Thursday Open Thread

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  1. Reason covered this years ago – the U. S. Marshals continue to honor its officers who died enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act or guarding prisoners under that act.

    https://reason.com/2013/07/29/department-of-justice-honors-slave-catch/

    It would keep them out of trouble for the Biden people to strike these names (Edward Gorsuch, James Batchelder) off the roll of honor – and the the Marshals Museum to do the same.

    (additional links below)

      1. Many of their parents were actually married.

        1. I was strictly referring to black cops.

      2. No liberals love cops again. Especially the capitol hill cops. Those guys are heros. Other cops, maybe not so much, or maybe. Depends on the circumstances and who needs to be co-opted at the time.

    1. Gorsuch and Batchelder died in the line of duty, applying the duly enacted laws of the United States.

      Yes, those laws were unjust, as so many laws (modern and ancient alike) are unjust. Yet it was not Gorsuch or Batchelder’s duty to debate the law, or to refuse to enforce it. It was their duty to apply it, professionally, consistently, and dispassionately. It seem that’s exactly what they did, and exactly what they were killed for doing.

      Striking their names from the roll of honor is worse that mere historical revisionism. It denies that we have a history, and thereby destines us to repeat it. Oh, sure, there’s a superficial appeal to pretending that good men never end up on the wrong side of history (by deleting any who do), but that’s simply not reality.

      America was never a perfect nation, but it is a great nation founded upon great ideals that we constantly strive to achieve. Pretending that men like Gorsuch or Batchelder did not lose their lives in honest pursuit of those ideals – just like their more modern and socially just counterparts who face our current challenges – is wrong.

      1. Can we just let it collapse already? I’d rather get a new nation with a fresh slate that doesn’t penalize white people for their “privilege”. How many white Soviet Jews came to America with nothing but their brains and made a prosperous life. Can we just admit that humans are genetically different and predisposed to certain attributes. The IQ of a people bred to lend money to Christians is probably always going to be different than the IQ of a people bred to pick cotton.

      2. By that logic, why not give Benedict Arnold a statue in DC?

        1. Benny doesn’t satisfy D.C.’s diversity requirements for statues.

        2. Benedict Arnold is in no way comparable.

          For starters, he wasn’t killed in the line of duty.

          More importantly, however, is that he was not merely enforcing the duly enacted laws of the United States (in part because there was no United States at the time).

          1. No, he was enforcing the duly enacted laws from the legitimate government of North America. The fact that a bunch of rich white people didn’t appreciate having to pay taxes and being constrained in their ability to steal native Americans’ land doesn’t change that.

            1. a bunch of rich white people

              While most (but not all) of the men who volunteered to fight as part of the First Continental Army were white, almost none of them were rich.

              1. The non-rich ones also weren’t writing important legal documents that formed the basis for the new country

      3. Striking their names from the roll of honor is worse that mere historical revisionism. It denies that we have a history, and thereby destines us to repeat it.

        If you can’t remember history without honoring it, I think that’s a personal failing, and not one you should project on the rest of the us.

      4. Yet it was not Gorsuch or Batchelder’s duty to debate the law, or to refuse to enforce it. It was their duty to apply it, professionally, consistently, and dispassionately.

        “Just following orders.”

  2. Suggestions for constitutional amendments:

    Authorize state legislatures to recall Senators and Congresspeople.

    1. Amend Article V to take Congress out of the loop on constitutional amendments.

      Article V currently reads,
      “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate. ”

      Change this to,
      “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or the legislatures of two thirds of the several states may call a convention for proposing amendments, but any amendment, regardless of how it originates, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified with identical language by the legislatures or conventions of three fourths of the several states, without further action being necessary. However, no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.”

      1. Ever lived in a state which allows lawmaking by citizen petition and initiative?

        You wind up with a bunch of law that is worse than anything the legislature ever proposed… AND you wind up with a whole new class of politician.

        1. This is what democracy looks like!
          Why can’t you racist Rethuglicans just let Black people vote for their best interests?

        2. “You wind up with a bunch of law that is worse than anything the legislature ever proposed” in the opinion of people who agree with the legislature, who are obviously not the majority or else the initiatives wouldn’t pass.

          1. Only someone who’s never heard of Arrow’s impossibility theorem or someone who’s never met an actual voter could say that. The latter option, of course, would be ironic given your earlier comment about replacing humans with a different species.

            1. Arrow’s impossibility theorem only applies to votes where there are more than two options. Ballot initiatives are usually up/down.

              1. Yes, that’s exactly the problem. In order to make ballot initiatives work, you have to force people who have a wide range of preferences to choose between two options, thus discarding lots of information about their preferences. In the same way, having a two-party system isn’t really a solution for the impossibility theorem.

                1. No, you’ve described the problem with representative democracy, and then attributed it to the initiative process. Initiatives, especially if single topic rules are enforced, allow the voters to directly engage on a particular topic. They might be problematic in terms of people who want some intermediate position, but up down votes aren’t subject to the Impossibility theorem.

                  1. I haven’t, but even if I had: Why would you think that the logical problems around voting for people don’t apply to voting for laws directly?

                    1. Because, again, Arrow’s impossibility theorem expressly applies to voting procedures with three or more options. You get rock/paper/scissors cyclic advantages where it’s possible for the winner of the election to not be the most popular option.

                      The problem with representative democracy, even given free elections, (Which we do NOT have in the US due to ballot access restrictions!) is that you have one vote to deploy to pick your representative, and multiple issues you’re concerned about. Maybe Bob agrees with you on minimum wage and tariffs, but disagrees with you on gun control, while Jerry is the opposite. Whichever wins, you lose on something that matters to you.

                      Initiatives let you vote separately on each issue, so you can win on every issue of concern, you’re not stuck with the gun control fanatic in order to get your minimum wage, or whatever.

                      A bit rate that matches what you’re trying to communicate!

                    2. Yes, and you can’t solve the problem by simply deleting options that fundamentally do exist until you only have two left.

                    3. You may have a valid complaint here, but it’s got nothing to do with Arrow’s impossibility theorem.

                    4. The trouble is the initiative system doesn’t permit compromise on intermediate positions, which is what legislatures are supposed to do.

                      Both the issues you mention, gun control and the minimum wage, admit of compromise. Maybe I think $7.25 is too low, but $15.00 is too high. Maybe I think it ought to vary depend ngon living costs in different areas, or something else.

                      Maybe I think certain weapons should be banned, or just registered, or something, but not all. The initiative doesn’t let me express that. It’s an illusion that it does. It simply sets up two polarized positions and forces the voters into a binary choice. That doesn’t seem like a good idea.

                    5. That IS a fair complaint, which, as I said, has nothing to do with Arrow’s theorem.

                      Initiatives tend to be written by activists who are more extreme in their views than the median voter. And they don’t have a lot of room for nuance.

