Thursday Open Thread


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NEXT: Impeaching Trump for his Role in Inciting the Attack on the Capitol Doesn't Violate "Established Free Speech Rights"

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  1. Those being arrested for the incident in the Capitol will become the "Chicago 7" of our generation -- politicized controversies that extend far beyond legal niceties.

    The people who merely walked into the building are going to scream "selective enforcement" -- and with credibility in that facial recognization technology wasn't used to track down any of the BLM protesters standing in the middle of Interstate highways, which is equally illegal.

    The interesting thing will be if they are permitted to have competent counsel, if the old adage of every defendant deserves a vigorous defense is still honored, or if the cancel culture will preclude that.

    1. Hey - fine with me. You get the Viking face-painted QAnon guy, and the fellow carrying zip ties, and the man arrested with pipe bombs, and those clowns who propped their feet on an congressperson's desk or hauled around furniture on their backs.

      These martyrs truly meet the high moral & ethical stature of Dr. Ed.....

      1. 'merely walked in'

        I laugh in your face

        1. A fair number of them did just walk in, after other people had cleared the barricades. You'll have a hard time proving in court that those people knew the Capitol building wasn't open to the public.

          1. Now I laugh in your face.

            I told you before, Brett, any premise that you are making that point in good faith must depend on your over-reliance on unreliable news sources. I want to give you the benefit of the doubt on good faith. So once again, watch CNN until you see one of their video summaries depicting what happened. What you suggest is impossible, as you will see.

            1. You seem to be confused about what I'm asserting. I'm saying that the barricades were forced, but afterwards a fair number of people may have entered under the impression that the building was just open.

              Or at least that proving the contrary will be difficult in many cases.

              1. You are foolish, tear gas, broken windows, looting

                NO officer I was not looting the Target, I was checking the prices on coffee makers

                See where that gets you

                1. I once was in a Target while the police were (quite quietly) closing it because the Kohl's had just been robbed with a police officer shot to death, with the robbers still at large.

                  1. I mean, it's a Dr. Ed anecdote so it's probably false, but at the same time, who cares one way or the other? How is it relevant to this discussion? I was once in a CVS.

                2. Thousands of lootings this summer. How many arrested?

                  1. many

                    only the trumpistas looted the US capitol

                    why do you think that is relevant?

                    1. "looted"

                      One guy took a franked envelope. Left a quarter*.

                      How much was left for all the shoes and looted in the BLM riots?

                      [*yes still theft but hardly "loot"]

                3. tear gas

                  You want the Capitol Police and Nat'l Guard arrested?

              2. Brett, I am not at all confused about what you are asserting. I am telling you it is patent nonsense, which no one who saw what happened would believe for a second.

                Once again, look at CNN. You didn't do it, right?

                1. I did, but it's not like I found start to finish video of the whole several hour event.

                  1. Then go back and watch some more. I'll know you stuck with it when you stop spouting nonsense about what happened. Really. I don't mean that rhetorically. I mean that no person who has seen the whole comprehensive video presentation CNN put together would be saying what you say. Unless he was lying. So I assume you just got a light sampling, and happened to hit on footage you thought was reassuring. Watch more, and you won't think that.

                    1. It's Brett. Are we ever surprised at the lies and garbage that he writes?

                2. What I saw was many people being plainly allowed in by officers, or just entering open doors in a line, then proceeding to take a tour inside of the velvet ropes taking selfies etc.

                  1. That's all you saw? Cool story, bro.

                    1. No, that's not all. If you follow the thread, we are talking about the facts regarding a "fair number" of people.

            2. unreliable news sources

              So once again, watch CNN

              I'll bet you even typed that with a straight face.

              1. Wuz, the Capitol videos presented by CNN could be less than a fair and comprehensive depiction of the entire event. But the tenor of the entire event is irrelevant to a discussion of whether force and violence were used. The CNN videos leave no doubt that at least thousands of people participated in violence at the Capitol. Anyone who says otherwise has not seen them.

                1. The CNN videos leave no doubt that at least thousands of people participated in violence at the Capitol. Anyone who says otherwise has not seen them.

                  Anyone claiming that the number of people who entered the Capitol numbered "at least thousands", let alone the number that were actually violent is either blind, an unrepentant liar...or both. In your case, we can add blithering idiot.

          2. Brett -- It's not being widely discussed, partially out of (legitimate) respect for the deceased and his family, but TWO CHPD officers died, the second via a suicide that reportedly was caused by this.

            Suicide amongst cops is more common than you might think, even without a lot of them now also being veterans, but for his fellow officers to say that this was *the* cause of it caught my attention.

            They also have suspended two and reportedly are investigating a few more officers. Personally, I don't think they had a clear protocol and humoring troublemakers is a way to defuse a situation in many cases.

      2. And you get the Weathermen and other assorted ilk from the 1960's.

        I was talking about a specific trial(s) involving specific individuals and a specific incident that I only know as historical. I understand that there was a lot of angst and that the trial became a political cause.

        And there WERE CHPD officers shown opening doors and greeting people now facing criminal charges. Two have been suspended, a third has committed suicide -- if a unformed cop waves you through a red light, they can't turn around and give you a ticket for it....

        1. ". . . if a unformed cop waves you through a red light, they can’t turn around and give you a ticket for it," UNLESS the cops are abetting some sort of criminal activity (like helping you get away from a robbery), then OTHER cops can arrest you AND those cops.

          1. Assuming the yokels were in cahoots, and not just having a fun social protest time ala the CHAZ district in Seattle.

            Some were sinister, many probably were not, and thought it along those lines, with attendant 0 repercussions.

        2. Well, of course a ticket is a civil matter.

          If a cop waves you through a red light, and they can't demonstrate you'd conspired with the cop to have it done, you're going to have a pretty strong case that you lacked criminal intent.

          1. Ummm -- in some states, they still technically are "arrests."

        3. Wow, "assorted ilk." Might be the best oxymoron I ever saw.

    2. Equally illegal to trying to overthrow the gov't?


      1. "Equally illegal to trying to overthrow the gov’t?"

        Welcome to imagination station, where the facts are distorted, words are redefined, and intent is determined by ignoring reality.

        Equally illegal to being in the Capitol without permission (though, isn't the Capitol building a nominally public building?)

        1. Their stated goal was to stop the formalizing of the election for POTUS and install illegally their own candidate.

          Overthrow of the gov't

          1. Isn't that what they were trying to do in Chicago back in 1968?

            1. NO. If you can't be bothered to read any of the many books on the topic, perhaps just look at the recent docudrama that is not particularly consistent on the facts (Borat as Abbie Hoffman) but at least presents some of the main ideas. And blocking the election and installing their own candidate was not it.

              1. "And blocking the election and installing their own candidate was not it."

                No, just supporting the killing of US soldiers by the Viet Cong.


                1. Actually, they wanted to bring our soldiers home from Vietnam, which would have ended their killing by the Viet Cong.

                  1. They don't get to make that decision.

                    Every protest was giving aid and comfort to the enemy.


                    1. I like how we've gone from "They were trying to overthrow the government" to "Anti-war protests are treason" in a few short steps.

                    2. Squirrel!

                    3. They're citizens. Of course they get to make that decision. Government reports to the people and not the other way around.

                      I only regret protests didn't force us out of Vietnam five years earlier. Just think how many killed and maimed soldiers could have been avoided.

                    4. "They’re citizens. Of course they get to make that decision. Government reports to the people and not the other way around."

                      Oh right, then The People, protesting the election results (even mistakenly) have every right to do so. And Trump, having not "incited" (by the legal definition) anything, has done nothing more than being an obnoxious, whiny, spoiled brat. Thanks for playing.

                    5. Vinni, does having that heavy chip on your shoulder make it hard to walk?

                      Of course people who disagree with the election results have the right to peacefully protest, but peaceful protest is not the issue. What happened at the Capitol was not a peaceful protest.

                      And, since most of the lawyers here seem to disagree with you, do tell what you understand the legal definition of "incite" to be.

            2. The Democratic Convention is not congress, unless I am mistaken

              And I do not recall Johnson cheering them on

              1. Today, the Democratic Convention is not Congress. We may need to revise that in 4 years.

        2. "...isn’t the Capitol building a nominally public building?"

          Yes, as is every US military installation in the world. And they all have fences around the perimeter and guards at the gates.

    3. Besides you never being right about any prediction you make, blocking a highway is the same as invading the nation's Capitol and stopping official business to overturn an election?

      Many people who committed crimes during BLM protests were arrested.

      1. With charges being dismissed.

        1. Also just wrong. Look it up.

          1. Most were dismissed. Look it up.

            1. Police were ordered to stand down and allow criminal activity and not make arrests. Those that were arrested, leftist prosecutors mostly refused to charge. Those charged, mostly dismissed. And Kalama Harris and others bailed them out, expressly supported their actions, denied that it happened, etc.

              1. "Police were ordered to stand down and allow criminal activity and not make arrests. Those that were arrested, leftist prosecutors mostly refused to charge."

                This doesn't make any sense. If the police were ordered to stand down and not make arrests, why were there still people who "were arrested"? Anyway, same question for you. How many people do you think were arrested during BLM protests, how many of those people do you think were not charged by prosecutors, and how many of the ones who were charged, do you contend were subsequently dismissed?

                1. There were hundreds of different days and locations and thousands of different events. To be sure, there have been many arrests for violence and property crimes this year.

                  But are you all really just trying to memory hole that a part of Portland was permanently occupied for over 3 months, for example?

                  1. The answer to your question is no. Are you going to answer my question now?

              2. M L, I'm going to give you a sample of right wing debate style. See how it looks to you:

                Cite? Quote where police were ordered to allow criminal activity?

                Mind you, I don't seriously offer that, because it's a bullshit style of debate. You should avoid it too.

              3. Hey, ML, you believe a lot of untrue things, you should maybe take a look at that.


                The Guardian compared the percentage of all demonstrations organized by leftwing and rightwing groups that resulted in the use of force by law enforcement. For leftwing demonstrations, that was about 4.7% of protests, while for rightwing demonstrations, it was about 1.4%, meaning law enforcement was about three times more likely to use force against leftwing versus rightwing protests.[/quote]

                [b]The disparity in police response only grew when comparing peaceful leftwing versus rightwing protests[/b]. Looking at the subset of protests in which demonstrators did not engage in any violence, vandalism, or looting, law enforcement officers were about 3.5 times more likely to use force against leftwing protests than rightwing protests, with about 1.8% of peaceful leftwing protests and only half a percent of peaceful rightwing protests met with teargas, rubber bullets or other force from law enforcement.[/quote]

            2. What's your source for this? What do you contend is the number of people charged with BLM protests, compared to the number of total dismissals, that would cause you to say "most"?

            3. In Portland, most were just let go and never even charged to begin with.

              1. Show your source.

        2. Many people who committed crimes during BLM protests were arrested. Many of the people arrested have been charged, and those charges have not yet been dismissed. There have been public dismissals of some charges. For example, as of December around 100 of the charges brought in Hamilton County (Cincinnati) against BLM protesters had been dismissed, dozens on the grounds that the curfew allegedly violated was unconstitutionally vague. Total arrests was ~ 500, and 375 cases (as of December) remain live and not dismissed.

    4. Not equally illegal.

  2. So there’s approx. 150 hours left in Trump’s presidency.

    When do the pardons start flowing?

    He can even pardon all the folks who visited the Capitol last week!

    Pardons have to be posted here so be sure to check the scorecard kids!

    1. I think the more interesting question is which AG will be the first to declare a pardon by Trump (particularly ones granted after the official rollout of Play Pretty Impeachment 2.0) invalid and proceed with prosecution anyway.

      1. I'm betting the DOJ simply refuses to record Trump's pardons. The last pardons they have listed were last year before Christmas, you really think he hasn't pardoned anyone since December?

        1. Yes, I really think that. Trump has been incredibly stingy and corrupt with the pardon power and I think he or his advisors knew this should be on the down low while he was focusing on usurping a democratic election and then after that blew up in his face. We'll get a slew the last night of his term I should think.

          1. That IS sort of traditional, I suppose.

            1. No, it's not. Most modern Presidents have granted far more pardons and commutations overall and not so many to those personally connected to them.

              1. No, I mean the last minute dodgy pardons are kind of traditional. Not a tradition I admire, mind you.

                For instance, Obama pardoned both Oscar López Rivera, (A P.R. terrorist.) and Bradley Manning. Why did he wait until the last few days of his administration to do that?

                Presumably because he didn't want to have to defend the action while still in office.

                1. Fair point, the last minute ones do tend to be dodgier than earlier ones.

                2. Obama commuted Rivera's and Manning's sentences - he did not pardon them.

                  1. Not only that, not sure about Rivera but Manning had by then already served a lengthy prison sentence so it's not like he walked away with a slap on the wrist. Unlike several of the Trump cronies he's already pardoned.

                    1. Manning served less than four years on a 35 year sentence

                      Can't really describe that as "lengthy."

                      A̶n̶d̶ ̶M̶a̶n̶n̶i̶n̶g̶'̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶s̶h̶e̶.̶ Never mind, that's an argument for another day! 🙂

                    2. Apedad, I suspect that if you were to serve four years in prison you'd consider it a lengthy sentence. And you're right; I should have said she. Force of habit.

                    3. Serve 4 years in the Marine Corps (during a "war" which sends you somewhere like Iraq/Afghanistan) and then 4 years in prison and tell me which is preferable (or if you can even tell the difference, lol).

                      Prison is like 4 years of boot camp. Not great, but not that bad.

                    4. Serve 4 years in the Marine Corps (during a “war” which sends you somewhere like Iraq/Afghanistan) and then 4 years in prison and tell me which is preferable (or if you can even tell the difference, lol).

                      Prison is like 4 years of boot camp. Not great, but not that bad.

                      Spent a lot of time in prison to enable you to make that comparison, Vinni?

                    5. I've had clients that were incarcerated. They uniformly tell me that the worst part of prison is the simple lack of control over one's life and major life decisions. Yeah, the food isn't great and the boredom gets to them, but the most punishing aspect of it is the simple fact that for the time they're there, they're not able to do anything with their lives.

                      I suppose if one had no bigger plans for one's life than hanging around the neighborhood, then you can hang around in prison just as well and it probably isn't so bad. But most of us here have higher aspirations.

                  2. Not terribly impressed with the difference, since being pardoned after 35 years in prison doesn't magically increase your lifespan by 35 years.

      2. I wouldn't mind if he pardoned the non-violent offenders like Qanon buffalo man. But of course any violent offenders, including those who broke windows or assaulted cops should not be pardoned.

        1. Check out his charging docs. Maybe not so non-violent.

    2. If he doesn't pardon Podium Guy there is no justice in this world.

      1. Steal a podium. Burn a police car.

        The police car is at least $20,000 more expensive and could kill a lot of people if the gas tank were to fail, dumping the boiling gasoline onto the deck. (Google BLEVE...)

        I understand the visceral, emotional response, but I can't see how stealing the podium is *worse.*

        1. He just walked around with it. Never left the building.

          1. Crucifixion is the only justifiable punishment for the MAGA mob.

          2. You can deny symbolism matters; no one else seems to be under that delusion.

            Invading the capitol and gleefully vandalizing is not the same as burning a police car, regardless of the quantized cost.

            American democracy does not reside in the police department.

