Sunday Open Thread


Sorry, skipped the Thursday Open Thread for this past week, so I thought I'd do it today. Please feel free to write comments on this post on whatever topic you like! (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.)

NEXT: Thank Immigration for the New Covid-19 Vaccines

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  1. Morning!

    I'll re-up my charity post. This is the time of year I start making allocations. It's probably not as effective as if I were to outsource, but I like the personal touch. Similarly to how I have a fund to buy individual stocks in addition to my mutual fund investments.

    I find it more fulfilling to do these decisions all at once, but if there is some disutility in that, I'd be all ears.

    -Worldwide misery reduction. Doctors Without Borders for me. This is the main share of my giving.
    -Support for good US policies. Last year I did EFF. This year likely something voter registration related.
    -Local capacity building. Folks have been talking about car refurbishment/donation places which seems a *great* idea. I'd also look at the same thing for phones.
    -Fee-for-service. Artists providing free stuff I've liked. This used to be webcomics, but nowadays it's mostly podcasts.

    Many folks give through their church, but the UU churches around the Washington Metro Area already do great, plus I like the personal touch as I said.

    1. Stop giving money for voter registration, that only encourages people to vote. Instead, start a charity that promotes a Constitutional Amendment abolition to abolish Presidential elections and replaces it with the House of Representatives electing the President.

      1. Surely you jest. Give more power to the same people that ran up the $20Trillion dollar debt? I'm worried one day it will be real money.

    2. I have certain charities that I give to monthly through the year on an ongoing basis that amount to maybe 75% of my giving target.

      Then I take the remaining 25% and spread it around in December depending on what has happened. This year a good chunk of that will probably go to local food banks given the hardship that Covid is causing in that regard.

      DWB is one of my monthlies.

    3. I probably will end up donating to the institute for justice and maybe some medical cause. Doctors without borders is good. Also Red Cross.

      There are so few organizations actually doing a competent job against the virus, and those who are ... I'm not going to write a check to Moderna lol. So idk. Who should I give to?

      1. Directly against the virus? I suppose the answer would be pay your taxes!

        There are plenty of orphan diseases that require direct contributions, but the biggies get government funding that individual giving couldn't hope to make a dent in.

    4. Another thing I think about is tips to people who do things that are important to me, but probably are not particularly well paid.

      I still get the daily paper delivered, for example, and it comes rain or shine. I bet the carrier isn't making a lot, so I'm generous there, for example.

      1. This year will be different because of Covid, but my wife and I have tried to make a tradition of going out to eat on Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. We eat a normal meal at a regular joint (it was IHOP one year)... and we leave a rather sizable tip. People working on those days usually either do so out of need or out of a sense of indifference to the holiday or a bad luck of the draw from the manager. In any of those cases it is something simple we can do to try and make that day a little better for someone in our community.

      2. Yeah, I read an old blog called waiter rants.

        It is why I invariably tip 20%. Nowadays 25% if I can swing it. And cash, to prevent some pooling nonsense.

        1. Cash tips also can frustrate the establishment's imposition of administrative fees (ostensibly to address credit card clearing charges, although the fee is not necessarily limited to those charges) on servers' tips.

    5. Unless you are wealthy, spreading donations around does little good.

      Pick one and let it be your sole contribution. Make a difference in the organization, not just pay for the postage for all the mailers they send you to get more contributions.

      Local is better. Doctors without Borders gets much more from the wealthy and big corporations than all the smaller gifts combined.

      1. Local is better.

        I think this is true.

    6. I go with Drs w/o Borders every year (I'm retired and would volunteer with them, but they don't need an aging chemist to schlep supplies around Africa or elsewhere). The rest goes to a program for the Autistic and a school.

    7. If you're looking for another absolutely fantastic global misery reduction charity, look at Smile Train. Cleft lips are absolutely miserable for children in developing countries, but $250 can pay for a corrective surgery. My first child was born with a cleft lip & palette, and our insurance at the time wasn't very good and paying for the repairs wiped out our savings. Now that we've done better in life we regularly make substantial donations.

    8. I mostly give to local groups, as I figure they'll do the most with my small donations. I also support Ronald McDonald House, St. Jude, and Wounded Warriors.

  2. How can the Media regain the trust of the American Public, especially members of the GOP, where only 10% trust the media?

    1. Well, if you ask conservatives what they require, they complain about how in the past the media has either reported things they have decided are not true or failed to report things that they have decided are true.

      The media has it's problems, but maybe the GOP trust issue is not something that's on them.

      1. So, the fact that more than 50% of the American public don't trust the media isn't a problem?

        The fact that 90% of Republicans don't trust the media, isn't a problem? Or it isn't "the media's" problem?

        1. Of course it's a problem.

          But is it primarily the media's problem, or a problem of the right wing?

          Look, there is a very lucrative industry which basically says whatever conservatives want to hear, and gets them riled up. Rush Limbaugh didn't get massively wealthy by being a careful, factually accurate, commentator. Neither did Sean Hannity. Or Alex Jones.

          How many Republicans are QAnon followers? How many believed pizzagate? How many believe Sidney Powell's tale international conspiracy to infect US voting machines with the Chavez algorithm? The main problem, IMO, is that the Republicans don't trust sources like the NYT because they don't like what those sources report, and these right-wing grifters play on that.

          Are the sources perfect? No. Of course not. They get it wrong sometimes. But I think they at least, institutionally, try to get it right. I don't think Fox, et al do that.

          1. I think it's primarily the media's problem, assuming you want a national media that can be trusted by everyone. Keep in mind this "right wing" makes up ~50% of the country.

            If you don't want that, and want 50% of Americans to follow QAnon and Alex Jones for their primary news source, because you can't be bothered to have a more balanced reporting that takes some of their concerns into account, then that's a different issue.

            But if you do want a more unified media that can be trusted, across partisan lines, it is the media's problem. That lack of outreach and trust to 50% of the American population.

            1. I don’t think the right wing is anywhere near 50 percent of the country, but even if it is, the point still is that they only believe what they want to hear. So your question could equally be how can the scientists mend fences with young earth creationists, or how can historians regain the trust of holocaust deniers. And the answer is that they can’t, nor should they bother.

              1. The "right wing" may not be at 50%, but tolerably close to 50% of the voters chose Donald Trump. Most of them knew what he was four years ago and voted for him, and after four years only the truly clueless could have voted for him innocent of the appropriate knowledge of good and evil.

                Democrats babble on about the virtues of democracy, the need for all to vote, and especially the need to prevent voter suppression; in 2016, and nearly enough again in 2020, they got democracy (American style), as Mencken put it in another context, "good and hard." Their fumbling attempts to explain why Biden failed to obtain a landslide, and in particular failed to gain the votes of a very sizeable number of "persons of color," indicates, as much as anything, that they are as eager as their "right wing" targets to listen only to the news they want to hear, and that the media they attend to has been feeding it to them.

            2. But what you are saying is that the media ought to report stories the right wants to hear, whether they are accurate or not, just to keep the right happy.

              Look. Readers and viewers have a responsibility to accept facts they don't like and to reject nonsense like Jones and QAnon. If someone wants to believe the conspiracy-mongers it's not the NYT's fault. It's the believer's stupidity.

              "Balanced" reporting is a trap. What you want is accurate reporting.

              1. You seriously think there aren't accurate stories the right wants to hear, that the media pass up? Or that every story they carry that the left wanted to hear is accurate? After the media burying the Hunter laptop story, or crediting Trump dissing the troops after everyone present, including people who hate Trump's guts, denied it on record?

                1. I thought the Hunter Biden story had been fairly thoroughly discredited. Even so, I saw multiple stories about it in the mainstream media.

                  Also, if you look at the horrible coverage Hillary Clinton got in 2016, there’s a pretty good case to be made that the mainstream media helped elect Donald Trump in the first place.

                  1. The problem is, the laptop stories in the mainstream media aren't the ones the right wants to hear.

                    They want hear that Giuliani caught Hunter and Joe red-handed, that they were obviously running sort of giant scam, with Hunter fronting for his father, and so on.