                      Still, the voters get to decide whether they prefer the initiative to the status quo, in an up/down vote. And the drafters have to take this into account: If they go too far from the median voters’ opinions, a majority won’t think it an improvement over the status quo, and it fails.

                      Sometimes they try to have it both ways, like Florida’s felon reenfranchisement initiative. Promote it as meaning something close to what the voters approve of, and then argue in court afterwards that it means something else. That didn’t work, thankfully.

                      The answer, of course, is for you to propose a new initiative to correct the over-shoot, for the voters to again compare to the new status quo. Successive approximation!

                      But the big advantage of initiatives is, being single issue, the voters don’t have to lose on an unrelated issue to win on a different issue, as is typical in choosing representatives. They can even win on things where the Uniparty disagree with them, and present them with an election between two candidates who both wouldn’t give them what they want.

            2. Only someone who’s never heard of Arrow’s impossibility theorem

              Says the clown who is desperately trying to apply it to an issue where it is clearly not applicable.

          2. No, it’s more the monied special interests who get the laws they want.

          3. You only need to look at the $100M spent in this last election cycle in California on Proposition 23–which was a dumb proxy labor fight for dialysis centers thrown to the voters to decide on–to see how this sort of direct democracy can go awry. Why do we expect voters to have opinions on questions this narrow?

            1. But in the same election cycle you had Prop 16, a proposal to undo Proposition 209, which had prohibited the state from engaging in racial discrimination.

              Given the realities of politics in California, the voters had essentially no chance to defend Prop 209 by electing representatives who agreed with it. (And thus put prop 16 on the ballot!)

              But thanks the the proposal system, they could keep Prop 209 in place regardless, because they could vote on that specific issue even though all the candidates for public office they were allowed to vote on wanted it gone.

              It was a triumph of the ballot initiative system, the voters beating the politicians back on an issue where the politicians are decidedly unrepresentative of the public.

              1. Hopefully this is obvious, but without the proposition system you wouldn’t have Prop 209 in the first place so I’m not sure this is the best example in its favor.

                1. No, it’s a great example, because, as you say, without the proposition system, you wouldn’t have Prop 209 in the first place.

                  Instead you’d have racial discrimination permitted, even mandated, in California, despite the voters being widely opposed to it!

                  So, Prop 209 is a good thing, it corrected the failure of representative democracy on this issue.

                  1. I don’t think you can meaningfully discuss the merits of a system with referendums if you assume voters’ preferences are exogeneous.

            2. But what did you expect in a one party state.

    2. Authorize state legislatures to recall Senators and Congresspeople.

      Terrible idea.

      Do you want a gerrymandered legislature, or even a non-gerrymandered one, recalling a Senator who, remember, won a statewide election.

      Do you want a legislature able to recall a Representative from the party in the minority in the legislature?

      1. I’d authorize state legislatures to initiate recall elections, though. We desperately need a way to cope with Senators who figure they can piss off the voters after they’re elected, and then play cute for a year or two before the next election and count on short memories.

        I’ve always liked the proposal to put none of the above on the ballot, (Last, obviously!) and if it won, the election would be held again with all the candidates on the ballot barred from running. It would dramatically change the dynamics of elections, because you’d have to build yourself up, not tear down the other guy, to avoid both of you losing.

        I would also mandate that writing somebody in on a ballot absolutely must be permitted, or the state will be held to be violating the republican form of government guarantee; Stalin used to say that it didn’t matter who voted, just who counted the votes. Well, doesn’t matter who votes if you’ve got control over who they can vote for, either.

        1. “We desperately need a way to cope with Senators who figure they can piss off the voters after they’re elected, and then play cute for a year or two before the next election and count on short memories.”

          Don’t have a short memory. That takes care of it, I would think.

          1. Yeah, so many problems with current institutional arrangements could be resolved by replacing humanity with a different species.

          2. Don’t have a short memory. That takes care of it,

            “It’s easy. Just change the gravitational constant of the universe.”

            I would think.

            If only.

      2. I think I answered too quickly here, as I assumed the idea was that this could be done by a simple majority vote.

        A process that closely resembles presidential impeachment and trial might be tolerable. That would include a requirement, explicit charges, supermajority votes, etc.

        Still, I don’t see the point of going through all that with a Representative, who is going to be up for election in two years at the most, and subject to a primary challenge months before that.

        1. Yeah, I was hesitant to include a Congressperson in this proposal because of the points you made (especially the one about a member from the opposite party [looking at you Cali]).

          Maybe add on a layer like if the (majority of?) the district petitions the state legislature for removal, then the legislature may/will proceed with the impeachment process.

          1. That’s what the UK now has. If 10% of the electorate signs the recall petition, the MP is toast. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recall_of_MPs_Act_2015

            (Incidentally, the case of Ian Paisley jr. shows that there is still plenty of scope for shenanigans. The reason why in his case only 9.4% of voters signed is because they opened only three places where people could sign, in a massive rural constituency.)

          2. “Yeah, I was hesitant to include a Congressperson”
            Senators are Congresspersons. Congress is both houses together.

            Senators and Representatives or just Congresspeople, not Senators and Congresspeople.

    3. Suggestion 1: Repeal the Reapportionment Act of 1929 and set a more reasonable minimum representative to represented ratio for the House of Representatives. Require states to make congressional districts multi-seat proportional districts.

      Rationale: Current problems with the House of Representatives is that it is not very representaives. Due to gerrymandering, the Reapportionment Act of 1929, and other reasons, it has gotten increasingly disconnected from the US at large. Allowing it to grow again, and making all districts into multi-seat proportional districts, will mean that the House better represents the people, and breaks the two-party stranglehold.

      Suggestion 2: Prohibit the federal or state governments from writing any law recognizing “political parties”.

      Rationale: Part of how parties have entrenched themselves is with state law. Primaries run by states, treating the big-two political parties as if they have special rights to access and representation… kick it all to the curb. If a party wants to hold a primary? It can hold the primary itself. And then use it’s party resources to get their candidate quallified for the general ballot, same as everyone else.

      Or to put it another way… because of the way states and parties have intertwined, you can have a person running as a Republican (and thus getting the guaranteed Republican slot on the ballot) without having the support of the state Republican party. You can have the state being responsible for choosing which Demcorat candidate is the “real” one. States should not be involved in party decision making, and should not be footing the bill for parties making their decisions.

      Suggestion 3: Codifying a formallized (and lengthy) process for states to secede, to renounce their state status and become territories, and a non-optional process for territories to become states or be set loose.

      Rationale: While I believe the United States are stronger together, if a state (as represented by it’s people) believes strong enough (and for a long enough time) that it would be better off alone, then we should have a formal process for that to happen. Ideally this would require multiple sequential votes of the people (perhaps a vote for secssion in two consecutive presidential elections?), some super-majority threshold, and so-on.

