Thursday Open Thread—Thanksgiving Edition


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  1. Happy Thanksgiving VC conspirators!

    1. Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  2. You ever wonder if the SCOTUS judges or their clerks read the blog…or worse, the comments?

    1. I’m sure that it is read by people associated with SCOTUS – IANAL and I read it every day – but some of the commenters (you know who you are) are just ranting and name-calling. I’d like to see a comment-voting system like uses.

    2. Growing up everything was closed from Saturday evening and Sunday with the exception of gas stations, drug stores, and restaurants. I don’t think it was by law, just custom.

      Then some big box stores moved in and started opening for restricted hours on Sunday. Not a big deal. Most families liked it as it gave them an additional afternoon to run errands. I was generally fine with the practice.

      After the advent of 24/7 shopping though overtook grocery stores then just about every other public accommodation I really started thinking twice about the practice. People who got stuck working overnight shifts or holidays weren’t doing so because of increased shopping demand, but more so because now staffing had to be spread out instead of consolidated to more restricted, high demand times. Some studies the local college did supported this theory too. The number of additional hours of work available hadn’t changed just the spread them around more to every day and hour.

      It is certainly nice to be able to get the grocery shopping out of the way late at night when there aren’t a ton of people, but I wonder how many workers are there only because the store feels like it needs to be open and would rather work more “normal” hours.

      One effect Covid is having around me is that stores were forced to go to more restrictive hours and so far they haven’t gone back even though those restrictions are gone. It is hard to find a place that is open after 9pm and many stores during the week close before then. I wonder how much of that is because there wasn’t a huge demand for shopping in those “off” hours but stores kept up the practice for decades thinking that if they didn’t the competitor down the street would get all the business. Would be funny if that was just a patently false business assumption that was perpetuated for so long.

      1. I don’t know when “growing up” was for you, but since I was “growing up” there have been substantial demographic shifts that probably increased consumer demand for more “open” hours.

        On the one hand, the number of households where all adults work full time (or nearly so) has increased. This is true even of families with young children. When I was a kid, most households had a stay-at-home parent (almost always the mother) who could shop and conduct business during “normal business hours” (or even during “bankers hours”). Now there may be no adult who can shop or conduct business during the day — motivating ever expanding hours.

        As well, the number of single parent families seems to have increased overall. Thus, there’s only one parent who can cram shopping into their schedule rather than two. That reduction in flexibility may have created more consumer demand for additional hours.

        A third factor that comes to mind is that kids are now involved in many more “scheduled activities” (vs. free-ranging: “Be home by 6PM and don’t play with explosives”) which also seem to require much more “real time” parental support. This is another demand on parents’ time that makes it more difficult to shop during the week or during the day.

        During the pandemic, in my area, the reduced hours hasn’t been too impactful — but a lot of people are now working from home and seem to be multi-tasking. When there are lines at the market during the weekday due to “occupancy restrictions”, quite a few people are are carrying on obvious business related calls while waiting — I’ll bet most of those people would not have left the office in the middle of the day to buy groceries! So, there may be less demand for wider hours now and the load may be more evenly distributed (less of a rush between 5PM and 7PM for example).

        Where I live (which is a pretty low crime area so YMMV) the supermarkets that went to 7/24 seemed to have very little additional staffing to accommodate walk-ins during off hours (like at 2AM when I would go in after working 14+ hours because a technical issue was that compelling or because a customer was in crisis – or thought they were). Mostly the supermarket staff was busy stocking shelves, cleaning etc. and if you wanted to check out you rang a bell to get someone’s attention who would then stop stocking and come and help you. I’ve not been shopping at 2AM much in the last ten years so perhaps that’s changed.

        1. There have always been shift workers, single parents, and people working long hours. That hasn’t changed over the years, but I would say has become more visible. Two parent households with both holding full-time jobs has been more or less the norm for the last 40 years. But we like to try and say it is “new.”

          The difference was when the stores would close early on Saturday is that everyone packed into there and the stores had appropriate staffing. Yeah it was sort of a zoo, but not that bad. The line of 30 registers was all open, the deli had staff waiting, and high demand items were stocked in easy to locate islands. It was probably 5-6 hours of controlled chaos but then it was over.

          The staffing is mostly now behind the scenes. Stockers are scheduled overnights instead of mornings. Yeah they might only need 1-2 cashiers that you see (if that with self checkout these days) but there is plenty going on behind the scenes.

          I suspect the advent of the 24/7 store more or less spread out the business over all those hours and reduced the concentration. I don’t think it created more demand or jobs, just changed the window dressing. That is just my observation.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Blue laws: just about everything, including grocery and liquor stores, are closed by ordinance today in Massachusetts. I can see both sides of the argument here. The supposed purpose is to give workers a break, time with family.

    What do you think?

    1. Since you asked, I think the State should stay out of legislating that by ordinance. Meaning, mandating closures on holidays. Those decisions should be left to the business owners and their employees. If they choose to open, let them.

      I have never been a fan of opening stores on Thanksgiving (WalMart, Target, JCP, etc), but I would never mandate it. Many business owners have stopped the practice of opening on Thanksgiving on their own…..because their customers gave them feedback about it. That is how it should be.

      1. My immediate reaction is to agree, but now knowing some people, including family, who survive at the lowest rung of the economy, I can see how it improves their quality of life to have their places of employment closed by law. But then, what of restaurants, bars, and public transportation? It’s a tough topic.

        1. When I had less money, I always worked holidays and weekends, because the extra pay was worth it to me. It gave my family the means for ‘extras’ that we would not have otherwise had. The point is, I made a rational choice, based on my personal circumstance; the state did not decide for me.

          Isn’t that what it really comes down to, ThePublius? The simple proposition that we, as autonomous individuals, are free to make rational choices for our reasons.

          1. Yes, but….

            I am fundamentally a libertarian, I think, but can see how a little socialism can be good. If the business is open, the lower-rung worker has little discretion to work or not, he must attend as his superiors dictate. For many this even includes 2-hour shifts, being sent home if there’s less business than anticipated, and so forth. This is bad for those people. Even Massachusetts is phasing out mandatory premium pay for workers on holidays. If I were a business owner I would strive to provide paid holidays for workers, ‘though I recognize that this isn’t always possible, due to thin margins in many businesses.

            1. I had some friends take part-time jobs a few holiday seasons ago for extra money. They were mostly interested in getting the employee discount, but also didn’t mind the cash. Many stores were hiring around $15/hr so the compensation wasn’t bad either.

              They found that many stores would engage in many questionable scheduling practices. One store would place you on call, with a 2 hour show window, on your off days. If they were mobbed you would get mandatory call in. Didn’t show in time? You were immediately terminated.

              Another would schedule split shifts. You would work for 2-3 hours in the busy morning time then come back for 2-3 hours after the mid-day lull. Not bad if you lived nearby but untenable if you took public transit or had to drive more then a few minutes. Most people scheduled split shifts ended up just sitting in their car for the off hours playing around on their phone.

              I’m generally against government labor regulations, but I understand why people who work these jobs don’t mind the ideas presented by our overlords when these employment practices are used across an entire industry.

      2. You mean there are still people who continue to pretend, despite all evidence, that large corporations and individual minimum wage workers bargain with equal effective power?