                    IOW, they want to hear anything that calls the whole thing into question, like no independent verification of the contents of the laptop, Giuliani's refusal to give the NYT and others access to the hard disk, or all the emails, or do anything else to show that it's not a total fraud. (He did give the emails to the WSJ and Fox, who reported that they did not support Giuliani's story.) They don't want to hear about the shop owner's interviews, or the fact that Giuliani is known to work with Russians.

                    IOW, they want to hear their fantasies confirmed.

                    1. don't want to hear anything that calls the whole thing into question,...

                      Edit function please??

                    2. Indeed, after the NY Post ran a couple of additional article on the alleged laptop emails, they basically dropped the story too because it was just too ridiculous. (Now, I know Brett's response will be that secretly the NYPost is anti-Trump too.)

                    3. No, my response is that the NYP got deplatformed by Twitter, (Locked out of their account for weeks.) and to some extent FB, and decided that there was no point in covering the story if that was the price of doing so.

                      They eventually rolled over and begged their way back into the MSM's good graces.

                2. Who are these people who hate Trump's guts? The denials came from close aides, like Sarah Sanders, who is more than a little truth-challenged. And there were confirmations as well as denials. And I doubt Woodward made it up out of whole cloth, as you are more or less accusing him of doing.

                  Plus, what is your complaint? Should the media not have covered the story? Here is the NYT's account of the events.

                  Trump's record on the troops is not a good one - think of McCain - and that influences the credibility of this story. Anyway, the media didn't treat it as you claim. They reported the story, and the denials.

                  I just looked at AON. Their main story is more wild-ass claims by Sidney Powell. Is that headline stuff?

                  1. I see little reason for journalists to worry about what might build trust among those in the audience who believe stupid, silly things. Birthers, creationists, QAnon kooks, election conspiracy theorists, Trump dead-enders . . . appeasing those losers would be counterproductive and immoral.

                    1. Journalists should have a desire to build trust in their audience of consumers out of a sense of integrity and intellectual honesty. Concepts that escape bigots and intolerant democrat party hacks in "Filthadelphia".

                    2. Journalists should develop trust among their audience with integrity and intellectual honesty. The issue being discussed involves that element of the audience that faults the journalists for integrity and intellectual honesty.

                      Flattering that portion of the audience, in my judgment, would be counterproductive.

                  2. Bolton was there, and denied it. Are you going to claim Bolton is a Trump sycophant?

                3. After the media burying the Hunter laptop story,


              2. I'm saying the media should be more balanced. Let's give you an example.

                Trump probably did more real outreach to African Americans, and provided real economic benefit to African Americans than any President has in the last 50 years.


                But from most of the "mainstream news"....not a peep.

                1. You are condemning the media for not feeding you the stories you want to hear.
                  This means you don't trust them, and you blame them for it.

                  Think about what that means about your critical thinking.

                2. See. Here's Van Jones saying Trump has done some good things for African Americans, and you translate that into:

                  Trump probably did more real outreach to African Americans, and provided real economic benefit to African Americans than any President has in the last 50 years.

                  Do you not see how ridiculous that is?

                  1. So, under Trump, African Americans hit their highest real median income ever. They have the lowest poverty rate they've had since 1970, with a poverty rate under 20% for the first time. Unemployement rates for african americans hit record lows. Real Median Income for African Americans grew by 7.9% in 2019.

                    Seriously, all of these facts are true. But you haven't really heard about it...why?

                    1. "Under Trump"...

                      Well, Ok. As part of a trend going back to the end of the financial crisis all this has happened. (Though I suspect the pandemic has caused a bit of a break).

                      Does that make Trump responsible for all of it? Suppose, for example, as is likely, that under Obama, "African Americans hit their highest real median income ever, " and the trend continued.

                      How does Trump get all the credit for the total increase. I mean, if the median had gone up by $10/yr over was when Obama left office would you be making the same claims?

                      See, that's the problem, A.L. You take a reasonable point - Black incomes have increased during the Trump Administration, and turn it into the ridiculous - yes, ridiculous - claim that he has done more for Blacks than any President since Abraham Lincoln.

                      That's the mark of a cultist.

                  2. Here's something else you didn't really hear about. (Ask yourself why) The First Step Act, a major act of criminal justice reform, signed into place by Trump. And Trump and his administration played a role in getting this bipartisan piece of legislation passed. (Which is how laws should be passed...)


                    1. Um, I don't know why you're projecting. That you don't pay attention to the mainstream media and thus don't know what's being reported does not mean that those of us who do pay attention to such media "didn't really hear about" these things.

                      I wouldn’t really call the First Step Act "major" reform, but it was certainly a step (a first step, one might almost say) in the right direction. And Trump might have gotten more credit for it if it weren't paired with all the (so-called) "law & order" rhetoric and policies he simultaneously pursued. Hard to sell the "Gee, I really care about black people" theme while you're screaming about Cory Booker destroying the suburbs by forcing housewives to live near black people. Hard to show you care about black people in the criminal justice system when your response to a completely nonviolent protest about it is to demand that the person doing it be fired.

                    2. Actually, this was heavily publicized.

                      Plus, what David Nieporent said.

                      What you want is not coverage, but endless hosannas for Trump, with no criticism.

          2. Bernard, I’m nowhere near right wing and I don’t trust the media. They’ve been horrible during Trump’s term. But what is about to happen will be worse. They’re about to become the equivalent of state media once Biden is in place. That’s dangerous.

            There was a poll that showed that among all of our institutions the media was considered the least trustworthy by the public on pandemic news. The media had 35% trusting them. 35% is far beyond a “right wing” problem.

            1. I’m nowhere near right wing and I don’t trust the media. They’ve been horrible during Trump’s term.

              Who do you trust, then, and how have the media been "horrible?"

              1. I generally trust Reason. I trust some of the Substack people (Taibbi, Sullivan, etc).

                The media...I mean that would be a book. All of the crap comparing Trump to Hitler. It’s one thing if it’s some fringy think like Slate but when garbage like that is repeatedly on the opinion page of the NYT or the WP, that’s real bad.

                This year in particular they’ve been terrible. Their coverage of the riots has been basically non-existent, except for the occasional attempt to justify them or to blame them on the political side they don’t like.

                And I could go on about their virus coverage but it earned them 65% distrust from the public. A lot worse than Trump, which doesn’t even seem possible.

                1. All of the crap comparing Trump to Hitler.

                  Could you maybe cite some of this?

                  1. Cite some of what? It’s been all over the place. Might as well be asking me to cite the daily weather report.

                    1. And you left off quite a few authors as well.

                      You want to be blind to it. I'll oblige you. No sense wasting my time.

                    1. So. Cher and the President of Mexico are now "the media?"

                      An opinion column by someone who is not a regular columnist that draws distinctions in response to those comments?

                  2. 35% man. 35%.

                    The media generates less trust among the public than Congress and Trump. Deny it until the cows come home and it won’t change.

                    1. I don't deny that people mistrust the media.

                      I question whether that is entirely the media's fault. People believe what they want to believe. When someone tells them something else they can either change their minds or distrust that someone.

                      Guess which is easier.

                    2. I question whether that is entirely the media’s fault. People believe what they want to believe. When someone tells them something else they can either change their minds or distrust that someone.

                      Guess which is easier.

                      And as evidence, look at how quickly and viciously Trumpkins have turned on uber Trumpkin Tucker Carlson because he pointed out that Sidney Powell is all hat and no cattle.

          3. It's a sign of narrow-mindedness and perhaps low intelligence to believe that your views are objectively correct and therefore media that echoes and reinforce those views are adhering to a standard of objectively.

            How many Democrats believe 9/11 was inside job (specifically, that Pres. Bush knew about the attacks in advance) ? Between 23-50+% based on different polls in 2006 and 2007 and depending on how you word the question (50+% are "unsure" while 23% think it "very likely"). 37% of Democrats believe Bush stole the 2004 election via vote fraud in Ohio, mainly, and incredibly ironically considering your comment, because they believed the Diebold voting machines were rigged to flip votes to Bush -- the same voting machines which after several acquisitions are now own by Dominion Voting Systems.