      By the same token, if a state no longer wishes the costs and responsibilities of being a state, there should be a concrete way for it to renounce it’s statehood and resume being a territory. I don’t see this ever happening, but the process should be codified in case it becomes relevant.

      For the last point, it’s a “shit or get off the pot” thing for me. We have people who are US citizens but are not treated as real citizens just because they’re from a “territory” rather then a “state”. These are Americans with their own self-government, their own cities, and so-on, but we don’t treat them right. This shoudl be fixed: once a territory has a large enough population, our choices should narrow to either severing it from the union or having it properly join the union.

      I would also want to fix the senate, but I’m less certain of how to do that. The main concern is that we need to get some manner of proportional voting in on that, but that would require upping the senate seats to at least three per state and also making it so all such seats were up for election at the same time. whether or not I’d want to go down that route would depend on how large the House gets (three or more senators per state isn’t such a big deal if even Wyoming has 5 representatives in the house). Which is to say, I think the current method for electing senators is a problem, but I’m not convinced I have a solution that’s better yet.

    4. “Suggestions for constitutional amendments:”

      Cut in half the Congressional/EC representation of states that practice disenfranchisement of adult citizen voters.

  3. I was interested to see in a federal affidavit on the indictment of some of the actual rioters in DC, that they had extensive access to the contents of their Parler accounts, and other social media.

    Were they under surveillance for a long while before this? It’s not unheard of for the FBI to give loud mouthed loons some rope to hang themselves with, and then lose track of them at a critical moment instead of swooping in for the dramatic save.

    Or it could have been really fast analysis of the Parler hack, I suppose. Really fast.

    Personally, one of my concerns with Parler was that it looked like a honey pot. I don’t think they’re coming back in any big way after that hack.

    1. Should there be a new federal domestic terrorist watchlist after the deadly MAGA riots? Should they be restricted from flying and owning firearms? What commenters on the Volokh Conspiracy belong on this proposed watchlist?

      1. “Should there be a new federal domestic terrorist watchlist after the deadly MAGA riots?”

        Nope. Just declare them dead, as here
        .
        https://reason.com/2021/01/21/brickbat-hale-and-hearty/

      2. Not without conviction in a court of law with full due process. The no-fly list is a police state measure, it has no place in a free society.

        1. “The no-fly list is a police state measure, it has no place in a free society.”

          There’s an argument that a society subject to terrorism isn’t really a free society in the first place.

          1. But terrorism is just an idea.
            How can an idea harm (YOU)?

          2. But the no-fly list makes no sense at all as a response to terrorism, you do understand that, right?

            Say you’ve got this guy you suspect of being a terrorist. He tries to fly, wham, he knows he’s in your sights. Does this stop him from being a terrorist? No, it just makes one particular approach to terrorism, and one that stopped really being practical about the time flight 93 crashed, a little harder.

            Really, it’s just a due process free way of screwing with people the government takes a dislike to.

            1. Good thing the US has the Best Constitution In The World, otherwise that option might not have been so “due process free”…

              1. Old saying on the right: “The Constitution has its problems, sure, but it’s better than what we have now.”

                1. Ugh. That is a terrible saying.

                  It’s like the old joke (I heard it sourced from around or after WW2, but who knows- there are a ton of variants) about the Americans going to France and explaining how they built something. “Oui, oui, that works great in practice, but how can it work in theory?”

                  The Constitution is not just words on a paper; it is the norms and practices around it. It is the actuality and the practice. As has been oft-repeated and observed, pretty much every single country that has adopted a US-style constitution has failed miserably due to political instability, because it doesn’t work. The combination of a bicameral legislature with an executive and a first-past-the-post system and strong written constitution with largely aspirational language is a recipe for disaster.

                  The only reason it has worked in America is because we have had such a long tradition of civics and norms that surround our politics. And by “work” I am being generous and ignoring occasional flareups like the Civil War or the Civil Rights Movement or the Great Depression or the terrible violence that caused retrenchment in the post-Civil War South and so on.

                  So when people say things like you just did, it isn’t an argument for reality. It’s a deeply reactionary statement, one that assumes that if we could just get rid of the world as it exists today, and “go back to a halcyon time” when there weren’t these pesky modern issues to deal with, then it will all be okay.

                  This fails to identify that the issue is the document itself; it is both the glue that binds us together (swear on oath to it, it is the Supreme Law, etc.), as well as the document that, without some agreement on basic principles, civics, and norms, forces us into continuing stalemates that eventually lead to a “one party takes us” and then violence.

                  1. “This fails to identify that the issue is the document itself;”

                    “The Constitution has its problems, sure,”

                    This saying doesn’t assert that the Constitution is problem free, but instead that a lot of our problems are actually consequences of not following it.

                    Yes, we have evolved a lot of work-arounds and circumventions to deal with the fact that politicians don’t like having to be limited to the powers the Constitution gives them. They are the problem, they are not solutions.

                    Or, rather, from the politicians’ perspective, they’re solutions, but not so much from the perspective of the governed.

                    The more power is centralized in a heterogeneous federation, the more we chafe.

                    1. You missed the entire point of what I said. It’s like the Onion parody. Of course you think everything would be solved if people just followed what YOU think the Constitution entails. Because the language of the Constitution, when it comes to the parts that YOU care about, is fairly open-ended, as befits a document written by people versed in the Common Law. So you can just say, “I think the Constitution means something else, and you have to follow it,” without realizing that other people might have a different opinion. The problem, Brett, isn’t the politicians, it’s the people. But if the problem is the people, then … well, then there’s a different problem, isn’t there?

                      And that’s before getting into the whole problem with the structural dynamics which is the entire point of what I was writing; again, there’s a reason that countries that use this system always end up failing.

                    2. No, if I thought everything would be peachy if we just followed the Constitution, “The Constitution has its problems” wouldn’t make sense. The Constitution DOES have problems, major ones. It was predicated on a faulty understanding of human nature.

                      But not following it isn’t the same as having a different constitution. What we’ve got now is the proverbial penny in the fuse box, instead of fixing the short in the wiring. Work-arounds don’t fix problems, they CAUSE problems.

                      We’ve still got the Constitution, it still says what it says, we’ve simply put traditions and procedures in place to do something else. But having Constitution X and doing Y is not remotely the same as having Constitution Y.

                      When you’ve got a Constitution that says X, and you’re going to do Y, you’ve got to staff the government with people willing and able to swear to do X, and then do Y. You need to staff the courts with people willing to read X, and say it means Y. You’re building a system that fundamentally relies on being staffed by liars, and then you’re shocked they lie to you? That they don’t only lie when it’s to your advantage?

                      You can’t have honest government when you’re running the Leviathan under a limited government Constitution. You’ve ruled it out from the start, honest government is off the table.

