively bad choices in obtaining and executing this warrant that carried a very highly likelihood of injuring or killing innocent people. And their choices led directly to the death of Breonna Taylor by their own bullets. Why should the police be allowed to shoot and kill an innocent person with no criminal culpability whatsoever?

            2. That may be. But for now, I'd like to know a lot more. Ms. Taylor is a victim, but it is much less clear to me that the police are completely to blame for her death. That is the part that makes me hesitate a bit. Let's see what comes out by next Thursday.

              1. Well, it seems a lot like local officials have already finished their investigation.

        3. Didn't the boyfriend have an obligation to identify his targets before shooting?

          1. What do you mean? People breaking into your home and you haven't heard them identify themselves but you need to politely ask them for ID? He aimed at and shot a man breaking into his home. I don't think self-defense requires you get an intruder's name, address, and occupation first.

            But assuming identifying your target (beyond seeing a person threatening you and aiming at that and only firing accurately at that person) is a necessity, why do the police get to blindly fire into an occupied dwelling without identifying their target? Shouldn't trained police officers who know the situation they are in have a greater obligation to identify their target and, for fuck's sake, not just spray "suppressive" fire into a residential dwelling occupied by they have no idea who?

            I mean, at least Walker identified his target enough to actually hit what he was aiming at. The police just randomly shot into the apartment.

    2. Her ex was purportedly a drug dealer, she was in bed with her current BF who was not a drug dealer.

      It was not as big a screwup as some said at the time, but it was still a very big screwup.

      1. Current and former boyfriend -- and I'm not sure that the purported ex was completely out of her life.

        If she'd taken out a restraining order from him, the cops might have been stupid enough not to check for that -- but we'd be hearing about that...

        1. Dr. Ed 2 : Current and former boyfriend....

          That's not what the linked article says. The former boyfriend was Jamarcus Glover, who was the subject of the warrant and linked to drug trafficking from Day One. The current boyfriend is Kenneth Walker and neither the linked article above or the one below suggest any possibility of a drug connection. Did you just make that up?

          I don't want to speak for the BLM folk, but if I speculate a lot of their anger comes three sources :

          (1) They believe allegations of excessive police force against the black community never get fair justice

          (2) They connect major instances of excessive police force with lesser more wide-spread harassment that a larger number of people experience.

          (3) They see many people justifying grotesquely inappropriate (and tragic) police force against blacks by the most tendentious of reasoning.

          Again, that's just my take. But I hope if I die from police bungling there isn't a cottage industry of Right-types rooting through my past to come up with any excuse to justify the police misconduct.

          ( I can count on that .... right? )

          1. It is widely believed in the African American Community that Black are targeted by police. I'm not sure it exists to the extent they believe.

            For example I heard African American Republican Senator Tim Scott state he'd been stopped by police 12 times. He did not provide a time frame, but I've been stopped by police that many times over the years including twice at gun point.

            1. This is great! Who would have expected a bigot like rsteinmetz to be the one who conquered racism?

          2. "That’s not what the linked article says."

            One of them says that Kennith Walker was also her former boyfriend. Hence "current and former boyfriend" -- Walker being both.

            "(1) They believe allegations of excessive police force against the black community never get fair justice

            Two words: Mohammed Noor. A Black cop who shot a White woman for no apparent reason -- and it took the Australian Government's diplomatic justice there.

            (2) They connect major instances of excessive police force with lesser more wide-spread harassment that a larger number of people experience.

            The NJ State Police were accused of racial profiling, and actually showed that they (statistically) weren't stopping *enough* Black motorists. Crime is higher in Black neighborhoods, everyone knows that, and hence there are going to be more police there.

            (3) They see many people justifying grotesquely inappropriate (and tragic) police force against blacks by the most tendentious of reasoning.

            Dinish D'Souza has a point -- if these are the best examples the BLM can find, the police simply aren't shooting innocent black men.

          3. Again, that’s just my take. But I hope if I die from police bungling there isn’t a cottage industry of Right-types rooting through my past to come up with any excuse to justify the police misconduct.

            And by that you mean that when someone is being accused of murder there should be no attempt to establish all of the relevant facts in an attempt to ascertain whether or not such an accusation is well-founded. That is, so long as the accusation supports with the preferred narrative.

      1. grb -- it's the above article -- which says:

        "Walker, a Louisville native, had dated Taylor for "years."

        He was in her apartment the night of the shooting but didn't live there full time. His arrest citation lists a home address in the Iroquois Park neighborhood."

        1. Dr Ed : I had thought you were saying both Glover & Walker were involved in the drug trade. Now I'm not sure what you're saying, but it doesn't seem to be that - so my error.

    3. This latest event illustrates an important point: reckless conduct can be worse than intentional conduct.
      FWIU, this was not murder, it was reckless conduct, which the grand jury charged as "wanton endangerment." I think they got it right.
      But while reckless manslaughter is not as morally culpable as intentional murder, the person is still just as dead in the end.
      As a famous Jewish sage of about 100 years ago once said, one fool can do more damage than ten wicked people.
      And reckless conduct by police ought to worry us more, not less. I doubt that many police officers are so immoral that they would intentionally kill an innocent person. But many can and do act overzealously, and that often ends up as reckless conduct that can kill as much as intentional murder.
      This was a major screwup by the police that ended up in the death of an innocent young woman. This was not a "bad apple" acting out. It was poor training and overzealousness by the cops. The result should be some serious soul searching and reform.

      1. I think we cut the cops way too much slack. If you're forcing entry into a residence in the middle of the night and somebody shoots at you, you can't justifiably form an opinion that you are the target of unlawful force unless you have announced yourself very clearly and allowed enough time for any confusion due to the fact that people are being violently woken up, etc.

        So murder or manslaughter.

        1. In fairness, there are also people who pretend to be cops.
          The Gardner museum heist was one example, but it's a common tactic in a drug dealer ripoff.

        2. Yeah, I don't understand why it is not manslaughter. Someone died, it was not just a shootup where no one got hurt.

          1. Self defense all around, a tragic accident.

          2. " Someone died"

            The police were executing a warrant. Therefore they had a legal right to enter. Shots were fired at them. They had a legal right to respond with shots of their own.

        3. If you're executing a warrant and suddenly you hear shots coming from the house, it's a pretty good bet they are shooting at you. After all, it's not like they were shooting just before you started breaking in.

          Now, whether it was a good idea or necessary to execute a warrant in the middle of the night is a separate question. I'm guessing the police probably weren't excited about it either precisely because of the increased risk of someone shooting. That explains why they announced themselves even though not required to do so.

          1. "If you’re executing a warrant and suddenly you hear shots coming from the house, it’s a pretty good bet they are shooting at you."

            No, it's not a "good bet" that unarmed people are shooting at you.

          2. "If you’re executing a warrant and suddenly you hear shots coming from the house, it’s a pretty good bet they are shooting at you."

            Sure. But if it's the middle of the night, and you haven't made sure that the occupants are awake, informed them that you are the police, and had them acknowledge that they understand that you are the police, then it's also a pretty good bet that the occupants reasonably believe that they are lawfully protecting themselves against intruders.

            So you can't justifiably believe that you are the target of unlawful force, and so self defense doesn't apply, at least under the wording of the KY statute I read.

            1. Indeed, but the issue isn't whether the occupants were wrong in firing back at the police. It's possible that, given the circumstances, both the police and the occupants were legally justified to use force.

              I also don't understand why you think that acknowledging the risk of being fired at somehow deprives the police from using force. Any officer executing a no-knock warrant will know that's a risk, which is why I said they probably weren't excited about the situation and knocked even though, given the warrant, they didn't have to do so.

              As far as Kentucky statutes go, I'm not a Kentucky or CrimLaw lawyer, but I don't see how knowing the person firing back may have a self-defense claim negates your right under 503.090.

              1. I'm not a lawyer at all, but I don't think 503.090 applies. They weren't making an arrest. I'm looking at 503.050 (1):

                "The use of physical force by a defendant upon another person is justifiable when the defendant believes that such force is necessary to protect himself against the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by the other person."

                And if you're forcing entry into a home in the middle of the night when the residents are sleeping, then any force you encounter will almost certainly be lawful self defense unless you make sure your announcement is heard and understood.

                1. I mean this. Frankly, it would be absurd for both parties to be able to claim self-defense. If you create a situation in which a person can justifiably use lethal force against you, it would be outrageous that you can then kill them (or bystanders). But police aren't accountable. That has to change.

                  I mean, conservatives who talk about personal responsibility and the dangers of unaccountable power should be the first ones advocating for meaningful oversight and accountability. If they truly believed the principles they espouse. Alas.

              2. David Bremer — Any officer executing a no-knock warrant will know that’s a risk, which is why I said they probably weren’t excited about the situation and knocked even though, given the warrant, they didn’t have to do so.

                Given that the question of whether the police identified themselves is contested by evidence, your assertion that they did knock—as if that were acknowledged fact, and as if merely knocking before suddenly breaking in should not provoke self-defense—suggests a prejudiced evaluation.

          3. "If you’re executing a warrant and suddenly you hear shots coming from the house, it’s a pretty good bet they are shooting at you. After all, it’s not like they were shooting just before you started breaking in."

            This isn't actually responsive to TwelveInchPianists's point, which is that the force isn't *unlawful*. By default, people are allowed to use force to defend their residence, so the police need to be very clear and conservative in how they enter to overcome that presumption.

            1. But that's the whole point of a no-knock warrant. They are issued because the judge has already determined that, given the facts, they aren't obligated to (and probably shouldn't) give that notice.

              Granted, we can talk about whether the warrant was justified. But that's a different question.

              1. According to Prof. Kerr's twitter, no-knock warrants carry no weight right now, or at leas their utility is in doubt.

                The question of exigency is a separate inquiry based on the facts, not a magistrate judge's take previous to the events.