            1. American democracy does not reside in the Capitol either.

              1. The Capitol is a symbol of the destruction of American self-government.

        2. Has the person who set fire to the police car been identified?
          If not, WTF are you going on about?

      2. If he doesn’t pardon Podium Guy there is no justice in this world.

        Look, it's bad enough you do violence to law, logic, and basic human decency on a daily basis, but your assault on the English language is where I draw the line.

        It was a lectern, not a podium.

    3. As far as I understand it, Trump is currently taking the "if I can't get a pardon, nobody's getting a pardon" approach.

      1. As far as I understand it


  3. It also just came out that the "panic buttons" had been removed from at least Ayanna Pressley's (D-MA) office. That's like an arsonist shutting off the sprinkler system before torching a building.

    I'm thinking Trump was set up.

    1. I've thought Trump was set up from day one: Nobody with two functioning neurons would have thought invading the Capitol would help Trump. And then there's those pipe bombs at BOTH the DNC AND RNC headquarters.

      As I've been saying for days: It was a Reichstag fire, but Trump wasn't the one that lit it.

      1. I don't think there was any reason to set Trump up; just get out of the way and let him self destruct. The Bible says that pride goes before destruction, and he is the walking personification of that passage. You have to go back to Lyndon Johnson to find an administration with anything even remotely approaching this much hubris. And every time he opens his mouth, what I hear is "I will be like the Most High."

        Trump was destroyed by his own ego.

      2. First, trumpski does not have 2 functioning neurons

        He is and always has been a moron, a spoiled rich kid with a 6 grade vocabulary and the business record worse than a magic 8 ball, so there is that

        No one forced him to:
        Pretend he lost the election
        Call for the protest
        Speak to the protestors
        Urge them to march on the capitol

        1. "Call for the protest
          Speak to the protestors
          Urge them to march on the capitol"

          Wait, I thought we were impeaching him for ordering "his mob" to "attack the capitol"?

          Didn't you get the memo?

          1. Yes he is as a matter of fact

            ANd that is what he did

            1. Welcome again to imagination station, where the facts are distorted, words are redefined, and intent is determined by ignoring reality.

            2. Cite of him actually telling anyone to "attack the capitol"?

      3. Brett Bellmore : "Nobody with two functioning neurons would have thought... (etc)"

        One question & some points :

        Question : Can you explain this conspiracy in detail, Brett? Your attempt to lay this off on antifa hasn't weathered well. Did George Soros somehow embed himself deep down into Trumpdom to lead the true believers into error? (Those Internationalist can be kinda tricky that way) Just lay out your theory, please.

        Points : Would someone with "two functioning neurons" believe he could strong-arm the Georgia Secretary of State into changing vote results on a phone call that included a score of people? Would someone with "two functioning neurons" believe he could extort campaign assistance from the Ukrainian president in front of an equal number of witnesses?

        Even you must confess there are no shortage of examples where Trump acted like he didn't have "two functioning neurons"

        1. "Would someone with “two functioning neurons” believe he could strong-arm the Georgia Secretary of State into changing vote results on a phone call that included a score of people?"

          You keep mischaracterizing that phone call. To the extent there was any "strong arming", it was to permit investigation of voting irregularities, not the change vote results.

          1. WTF are you talking about? Most of the call was just incoherent psychotic rambling by Trump

            Plus an effort to get Raffensperger to "recalculate."

            And by what right does the Trump campaign get to "investigate" "irregularities" in GA anyway?

            They lost a half dozen lawsuits there, and even dropped some of the latest ones, but not without telling a few lies about a non-existent "settlement."

            After months of baseless claims of voter fraud against Georgia's presidential election results, President Donald Trump's campaign voluntarily dismissed four separate lawsuits challenging the November results on Jan. 7, according to court documents — but not before falsely claiming the state agreed to a settlement to review "withheld" election data....

            "Rather than presenting their evidence and witnesses to a court and to cross-examination under oath, the Trump campaign wisely decided the smartest course was to dismiss their frivolous cases," Raffensperger said in a news release. "Even in capitulation, they continue to spread disinformation."

            1. "Most of the call was just incoherent psychotic rambling by Trump"

              Disturbing, but not illegal.

              "Plus an effort to get Raffensperger to “recalculate.”"

              Which was probably too vague to actually constitute anything approaching a crime, even though it was really fucking creepy.

              1. I'll buy all that.

            2. Most of the call was just incoherent psychotic rambling by Trump

              This perspective makes it even more amusing that people claim to say with such striking clarity what he was trying to accomplish in the call. Consistency being the hobgoblin of little minds and all that.

          2. Oh, the amusing irony of Brett accusing someone of mischaracterizing facts.

            For his next trick, he'll accuse others of selectively quoting text out of context to push a lie.

          3. Brett Bellmore : ".... it was to permit investigation of voting irregularities, not the change vote results"

            And you believe that why? Because a pathological liar says so? Because that's what you want to believe? Let's look at another example from Trump's past : Deutsche Bank asked DJT to repay forty million in loans. In response, DJT sued the bank, claiming the Great Recession was an "act of god" that voided his debt obligation. Also, Deutsche Bank's request for repayment had damaged Trump's reputation, so he demanded three billion dollars for the affront.

            So where do you stand on that, Brett? I see bullshit from a hustler conman to circumvent his debt obligation. Just like this election fraud garbage has always been bullshit from a hustler conman to circumvent the voter's choice. Just like the Georgia call was a bullshit from a hustler conman trying to work a scam. Why the hell would you believe anything different?

            Six months before the election, Trump told the cult he was going to claim voting fraud. Three months before the election, Trump told the cult he was going to claim voting fraud. On the eve of the election, Trump told the cult he was going to claim voting fraud.

            Results in, Trump says "fraud". His army of cult dupes are immediately triggered with horror & outrage. Aren't you tired of Trump treating you like an idiot, Brett?

            1. Because I read the transcript, and am a native speaker of English, which is close enough to whatever the hell Trump speaks that I can understand him most of the time?

              1. Evidently, you are not tired of Trump treating you like an idiot.

              2. ADHD makes it difficult to read a prepared speech verbatim, accurately.

          4. HOw is "find me 12000 votes" asking to investigate voting irregularities?

            corruption pure and simple

            1. Here's the transcript. Point out to me where he said that.

              1. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state."

                1. Exactly: "Find me 12000 votes" is a demand that the votes be produced.

                  "I just want to find 11,780 votes" is stating your goal.

                  He was asking for access to conduct an investigation. He thought that the result of the investigation would be that enough fraud and other irregularities would be proven to change the count by at least 11,780 votes, enough to hand him the state.

                  But he wasn't demanding that Georgia invent the votes. He was demanding access to look for them.

                  1. He was asking for access to conduct an investigation.

                    He wasn't asking for an investigation. He repeatedly claimed he won and bigly. He asked Raffensberger to summarily confirm that victory with at least 11,780 votes out of the many, many more that Trump thought were plainly available.

                    1. "He asked Raffensberger to summarily confirm that victory with at least 11,780 votes out of the many, many more that Trump thought were plainly available."

                      And if Trump genuinely though those votes were plainly available he wasn't asking Raffensberger to do anything corrupt/illegal.

                      Of course the level of delusion on Trump's part that implies was rather disturbing to listen to.

                    2. I linked to the blasted transcript above. He was asking for a chance to do the investigation.

                    3. Why would they read it when they've been told what it means, and just redefine the words to suit their agenda?

                    4. Please provide the relevant text that supports the claim Trump was asking for an investigation.

                  2. Liar

                    just stop it

                    if two random people are chatting over drinks

                    When the POTUS calls you in your position SOS of Georgia he is asking for something

                    totally corrupt and inexcusable

                  3. "He was asking for access to conduct an investigation."

                    With a stated goal of finding just enough to flip the state to him? That in itself is pretty corrupt. 'Hey Brad, let my guys look into this, we're aiming to find just enough cases to flip the state to me.'

                  4. And why the hell was he "asking for access to conduct an investigation?"

                    He wants to conduct his own "investigation?" And you think it's a good idea? Any bets on what Trump's "investigation" would find? Impartial, right?

                    There were all kinds of recounts and audits in GA, conducted in fact by Trump Republican Trump voters. Nothing turned up.

                    So now he's supposed to investigate on his own? So he can make up a bunch of crap, which you will of course believe, about how it was all stolen?

                    No. He filed lawsuits. He had recounts. It's over. He lost.

          5. Brett, I know you want off on the Georgia Secretary thing, but could you talk more about the conspiracy to set Trump up? Who was in on it? When did they plan it?

            1. That would be something I would hope would come out of the investigation of the perps, since at least some of them were caught.

              1. Like, OJ huh? The investigation will uncover the true criminal.

                Don't you get weary of playing the fool for Trump?

                1. Don't you ever get tired of raving about him with spittle flying?

                  The caught at least some of the perps. I assume an investigation will aim at identifying everybody involved, including people not caught. For example, who planted the bombs?

                  This should get us some information concerning their goals and leadership. If it leads to covert communications with Trump?

                  Fine, prosecute him, to the fullest extent of the law. Execute him for treason, even.

                  More likely, this is going to be one of those all too common cases where the FBI identified some idiots raving about doing something illegal, gave them some rope for them to hang themselves with, and then screwed up and didn't stop them in time.

        2. "Your attempt to lay this off on antifa hasn’t weathered well. "

          Well, there was at least one antifa type doing some instigating. But there were plenty of Trump supporters. In the end, the people responsible for the rioting are the people who riot, just like Portland, Seattle, Kenosha, Trump's inauguration, etc.

          1. Show your source.

              1. I see nothing about Sullivan and Antifa.

                I guess some people saw he liked BLM in social media and that’s enough for you?.

                1. "I guess some people saw he liked BLM in social media and that’s enough for you?"

                  Why the dishonesty?. The evidence of his previous history of rioting is easy enough to find.

                  1. It's not dishonesty.
                    I don't see any evidence his being Antifa when I Google other than a bunch of headlines on right-wing websites that they do not back up.

      4. Right, Brett.

        It's all a deep conspiracy, Soros-funded no doubt, to damage Trump. All those rioters were antifa members in disguise, complete with carefully prepared false identities to make them look like RWNJ's.

        I'm sure Q will expose the whole thing any day now.

        Are you serious? Do you have any idea how fucking ridiculous you sound?

        1. As ridiculous as the FBI setting up people by trying to convince them to do illegal things (that they may or may not have otherwise done), and then arresting them for "doing" the illegal thing that they suggested, but prevented them from doing? Totally fucking ridiculous.

          1. I have no idea WTF you are talking about.

      5. "It was a Reichstag fire, but Trump wasn’t the one that lit it."

        A sentence that perfectly characterizes the conspiracy and hyperbole that constitutes modern conservatism in America.

        1. Explain the disconnected panic buttons...

          1. Huh?

            You mean if I don't know what happened, and neither of the two of us does know, that's proof that antifa did it?

            What kind of idiot are you?

            1. It's proof that someone removed them, and probable cause to ask "who" and "why." As to "who", that's what investigations are for...

              1. So then why are you drawing conclusions above?

                You can't even keep your story straight within yourself.

              2. You weren't calling for an investigation. You were making BS claims about who did it, even though you have not an iota of actual information to go on.

      6. Come out of the world of fantasy and into the world of reality.

        Trump orchestrated this to intimidate the Senate into not certifiying Biden's election. Like the bully he is, he did not intend for actual use of force, but just the threat of it. Then it got out of control and blew up in his face, and he now realizes he has destroyed himself. Boo hoo.

        He will, rightly, be viewed as worse than Richard Nixon, until now considered the worst president in U.S. history.

        Trump's history is to screw his followers in the end. Always. Ask his many creditors who went to bankruptcy court. Or Rudy Giuiliani, who he now says he won't pay.

        1. "He will, rightly, be viewed as worse than Richard Nixon, until now considered the worst president in U.S. history."

          I'm not sure that is right. I mean, yes, Nixon was a terrible President in many ways, but he also had some major accomplishments. The reason he is such a terrible President is because his signature "achievements" (much like Trump's) struck at the core of republican (small R) self-government.

          But we tend to forget:
          Buchanan (Dithered into Civil War)
          Harding (Set the Bar for Corruption)
          Andrew Johnson (Set Back Reconstruction)
          Tyler (ineffectual and unsuccessful)

          And that's before getting into complicated questions; for all of the enduring legacy of a President like Andrew Jackson (for example), how are we to properly evaluate what he did in terms of the horrific way that he treated Native Americans and disobeyed treaties and lawful orders? Or in the opposite way, Hoover was a good man and widely respected for many reasons prior to ascending to the Presidency, but how can we properly assess his response to the signature event in his lifetime that causes him to be considered a bad President?

          Not to mention times tend to change our perception; US Grant was widely considered a bad President for some time last century (there might have been some "Lost Cause" influence there); however, more and more people realize that while he might not have been a great President, he wasn't bad either.

          (As you can tell, I tend to be fascinated by this question, as I often think how we rank the Presidents tells us more about us than it does about the Presidents we are ranking.)

          1. I agree. To call Nixon the worst president in US history is to proclaim one's ignorance of that history. Moreover, Mr Nixon did have make some momentous policy changes such as the opening to China.

            1. Nixon also signed the National Environmental Policy Act, ended the draft, signed the AMB Treaty with the Soviets, The Paris Peace Treaty, signed Title IX and helped start the EPA.

              1. Are you arguing for or against him being worst?

                1. Just adding fuel to the fire.

            2. Way to undercut your own argument, Don.

          2. "Andrew Johnson (Set Back Reconstruction)"

            I'm interested in how you think Johnson set back reconstruction.

            My understanding is that ultimately what got him impeached was that he wanted to move more quickly on bringing the former Confederate states fully back into US statehood than what Lincoln's Cabinet and Congress was willing to support.

            1. This might be helpful.

              Yes, he "wanted to move more quickly on bringing the former Confederate states fully back into US statehood", in the sense that he wanted to do it without forcing them to give freed slaves their rights first.

              1. "in the sense that he wanted to do it without forcing them to give freed slaves their rights first"

                Yeah, so what? He lost that political battle, along with almost every other battle over reconstruction policy.

                How does that make Johnson the one who "set back" reconstruction?

          3. Good comment, loki. Can't disagree strongly with any of it. Nice historical perspective, too, especially about Grant and the, "Lost Cause."

        2. "Or Rudy Giuiliani, who he now says he won’t pay."

          Would you?

          1. I wouldn't have hired him in the first place, or if I did I would have fired him pretty quickly.

        3. Bored Lawyer : "Richard Nixon, until now considered the worst president in U.S. history"

          I still say Buchanan, but admit it's a close call. Also, saying Trump’s history is to "screw his followers" scarcely captures the depth of his perfidy. But how to describe someone who rewards four years of abject dog-like devotion from Pence with a howling mob screaming for his blood?

          There was speculation Trump would resign a few minutes early so Pence could pardon him. I'm guessing that transaction is no longer a functional possibility.....

          1. It's been reported that Trump won't consider resigning because he doesn't trust Pence to pardon him. Which would be politically worse for Pence if Trump were to resign: pardoning or not?

            1. When you spend your whole career stabbing your friends in the back, you may suddenly discover you have no friends. Trump's chickens are coming home to roost. I am devastated for him. NOT.