            The reasons Republicans don't trust the NYT or CNN or MSNBC or NBC is because they are partisans.

          4. I'll have to disagree.

            Most of the sources, left or right, now use "loaded" or "slanted" language that clearly biases the facts that they report. Even if there is an effort to disclose all material facts - an impossibility because of the panoply of them that might bear upon a given issue - the language often obscures them.

            As just one example that springs to mind there was a segment on 60 Minutes a year-or-more ago about "High Velocity" firearm cartridges where they compared the effects on various target mediums from a .223 rifle bullet from an AR-15 and a 9mm handgun bullet. Well ... Duh ... it was a *rifle* bullet, a projectile which _always_ has a higher muzzle velocity since it is discharged from a longer barrel. Most .22 rimfire projectiles from a varmint rifle have a higher muzzle velocity than a handgun projectile.

            It would have been more accurate to use the term "higher velocity" than "high velocity" to describe the difference - but this wouldn't have comported w/ the narrative about the evil AR-15. The use of the slanted adjective invariably affected, I surmise, the perception of many viewers.

            Many reporters then should confine their commentary to the Op-Ed pages than to the "news" pages.

        2. I trust Reason magazine and the Lew Rockwell site. What other media do I need? It doesn't matter whether other media is untrustworthy.

      2. I would say the primary problem the right have with the media is the way they cover the important stories. With a pillow, until they're dead. "Democracy dies in darkness!" should be a warning, not a mission statement.

        Now, the media have always been biased; This country's newspapers got their start originally as political flyers published by the parties, which then diversified into news coverage. And biased outlets are biased in which stories they cover, and from what perspective.

        What's changed is that there used to be a wide diversity of bias, a rough balance of bias. If the Detroit Free Press, (A left-wing publication.) refused to cover a story damaging to Democrats, or omitted key details, you could always count on the Detroit News, (A right-wing publication.) to fill the void. And visa versa.

        They both knew this, and it moderated their bias, while providing you with a way around it.

        Today's media environment is nothing like that. It's becoming an ideological monoculture, almost all media outlets are operating with a left-wing bias. While the country is still evenly divided between left and right. We no longer have a media that's representative of the country, half the ideological spectrum has been exiled to the wastelands.

        There are a lot of reasons for that. J schools and the left's dominance of academia. The internet undermining the media's model, so the ecosystem is too starved to maintain diversity. But, whatever the reason, it's still the case.

        You can't expect the right to trust an openly left-wing media that's not even restrained by the risk of exposure by competing right-wing media.

        1. Indeed. It's a problem, and it goes beyond simple political reporting, into reporting on all other matters as well.

          The question is, how do we resolve this issue, and fix it in the future?

          I think one way to alleviate the issues would be to put the major news centers smaller cities. Think Columbus, OH for the headquarters of NBC news. Lincoln, Nebraska for the headquarters of ABC news. And Mobile, Alabama for the headquarters of CBS news.

          What this would do is help break up the "liberal bubble" that centers around NYC and Washington DC, and makes it so the newspeople really have no exposure to viewpoints that aren't their own uber-liberal ones. It's not perfect, for a number of reasons, but I believe it would help greatly.

        2. There are a lot of reasons for that.

          And one of them is the dishonesty of the right.

          Look, if you want media to echo what Limbaugh rants about, just say so. But don't pretend his rants have a solid factual basis.

          1. It is not that Rush is 100% right. It is that he turns out to be right a out more than 0% of things. And on each of those things, the mainstream media was wrong.

            Hillary Clinton factually broke a law. She factually disobeyed court orders. Her investigation was conducted by FBI agents who had stated a clear disdain for her political opponent. These things I never once heard from the mainstream press. I read this Mueller Report... and it clearly stated things that denied the coverage it was given by the MSNBCs of the world. Look at how the Convington story was covered. These are only some of the more recent problems.

            It isn't an either-or issue as to who is right 100% of the time. But out of human nature are you going to listen to the side that errs on supporting you, or the side that errs on demonizing you?

            If the mainstream wants to be taken serious they need to be honest about things. I have found that upon consuming the primary source events (hearings, speeches, official reports, etc) and then try to watch CNN or some such I have to wonder what they read or watched because it had no semblance to what I just observed. Take for example the testimony re: impeachment. EVERY single witness was asked explicitly and point blank if they had any evidence of Trump's wrong doing. To a T each one said no. The reports on the news? Coverage of these witnesses speeches and opening statements containing assumptions and personal filling-in-of-the-gaps. A lot of "Well I felt..." or "I assumed..."

            And until you can come to terms with that reality... that that is how the main press covered the story (and failing to report explicit statements of no evidence existing or being observed but only assumptions of bad faith)... then you will never understand the problem.

            1. No, Hillary didn't factually break the law. The timeline of the classification is not at all clear; this is not some easy area of the law. Anyone convicting her is cherry picking experts to form a narrative they like.

              You don't trust the media because it doesn't tell you the stories you want to hear.

              Has ever been thus.

              1. Several owning agencies (the agency who was the "owner" of classified material) stated she recieved and/or sent material that was classified at the time of sending/receipt. Storage of these emails on a personal server is a crime. This is reported to have occurred with over 100 emails.

                There is no honest dispute that these things happened. The question the FBI concerned itself with was "Yeah... but is she really bad? Do we really WANT to do this? She's the SoS afterall... that's no biggie... she knows what she's doing... right?"

              2. And let's say you are right... just for poops and giggles....

                What do you have to say about all of the other things listed? Even of she didn't factually break a law (she did)... does that "truth" some how reach out into the ether and change reality to comport with liberal fantasy land?

            2. Take for example the testimony re: impeachment. EVERY single witness was asked explicitly and point blank if they had any evidence of Trump’s wrong doing.

              What did the witnesses at the Senate trial say?

            3. Take for example the testimony re: impeachment. EVERY single witness was asked explicitly and point blank if they had any evidence of Trump’s wrong doing. To a T each one said no.

              Um, no, that's not what they said. You heard what you wanted to hear. (I mean, it would be pretty hard to make that argument, given that a transcript of the call explicitly reflecting some of that wrongdoing was released.)

    2. HA HA! No.

      You misunderstand the nature of the problem. The GOP has, over the last two-three decades, increasingly made the "elite" and the "media" the enemy in a way that it never has before. Which is interesting, because the elite and media have important roles in a functioning society; for example, you will have the "elite" (such as law professors at the VC) quoting the "media" (such as the NY Times) because, well, that's how things work. Smart people commenting about facts- after all, keyboard commandos on Facebook aren't reporting about what's happening on the ground in Ethiopia.

      The reason the right/GOP did this was simple; resentment and populism are popular AND profitable! It's a great way of getting votes and money from the disaffected. "Don't believe the MSM, send money to this candidate!" It's been a constant war against gatekeeping - heck, I can remember thinking about this back with the whole right-wing love of that "Army of Davids" crud. And that was 15 years ago!

      But here's the problem. Having filters ... having gatekeepers ... there's some benefit to that. We might say, "Oh, that's an appeal to authority, that's a logical fallacy" on the internet ... but we use and need these heuristics in real life. If we have a medical problem, we go to a doctor. If we have a legal problem, we expect a lawyer to know something about it. We take our cars to mechanics, not to bakers.

      And that's the problem the GOP has. They don't value the factual output of the media; to them, the output of the NY Times, or the BBC, or Fox News, or OANN is only interesting insofar as it confirms what they want to be true. Just look at Tucker Carlson; for having the temerity to point out that a subset of Trump's fraud conspiracy claims were ... evidence-challenged, he was pilloried. That's kind of insane. Funny, disturbing, and insane.