    2. Remembering Arlo: And we had never heard of a (fill in the blank) closed on Thanksgiving

    3. I think blue laws were written at a time when both family life and employment looked a whole lot different than they do now. The rationale for them that existed at the time of the Pilgrims has long since disappeared.

      I also question why the state should impose itself in which should be the decision of a business owner.

    4. I swear I hate blue laws so much. It just makes shopping much more difficult. In NJ Bergen County they ban Sunday shopping.

      The rational is always, it is nice to have peace and quiet on a Sunday, but its just …. I dont find it actually does bring that. All thats happening is that everyone’s schedules become more annoying.

      I think the original rational was that so people could go to church on a Sunday, which is kinda hilarious because as a whole, Bergen County has become a lot less Christian and a lot more Jewish. Meaning that Jews, who can’t shop on Saturday due to the Sabbath, cannot shop on Sunday either. I know a ton of people who are extremely pissed off about that situation.

      1. Move to South Jersey….That is what this Bergen County refugee did.

        Now I don’t have to cross a county line to get what I want.

  4. You are selected along with 4 other people as Hegemon of a portion of the world. Your goal is simple. Stay in power and dispose of the other Hegemons to rule as Emperor of the World or whatever. Once you win you can call yourself whatever you want.

    Each Hegemon gets the following.

    The Hegemon of Asia gets China and India and all other ‘asian’ countries in Eurasia and Oceania. Included are non Afro Middle Eastern countries with overall closer ethnic and historical ties to India and China ie Pakistan.

    The Hegemon of Europe gets all of Europe including the UK and Russia, Euro Eastern Bloc, and the non Afro Middle Eastern Countries with closer ethnic/historical ties to Europe ie Persia and Turkey.

    The Hegemon of North America gets the entire continent of North America the Caribbean islands closer to it, Greenland, Australia, and New Zealand.

    The Hegemon of South American gets South America in its entirety along with any islands closest to it.

    Ditto the Hegemon of Africa.

    Antarctica is divided based on current political control.

    As Hegemon all the resources, land, population, technology, and respective talent pools you have access to are equivalent to whats present in your area today.

    You start off with approximately 51% approval from your population which will slowly begin to shift back to public opinion based upon the usual factors.

    The Hegemons of Africa and South America can possibly ally with one other Hegemon who will then have to get rid of everyone else. The Hegemons of North America, Europe, and Asia have to eventually get rid of everyone except one possible ally from the former.

    Which Hegemon do you wish to be?

    1. From a pure power level? Asia is the clear winner.

      1. You gain access to the population of Asia, which sits at 4.6 billion. More than 1/2 of the world’s population. (That’ll be reduced slightly by Asian Russia and the Middle East not being included, but still).

      2. From a technology level, you gain access to Japan and South Korea, which clearly have top-tier tech levels.

      3. From an economic level, you gain access to China, South Korea, India, and Japan, which will clearly put your GDP at the top of the chart, if not potentially a majority of the world.

      The caveat there will be the “Public opinion” modifier given the ethnic disagreements in the area, but assume with a Chinese core, it can hold Japan and India militarily, and you’re probably fine. But seriously, no other power comes close to the Asian level.

    2. In the board game Risk, I have found that pursuing a hegemon of North America to be a strong position. Good natural resources (number of armies earned for holding the continent) and relatively easily defended compared to most of the other Risk continents.

  5. Ah, the Supreme Court last night moved the United States another step forward towards a theocracy, where religious rules dictates public policy and where the U. S. becomes Iran but with different religions. For inexplicable reasons, conservatives of all people on the Court allow that the right of religious gatherings to infect people with a deadly disease triumphs over government policy to protect the population.

    It is a sad day when tyranny masquerading as religious freedom creates a nation ruled by religious fanatics who put their own preferences above the health, safety and welfare of the people. And it is even a sadder day when Christians and Jews abandon the humanity of their principles in favor of religious fanaticism.

    1. Wow, that’s a take extreme enough to be taken as a caricature.

      Most of your characterization of what happened here is ridiculous.

      The U.S. is doing anything other than moving towards a theocracy, in fact, it’s moving quickly towards a secular, totalitarian state. Hence this correct decision.

      1. I’d say it passes caricature, and busts out the other side into mere insanity. Freedom of assembly, and the free exercise of religion, and Sidney thinks we’re headed towards a theocracy?

        1. As a secret Satanist that holds himself out as a Christian I depend on Christians worshiping at church in order to go undercover and perform rituals to Satan while they worship their false god. Furthermore when our coven worships Satan we are required to have a certain number of people to perform rituals to the Horned One. So you can see how Cuomo’s tyranny negatively impacted my free exercise of Satanism.

          Furthermore my legal practice is as a Christian divorce lawyer specifically for divorce for hetero couples married in a house of the false god. So I will not take a divorce of a same sex couple even though I am world renowned divorce lawyer. So I seek to honor the One with the spiked tail and forked tongue through my divorce practice. So Zoom weddings don’t cut it for me as the wedding must have been in a house of the false god overseen by one of his minions…and preferably expensive. My nipples get hard when I get to divorce a Christian couple married at an expensive wedding attended by many other Christians.

    2. Not sure how saying the same rules that apply to stores and restaurants applie to churches and synagogues moves us toward theocracy, but, whatever.

      1. ISTM that he closest secular analogue to religious services is movie theaters and the like.

        How did the rules in NY affect those kinds of places?

        1. How did the rules in NY affect those kinds of places?

          Answer: Differently….and that was the point, bernard11. You cannot be more restrictive to religious organizations than secular ones. That has been the point all along. This leaves the aside the latent hostility of the NYC Mayor toward the Orthodox in NYC.

          Justice Gorsuch got this one right.

          1. The current standard from Lukumi is not “you cannot be more restrictive to religious organizations than secular ones.” If that were the standard, then a religious employer would be exempt from anti-discrimination laws because those laws exempt employers with less than 30 employees.

            1. Josh R….I think that NY was in fact more restrictive to religious houses of worship than secular ones. And that was wrong. Those restrictions also would not survive strict scrutiny. Nor should they.

              1. The restrictions on houses of worship were greater than some secular businesses (e.g., hospitals) and less than others (e.g., movie theaters). Lukumi does not automatically conclude what level of scrutiny applies. Instead, strict scrutiny applies if the asserted government interests advanced by the restrictions on houses of worship are endangered in a similar or greater degree by the secular exemptions.

                1. Ah, but the government in this instance did not use the least restrictive means to achieve their goal.

                  1. The least restrictive means standard only applies if strict scrutiny applies.

                    1. Wouldn’t “Congress shall pass no law” immediately apply only strict scrutiny?

                      Asking for a f(ounding father).

                    2. “Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise (of religion).” It strikes me, as well as Justice Scalia, that “free exercise” does not include disobeying a neutral and generally applicable law that incidentally burdens religious exercise.

                    3. It seems to me that “no law” forecloses that argument, as a generally applicable law is, certainly, a ‘law’.

                      Now, if it had said, “no law specifically “, you’d be right.

                      Of course, there’s no law here to begin with, just an executive dictate. I think any presumption of constitutionality should be weaker when the legislative power is only being exercised 2nd hand.