              As for Pence, his political career is over. He will probably make a nice living on the rubber chicken circuit, maybe write a tell-all book. That's it.

            2. But now that you mention it, I said this before. Pence and Biden should have a private meeting with Trump. And offer him two choices: (1) resign and be pardoned by Pence, with Biden coming out in support (he can quote Ford) or (2) don't resign, and Biden will get his AG to prosecute Trump on whatever charge they can find. Of which there are plenty.

              It won't happen. But it would be the best way out.

              1. I've never quite understood this idea that your political enemies are just waiting for a chance to help you with your priorities.

          2. So who was the best? I nominate Harding.

            1. Well, from a libertarian perspective the best was clearly William Henry Harrison. Did less objectionable stuff than anyone.

      7. The FBI (a) admits to knowing about this plot 2 days in advance and (b) not telling Trump (i.e. passing it upstairs to the people who would).

        1. Oh, for God's sake Ed!

          Don't you have better ways to look foolish? Please answer me this: What happened after Anthony Quinn Warner blew himself up in Tennessee? It was found the authorities had been warned. What happened after 911? It was found the authorities had been warned. What happens after almost every horrific criminal event? Somewhere buried in the tsunami of reports, tips, and raw intelligence is a prescient sentence or two, waiting to be found.

          This is almost as certain as sunrise in the east. Hint: it's always easier to recognize after the fact that a stray tip or report was legitimate, not exaggerated.

          If that's all you've got for your latest conspiratorial blather, you have nothing.

          1. Yeah, I'm sure you never blamed Bush for ignoring that useless CYA memo.

            1. Yes and no. I can truthfully say I made extremely limited use of the memo in my vitriol aimed at Mr. Bush. I won't say never, but references to it were exceptional rare. Of course, W bungled so often it provided me a wealth of material, so I could afford to have scruples.

              I certainly would never have tried to create a conspiracy theory out of such a commonplace & predictable human error tho. That's just plain silly.

          2. NO -- *this* time they warned other agencies, except the USSS and JTTF, who would have told Trump.

            1. Dr. Ed, what if nobody would have told Trump. Anything. Ever. Because Trump would never sit still to listen (we know he doesn't read, and gets angry with anyone who tries to give him paper). Would that have been on them, or on Trump?

  4. Question for the forum.

    Is "intending" to "overturn a Democratic Election" something that is an impeachable offense and/or treason? Regardless of how likely the intended action is to actually result in overturning the aforementioned election?

    1. Intention by itself? I would think surely not. But how would one infer that intention? What overt acts support the allegation? These are much more amenable to an impeachment analysis.

      As for treason, I go back to the Constitution's intentionally high bar as a starting point for that, and have seen nothing that even remotely suggests Trump committed that offense.

    2. No, intentions alone are not impeachable, criminal, or civil grounds. (normal caveat that impeachment can technically be held over someone wearing a blue tie if that is what congress wants to do)

      You can't arrest someone for intending to rob a bank with the power of their mind from across town.

    3. Attempted murder is a crime, whether you are successful or not. The intent is what makes it a crime. How is this different?

      1. You cannot be charged for attempted murder if you did not attempt it though. If I intend to murder you three months from now, but you die of natural causes tomorrow before I've done anything but fantasize about it. I can't be arrested for attempted murder.

        I most certainly can't be arrested for attempted murder when your only evidence is me telling people explicitly not to murder you. Even if you have a fact free conspiracy theory that I'm using some secret code where don't murder means murder.

      2. Clarification: "Intent" is not a crime; it's an element of a crime. It's the mental state of having a criminal mind that intended to do something wrong. The actual impeachable offense would be overturning a democratic election, of which intent would be a necessary part. So I think the question that's being asked is this: If the attempt is unsuccessful, was the attempt itself a crime, and I think the answer to that is yes, as in the case of attempted murder.

        Now, thoughts are not crimes. You can think whatever you want, so there would need to be some actual act in the direction of committing the crime. But it doesn't have to be much of an act. If I wrongly think that putting sugar in someone's breakfast cereal will kill them, and I do it, I tried to kill them, even though my attempt was laughable.

        1. If the attempt exists only in the fevered minds of squawking lefties...

          1. So the ten Republicans who voted for impeachment are all squawking lefties? I'm sure Adam Kinzinger would be highly amused to hear himself so described.

            1. Let me remind you of something: Establishment Republicans don't particularly like Trump.

              He's not somebody the establishment approved of, he came in from outside, brushed aside the gatekeepers, crushed the establishment picks, and from the establishment's perspective, stole the nomination it was their right to hand out.

              Sure, you don't often see Republican office holders openly expressing their contempt/hatred for him, but that's because they have to worry about the voters. Retiring Republicans frequently cut loose on him, though.

              I expect those ten are planning on retiring when their terms are over.

              1. Establishment Republicans may not like Trump but that does not make them squawking lefties, which is the specific claim to which I was responding.

              2. Brett, let me suggest an Ockham-kind-of-thing : The reason retiring GOPers might express contempt for Trump isn't necessarily because he came in from outside, brushed aside the gatekeepers, crushed the establishment picks, etc.

                Maybe he's just contemptible.....

                1. Ockhams razor would be the opposite. When presented between the options that the guy who lost the poker game is just mad at the winner and that the guy who lost the poker games assessment of the winner as stinky, rocks for brain, horrible human being who fucks their mother is true. Ockhams razor points towards the former.

                  Hatred of the outsider is a much simpler explanation than the conspiracy theory that when Trump said "Protest Peacefully" it was really a super secret code word that only people who already hated him can understand.

                  1. William of Ockham would find you a hot mess. Trump being contemptible remains the simplest explanation to explain why people say he's contemptible.

                    Would it help if I diagram this out in graphic form ?!?

                  2. The people who protested violently seemed to understand that super secret code word pretty well, too.

        2. Sure, let's go on in that front.

          Let's say you intend to overturn an election results. And in order to do so, you decide to promote certain statements and concepts that you know to be factually inaccurate to other parties, on the assumption those other parties will act on those factually inaccurate statements in order to try to overturn the Democratic election, in one way or another.

          Would that be treason and/or impeachable?

          1. As has already been pointed out, anything half the House and 2/3 of the Senate considers impeachable is impeachable; impeachment is a political act.

            If I were a senator, I'm not sure I would find it treasonous -- maybe it could be considered war against the United States, but I think that's a stretch. I would certainly consider it a violation of the oath of office, and might well vote to impeach on that basis.

            1. I see.

              So, say you were to promote a dossier of information that you knew to be inaccurate. You promoted it to certain government officials. And they used that inaccurate information to fraudlently obtain warrants. And the goal of this entire process was to overturn and get rid of the democratically elected president.

              That would be a violation of the oath of office and impeachable, right?

              1. You knew this was headed somewhere in this vicinity...

                You know, don't you, that the dossier wasn't the only thing used to get warrants, that not everything in the dossier was inaccurate, and that it most certainly wasn't used as a goal to overturn a democratically elected President, right?

                1. 1. The dossier was used to help get the warrants.
                  2. The dossier was deliberately, factually, inaccurate, on multiple levels.
                  3. The goal of the dossier was to was to undermine and ultimately overthrow the Democratically elected President.

                  1. 1. The dossier was used along with other things to get some warrants (remember, the investigation into Trump campaign officials Russia ties predated the dossier, indeed it predated Trump's run).
                    2. The dossier was corroborated on significant points
                    3. The IG found no political motivations for the investigation and the dossier certainly wasn't compiled to undermine and overthrow the democratically elected President because it was compiled *before* Trump was President (I mean really, if you're going to get stuff this basic wrong here you probably should question a lot more of what you're concluding)

                    1. 1. Well, what does the IG say?

                      "We determined that the Crossfire Hurricane team’s receipt of Steele’s election reporting on September 19, 2016 played a central and essential role in the FBI’s and Department’s decision to seek the FISA order. "

                      So...sure. It just played a part. A central and essential part, but just a part...

                  2. Armchair Lawyer : The dossier was used to help get the warrants.

                    Not per the Justice Department Inspector General

                    Armchair Lawyer : The dossier was deliberately, factually, inaccurate, on multiple levels.

                    Bullshit. Even where the dossier was wrong, it was an echo of true facts distorted by distance and gossip. Thus, Steele heard Manafort was meeting with the Russians to coordinate collusion. Instead, he was meeting with a Russian spy to pass on campaign info. Likewise, Steele heard Cohen secretly traveled to Prague to meet with Russians on the election. Wrong, but close : He secretly traveled to Moscow to meet with Kremlin officials on a (secret) business deal for Trump.

                    And don't even dare bring up the tape with prostitutes. It was a real tape and Russians working for Cohen negotiated to take it out of circulation. The general conclusion was it was faked, but you can read the testimony in Mueller's report over Michael Cohen's dealings to secure it.

                    In fact, please tell us want Steele got wholly wrong, as opposed to partially? I'd be interested to watch you try. Some of his financial allegations might fit that description, but no one - Mueller included - have examined DJT's finances enough to tell. Trump has made damn sure of that, hasn't he?

                    Armchair Lawyer : The goal of the dossier was to was to undermine and ultimately overthrow the Democratically elected President.

                    This is counterfactual imbecilic gibberish. The "goal" of the dossier was to serve as opposition research for the Clinton campaign. It was delivered and round-filed, unused & unleaked for the entire duration of the '16 election.

                    People who say nonsense garbage to hear the conspiratorial sound of their own voice drive me bonkers.

                    1. There's a lot wrong about what you say, and I don't have time to go into it all. We'll start with this, which is easily verifiable as wrong.

                      "It was delivered and round-filed, unused & unleaked for the entire duration of the ’16 election."

                      The Steele Dossier was used and sent to the FBI September 2016. This was, you may recall during the 2016 election.

                    2. "unused & unleaked for the entire duration of the ’16 election"


                    3. Which part about "used and sent to the FBI in September 2016" did you miss?

                      Here's the IG on the role the dossier played

                      "We determined that the Crossfire Hurricane team’s receipt of Steele’s election reporting on September 19, 2016 played a central and essential role in the FBI’s and Department’s decision to seek the FISA order. "

                      Hmm. That despite the CIA calling it "internet rumor"

                    4. Look, I doubt you're capable of honesty on this issue, but one more try: You're shtick is dark forces of the deep state paid Steele Judas silver to concoct phony allegations against Trump. Not a bit of that stands even a moments scrutiny.

                      1. Steele was a subcontractor to a firm Hillary picked-up to do oppo-research, mainly because they'd already started the work for one of Trump's GOP primary oppoenents.

                      2. Steele's report was unused and unleaked by Clinton and Democrats.

                      3. The person who gave a copy of Steele's report to the FBI was Steele himself. It's yet another gaping hole in your bullshit narrative : The person you claim was a knowing fraudster for Deep State forces was the only person who took his report seriously. The so-called "Deep State Forces" ignored the dossier; Steele was the one telling his contacts he'd found something important.

                    5. The IG report said that “Steele’s reports played no role in the Crossfire Hurricane opening.”

                      Is it possible you're still building an entire conspiracy mountain out of the microscopic nonentity called Carter Page? If so, I invite you to reread my initial comment above - where I eviscerate that nonsense. Kinda pathetic if all your haranguing about the Steele Report is only another rehash of little Carter Page.

                      Your theory seems to be this : Steele was a Deep State operative designed to have backup material on standby so an FBI agent could cheat on a warrant for (wait for it) (wait for it) (wait for it) Carter Page!

                      Steele's report had nothing to do with the opening of the overall inquiry. It may have played a small part in a single instance of FBI misconduct concerning an individual barely relevant to the overall investigation.

                      This isn't even missing the forest for the tress. This is missing the forest for a single grain of sand at the foot of one tree.

                2. "that not everything in the dossier was inaccurate,"

                  No, just the stuff that sounded bad. Standard procedure in constructing a smear: You claim that somebody took the 9:15 train to Prague to visit a prostitute, people check, and sure enough, they did take the 9:15 train! You must be right about the prostitute...

                  1. trump is still a traitor to the Republic, no matter what squirrel you chase

                    1. I realize that's your starting point, not a conclusion, yes.

              2. If that actually happened it could be. And I give you E for effort for your continued insistence that Trump’s misconduct is OK so long as you can find some Democrat somewhere who also did something bad.

                1. As I've mentioned before, equality is important.

                  If you're willing to condemn one side for something, but not the other side, you need to ask yourself "It that item really that bad?"

                  Again and again, you excuse Democrats for conduct that you're condemning Trump for. Repeatedly. So, it implies you don't really consider what is being done a crime, but are just doing this because "It's Trump"

                  1. You're comparing apples to watermelons and have some major factual issues with your analogy.

                  2. Armchair Lawyer, I completely disagree with your characterization of the Steele Dossier. That said, if your characterization actually were accurate, yes, it could hypothetically be grounds for impeachment. However, that nobody was impeached over it is not a reason to not impeach Trump.

                    1. I will also point out that the Republicans controlled Congress for a significant chunk of the Obama presidency, so if he or any of his underlings should have been impeached, it's on the Republicans that it didn't happen.

                    2. And now you're just disagreeing with characterizations.

                      I disagree with your characterization of what Trump supposedly did or said, so there's no reason to impeach Trump.

                      See how this works? You've treated similar situations differently in your head, because who is involved.

                    3. No, that's not how it works. Your characterization of the Steele Dossier is complete nonsense. The two are not comparable. It's like comparing astronomy to astrology. Yes, they both have something to do with stars, but there the resemblance ends.

              3. Armchair, if the goal to overthrow a legitimately elected president is to do it legitimately, by impeachment, then isn't almost anything you do legal—because lying in politics is legal—unless it breaks some other law, like lying under oath in court. I don't like that by the way, but I think I learned it here.

                On the other hand, if the goal to overthrow a legitimately elected president is to do it by force and violence, well, that's a breach of the oath (at least), and impeachable.

                But of course, breaking the oath is not the only legitimate reason to impeach. Trump's post-election antics provide an example.

                A certain amount of foot-dragging on a concession may be excusable, when there is some colorable claim that after limited delay and inquiry, something legitimate may turn up. After recounts and court reviews have shown beyond reasonable doubt (insane doubt is another matter, which doesn't apply) that no legitimate complaint about the election will overturn the result, everything changes.

                At that point, the election is over. After the election is over, everything done by the losing candidate to undermine the election result has the character of an attack on the sovereignty of the voters. Attacking the sovereign ought to be numbered among the worst of impeachable offenses, right up there with treason. So even before his attempts to encourage a violent attack on Congress, Trump had already committed one of the worst possible impeachable offenses.

                1. "unless it breaks some other law"

                  Like being used as fraudulent grounds to obtain search warrants?

                  1. So is the theory that we should be impeaching some FBI agents?

                    1. Also, all the people who pushed and supported the dossier. Because by pushing it, it was used in a crime to overthrow the democratically elected government.

                      See how this works? If you're going to try to convict Trump for not actually committing a crime, but just sending a message that leads to a crime, then....

                    2. Sure, I guess if you have evidence that Obama or someone else you might want to impeach announced to the FBI "there's this Steele dossier over here, you guys should really be taking a look at it" then we could entertain the notion that there's at least some similar-sounding story. As far as I know, that's not remotely what happened, but interested to hear if you know something I don't.