        4. " If you’re forcing entry into a residence in the middle of the night and somebody shoots at you, you can’t justifiably form an opinion that you are the target of unlawful force[...] "

          And proceed to shoot unarmed people. (full stop)

          1. Unarmed people who pierced a cop's femoral artery with a nonexistent bullet.

            1. Breonna Taylor did nothing.

              Walker was, frankly, a hero who fire one accurate round that hit an intruder. The police tried to execute him for lawfully protecting his girlfriend, but were wildly inaccurate and killed his girlfriend instead.

              There is just no moral universe in which the police are not the bad actors here and wholly responsible for Breonna's death. There were multiple decision points, including before and after the single shot fired by Walker, where they could have made more reasonable choices if they had as a priority the safety of everyone (including their fellow officers, neighbors, and innocent occupants of the residence, which happens to include both Walker and Breonna as innocents).

              1. Yup. Walker used lawful force against the cops. The cops had no reason to believe otherwise.

                The cops don't get self-defense, and the DA's a punk.

    4. " her sister states that she knew he was a drug dealer."

      Well, that's a capital offense, so no harm done, I guess.

      1. What constitutes being an accessory?

        1. Accessory: also not a death penalty crime.

          Why are you working so very, very hard to justify this?

          1. "Why are you working so very, very hard to justify this?"

            Other than the right-wing authoritarianism, bigotry, and disaffectedness?

            Slagging people like Breonna Taylor and those who seek justice in her case is the reason this blog exists.

            1. Kirkland, the children were a different issue, but what is your opinion of the women who perished in Waco with David Koresh?

              Like I said, associate with bad people, expect bad things to happen.

              1. The authorities should have apprehended Koresh during a trip to town, from what I recall.

                (I also do not know what type of opportunity was provided for those women to leave before the flamestorm commenced.)

          2. Because none of this would have happened if she hadn't been sleeping with a *known* drug dealer whom she let use her address for legitimacy. I believe she also let him use her vehicle -- not sure about that.

            When I was working Section 8, I saw this happening a *lot* -- the woman, with a clean criminal record, would get the apartment, and then shelter a drug dealer. The drugs would be hidden someplace else, but she'd get a lot of money spent on her for sheltering him.

            Ethically, I make no distinction between this and someone who gives one a ride back from the bank -- after he'd robbed it.

            Associate with bad people, expect bad things to happen...

            1. One more problem that will be solved when we end the clingers' drug war.

            2. Your victim blaming is way over the top. Nothing you mention is illegal, much less worth death.

            3. Do I get a free pass?

              Lots of section 8 housing is multi-unit (apartments, etc). Much like the section 8 housing I live in. Since I share walls and ceilings/floors with others if they associate with known scofflaws and the police fire a hail of unaimed fire through their place, into mine, killing me...

     that my fault? Someone who needs help with housing who should expect bad things to happen… because I associate (by proxy) with bad people?

              And when is the cutoff for that matter? If I dated someone last week who had some felonious habits I could see why you think guilt by association is warranted but what if its someone I haven't seen in ages? When am I off the hook for putting my penis into someone that might not be as pure as you require for innocence?

              Honest to gawd Ed, for two kids where neither have drug records, the ex is out of the picture and the postmaster verifies no packages going to her house in the ex's name... are you involved with this case personally or something? Never seen you trippin this much just to hang someone.

              1. and the police fire a hail of unaimed fire through their place, into mine, killing me…

                That's what the officer is being charged with -- putting rounds into an adjacent apartment.

                And read the HUD regs on drug evictions and loss of a voucher for having a member of your household who is merely *using* drugs.

                1. They make you read it every year Ed. I don't want to read it again. 😉

                  Neither of those kids had drug records. So why the hate? The authorities assumed the wrong thing and now with the exceptions of the intruders who pulled the trigger, we all get to pay for it. Why are you seeking to blame the victim? If the police made a pile of mistakes before even touching the door, and their behavior/actions once trying to make entry were more mistakes I don't see where there should be an assumption that someone had this coming for them due to guilt by association? I mean, what if some of the folks who you helped in section 8 did get kicked out for drugs. Then they fingered *you for helping them in some aspect of the drug trade (a lie to try to take the heat off of them) (I'll assume you'd never do such a thing willingly). And tomorrow night they kick in your door and... I'm not sayin run out and make yourself a shield out of a garbage can lid and start protesting but I just don't get the condemnation of someone who is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. Not presumed guilty then dead;

              2. Because living in an apartment adjacent to bad actors is substantially the same as choosing to not only sleep in the same bed as them, but also participate in their criminal activities.

                But if we take your example on its own merits, you should be happy to know Ed pointed out...the cop who has been charged with a crime was charged based on the very issue your example covers.

                1. Except in my example, I'm dead. And I just want to know if I can have a normal post life experience with all of the usual dullness and flowers, or if I get to be crucified as someone who had it coming due to association.

                  Sleeping next to someone with a wall inbetween is different than operating a criminal enterprise. Thank goodness no one in the apartment in question has had any drug raps.

                  Still kind of leaves us hanging though as to why they had it coming.

                  1. That's a nice little plea to emotion, with a straw man thrown in as a bonus...but it has nothing to do with anything I said. The cop in question has been criminally charged precisely for what he should have been in your imaginary scenario, and absolutely nobody has argued that anyone struck by a bullet because they were in an apartment adjacent to a shoot-out "had it coming".

    5. One other thing, the boyfriend shot the cop first, and they then fired back -- at him. How does Breonna get hit six times and he not at all?

      Cops aren't always the best shots, but there were three of them, all aiming at HIM and they ONLY HIT HER?!? Does that make sense?

      HOW could it make sense???? 🙂

      Yes, I said that there was more to this....

      1. They weren't all aiming at him. Or at anything.

        "The termination letter says Hankinson violated two standard operating procedures: obedience to rules and regulations and use of deadly force. On the night of the shooting, Schroeder said Hankison showed indifference to the value of human life when he fired 10 rounds into Taylor's apartment, which went into a patio door and window that were covered, preventing him from verifying there was an immediate threat. Some of those rounds also went into a neighbor's apartment."

        From 'Fired: Det. Brett Hankison's termination from LMPD is official'

      2. Dr. Ed 2 — Here is another problem Ed. Haven't read every comment, so maybe I am repeating. In what universe is it okay for cops to apply for a no-knock warrant when they do not have the premises under sufficient surveillance to know who is in there? Suppose one of the occupants turns out to be licensed to own a firearm—something ordinary prudence would suggest cops check on in advance, don't you think? Is it okay to execute a no-knock warrant in the middle of the night on a premises where an innocent person with a legal firearm is known to be?

  7. Why do we put up with so many restrictions on food and drink in the U.S. , for products that are legal elsewhere in the world? Like lung meat (in haggis, for example); horse meat is now banned; eggs must be washed in the U.S. Why does the government still require that ethanol be poisoned with methanol? And so on.

    1. A dairy in Maryland was selling pasteurized milk with nothing else added. Many of their customers who thought they were allergic to dairy products could drink their milk, because it turns out what they were allergic to was the vitamin d oil normally added to commercial milk. The feds came in and told the dairy that if they didn't add the vitamin d oil, they couldn't call their product "milk," this product that was solely the secretions from a cow's mammary glands with nothing else added. The dairy complied, sad to say. Still the best milk I ever tasted, and they deliver it right to your house.

      1. This story seems a bit dubious. Vitamin D is a obligatory vitamin, you'd literally die without it. You don't need to get it from your diet, but you absolutely need it present in your system.

        If you were allergic to vitamin D, you'd basically die. End of story.

        This is not to defend the FDA, which despite multiple court defeats, persists in insisting that if you say something true that they don't want you saying, it's "fraud".

    2. "Why does the government still require that ethanol be poisoned with methanol?"

      That's a tax issue -- you actually can get an ATF license for untaxed ethanol (i.e. for a bio research lab) but the regs are very strict.

      It's the same thing as untaxed Diesel (i.e. #2 home heating oil) and Kerosene having to be dyed red.

      1. Another mystery. Why does untaxed Diesel oil bought in multi-hundred gallon quantities almost always cost more per gallon than taxed Diesel bought in much smaller quantities? Can some free market idealist explain that one?

        1. Honestly, I've never bought diesel fuel in large quantities before, maybe it might be packaging costs; How do you get it, in drums? Or just paperwork expense; Have you compared the price to the same quantity of taxed diesel?

          You can get pumped diesel in both forms around here at the local gas station, (Farmers use the untaxed for their tractors.) and the untaxed is lower in price, by the tax.

          1. I buy the untaxed 500 gallons at a time for home heating purposes. Never had occasion to buy that much taxed Diesel.

            1. Delivery costs? I assume you're not picking it up and bringing it home.

  8. I think the judiciary is an arena both of intellectual debate and of ideological battle. Thing is, battle beats debate. So people who think it's pure battle have more or less won the day for the time being.

    I may not like the Federalist Society's cradle-to-Justice methods much, but they continue to hold strong for there being at least some of the intellectual debate aspect. I hope they make it through this shift in the GOP.

  9. A fundamental feature of the country is that we have two mainstreams, with two different conceptuons of what the good life is, how government should be structured, what the constitution means, and the role of the Suorem Court. We have become a house divided.

    The traditional solution to such problems has been federalism and legislative compromise, letting the legislatures craft solutions people can live with and letting those solutions vary from state to state, depending on which view predominates.

    Several problems prevent them. One of them is that views are more likely to vary between urban and rural areas in the same region then between regions, and our political structure is designed to accommodate only regional variation. A second problem is that each side, in my view cery unwisely, has declared its way the only possibke legitimate way and demonized the other and an enemy of the country and constitution.

    My years commenting on this blog have been largely about how two very different polities can live together, with neither regarding itself as the only legitimate way or the other as treasonous.

    What way out do we have? Is our only option civil war, military or political, with one side declaring total victory and finding tactics to neutralize or effectively disenfranchise the other?

    We have reached the point where the fighting threatens to overwhelm our civil institutions.

    My objection to courts as a solution to these problems is that courts are structured for victories, not compromises. It is the nature of courts to declare one side right and the other wrong, to make one side the winner and the other the loser. Courts facilitate, they do not inhibit as we so desperately need, the tendency to designate the other side as evil and see the appropriate means of dealing with it as being in some sense combat. They are military force by other means. When their legitimacy fails, as it inevitably will once people realize that courts are mere groups of men and which men and which side they are on can be manipulated by appointments, military force is all that remains.