      And the lack of gatekeepers means that you can have QAnon GOP candidates running, and no one in the GOP hierarchy dare oppose them. Because there is no trust, no elite opinion, no anything, The systemic war has meat that anyone with a bullhorn and a concomitant lack of shame (ahem) could take over the party.

      It's almost funny, because I remember, some time ago, threads about campus groups being able to pick their own leaders. And there were conservatives (always conservatives) who kept saying, "But what happens if someone just comes in and takes over the party? And that person isn't a real Christian (because this was about Christian groups)? What then???????"

      Heh. You tell me.

      1. So, I found this chart pretty informative. A sizable percentage of Republicans trusted the media, with as recently as 1998 52% of the GOP trusting the media. (It's also informative that only 59% of Democrats trusted the media in 1998). That has dropped down over time, but really bottomed out in 2016. Interestingly, at the same time (2017), Democrats trust in the media jumped by 20 points to ~70%.

        So, in my personal opinion, it's a problem if the media only has the trust of people of one political party. It leads to a divided country. To unify the country it really needs some level of trust from both parties.

        1. "So, I found this chart pretty informative. A sizable percentage of Republicans trusted the media, with as recently as 1998 52% of the GOP trusting the media. (It’s also informative that only 59% of Democrats trusted the media in 1998)."

          Arghh! Look at your framing! You just stated that, wow, a high of 52% of GOP trusted the media .... but a low .,... ONLY 59% of Democrats trusted the media. Just think of how your brain processed those facts.

          And what date did you choose? 1998 was the impeachment of Bill Clinton. 🙂

          As I said, this has been two to three decades in the making. But if you label something as the enemy, is it a wonder that you start to lose some trust?

          1. The framing there is important, because the media was approximately trusted by equal numbers on both sides of the political fence. And that's what's important, the equality. That during the Clinton impeachment, both sides trusted the media approximately the same amount. (And to a lesser amount before and after) That's critical, that trust in the media, by both sides.

            But the media lost that trust among the GOP. They catastrophically lost that trust, it's all the way down at 10%. And that, in my opinion is not good.

            Now, you've made a lot of mentions about the media being criticized by the GOP, so if the media trends stories away from them in response, that's what the GOP gets for criticizing the media.

            But, let's draw the football game analogy here. There are two sides, red and blue, and the media are the refs. Pretend for a second the refs make a bad call against team red. Team red criticizes them for it. But, rather than try to to be neutral, or do better, the refs take it personally, and trend more calls to the blue side. Team red gets more and more upset that the refs are being unfair, and in response to the criticism, the refs punish team red by making more and more unfair calls for team blue. What happens?

            1. "What happens?"

              The liberal-libertarian mainstream continues to win the culture war and shape our national progress, while the conservatives whimper, mutter, and sputter about it until replacement.

            2. "But, let’s draw the football game analogy here. There are two sides, red and blue, and the media are the refs. Pretend for a second the refs make a bad call against team red. Team red criticizes them for it. But, rather than try to to be neutral, or do better, the refs take it personally, and trend more calls to the blue side. Team red gets more and more upset that the refs are being unfair, and in response to the criticism, the refs punish team red by making more and more unfair calls for team blue. What happens?"

              Nope. Journalists are not referees.

              But let us use your analogy. Because this is what is happening.

              Partisans increasingly root for teams, not for principles; if you doubt that, just look at how the GOP's positions have "evolved" under Trump.

              Just like rabid fans of sports teams, they don't look at what is objectively happening in a game. Instead:
              1. They will deny reality. "That wasn't pass interference."
              2. They will engage in whataboutism. "Well, if they actually called all the holding calls on the other team, then maybe things would even out."
              3. They blame the referees.

              So ... sure. The only difference is that the modern GOP believes that the best solution is for their team to have referees that will only call penalties on the other team (OANN).

              Enjoy your analogy.

              1. If you don't believe journalists should be non-biased, non-partisan, and fair like referees, then that's fine, it's an opinion you have

                But if you believe one side should "believe" the journalists even when they act in a biased, partisan, unfair manner, then that's not rational.

                1. That is an impressive failure of reading comprehension!

                  You didn’t read my response, did you? ????

                  1. Perhaps it WAS pass interference. Assume for a second that it was... how should the red team take that? Once? Ok the ref missed it. Twice? C'mon. 4 times? Calling it the other way when the roles are switched but circumstances are otherwise similar?

                    And things WOULD be different of holding was called on the other team when they do hold. Refs are not infallible angels and neither are people who adopt the mantel of journalist. To simply say "Journalists are honest... I read it in the paper!" is naive.

                    Is 50% of the country saying there is a problem proof of a problem? No... but it certainly makes it rather likely. To deny that would imply a dishonest faith that everything is OK so as to maintain power.

                    1. You think it is "rather likely" that the birthers are right . . . or anything other than worthless, irrelevant kooks?

                      How about those who believe who believe evolution is a satanic hoax birthed in hell?

                      Those who believe the election was stolen from Pres. Trump by massive, systemic fraud (the Giuliani-Powell theory)?

                      Those who believe former Pres. Obama is a Muslim communist?

                      QAnon subscribers?

                      Those who believe millions of unlawful votes were recorded in the 2016 election?

                      Check the number of Americans who believe that nonsense. That's roughly the number of Americans whose preferences and opinions responsible publications and people should dismiss entirely.

        2. It's the media as boxing champs punching for your side. Assuming the reporting is proper news, walled off, and that's a big stretch, the evenings when people watch are endless opinion shows, not news shows.

          Trump gave a live evening speech after masks became a thing, and I watched it on CNN. When it was over, they cut back to the studio. In less than a minute, they went to a second person, who instantaneously reported, literally the first words out of their mouth, "Donald Trump didn't wear a mask because he doesn't want to look silly."

          JFC, CNN. You wonder why people view you as biased now?

          1. But Trump has said as much.

        3. Why would unifying the country be good? Why not dissolve it like the Soviet and British empires?

          1. Then China wins. Do you really want the high seas no longer defended as open trade routes? Dictatorships, always threatening to resurge in nominal democracies with high corruption, doing so more easily because they can pivot right to China (Phillipines) or Russia (Turkey)?

            Stop viewing the world as communist problems per se, and rather as loss of freedom problems. Those at the top desire a cushy kleptocracy, the one freaking constant through all human misery.

            Yay fortress Britain, and the split United States! Turn inward!

          2. Mostly because I believe in America as a force for right, goodness, liberty, and democracy.

      2. I don't mean to pick on you in particular but to point out a widespread misconception about the logical fallacy called "appeal to authority."

        Classical writers did not consider it fallacious to invoke the opinion or support of a person having expertise in the field. That was a valid argument though one that was subject to countering; e.g., by invocation of an expert who disagreed or other evidence. The classical "appeal to authority" fallacy was invoking a person having general political authority.

        For example, if we are trying to determine whether a painting is beautiful, the opinions of artists and art critics are given particular weight but those of politicians and celebrities are not.

        So classically:

        --"Faucius, the noted physician, says wearing masks is effective to prevent the spread of the plague" is not fallacious and is a valid argument. The opponent should then present countering evidence, such as "But it has been observed among the Danes that the masks have no such effect" or "Faucius has expertise in venereal disease, which this plague is not."

        --"The popular demagogue Bidenus says wearing masks is effective to prevent the spread of the plague" is fallacious, as are "The tyrant Trumpicus denies that masks have any such effect" and "Many gladiators and stage actors have expressed the view that masks should be worn." They do not have any particular expertise in the topic. These statements are ignored in weighing evidence.

        At some point, this distinction began to disappear, and some treated any invocation of relevant expertise as fallacious.

    3. To begin regaining the public's trust, the media simply needs to stop reporting stories that are full of opinion. I'm a journalist. I was taught 40 years ago that adjectives rarely belong in a news story unless they're part of a quote. Even if you're reporting on a car accident, you let a witness tell you it was a "horrible" crash and then you quote that witness.