                      Then again, some people might also think that there's an important distinction between perjury as the end outcome of a chain of causality versus a violent mob storming the Capitol, so you'd probably have to deal with that objection as well.

                  2. Sure, like that. Prosecute that.

                  3. Armchair Lawyer : Like being used as fraudulent grounds to obtain search warrants?

                    Want an indication of the degree "Russiagate" as scandal is empty bullshit? Here we have an inquiry covering Donald Trump, his family, his associates, and his campaign organization. It also investigated a broad effort by the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election and assist the Trump campaign. It was woven thru with counter-intelligence elements and considerations of international finance.

                    Yet Armchair Lawyer finds the beating heart of scandal in one FBI agent cheating on a search warrant for a peripheral & irrelevant target - one who was an FBI counterintelligence concern long before he became involved with Trump.

                    The sum total of Durham's findings to date is another nobody agent named Clinesmith, working on the far outer fringes of the Russian investigation. Per Barr, Durham has cleared the CIA of any wrongdoing and is exclusively working on FBI procedural issues at this point. Yep, it's Clinesmiths all the way down.

                    Heck of a "scandal" you've put together there, Armchair! Can't wait to see how you flesh it out to be impeachment-worthy....

                2. "A certain amount of foot-dragging on a concession may be excusable"

                  Is a concession required by law? Whether Trump "concedes" or not, Harris/Biden has been elected, and will be sworn in January 20th. It's not "an attempt to overthrow a legitimately elected President" to refuse to make a concession speech for the President-ELECT. No matter how uncouth you believe it to be.

                  The current President is the president until January 20th. If Trump is not out of the White House after Biden is sworn in, THEN we have a problem. Again, this all boils down to "Trump is a meanie", and ORANGEMANBAD.

                  1. "Again, this all boils down to “Trump is a meanie”, and ORANGEMANBAD."

                    Trump's effort to overturn the election results is without precedent, so there goes your cutesy argument.

                    1. Queen Amalthea -- look into the tumultuous term of John Quincy Adams.

                  2. No the argument is that he is a traitor to the Republic

                  3. VinniUSMC, refusing a concession speech is uncouth. You are right about that. Not impeachable. Continuing to claim you won an election after evidence shows you actually lost is another matter altogether. Absolutely impeachable.

                    Just in general, I suggest that the standard for all impeachable offenses—the answer to the question, what is a high crime or misdemeanor—ought to be whether the conduct materially damages constitutional order. An incumbent falsely denying he lost reelection is an egregious attack on constitutional order. In Trump's case the damage done has been manifest and unambiguous.

                    1. So, we could have impeached Gore within a few days of the 2000 election, and barred him from ever holding public office again?

                    2. "Continuing to claim you won an election after evidence shows you actually lost is another matter altogether. Absolutely impeachable."

                      Unless Trump refuses to leave the White House after the next administration is sworn in, Trump is free to continue to be the loud-mouthed narcissist that everyone already knows he is. It's only as impeachable as the politik decides it is.

                      "I suggest that the standard for all impeachable offenses—the answer to the question, what is a high crime or misdemeanor—ought to be whether the conduct materially damages constitutional order."

                      Sure, I think that's a good, though easily abused, standard. So, we agree that Trump shouldn't be impeached.

                      "An incumbent falsely denying he lost reelection is an egregious attack on constitutional order."

                      EgrEGiOuS... Oh, I guess you don't believe what you wrote. Never mind.

                    3. If Gore had encouraged traitors to attack the capitol I imagine he could have and shoul dhave been impeached

                      but he didn't

                      your hero did

                      because he is an UnAmerican traitor

                    4. "

                      If Gore had encouraged traitors to attack the capitol I imagine he could have and shoul dhave been impeached

                      but he didn’t

                      your hero didn't either

                      but I will continue to pretend he did because I hate him"

                      Fixed it for you.

                3. I'd agree that once the "safe haven date" of Dec 8 is past, the election is over.

                  1. I'd say the 14th, when the Electors voted. But it WAS all over last year, that we'd agree on.

                    1. And yet Trump pushed for almost a month later. That's unprecedented.

              4. Knew to be inaccurate is not established in the timeline.

          2. Good thing that didn't happen in the case you are referring to.

            Plus, causing an investigation to be opened is not remotely equivalent to causing a riot. Not in the same area code.

            Plus, an impeachment is a legal, constitutional process. It's not remotely equivalent to storming the Capitol to prevent the EV's from being certified. Not in the same area code.

            Even under your tendentious description of the Mueller investigation you are comparing completely different things - apples to TV sets.

            But keep flogging that horse, A.L. I'm sure it will come back to life someday.

      3. Attempted murder has to actually have a realistic chance to succeed in order for it to be considered a crime.

        If a 100 pound, 80 year old woman screams at a healthy 20 year old, 180 pound man and says "I'm going to kill you!" and charges him with her fists wailing, you could "try" charging her with attempted murder I suppose. But you wouldn't succeed. Reverse the parties, and it's a different case.

        1. It does not have to have a realistic chance to succeed; the crime is that you tried to do it, not whether you had any real shot at being successful. I think theoretically your 80 year old woman could be charged with attempted murder, though most prosecutors would probably have the good sense not to, and most juries would probably acquit.

        2. If the 100 lb, 80 year old woman causes him to fall over a railing and crack his head open (i.e. die), couldn't she be charged with some form of manslaughter?

          Specifically, she swings at him, he jumps out of the way and falls to his death as a direct consequence. Isn't there criminal culpability there?

          1. OTOH, if she made a routine practice of doing this, she likely would be charged with some variant of "disturbing the peace" or "disorderly conduct."

      4. Attempted murder may be a crime -- but self-defense is not.

    4. Armchair,

      That is a good question. Short answer: I don’t know.

      Long answer: It depends. I’m most familiar with the facts surrounding the Aaron Burr treason trial. In those cases John Marshall highlighted this potential paradox: you don’t want to encourage treason/sedition, but you also don’t want to discourage dissent against the government. Burr’s alleged actions fell into this gray area. His alleged plot was in motion, but it had not fully matured into open rebellion. There was also a dearth of evidence against him and his alleged co-conspirators and he was eventually acquitted. Marshall thus set a high bar for conviction for treason, in contrast with the rather low bar that existed in England/UK. I’m not too familiar with the various prosecutions for treason since then, I think there are only a few dozen.


      1. PS, my answer was about criminal conviction for treason. The “what is impeachable” question really gets me. So much has been written on this blog about it, I’m still trying to make sense of it all.


    5. Intending plus effort is or could be.

    6. People need to be more clear about whether you're in 'is' land our 'ought' land.

      I presume you're in 'ought' land, because the 'is' question is trivial.

      Now, some argue the ought question is also trivial, because of political pressures. I don't think that's right; representatives should be thought of as at least somewhat independent of their constituents and parties.

  5. Re: The Parler suit against Amazon

    One of the issues in the (contract breach) case, at least in Parler's view, is whether Amazon suspended or terminated Parler's account. Parler argues that even though Amazon claimed it was suspending Parler's account, in reality it effectively terminated Parler's account.

    On 1/11 Amazon filed a notice of intent to file response which included this sentence:

    "AWS has not been served, and Parler’s account was terminated the day before it filed its Motion."

    On 1/12 Amazon filed its response which included this sentence:

    "Parler claims AWS breached the agreement by failing to provide thirty days’ notice of termination (to be clear, AWS suspended and did not terminate the account)"

    My question of (practicing?) attorneys: Is it likely the use of the word terminated in the notice of intent was an error? Or am I seeing something that isn't there?

    1. I'm interested in the answer to this too. It seems Parler's case is pretty cut and dried if Amazon filed official court documents stating they terminated Parler's account. At least it should be grounds to have further fact finding.

      1. I'm curious what the technical distinction between "terminate" and "suspend" would be; I suppose the implication is that termination is irreversible, and suspension temporary, but nothing Amazon said publicly suggested a temporary action or any possibility of appeal.

        "Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59PM PST. We will ensure that all of your data is preserved for you to migrate to your own servers, and will work with you as best as we can to help your migration."

        That's not a temporary action.

        1. So I'm seeing through various sources that the difference is possibly that terminate means they delete all your data immediately. Which might give Amazon an out, except they are using the terms interchangeably in court documents.

        2. The AWS customer agreement has separate sections for suspensions and terminations. In broad strokes: Suspension for cause can happen immediately. One provision for termination for cause, which can be used by either party, requires 30 days notice and the chance to cure. Another provision for termination for cause, which can be used by AWS, can be used immediately.

          Parler, through its complaint, seems to think that it matters whether its account was suspended or terminated. I suspect it's wrong on that point. The second provision for termination for cause which I referred to, but which AWS seems to ignore in its complaint, allows AWS to use that termination provision whenever it has the right to suspend an account.

          That said, what I'm curious about is the seeming contradiction from the two Amazon filings. Was it an error in the notice of intent? Parler seems to think that suspension versus termination matters. AWS doesn't seem to think it does. Even still, Amazon at first (in a court filing) referred to what it did as a termination and then sought to make clear in a subsequent filing that it had suspended, not terminated, Parler's account.

          1. Ughh. The third sentence in the second paragraph should refer to Parler's complaint, not to AWS.

            1. Another example where a quick edit would be helpful.

        3. It feels like AWS's lawyers aren't doing the best job. If I were them, it seems like you could draw the distinction pretty easily:

          "You're suspended because you aren't willing to put together the sort of moderation regime we want. We're happy to reinstate your account as soon as you come back with a plan to do so."

          But I agree that does not seem to be the messaging either to Parler or the lawsuit.

      2. I seriously doubt a company as big and successful as Amazon left it self open 'cut and dried' to liability like that.

        1. Big companies often do stupid things because they either don't think or because they think they can get away with it. Corporate Attorneys seldom approve anything controversial.

  6. So now Trump is refusing to pay Giuliani.

    What an asshole.

    Granted, Giuliani put on what must be one of the worst legal efforts in history, but so what?

    1. Typing Trump and then asshole is redundant.

    2. "So now Trump is refusing to pay Giuliani."

      I have a theory that, just as dogs look like their master, attorneys have the same character, good or bad, as their clients. This has been my experience in all but one of my many cases.

      Trump and Giuliani deserve each other. If Giuliani gets screwed, I am not going to shed a tear.

      1. Trump is a unique case, in that he has a 40-50-year history of screwing over people who have done an honest day's work for him. Trump has bragged about this, so it's not like there is any factual dispute. Given this, I would expect ANY lawyer working for him to either be paid in advance or to have a contract that included attorney's fees if litigation is needed to collect fees owed.
        If Giuliani did not do this, then he's almost criminally stupid and, I guess, is reaping what he sows. (I feel better about myself, as an alleged nice person, with the above...rather than my fallback position of, "I hope Giuliani gets royally fucked in every financial transaction, for the rest of his life, for being such an evil, mendacious, lying sack of shit. And don't get me started on his attempt to commit statutory rape and/or molest a young girl.")

        If you are a Trump supporter, you now think that Giuliani is a horrible person and a horrible lawyer. If you are Trump hater, you now (and always) think/thought Giuliani is a horrible person and a horrible lawyer. I am satisfied with this . . . a reputation that is 100% earned and one he richly deserves. May it be his legacy forevermore.

    3. "What an asshole."

      Breaking news.

  7. Is anybody else a bit surprised by how poor the surveillance video coverage seems to be in the Capitol? I'd always assumed the whole area had the sort of panopticon surveillance system that would allow a total reconstruction of events, it's not like their budget is scanty.

    They seem to have security inferior to your average convention center, the windows aren't even the shatter proof wire mesh in glass stuff.

    1. The members may not want such a record to exist -- remember Wilbur Mills & Fanny Foxe?

      As to the windows, the wire mesh stuff is more for fire code as it won't fail in a fire -- it isn't used for exterior windows anymore.

      1. It's barely used anywhere anymore it wasn't really very good at resisting fire, but it was all there was. Better alternatives exist now but wire glass can be found in a lot of older buildings.

        1. I think we're talking about an older building, though I guess you're right, I haven't seen the wire mesh stuff in a while.

          Just shocked you could break into the nation's capitol with a plastic riot shield.

          1. Brett,
            That's the first sensible point you've made in 2021. I too was really surprised by this.

  8. Just checking back in light of current events.

    I mentioned in a previous thread that it might be a good idea to pass a, federal "Peaceable Assembly," statute, to complement the 1A right. The notion would be to define carriage of weapons at political assemblies as not peaceable, and therefore subject to controls. I would add also body armor, chemical sprays, tasers, and any other equipment typically used in riot control or combat. All those can be used for political intimidation, and thus unreasonably burden the right of peaceable assembly.

    Seems like events in DC underline the wisdom of having such a law on the books.

    Comments? Fulminations?

    1. I agree mixing weapons and mass assemblies is like fire around kindling. The problem would be that if you can't have any weapons (or body armor!) then everyone there would be easy prey for someone willing to break that law and worse...

    2. As the assemblies with mass open carry of guns have been more peaceful than those without, your proposal should be dismissed.

      1. Illocust, violence is an obvious concern. The intimidation problem I mentioned is less obvious. Arguably, successful armed intimidation and extremely peaceful conduct go together. But that's only okay if you think armed intimidation doesn't burden the right of assembly.

        1. Sometimes armed intimidation may allow peaceful assembly by preventing counter protesters from disrupting a peaceful assembly.

          1. rsteinmetz, the line between, "preventing," and, "intimidating," is where? And given peaceable assembly, what's wrong with counter protesters?

            1. Nothing as long as they don't disrupt other peaceable demonstrators, although we've seen cases where counter protesters have been less that peaceable.

              1. So, if counter-protesters are judged, "less than peaceable," because their voices and antics are disrupting your protest, intimidating them with guns will make the whole scene more peaceable? That the argument? I'm having trouble following it.

                1. Its not that complicates if peaceful protesters are armed the counter protested will be less likely to disrupt their peaceful protest.

                  1. Less likely to disrupt because they will be intimidated by the arms, right? You seem not to notice you are premising your argument on a notion that the right to assemble does not include a right peaceably to counter-protest.

                    I reject that notion. If you think that way, escalation of armed intimidation by all parties becomes the new norm. Maximal display of arms by everyone will become the new language of politics.

                    Avoiding that is the reason I mentioned a Peaceable Assembly law in the first place. Like a great many other Americans, I will not attend a political gathering in which people are conspicuously armed.

    3. I'm not clear where the constitutional jurisdiction comes from, outside D.C. and some federal properties.

      Further, the right to keep and bear arms is an explicit constitutional right, just like the right to peaceably assemble. Can you really bar people from exercising two rights at the same time?

      I'm a bit concerned about defining body armor as a "weapon"; You're not just going to mandate that I be defenseless, you're going to mandate vulnerable, too? When some Antifa goon attacks me, it has to be easy for him to take me down?

      And it's a bit Orwellian to redefine "peaceable" so that simply being peaceful isn't enough to qualify. Does this mean that when I'm at a protest and a cop walks by, his being armed inherently constitutes assault? Or is it just us serfs who aren't "peaceable" if we're armed?

      Finally, what's this got to do with the events in DC? Did you overlook that it's already illegal to go about armed in DC? This is well into "Let's pass a law to make it illegal for you to break this law!" territory.

    4. Stephen,
      Here in Oaktown one cannot have a legitimate protest demonstration without some element carrying at least some of your proscribed objects.