    What can we do to avert this? Even the lowly office of elector requires an oath to preserve the union as the first goal. What solution do we have? Can courts learn to step back and let legislatures take over? Or have we reached the point where legislative compromise is impossible, where legislatures are simply yet another place where the self-proclaimed forces of good and evil do battle with each other?

    1. "We have become a house divided."

      No, we've always been divided - since Day 1 (and even before that).

      Colonial coastal dwellers vs frontier men
      Northern colonies vs southern colonies
      Anglophiles vs Francophiles

      I've said this here before - our division(s) creates our STRENGTH.

      As long as we're not shooting at each other, then I'm OK with the vitriol, etc.

      1. Sure. You've said it before, but we're still waiting on some evidence of it.

        1. We have the currently longest form of government in the world.

          Since our Constitution was ratified, every other country/nation/state has changed their form of government (e.g. monarchy to democracy, democracy to dictatorship, etc., this includes Britian).

          1. As we know, of course, that pluralistic societies worldwide have such a fantastic track record in world history. /s

            I think you're more correct to say that we've been successful *despite* our differences, not because of them. You also magnify the differences into gulfs.

            So, you're really making any kind of causal argument here.

          2. *not making (sigh)

    2. You are asking all the right questions, Reader Y. I only wish they had clear cut answers.

    3. "Several problems prevent them."

      Just one, really. One of the two constituency has determined that compromise with "the enemy" is bad, bad, bad and not to be countenanced among one's elected representatives. Only the pure of heart and action may represent the One True Party.

      1. I think pretty much both parties have done that often to preserve an electoral issue.

    4. The United States in fact has not just "two mainstreams" but thousands of different cultures and locales with vastly different needs and wants and beliefs and values.

      Even when the country was founded, there were grave doubts about governing the nation under one umbrella, even though (1) the umbrella would supposedly be sharply limited to enumerated federal powers focused on foreign policy and defense, (2) the country was much smaller in geography and population, and (3) the country was much more culturally homogeneous relative to now.

      Even then, the country was seen as far too vast in land, and heterogeneous in cultures and individuals, to allow for a single government if anything resembling liberty and self-government were to prevail.

      Even then, the thought of a single general government broadly deciding law and policy for the entire nation was universally regarded as preposterous and extremely tyrannical. James Madison supposed that Americans would never let this happen, stating, "what degree of madness could ever drive the federal government to such an extremity"? And so he supposed that the federal government would remain sharply limited.

      But time has proved the skeptics right.

      The constant norm throughout all of human history has been one of tyranny and of empire, of ruling powers that subjugate, impose, and oppress, of governments that consolidate power over the greatest possible area in the smallest possible repository. The movements and agitators of today typically imagine, in their profound ignorance, that they have something new and "progressive" when what they really have is a reversion to the ancient mean.

      In reality, the newest, freshest idea in the game is that idea of decentralization and liberty and self-government, which made a great mark and impression around the time of this compact among States. Of course, part of the story of this so-called Union is that it has never been immune to the ancient norm of tyranny and empire, even from the very start. But our government structures have transformed and ossified over two and a half centuries into something much less exceptional, much more centralized and imperialistic. With that, our identity and self-conception has transformed as well, into a nationalist character that identifies with the conglomerate rather than your State and local community. This is of course also perpetuated by significant elements on the political right, with notions of "America" as a monolithic and indivisible "nation."

      The question is whether a spark of the newer idea still resides here, whether decentralization and liberty could flourish again and people could move toward peaceful separation and disentanglement with tolerance and charity.

      1. M L, can you imagine yourself giving up rights-based advocacy on nationally-contested political questions? It is that kind of all-or-nothing framing which lies behind the tendencies you deplore. The Madisonian framework seems not to have been premised on the kind of judicialized politics—centered on an ever-expanding catalogue of alleged rights—which the nation now practices.

        For instance, can you imagine yourself compromising on questions regarding the reach of the 2A, or reading the militia clause back into it? If not, you yourself may be an unwitting part of the process which is eroding the Madisonian framework.

        Likewise, when you mention, "liberty," are you confident you are invoking Madison's conception of liberty, the one he discusses in Federalist 10? Libertarians tend to read that one wrong. Look carefully, and you will see Madison's premise is that, "liberty," refers to the people's right of self-government, and does not invoke a libertarian notion of, for instance, property rights. Rather the opposite. In Federalist 10 Madison invokes the power of self-government to mediate among contested claims of personal rights nationwide. He says that outright.

        It is puzzling how many libertarians miss that, but there is a solution to the puzzle. Madison, like most of the Constitutional framers, was not the Lockian modern libertarians suppose. Almost all the framers, most of the time, used, "liberty," to mean the right of self-government, which they took to be the chief liberty, and the means to secure all the others.

        1. Stephen,

          "can you imagine yourself compromising on questions regarding the reach of the 2A, or reading the militia clause back into it?"

          The 2A of course only restricted the federal government originally. A State on the other hand could do whatever it wanted with guns, and the idea that the federal government would interfere with a State on the issue would have been unthinkable in Madison's time, even to the staunchest federalists like Madison.

          The 14A, as well, was not initially applied as incorporating the 2A (or other of the BoR) against the States. I think it is at least arguable that the original meaning of the 14A did not include incorporating the BoR against the States. That meaning was only found by a court 60 years later.

          Setting aside that constitutional legal question, this is where the only potential political compromises lie. As a meaningful compromise, it's going to be difficult to swallow all around. The oppression that millions of my rural brethren would endure in States like New York and California would be severe and regrettable. There's no easy solution to that, although people can always move or even advocate for peaceful separation from other parts of a State.

          But that is how decentralization and federalism works. As you said, "Madison’s premise is that, “liberty,” refers to the people’s right of self-government." I generally agree. Unfortunately, people won't always self-govern well. But you have to allow it, rather than resorting to the greater evil of perpetuating a larger centralized imperialist government to impose your will on others. Even when you strongly believe your view is objectively right, that doesn't mean you should go in and impose it by force, whether on the other side of the globe or the other side of a Union of States.

          There is no scintilla of self-government in our federal government. Virtually none. Is there a single citizen in this country that feels like they are governing themselves through the D.C. bureaucracy? I think not. Look at Congress' approval rating. At best, a portion of the country is tricked into thinking they are winning every four years. Self-government would be where you can go and talk to your representatives and actually make a difference and actually have a voice as an individual. Self-government is inversely proportional to the geographic and populational size of a government's jurisdiction.

          Unorthodox as it may seem, this can be boiled down to very common sense. Why should the people of Alabama have any role in deciding intricate tax exemptions and gun control policies in downtown San Francisco, several worlds away? If Georgia wants to ban abortion, why should the residents of New York City have any say in the matter? That's the question. With respect to your specific question, it should be clear that I don't think the federal government should have one iota of power to regulate anything having to do with guns. But that includes striking down State gun laws, so this cuts deeply in both directions.

    5. ReaderY — That is an excellent comment. One aspect of any reply ought to be that the tendency toward division you mention seems mostly to center around cases involving alleged or presumed individual rights—but almost always rights of contested legitimacy. Ben Franklin was not a fan of letting political discussions devolve into contests over rights. He pointed out that doing that essentially precludes compromise, which he much preferred in almost every case. Given a premise that the trouble does center around rights cases, you seem to be making a comment similar to Franklin's.

      1. One problem is that once you've got a claim of a constitutional right, denying it is as much giving one side a victory as affirming it is giving the other side a victory. Once the claim is made, one side has to win.

        The other problem is that some of these "alleged or presumed" rights are unambiguously declared in the text of the highest law of the land. Which makes denying them a direct affront to the rule of law.

        While others are decidedly NOT mentioned. Which doesn't mean they don't exist, of course, (9th amendment!) but does imply that you need some basis for asserting that they're traditional rights the judge isn't just pulling out of their ass.

        So, not all claims of rights stand on the same level, and should be treated the same.

  10. I watched several videos this morning of our friends in blue arresting regular people for not wearing masks (outdoors) or not social distancing (again outdoors).

    I have also watched videos of our friends in blue not doing anything while Biden Voters riot, loot, burn buildings, and even hit them over the head with baseball bats.

    1. Based on past videos you've posted, I'd check the validity and context of the stuff you watch.

        1. Because you've posted videos of black people being violent straight from white supremacist twitter accounts before.

          I don't trust your sources; they have agendas.

          1. "white supremacist twitter accounts before."

            lmao, this is a stupid lie.

            "I don’t trust your sources; they have agendas."

            Who doesn't?

          2. Objecting to the source is a great way to deflect the discussion away from the actual issue.

            1. Which is that Sam has a couple of anecdotes of questionable provenance he'd like to offer up as proof of some double standard between situations in different towns and situations?

              1. The videos I posted were to demonstrate the result of the violent rhetoric of Rev KKKirkland. They do that job admirably.

                One poster whom you weirdly refuse to tone police.

                1. Prof. Volokh doesn't allow anyone else to "tone police" me.

                  He prefers to censor me himself. He seems to enjoy it.

                2. I guess what Sarcastro is saying is that the people in the videos are paid actors.

            2. Jimmy the Dane, before you can get to the actual issue, you have to know whether the source purporting to bring you the actual issue is reporting the issue accurately and in context. America's right wing has been working overtime for decades to develop an alternative media establishment committed to undermining those requirements. Along the way, those media types, and their political backers, have created a surprising number of credulous dupes.

              Because I agree with you that no one should suppose media reports from any source are automatically trustworthy, I offer 3 simple tests to tell more-reliable reports from the others:

              1. Ideally, every news story ought to be written around an account of the efforts and methods which went into gathering the news being reported. You should finish reading the story with confidence that you can answer one question before all the others—that being the, "How do they know that," question. To the extent that you finish reading without fully answering that question, you should reserve a greater or lesser quantum of skepticism.