      Now we've gotten into this interpretive reporting model where the journalist somehow became the expert. I'm sorry, but going to school and getting a journalism or communications degree doesn't make you an expert on anything but that - not law, or politics, or medicine. But, all over the media we have journalists telling us how it is in every field of inquiry, writing and broadcasting stories full of their own judgments and opinions. What this does is bring professional media down to the level of social media - precisely at a time when we really need the professional media to be a reality check. Moreover, it's just lazy. Why do the hard work of researching a story when you can just write whatever you think?

      1. And the way to win the lottery is the big story, hence the absurd development where someone gets their 15 minutes, and a legion of [pathetic journalists] descend on their social media to see if they said something slightly off color 10 years ago. Maybe they'll get a talking head slot on a segment that evening!


      2. "I’m sorry, but going to school and getting a journalism or communications degree doesn’t make you an expert on anything but that – not law, or politics, or medicine. "

        This. Whenever I hear a news report about a subject of personal familiarity I instantly notice the 27 things said which are incorrect or misinterpreted. And yet assume that the same reporter is completely accurate in their next segment.

        Reporters adding opinions to an ostensible "news report" seems a red flag to me as well.

        1. Thank you. I like the example of the report on something with which you're personally familiar. Often they get the details wrong because when you ask a question of someone who really does know what they're talking about, there are often crucial qualifications and conditions. These are often purposely ignored to make story more compelling.

    4. Idk, 99% of Democrats don’t trust AM political talk radio. What can Limbaugh and Hannity do to bridge this gap and regain trust???

      1. NYT and WaPo and CBS News and NBC News and ABC News all say they are objective news providers.

        I am glad you agree that they are just the same as Limbaugh and Hannity.

        1. Disaffected, whining, backwater, no-count, grievance-consumed right-wingers are among my favorite culture war casualties.

        2. Yeah, and Fox News claims to be "fair and balanced". So what? Everyone knows that news outlets have ideological priors that (at the very least) seep into their coverage and editorial decisions. I doubt it's even possible for it to be otherwise. So why do conservatives act like they are uniquely victimized by this?

          1. "So why do conservatives act like they are uniquely victimized by this?"

            Treatment of liberals versus conservatives is like the difference between a kiddie wading pool and the Pacific Ocean.

            Bad news about liberals gets one or two posts on the web site and 3 minutes at 3 am, conservatives get flood the zone coverage.

            1. That just depends on what news outlets you're following. There's a massive media ecosystem where the exact opposite of this is true. Plus, even the legacy media is generally well to the right of center on most economic and foreign policy issues (though granted they are generally culturally liberal).

              Regardless, you guys are always going on about how wonderful and efficient markets are (at least when its someone else's ox being gored). It seems to me that the mainstream media is offering as much conservatism as the market will bear.

        3. There's the stuff that admits it's biased, the propaganda that lies to you even about it's biases, and the stuff that tries it's best.

          Many on here have proudly discarded everything but the propaganda. And then blame everything else for not agreeing with the propaganda.

          And this is asymmetrical across parties - the left does it, but not nearly as much as the right does.

    5. I dunno, what would the "media" have to do, to regain your trust?

      The problem with this common right-wing canard is that it is simply out of touch with reality. What is this "media" you're talking about? Is it talk radio? Is it the dominant FoxNews cable news networks? Is it the network of "local news" content providers that are syndicated across the country in local newspapers and new broadcasts, reflecting top-down editorial agendas in outlets with little independent journalism of their own? Is it Facebook, where a lot of people get their news, as reflected through Facebook's own conservative-favoring algorithm?

      The reality is that the "media" types like you continue to complain about is really just a shrinking sector of the media sphere. It's always the same handful of organizations that still have some kind of independent journalism - the NYTimes, the WaPo, the "big 3" networks, and CNN. It's just an outdated, and out-of-touch, way of thinking about the "problem," such as it is.

      Setting that aside, what does it mean for these organizations to earn the "trust" of members of the GOP? What would they have to do differently, to earn that "trust"? If your only real response is to say, "Their coverage should feature perspectives like mine more frequently," then you're part of the problem.

      What should a news organization do? It should engage in independent journalism. It shouldn't simply parrot government releases as though they are authoritative. They should invest resources in investigating what our governments and private companies are doing, and they should develop contacts to support that kind of investigative journalism. And they should report on what they find, fairly and honestly.

      Does FoxNews do this? Talk radio? NYTimes? WaPo? I think we can debate whether WaPo or the NYTimes is looking into stories where they don't want to know the answer, or presenting us with everything they find. But they're doing the work. Is FoxNews? I don't think so.

      It's amazing to me, and revealing, that some people here are citing Reason as a news site they trust. Reason doesn't do any independent journalism, as near as I can tell. They're a link aggregator, and slop opinion by barely-trained college newspaper alumni to provide content. No one seems to understand what "the media" ought to be doing, any more.

      But here's another way to put it - when's the last time you paid for news? I'll wager that you might, at best, subscribe to the WSJ. Though even that seems unlikely. I subscribe to the following: the NYTimes; the WaPo; the Financial Times; the Economist; and the New Yorker. If you want to understand why some media outlets have a slant you don't like or trust, maybe you should ask yourself why people who share your views don't seem to be very interested in paying for their journalism.

    6. Back when the news media (newspapers, TV news, radio news) was 98% male, was it more likely to run stories of interest to males as opposed to females? Were the perspectives presented more likely to represent worldviews more prevalent among men than woman? In other words, did it have a "male" bias? I don't know any liberal (myself included) who would answer anything but "OF COURSE" to these questions.
      Well, according to every survey I've ever seen, the national mainstream media (which is shrinking in size, and shrinking more in relevance -- but still is relevant) is made up overwhelmingly of liberals. And does it overall have a liberal bias? OF COURSE! I have no idea how fellow liberals don't see this. I don't know the solution, nor if there need be one, given the changing nature of information gathering by citizens. But please don't deny reality. Let's leave that to climate change deniers and anti-vaxxers.

  3. Does the Republican Party still exist, or is it now simply a one-man-show with Trump calling all the shots?

    It's notable that they didn't adopt a platform this election cycle, basically just saying “we stand for whatever Donald Trump wants.”

    Will they get beyond Trumpism and return to their previous principles (against deficit spending, strong foreign policy, "family values", free trade, etc.) or has that ship already sailed?

    1. I'd say it has long sailed. The current GOP will be adrift and directionless without Trump to kick them around. This is not a good thing because political organizations without a leadership structure are more likely to become radical and populist in search of a base. This is yet another legacy of the awful shipwreck that is Donald Trump. (My inspiration fails me this morning or I'd have made better nautical references. Time for more coffee.)

    2. "It’s notable that they didn’t adopt a platform this election cycle, basically just saying “we stand for whatever Donald Trump wants.”"

      You managed to get that exactly backwards. Trump wanted them to adopt an updated platform. The GOP establishment refused to, because he would have had input into what was in it. Instead they stuck with their 2016 platform, the last platform he'd had no input into.

      1. Wow.

        I'm not even mad at your spinning, Brett. That's impressive!

        1. Is he wrong? (Non-snarky question, I wouldn't ask except you seem to remember a different version of events...)

          1. Is he wrong?

            He's Brett Bellmore. Of course he's wrong. He lives in a fantasy world where the GOP didn't do every single thing Trump wanted for the past 4½ years.

            1. I live in a fantasy world where the GOP Congress refused to fund his wall?

              I live in a fantasy world where the GOP Congress wouldn't fund his increase in ICE's budget?

              I live in a fantasy world where, his first year in office, Trump proposed budget cuts, and got back from Congress budget increases instead, passed by a bipartisan, veto proof majority?

              I could go on and on in this vein. Trump got some stuff where what he wanted was what the GOP establishment wanted, too. Otherwise they stiffed him.

              1. Um, I don't know if you paid attention to the 2016 election, but Mexico, not the GOP Congress, was supposed to fund his wall.

    3. No major party is against deficit spending (democrats went down the rabbit hole first, republicans followed), strong foreign policy means sabre rattling and use of force doctrines against weak enemies, we live in a ghetto culture so there are no family values, there never was free trade yes the ship sailed long ago.