      Also in light of what many find to be excessive force by police, I don't see why some sort of body armour (football gear, for example) should be illegal.

  9. From an article in Education Week:

    "When I read Romeo and Juliet with my students, I pause, give a thumbs-down, and say “Boo” when the play says something misogynistic. Then, we discuss why it’s problematic."

    1. I was just talking with someone the other day about how problematic Romeo and Juliet is in another way-it kind of romanticizes kid suicide. And it's taught in middle school. It just goes to show that anything old enough seems to lose it's controversial-ness...

      1. Huh. I recall being taught Romeo and Juliet in high school, and it was clear enough they were idiots, and not meant to be role models. Did you not pick up on that part?

        1. Though I should add that it was idiots all around.

          Mind, many of Shakespeare's plays relied on 'idiot plots', he was just good at writing them.

        2. There's a reason star crossed lovers is a romantic phrase.

    2. If that's all you do, that's bad.

      But it's as good an avenue to start a conversation about the cultural context as any other.

      1. "But it’s as good an avenue to start a conversation about the cultural context as any other."

        I would hope that teachers are helping students think independently about the texts that they read. Interjecting "Boo!" and "Thumbs Down!" strikes me as a rather poor way to do that. It seems like the sort of things that would happen in one of Kirkland's loser religious schools.

        But more broadly speaking, "Boo!" and "Thumbs Down!" strikes me as one of the worst possible avenues to start a conversation about cultural context.

        1. "Then, we discuss why it’s problematic."

          I wonder if students are even given an opportunity to argue that it's not problematic, although the intertextual hissing probably discourages such thoughts.

          1. Feel free to spin out whatever you want based on the no data you have. Your narrative seems hungry.

            1. My narrative is that teachers all too often tell students what to think instead of how to think.

              I don't think that narrative was hungry before, but but after this anecdote, published in an education magazine, that narrative is passed out on the recliner with its belt unfastened.

        2. Sorry you love boring teachers so much.

          1. Ignorance is strength, and independent though is boring. Got it.

      2. "it’s as good an avenue to start a conversation about the cultural context as any other"

        The teacher is telling them what to think by saying "boo" and "why it’s problematic". You really think she will appreciate any deviation.

        Most kids will just go along with the teacher set paramiters.

        1. Not true in colleges (based on my own experiences at UCLA, where students showed NO reluctance to challenge teachers, in the classes I attended). But simple psychology and child development tells us that you're certainly correct in regards to young children. It's a tough situation. When you're exposing children to "The Merchant of Venice," what should a teacher do? NOT talk about how Shylock is depicted, and how this affected how audiences thought about Jews? That does not seem right. Squelch any discussion or opposing view? That does not seem right either? (But...on the third hand; maybe it IS okay with younger children to not expose them--in the classrooms--to the idea that all Jews are moneygrubbing amoral assholes, or that all blacks men are sex-crazed animals bent on raping white women . . . maybe allowing those sorts of alternate ideas should be left for college classrooms or high school classrooms???)

          It's a challenging situation. With harm done if you follow either approach, I think.

    3. My son was telling me he had learned when the Titanic was sinking, all the women and children were put on lifeboats before men, who went down with the ship and died.

      I said, why do you think women and children were put on the life boats first while the men died with the ship? He wasn't quite sure. So I told him the answer simply . . . basic stuff that you don't learn from kids TV these days.

      1. ML,
        What answer(s) DID you tell your son? I think my own response would vary greatly, depending on the age of the child. I personally think the actual answer is fascinating, and is based on cultural, psychological, historical prejudices, mores, value judgements, etc..

        I'm not sure how I'd communicate to my own son, "Discriminating in favor of children is a morally justifiable decision, as--by definition--they have more of their lives ahead of them. But discriminating strictly on the basis of sex? . . . this was done, but was it morally justified? (Note: My father was a philosophy professor. So, growing up, I and my sister were forced to have A LOT of these types of conversations. To the extent that it became a famous story in our family when, one fateful June day, my 10-year-old sister stopped the philosophical conversation by screaming, in frustration, at my father, "Dad, I just want another piece of birthday cake! I don't want to to talk about morality or consequences!!!")

        But I digress...

        1. I agree, there's no limit to the depth of conversations that can be sparked. My oldest is just about 11 years old and very sharp with such conversations. In this instance, I simply said it's because it is a man's role to protect women and children in such circumstances.

  10. Are we going to have a Chiefs-Packers Super Bowl or will someone else sneak in?

    1. Da Saints will be there.

    2. Long shot this time, of course, but betting against Tom Brady has long carried a considerable risk of disappointment.

      1. Saints already bet hi twice this season.

    3. Personally?

      I would love a Bucs/Bills Super Bowl.

      Unfortunately, they both have the hardest path. The Bills/Ravens game is going to be insane- and a tough matchup for both teams. The Bucs/Saints is going to be the hardest matchup for the Bucs in the NFC (they have lost to them twice for a reason).

      Meanwhile, Packers get the Rams with no healthy QB and Donald injured. And the Chiefs get the Browns.

  11. I'm curious about the mentality of someone who would give up football because some players knelt during the anthem or whatever. There were just a relatively few players doing it and I can't think of a time when there weren't more than a few NFL players I thought were jerks for other reasons, but I wouldn't give up the game over any of that.

    1. I know one long time fan who gave did.

    2. I suppose if you viewed sports as a refuge from politics you might get upset about politics invading it.

      I've personally never seen the appeal of professional sports, though I do occasionally enjoy watching gymnastics, but only because I was a gymnast in college for a while, (Before spraining both wrists badly!) and can appreciate what is going on.

    3. Most of it is, as usual, public posturing. There are far more people who will say, "If this doesn't stop, Ima give up football!!!111!!" or those that will say that they know someone, or will say, "But look at the ratings! Ya better do what we demand or else!"

      But in actuality, it's mostly noise. The ratings decline is real, but (1) is less in the NFL than in other sports (such as college football, which doesn't have that issue); (2) is less than overall broadcast decline; (3) is affected by this year (COVID, Presidential elections, etc.); and (4) doesn't account for the expansion of NFL games into more areas and availability that is harder to measure- there is more product, and more ways to watch it, than ever before (my child, for example, watches streamed games on

      In short, it's mostly performative. It's a way of acting out. The actual difference is small; I am sure it has had some effect- a person not buying a sweatshirt, or (in prior years when it was more of an option) choosing to watch a game on TV instead of renewing season tickets, but in terms of the bottom line of the NFL, it hasn't mattered at all.

      1. And I would add to this a similar issue; remember all the people saying that they couldn't watch football because of concussions, and CTE, and all of that (most of them coming at this from a decidedly different perspective than the anti-kneel people)?

        Again, I'm sure that there are people that aren't watching; but it was largely performative. It doesn't mean that it's not an issue, especially for the future and the talent pipeline and evolving standards, but ... people like what they like, and that rarely changes.

        When there are alternatives (I will eat a different Pizza/Chicken Sandwich/Hamburger) people can switch and make a performative boycott easy. "Nike sucks! Ima wear underarmor!" But if you like football, it's real hard to actions behind your twitter rage.

      2. Covid should have resulted in the opposite trend. People being locked in their homes unable to go out should have resulted in more people watching football not less. Ordinary broadcast had to compete with streaming and how it provided more and better options than broadcast does. Football had no such competition. This should have been one of the best years it ever had, and the fact its not says something went horribly wrong.

        1. That's just not true. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          1. Yes, the logical thing of sports having higher ratings when people are restricted from their other options for entertainment didn't happen. Something caused this to happen. What it is is up to debate. But the only explanation that doesn't pass the sniff test, is reducing entertainment options results in people using less of the entertainment options that are left.

            1. Well, that might happen if you suffer from a great deal of motivated reasoning, like you do.

              But there are two things-
              First, you'd have to actually read what I wrote. Where I already alluded to this and why you are full of it... sorry, your logic fails 🙂 Allow me to assist you-
              " The ratings decline is real, but (1) is less in the NFL than in other sports (such as college football, which doesn’t have that issue)"

              So if LOGIC worked, then all sports would be up! Except, no, they aren't. Which means that there are other variables causing an overall decline.

              WOAH! I know!

              Then you'd have to explain why the NFL declined the least of all major sports. Much less than, say, college football (no kneeling) or baseball (no kneeling) or hockey (ahem).

              In other words, there are explanations, just not your predestined one.

              LOGIC. It's what's for stupid people when they ignore everything, and just assume what they want to be true.

        2. Except that literally all sports' ratings were (way) down. Ratings for the Masters were down by half. The World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Final, U.S. Open and Triple Crown all set all-time lows.

    4. I gave up on football be cause of the slowness (matched and exceeded only by base-boring-ball) and the excessive commercials. Basket ball does have many commercials , by the game moves. And rugby, there's a real sport.

      1. "base-boring-ball"

        Why do you hate America?

        1. Why do people put ketchup on hot dogs instead of only relish and mustard?

        2. I'm with Bob here. Baseball is great.

          Football is definitely boring, and I suspect the CTE business will kill it outside of a few die-hard places over the next few decades.

          Basketball is so-so. It's particularly good in person.

          1. I have TiVo. (Which is the world's best invention, kicking the ass of penicillin.) I now make a point of recording the sporting events I want, and watching them via TiVo. Using fast-forward, I can watch every pitch, see every snap and play in footballs, in well under an hour. It's the way God intended sports to be watched. (Yes, it does mean that on football days, I have to make an active decision to avoid media where the results could be given. A small inconvenience, given the *hours* I gain in my day.

            On the other hand, I love going to baseball games, and letting the game slowly unfold. And I love even more watching soccer (the epitome of "slow") from beginning to end. Something very Zen for me, with these two sports...esp in person.

            1. Actually, listening to radio is a great way to enjoy a baseball game. Or, it used to be when the pace was quicker. I haven't done that in years so it may not be so great now. As a kid I often listened to the "Game of the Day on Mutual Broadcasting.

              Later I remember being on trips and intermittently picking up the Cardinals in the evening on KMOX. Hearing the beer vendors yelling made you very thirsty.

              1. I'm old enough to have grown up listening to Vin Scully do the Dodgers games. Back then, you got maybe 10 games a year on TV during the regular season. So, radio was the only way to go. He had a voice like syrup being poured over warm pancakes . . . God, I miss listening to that man on a nightly basis.

    5. My sense of the people who have legitimately done this (and not just griped) is that it's not that the players were doing it, it's the teams and the league itself catering to it (while suppressing other expressive things like colored shoes for whatever-awareness, etc.)

  12. A Modest Proposal
    I been following this blog since before it went to the Washington Post, I'm not sure how long but it's been a while.

    As many people have probably noticed it seems the quality of posting has deteriorated in a manner similar to much public discourse.

    I have three proposals for improving the Conspiracy and Reason commenting in general. I'll post them as replies to this comment so if anyone is interested that can comment on each separately of point out if I've made an error.

    1. rsteinmetz, my suggestion would be a licensing system for commenters. Divide them into a trusted class and a probationary class.

      New commenters starts out probationary. The only difference between the classes is that probationary commenters can't post short comments. Maybe 150 words or more required.

      After demonstrating an ability to write polite, substantive comments with a little heft to them, you get to post short or long, just as you please. Get out of line, and you are back to writing long, substantive comments, or you get banned.

      I think that would be pretty inconvenient for the trolls, without really being draconian at all. Plenty of room for wildly-imaginative interpretations, or plain lies, just like now, so speech freedom stays maximized. But sort of constrained by a willingness to put in some effort. Hard to circumvent, too.

      1. That would seem to go against libertarian principals.

        1. I'll bet if you had that editing feature, I wouldn't now be wondering who is hiring those libertarian principals.

    2. None of the proposals make sense as long as liars are tolerated and encouraged. If someone -- and I'll resist the temptation to name names -- makes an false statement, and then refuses to back it up with real evidence after being challenged to do so, he or she should be banned for some period of time.

  13. Proposal the First

    Provide somewhere prominently displayed a guide to commenting including the methods of including certain features in the comment like bold print, italics, and links. Include technical limitations on inclusions like the limit of one link per comment I have seen mentioned from time to time.

    I have looked for such a guide but never found it. Some commenters seem to be able to do these things I've seldom needed or wanted to and haven't invested the time to figure out how.

    1. Proposal the Second

      Provide some limited means of editing recently posted comments.

      Nearly everyone makes small errors when posting on the fly that they immediately realize when they see the actual post. As far as I can tell ever online place I pose has some facility for correcting errors, except this one.

      I understand that you may not wish to not allow people to return and significantly modify the content of a comment to change what they originally stated. It seems to me the Washington Post system of allowing a limited time to edit a post would seem to address those concerns. I know when I posted there I used that facility fairly often.

      1. I strongly endorse this.

      2. Proposal the Third

        Provide some mechanism of hiding posters who you wish not to see.

        There are a few posters here who contribute almost nothing to the discourse and seem to post entirely to inflame passions or disrupt the conversations. People should be able to avoid them, if they desire.

        I understand the reluctance for the moderators to remove comments or ban individuals. Banning individuals intent on disruptive behavior can be counter productive, triggering a game of Whack-a-Mole as the same individual or group simply shows up as another sock-puppet. Allowing Individual readers to choose to avoid seeing these posters would be a middle ground. Again nearly ever online forum or platform I post to has some form of this, non are perfect and I've never used one, although on one specialist forum I did advocate banning an abusive, disruptive individual, who was eventually banned after numerous warnings.

        1. Say what you will about the WaPo ... at least you could ignore people.

          One of the main reasons I stopped commenting here after the WaPo switchover (despite faithfully following the platform changes from the various platforms, including disqus, since, oh, the Juan Non-Volokh days) is because I couldn't ignore people.

          The influx of commenters here, combined with the changeover in atmosphere (which had already been occurring at WaPo), combined with inability to ignore the most toxic people, was too much.

          1. Ignoring does make commentators like Hihn (RIP) easier to deal with, I'll give you that.

            On platforms where it is permitted, I only do it in the absolute most obnoxious, lowest information posters, the ones I know are never going to say anything even vaguely interesting.

            I find Kirkland and his oral rape fantasies pretty annoying, for instance, but he does drop out of character occasionally to say something interesting.

            Exposing yourself to arguments you don't agree with is a pretty urgent matter of intellectual hygiene, so to speak. That's why I read sites like Crooked Timber or Balkinization, even after they've locked down their commenting as tight as a drum.

            In fact, I'd say that the move to intensive moderation at left wing sites about 5-10 years ago may have contributed to the left's current madness.

            1. The right just invaded the capitol but the left is mad

              uhh yeah

              1. "The right" didn't invade the capitol any more than the left burned cities all last year into January. Specific people did.

                Almost all "the right" in DC did absolutely nothing wrong.

                A much, much smaller group, a fraction of a percent, illegally entered the Capitol building, and committed acts ranging from tourism to minor vandalism.

                And a fairly tiny group came planning real violence, including bombing the RNC and DNC headquarters, perhaps as a diversion while they kidnapped Senators.

                You can break down the left's behavior similarly. By far the largest group protest peacefully. A smaller group were guilty of crimes ranging from vandalism to looting. And an even smaller group tried to commit murder by arson and blinded people with lasers.

                If we're going to blame Trump for the most violent tiny fraction of the right, which politicians do we blame for the most violent tiny fraction of the left?