              2. The media source you rely upon ought to be one with sufficient experience and stature that its history contains multiple instances of badly reported stories, and the firing of journalists who reported them.

              3. When you are skeptical of stories which leave you at least partially skeptical on the sources and methods questions, trust the reports from media sources which fire bad reporters for bad reporting, ahead of reports from media sources which do not—or which even reward and promote reporters who do bad reporting.

              Based on those standards, after a few months systematic application, you ought to be able to discern that you can trust (for instances) the New York Times more than you can trust Fox News.

          3. "...straight from white supremacist twitter..."

            Wait, which definitions are we using? It could be that all of twitter is white supremacist twitter.

            1. Cute, but I mean like Richard Spencer, Jack Posobiec and the like.

        2. Land of the free right here!


        3. Police in Moscow, Idaho, arrested three people Wednesday for violating social distancing rules as their church sang hymns and Bible psalms outdoors — an event held, in part, to protest the city mayor’s mask mandate, which runs to January 2021.

          1. I hear protests are sedition now.

            1. Well, I don't agree with that. And sedition probably shouldn't even be a criminal thing.

  11. How is it tolerable that judges are being allowed to create new election rules this close to an election?

    Judges (or through corrupt consent decrees) have effectively enabled ballot harvesting in two states (NC and MN) and ordered ballots be accepted without a post mark for days (up to 9 in one case) after the election.

    Why are we allowing this?

    1. The do it all the time. Remember when the New Jersey supreme court allowed the Dems to switch Senate candidates after the deadline?

      1. Yeah, that is when Bob 'The Torch' Torricelli (he was corrupt AF) was replaced with Lautenberg (a total non-entity). That is how it works in the People's Republic of NJ. The People's Court just makes up the rules as they go.

    2. The decisions are all over the place. Some states provide for courts to "flex" election law in extreme cases, some are relying upon constitutional grounds, some of that being unique state constitutional clauses.

      The result is going to be an absolute mess. It wouldn't surprise me if this gets thrown to the House of Representatives. But knee capping the elections is part of the left's strategy to delegitimize Trump. Doing their best to make it as murky as hell in case he wins then constantly asking if he will roll over if the count doesn't look right on November 4th (to which they know he will say "no" as anyone in this situation should do including Hilary telling Biden to never concede.)

      Don't want to be melodramatic but this could be the last election we have under this version of the Constitution.

      1. I fear you may be right.

      2. "knee capping the elections is part of the left’s strategy to delegitimize Trump."

        That's why the post office suddenly started delaying mail a matter of weeks before the largest mail-in election ever held. Because the Left is trying to delegitimize Trump. Right. And the black people arranged for no charges for killing Breonna Taylor so they'd have an excuse to not play basketball. It's true! Look it up, but not with Google. They're in on it.

        1. You would know, if you confused yourself with the facts, that they aren't prosecuting the boyfriend, either.

        2. What is stupid about the whole mail in ballot thing is that it is being pushed by the same Governors who said going out and protesting is A OK but standing in line to cast your vote in a monitored fashion designed to reduce voter fraud is somehow is going to spread Covid. Yeah....right....

          1. Seems at least consistent to me, and maybe smart, depending on your priorities. Both approaches seem chosen to maximize civil rights. The premises you call stupid seem to involve a willingness to put civil rights questions ahead of public health questions when there is no other solution, or to accommodate civil rights procedures to public health necessity when that is possible. How is that stupid?

        3. Did you see those Biden Voters in the USPS dump all those mail in ballots from rural Wisconsin a ditch?

  12. You are the leader of an expedition to colonize a distant planet which will take 1000 years to reach.

    You input commands into a wondrous fabrication computer in order to design, build and stock an arkship and it will also synthesize products on demand for use during the trip. The rest of the ship is already taken care of so it falls on you to design and stock the habitation module. (btw there is limited fuel and supplies on the other parts of the ship so you cannot really rely on cannibalizing it for the habitation module needs)

    Unfortunately the computer is a prototype and the more complicated, technological, and larger an order is the more likely it is to introduce small flaws into the craft that increase the chance of disaster. There is a huge risk including the blueprint for a specific substance/product in the database in the first place depending on its complexity and a smaller danger actually making it. The only thing it can produce safely in large quantities is light and even then its a good idea to regulate it to no more than necessary.

    Synthesizing anything technological directly is suicide. Including more people is more dangerous, a larger module is more dangerous, stocking complicated molecular compounds is worse than simple chemical compounds which is worse than stocking elements. Synthesizing food is far worse than growing food/recycling food which since there is no use of the computer there is no risk, synthesizing a granola bar is worse than a pig a pig is worse than a vegetable. A vegetable is worse than a seed. Having more and complicated blueprints in the computer is worse than fewer simpler ones.

    Design a ship and provisions in the simplest most selfsustaining system that will allow your population to safely make it to its destination.

    1. is colonization even allowed these days?

    2. "Design a ship and provisions in the simplest most selfsustaining system that will allow your population to safely make it to its destination."

      Set your population to 0 and then by definition your population has safely arrived anywhere you send it, with 0 out of 0 arriving safely.

      Read the David Brin novel "Existence", or the Frederik Pohl novel "the Voices of Heaven" for variations on your hypothetical.

    3. Sorry. Can't do it. I still have night terrors from seeing "You have died of dysentery" from the last game like this I played as a kid. 🙂

  13. If Twitter users ask protestors to take down videos of crimes to protect the criminals, is that a crime? Urging someone to cover up evidence of a crime (or what they believe to be a crime) seems like something that should be prohibited. Note, it is not just requesting the videos to be taken down but explicitly to protect the identity of "protestors" attacking police officers, civilians, or property.

    1. "If Twitter users ask protestors to take down videos of crimes to protect the criminals, is that a crime?"

      You are going about this backwards. First, the legislature defines a crime and puts it in the criminal code, THEN, you decide if specific actions fit the definition of the crime. What crime or crimes are you imagining in your hypothetical?

      1. Affray, arson, assault, aggravated assault, assaulting an officer -- and that's just the "a"s.

  14. Synthesizing anything technological directly is suicide.>>assume the building of the module is okay but the sizing is risky.

  15. Here's the never-reticent Allahpundit's take on Trump's disregard for a peaceful transfer of power.

    But of course he's another Bolshevik libtard.

    1. It should be just as peaceful as what Obama did to Trump and how they played it out in the Transition Integrity Project.

      1. It should be precisely as peaceful as what Obama did to Trump, not that you have the faintest clue what that was.

        1. Obama authorized a secret investigation by the internal security agency regarding the man who recently defeated one of his former ministers.

          Very peaceful.

          1. The FBI conducted a counter-intel investigation it would have been national security malpractice not to.

            1. Agreed, the investigations by the ruling party of their political opponents are always justified.

            2. And I don't think authorization was required from POTUS for that.

              1. Nonetheless he was briefed in the Oval office {Biden too] and could have stopped it.

            3. If that's true, shouldn't we make absolutely sure the counter-intel investigation was on the up & up?

              1. How many investigations do you need to be absolutely sure? Is the DOJ IG report enough? The DOJ IG and Senate Intel Reports? Those plus what John Durham comes up with for Trump to lie about it before the election? Tell me, what's it going to take? Do you want us to bring Darrell Issa and Trey Gowdy back?

                1. The IG is restricted by the rules given him and he found enough even given that.

                  The Senate Intel Committee was involved in the undermining of President Trump. It was their staffer that leaked the FISA.

                  "Those plus what John Durham comes up with for Trump to lie about it before the election?"

                  The DOJ has filed to the court that all 4 FISA warrants were unlawful. What should happen to the people who submitted them? Anything?

                2. Let's review : Trump's campaign manager was giving private briefing to a Russian spy. Trump's NSA nominee was holding discussions with the Russian ambassador, and then lying about the substance to multiple White House officials, and to the Vice President, and to the FBI. Trump's son-in-law asked the Russians if he could use their secure communication equipment so his own government couldn't hear what's said. Trump's son is told the Russian government wants to secretly aid daddy's campaign and responds with ecstatic glee - in writing no less. Trump's fixer secretly negotiates a massive business deal with Kremlin officials all during the campaign - even while Trump repeatedly lies to the American people about just that topic.

                  And all this occurs while Russia conducts a systematic effort to make Donald John Trump president. Remember when the Access Hollywood story broke ("grab'em by the....)? That scandal shook the Trump campaign to its foundations. The Russians had hacked a large hoard of email from John Podesta and then sat on them over five months. Within an hour after the Access Hollywood scandal appeared, they leaked the first batch of Podesta emails. Their boy was in trouble; they acted to help.

                  Of course that's only a small part of the bizarre interconnections between Trump & his family/associates and Russia. And let's not forget Donald's fawning deference to Putin on the campaign trail, though that might now be seen as using foreign policy in a presidential election to grease a private business deal.

                  Yet Right-types here wail it was horribly unfair anyone dared investigate the sludge in Trump's wake.

                  Can their snowflake whining get any more ludicrous?

                  1. One other point. The Muller Report acknowledged lack of evidence of direct links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government—while complaining that it could not get sufficient cooperation to be sure.

                    Left tacit was the possibility of links to various cut-outs who might in turn be acting on behalf of the Russian government. Even if those had been found, they would likely have been harder to prosecute as crimes. I thought Muller was begging Congress to investigate that, in an impeachment inquiry instead of in a criminal proceeding, but it didn't seem to get much attention.

  16. I'm not comfortable with Republicans appointing a new SCOTUS justice this close to an election, especially with how much they squawked about it last election. But, if Trump must appoint a new justice, I'd like to see someone with state supreme court experience rather than another cardinal from the priesthood of federal circuit judges.

    1. That is one of the reasons I liked Britt Grant.

    2. The what's an appropriate time from an election? A year? Two years?

      1. 2016 Lindsay Graham said after the primaries have begun, so seems like February 3, 2020 would have been the cutoff.

      2. ThePublius : What’s an appropriate time from an election? A year? Two years?

        Well, not barely more than a month to Election Day - that's for certain. But if you chose to ram this nomination thru after Garland, just be ready for the consequences. What the Democrats will do in response will be just as legal and constitutional as this latest escalation from the Republicans.