                  2. “No law” applies to (my emphases) “free exercise” in the same manner that it applies to “freedom of speech.”

                    Laws which proscribe perjury abridge speech, but not the “freedom of speech.” Similarly, neutral and generally applicable laws that prohibit religious exercise do not prohibit the “free exercise” of religion.

          2. Movie theaters in NYC remain closed, while religious institutions have been open.

            What Gorsuch and other commenters generally overlook is that the sorts of restrictions that apply to reopening movie theaters become extremely problematic when it comes to religious services. For example, under Cuomo’s framework, theaters could re-open to 25% capacity, up to 50 people – provided that everyone wears masks, seating is assigned (i.e., to enforce social distancing), and certain air filtration systems would be in place.

            Now imagine you’re some synagogue in Brooklyn. Say you don’t care to follow all of those silly restrictions. Who’s going to make you? You think the NYPD is going to come in and shut down a religious service if you’re over-capacity? Asking detailed questions about your air filtration? Making sure that seating is assigned? No. None of that makes sense for religious institutions, and it’s a sure bet not a single one of them would even try to comply with the restrictions.

            That’s why Cuomo drew a distinction between them in the first place. Movie theaters are much more likely to require compliance with safety restrictions, the restrictions are much more consistent with the typical movie-going experience (and so are more likely to be followed voluntarily), and the NYPD isn’t going to have much of an issue cracking down on a scofflaw theater. They’ve broken up countless parties and raves, for instance. But not a single Jewish wedding. So you set a limit that religious institutions can be expected to abide by. And they sued.

        2. And bernard11…I was amiss; I should have said Happy Thanksgiving first.

          1. That’s fine. Same to you.

            Per Breyer’s dissent:

            After receiving evidence and hearing witness testimony, the District Court in the Diocese’s case ….. wrote that they treated “religious gatherings . . . more favorably than similar gatherings” with comparable risks, such as “public lectures, concerts or theatrical performances.”

            Not so?

            1. In NYC? No…not so. At least, not to the black hats in NYC I interact with. Those restrictions were specifically targeted at the orthodox. There is bad blood now between Mayor Putz and the orthodox. The recent wedding did not help matters any.

              Cuomo’s (and Mayor Putz’s) mistake was going one-step too far, which probably would have been forgivable. But then they also got ‘cute’ about it. The ‘on again when I want’ and ‘off when courts are going to get involved’ nature of the restrictions are what did them in. After NY state’s antics with 2-A cases, a number of justices no doubt had that in mind when they took the case.

    3. Please provide any evidence that religious services, when the congregants wear masks and abide by safe distancing measures, is any more dangerous than shopping in a store. We have had COVID-19 now for 8 months, so there should be such evidence.

      1. Early on in the pandemic, the thought was offered that singing, even with masks on might tend to increase spread. I don’t know of any evidence one way or the other, but that was a hypothesis.

      2. If they did wear masks and practiced social distancing their case would be much stronger. The problem is that they think because they are ‘religious’ they don’t have to do those things.

        And just to clarify, the issue is not whether restrictions on religious gatherings are more strict than those on secular activities, but whether or not the religious gatherings are more risky to the general public than secular activities. And because there is greater density in a religious gathering it is more dangerous and hence subject to stricter regulations.

        The ‘relgious’ objection is simply a straw man for those who want to defy regulations even if it means infecting their fellow man. The level of uncaring is almost unconceivable.

        1. Once again, you show that all you have is half-baked speculation.

          The problem is that they think because they are ‘religious’ they don’t have to do those things.

          Wrong. As the opinion states, the religious groups agreed to and were careful about social distancing. And that has been my personal experience.
          And, of course, there are many secular gatherings that have not respected safe distancing rules.
          Your argument amounts to an unsupported assertion that religious groups don’d adhere to social distancing. Which is demonstrably false.

          And because there is greater density in a religious gathering it is more dangerous and hence subject to stricter regulations.
          Once again, wrong. The stores and other secujlar venues were permitted to open at a percentage of their normal capacity. Houses of worship were limited to ten, even if their building was designed and normally would be safe for 1000 worshippers.
          There is no rational reason for that difference.

          The ‘relgious’ objection is simply a straw man for those who want to defy regulations even if it means infecting their fellow man. The level of uncaring is almost unconceivable.

          No, the objection is to having religion treated as nothing more than an unimportant hobby, and more restricted than such “necessities” of life as liquor stores and bicycyle shops.

          That is what the First Amendment forbids. You want to outlaw all public gatherings, that is one thing. Singling out religious groupings for restriction is another.

          Frankly, you seem to have a strong dose of anti-religious bigotry. You are not alone here. Unfortunately for you, the Constitution restricts your ability to impose your bigotry on others through the force of law.

          1. ‘Your argument amounts to an unsupported assertion that religious groups don’d adhere to social distancing. Which is demonstrably false.’ There’s a tendency for that. SimonP’s argument is based in its entirety on how he imagines things to be.

      3. When I shop, I typically mill about, go for what I’m there for, do next to no talking, and do not linger in crowds.

        What is your experience of a religious service, exactly?

        1. The fact that you can point to a difference does not mean that such justifies anti-religious discrimination. After 8 months of the pandemic, and many different behaviors in a country of 300 million, you need more proof than just, well, people act differently in a church than a store. They are both public gatherings. Where sometimes people crowd together.

          1. The point is to rebut the relevance of your assertion that mass gatherings are equally risky, given a shared level of precautions taken.

            I can agree that, if a religious service looked anything like going to the store or a 25%-capacity movie, there is no reason to distinguish between the two. The fact of the matter is that it is not, and it is especially not in a place like NYC, where religious institutions have been flagrantly ignoring COVID precautions.

            1. Some religious institutions may have selectively ignored what has been revealed to be unlawful edicts passed down from Cuomo. Not all, and not necessarily ‘flagrantly.’ The point you seem determined to miss is that there is no Constitutionally protected right to mill about while shopping, or go to a movie. Perhaps you should (re) familiarize yourself with the term Fear of Other People’s Liberties? You appear to have an ugly case of it.

      4. Bored Lawyer….The correct answer is: There is no evidence that shows that when the congregants wear masks and abide by safe distancing measures, is any more dangerous than shopping in a store.

    4. Allowing people to go to church being a theocracy is kinda a hilarious take.

      1. Allowing people to spread a pandemic in the name of religion is what is really a kinda hilarious take.

      2. It’s more, “Allowing churches to ignore laws that everyone else has to follow,” but still not exactly a religious theocracy. More like a religious apartheid?

        1. Did you even bother reading the SCOTUS opinion?

          1. The end result of the Court’s thinking is to create broad exemptions from generally-applicable laws for anyone citing a religious practice or belief that runs contrary to them.

            If you’ve read the last few decades of the Court’s holdings on religious freedom, you’ll see that they adjust the level of abstraction to suit whatever outcome they wish to promote. It is pointlessly pedantic to focus on the precise reasoning of any particular case. They have an agenda, and the line they draw here is just where they want it to be, for now, to achieve this result. If Cuomo were savvy enough to come back with a more refined order, they’ll chase it and set a new line on the other side of it, as well.