                1. “The right” didn’t invade the capitol any more than the left burned cities all last year into January. Specific people did.

                  Almost all “the right” in DC did absolutely nothing wrong.

                  Glad to see you have absorbed this point. I'll remind you of it when you start blaming "the Democrats" for something that some lunatic says.

        2. We need a thumbs down option, and if a post has sufficient thumbs down, it gets hidden (and can only be read if someone clicks on it).

          1. Oh, God, no. You want this site to adopt social censorship? That's nasty, you get cliques competing to censor each other, and bots being set up to target people, and all sorts of horrific behavior.

            1. That's why it only hides the comment for opting in, rather than hiding it entirely. You and I have different understandings of "nasty" and "horrific".

              I do not think this comment section garners sufficient interest to cause people to create "bots" to go after people they disagree with. I wouldn't do that. Would you? Do you think RAK would? Who are you worried about, precisely?

              1. Well, as I remarked elsewhere in the thread, I think routinely exposing yourself to ideas and arguments for them that you disagree with is important as a matter of intellectual hygiene.

                And so I rarely block somebody even at sites that allow it, unless they're totally uninteresting as well as obnoxious. I wouldn't block the Rev, for instance; He says something interesting at least one comment in one or two hundred, after all, and he doesn't spam threads.

                But what you're proposing is orders of magnitude worse than blocking somebody from your own view: You're proposing blocking them from other people's views.

                That it's a form of censorship that allows circumvention doesn't mean it isn't a form of censorship. And censorship is really, really bad.

                An idea that the left used to agree with until it realized that the censors were likely to be its allies...

                Anyway, yes, downvoting resulting in automatic blocking or deprioritizing HAS resulted in downvote bots at other forums. Is this forum popular enough to suffer from that? Maybe not, but why risk it?

                1. "But what you’re proposing is orders of magnitude worse than blocking somebody from your own view: You’re proposing blocking them from other people’s views."

                  I'm not proposing blocking anyone from viewing any comments. I'm proposing that all comments are viewable until they reach sufficient downvotes, at which point they are still viewable, but only if you click on them.

                  1. You're proposing a block people can get past if they take the trouble. It's still a block. I don't really care for enabling one group of people to put obstacles in the way of seeing what another group of people are saying.

                    1. It's opt-in on "what another group of people are saying". All message boards, forums, and websites (including this one) have this feature at some level.

          2. "We need a thumbs down option, and if a post has sufficient thumbs down, it gets hidden"

            It would be simpler to have a single human moderator who simply deletes any comments that contain personal attacks or insults directed to another commenter or blog poster. Ridicule of the comment is fair game, ridicule of the commenter is deleted.

        3. Maybe I'll make a Chrome plugin that does this. It seems like it shouldn't be super hard, and I haven't actually written code to do something useful in quite a while.

          I agree that it would be better to have the site support it instead of a janky plugin, though.

      3. The Edit function is one that, literally, dozens and dozens of people have requested (which means that hundreds, or thousands, want but have not bothered to post about). Given that the VC always had this helpful feature at (I believe) all its prior sites tells me that it's a feature that deliberately does not want.

        Any possible benefit to this bizarre decision has, I admit, flown over my head. I am pretty sure that Eugene has never posted a response to the many many "Why no Edit function?" comments, so I suspect that Reason's never told him the justification either.

    2. Some sites provide easy ways to do this, with icons for the various formatting options. That would be nice.

      I personally think the one link per comment rule is too restrictive. While I understand not wanting to have tons of links, maybe two or three could be allowed. There are times when you want to cite more than one source for a point, or address two different issues.

      1. I OK with rules, I'd just like some idea of what they are.

        1. Case in point I wrote quickly and left the 'm off the I'm.

          I don't know if I skipped it or if I didn't hit the keys hard enough. The problem is especially prominent when posting from a mobile device like a tablet with a touch screen keyboard which I do sometimes.

          1. I have that same general problem even on desktops; Chemo left me with a gradually advancing case of neuropathy, (I have a hard time telling if I hit a key hard enough, or sometimes even if I'm drifting on the keyboard.) and a bit of dyslexia. The moment I see my posted text I catch it, but then it's too late.

            The thing is, the commenting system is NOT a high priority here at Reason. I think many of the writers never even look at the comments, and it takes a really egregious comment, heavily flagged, to get them to do any moderation at all. Which is a lot better than the sort of heavy and ideologically selective moderation you see at many sites.

            I don't think they have any interest in expending resources improving the commenting system.

            1. 1. I think your last point is 100% correct.
              2. Given the financial value to getting as many eyeballs to websites; it's inexplicable to me that some of the more obvious (and easy!!!) fixes are absent. Edit, bold, italics, adding links.
              3. Given that it would take one programmer an hour to do (or maybe three hours...I don't know), I find Reason's lack of interest i improving their site...again, inexplicable.

    3. Proposal the First - Yes

      Proposal the Second - Hell Yes

      Proposal the Third - Meh. Nothing wrong with it, but it would take either (a) letting the site store even more junk in cookies on your machine, or (b) creating and maintaining their own database of individual preferences. If Reason has limited technical personnel I'd rather not distract them from getting Proposal the Second done.

      1. It could probably be handled in many different ways, including in a user's profile and the database that displays the comments, as for cookies if you don't want cookies block them, many people do.

    4. Bold and italics are simply hand-writing the HTML codes -- I can't write them here because they will be interpreted as HTML codes, but notice the arrow keys on top of your comma and period.
      Pretend { is the comma one and } is the period one.

      HTML has a start and a stop. B is bold, I is italics, and yes you can use both concurrently.

      Hence {b}this will be bold{/b} will look like this:
      Hence this will be bold will look like this:
      NB: Note the forward slash in the cancel command.

      Anchors are more complex which is why I just post the link.

      1. Yes, but where does this site say to use HTML tags and that the short form is acceptable or the only option or there are limited allowed options and if, as many sites do, you can use BBCode.

      2. You can usually include markup delimiters by using backslashes (\\) to escape them.

        Since there's also no preview mode, no way to verify but to try.

        To make things bold, use the \[B\] tag to start and the \[\/B\] tag to end: [\B\]This text would be bold\[\/B\]

        To make things italicized, use the \[I\] tag to start and the \[\/I\] tag to end: [\I\]This text would be italicized\[\/I\]

        1. Well, that did not work the way I wanted at all. If you mentally remove all of the backslashes it hopefully makes sense, though.

        2. Oh, duh. I totally forgot my HTML which is why none of that worked.

          It's not square brackets, it's angle brackets. Let's do a test:


          1. Square brackets are BBCode.

        3. Okay, so here goes for real:

          To make things bold, use the <B%gt; tag to start and the </B%gt; tag to end: <B%gt;This text would be bold</B%gt;

          To make things italicized, use the <I%gt; tag to start and the <\/I%gt; tag to end: <I%gt;This text would be italicized<\/I%gt;

          1. Sigh. This sub-thread is a demonstration of the need for an edit function.

            To make things bold, use the <B> tag to start and the </B>; tag to end: <B>This text would be bold</B>

            To make things italicized, use the <I%gt; tag to start and the </I> tag to end: <I>This text would be italicized</I>

            1. This is supposed to be BOLD

              1. It Worked.

                This is supposed to be Italics

                1. That worked.

                  I'm going to quit while I'm ahead and not try a bulleted list or a link.

                  1. What tag should one use to make a comment true?

    5. I think this is a good idea, and in some comment systems they just give a list of permitted html in a line over or under the comment box.

      1. Sometimes there's a link in the users profile or around the comment box to a larger article.

    6. Proposal the Fourth: Add a 1-click process so that person X can easily see all her prior posts, with links to them (bonus points if there's also a "there are new responses" indication when X does this). It's exhausting trying to figure out if anyone has made follow-up posts or comments, and lots of stuff falls in between the cracks as it now stands. At prior VC sites, it was a simple matter (eg, at the Wash. Post, once I took that initial step of signing up).

  14. Some things I think I think* about obscure Stones and Springsteen songs worth a listen:

    1. High Wire. An open-G standout tossed onto the Flashpoint live album to sell a few to collectors. Mick's lyrics, Keith's chords, our good fortune.
    2. Time Waits For No One. Perhaps never played onstage; wait for Mick Taylor's outsolo. Charlie isn't just in the pocket; he's the pocketwatch.
    3. Can't You Hear Me Knocking. Overlooked on Sticky Fingers, with what is said to be an unplanned, one-take second half that demonstrates the Stones' powers.
    4. Leather Jacket. When Mick Taylor tired of the Glimmer Twins' (entirely legal) pinching of others' work, he kept this one off a Stones album. Skip the version with vocals from his solo album; enjoy this rough instrumental from a Stones rehearsal.
    5. Respectable. Bill and Charlie show how it's done, in three minutes.

    1. Thundercrack. The original E Street showstopper. Choose the LA '73 (Ahmanson Theater) version.
    2. Jole Blon. Go with the version released on Gary U.S. Bonds albums; also check the 9-21-12 Met Life version placed on YouTube by estreeter4life.
    3. Evacuation Of The West. Imagine releasing hundreds of songs, but leaving this one in the can.
    4. Pilgrim In The Temple Of Love. Bruce describes this as 'one of my greatest songs.' Go with the 12/10/1996 version.
    5. Be True. Omitted from the River, released as the flip side of "Crush On You," worthy of more.

    This site's limit is a single link, but everything here should be relatively easy to find.

    *hat tip to the original

    1. For Springsteen, how about adding Factory? An incredibly concise and powerful song. I love that whole album, but most of it couldn't be called obscure.

  15. It seems to me, that although I am concerned with increasing censorship online, the main problem with Twitter and big tech generally is not that.

    The problem is not censorship and not extremeism, it is that the design of the platform encourages extremeism, so censorship is necessary to counter it.

    What I mean by that is this. No one wants to go to a party and all everyone is talking about is politics. At least, if so you go do very different parties than I do. I generally talk about football. So in order for twitter to benefit its shareholders and users, it needs to avoid becoming that. There is no first amendment even moral obligation to create a toxic speech environment, only to allow speech.

    And if someone raises their voice or the conversation gets heated, other participants will quickly change the subject or take action to lower the temperature. These cues simply don't exist online.

    So twitters solution is to simply remove speech that it finds problematic. Its not just because there is a bias, though there is, it is that people don't want their entire feed to be flooded with highly divisive content. Thats a good thing! That how capitalism works, you benefit the user. This solution of censorship is of course problematic in its own right, but it is necessary given the design of the platform.

    The proper solution is to design a platform that does not promote extremist content but doesn't need to actively engage in censorship. The same way that at a party, your not just going to randomly start insulting people, and if you are particularly bad you will get kicked out and no one will scream censorship for doing so.

    And also, not all people, not most people, go on Twitter to get political takes. The problem with platforms like Parler is that when you bill yourself as a free speech Twitter ... you get the people who were kicked off Twitter! You promote the content that turns off ordinary people from using your platform!

    A true alternative would not bill itself as conservative or liberal or whatever. It would say, hey I have built a better mousetrap and better suits human communication. Same thing with other things, like Black rifle coffee would be far more successful if it just said, hey we have better coffee and oh yeah by the way we're conservative, and not the other way around. I noticed the other day that Twitter is remakeably ill suited to taking about sports. So I can build a platform where it is easier to talk about sports. Something like that.

    Then, if it becomes popular, you say, hey, we also don't engage in censorship. Cancel culture, extremeism, isnt promoted through our platform not through censorship but BY DESIGN. Twitter is a remarkable piece of technology. I truly believe that. Not just that anyone anywhere can say stuff, that's true of Facebook, but what they say can be embedded anywhere. A website who is discussing some scientist can just link their tweets. Thats unique.

    You would lose the sudden rush of people coming in for a free speech Twitter, but you would gain more organic growth. You wouldn't just get MAGA people allowed to speak, which I think is a good thing, but also ordinary people who's feed wouldn't be flooded with MAGA content but also not simply content they agree.

    As an aside, web hosting services taking anti speech action is however imo extremely problematic and that should be limited by the government. Its essentially public infrastructure for the web. A paper company can't refuse to provide paper for a newspaper it disagrees with. Same idea.

    1. "So twitters solution is to simply remove speech that it finds problematic. Its not just because there is a bias, though there is, it is that people don’t want their entire feed to be flooded with highly divisive content. "

      I've never been a Twitter user, but don't you have to go out of your way to see somebody's speech on Twitter? So, why should this be an issue? You don't want to see what Candice Owens has to say, just don't subscribe to her. Likewise Donald Trump.

      The problem does NOT seem to be Twitter attempting to spare users exposure to content they don't want. It's Twitter wanting to block content that Twitter thinks users shouldn't want, or maybe shouldn't even have access to.

      1. As someone who has, the issue is generally other twitter users who you follow for other reasons retweeting the nonsense you aren't interested onto your feed. Keeping a twitter feed nonsense free takes a lot of culling.

        But nothing twitter is doing here is actually solving that issue. You'd have to give people more control over their feeds and the interconnectdeness of them, to solve the issue. For example letting people block anything out of their feeds that isn't from someone who someone you follow follows (Most the junk is at least three degrees of separation away), or giving people optional access to algorithms that will filter out hate bait (twitter really doesn't like the idea of customizable feeds).

        1. I don't think Twitter wants you to be able to customize your feed, because you're not the customer, you're the product. And you're a less valuable product if you can control what you see. Ditto for Facebook. I've used FB Purity, an app for taking control of your facebook experience, and FB is continually altering their code to break it, because they don't WANT you controlling your FB experience. They want to market your eyes.

          Some of the smartest words ever spoken in the last decade were, "If you're not paying for the product, YOU are the product." It really explains a lot about the behavior of media platforms.

          Twitter, of course, does not actually make a profit. Yet somehow money keeps pouring in. Why?

          The profit isn't money. It's manipulating the users.

          1. Oh yes, I understand why they don't like customization in general. But by not allowing people any options to get the shreeking banshees off their timeline/feed short of leaving the website, they are shooting themselves in the foot. Facebook lost me several years ago because there wasn't an effective way to keep track of the family without wading through 90 political posts. Twitter lost me two days ago because they pushed too far in their overt politicalness (I'd been weening off due to their constant push posts for politics).

            They'd have more eyeballs with positive emotions to sell to advertisers, if they put two minutes of thought into how one size will never fit all.

            1. "Facebook lost me several years ago because there wasn’t an effective way to keep track of the family without wading through 90 political posts."

              I deal with that by posting regular anodyne stuff on my regular timeline, and political stuff in a private group.

              Facebook is losing me because they started censoring the private group, the bastards.

    2. The simple answer is to denote such mass social sites s "common carriers" with all the relevant rules applicable.

    3. "A paper company can’t refuse to provide paper for a newspaper it disagrees with. "

      Sure it can.

      Unless the paper is owned by a statutory "protected" class so could arguably be considered discrimination, there is no right to buy paper, or any product.

      1. But if it colludes with competitors not to do so...

    4. "As an aside, web hosting services taking anti speech action is however imo extremely problematic and that should be limited by the government. Its essentially public infrastructure for the web."

      The euphemism "problematic" is annoying. I think people use it primarily when they can't articulate what's wrong. I have no issue with "X is bad and here's why." But "X is bad." is not an argument.