        Your side has the choice whether to act responsibly right now. When the consequences arrive, it will be completely your side's fault. I better not see any whining over the result.

  17. An excerpt from Whittaker Chambers' tribute to Marian Anderson and Negro spiritual (from "In Egypt Land", December 1946):
    "..[T]he land in which the slaves found themselves were strange beyond the fact that it was foreign. It was a nocturnal land of vast, shadowy pine woods, vast fields of cotton whose endless rows converged sometimes on on a solitary cabin, vast swamps reptilian and furtive - a land alive with all the elements of lonely beauty, except compassion. In this deep night of land and man, the singers saw visions; grief, like a tuning fork, gave the tone, and the Sorrow songs were uttered."
    You cannot find writing like this anywhere today.
    And here is Marina Anderson at the Lincoln Memorial singing "My Country, tis of thee.":
    Admit it, you're weeping, right? Especially now during these sad sad times.

  18. Chris Wallace of Fox News is quite the deranged TDS sufferer.

    1. thats why he's handling the first debate, but since he's affiliated with Fox he'll be counted as the "conservative" moderator

  19. Not just the lyingest, cruelest and crimingest, but also the corruptest

    New Report: President Trump has 3,400 conflicts of interest

    Washington — Averaging more than two conflicts of interest per day, President Trump continues to be the most corrupt president in history, engaging in more than 3,400 conflicts of interest since taking office, according to a new report released today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Since CREW issued its last conflicts report in February, President Trump has engaged in an additional 400 conflicts of interest and made millions of dollars for his personal businesses. Today’s report details some of the most glaring examples of presidential corruption and conflicts of interest ever raised by a president, all of which stem from his refusal to divest from his businesses.

    - Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

    1. Imagine if Don Jr. got 3.5 million from a Russian oligarch. And 6 million from a Chinese oligarch. Now that would be something actually worth mentioning.

      Instead you babble about "3,400 conflicts of interest!" because there's not a single instance among them to make a compelling enough headline.

      1. You're apparently unfamiliar with how the Mafia works. They don't get rich all at once soaking giant conglomerates for all they're worth. Headlines, like blood, are bad for business. They take a few bucks a week from every shopkeeper on the block, every block in the city, none of it worth reporting.

      2. Yes, I heard Don Jr. say that today...

    2. Snort, CREW.

      CREW in 1790: 50 bottles of whiskey were bought from Washington's farm distillery. Corrupt!!!!!

  20. The constitution provides for no blackout period before an election for the nomination and confirmation of Supreme Court justices.

    1. Nobody said every naked power grab is unconstitutional.

      1. How is Trump nominating someone to fill a SCOTUS vacancy and the Senate voting to confirm a "naked power grab?"

      2. Would not call it a "grab." They are exercising the power granted them by the Constitution. It just comes at a very inconvenient time for those on the opposite side of the political spectrum.

        1. The issue is the hypocrisy of the rationalizations being used now by Republican senators compared to 2016. But of course you know that. I don't blame you or Publius for trying to change the focus.

          1. If someone wants to accuse the GOP of a "power grab," then that is what I will respond to. If you want to charge the GOP with "hypocrisy," then I can respond to that. There is no changing of the focus at all.

            As for your charge, McConnell, at least, made his position plain in 2016: no confirmation in an election year when the Senate is controlled by the opposite party as the White. There would be a confirmation when they are controlled by the same party.

            That was his standard, and whether you agree with it or not, he has stuck to it in both cases. So there is no hypocrisy. Nor would there be if the Democrats applied the same two-pronged rule if they ever take control of the Senate.

              1. Seriously?

                Try this:


                McConnell gave both rationales, the votes should choose, and that the Senate was controlled by the opposiite parties.

                That's the problem here. When you cherry pick part of what someone says, it is easy to accuse them of hypocrisy.

                  1. These rationalizations are so lame, even the general public isn't buying them. What they did in 2016 was illegitimate and cowardly. There was no principle involved. And 2020 proves it.

            1. Bored Lawyer : ".. whether you agree with it or not .."

              And when the Democrats respond it will also be : "exercising the power granted them by the Constitution"

              And I bet their response comes : "at a very inconvenient time for those on the opposite side of the political spectrum"

              As long as you're equally sanguine about that then there's no issue. If the GOP is prepared to jam this nomination thru after Garland, I'm sure they're prepared to welcome the consequences. Perhaps with an equally languid & oblivious indifference.....

              1. I can't speak for the GOP in general, only give my own view.

                There is plenty of histrionics and hypocrisy on both sides. Last time the Dems insisted there is a Constitutional duty to give each nominee a vote. Now they insist a vote is illegitimate. So they have the same hypocrisy in reverse.

                (What the GOP did with Garland does not change that. That one Congress violates the Constitution (supposedly) does not give license to another to do the same. The Bill of Rights bars Congress from doing all kinds of things. The fact that they did them once does not make later violations Constitutional. Otherwise, the Alien and Sedition Act would have effectively repealed the First Amendment.)

                I find all this talk amusing. It is all cover for the same, cynical principle: We want our guy (or gal) in, and we don't want yours in.

                That's it. All the rest is smoke and mirrors.

                The only thing that truly upset me is how they treated Kavanaugh. They contrived a charge of rape, by a mentally disturbed woman, that went back over 30 years. And did it in front of his daughter. That went over the line, IMO.

                Garland did not experience anything like that. The plain, unvarnished truth is he was rejected because he was too liberal, especially compared to Scalia. And as I commented before, there is a big difference between having your daughter say, "Daddy, they say you are too liberal for the Supreme Court" and having your daughter say, "Daddy, they say you gang raped a girl in high school."

                1. Spare us your tears over Kavanaugh. The Brett I know is the slimy piece of garbage who played bullshit games with Vince Foster's corpse. Special Council investigations have developed a bad reputation for no prosecutorial discretion or restraint, but only one was a complete partisan farce from first moment to the last : Kavanaugh on Foster.

                  Brett inherited a professional five-month investigation by Robert Fiske, spent over three years faux-investigating, accomplished absolutely nothing except a little marginalia between the lines of Fiske's report, then cheerfully admitted he knew Foster killed himself all along.

                  So how did he fill almost twice the length of Mueller's inquiry? By gleefully recycling bottom-feeder trash from the right-wing gutter press. Let's say you write a story for the rubes claiming Foster was a Mossad agent. A smirking Kavanaugh would then order the FBI to "investigate" this allegation, both to give stature to your hack writer ally and keep the Clinton dirt churning - easily done since Kavanaugh leaked like a sieve.

                  Your pieties about Brett's daughter are pretty hilarious. Did you know Foster's wife and three children begged Kavanaugh to stop tormenting them with an endless "investigation" that was always empty partisan crap. They begged over years, not the handful of days of a nomination hearing.

                  Three years after her father's death, one of Foster's daughter had FBI agents after her for a hair sample. (“We have Foster’s hair” one agent working for Kavanaugh reported in triumph.) Why? The daughter was blonde, a hair on her father's clothing was blonde, and Brett was still looking for an angle to suggest Hillary & Vince "did it". This was four years after Foster's suicide. This was the operation of a sleazy corrupt asshole.

                  "Mentally disturbed woman", huh? Sorry, Ford looked a lot more credible than Kavanaugh because she wasn't so obviously acting (Brett is definitely not ready for an Oscar). Still, I admit its he-said-she-said, but with one added factor : Kavanaugh's character. Was he a morally-bankrupt frat boy thug with contempt for women as a teen? Probably. He was a morally-bankrupt frat boy thug with contempt for law at age thirty.

                2. If they felt Judge Garland was too liberal, they should've made the case in hearings and a vote. But they didn't, because of course he isn't too liberal, if that even has any meaning. Their lame excuses at the time are coming back to haunt them now.

                  Why is it not surprising that Justice Kavanaugh's treatment is the only thing that bothers you. He's your guy and you wanted him in. Based on your endorsement of the cynical principle, the treatment of Kavanaugh is perfectly justified.

                3. We seem to have a lot of bitter people here. And that affects their rationality.
                  This is getting tiresome, so I will make only two points:
                  (1) All of it is politics, as I said. But character assasination goes over the line, IMO. It's not illegal, but disgusts me, and certainly created a fierce backlash. Which is part of why there will be a rush to confirm whomever Trump nominates.

                  (2) Whether one is liberal or conservative is relative. Compared to Scalia, Garland was liberal. Putting him on the Court would have moved the court to the left.

                  IMO, had Ginsburg retired (as she should have) and had Obama nominated Garland to replace her, he likely would have been confirmed. I can't prove a counter-factual, but that is what I believe would have happened.

                  1. Bored Lawyer : We seem to have a lot of bitter people here. And that affects their rationality.

                    Says the person who gave us this : "They contrived a charge of rape, by a mentally disturbed woman, that went back over 30 years" One hopes the mental issues behind that statement were fleeting.

                    Bored Lawyer : IMO, had Ginsburg retired (as she should have) and had Obama nominated Garland to replace her, he likely would have been confirmed. I can’t prove a counter-factual, but that is what I believe would have happened.

                    Are you really that delusional? Do you think there's a trace of principal anywhere in McConnell's cold heart? I'll bet this is just the hypocrisy of pretend belief. Like your drivel about the upcoming nomination being approved because of some "backlash". Lord knows you can't be so simple as to actually think that. Apparently posturing is a first priority with you.

                    Bored Lawyer : But character assassination goes over the line, IMO.

                    No. Character assassination is bad when it's one of your tribe, that's all. Your principles vanish when the victim is on the other side. Your Brett Kavanaugh spent years dragging a dead man's name thru the mud & tormenting his surviving family. He did it for the ugliest motives possible, but I guarantee you don't care the slightest bit. Despite all your pious hypocrisy.....

  21. The statute organizing the Supreme Court, 28 U.S. Code Chapter 1, doesn’t require any justice except the Chief to be alive or not disabled. Arguably, then, RBG doesn't need to be replaced, and if she's never interred, the President, true to his word, will not name his nominee to replace her.