        2. But Gavin Newsom ignore his edicts that everyone else has to obey.

          He attends a party with lobbyists, the party blows $12,000 on wine alone and did old Newsom kick in his share? Did anyone even ask? Did anyone fail to notcie that accepting such and opulent dinner +wine, is corruption that would have gotten any other goverenment employee fired?

    5. To the extent religion justifies stopping the march to neo-Marxism by the Deep State, Ivy indoctrinated elite, it should be supported. Judges and Justices who further the neo-Marxist agenda should be impeached for their decisions.

  6. Got ammo?

    The range last might was busier than I have ever seen it. And, not with “old fat white republicans” either. Quite the opposite.

  7. Concerning the SCOTUS ruling against New York’s on again/off again restrictions on churches and synagogues, read the comments on this WAPO story about it to see what Liberals really think of religion and the religious.

    1. The comments are utterly revolting = the comments telling us ‘what Liberals really think of religion and the religious’

      1. What’s really funny is that they don’t seem to realize that Cuomo actually lifted the restrictions before the court ruled, although it’s right there in the story.

        Apparently the magic (D) still protects him.

      2. The WaPo has really gone nuts over the last four years, the Conspiracy really got while the getting was good. Trump winning in 2016 really broke them, it broke a lot of people on the left.

        And I doubt a Biden win is going to fix them.

        1. If anything they probably helped fix the Biden “win”.

      3. “Utterly revolting” is how I’d describe the pedophilia-shielding, pyramid-scheming, science-denying practices of American organized religion, but y’know.

        I mean, have you forgotten the common right-wing bit about Islam? A religion advocating violence towards the unfaithful and mistreatment of women? That’s how all organized religions look, from the outside.

        The Constitution’s special solicitude for religion and religious practices is a product of its time and a looming menace to our modern government, having detached itself from its roots and become something far more expansive and problematic. It’s like slavery, in this respect.

        1. When plenty of secularists had no problem with Epstein, and bureaucrats are closing down restaurants and gyms even though we have plenty of evidence via COVID-19 contact tracing that the virus spreads via these vectors, I have to confess that I have a hard time seeing secularists being any better on these fronts than organized religion.

        2. Tolerant and Inclusive Progressive Alert!

      4. You don’t have to go that far, there are plenty of ignorant, smug anti-religious bigots here. More bizarre, their belief structure and adherence to in-group biases truly resembles how less intelligent or new members of a faith behave.

  8. As we near the Trump Presidency we can hope at least some of the rancor of the last 5 years will die down. I’m somewhat hopeful.

    Its been apparent to me that some of the opposition to Trump is fueled by his personality and the way he communicates. A lot of the criticism is based on substantial disagreements with his actions.

    One particular vein of criticism relates to the pandemic. From my perspectives, the US response does not seem to be substantially less effective than the response of many other major countries measured by reported fatality rates. I haven’t heard of any proposals which would have made the response more effective. Often various countries or even states in the US have taken different approaches which also don’t seem to readily correlate in a systematic way with outcomes.

    1. If you haven’t heard anything proposed which would’ve resulted in fewer American deaths from COVID, then I can only assume you’ve deliberately plugged your ears.

      What about the President actually leading, and not repeatedly claiming it was a hoax?

      What about using the DPA to actually produce PPP immediately, instead of having to tell Americans to NOT wear masks at the start because we didn’t have enough supply for the hospitals and other health professionals?

      What about him supporting the wearing of masks, and not immediately – literally seconds after the guidance of wearing masks was suggested, getting to the podium and saying it was a choice, and he was going to choose not to?

      Fatality rate is hardly the appropriate metric to use. The families of the almost 265,000 dead Americans don’t care about the fatality rates. They care about the fact their loved one died when we could’ve prevented such a widespread catastrophe in the first place had Trump decided to actually care about something other than himself and his precious economy.

      At every turn, and every chance, he’s undermined the public health experts, and turned science into a political argument. As usual, he grades his own performance as an A+++. Don’t be foolish enough to believe him and pretend that he did everything possible to save lives.

      1. “What about using the DPA to actually produce PPP immediately, instead of having to tell Americans to NOT wear masks at the start because we didn’t have enough supply for the hospitals and other health professionals?”


        You can’t actually use the DPA to “produce” PPP. IE, simply ordering it done doesn’t actually immediately produce the equipment. You need the factories, you need the people, you need the capacity to actually produce it all….and you need it not to already be producing what you want more of.

        1. He has, whenever the subject enters his mind, told the citizenry that we’re rounding the corner. That cases would be down to zero soon, that it’s going to magically disappear when it gets warmer, or after the election.

          He has never been honest about the danger, or the case numbers, or the consequences of failing to take this seriously.

          His message for Thanksgiving was TO GATHER. Literally the worst advice he could possibly give.

          I am not referring solely to his February 28th remarks. He’s been gaslighting America from the start of his Presidency.

          Doing so with a pandemic results in death, as more than a quarter-million Americans have now proven with their lives.

          1. That was intended as a reply to Twelve Inch, below.

            I’ll get to you later.

            1. “That was intended as a reply to Twelve Inch, below.”

              Whatever Trump may or may not have said, how does you spouting left-wing disinformation help the situation? One of the problems contributing to the pandemic is that both sides lie their asses off trying to make the other look bad. People spouting bullshit about Trump play right into that.

              1. 1) I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican.

                2) You must have decided that this wasn’t worth reading, “I am not referring solely to his February 28th remarks. He’s been gaslighting America from the start of his Presidency.”

                3) You don’t get to dismiss my explanation of to what I was referring as ‘what he may or may not have said’ and then double-down on the only thing you THINK I was talking about.

                4) Since you decided to ignore what I wrote, I’ll say it again: At every opportunity, Trump has dismissed COVID and lied to the American people about its seriousness and the consequences of ignoring it. That is how he’s treated the entire thing as a hoax. Not just February, not just March, EVERY. SINGLE. COMMENT.

                1. “He’s been gaslighting America from the start of his Presidency.”

                  True, but how does doing your own gaslighting help? Why do you want to help people like me say that both sides gaslight America?

                  1. What part of “I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican” do you not understand?

                    I have never, in my life, been affiliated with any political party. Get that through your head. Political parties are the primary reason this country is in the shitter.

                    When you decide to actually read what is put in front of your face, perhaps you’ll be deserving of discourse. As long as you insist upon ignoring my words, I’ll ignore yours.

        2. Maybe you should check the timeline of what Trump did, and when he did it.

          Let’s start with disbanding the pandemic response team. Then let’s move to leaving the national stockpile practically void of PPE. Then let’s move to knowing both of those facts, as well as the fact that a crippling pandemic was on the way, and STILL refusing to actually attempt to fix the lack of PPE until nearly two months after our first confirmed case.

          If your argument is “it doesn’t take effect immediately” then how stupid is it to refuse to start fixing the problem until after two months had already passed? Or in this case, 3 years into his Presidency AND two months into the pandemic.

          Do you even think about your arguments, or do you just find ways to glorify Trump in your mind and spew the words onto paper?

      2. So, is “the President actually leading” applied topically, or by IV drip? What’s it do, block the spike proteins from binding to cell receptors?