                      That’s why I’ve long advocated a Constitutional convention, though I don’t remotely expect to like the result. It at least offers the opportunity to have a worse constitution honestly administered, in place of a better constitution that isn’t actually being followed.

                    3. We live in a pluralistic society, and none of us has a monopoly on what the Constitution means.

                      We can argue about it, but we can’t just declare we are correct, that everyone else know this and is lying about it, etc. etc.

                    4. “You can’t have honest government when you’re running the Leviathan under a limited government Constitution. You’ve ruled it out from the start, honest government is off the table.”

                      But that’s the starting point of your problems; you want the government to enact your policy preferences. You key on “limited” government, whereas other people would note that the Founders were interested in self-government, and that if you read the documents of the time, the idea of your “limited” government (as espoused by the Anti-Federalists) was largely discarded in favor of a more expansive notion of a federal government that governed within enumerated areas, but whose power was plenary and supreme within those areas, and the the Constitution was primarily concerned with how to correctly set up this system of self-government (representation, ambition checking ambition, dual sovereignty) and not in setting up some sort of libertarian paradise.

                      Put more simply- the Constitution was meant to allow the People to govern themselves. To the extent that they aren’t, it is beyond bizarre to say that people aren’t following it.

                    5. Everybody wants the government to enact their preferences, at some level, even if their preference is simply to be left alone, and to leave others alone, to pursue their own preferences privately, rather than in enforced lockstep.

                      Yes, the founders saw the Articles of Confederation creating too weak of a central government, and with the Constitution aimed for a stronger central government. Stronger than the AoC, not all powerful! Well, except Hamilton, he was very much planting an acorn to get an oak tree.

                      They were aiming for a stronger central government which was to be so much weaker than what we have now modern politicians would dismiss it as near anarchy. Wickard was nothing like what they envisioned the interstate commerce clause meaning, for instance.

                      But my argument really doesn’t have to do with how powerful a government you want. I has to do with how you get there.

                      That turning a limited government constitution into a leviathan by ‘interpretation’ and work arounds is not remotely the same thing as having a leviathan constitution, because of the sort of people you need to pull it off, and the ultimately corrupting effect of doing things that way.

                      Once you’ve put the penny in the constitutional fuse box, it’s not going to blow even if the wires are glowing. You’ve defeated the point of HAVING a written constitution! You’re only pretending to have a constitution at that point.

                      As I said, I favor a constitutional convention, though I believe it would deliver up a constitution I’d find much less attractive than the one we have now. I favor it because I think that new constitution might actually be enforced as written, and thus have some chance of being administered by people who weren’t corrupt in the way modern constitutional interpretation requires.

                    6. Once again, Brett, you are defining “what the Constitution means” as “What Brett Bellmore thinks it means.”

                    7. You just don’t want to admit that getting the sort of government you like requires staffing it with dishonest people, because you like a sort of government the Constitution wasn’t written to provide. How could you honestly think the Constitution really permits the sort of government you like? It was written over 200 years ago for a largely agrarian society!

                      The advantage they have in Europe is that they have leviathan governments run under leviathan constitutions. Sure, that allows for more government than I like, but at least it’s honest too much government, instead of inevitably corrupt too much government.

                      We can never have honest government so long as we have this disconnect between the constitutional language and practice, because maintaining it requires too much doublethink, so it has to be staffed with people who will engage in doublethink.

                    8. under leviathan constitutions

                      What, exactly, does that mean? Most European countries have constitutions that are longer than the US constitution, in the sense that they have more words. But I’m assuming that’s not what you mean. Do you seriously think that European constitutions give governments more power than the power enjoyed by the US Federal and State governments combined? Or do you not realise that comparing the US Federal Constitution on its own with the constitution of a non-federal country like Ireland makes no sense?

        2. I largely agree here, but I do see room for something like the no-fly list.

          But my version would be more like when a police officer tells you “don’t leave town”, in that it’s related to a on-going investigation. I would also limit how long it can be in place for (measured in days), require something similar to a warrant (paper trail of why they want you prevented from flying), and allow it to be appealed.

          But the current never-ending, no explanation-given, no-fly list? Needs to go.

          1. Well, sure. The problem with the no-fly list is that there’s no due process for getting onto it, no due process for getting off it, and you’re not even notified that you’re on the list until you’re denied your boarding pass, (Even though you were allowed to buy the ticket!) and then file a form requesting an explanation. If you’re a citizen they have to fess up at that point, and give you a vague explanation of why. (“National security!”)

            You can appeal being put on the list, but you’re not entitled to a hearing, discovery, or anything like that, and the only way you can tell if you were successful is to try flying again, and see if you get refused a boarding pass.

            It’s incredibly stupid, with not the least pretense of providing due process. It idea that the program survived court review for five seconds is a pretty terrifying commentary on our judicial system.

    2. I noticed the recorded cell phone ap — I think they had an insider.

      1. I pretty much assume every cell tower within the District, and possibly for some distance around, is Stingray equipped. And probably dumping everything into storage.

        1. Actually, I don’t think you can stingray a cell tower, but as to a black box wired in, the TelCos have as much admitted that.

          But finding this — this quickly — from amongst all the other traffic? Do you have any idea how many other cell calls they would have to sort through???

          1. Not a lot of “sorting” required, if they already had these idiots under surveillance, which seems to have been the case.

            What impresses me here is really that even my 12 year old has heard of “burner phones”, but these idiots were coordinating clearly illegal actions on phones personally connected to them, using apps that don’t even pretend to use encryption?

            How much work did the FBI have to put into shepherding these guys, so they wouldn’t crash and burn before they made it to the Capitol, anyway?

    3. I downloaded Parler and perused a bit. Very much looked like a really sad joke version of a “honey pot” of some sort.

    4. Unlike, e.g., Signal or Telegram, Parler was never advertised (or implemented) as a secure messaging platform. It’s probably trivial for the FBI to get access to this sort of data with a subpoena/search warrant.

    5. My understanding is that that there was a lot of on-going surveillance (the FBI has been reporting, for over a decade now, that right-wing domestic terrorism is one of it’s big concerns).

      And I don’t think it’s that they “lost track”, there were actually a number of arrests before the riot of people that had brought guns and explosives. But what is already established (and will surely get more detailed as investigations continue) is that the folks who were responsible for physical security of congress (which is *not* the FBI) had mixed messages going on. At least some of the people tasked with security were worried and wanted more forces, but they were being brick-walled by other folks who thought it would “look bad” to beef up security. There’s also conflicting stories about when authorization for back-up was approved on January 6th.

      All of which is to say… the FBI was watching ahead of time, but while physical security was warned, they did not (or were not allowed to) better prepare.

      1. “which is *not* the FBI”

        Not the White house, either, it should be pointed out.