    1. Then I want Scalia back on the Court. Heck, why not nominate him to replace RGB, since they are both dead.

      For that matter, someone today I saw said why not nominate Thomas to her seat. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that a Justice is disqualified just because he is already a Justice. So Thomas would just have two votes instead of one. (He could even right an opinion for the majority and concurrence to his own opinion.)

      1. Write, not right. Dang this lack of an Edit function.

        1. This is my proposal : We all boycott partisan strife - wild-eyed liberals and zombie-undead conservatives alike - until management caves to our demand and gives us an edit function. After all, we've already got Blackman tallying the comments to his posts. With just a week of tumbleweeds rolling thru the comment sections, I'll bet the Man crumbles before our conditions.

          (just as long as they don't bring in scabs to comment)

          1. Let's get Al Sharpton to organize a protest.


            1. Maybe Big Al and Rush Limbaugh - arms locked together, fists raised, demanding justice from the Man.

              If we're really desperate, we'll get Jerry Falwell Jr with us. (He has God on his side)

      2. Or nominate Ginny Thomas -- that truly would be historic. 🙂

  22. Bloomberg paying former felons' fines so they can vote. Criminal?

    1. Huh? What's your theory of criminality? Are all the contributors to the Roger Stone GoFundMe criminals as well?

      1. There is no criminal statute, but it is mighty unseemly.

        1. Aren't you the same person that just wrote that because there's no rule against the Senate confirming an RBG successor it's totally cool?

          1. No, I never wrote that.

            1. Okay, help me understand then. If it's not a power grab for the Senate to confirm an RBG successor because it's a power granted to them by the Constitution, why is it unseemly for Bloomberg to spend his money paying fines for people even though there's no rule or law against him doing so?

              1. You do understand the difference between a power grab and unseemly, right?

                Picking your nose in public is not a crime, but it is sure unseemly.

                1. No, I don't really understand the difference between a power grab and unseemly. Both of them seem to be things that we agree are legal but perhaps ethically questionable and we're just arbitrarily assigning some negative adjective to it to say people shouldn't really like it.

                  1. Then try a dictionary.

        2. How is it unseemly? If they're allowed to vote, felons should be allowed to vote.

          1. Because (a) Bloomberg is using his money, big money, to swing an election by (b) enfranchising a bunch of criminals, whom he feels will likely vote for his side. If Biden wins Florida in a close vote, then it will turn out the criminal vote, aided by Bloomberg and his cash, swung the election.
            That's unseemly in my mind, if not illegal.

            1. If it is legal for them to vote, and their vote is being kept away by some money issue, and they are not beholden to Bloomberg, I call him a mensch.

              You give the game away by calling them a bunch of criminals. That's not what they are.

              1. Felons by definition are convicted crminals. The Constitution allows them to be completely disenfranchised for life.

                Florida instead decided that they could vote, but only if they completely discharged their punishment and sentence. That includes their jail term (I don't believe they can vote for jail, regardless of outstanding money owed), and monetary punishments, which include fines and restitution.

                This is not a mere "money issue." Bloomberg did not volunteer to pay for taxis for poor people who cannot afford to travel to the polling station. He volunteered to pay part of the outstanding monetary punishment of convicted felons, to get them the right to vote.

                Unlike illegality, unseemly is in the eye of the beholder. In my view, this is unseemly.

                You are free to think differently. I understand that in China, belching out loud after a meal is considered a great compliment to the chef. De Gustibus non Disputandum Est

                1. For those interested (and for those not):

                  In China and Taiwan, burping is the highest form of flattery—it means you like the food! “The host considers the noise a compliment,” says Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick, founder and president of the Etiquette School of New York.


                2. Restitution is not supposed to be punishment. Neither is taking away their vote.

                  See Leo's post below:

                  Calling ex-felons criminals is a pretty low move, IMO.

                  1. When do convicted criminals stop being criminals? We still call retired physicians "doctor." You're a criminal forever, in my opinion, once you've committed a crime.

                    1. Criminal is pejorative, and deals with a single act. And act that in this case has been paid for when the sentence is over.

                      You want a stigma that attaches forever. Which is pretty screwed up, if you think criminals remain human, and if redemption is to mean anything.

                  2. Leo's post has nothing to do with what I wrote. I agree that calling for Bloomberg to be prosecuted is silly (although the argument he links to I find confusing and off point.)

                    Restitution is part of a criminal sentence. It is a result of the criminal conviction, which must be based on proof beyond a reasonable doubt. True, it is meant to compensate the victims, not punish the wrongdoer. But it is as much a debt to society as jail time or a fine. That's why the criminal court can impose it as part of a sentence, instead of requiring the victims to bring a civil suit under some civil theory of liability.

                    Disenfranchisement, as allowed by the Constitution, is also a consquence of criminal conviction, and is allowed because commiting a felony was (and still is by many) considered such a breach of one's social duties that the person can no longer be considered an ordinary member of society, and has lost the right to be part of determining how society governs itself. That is why it may Constitutionally last for life. For that purpose, a felon is still a felon, whether he is still in jail or not.

                    Now Florida has determined to be more lenient then that -- you have to fully pay your debt to society. Until you do, you are in the felon category. Bloomberg is taking a shortcut to enfranchise felons, to support one side in a political fight.

                    1. If restitution is not to punish the criminal, then who cares who pays it.

                      We're not arguing about what the Constitution allows. You can't lean on that in this moral argument.

                      At the end you slip back to the criminal paying. Which above you say is not actually part of the sentence.

                    2. Bloomberg is taking a shortcut to enfranchise felons, to support one side in a political fight.

                      He's not taking any shortcuts. He's putting impoverished ex-felons on the same track as those with the means to pay their own fines. Tacitly conditioning the right to vote on a wealth disparity is obscene in the first place.

              2. But he's only paying for blacks and latinos, not whites. What say you now?

                1. What and who is that question addressed to?

                  Although that fact (what is that based on? I never heard that), if true, makes Bloomberg look even more unseemly and manipulative.

        3. But there IS a criminal statute:

          104.061 Corruptly influencing voting.—

          (1) Whoever by bribery, menace, threat, or other corruption whatsoever, either directly or indirectly, attempts to influence, deceive, or deter any elector in voting or interferes with him or her in the free exercise of the elector’s right to vote at any election commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084 for the first conviction, and a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, for any subsequent conviction.
          (2) No person shall directly or indirectly give or promise anything of value to another intending thereby to buy that person’s or another’s vote or to corruptly influence that person or another in casting his or her vote. Any person who violates this subsection is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. However, this subsection shall not apply to the serving of food to be consumed at a political rally or meeting or to any item of nominal value which is used as a political advertisement, including a campaign message designed to be worn by a person.

          1. And which parts of that statute do you think apply to Bloomberg? I don't see it at all.

            1. 1. Whoever by bribery...either directly or indirectly, attempts to influence...any elector in voting...commits a felony of the third degree;
              2. No person shall directly or indirectly give or promise anything of value to another intending thereby to buy that person’s or another’s vote or to corruptly influence that person or another in casting his or her vote.

              Pretty plain.

              1. Pretty plainly does not apply. As I said, there is no request or commitment that the person vote at all, or vote for any particular candidate.

                1. Paying off someone's fines and restitution is not a bribe, and is not an "influence" in voting, since the person does not even have to vote at all, let alone for a particular candidate.
                2. For the same reason, there is no "buy[ing]" of a vote, nor is there an influencer, let alone corruptly influence.

                So, no, there is no crime here.

                (It would be an interesting hypothetical if the payment was conditioned on the person voting, but not for any particular candidate. I don't think that is a crime, either, but then you are getting warmer.)

      2. Is paying off fines to enable felons to vote an exchange of value for a vote? That is the question, as I understand it.

        Criminal....I think this fine lawyers and law professors ought to write a blog about it.... 🙂

        1. But they are not committed to vote at all, and certainly not for any particular candidate. For all Bloomberg knows, many might end up voting for Trump (very unlikely) or staying home on election day (more likely).

          1. The ex-felon population skews strongly male and despite skewing black there's still mostly white ex-felons in Florida. So I'd expect there to be a fairly large number of Trump supporters just based on demographics.

            1. He's only paying for black and latino voters:

              "Black or Latino voters who were already registered to vote, with outstanding fines of less than $1,500, were eligible for the race-based payback initiative, according to Axios and The Washington Post, which first reported Mr Bloomberg's $16.1m fundraising."


              1. So? It's his money. Note that in Florida, the politics of a Latino are hardly assured.

                1. So if someone tries to bribe a cop, "it's his money, so what?"

                  1. Right. A blatantly illegal payment is the same as a legal one. Do you listen to yourself?

        2. Quoting one "Vikram Bath" from Twitter:

          Either these fines are part of the felons’ sentences and have nothing directly to do with voting, or they are a poll tax. It can’t be “not a poll tax” when the felon pays it themselves but then a poll tax if Bloomberg pays for it. There is no Schroedinger’s poll tax

  23. For those interested, I am blogging about Allan Bloom's understanding of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau ( but mainly Locke) on "the state of nature" from which present day liberal democracy emerged.

    Check it out here and feel free to comment either there or here.

    1. Former CIA Director John Brennan personally edited a crucial section of the intelligence report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and assigned a political ally to take a lead role in writing it after career analysts disputed Brennan's take that Russian leader Vladimir Putin intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump clinch the White House, according to two senior U.S. intelligence officials who have seen classified materials detailing Brennan’s role in drafting the document.

      The explosive conclusion Brennan inserted into the report was used to help justify continuing the Trump-Russia “collusion” investigation, which had been launched by the FBI in 2016. It was picked up after the election by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who in the end found no proof that Trump or his campaign conspired with Moscow.

      The Obama administration publicly released a declassified version of the report — known as the "Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent Elections (ICA)” — just two weeks before Trump took office, casting a cloud of suspicion over his presidency. Democrats and national media have cited the report to suggest Russia influenced the 2016 outcome and warn that Putin is likely meddling again to reelect Trump.