      Now, web hosting is a service like any other. You don't have to use a company at all; Don Black individually hosts the white supremacist website Stormfront (to avoid being beholden to web hosts who tire of receiving legal complaints due to Stormfront's content). Do you suppose Don Black can or should be required to host the NAACP's website?

      If we think it is sufficiently important that Stormfront have access to free web service, the solution is for the government to fund content-neutral web services and provide them to the public in exchange for taxes. Like they do with roads, etc. The solution should not be to commandeer private citizens' property. All private property is not "essentially public infrastructure". But if the government is going to steal it, it needs to pay the private owner for the theft.

      1. Does Don Black market himself as a website hosting service?

        1. I don't know, he might. He's certainly free to start a web hosting company that only provides web hosting services to racial supremacists.

          I am a lawyer who sells legal services, and I market myself as selling legal services to the public. Do you think that means I have to represent Stormfront or the NAACP, if they ask me to?

    5. "So twitters solution is to simply remove speech that it finds problematic. Its not just because there is a bias, though there is, it is that people don’t want their entire feed to be flooded with highly divisive content. Thats a good thing! That how capitalism works, you benefit the user. This solution of censorship is of course problematic in its own right, but it is necessary given the design of the platform. "

      Forgive me if I am wrong, I don't Twitter, but can the user not follow, unfollow, or block (or whatever) any person that they choose to? I know on Facebook I can see, or not see, whoever I want (depending on their privacy settings, it might even require their approval as well).

      Why does it need to be any more complex than that? Removal of content should be limited to unlawful communication. Why does Twitter need to prevent Joe Blow from posting just because Karen got the vapors over a Tweet that she determined was wrongthink?

      Nobody is forced to read anyone's Tweets. Hell, the only Tweets I ever even see are ones linked by lazy journalists, and commenters.

      1. You are absolutely setting out one approach that a business might take. But surely, there's nothing inherently wrong with a different business taking a different approach. "We not only want to give people the ability to block racist lies (or whatever); we want to block racist liars from using our platform. Let them go elsewhere to peddle their crap."
        This seems to be a very reasonable approach, except in the rare situations of monopolies.

        YMMV, of course.

  16. Donald J. Trump's problems (no particular order):

    1) impeachment trial in Senate
    2) New York prosecutors' investigation of private business conduct (insurance fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud) with immunity lapsed
    3) D.C. prosecutors' investigation of insurrection (immunity lapsed)
    4) liability risk in civil claims (defamation, sexual assault, breach of contract, etc.) (immunity lapsed)
    5) declining Trump Organization business operations
    6) psychological issues (inability to acknowledge election loss, collapse of make-believe world, loss of presidential perks and powers)
    7) shunning and censuring by innumerable personal, political, and business associates
    8) capsizing approval ratings and credibility
    9) inability to tweet (despite numerous efforts to evade suspension)
    10) risk his children will be prosecuted, too
    11) looming financial problems (nine-figure debt deadlines with respect to troubled assets)

    How -- and how long -- might a person bear this weight (especially a particularly fragile person)?

    1. Do you know what I want most with regard to Trump?

      Just to go away. That's all.

      1. Perversely, the Democrats don't want that. He is a great distraction from their incompetence.

        1. Are you kidding me! Joe Biden is at peak performance and ready to roll for the next 8 YEARS!

      2. I liked having Trump around, because he's a bit of a lightning rod.

        Lightning rods don't cause lightning, remember. They discharge it safely, and worst case, assure it strikes somewhere safe.

        1. I liked having (Pelosi, AOC, Sanders, Cuomo, Rev. Kirkland 🙂 , etc.) around, because he’s a bit of a lightning rod.

          Lightning rods don’t cause lightning, remember. They discharge it safely, and worst case, assure it strikes somewhere safe.

          See how that works?

          1. Haven't I already said I wouldn't ban Kirkland?

            1. Did you agree with Prof. Volokh's decision to ban Artie Ray Lee Wayne Jim-Bob Kirkland?

              1. Since I haven't seen his side of it, I don't know what the basis for it was. I do know you're pretty obnoxious.

        2. Nonsense, Brett. Read Mark Twain's brilliant refutation.

          You might have missed it, because it's titled, Political Economy. Among the funniest things I ever read. And perfect counter-commentary for what you just wrote.

    2. If he had a brain i his head, he'd leave the country on Jan 19.

      1. I don't know why you are equating lacking any moral compass, and lacking brains. In fact, history gives many examples of people who lacked the former but had the latter.

        1. The left has been doing this for a long time, but it has reached absurd proportions with Trump. It's not enough to dislike his manner, (Who doesn't?) or disagree with his policies.

          No, he's got to be a bad businessman, stupid, smelly, illiterate... Just a walking collection of negative adjectives, not a human being.

          I've never really understood it. I think it started out as trash talk, but then it took a life of its own. Maybe it's a form of virtue signaling, anybody who admits Trump has any virtues is suspect on the left, and on the left becoming suspect is really risky?

          1. He doesn't have policies, or rather you don't know what they are on any given day

            He is a bad businessman
            He is stupid[he has the vocabulary of an intellectually disabled 9 year old]

            He is also a known cheat, google Doug Flutie personal services contract, buying chips at his casino to name two

            The fact that you d not like these descriptors does not make them untrue.

            HE has always been thus

            1. He is a great con man. Great con man are generally not stupid.

              1. I agree that he's a terrific con man.

                I doubt that he's any kind of great businessman. If anyone can show me actual numbers that prove otherwise I'll change my mind.

                He is certainly a cheat and a liar - see Trump University for one example, and unpaid vendors for another.

                1. He is not a terrific con man

                  A terrific con man would have earned a billion dollars from nothing

                  He was born rich and managed despite working hard at losing it, to stay rich

                  1. He conned his way into the White House, and still has millions convinced in his fantasy that he won by a landslide. So, yeah, he is a terrific con man. Not the same thing as a great business man.

                    1. He managed--after *losing* the election in a landslide (his words)-- to get hundreds of thousands of idiot supporters to give him WELL OVER TWO HUNDRED MILLIONS DOLLARS of their hard-earned savings. I have to admit that being able to do this is some sort of genius. I think that there is, literally, No One else on earth who could have done this. (Okay, maybe Oprah.)

                      Con man? Svengali? Something else??? But you can't argue with the (evil) results.

              2. Bored Lawyer, think of the baseball Hall of Fame. Sometimes you have to decide what, "great," means. Abilities pitched at the very highest level, but maybe for only 6-10 years? Pedro Martinez. Abilities pitched at a high level, over a very long career? Warren Spahn. The very highest level abilities, over most of a very long career? Willie Mays. All worthy Hall of Famers. Between Martinez and Spahn, you can debate—not whether they belong, but which was greater. Mays, no debate.

                Great con men: Trump, Barnum, Madoff. Trump and Barnum conned a lot more people than Madoff. But they conned stupid people, easy marks. Barnum made no secret of it, for which he gets points. Madoff conned smart people. Much harder marks. Trump conned his way into the presidency, a unique achievement. As con men, they aren't alike, but they all excelled.

                You have to decide which axis matters more to you. And I don't think for con men smart/stupid is really one of the axes. If you have to be smart to be a great con man, I don't think Trump makes it. Leaving con jobs out, is there any evidence at all that Trump is smart? Can you tell me what it is?

                1. Hmm...interesting argument. I'd counter that there are different types of 'smart.' Okay, sure; intellectually, no one would think of Trump as smart. But in terms of being able to suss out the Republican base? On being able to put his finger on enough voters, in enough states, to win the freaking presidency? On being able to win in spite of his formidable intellectual and moral and psychological deficiencies? That's not only some type of's some kind of genius. In his own (extraordinarily-limited) way; Trump was a genuine genius. Being able to get hundreds of millions of dollars, as an election-loser, from suckers who were begging him to take their money? Yet another example.

                  1. ...put his finger on the pulse of enough voters...

                    sigh. Edit function. sigh

            2. Thanks for demonstrating the trash talk.

          2. "No, he’s got to be a bad businessman, stupid, smelly, illiterate… Just a walking collection of negative adjectives, not a human being."

            It's just like that time the right insisted that Bill Clinton was not a faithful husband.

            1. We insisted he wasn't a faithful husband because he didn't merely have affairs, (Up to and including sexual assault!) he had his wife handling the "bimbo eruptions" that resulted.

              Notice that we didn't go on to say that he was stupid, ugly, and smelly?

              1. "Notice that we didn’t go on to say that he was stupid, ugly, and smelly?"

                Right, you accused Bill Clinton of the things you thought were true. I think President Trump is dumb, and ugly (both physically and as a person). I have no idea what he smells like. Do you think the President is smart and attractive?

                1. No, we accused Bill Clinton of the things we had evidence for. Does anyone actually deny he cheated on his wife? Or lied under oath?

                  Do I think Trump is smart and attractive?

                  Well, he's not a nuclear physicist, probably didn't come within a few points of acing the SAT, but evidence suggests that he's substantially smarter than the average person. Intelligence is, after all, just a general measure of the ability to succeed at intellectual tasks, where "intellectual tasks" isn't narrowly defined.

                  So, yeah, he's not a 'stable genius', but he is smart. In terms of domain intelligence, he might be a social intelligence genius, judging by his success. He obviously sucks at forming grammatical sentences, which, despite what some people seem to think, is not the solitary measure of intelligence.

                  As far as "attractive", I've seen better looking movie actors, but he's not the ugliest looking 74 year old I've ever seen. More "distinguished" than "attractive", I suppose, though professional grooming probably accounts for a lot of that.

          3. "Maybe it’s a form of virtue signaling, anybody who admits Trump has any virtues is..."

            ...probably related to him, or being paid by or through the President.

            1. See, nailed it.

    3. 12) Assassination. For some reason, Twatter is still permitting hashtags to this point, and outside the POTUS bubble, it's gonna be a whole lot harder for the USSS to protect him.

      I probably shouted "lock her up" as loud as anyone else, but on the most basic level, I knew she'd never go to jail because we don't imprison former Presidents and their spouses in this country and we shouldn't start now.

      If there is intelligent life in the Democratic Party, they'll understand that there is a reason why we don't do this. Perhaps Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) who will be introducing a resolution to impeach Biden on January 21st will be a wakeup call to them...

      1. He will not be locked up

        pardoning himself will result in charges that might not happen otherwise.

        I would anticipate if he is convicted of anything that would result in prison time Biden would commute

        No we do not put presidents in prison

        But let us put that judgement on hold for 7 days

    4. I'll give you 2, 3, and 6.

      1 doesn't has no practical effort if he's not planning any more runs.

      4, 5, 11 are things high-end grifters routinely face as occupational hazards. He's been in lawsuits and under debt pressure dozens or hundreds or times before.

      7, 8 are things he can, has, and will rationalize away.

      9 is a mere incovenience, 10 is unlikely.

    5. 13. Tax issues, both state and federal.

      These might not rise to the level of criminal fraud or evasion, but civil fraud can be pretty costly, and a pardon won't eliminate it, even at the federal level.

    6. So to make a substantive reply to this list:

      1) impeachment trial in Senate

      Eh, whatever. I mean, sure, maybe he gets banned from running for President again. He will be, what, 77, 78 in the next cycle? True believers will continue to true believe. And I don't know that conviction is likely given partisan politics.

      2) New York prosecutors’ investigation of private business conduct (insurance fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud) with immunity lapsed

      This is more serious. But ... money can slow down the criminal process. Gum up the works. Don't expect satisfaction soon, if at all.

      3) D.C. prosecutors’ investigation of insurrection (immunity lapsed)


      4) liability risk in civil claims (defamation, sexual assault, breach of contract, etc.) (immunity lapsed)

      I expect there to be a fair number of lawsuits. But it's not like he is unused to that.

      5) declining Trump Organization business operations

      That is more serious for him. We are already seeing some of the effects from 1/6. Unless things change dramatically, I'm not sure it's going to get better.

      6) psychological issues (inability to acknowledge election loss, collapse of make-believe world, loss of presidential perks and powers)


      7) shunning and censuring by innumerable personal, political, and business associates

      Eh. He might crave the affection of the elite and society, but I'm sure he'll be fine settling for 'Bama fans.

      8) capsizing approval ratings and credibility

      Meh. No one with any sense viewed him as credible to begin with.

      9) inability to tweet (despite numerous efforts to evade suspension)

      This might be the big one. Why, I'm not sure, but apparently the guy really like to tweet.

      10) risk his children will be prosecuted, too

      I don't think he cares. Maybe Ivanka. Maybe.

      11) looming financial problems (nine-figure debt deadlines with respect to troubled assets)

      That tends to be overblown. He's not rich like he claims, but he's rich enough to get through whatever he needs to, along with a little help from the Gulf Monarchs.

      1. Why do the Gulf monarchs, or any other foreign political figures, care what happens to him after he's out of office?

        It's hard to know how much financial trouble he's in. Maybe not much, maybe a lot. Estimating the market value of his assets is tricky, and the full scope of his debt is unclear.

        What we do know is he has a habit of getting in trouble by overleveraging his properties, though that may have changed.

        1. I think there are oh 80 million Americans who will never stay in a trump property or vote republican for the rest of their lives

          5 years ago if Expedia put me in a trump property, whatever.


          I have voted Republican several times for Governor, and US rep

          Never again

          Republican is the scarlet R

          Yeah, his banks left him, [or err, bank]

          No he won't be broke, but I doubt his portfolio is growing

          Maybe in Russia

  17. A legal question from a non lawyer – I keep reading that no one has a right to (for example) a facebook page. On the other hand I think everyone has a right to go into say a grocery store and purchase food ie one couldn’t turn someone away at the door just because of the color of their skin. Could one (black or white or ….) be turned away from a grocery store for wearing a MAGA hat or a BLM t-shirt? What’s the legal difference? Is it virtual presence vs actual physical presence?

    1. The Constitution does not protect your right to enter a grocery store. It required statutes to prohibit store owners from refusing to serve blacks. Most of those statues outlaw discrimination on the basis of race but not on the basis of political ideology (a few places like DC and Seattle do extend the protection to ideology).

      1. "It required statutes to prohibit store owners from refusing to serve blacks."

        No it doesn't...? What's the legal basis for this assertion?

        1. I am pretty sure that what he said is not "The Constitution requires..." but "It took statutes to prohibit..."

        2. Grocery stores aren't state actors, so how else would you prohibit them from refusing to serve blacks if not by statute?

          1. Which part of the Constitution do you think requires grocery stores to serve blacks or anybody else?

            1. I see where we are cross ways now. I misread your comment as stating that the Constitution required that states enact statutes to prohibit discrimination. I didn't realize you meant that since the Constitution does not provide those protections, it was required (for those protections to exist at all) that states enact statutes. I apologize for misreading you.

            2. Really? See what VinniUSMC wrote.

            3. The Fifth Amendment! Blacks always use that one in court.

      2. Josh - Is someone who posts on Facebook from DC or Seattle protected from discrimination based on ideology?

        1. I don't know, but I suspect not because I doubt Facebook is considered a place of public accommodation.

    2. It has to do with the way you are framing the issues.

      "Everyone" does not have a right to go into a grocery store and purchase food. For example, if a person (despite a clear sign indicating such is not allowed) walks into a grocery store with no shoes and no shirt, they will get no service and be asked to leave, and can be trespassed.