        They seem to have lost track of at least some of them. And they certainly didn’t take them out at the earliest point where they had a basis to. Typical FBI “give them more rope, so we can get them on something more serious” thinking, which has backfired more than once.

        Anyway, I don’t mind the FBI being concerned with right wing domestic terrorism. It’s a real issue, obviously. I’m more concerned with their determination not to identify it on the left, pretty hard to justify after years of Antifa violence. They still don’t admit that Antifa is a terrorist organization, even after last year’s riots.

        “No enemy to the left” gets pretty irritating when the FBI adopts it as official policy even when Republicans are in the White House.

      2. Let’s be blunt: Nancy Pelosi.

    6. “I was interested to see in a federal affidavit on the indictment of some of the actual rioters in DC, that they had extensive access to the contents of their Parler accounts, and other social media.”

      The FBI has computers with access to the Internet? What a shocking revelation that is!

  4. What is the difference between a soup and a stew? When does lentil soup become a stew?

    1. I was taught by my mom that the test was whether you could stick a ladle into it, and not have it fall over. If it falls over, soup. If it continues standing up, stew.

      If you have to apply any pressure to speak of to get it in there, casserole.

      1. That’s why I like using instant ramen noodles in my soup. The first day you’ve got a soup, the second a stew, and the third day a casserole, and the latter two without any additional work.

        1. >instant ramen noodles
          Get yourself something better to eat. Not that I can judge too much. A grilled cheese sandwich (w/ American cheese byproduct) and tomato soup is pure comfy desu

          1. I routinely make stock from bones and veggie scraps, and keep bags of it in the freezer for soup making. The instant ramen are just an easy noodle source, I like the texture in a good chicken noodle soup.

            I have to be pretty down in the dumps before I eat actual instant ramen soup, rather than just using it as an ingredient.

            1. I’ve got some Italian white bean soup in the refrigerator for the weekend. I use white kidney beans (Cannellini) but there are Navy beans and Great northern beans and I have no clue if they are better or not. Also, I used a lot of kale which cooks down and is quite tender after pressure cooking for 15 minutes. I thought about adding leeks but the price seems too high for the flavor. Why not just use extra onion? Adding the rind from Parmesan cheese also helps the broth build depth imo.

              1. A trick my late sister taught me, (She was a professional chef) was to peel and cut up all the veggies for your soup in advance, and boil the peels in the stock, then filter it. Ditto for things like ground pepper.

                You might not want to eat your carrot peels and tops, or your celery root, or your onion skins, but they still add flavor and color to a broth.

                We run a pretty efficient kitchen in our house, and eat almost entirely from scratch. I’m starting to explore pressure canning, the meatballs canned in carbonara sauce turned out pretty good, and even improve with age.

                1. My parents used to can beef.

            2. We’ve been getting A-Sha Taiwanese instant noodles for easy to make plain noodles. They come with a little soy sauce/sesame oil seasoning, and nothing else, so they aren’t much good on their own. I highly recommend subbing them out for the ramen noodles. Sold at Costco.

              1. I’ll have to check into those. Do they keep absorbing moisture and turn your soup into a casserole, the way ramen noodles do?

                1. All noodles will do that, I believe. I usually store noodles separate from broth, and recombine just prior to serving.

                  1. Ah, but I like the casserole effect, more convenient for having leftovers for lunch.

    2. A stew consists of the liquid breaking down the solid(s)?

      1. A reasonable description of a septic tank.
        I’m guessing nobody steals the stew containers you leave in the communal fridge?

        1. Boiling tough cuts of meat DOES break them down and make them chewable.

          1. Chewable dishrags, if you’re not careful. You really don’t want to boil meat for very long, if you plan to eat it. Too much extraction takes place, you get good broth and meat that’s only fit for dogfood.

            Ideally you want to maintain it above the temperature at which bacteria can reproduce, but below boiling. Just hot enough an occasional bubble comes up. Hard to do right without good temperature control.

      2. This is actually the best answer. Stews are the result of “stewing”, which means braising in liquid in order to tenderize (which is accomplished by “breaking down” connective tissues and other structures that make food….primarily meat…tough.)

  5. No assassinations or riots at the inauguration. Democrats disappointed.

    Discuss.

    1. The white supremacist, neo-Nazis have gone into hiding now that Trump is out of office. We will need to massively expand the FBI’s domestic surveillance program if we are going to be able to detect and disrupt the planning of a white nationalist terrorist attack.

    2. Hard to have a riot when nobody shows up. Even the assigned seats weren’t filled.

      The inauguration was an artificial event, just like Biden’s rallies and speeches during the campaign. Totally manufactured. A manufactured ceremony for a manufactured administration.

      Assassination is a weapon employed almost exclusively by the left in this country.

      –Sirhan Sirhan was a radicalized Palestinian who opposed US support for Israel.

      –James Earl Ray was a southern segregationist and a career criminal.

      –Lee Harvey Oswald was a communist who sought Soviet citizenship, writing “I am a communist and a worker,” and “I have lived in a decadent capitalist society where the workers are slaves.”

      –Malcolm X was killed by members of the Nation of Islam.

      the list goes on and on. . .

      1. I’ve been reading some Curtis Yarvin on Substack and this political theater is nothing more than the deep state / Cathedral trying to legitimize its power. We have voting so people feel like they have a choice in the system. Likewise, we have diversity now with the candidates but all the diversity hires come from the same elite institutions and they have the same viewpoints as their white, male colleagues. Nothing changes policy wise but the “look and feel” of things now reflects the broader society so there is an impression of being representative.

      2. In which parallel universe are southern segregationists leftists? You really want to make the claim that Strom Thurmond and George Wallace were leftists?

        1. Not the only two southern segregationists.

          Plenty of southern segregationists were New Deal Democarts

          Al Gore Sr. and William Fulbright are two examples.

          Joe Biden was a border state segregationist. So I’ve heard:

          “I also believe — and it’s personal and it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country. And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing,” “There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school everyday. And that little girl was me.”

          1. Whatever other views they may have had on other issues, segregation would have been the conservative position on that issue at that time and place.

          2. Neato switch from leftists to Democrats.

            Biden has had his reckoning with his racial past, and won the black vote handily.

            1. His racial present assured that. The Democrats didn’t stop being racist, they swapped client races. All the Republicans offered was legal equality, not preferences, they got outbid.

              1. For the Dems being the real racists, the ones who are all about black inferiority and white supremacy sure aren’t joining the Democrats.

                1. Is that some sort of joke? Or are you implicitly suggesting that, in order to be a “real racist”, you have to be hostile to blacks?

                  I said, they swapped client races. They really did, and now the modern Democratic party practices real racism, but against, not in favor of, whites. Because it turned out enough whites felt guilty that they’d stand still for it, and it really was successful at buying the loyalty of blacks.

                  Of course, now that stock of white guilt is running low, and the resistance to their racism is building.