      1. The plot thickens...Mr. Durham is on the case. We'll be hearing from him soon enough.

        Seriously, truth is stranger than fiction.

        1. All too likely, hearing from him too soon. But that's just another norm, right? So who cares?

  24. In case you couldn't guess, IANAL.

    So now that an officer in Louisville has been charged with something, How many procedural steps are there between now and the inevitable hearing that grants qualified immunity to him?

    1. Qualified Immunity only applies to civil cases. It's not relevant to a criminal trial.

  25. Whittaker Chambers on History: "History hit my generation like a freight train." Capitalism and liberal democracy were failing miserably, fascism was marching through Europe unchecked, men everywhere were lost: what could be done? Where was a man to turn?
    Communism, to many of Chamber's generation (and to him), was the answer. Not just an answer but The answer. History showed, they thought, that it was the future. Men would find meaning in their lives, poverty and injustice eliminated, a universal brotherhood established. A new God had arrived.
    The Marxists certainly thought so and, because of this, thought it justified the Gulag, and the Show Trials, and the millions slaughtered. Because utopia - History - called for it (see the exchanges between Rubashov and his interrogators in "Darkness at Noon"; they were convinced that History would absolve them for their acts).
    People who think History is on their side are capable of doing some pretty nasty things. In any case, tragically, History played a trick on Chamber's generation. It has a habit of doing that.
    On Chambers: If you get a chance, read his essays in Time. On art, literature, non-political stuff. He was just brilliant. His fellow students at Columbia, including Lionel Trilling, were sure he was going to be a great writer. I guess he was but not the way they thought he would be.

  26. Out of all the arguments the left could use to energize the base looks like they are going with "honor her wish" as if a Supreme Court Justice has the power to dictate who fills their seat. Maybe their polling is showing that is the easiest line of the useful idiot to go with but I would think other lines focusing on perceived hypocrisy would be more effective.

    1. Honoring a wish does not have to do with power of the wisher. This is not hard to understand.

      1. Maybe it is hard to understand because it is a rather stupid argument. But hey if that is what the left wants to go with, please by all means...

        1. It's a moral/emotional argument. Like LBJ used JFK's death to get the space program off the ground.

          Because humans are not just logical, but also moral and emotional, these arguments are not dumb, and do have power. You would do better understanding that some people aren't like you than just dismissing such arguments.

          1. It's an offensive argument. The seat did not belong to RBG, it is an office of the United States. Her dying wish means nothing. (If Scalia's dying wish was to be replaced by an originalist/textualist, would Obama have been honor bound to honor it?)

            The space program was a public work that JFK proposed, and LBJ just used his death to promote that project. I don't see any analogy.

            1. Wishes do not require possession. I don't think you know how wishes work.

              No one is honor bound to accept them, but they leverage the reputation of the wisher to create political pressure.

              Clearly you realize this, which is why you are so bent out of shape.

              LBJ used JFK's death to secure and maintain funding for the project as it's costs increased. The Kennedy Space Center did not come cheap.

              1. I know how wishes work. Wishing about how something that is not yours should be disposed after your death is the hubris, in my opinion, and not worth paying any attention to.

                I wish after my death that all of Sarcastro's possessions be taken away from him and given to my heirs, including my dog (the dead one). See, that's a wish. Do you plan to honor it?

                And yes, I understand that it is being used to manipulate emotions for political pressure. My point is the fact that it does have some effect shows how vapid that part of the public is. And how cynical the manipulators are, who should know better.

                1. Wishes are not hubristic, you weirdo. Particularly deathbed wishes.

                  They are not a dikatat, they are a wish.

                  Sorry you have such contempt for the public.

  27. Don't worry guys, having a bunch of Biden Voters at the USPS handle our mail-in ballots is totes secure!

    DOJ finds discarded military absentee ballots in PA, all voted for Trump

    1. Investigators have recovered nine ballots at this time

      1. So you are fine with this Sarcastro because only nine voters were disenfranchised?

        1. It's an open investigation, Jimmy. If someone is found at fault, they did a crime and will certainly be in trouble.

          1. That doesn't change the fact that you thought it pertinent to highlight it was NINE BALLOTS above and by doing so you seemed to suggest that it was no big deal. So are you fine with the disenfranchisement of nine voters because it was only nine and they voted for a guy you don't like?

            1. The nine ballots shows the election was not materially effected. Not including that fact pushes a false narrative.

              1. With such flippant treatment of voter disenfranchisement no wonder people think the left is rigging the entire election...

              2. How do you know the election was not materially effected when it hasn't been held yet?

                1. Given how much the left is trying to rig this election I don't know if you can actually say it hasn't materially been held yet. It wouldn't surprise me if they had warehouses of "votes" ready to be deployed.

              3. There's a lot of ground between 'This is not evidence the election is in danger' and 'Spoiling ballots is good, actually.'

                I'm saying the first, you seem to think I'm saying the second.

              4. "The nine ballots shows the election was not materially effected."

                Holy crap Sarcastro. The election isn't even happening until November 3.

                This incident of discovering 9 trashed ballots does not "show" anything regarding an absence of additional ballot mischief. On the contrary, it only confirms its existence and adds to its prevalence.

                I would like to hear one good reason why we should expect that a circumstance like this one would have more than a 0.1% chance of being discovered by the authorities.

                1. Because you don't get to just invoke all the times something wasn't seen to assume it's frequency, ML.

                  Did you not take evidence or criminal law? They explain why that's crap logic pretty well, I thought.

                  1. But I don't assume its frequency, Sarcastro. That's where you're wrong. You are the one that assumes you know the frequency or lack thereof.

                    My opinion is that we should have a voting system that is secure, rather than based on assumptions or some kind of honor system.

                    1. I'm the one saying don't extrapolate based on a single incident, you're the one trying to do that.

                      Your general argument 'we don't catch everything so when we do catch something it's proof of lots of it going on we don't catch' is nonsense speculation.

                      When we charge someone for a crime, we charge them based on the single incident, not all the other stuff we're sure they got away with. There's a reason for that. You seem to have forgotten it.

                  2. And you still have not answered my question. Granted we don't know all the facts yet of this case. But tell me why, in general, it should be expected that an event like this would have more than a remote possibility of being discovered. Genuinely curious, maybe there is something I don't know about it.

                  3. If 9 people were refused a ballot for not having Voter ID, I'm pretty sure your attitude would be different.

                    1. These 9 people were absolutely wronged, and if they catch who did this I hope there are consequences.

                      But your doing a bait-and-switch between the act and the election.

        2. Jimmy the Dane : So you are fine with this Sarcastro because only nine voters were disenfranchised?

          Heck no. Tally up these nine with the other few dozen examples of voter fraud you've found over the last forty years. Hey - maybe this is just the development Kris Kobach needs to make his Voting Fraud Commission a little less of a joke.

          After all, national voting fraud hysteria wasn't justified in a day. At this rate you'll collect enough evidence to prove your case in another three hundreds years, easily.

        1. This is not the work of some voter fraud mastermind. At this point, this is less about legit concern and more wanting to deny the validity of a Biden victory.

          1. Strawmanning and Gaslighting. It's like the only things you know how to do.

            Of course it's not a mastermind, it's some Biden Voters at the USPS.

            1. You've already decided the election is rigged, and don't much care about our democracy anymore so you are pushing nonsense to convince other people to go along with you.

              I'm not falling for it, and you're not handling that very well.

              1. I've observed Democrat machinations and have concluded the election integrity has been weakened and definitely open for shenanigans.

                "I’m not falling for it, and you’re not handling that very well."

                How on Earth do you know my emotional well-being? Where do you come up with all this shit? Imaginary stories, invented emotional states, fantastical mind reading.

                It's like you're just dishonest and have an agenda to gaslight everyone who has legitimate concerns.

                1. How many leftists believe that Donald Trump is comparable to Hitler?

                  If one thinks that Donald Trump is remotely comparable to Hitler, what should one do?

                  1. Exactly. You're a Biden Voter USPS unionized worker and you have hundreds of ballots in your truck from a solid Red area, and you don't want Literally Hitler to win. What do you do?

                  2. It would be irresponsible not to speculate!

        2. I'm missing the Biden voter connection, or are you just persisting in pretending that everyone that does something you disagree with is on the other team, like when you tried to make the case that the 100% Republican Florida Supreme Court was a bunch of Democrats?

          Also, as the article you yourself linked points out: "Strategists predict that Democrats are more likely to vote by mail than Republicans, which could affect some of the most closely watched races in the country." So if your strategy was to skew the election in favor of Democrats, you'd be trying to make sure mail ballots went through, not intentionally waylay them.

          1. On a statewide level yes, but in a context like this, no. Your strategy would depend entirely on the particular neighborhood or zip code that this batch of mail was coming from.

            1. Ah, so I guess we should assume that the ballots the article talks about that never got delivered to people in Appleton were tampered with by Republican operatives then?

              1. No a DNC official just was kind enough to fill out those votes for the voters as a matter of convenience.

              2. No. Frankly, with this particular instance, why would you dump mail in the ditch by a busy intersection where it would be found? It sounds more like a mishap, but don't underestimate stupidity either.

                Second, you don't know for sure what neighborhood this mail was associated with, nor whether it was coming or going. You just know it was found by the Appleton airport.

                Third, it looks like you've got it backwards. Outagamie County voted for Trump over Clinton by 14 points in 2016. So the assumption would be the opposite of what you are suggesting.

                Fourth, if you are talking instead about the primary election ballots from the article: "During the primaries, thousands of voters from all over the state, but particularly in the Oshkosh and Appleton areas, complained that they did not receive the absentee ballots they requested. Complaints filed with the Election Commission included one from a Milwaukee postal worker who said three bins of absentee ballots were located and had never been delivered, according to reports by the New York Times." That is a different event from a different election. And yet again, the Oshkosh area/Winnnebago County voted for Trump by 7.5 points more than Clinton. So again, you've got it the wrong way around.

                Fifth, of course I never said one should assume any of this. I said if we do assume that people were tampering, here's what the incentive or strategy would be. That was your whole failed point that I responded to, and which is utterly wrong for the reason I gave, remember??