        “What about using the DPA to actually produce PPP immediately, instead of having to tell Americans to NOT wear masks at the start because we didn’t have enough supply for the hospitals and other health professionals?”

        Ah, so “the President actually leading” means ignoring the advice of medical professionals, and then exerting fascist levels of control over the economy.

        “What about him supporting the wearing of masks, and not immediately – literally seconds after the guidance of wearing masks was suggested, getting to the podium and saying it was a choice, and he was going to choose not to?”

        As well as fascistic levels of control over private behavior, without the least hint of constitutional power to do so.

        “Fatality rate is hardly the appropriate metric to use. The families of the almost 265,000 dead Americans don’t care about the fatality rates.”

        And if the fatality rates were different, it would be the families of almost 100,000 dead, or the families of almost 500,000 dead. So you’re too worked up to realize you’re actually contradicting yourself.

        1. exerting fascist levels of control over the economy.

          It’s not “exerting fascist levels of control over the economy,” to tell people that wearing masks is a good idea, rather than acting like only wimps wear them.

          1. It is to tell businesses that they have to drop what they’re doing and manufacture the masks.

            1. There was lots Trump could have done to help with PPE short of using DPA. Businesses tend to respond favorably to purchase orders even if they are not mandatory.

              He might also not have repeatedly lied to the public about the severity of the pandemic.

              Is there any criticism of Trump you will accept as valid?

              1. Starting with what was absolutely in his power, and working down towards things less clear:

                He could have been less credulous about what medical professionals were telling him.

                I think he could have shut the border a little earlier, and a lot more thoroughly.

                He could have been more aggressive in telling the FDA to back off on obstructing emergency responses.

                He could have warned the half dozen states that ordered nursing homes to accept Covid carriers that they had to either back down or face federal charges premised on the resulting deaths being deliberate. That could have saved a LOT of lives, but would have been at the outer limit of his actual powers, or maybe past it.

                I can’t off hand thing of anything more he could have done that wouldn’t have been violently attacked by Democrats at the time he did it, and subject to immediate legal attack and probably national injunctions by some random 9th circuit judge. Certainly he got a lot of flack over the limited border closing, though Democrats memory holed that after it became evident that it had bought us some breathing room.

                The thing here is, you don’t seem to accept that Presidents aren’t dictators, and that most of the response to Covid, by law and constitution, had to be directed at the state level.

                1. So, the only criticism of Trump that you’ll accept is, he wasn’t more concerted in his incompetence?

                2. I think he could have shut the border a little earlier, and a lot more thoroughly.

                  Naw, someone would have just gotten a district court to issue a national injunction against such an action because the judge could read Trump’s mind about his intent behind the order (which, obviously, would have been “racism” because “Orange Man”). And the Supreme Court might well have upheld it – remember, Ginsburg’s ticker was still ticking. Trump had to deal with the Supreme Court he has at the time, not the one he wanted. As COVID-19 became more scary to the public such an order would have been more less likely to be challenged.

                3. What border closing?

                  And you seriously don’t believe that politicizing mask-wearing and holding maskless rallies to emphasize that only wimps wear masks did any harm?

                  And you know, he really didn’t have to pull CDC staff out of China last year, or throw away Bush/Obama pandemic plans, or, speaking of border closings, stage a super-spreader closing in NYC airports.

                  1. “People of science”, and I literally mean the medical professionals, issued statements the historical wrongs were so bad it overrode the dangers of group mass marches.

                    Why people don’t put 2 and 2 together to realize the First Amendment’s religious live and let live was designed to ease megadeath wars sprinkled liberally through history should deserve the same, I don’t know.

                    NY is literally “those Jews are causing problems for the larger society, so we should shut down their religious gatherings.

                    But it’s ok. Unlike Nazi Germany, today they have the people behind them, who feel righteous in their cause.

        2. …instead of having to tell Americans to NOT wear masks at the start because we didn’t have enough supply for the hospitals and other health professionals?

          That was Dr. Fauci, not President Trump.

          1. Remind me once more who had been President for three years without restocking our national stockpile with PPE when Fauci had to say that to try and keep what little PPE we had available for the front-line healthcare workers?

            That’s what I thought. Thanks for playing.

            1. You really are biased and ignorant, eh? If the prior administration ran down the stockpiles and did not replenish, the blame starts there first. Then it shifts to the appropriate agency under the Trump presidency.

              1. Trump was President and did not have the stockpile replenished for THREE FUCKING YEARS. He also disbanded the pandemic response team.

                Had COVID hit in January of 2016, then you’d have an argument. We also still would have had a pandemic response team. As is, there is no planet in this solar system where these actions, and the consequences of those actions are not his fault.

                Existing in reality, as opposed to your fantasy cult world, does not make me biased.

                1. This doesn’t excuse Trump, but I doubt any admin would have changed course.

                  You vote for these congressional scam artists, who skim off the trillions they sling about, and who are thirsty for money to keep throwing at you for votes.

                  Why not empty out a closet with three inches of dust in it, for a few more coins?

        3. Fascism, for using duly-passed laws authored by Congress? That’s your excuse now?

          You are not worth engaging with. You’re too delusional to be helped.

          1. Fascism is a political and economic system involving, among other things, nationalized means of production. You are far closer to a fascist for your insistence on use of the DPA than Trump is.

            1. Trump actually ended up using the DPA. By your own statements, Trump is therefore a Fascist.

              Sit down.

      3. “What about the President actually leading, and not repeatedly claiming it was a hoax?”

        Sigh. The claim that the President said that is a hoax. Trump said that criticism of his response is a hoax. You’ve been consuming fake news.

      4. If you’re going to repeat the Trump said the virus was a hoax lie, don’t expect to be taken seriously. And the masturbatory fantasy of nationalizing production, because of irrational fear, the same. The DPA has guidelines for its use, and they aren’t ‘somebody should do something.’

        1. I look forward to people like you disappearing back under your rocks once Trump is gone and on his way to NY State prison.

          Trump invoked the DPA much too late to have been as useful as it could have been. By your argument above, that makes him a Fascist. Are you now also suggesting that he didn’t follow the DPA guidelines? Tread carefully: you’re about to drown in cognitive dissonance.

          It’s nice of you people to focus exclusively on the DPA, and ignore everything else he did to downplay the virus and the resultant deaths from his inability to care about anything or anyone other than himself and his claims of economic greatness. Ignoring everything else makes it quite clear that you have no legitimate argument, and are only here to sing the false praises of your cult leader.

          You’ll be relegated back to insignificance soon enough.

          1. I wish Trump had proclaimed that everyone must wear masks. Then the Democrats would have complained about his unconstitutional power grab, and not worn masks while they protested. Then we could have really seen what uncontrolled spread of corona looks like, and maybe have a few million less Democrats in places like New York and California.

            Where’s my time machine?

      5. What about using the DPA to actually produce PPP immediately, instead of having to tell Americans to NOT wear masks at the start because we didn’t have enough supply for the hospitals and other health professionals?