                  1. I did not say that.

                    I noted that the out-and-out racists who actually talk about the inferiority of another race and the need to have an ethno-state are all on the right at the moment.

                    Unless there’s a Bell Curve but for whites I’m not tracking.

                    1. “I noted that the out-and-out racists who actually talk about the inferiority of another race and the need to have an ethno-state are all on the right at the moment.”

                      Yeah, right. I notice Farrakhan and Sharpton are still in the left’s good graces. The left has no shortage of racists, you just don’t want to recognize them as such because their racism has the right polarity.

                      Fact Check: Did Joe Biden’s Assistant AG Pick Write About Black vs. White Genetics? (Spoiler: No, she wrote about the inherent genetic superiority of blacks.)

                      Imagine for a moment that Trump had nominated someone who’d written the mirror image of that paper.

                  2. Brett, it must be awfully hard to move around with that massive chip on your shoulder.

                    1. Brett is sincerely one of the most shockingly arrogant people I’ve ever seen on the Internet.

                    2. “Brett is sincerely one of the most shockingly arrogant people I’ve ever seen on the Internet.”

                      He’s a real, “my party, wrong or wrong” type of guy.

                2. And yet Biden slipped and revealed himself to be a white supremacist. Here he is flashing that now-infamous “white power” sign while on the campaign trail.

                  https://data.ibtimes.sg/en/full/43006/joe-biden-white-power.jpg

              2. The “legal equality” Republicans advocate also has the added benefit of keeping a white supremacist power structure in place. It’s a really neat trick.

            2. “Neato switch from leftists to Democrats.”

              Libs routinely use “right wing” as a description for everybody right of Susan Collins.

              Democrats are on the left side of the spectrum, hence “left wing”. The fact that there might be people more “left wing” is besides the point.

              1. I don’t care what unnamed libs do, you changed your goalposts.

                And now you are switching today’s Democrats with the Democrats of the 50s and 60s when you argue about who is on the left.

                Again, new goalposts.

                1. Democrats were “leftist” in 1933 and 1947 and 1965 and now.

                  You just prefer the use of “liberal” and “progressive” because they are positive sounding. Who is against “progress”?

                  1. Which term you use to talk about the left has no resemblance to the issues I had with your repeated goalpost moving.

                    1. No goalposts were moved.

                      That is one of your go to moves when you are being intentionally obtuse.

                  2. “Democrats were ‘leftist’ in 1933 and 1947 and 1965 and now.”

                    they weren’t (and aren’t) anywhere near that level of unity/uniformity.

                2. The king of straw man argumentation and general rhetorical dishonesty complaining about logical fallacies. Funny.

                  1. This is all you have, these days. No substantive engagement with my objections, just hand-waiving accusations about something else.

              2. “Libs routinely use “right wing” as a description for everybody right of Susan Collins.”

                So you object to referring to right-wing folks as “right-wing”, then?

          3. Delaware was a slave state.

            1. Right, and nothing has changed since then.

      1. Yeah, right. The Qanon folks, all dozen of them, are sitting in their basements chortling that they made the Democrats go through so many security hoops, fence off all of downtown D.C., and call out the National Guard for nothing but some internet disinformation.

  6. After this election political polling is in major decline.

    In 2024 serious election prognosticators will be using highly detailed demographic and other data to predict outcomes. Polls will be “for amusement only.”

    Agree or disagree?

    1. Nate Copper (formerly Silver) needs a kick in his goldbricking ass imo

    2. Its the Seer’s Quantum Curse. You get to a certain point and nontrivial predictions become impossible since any accurate prediction that is heeded will change the outcome.

    3. Political polling isn’t about determining public opinion, it’s about influencing public opinion. Creating (or promoting) a narrative, or what is known as “narrative engineering.”

      Yet even if polling were accurate (meaning that the pollsters are reporting real data, and not merely fabricating the responses needed to achieve the preferred result), there’s still the problem that only morons respond to polls. Think about it. What kind of person spends 15 minutes on a cold-call from a stranger giving their honest opinion about controversial issues of the day?

      Morons. And imaginary people.

      To that end, the 2020 political polls served their real purpose nicely. We should expect to see more of the same going forward.

      1. “Think about it. What kind of person spends 15 minutes on a cold-call from a stranger giving their honest opinion about controversial issues of the day?”

        Uhh, people who are happy to get paid to spend fifteen minutes providing their opinion. (You seem to have a number of misunderstandings about how high quality political polling is conducted these days.)

    4. Disagree. I suspect models that predict outcomes without polls don’t work any better than poll-based models. Additionally, the 2020 polls were off only by a bit more than their typical amount. The problem was the error was in the same direction as it was in 2016. It remains to be seen if this problem can be corrected or accounted for (or even needs to be).

      1. Polls work badly except where they’re not needed, because politicians respond to them, and then manipulate them.

        And they really do NOT like to talk about response rates being so low that the entire theoretical underpinning of polling is like Wile E. Coyote standing over the fallen cliff before he looks down.

        1. What do you mean by “manipulate”? And how do you define “badly”?

          1. What do I mean by “manipulate”?

            Well, old story, back during the Clinton impeachment, Clinton hired a pollster to poll people on impeachment, using about a dozen different wordings for the questions. The pollster then released to the media the version that was most favorable to Clinton.

            It’s the old “If you’re not paying for the product, YOU are the product.” rule. If you’re reading the poll for free, it’s likely not an effort to inform you, but rather to manipulate you.

            1. I agree when candidates or political parties pay for polls, they should be take with a grain of salt. But, is that your position on the vast majority of non-partisan polls?

              How do you define “badly”?

              1. If you’re talking non-political polls, you mostly don’t see those reported. “Non-partisan” polls are mostly just partisan polls that are lying about it.

                1. I’m talking about political polls. Are you claiming they are almost all partisan, and that’s why they perform “badly” (which you continue to refuse to define)?

                  1. Yes, I am claiming they’re almost all partisan, in the sense that the people running them have political preferences, and let them color their work. You have heard of “house effect”, right? Wouldn’t expect Pew and Rasmussen to return the same numbers?

                    If they were polling on whether people preferred lentils or split peas you’d expect them to get the same results…

                    1. The house effects are pretty small (and can be accounted for). And, I will conclude from your repeated silence that you cannot back up your claim polls perform badly.

    5. I agree. Virtually all polls are pure political propaganda manipulated for a political purpose.

      1. Disaffected, irrelevant, vanquished clingers are among my favorite culture war casualties.

      2. Most political polls have become what most documentary making has become. Not an effort to report reality, but to manipulate perceptions of it.

        1. then again, you also resent people trying to tell you the truth.

  7. Well, like any intelligent person predicted Trump has left office and the transfer of power proceeded normally. No Armageddon, no civil war, no death camps, EXCEPT THE MASSIVE GALACTIC WORLD WAR III CAPITOL CITY RIOTS where all but one death was police shooting evil trumpsters, despite the constant prognostications and hopes of the media.