      I mean maybe if you just started paying attention to politics and culture in the last four years I would understand, but this goes back five decades at least.

      1. "No major party is against deficit spending ..."

        Certainly true if you pay attention to what the *do* as opposed to what they *say*. But there's certainly been no shortage of anti-deficit-spending verbiage from the GOP over the years; expect it to return with a vengeance come January. Of course, as you point out, this behavior is not new with Trump.

        1. Once deficit spending outside of emergencies like major wars was on the table, balancing the budget was off the table. Anybody who'd actually do it would be outbid by somebody who was willing to spend taxes AND borrowed money to buy votes.

          Democrats will sometimes claim that Clinton managed to balance the budget one year. But that was only a "primary" surplus: We spent less than revenues if you didn't count interest on the debt. Which is why talking about "primary" surpluses is considered accounting malpractice outside the government.

          And he managed it by having a stock market bubble at the same time he and Congress were at each other's throats, so it took a year or so to agree on how to spend the windfall.

          No, balancing the budget is now impossible for fundamental political reasons, at least until our currency crashes, and we balance it because nobody will lend us money.

    4. "previous principles (against deficit spending, strong foreign policy, “family values”, free trade, etc.)"

      Trump and the GOP has been terrible on spending but its good politics.

      Trump is no good personally on "values" but he has been solid on abortion and gun rights.

      Trump has stood up to China and Iran and brokered a quasi-Israeli/Sunni alliance. Plenty strong unless you mean start wars*, he hasn't done that. He has killed some key terrorists.

      He negotiated a new free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. His tariffs are sticks to get free trade on US terms.

      Trump tweets ad talks like a radical but governs like a typical GOPer, but one who doesn't hate the GOP base.

      *Those wars needed starting but its been 19 and 16 years, enough.

      1. He negotiated a new free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.

        Which is pretty much the old free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.

        His tariffs are sticks to get free trade on US terms..

        How's that working out? Meanwhile the tariffs on imports from China are damaging American businesses who use those imports, and damaging American consumers who are paying higher prices than they should be, and damaging American farmers who have seen retaliatory tariffs on our agricultural exports. (Of course the farmers get a payout to make up for it - let's not call it a handout - because they are in red states.)

        1. "How’s that working out?"

          Its not a 1 year effort, sadly we will likely never know, because Biden is in China's pocket.

          "tariffs on imports from China are damaging American businesses who use those imports"

          The next GOP president is going to ban trade with China on national security grounds. They should find alternate sources.

          Buying things from China is like buying from Nazi Germany in 1937.

          1. Prime Trump cannot fail, he can only be failed.

            No, the tariffs won't work, as was explained from the outset by economist after economist. And it's not because we didn't wait long enough.

            This anti-China nationalism on the right will fall as it's anti-Muslim bigotry fell. The puppets will turn to a new target we have always been at war with.

            1. "anti-China nationalism on the right will fall"

              People opposed sanctions on the Soviet Union too. Enemies of the US always get supported, weird.

              1. China is not an enemy, you warmongering yutz.

                It's a competitor.

                I know you want to bomb everything and execute every criminal, but some of us understand how diplomacy works.

                1. Competitors can be enemies, too. China is both.

                  This whole "No enemy to the left" thing gets tiresome after a while.

                  1. What does enemy mean to you?

                    And shut up with your redbaiting dickery. Just because I don't like your bellicose terminology doesn't mean I'm pro-China or a communist.

                    1. In this case a geopolitical foe whose long term plans are extremely hostile to our interests. They don't want to be "a" superpower. They want to be "the" superpower.

                      And if you can't recognize that China is an enemy to the US, not just a competitor, you're functionally pro-China. And complaining about "redbaiting dickery" puts you into at least useful idiot territory.

                    2. I've spent some time working for DoD. I don't toss enemy around lightly - it has a meaning.

                      I'm not pro China because I don't think a bellicose footing would be productive.

                      Useful idiot? Jesus, Brett, that was bad nonsense in 1950 much less today.

                    3. "I’ve spent some time working for DoD."

                      Unverifiable appeal to authority.

                    4. "I’ve spent some time working for DoD."

                      Hey, so have I!

                      I think 'competitor and (possible) enemy' seems like a pretty accurate worldview. China today reminds me of Germany in the late 1800's/early 1900's - a rising power whose people and leaders feel it was left out and slighted, have a bit of a chip on their shoulder, and are willing to throw their weight around to get what they want. And China has a lot of industrial weight to throw around.

                      Europe has the economic power, but not the attitude. Various smaller countries have the attitude but not the power. China has both, and that's worth watching.

                2. Enemy and competitor are synonyms, you gaslighting know it all.

                  a person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.
                  foe · adversary · opponent · rival · nemesis · antagonist · combatant · challenger · competitor · opposer · hostile party · the opposition · the competition · the other side · the opposing side · corrival · vier"

                  Gaslito strikes again.

          2. Buying things from China is like buying from Nazi Germany in 1937.

            If you want to argue that we shouldn't buy from China on moral grounds, go ahead. Understand that that policy would be hugely costly to the US economy, and the world, in fact, but it may well be that the principles involved are worth upholding regardless of the depression that would ensue.

            But don't argue that the tariffs are an economically sensible policy.

            1. Tariffs make sense in certain contexts, including preserving critical national industries, especially against unfair economic practices.

              Let's give you an example. Let's take a county, call it "China". Let's say that country massively subsidizes an it the steel industry. Then the Chinese steel industry uses their subsidies to price their product lower than every other steel industry worldwide. That drives the other countries out of business.

              Then China remains the only country with steel production. And it can increase prices on steel, with their monopoly. Or withhold the steel due to "national security concerns" in case of conflict. Remember, steel production can't be started up instantly...there's substantial capital investment needed.

              On the other hand, if a country, call it the U.S. puts Tariffs on Chinese steel to account for the subsidies...then the US steel producers don't go out of business. And the monopoly doesn't occur.

  4. Perhaps the Volokh Conspiracy could invite for guest blogging Marc Elias (or Mark Aronchick, Adam Sparks, or other lawyers grappling with the Republicans' election challenges) or Gretchen Whitmer (or Jocelyn Benson, Brad Raffensperger, or other elected officials curb-stomping the Republicans in court) to discuss 'Are you tired of winning yet?'

    1. Enjoy your shit sundae non lawyer.

      1. Open wider, clinger.

  5. Hows everyone handling renewed shutdowns? Schools have closed again and my part time job sent everyone to work from home, so my life has become a lot more stressful. If school is just glorified daycare, I wish the daycare would open.

    Its also my last year I would ever have to set foot in a university (hopefully) and finishing up online is kinda disappointing. I'll probably end up, once I finish, leaving the country for a bit virus and family permitting.

    Aside from that, I've been reading a lot more. The news has just become impossible to watch, it seems everyone has lost their damn minds.

    1. (K-12) Schools are actually opening back up here in SC. They evaluated the facts about children's extremely low risk from Covid, and something like a sixth of the students flunking under remote learning, and concluded that they had to reopen, they couldn't justify going on.

      I think they also evaluated the rising sentiment in favor of just zeroing out the public school budget and issuing vouchers instead; The private schools never did close, and had no problems.

      Thank goodness. I've been on a swing shift to be home on the days my son isn't attending school in person, and it's really wearing. I can only imagine what a nightmare it's been for two income families where neither of them have flexible hours.

    2. Contrast to Brett: here in Pittsburgh, public schools never reopened for in-person instruction. They closed in March and, after about a month, transitioned to a system of teachers teaching their normal students synchronously via online conferencing systems, with both teachers and students normally "working from home." We are still on that system.

      There was extensive discussion over the summer about reopening and a plan was in place to reopen in early October. That didn't happen, which I think was mostly the work of a vocal anti-opening minority of teachers and parents who convinced the school board to wait a month. The next target date was November 9, but the same coalition formed and could now point to an upsurge in cases. This resulted in the following "compromise" that was expected to last until the end of the calendar year:
      --Teachers will conduct their classes from the school buildings, not their own homes.
      --In-person instruction to be offered only to particularly vulnerable student populations: special needs, English as a Second Language, and a few others.