        But enough about Dr. Fauci. Here he is on March 8 telling Americans that they “should not be walking around with masks”: (2 minute video from CBS)

  9. Happy Thanksgiving

    1. The same to you, Arthur. Happy Thanksgiving.

    2. Certainly, Happy Thanksgiving, and I won’t even ask to whom you’re giving thanks.

  10. Just threw our turkey in the oven. A 24 pounder, we’re having company over. I’ve used my favorite sweet tea brine on the turkey, it guarantees a nice oak colored skin, and makes for a fantastic gravy. Wild rice stuffing, of course. Side are roast Brussels sprouts and whatever our guests bring.

    And the toast will be my orange cranberry mead, bottled exactly a year ago. Won a bronze medal in the Winemakers 2020 international competition.

    Last bottle, darn it, I’ve got to start making larger batches.

    What do your menus look like?

    1. Guests?

      Look out, Gramma!

      1. Brett is himself old enough (and I’d assume unwell enough) to be in an “at-risk” demographic.

        But I’m sure he’ll be fine.

        1. Well, old enough anyway. I’m not sure if arthritis counts as a relevant co-morbidity, but, following the research, I’m keeping my zinc and vitamin D levels up.

    2. Enjoy the day, Brett.

      Menu sounds lovely, except for Brussels sprouts, which I never had a taste for. Good thing there’s not a mandate about eating them.

      1. Apparently a new variant of Brussels sprouts was created 10-15 years ago which is much less bitter and that’s mostly what’s sold today. As a child I found them completely nasty, but sliced and roasted or grilled they’re actually very tasty now.

        1. Fortunately, it doesn’t leave them tasting bland for people who previously liked them, because it’s just removing a chemical we couldn’t taste in the first place.

          1. Who knew my only point of agreement with Brett would be a love of Brussels sprouts ?!? What I can’t understand is how such a fine vegetable came from a place capable of barbarities like mayonnaise on fries or wheat beer.

            1. Whoa! Dial it back, them’s fightin’ words. I like mayonnaise on my pommes frites, and I mix mustard in with. I also enjoy a .5 L glass of Hoegaarden now and again.

              1. I’ve had mayo on fries, and malt vinegar, too. It still comes down to the quality of the fries, the right condiment can’t make up for a bad fry.

      2. The Brussel sprout gene.

        Whether or not you like them is so strictly determined by genetics, that it was actually used at one time as a sort of paternity test.

    3. Happy Thanksgiving, Brett.

      Sigh…I outsourced this year. Why? I traveled 1K miles R/T by driving to see my father earlier this week. Screw the restrictions. I applied common sense. Drove home yesterday. Picked up the heat and eat meal this morning.

      Turkey, Ham…then
      Sweet potato, White potato, Green beans, Corn, Cornbread stuffing, Mac & cheese, squash…then
      Pumpkin pie, pecan pie.

      We have a Mango wine from a South NJ winery; it pairs well.

      Planning on a 3pm meal. Tryptophan nap by 5pm. 🙂

      1. Mango wine sounds good, I should try making some. I’m getting a new fermenter for Christmas, and need to break it in. I want to branch out from just mead.

      2. Mango wine?

        What’s wrong with grapes?

        1. Nothing, but other fruit wines are excellent. Fruits like mangos I’ve found to be less acidic than grapes, so if you make wine with it it would probably be smoother with less bite.

          1. Sorry AC, but sufficient acid is needed to balance the sweetness.

            1. Not everybody likes drinking slightly sweetened vinegar. Sweet wines without much acidity are quite popular.

        2. If you wouldn’t limit your fruit consumption to grapes, why would you limit your wine to grapes?

          Probably the best wine I ever had was at a Chinese restaurant in Germany. They’d messed up my order, so they made it up with some lychee wine they were making in the kitchen for their own use.

          1. Probably the worse beer I’ve ever had was in Berlin (I think in the Television Tower). I decided to wing-it with the menu and ended up drinking beer mixed with Sprite.

        3. Yeah bernard11, we wanted to try something a little exotic. It was Ok. The sweet of the wine kind of balanced the savory of the bird.

          Nothing beats a great red (IMHO); I only use a good red for the Kiddush on Friday night. None of that Manischewitz sweet sh er, I mean stuff. 🙂

          1. Since you mentioned ham as part of your Thanksgiving meal, I assumed you weren’t a Manischewitz drinker. The only good thing about that stuff was that you couldn’t drink very much of it.

            Still, Manischewitz, and similar, was a feature of our seders when I was growing up. Finally drinking real wine was a revelation.

          2. I make a pretty good fig wine and date wine, good with meats. Definitely pairs well with mutton or goat. Depending on the yeast, the fermentation can very little sweet taste, and neither are acidic.

            1. Mmm, goat. Been a while since I had roast goat. Mom’s next door neighbors were Middle Eastern, and grilled whole goats occasionally. Very tasty!

    4. Turkey (standard, vegan), regular stuffing, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy. roasted root vegetables, corn, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, cherry pie, and a half-day portion of dealing with the Republicans’ silly, pathetic election litigation (pre-sanctions phase).

  11. I hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving. The tradition in our home, and many others, is to have each person express what they are thankful for this year. This will be a harder year than many for some of us, but it’s good to take the time to think about what we each have to be thankful for and realize how truly blessed we are.

  12. I read an article that claimed, with no citation, that there is a court decision from the civil rights era that declared Alabama’s then-existing magistrate system unconstitutional. I just spent an hour on line trying to find the case and came up dry. Nothing on Westlaw either.

    Has anyone heard of any such case?

    1. Maybe a reference to Bennett v. Cottingham? Not a magistrate judge but a traffic court JP who in Alabama would receive a 3 dollar fee if he convicted the defendant but nothing on an acquittal. For some reason the US district court found this incentive unconstitutionally incentivizing, a judgment that was affirmed without comment on direct appeal to the Supreme Court.

  13. Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for the Volokh Conspiracy.

  14. Jay Inlsee, our Washington State governor, enacted the following Covid-19 restructions:
    “Indoor gatherings with people outside the household will be prohibited unless they quarantine for the fourteen days (14) prior
    to the social gathering or quarantine for the seven (7) days prior to the gathering, and receive a negative COVID-19 test result
    no more than 48-hours prior to the gathering.”

    When I read this I was reminded of two of my favorite quotes:

    From the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon: “The forest and morasses of Germany were filed with a
    hardy race of barbarians, who despised life when it was separated from Freedom.”

    Ralph Waldo Emerson said the following: “Good men must not obey laws too well.”

    American do not see the havoc that will come, as it always, does by allowing our government to dictate our
    freedoms. Our forefathers understood the nature of man and of history and that is why they devised a constition that protects us from
    our government and our fellow man.

  15. No real Thanksgiving gathering is happening at my place, instead it’s just going to be handling my family! Yay! I want my life back …

    Honestly, way dont they just release the vaccine now? What is the hold up here? Pfizer said it is safe and effective. Or at the very least, lock the FDA people in a room until they make a determination, upon which we will give them a few million dollars each. That sounds like a plan … I know we don’t know the long term effects, but we can make good determinations based on standard pharmacokinetics! The vaccine is programmed to act like the common cold, so ask what are ling term effects of the cold?

    Anyone have plans for socially distanced Thanksgiving?