    Overall my opinion of his tenure is mixed. Policywise he was a firm moderate Republican with all the pluses and pitfalls that come with it. On the cultural war front, he displayed both uniquely admirable traits and frustrating ones in equal measure. Trump stood up to the established technocratic order that increasingly dictates our lives in a way no other modern politician has. But at the same time had an unfocused and erratic social media manner that alienated potential allies. This along with formidable opposition, unfortunate happenstance, and perhaps the lack of true ideological passion, (for all the demonization, trump is nowhere near as much on the Right as his opponents are on the Left) prevented him from forming and pursuing a unified coherent answer to the Left’s attacks.

    The past few years may have been the presidency of Trump, but its said a lot more about his opposition and society as a whole. Every bit as petty as the strawman they set up. This coalescing unholy governmental/corpo/intelligentsia alliance of the type Eisenhower once warned about, that backs the Left, is perhaps the premier emerging threat to liberty. The more you think about it the scarier it is just how much control they have and what they can do. This should be the lesson we take away from these past 4 years. Not some trivial fixation on what Trump was tweeting.

    It will be interesting to see the jockeying in the next few years among Authoritarian Left technocrat establishment, the radical far left, and the ever more irrelevant mainstream republicans. Perhaps this is not all for nothing and something that can actually stand up for itself will eventually replace the latter and bring back some much needed balance. Hope springs eternally.

    1. Who will run in 2024 for the Republicans?
      Mitt, Senor JEB!, or a wet towel?

      1. The wet towel would have a better chance of getting the nomination.

        Don’t know, honestly. The Republicans didn’t hollow out their bench as badly as the Democrats did, but the party establishment gatekeeping effectively accomplished the same thing, you can’t name a lot of people who are in position to run AND don’t make your average conservative nauseous.

        I personally like Rand Paul, but, let’s face it, he didn’t set the world on fire back in 2016. No reason to think he would in 2024, either.

        Pence? Don’t know if he even wants to go there.

        The Bush dynasty isn’t going anywhere. And the GOP Congressional leadership have not endeared themselves to the voting base.

        Maybe Ron DeSantis, he came out of 2020 looking good.

        1. If a game show host can do it, why not a political pundit (i.e. Tucker Carlson). Would live to see a rematch between Carlson and Jon Stewart again. I think Carlson speaks to a lot of the fears that middle class America has about the future and the Democrats are mostly concerned with illegal immigrants and pronouns.

          1. Yeah, but Trump wasn’t just a game show host. Despite all the trash talk, he actually was a successful businessman, and so could lay claim to executive experience. Carlson is just a political pundit. You don’t go from political pundit to the highest office in the land, without proving yourself in lower office first.

            1. Well, I don’t know about “successful”, but he was a businessman I’ll grant you that.

              You don’t go from political pundit to the highest office in the land, without proving yourself in lower office first.

              I see no reason to believe that Trump’s experience bankrupting business ventures played any role in getting him elected.

              1. Why do people pretend that all he did was bankruptcies? He didn’t end up on Forbes list of billionaires by bankrupting companies, he did it by being an aggressive businessman who wasn’t afraid of taking a chance.

                As I said way back when, given the ballooning federal debt, the fact that Trump had taken large organizations through bankruptcy and out the other side was actually a qualification, there’s a non trivial chance of the federal government going effectively bankrupt in the fairly near future.

                In fact, a good deal of Trump’s policy could be understood as pre-positioning us to survive that better.

                1. “Why do people pretend that all he did was bankruptcies?”

                  Because they don’t?
                  Running a business into bankruptcy shows a willingness to take on difficult challenges. (This does not apply to taking a business that has a history of being a money-maker on a circle around the sink.)

                  1. Running a business into bankruptcy shows a willingness to take on difficult challenges.

                    Or foolishness. Look, the fundamental reason Trump’s businesses went broke is that he overspent and overleveraged, so much so that in some cases they were doomed from the start.

                    A good businessman doesn’t do that, and he doesn’t go into saturated markets where he will be cannibalizing his existing businesses.

                    Most of Trump’s money comes from inheritance, tax evasion, his TV show, and his interest in property mostly owned and managed by Vornado. Trump Tower is the only major project of his that proved successful.

                    In other words, he’s not a particularly good businessman. As for the claim that he managed his father’s company brilliantly, I have yet to see evidence. If he was so brilliant at that, what happened later? OTOH, it is known that on several occasions in his career his father had to bail him out with $3 million here, $15 million there, etc. After a while it adds up.

                    1. Look, if somebody has one business, and they overleverage and go broke, you can say they’re a bad businessman.

                      If they have ten businesses, and one ends up overleveraged and goes broke, they’re an aggressive businessman.

                      If you’ve got the resources to survive failing, you can be less conservative.

                    2. Wow.

                      You really don’t know much about Trump’s business history, do you?

                    3. @Brett: And what if someone has 10 businesses and they all go bankrupt?

                    4. That person isn’t Trump, obviously.

                    5. Trump isn’t good at business, and this can be objectively shown. Brett, point to a successful business Trump has made money on that doesn’t rely on someone else actually doing the work?

                2. He mostly ended up a billionaire by inheriting hundreds of millions from his father and then investing that money at a rate of return that averaged below what a savings account would have gotten him. Compound interest is a powerful beast.

                  Also, there is zero chance of the federal government going bankrupt unless some idiot doesn’t raise the debt ceiling or decides to take out Treasury bonds denominated in foreign currency.

                  1. That’s why I said “effectively” bankrupt.

                    Yes, compound interest is powerful, and if he had taken that money he inherited from his dad because he’d been managing his dad’s companies for him for some time in the market, and then lived frugally off some other source of income, he’d eventually have become about as wealthy.

                    But he didn’t, he actively managed it while living high off the hog.

                3. ” He didn’t end up on Forbes list of billionaires by bankrupting companies, he did it by being an aggressive businessman who wasn’t afraid of taking a chance.”

                  Mostly, he did it by lying about how much money he had.

                4. He didn’t end up on Forbes list of billionaires by bankrupting companies, he did it by being an aggressive businessman who wasn’t afraid of taking a chance.

                  One way he did it was by lying to Forbes about his wealth. And, I’ll point out, Forbes does not have access to Trump’s actual financial records. They’re guessing. and it’s one thing to be “an aggressive businessman who wasn’t afraid of taking a chance,” and another to be an idiot who just wants to gratify his ego and won’t look at the numbers before going into a project.

                  As I said way back when, given the ballooning federal debt, the fact that Trump had taken large organizations through bankruptcy and out the other side was actually a qualification, there’s a non trivial chance of the federal government going effectively bankrupt in the fairly near future.