      What you are thinking of is that there are laws regarding public accommodations (for example), and that generally they cannot discriminate against people on the basis of, for example, their race. This is one of those narrow exceptions to the general rule- and under federal law and most state law, political opinions are not a "protected category" like race.

      Facebook and other private companies usually have TOS (terms of service) ... in effect, a contract. As you can imagine, they are not favorable, and would allow termination for any and all reasons.

    3. The legal difference is that some classifications in America are protected and others are not. Certain immutable traits (like skin color, country of origin, etc.) render one a protected class. Certain mutable characteristics are also protected, including religious belief. Self-identifying as a supporter of President Trump or a supporter of BLM are not protected classes in most places. I think there are states that prohibit discrimination of people on the basis of political beliefs, but those are rare. The virtual vs. actual physical presence makes no difference in any state or federal law that I'm aware of.

      1. I'm not trying to be difficult asking this - Are you saying that a black person could be denied service for proclaiming that they believe in equal rights/service for Blacks but not for being black? That seems like a pretty tough distinction. I would think being denied for either is wrong/illegal.

        1. I serve everyone at my restaurant but there's a Goyim section for YOU people.

        2. Under the assumption that all people, regardless of race, person are similarly being denied service for believing in equal rights for blacks, I think you are correct.

        3. Technically yes, but in practice the business that denied service (or employment) under these facts would paying and losing bigly.

        4. "Are you saying that a black person could be denied service for proclaiming that they believe in equal rights/service for Blacks but not for being black?"

          Probably. The example creates a close question though, since I suppose some state anti discrimination law could go so far as to protect people who advocate for equal rights for blacks from discrimination, on the basis that it also protects against racial discrimination. For a simpler example, in those states that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, a black person cannot be denied service on the basis that they are black. But could be denied service on the basis that the black person happens to root for the Buffalo Bills.

          I don't think it is wrong to withhold services from someone on the basis of their beliefs. I withhold services from people all the time, for a lot of reasons. Most of them relate to my financial well being. I did have a racist client once (I did not know they were a racist when they hired me), and fired them in part on the basis that they were racist.

          I don't love all my clients. But I try my best to have clients I would enjoy having a beer with, because I only get one life to live, and I'd rather spend my pitifully short time on the planet helping good people as opposed to dickheads.

  18. What are your predictions for the Biden administration?
    1) Prosecute Capitol protestors fully w/ long jail times. 2) New FBI / NSA / DHS funding and directives to target domestic white supremacists. 3) More troops to Afghanistan. 4) No more bully Iran. 5) Much more bully Russia. 6) Sign trans-Pacific partnership (Big Harv needs a new rice rocket). 7) Sign Paris agreement to address climate change. 8) Raise taxes on those making more than $450k by 2% to "balance the budget".

    1. 1) Pretend to reenter the Paris accord. (Which is just an unratified treaty, which we can't actually enter without Senate ratification.)
      2) Sic government agencies on political enemies on the pretext that they're "white supremacists" or whatever.
      3) More troops everywhere.
      4) More extra-judicial assassinations of citizens.
      5) Operation Choke Point will resume being official government policy after four years of being covert.
      6) Attacks on 1st and 2nd amendments. Sadly the 1st amendment attacks will have the wholehearted cooperation of the media.
      7) Massive increase in domestic surveillance.
      8) New states.
      9) Court packing.

      1. I'm glad the CIA will reward Bezos and AWS for their loyalty to the American people. Will Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. become states or just PR? I also forgot to mention the generous federal subsidies to solar panel and wind turbine manufacturers. We can't eliminate greenhouse gas emissions without corporate tax breaks and energy efficiency standards.

        1. DC should not become a state.

          The area/people should return to being MD citizens and also have a carve-out for designated federal areas/bldgs/monuments, etc.

          That's how it's done for federal bldgs in cities, military bases, national parks, etc.

          1. Yes, but that wouldn't get the Democratic party 2 new Senators, would it?

            Manchin has already came out in favor of statehood for both, and if he's onboard, it's pretty much a done deal.

            1. "it’s pretty much a done deal"

              Gotta eliminate the fillibuster first.

              Maybe they will but not 100% certain.

              [FYI, I support ending the filibuster no matter who does it.]

              1. >support ending the filibuster
                Ok, Knob from Ohio. Tell me why that is a good idea.

                1. I'll answer for Bob (or, at least, give one of the plausible answers)
                  Answer: Because it will allow shit to get done. It's a fucking outrage that one senator (in some situations) can prevent a politically-popular vote to take place...and therefore, prevent good legislation. It's a fucking outrage that a good bill that 59 senators love can be blocked from even a vote in almost all cases.
                  The argument continues: Yes, more bad bills will be passed, in addition to more good bills. But, over time, since both Dems and Republican politicians will benefit from their majorities in the Senate, bad laws will be replaced by good laws.

                  (Yes, I totally get that many people's analysis begin and end with, "Government is generally bad, new laws are generally bad. Therefore, any changes that result in additional laws is a bad idea." But nothing I say will ever convince those people, so why bother trying.)

                  [Bob, if I got it completely wrong, jump in and give your own justification.]

          2. "DC should not become a state. The area/people should return to being MD citizens and also have a carve-out for designated federal areas/bldgs/monuments, etc."

            Thank you for that reasonable, unpersuasive comment.

          3. How does the the 23rd amendment factor into to this?

            Does the new state of Douglass get double electoral votes?

    2. Not sure about 3).

      I think it would take some major incident(s) for the US to have an appetite to reverse the downsizing Trump did (his best foreign policy achievement IMO), especially with COVID and addressing all the problems it has caused.

      Although the Middle East will most likely get major attention (again): Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Pakistan are hot messes, with Turkey and Iran not too far behind.

      Cyber threats from Russia and China are also huge from a economic and security aspect – not so much from a physical threat.

      1. Hillary Clinton made a mistake not going balls deep into Libya after Quaddafi was successfully sodomized with a broom handle. Joe Biden will not repeat that mistake. Likewise with Syria and the civilian murdering tyrant, Bashar al-Assad.

        1. "...Hillary Clinton made a mistake not going balls deep into Libya after Quaddafi was successfully sodomized with a broom handle. ..."

          ??? Do you believe that Hillary Clinton was president at some point? Do you believe that Hillary (or any Sec. of State) had the authority to declare war against another country?

          Weird post.

  19. Can anyone think of examples of public officials (or ex-officials) violating Section 3 of the 14th Amendment?

    ("No Person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.")

    1. How about Robert M. T. Hunter? He was a US congressman and senator from Virginia. He then served a couple different offices in the Confederate government. After the war, he served as Treasurer of Virginia, as well as the customs collector for the port of Tappahannock.

      1. Hmmm...I should probably have specified public officials or ex-officials who are still alive.

        This blog has discussed the ex-Confederates and Victor Berger, but those folks are no longer with us.

  20. AOC
    looking to ‘rein in’ media after Capitol riot.

    Sounds like shutting the barn door after the horse has escaped. If only the Trump administration had reigned in much of the misinformation surrounding the election, we could have avoided many problems.

    1. The rebel alliance will be crushed and fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this Democrat Congress!

  21. Biden appointee to DOJ Civil Rights has some interesting views.

    "Melanin endows Blacks with greater mental, physical and spiritual abilities -- something which cannot be measured based on Eurocentric standards."

    1. I thought you guys didn't like holding what people did in college against them.

    2. Worth acknowledging: unlike a bunch of Breitbart garbage that gets reposted here, this seems to actually be true (although the quote is from 24 years ago and seems to be a summary of research by someone else, and the context is a refutation of [I]The Bell Curve[/I]).

      1. Ugh, I still haven't figured out italics, mostly because I am dumb and don't remember my HTML.

  22. AOC claims her office's panic button was removed before the capitol hill event. Presumably that summons the police, right? I thought she was of the opinion we ought to not have those racist thugs? Why would she want them to show up to her office (which according to her staff page is full of people of color who are beat by the police on a daily basis.)

    1. You're thinking of that black skinhead from Massachusetts. AOC said someone stole her shoes. As a fellow foot connoisseur, I'm thinking that I may have misjudged the MAGA mob.

  23. One thing recent history has taught America is the first storyline of major tragedies or controversies is never the most accurate.

    Americans were told by the Bush administration that they were sucker-punched by a surprise attack on 9/11 by terrorists, only to learn the CIA and FBI had significant advance evidence of the plot and its players and failed to connect the dots.

    Susan Rice originally told the nation that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was carried out spontaneously by a mob angered by an anti-Muslim video. The attack, it turned out, was pre-planned and carried out by an al-Qaeda-aligned terror group in Libya.

    The country was assured Christopher Steele's dossier provided credible evidence of Donald Trump colluding with Russia, when in fact the CIA and FBI knew almost immediately it was uncorroborated and based in part on Russian disinformation.

    And now just a week after the heinous and deadly siege of the U.S. Capitol, the final narrative of what actually happened is still being written, revised and unmasked...

    1. 9/11 was, I think, mostly a case of getting lazy after being warned of 100 terrorist attacks for every on that's real.

      The Bengazhi thing was a deliberate lie, they knew quite well what was going on, and just didn't want to admit it, so they nailed an innocent guy to the wall for plausibility.

      Ditto the Steele dossier. They knew it was garbage instantly, and concealed that from the courts. Even interviewed one of the sources, who told them it was garbage, and told the court he sounded reliable, but not that he'd told them it was garbage.

      I'm kind of dubious we already know what went down last week, still in the fog of war.

      1. We need to burn down a few more compounds in Texas and shoot some more wives in Idaho before we can say the white supremacist threat to American democracy is over.

    2. Don't worry. The FBI has stopped 100% of the domestic terrorism plots that its agents have helped planned and coordinate. Under a Democrat President Biden, the agency will shift away from attempting to implicate foreign Muslim extremists and toward domestic white supremacists. Remember! If your new anti-government friend asks you to blow up a federal building, JUST SAY NO!

      1. Just say no ANYWAY -- and call the cops.

        I wonder how many times different agencies wind up investigating each other...

        1. If you go to a Klan rally, look to your left and your right. One of you three works for the state government and another one for the federal government.

      2. That last is undeniably good advice, I endorse it.

  24. When Biden takes charge how many "white supremacist" "compounds" do you think the feds are going to raid?

    1. Probably about as many as the current administration? Do you think Jeff Sessions' DOJ was protective of white supremacists?

      So we can get you on the record, what's your guess?

      1. Sessions only began his prosecution of the Klan after he found out they smoked Mary J at those bonfires.

    2. "All your bases are belong to us."
      t. FBI

  25. In other news can't check a gun to IAD or DCA, even though under federal law possession must be legal at the final destination. I'm sure this will prevent a ton of crime...

    Also if you are flying to the DC area you will need to wait until you land to get ripped on booze. No alcohol on the plane. This too will prevent countless tragedies for sure.

    Also, I have been enjoying the article on CNN that is providing real time updates to the arrest from the capitol hill event. They are almost celebratory in nature every time one is announced. Don't really need to point out, but will just for the record, that there was never such a feature to track down looters and hold them accountable.

    1. The media's esoteric vision of American democracy is more sacred than some prole's private property.

    2. "Also if you are flying to the DC area you will need to wait until you land to get ripped on booze. No alcohol on the plane. This too will prevent countless tragedies for sure."

      I think the idea is to prevent the airline staff from having to deal with assholes who are being even more aggressive than usual, not to prevent mischief in DC.

    3. Don’t really need to point out, but will just for the record, that there was never such a feature to track down looters and hold them accountable.

      A normal, sane person who found out that everyone else was treating situations A and B differently might conclude that situations A and B are actually nothing alike.

  26. Can and will President Biden waive the attorney-client privilege in the impeachment trial if the testimony of White House counsel is relevant to President Trump's intent?

  27. So now it develops that Jared and Ivanka <a href=""refused to let Secret Service Agents us any of the six bathrooms in their house.

    So we, the taxpayers have been coughing up $3K/month to rent a studio apartment where they can go.

  28. The Volokh Conspiracy seems to have become mostly a spot where conservatives describe why they are disaffected and complain about the liberals' advantages in the culture war.

    1. Liberals are more loving and charitable?

  29. TO the lying trumpista stains on humanity: lined up six deep and five abreast. “We all just made a decision,” Kyle said. “We weren’t going to let these individuals in the building. No matter what.”

    [Inside the siege: how barricaded lawmakers and aides sounded urgent pleas for help]

    Rioters employed bear spray and other chemical irritants that blinded officers and threw smoke grenades that turned the tunnel pitch black. “If you didn’t have a gas mask,” Kyle said — and many officers didn’t — “it was almost impossible to breathe.”

    The number of officers changed by the minute — anywhere between 30 and 60 — depending on injuries and how long it took to step aside, recover from the gas that seared their lungs, and get back into battle.

    “We all believed we were fighting for our lives,” Kyle said. “We believed at the time that we were the only door in jeopardy of being breached.”

    Rioters took shields and batons and used them against the officers. One person threw a ladder. Kyle wondered whether police could keep holding the door.

    1. Oh sorry was that rude?
      UnAmerican Fascist invading the capitol is rude
      Supporting them and complaining that some just walked in is rude

      get real

  30. It must really suck to be a conservative:

    For 250 years, there's been a slow but most assuredly steady trend towards liberalism.

    No more slavery: check
    Women's vote: check
    Civil Rights Act: check
    Roe v Wade: check
    OSHA/EPA: check
    Interracial marriages: check
    SSM: check

    And even Fox News is confirming what I've been saying all along; sure people might move from Cali to TX, but they're moving for economic reasons and are NOT changing their values.

    Every state that has flipped recently went blue - with one exception: West Virginia but that was because of coal only. Once coal is no longer a factor (sooner than later), it'll return to the fold.

    1. apedad, I like your checklist, but how would it hold up if you put some economic checkpoints on it?

      Right to Organize Labor: Oops
      Real Minimum Wage Stability: Slipping
      Real Wages for Unskilled and Semi-skilled Labor: Yikes
      Skilled Job Availability: Not bad, for foreigners
      Labor Force Participation: Down, always down
      Private Old Age pensions: Hit by an asteroid, apparently
      Cost of Healthcare: To the moon!
      College Costs: Up and up
      The Rent: Too damned high
      Corporate control of the economy: Near total
      Corporate control of political economy: The same

      Arguably, the nation sold out my checklist to get your checklist. I want both.

      1. Left off:
        Career Paths for Younger Workers: Trouble ahead, trouble behind

      2. Agree with your assumption and some of those issues are starting to be addressed (health care and college costs).

        I'm not sure that corp. "control" is necessarily a bad thing though because of the benefits of our capitalist society (e.g. innovation, access to capital markets, opportunities for employee mobility and promotion, etc.)

        And yes, this has to weighed against the destructive elements (e.g. pollution, employee abuse, fraud, etc.).

        But our corps are usually very sensitive to market forces (economic, financial, social, global, etc.), so they are not monoliths acting on their own.

        And as I mentioned a few days ago in another post, corps have many centers of power which sometimes even conflict: employees, management, investors, vendors, customers, industry watchers, special interests groups, etc., so again they don't hold monolithic power.

        1. Next Thursday, we should do a list of important things for Biden to do in his first 100 days.

          I agree that labor is a big blind spot right now. It really does solve a lot of issues all at once.

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