  16. I hope everyone enjoys a happy Thanksgiving! In most years the best holiday, in my humble opinion. I don’t really need to hear “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” anymore, though.

    1. Next year the anniversary of Floyd ODing and killing himself is going to replace every other holiday. So don’t you worry.

  17. “The First Thanksgiving,” as explained by the National Park Service:

  18. Happy Thanksgiving all.

    Curious what commenters here with more legal training than I think of the recent Atlantic article claiming that Trump can’t “grant” a pardon to himself because “granting” cannot be reflexive, it is always transitive.

    From TFA:
    “Article II of the Constitution says that the president “shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” Did you catch that? The president has the power not to pardon people, but “to grant … Pardons” (emphasis added). So the question is not whether Trump can pardon himself. It’s whether he can grant himself a pardon.

    That might seem like an odd way of putting the question, but it’s linguistically important. On the one hand, some actions can’t be reflexive—you can’t do them to yourself. Think of surrendering, relinquishing, or handing over something. These verbs entail a transfer to someone else; the actor can’t also be the recipient.”

    1. Not one with any legal training here, but the logic in that article seems a bit reaching.

      Of course, there’s no question that Trump can grant himself a pardon – the question is if the courts would respect it. Who would have standing to challenge it?

      I just don’t see Biden dragging down his own party by having his DOJ challenge such a pardon. I think the general public would find that pretty petty in times of a pandemic and recovery from it. It’s the moderate voters that will likely cause the House to flip in 2022 and Biden (and, especially, Harris – but I don’t know how much sway she will have) has little interest in increasing the chances of that happening (such an action would also get more Trumpites out in 2022 instead of them sitting at home).

      Also, Presidents don’t often seem to fight to restrict their own powers. Biden may want to exercise that same power to pardon himself eventually.

    2. I don’t have legal training, but I did read that and was unimpressed. The stronger argument, to me, is that if he can pardon himself he is completely exempt from federal law.

      That doesn’t sound right.

      1. Under that reasoning, if anyone can be pardoned they are exempt from federal law.

        Which isn’t right either.

        1. Under that reasoning, if anyone can be pardoned they are exempt from federal law.

          No. Other people (usually) aren’t in the position of being able to commit a crime knowing for certain that they will be pardoned. Sure, someone might be promised a pardon, but what if the President drops dead before it’s issued?

          But the President can help himself to the White House silver with not a care in the world.

          1. “But the President can help himself to the White House silver with not a care in the world.”

            Sure. The remedy for this is supposed to be the people voting the person who does this out, or the Congress impeached, which is not protected by the pardon power. You might say this is ineffective. I agree, but Hamilton wrote in the federalist papers, when discussing the pardon power, that’s thats the only remedy you have.

            Same thing with the 11th amendment. The state government has carte Blanche to violate patent and copyright law. See Allen v. Cooper and Florida Prepaid. It probably can also violate a host of other federal laws, and in some cases you don’t even get injunctive relief. Same remedy.

            I agree that the pardon and immunity provisions in the constitution are extreme and potentially dangerous. Perhaps we ought to get rid of the pardon power and the 11th amendment. But as written and via historical record, it’s designed that way.

            The pardon power comes from the kings pardon power, soverign immunity comes from English soverign immunity, claiming the king is the law, so how can the king violate the laws? The president isn’t the law nor is the government in the US, but it is longstanding immunity and pardon privileges still apply on that reasoning. Is it really a stretch to see how that allows the president to pardon himself?

            1. As far as the White House silver is concerned, being pardoned wouldn’t imply getting to keep it. Since it isn’t his, refusing to hand it over on demand would be a fresh crime, no?

            2. Yes, because one of the foundational principles of US law is that nobody may be a judge of their own case.

              The President is not entitled to grant himself a pardon.

              1. The pardon power is one quintessentially executive, not judicial.

            3. The remedy for this is supposed to be the people voting the person who does this out, or the Congress impeached, which is not protected by the pardon power. You might say this is ineffective.

              It’s deliberately ineffective, because impeachment and conviction carry no criminal penalties.

      2. It doesn’t sound right to me either, but there’s that OLC memo stating that a sitting president can’t be indicted which basically accomplishes the same thing, at least temporarily.

        And BadLib raises an interesting question re standing.

        If I were a betting man, I’d put money on Trump granting himself a pardon and it never coming before a court to decide one way or another.

    3. Pardons apply only to federal crimes. Whether Trump pardons himself or not, Biden would be wise to keep the federal Department of Justice out of it and let states, especially New York handle any prosecutiojs that iccur. Federal pardons do not apply to state crimes.

      1. That touches the larger issues of singling out specific individuals, political opponents in this case, for investigation and prosecution, which is not supposed to happen, even if wrongdoing is found.

        Perhaps especially if wrongdoing is found. The king’s challengers were often men of means, and as such had much goings on. In those days, as today, corruption was the name of the game, so the king could be assured of being able to find something on anyone uppity he chose to investigate. To say nothing of simple error or missing stuff in the complicated multitudes of transactions such wealthu have, needing accountants and lawyers.

        “If you did nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide” thus fails by sheer statistical magnitude of the wealthy’s many endeavors, and those in power know it and could and did happily use it against political enemies pre 4th and 5th Amendments and such.

        1. It’s one thing to talk about “political” crimes – things he does as part of his job that may or may not be quite kosher. Let those go.

          But other matters – like tax fraud or other “personal” crimes – ought not be overlooked on those grounds. Similarly, orders to plainly violate the law, with the promise of a pardon, ought to be prosecuted, IMO.

    4. I doubt Trump needs to pardon himself, after all what’s he alleged to have done? Biden already has said he doesn’t want to have the DOJ bogged down trying to come up with a rational for charging Trump, especially if he has a GOP Senate to deal with.

      And it may set a precedent that Biden himself, or Hunter would have to deal with in 4 years.

      1. I doubt Trump needs to pardon himself, after all what’s he alleged to have done?

        Do you doubt he will pardon himself? I don’t.

  19. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful that the VC has largely been given over to Josh’s incessant self-promotion and rude monopolization of the blog. It has nearly broken me of my VC-reading habit, freeing me for my other pursuits.

  20. Interesting developments on the Trump election litigation front. A NV trial court is going to hear testimony and a PA appeals court judge enjoined the certification. Not much being reported and I am not familiar with the filings, but I assume the PA injunction will eventually be vacated by the PA Supreme Court and NV testimony will evaporate into a shit show. But, who knows.

    I thought Trump was keeping up the “election was stolen” thing to then move that momentum into his own media empire, but maybe he does have something??? There is a lot of stuff floating around about how a ton of NV votes were doubled from CA residents who also voted there and clearly fake voter registrations in Philly, but I assumed there was nothing there when Trump failed to deliver any evidence. (It isn’t like finding those double votes would be hard. Property records and voter registrations are all public information. Dump the data into a spreadsheet and do a sort. Use property records to sort out any false negatives based upon name. it would take a data analyst maybe 1-2 days to do this effectively.)

    If the election was rigged then I really do fear what is coming next. It won’t be pretty.