                1. Someone suggested the idea that they are priming us to accept found ballots in a ditch after the election.

                  1. Do you hear how crazy you sound?

                2. I totally agree that the vast majority of these situations (including, probably, the ballots in the ditch) are the result of incompetence as opposed to malice. My whole original point was that it was silly that Sam was jumping to the conclusion that some "Biden supporter" was trying to hack the election. (I started to respond to the rest of your points, but I think it's basically moot given our agreement on this bigger point.)

                  1. Our elections are routinely dumpster fires, and we have been routinely blowing it off. Now tensions have risen to the point where a significant fraction of the population no longer trust that our elections are innocent dumpster fires.

                    Maybe it's time we do something about their being dumpster fires? At the moment the only thing we seem to be doing about it is pouring on an extra helping of napalm by changing the rules weeks before the election.

      2. It should not be happening at all. Period.

        Yet it is.

        1. Yeah, I'm not denying this sucks. But I'm also not sure it's putting the election in doubt, as is the current partisan narrative.

          1. According to left wing logic if we can see one instance then there are thousands of "unseen" incidents like this happening every single day.

            1. Sure, Jimmy, that's good proovin'

              1. Seems to be convenient logic for the left:

                "There are thousands of George Floyds a day!"
                "There are thousands of Treyvon Martins a day!"
                "There are thousands of Matthew Shepards in every small town every single day!"

                I think you get my point.

                1. Who is saying any of that?

                  1. Every single BLM argument ever made...

          2. Sarcastr0....It is creating doubt, and that goes straight to the legitimacy of the electoral result. There is plenty of cause for concern. At this stage, it is less clear what can be done to address it.

            1. It is not what's creating doubt. Nine ballots being spoiled has certainly happened in every election.

              The trumpeting of nine ballots being spoiled to undermine people's faith in the process is the thing that's new here.

              1. You think some level of throwing ballots in the trash certainly happens in every election, even if we don't know about it? Interesting.

                What do you think is the probability that such an action would be discovered by the authorities?

    2. This also appears to have been against DoJ protocol - the DoJ has a policy not to do updates on criminal investigations while they're ongoing. In fact, Trump fired an FBI director for that.

      But exceptions must be made for Trump destabilizing our electoral system, no matter how small the case may be.

      1. Which of the following do you believe?

        (a) There is not sufficient evidence to prove that a material amount of vote tampering/fraud/destruction exists.

        (b) No material amount of vote tampering/fraud/destruction exists.

      2. Oh yeah its Trump's fault that DNC operatives are throwing out votes for him...that is some backwards logic if i have ever seen any.

        1. It's telling of what Trump's trying to do here.

          1. And what's that?

    3. Turns out there has been an update!

      9 military voters sent write-in absentee ballots to Luzerne.

      Because these letters weren't in SC-mandated privacy envelopes, Luzerne officials thought they were *requests* for absentee ballots. They opened them, spoiling them.

      1. "Because these letters weren’t in SC-mandated privacy envelopes, Luzerne officials thought they were *requests* for absentee ballots. They opened them, spoiling them."

        Your link doesn't actually say that.

        In an NPR account,

        "Pennsylvania law dictates all mail ballots — military or otherwise — be securely stored until processing can begin. In the commonwealth, that's not until 7 a.m. on Election Day.

        Based on interviews, however, Freed said investigators had concluded that all the envelopes — likely a very small number — that had been received by the Luzerne County Board of Elections were opened "as a matter of course."

        Workers, he wrote, explained that the envelopes used for mail ballot requests were so similar to the ones used for returned mail ballots that they believed they would miss requests if they preserved all the envelopes unopened."

        So, let's not mince words: They'd adopted a policy of violating the law, or anyway, that's their defense. The law actually does require them to treat these envelopes differently, and they're scarcely identical, so it wasn't like it was impossible to comply with the law.

        Just inconvenient, or anyway, that's their excuse. So when they screwed up, they threw the ballots in a dumpster instead of telling anyone.

        Sorry, there's no version of this where the people who did this are innocent, the only real question is which crime they were intending to commit.

        1. No, they screwed up; there is no evidence this was a policy mess-up.

      2. I wonder if there's some point at which Sam is going to think "maybe this thing I found on 4chan is poorly sourced and not actually correct" before pronouncing it as further evidence of the thing he's already decided is happening.

  28. Remember when the national media plastered the video of a lockdown protester screaming at a police officer, even doxxing that protesters and making certain he lost his job by showing up at his place employment?

    Funny how this isn't also on the front page of MSNBC or CNN or the Huffpo...wonder why...

    1. 'Protesters scream profanities at police officer - even though he's black!!!'

      This is an impressive level of non-story.

      1. It is actually pretty ugly but if you think that behavior is acceptable then that says more about you then your illogical inconsistent ideologically biased posts.

        1. There are plenty of unacceptable things in the world today, I will not demand CNN cover every single one.

          But yeah, a protester yelling swears at a cop is actually fine by me.

          1. So if CNN see it fit to put on the front page because frankly they agree with ideology and here hide it because it is inconvenient you are fine with that?

            Also great to have that you hate cops on the record. I suspected that but thanks for confirming. I hope next time you need one they just delete the call from the queue and go back on their coffee break.

            1. I don't hate cops, I just think they can handle some salty language.

              If you don't think so - if you demand cops only be spoken to respectfully - this is not the country for you.

              Yeah, this isn't a cover-up, it's a non-story.

            2. My basketball coach yelled at me once. There were even some swears involved. I didn't realize I was supposed to call CNN on him. But maybe you're saying that cops are just more fragile than high school kids?

  29. More Fake News! I just saw trending on Twitter, "RBG lies...."

    I stopped reading right there, I'm so sick of these scumbags. How dare they accuse RBG of lying? For one thing, she's dead! Who do they think she's lying to?

    The media is the enemy of the people!

    1. Comedy is hard. Better not to try it.

      1. If all I accomplished was boring you for the time it took you to read it, my work is done.

  30. Does anyone find it remarkable that Biden is polling even or almost even with Trump in places like GA and TX?

    Flipping either of these states would be the death of the conservative moment, at the national level.

    1. Yeah, the polling is a trip. AZ as well.
      After 2016 I refuse to believe it; it'll tighten before Nov.

    2. According to 538 Biden is down 2 in Georgia and 4 in Texas. I doubt he'll win either, but he's up more in Arizona than he's down in Georgia. If that holds it's over, but I refuse to believe any of it until Trump is sitting for the interview Mueller didn't press for.

  31. If they discover trays full of mail-in ballots with no postmarks in NC, PA, or MN two days after the election, will they be accepted?

    1. Do they allow such now with absentee ballots?

      1. I don't know of any state that accepted ballots of any sort without a postmark after an election until this year.

        1. Well then there's your answer.

          1. Why are you ignoring the new rules imposed by judges and the consent decree in NC?

            1. You mean the ones that require postmarks?

              1. PA requires postmarks?

                1. I should've stated PA earlier.

        2. Nevada law explicitly allowed for this. You're *technically* right because that took effect on January 1st, but was obviously adopted by the legislature earlier and definitely pre-Covid. Iowa has a law since 2016 that allows election authorities to use other postal markings when the postmark is missing or illegible. Ohio didn't have such a law, but as of 2016 the Secretary of State had been working on methods of determining the date of mailing even when the postmark was missing. Some states would count the date the ballot was signed when the postmark was missing or illegible.

          See for some details, particularly the section on "Ballot Return via USPS"

  32. I’d like to start a conversation about why people go into the minutiae of who shot first and if there was a knock, when the real issue is that the Breonna Taylor killing would not have happened at all if not for the stupid War on Drugs.

    1. I think you've at least partially answered your own question.

  33. I have already seen some suggestions that whomever is nominated by Trump this week, will not need a hearing, and the Senate will proceed to hold a vote.

    Now as someone pointed out here, a committee hearing is not a Constitutional requirement, and was only instituted in the early 20th century.

    But one point overlooked is that the top two contenders (if you believe the press) each sit on a federal Court of Appeals, to which they were nominated and confirmed only a couple of years ago. And I am sure they held hearings then. So there is a legitimate argument to be made, as to them, that we just had hearings a couple of years ago to confirm them to one step below SCOTUS, so why do we need hearings again now.

    Of course, it is all a power play by McConnell and the GOP, but they have a legitimate argument, or at least a fig leaf, for not holding hearings.


    1. If McConnell is just going to exercise the raw power of the Senate to jam through the nomination and the Left is going to make any nominee look illegitimate anyhow and he can keep together 51 votes, I would forego the committee hearing. I'm not a parliamentarian but the majority can discharge the committee of the duty or the committee can 'adopt' the report it passed up to the Senate when it confirmed any nominee for a lower court position. Then it can go to a floor vote.

      The only reason to keep a committee hearing is to throw it into the news cycle for a few days. That and if Trump nominates a woman, there is something that is just visceral to a lot of people to beat up on a woman. If the left decided to hammer her too hard it will probably turn off a small margin of voters just like pulling a Thomas on Kavanuagh did.

      I would assume though that most Republican Senators would be happy not to waste the few days jammed into a committee room dealing with the predictable biased media output that it will generate. There is a lot of campaigning to be done and at best the political exercise of holding a hearing is going to be a net neutral to negative as far as generating political capital for the Right.

      1. I would assume though that most Republican Senators would be happy not to waste the few days jammed into a committee room dealing with the predictable biased media output that it will generate

        LOL, you don't know Senators at all.

    2. They only get to skip the hearings if it's a presidential election year, and if the Senate is controlled by a party different than in the White House, and if the nominee is already a federal judge, and if Halley's Comet is not visible, and if Jupiter and Mars are in alignment, and if two baseball teams from different time zones played in the World Series that year.

    3. Bored Lawyer — Can you think of any powers the Supreme Court enjoys that the lower courts do not? If so, can you imagine that a hearing sufficient to ratify someone to exercise a lesser power might not be sufficient to justify far greater power?

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