      This experiment lasted exactly one school week because of that upsurge in community transmission, which is now outpacing March-April.

      My 5th grader said that one week was the worst of the year. (My 9th grader has other concerns.) Because there was no special accommodation for teachers' own children, many teachers who are also parents had to take a leave of absence. He lost an excellent teacher. The schools had worse internet connectivity than teachers' homes did. And he reported that there were echoes in the empty classrooms that made the teachers hard to hear.

      My wife works in higher ed. She had been dubious of any kind of return to normalcy on her campus this academic year, vaccine or no vaccine. The students moved onto campus and mostly learned online, with some in-person meeting. As an administrator (though with an academic Ph.D., an adjunct appointment, and some teaching responsibilities), she is generally banned from campus through January at least. I can also do much of my work from home.

      Today the cable has somehow been knocked out so, until Verizon fixes it, they're all working via hotspots and burning up our cell data.

    3. We pulled our daughter of public school (5th grade). The "hybrid" system they were using of 2 days in school, 3 days out, was absolutely awful. Wednesday was originally supposed to be a teaching day (synchronous) and when school started they changed their minds and just gave the entire day to teachers for "prep". Teachers are teaching about 30-40% of their normal content. She was getting music just twice a month. Teachers didn't give a crap about actually mastering skills or what students are learning, they just accepted everything as it was turned in with no feedback, no help. They never followed up, ever, if there were missing assignments. And those kids with lots of missing assignments and failing tests? They get A-equivalents anyway.

  6. We've been hearing talk this week about the possibility of President Biden pardoning Trump (or not) for some of the crimes he's suspected of having committed.

    IMHO, Biden should dangle the idea in front of the GOP, but demand a quid pro quo: get Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito to retire, and approve Biden's two nominees to replace them, and then, after the nominees have been sworn in, issue pardons.

    Does anyone know if Pete Buttigieg is interested in being a SCOTUS justice?

    1. BIden is not going to pardon Trump. That's absurd.

      Most likely, Biden will keep his mouth shut as various prosecutors investigate and most probably indict the former president and members of his family on a variety of charges, mostly bank fraud and tax evasion.

      And I can't imagine Alito or Thomas agreeing to such a deal. What would be in it for them? Trump is just a useful idiot who's outlived his usefulness as of Jan 20.

    2. That's not an "idea", that's extortion.

      "Do what we politically want, or else we will persecute you for perceived "crimes""

      1. Liberals tend to think there will be no negative ramifications for decisions such as prosecuting Trump for made up crimes. And every time they do something based out of revenge and hubris it bites them in the behind. Chances are already they lose the House in 2022. And I don't imagine an 80/81 year old Biden if he is actually running in 2024 is going to make an overly strong showing.

        But, hey libs, you got Trump! Pat yourself on the back! You got Biden in and no more Trump! You lost the Supreme Court, almost lost the House, and probably won't get the Senate. But, you got Trump. It only took 4 years of fake news, witch hunts, throwing out every single norm that was generally accepted in our governance, but you got the Orange Man Bad. Hope you like what is coming next....

        1. "no negative ramifications for decisions such as prosecuting Trump for made up crimes"

          None have ever heard of Caesar or know why he felt he had to cross the Rubicon.

          1. There were many in Rome that had no idea why Caesar would ever do that, and I suspect the same sentiment exists now in our Rome, DC.

        2. I suspect they think what's coming next is finishing the job of turning the MSM into state run media, and imposing universal internet political censorship.

          You know, Google helped China set up their "social credit" scheme, and has been talking about bringing it here.

      2. Meh. Plea bargains happen all the time.

        What would be unusual would be for someone to cop a plea to keep someone else from going to jail. That's why the idea is a non-starter.

      3. Perhaps Biden could characterize it as doing an unrelated "favor" for him.

    3. Problem is that Biden, as the President, has no power to pardon Trump for state crimes. Of which there potentially are plenty, especially in NY.

      The smart thing for Biden to do, which I think he is already signalling, is (1) tell the US AG not to go after Trump at the federal level and (2) allow the NY AG to go after him. If anyone complains, he can just shrug his shoulders and say, I have no authority over what NY state authorities do.

      Plus, NY State prosecution will likely focus on things that have nothing to do with Trump's actions as president. Tax fraud in running his business (if that is what there is), has nothing to do with being president.

      Better yet, if the NY AG can limit the prosecution to Trump's activities BEFORE he was sworn in, then the effect on the presidency is even more attenuated.

  7. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    No. What crimes first of all? He's already been impeached over the Ukraine thing and acquitted, do thats over with. And even Trump didn't go after Clinton though its pretty clear she has been involved in some stuff, so I doubt Biden, who wants to "restore democratic norms" would do that.

    And why would Alito or Thomas retire? You can't force them to retire. They are no more partisan than Sotomayor is, so unless she's retiring to ... at least Thomas has a consistant philosophy.

    1. I think the Dems are used to thinking everyone has skeletons in the closet just like all their kind do. But they forget all the "normals" don't order "pizza" by email, cheat on their spouse, let their son broker their influence to international businesses, and engage in other similar fraud.

      1. let their son broker their influence to international businesses, and engage in other similar fraud.

        Isn't that exactly what Trump's kids have been doing?

        1. There is a difference between using your position to gain experience and make connection, then just straight up selling influence ("Big Guy") to shady international businesses.

      2. Yes, Trump is well-known for definitely not ordering "pizza" or cheating on his wives.

    2. The most likely thing is tax or other financial problems.

      First, they are non-political. It's not prosecuting someone over something they did in office that can be whataboutted away.

      Plus, It's documented stuff, with paper trails and the like. And civil tax fraud has no statute of limitations and presumably can't be erased by a pardon, since it's not a crime.

      Finally, there may well be a state case in NY that avoids the need for a federal prosecution.

      And if you think taxes are the only thing Trump hasn't lied about you are quite the trusting soul.

      1. "they are non-political. It’s not prosecuting someone over something they did in office that can be whataboutted away. "

        The investigations would never have occurred if he had not been elected. They are totally political, the NY state AG has said so during her campaign.

        “Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.” Beria

        1. The investigations would never have occurred if he had not been elected.

          True, but so what. His election put him in the public eye and people started looking into his financial affairs more closely. That's hardly surprising. The issue is whether there are clear-cut violations of law. If so, do you think he should skate, because he's (soon to be ex-) President?

          They are totally political, the NY state AG has said so during her campaign.

          Depends on what you mean by "political." If an investigation just looks at a bunch of BS, and expands beyond reason, like, say, Ken Starr's investigation, then yeah, it's political.

          But if there are real identifiable particular serious crimes, then it's not.

          1. Investigations I like are non-political, investigations I don't like are political.

            1. Not an argument, Bob.

              I guess declaring everyone as too biased to argue with and going home is one way to avoid taking the L.

              1. "Not an argument, Bob."

                Right, bernard made no argument.

                He wants revenge, so anything done to Trump is ok.

                Its not going to end well, but go for it.

                Just don't cry when something bad happens to someone you support in the future.

            2. Sounds like a confession, Bob.

          2. Right, because nobody had ever heard of Donald Trump before the election. Unless you run for office, nobody looks closely at your financial affairs, and that goes double for billionaires.

            Really, Bernard: 4 years of Trump turned you into an incredible hack.

            1. Yeah, Trump's warded off a bunch of previous lawsuits as well.

              There may be some politics in the discretion of where to investigate, or maybe it came from media reporting which definitely ramped up.
              But that's not the same as a political prosecution.
              The way you can tell is whether there is an actual crime here and whether there is due process.

              1. Well, they started out by leaking Trump's taxes as soon as they had them, that's not a good sign on the "due process" front.