    1. Dump the data into a spreadsheet and do a sort.

      May I suggest a database instead – equally easy to load, much easier to query/clean efficiently? No charge for the consulting advice as it’s a holiday 🙂

    2. “If the election was rigged then I really do fear what is coming next. It won’t be pretty.”

      The election was not rigged, except in the minds of delusional, disaffected right-wing losers.

      In other words, the Volokh Conspiracy’s target audience.

      1. We are going to find out AK. And I probably will rarely say this, but I hope you are right that there is nothing there. Because if it was widespread fraud there is going to be a lot of trouble.

      2. And you almost made it through a day w/o being your typical ill-mannered self, attacking others and making ignorant claims about things and people about which you know nothing. Low signal to noise, Kirkland. I posit your entire life can be summed up with those words.

        1. This blog is mostly one extended, disaffected whine against modernity, and the current spasm of Republican election litigation makes the ‘ignorant claims about things and people about which you know nothing’ reveals a staggering lack of self-awareness.

          Other than that, though, great comment!

    1. Venezuela again.

      Let’s see where that goes.

  21. On this Thanksgiving I am thankful to live in a country that protects my right to practice Satanism as I see fit! Lots of rituals in my religion require multiple disciples of Lucifer in close proximity around burning candles and whatnot, so I am very thankful for ACB being quickly confirmed as a justice! Thank you Horned One for inspiring the Framers to create a BoR that specifically protects all religions including Satanism and Islam!! I love America!!

    1. And your right to practice Pastafarianism. May the Flying Spaghetti Monster reach down and touch you with his noodly appendage.

  22. We finally have a Blinken in a White House administration again. (funnier if said aloud) [ie, “A Blinken”]

    1. Wait! I get it! 🙂

      Happy Thanksgiving.

    2. So we’ve got Blinken, and Biden is Nod (for obvious reasons), so who’s Winken?

      Any suggestions?

  23. Hoppy Hula Daisy!

  24. One of the things I am thankful for on this day is the legal commentary (and arguments) I get on this site. IANAL but appreciate learning as much as I can to be a better citizen.

  25. Hey fellow commenters. Remember back in July when people insisted Judge Sullivan was being totally fair in adjudicating Gen. Flynn’s case? And he totally wasn’t just trying to run out the clock so he could throw Flynn in jail?

    That was 5 months ago. The pardon gives us a great chance to reflect on how wrong all the Sullivan defenders were.

    1. The pardon seems to establish that Flynn is an admitted and pardoned felon, an admitted liar, an admitted traitor, and an admitted disgrace to our military and our nation, And a Republican and conservative in good standing, because White nationalists are character-deprived hypocrites.

      Has the limitations period lapsed with respect to prosecution of that son of Flynn’s?

    2. Not necessarily. One could easily think that the prosecution of Flynn was just and even think President Trump was wrong to pardon him, and yet accept thst a presidential pardon ends the matter. A pardon doesn’t say anything about whether the person pardoned was actually guilty or whether the original prosecution was actually just.

      There is no inherent contradiction.

      1. You have not addressed the central point: Judge Sullivan’s conduct.

        1. I suspect when you make a legitimate point that isn’t a non-sequitur of partisan fantasy, someone will consider addressing it.

        2. Allutz expressed no point about Judge Sullivan’s conduct; he merely offered a paltry dance of victory on behalf of an admitted liar and admitted anti-American lout who enjoys the benefit of a low-grade pardon from the lousy president who was his co-conspirator.

    3. And the pardon gives us a chance to reflect what a sleazy unethical grifter Flynn is. After he went private, there wasn’t a regime loathsome enough that Flynn wouldn’t peddle his whorish services to them. Whether it was helping the Saudis evade restrictions on acquiring sensitive nuclear tech, or doing PR for Erdoğan’s measures against the Kurds, our boy Michael eagerly put out on every task he was paid for.

      Of course whoring to foreign regimes can be legal, as long as you register as a foreign agent & report earnings from abroad. Guess what Flynn failed to do? Everyone knew he had flouted the legal requirements because of his flurry of retroactive registrations after Trump named him National Security Advisor. Yet that was only the half of it. The real extent Flynn had broke the law wasn’t discovered until Mueller’s investigation. Which brings us to Russia:

      One of Flynn’s recent employers, of course. About a year earlier he’d pocketed 40K for a few days “work”, the main duty being Putin’s pet American general, sitting by Vladimir’s side at a prestigious banquet. So when Flynn calls the Russian envoy five times on the day Obama announces sanctions against Russia, who was Michael working for? Theoretically, President-elect Trump, but Flynn lied about the calls to multiple Trump officials (just days after the calls occurred). He would then lie abut the calls to Vice President Pence. And he would lie about the calls to the FBI. So the question remains open.

      After all, Flynn was still hustling like a street alley whore even after becoming part of the Trump administration. The primary example are two meetings with Turkish officials to discuss kidnapping a dissident living in the U.S. & smuggling him out of the country. The first meeting occurred in mid-December ’16, and included Flynn, Erdogan’s son-in-law, and Turkey’s foreign minister. The second meeting took place a few days after & its purpose was to negotiate a fee of $15 million for Michael Thomas Flynn. He was already part of Trump’s transition team. He had already been offered the position of National Security Advisor. It was just a little cash on the side.

      Michael Flynn is a contemptible criminal loathsome piece of s**t.

      1. Flynn is just another disaffected, obsolete, selfish, clinger — a bigoted loser who has disgraced his uniform, his family, and his nation.

        And now, a likely Republican candidate for Congress from a district with low education, achievement, and morals.

      2. “And the pardon gives us a chance to reflect what a sleazy unethical grifter Flynn is.”

        Compare and contrast (if possible) with Hunter Biden.

        1. Hunter hasn’t been subjected (yet) to an intensity of a federal prosecution that is looking to “trap” them in any type of crime.

        2. Jerry B: I’m not sure how you see that comparison/contrast, but it already had occurred to me and I’m happy to make it.

          The similarities are obvious : Both are grifters looking to score an easy and unethical buck (Hunter by trading off his daddy’s name). It’s the contrasts they are illuminating :

          1. Hunter was a broken individual with a record of failure. He allowed himself to be used by Burisma for ready cash because of limited options to earn a (cheap easy) honest dollar. Flynn was a retired general with service in the highest ranks of government. He had plenty of choices but chose to earn his money in the gutter anyway.

          2. Hunter never broke a law that anyone can point to (non-drug related, of course). That’s true even if the “laptop” information is all genuine (massive if). Getting a handshake for a business associate with pops would be the extent of influence peddling. Flynn broke every important law in his chosen line of work, repeatedly failing to register as a foreign agent or disclose his earnings. He was flirting with becoming a kidnapper even while he joined the Trump administration.

          3. Hunter worker for a corrupt company; Flynn worked for corrupt countries. Hunter involvement had no bearing on U.S. government objectives; Flynn regularly worked against his country’s interests.

          4. Hunter is seen as an embarrassment by Democrats, minor but cringe-worthy. Sleazy corrupt criminal Flynn is deified as a cult saint by the unhinged Right.

          5. Lastly, it’s a matter of degree – hard to quantify but still obvious. Whether Flynn is a hundred-times more corrupt than Hunter or merely forty-times, it’s no contest who would win a sleaze competition…..

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