                1. Who is they? And your timeline is completely unsupported.

                  But beyond that, there is no need to speculate about what due process there will until/if it happens. In a court.

                  Your intuition is not a fact to be treated as more evidence of future anti-Trump perfidy as though it has already happened.

  8. The shot heard round the country:

    So, just how enforceable are all these lockdowns and mask ordinances anyway?

    1. The real answer is probably little and politicians no it. There is no social distancing in jails and due to reduced capabilities the courts can't handle a sudden influx of citations or fines.

      Unless our overlords feel like setting up special courts to handle a sudden influx of cases and/or set up prison camps (literal prison camps outside would be the only option unless the process punishment is you get Covid due to conditions inside crowded jails) these things will just not get enforced when push comes to shove.

      1. Especially with police everywhere telling the government, "We're not going to enforce this for you!"

        Most of these lockdowns and mask "orders", not ordinances, are not enforceable, because they were imposed by executive branch fiat, not legislation. Courts have been telling governors that they don't actually have authority to issue orders with enforcement without a statutory basis.

        Some of the governors don't seem to care, like Whitmer. I hear the Michigan legislature is currently discussing impeaching her, she's gotten so drunk on power.

  9. There are lots of posts on the constitutionality of anti-libel preliminary and permanent injunctions on VC, but what about preliminary injunctions generally where a government seeks a preliminary or permanent injunction barring someone from saying something but it might not be illegal or the law might be unconstitutional (in case of preliminary injunction) or not all utterances of a certain topic may be illegal (in case of permanent injunction)? I'd like to learn more about this topic generally and see a post of series of posts on VC.

  10. I would love to see a future VC blog post on this case: State of New Jersey v. Robert Andrews

    Every citizen should be concerned about this case. The People's Republic of NJ now wishes to give unfettered access to all of your smartphone data to law enforcement on demand.

    1. That's the People's Democratic Republic of New Jersey. Get it right, or the serfs will get the wrong idea.

  11. I am not a lawyer but I have been reading up on Wisconsin gun laws because of the indictment of 17 year old Kyle Rittenhouse on murder and illegally carrying a rifle.

    First off, I don't understand why he was extradited to Wisconsin and why Wisconsin gun laws are in play since the shooting was in Illinois.

    Secondly, from my reading of what seems to be the relevant Wisconsin law, 948.60, it seems he was legally carrying a rifle. But I do find the wording of the law very odd which leaves me uncertain. The title of 948.60 is " Possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18" and contains 3 subsections labelled (1), (2), and (3).

    Subsection (2) a. says simply "Any person under 18 years of age who possesses or goes armed with a dangerous weapon is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor." However, subsection (3) seems to be the "but" subsection, and part c. in particular seems to let Rittenhouse off the hook. It says 948.60 only applies if the gun is a short-barreled rifle or shotgun (Rittenhouse's AR-15 is not) or the person is not in compliance with section 29.304 ("Restrictions on hunting and use of firearms by persons under 16 years of age" and thus not applicable to Rittenhouse) and 29.593 ("Requirement for certificate of accomplishment to obtain hunting approval", it seems completely irrelevant).

    It seems like 948.60 (3)c was designed to carve out an exception to allow persons under 18 to go hunting with rifles provided they have some kind of certification. The problem is that there's a bug in the law that seems to let 16 and 17 year olds carry long guns as long as they aren't hunting.

    Does any lawyer out there read the law similarly? Can you effectively claim you were obeying the letter of the law even if you're clearly violating the spirit? The indisputable facts of the case (17 years old, not hunting, carrying a long gun) suggest either the gun charge should be dismissed or else he's certainly guilty of it.

    1. I don’t understand why he was extradited to Wisconsin and why Wisconsin gun laws are in play since the shooting was in Illinois.

      The shooting was in Wisconsin.

      I didn't read the rest of your trollish BS.

    2. For criminal law, you absolutely cannot jail someone for violating the "spirit" of the law while following the text and even the most avowed anti textualist would probably agree to that, and there are a number of doctrines that require deference to the defendant if the wording is unclear. Textualism is often used the other way, to charge someone who violated the text but clearly behaving appropriately under legislative intent, and most textualists would still say you should defer to the defendant.

      Point is it doesn't matter. I'm not certain your reading is correct, but if it is or if there is a likelihood it is, he probably won't be convicted on that specific provision.

      He will probably be convicted for shooting people (if it wasn't self defense.) Which is how the system ought to work.

      1. Anyone who says that wasn't self defense is being at least disingenuous or at most is plain stupid. Just watch the videos.

  12. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund has sued the Trump Campaign and President Trump onbehalf of several Detroit voters and a Detroit organization claiming that the various press conferences, allegations, lawsuits, pressuring election officials and state legislators, and other activities constitute “attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce” people involved in “aiding any person voting or attempting to vote” in violation of section 11(b) of the the Civil Rights of 1965.

    What do you think of the merits of this lawsuit?

    1. Everyones already voted. Who is being coerced? And isn't it the job of politicians to "coerce" people into voting?

      Look, I think the press conferences are ridiculous and stupid. But this lawsuit is equally dumb.

      1. The law suit claims that, among other things, the two Republican Wayne County Board of Elections members were intimidated into temporarily not certifying the Detroit election results (but not white municipalities with similar discrepancies), and members of the Michigan State board of elections are being intimidated into not certifying the state results. They claim these people “aid” voters by giving their votes effect, and hence are protected under the Act. They claim carious other acts were also acts if intimidation of people aiding voters.

        1. According to their public statements, the two Republican Wayne County board of election members were intimidated into temporarily certifying the Detroit election results....

          1. That obviously doesn't count. They were totally intimidated into not certifying the results by the bully, literally Hitler. Those well-intended citizens who threatened harm to their families, and even death threats, were only countering the fascist Trump. Being right means that their death threats don't count, and were in fact patriotic. /s

            Or something.

            1. Trump directly called them. Don't pretend that's not pressure.

              1. Don't pretend that that lawsuit isn't going to collapse when the board members testify the only coercion was to certify.

                1. I'm not a betting man, but you seem sure of something I don't think you should be very sure of.

              2. "Don’t pretend that’s not pressure."

                Ah, moving the goalposts. "Pressure" equals intimidation.

                According to the complaint, Trump called them after their initial refusal to certify, and then being intimidated and threatened into certifying. So, Trump pressured them into not-certifying, from the future?! Wow, if Trump has that kind of power, how is he not the President again?

                Care to revise your position? Did you even read the complaint?

                1. Yeah, we all know the timeline. Nothing I said contradicted it.

                  While the intimidation you're speaking about is unclear and unsupported, a call from the President is neither of those things.

                  1. Trump called them after the fact. Stop trying to pretend that is the same thing as changing their minds after receiving death threats.

                    Your assertion is contradictory to the facts, as given by the timeline that you are supposedly aware of. You can't coerce someone into doing something that they did, and then undid, before you ever supposedly coerced them. What a strange fantasy world you live in. The facts are made up, and only the narrative matters.

  13. Fish in barrel. Please keep it sportsman-like.

  14. I, for one, look forward to the judicial resolution of these multiple and myriad of lawsuits filed by the Trump administration. And I remain totally confident that, once these allegations are held up to judicial scrutiny, that everyone claiming widespread voter fraud will calmly and intelligently consider the rulings and we, as a country, can move on with the orderly transition to the next administration.

    I also want a pony.

    1. It's highly unlikely that, even if some of the lawsuits produce results, that the election results will change.

      However, if all of the lawsuits are just summarily dismissed, that will encourage no confidence in the election results.

      If the past 20 years has taught us anything, it's that the other side is always wrong, and bad, and evil, etc.

      1. "However, if all of the lawsuits are just summarily dismissed, that will encourage no confidence in the election results."

        I'll go out on a limb and state that I don't believe there is any amount of evidence or dismissals or hearings by the judiciary that will encourage confidence in the election results to a certain, very vocal and vehement, segment of the population (both here and in general)
        . I'd love to be proven wrong on that.

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