                  There is little resemblance between taking a business through bankruptcy and managing the crisis that would result from the US having problems meeting its debts. The idea that they are the same thing is foolish.

                  And barring some gigantic unforeseen catastrophe – a meteor strike, say – there’s no chance that the government is going to go “effectively bankrupt in the fairly near future.”

                  If there were, interest rates on Treasuries wouldn’t be microscopic. Don’t you trust the markets?

                  1. And the reason I’m supposed to trust you over Forbes in estimating his wealth, is?

                    1. Because it’s been extensively reported on, including by the Forbes reporter that Trump lied to, and there are audiotapes (because of course there are).

                      Seriously, Brett, if you’re going to be this gullible, at least google before posting.

                    2. Their current estimate is $2.5B. I’m just going to assume they know more about it than some random guy on the internet.

                    3. You’re not supposed to trust me. Or Forbes. And especially not Trump.

                      You’re supposed to look at the numbers, which of course Trump has done his best to conceal. The NYT did get a decent look, and the picture wasn’t a pretty one.

                    4. So, again Brett- he has a documented and well-known history of lying about his wealth.

                      He has a documented and well-known history of failed businesses.

                      He was bailed out by the Apprentice, and then moved from “creating” things to licensing the Trump brand to others.

                      I don’t even understand your objection; anyone who knows anything about Trump from his emergence to prominence in the 80s knows exactly what he is … as a businessman.

                    5. You are very loyal to the narrative, and I’m sure the narrative appreciates it.

                    6. arrhghghghghgghhgh.

                      I’m sorry. That was the sound of me pulling my hair out reading this conversation.

                    7. “You are very loyal to the narrative, and I’m sure the narrative appreciates it.”

                      Says the guy parroting Trump’s narrative. There was a time when Mr. Trump was going to directly challenge the NFL, as the owner in a league that let him own a team while the NFL would not. Got his butt kicked, and now wants to tell the NFL team owners how they should run a league and their teams. Ran a casino into bankruptcy. A business whose model is people come to us and leave with less money than they arrived with, where the house is allowed to adjust the odds of their games if they aren’t making enough money. And he lost money operating such a business.

                      the way he makes money now (such as it is) is to license his name to golf resorts built and operated by other people. If word gets out that he isn’t the clever business genius he holds himself out as, that source of funds is going to dry up, too.

                      If you want to learn how to be a billionaire, emulate Jeff Bezos. He actually has earned billions of dollars with billions more still coming in. Or stick to Warren Buffet, who makes money by actually operating stable and successful businesses.

                    8. I wouldn’t want to emulate Trump, I don’t particularly admire his way of doing business, and have no interest in doing management. I just want to engineer for a few more years and then retire to gardening and brewing award winning mead.

                      But the idea that he isn’t a successful businessman and is just somehow gas lighting Forbes into thinking he’s a billionaire is left-wing tin foil hattery.

                      Why this insane conviction that if you don’t like somebody, they can’t be good at anything? That’s not logical! It’s a purely emotional reaction.

                    9. “But the idea that he isn’t a successful businessman and is just somehow gas lighting Forbes into thinking he’s a billionaire is left-wing tin foil hattery.”

                      tinfoil hattery of the sort that happens to be objectively true. Had Mr. Trump taken the money he got from his dad and invested it at the time in market-index mutual funds, he’d have more money right now than he actually does running businesses under his own management. He is not a successful businessman..

                      the usual comeback is “Oh, yeah, so where’s YOUR billion dollars, Mr. Smartypants?” and at that point I have to point out that I did not inherit hundreds of millions of dollars to start with. Just saving you a step, there.

                    10. MY usual comeback is, “Try doing that while living high off the hog.”; That investing strategy requires you to leave the money alone to accumulate, instead of living Trump’s lifestyle.

                      I’ve seen up front what happens when an actual idiot comes into money: They don’t equal market return, they lose it.

                    11. “I’ve seen up front what happens when an actual idiot comes into money: They don’t equal market return, they lose it.”

                      And then you voted for him.

        2. ” The Republicans didn’t hollow out their bench as badly as the Democrats did”

          They let everybody lead the polling in 2016, before deciding that they didn’t really like anyone. I’m going to suggest that the 2024 field will be dominated by newcomers, people who have no experience running a government, but who do have money to spend. At least some of the candidates will be people who think they can turn a profit by campaigning, though I think this next time around that will be rejected.

    2. Personally, I’m just hoping Musk can get his Mars colony up and running before this country finishes going down the tubes.

      My theory for what really went wrong with the US is that we lost our frontier. We desperately need one.

      The thing about frontiers is that existential needs cut through the bullshit. And that keeps things honest. Our whole society has been so freed of existential threats that all our institutions are decaying because not doing their actual jobs doesn’t look like it’s deadly. But it still is, just slowly.

      1. The Mormons are still attempting to colonize Mexico or, at most, the ones who still practice polygamy. I don’t think it’s good for society but there appears to be a relationship between practicing verboten social arrangements and a libertarian mindset. I’m just surprised that the same is not true for the homosexual, with minor exceptions like Peter Thiel.

        1. ” there appears to be a relationship between practicing verboten social arrangements and a libertarian mindset.”

          That lets out the actual Mormons.

          1. Reason magazine has assured me that Jeff Flake and Mitt Romney are honorable, Constitution abiding politicians that I should feel grateful for having the opportunity to vote for.

        2. I started having a serious response to this, but (A) it was getting really long, and talking about two centuries of history, and (B) I’m skeptical you’d actually care.

          For most of the 20th century, to the degree that LGBT groups were politically active, they did have a “libertarian mindset”. What changed was AIDS (which meant that “just leave us alone” was insufficient) and Reagan’s consolidation around Christians (which meant that conservatives were doubling-down on being anti-gay).

          Since then, the Republican rejection of LGBT rights, combined with so many public libertarians being conservative-lite, has pushed LGBT folk away from libertarianism.

          All of which is to say, the difference you see is largely attributable to (A) fundamentalist LDS (the LDS group that continues to practice polygamy) have never had a political awakening that forced them to make alliances, and (B) that LGBT communities were able to make in-roads with a major political party.

          Once being gay is no longer a partisan issue, I expect that LGBT folk will be more likely to take to the “libertarian mindset”. But so long as it is a partisan issue, that’s not going to happen.

          1. I think it was more like what happened with the blacks: The alphabet soup people prefer preferences to equal rights, and if they’re on offer, why not go for the party offering them?

      2. “My theory for what really went wrong with the US is that we lost our frontier. We desperately need one.”

        Look north. That’s where the frontier is currently located.

        “Personally, I’m just hoping Musk can get his Mars colony up and running before this country finishes going down the tubes.”

        If we work together, we can make sure you’re on that first rocket. Maybe even the one that explodes on the pad.

        1. A frontier isn’t just someplace that’s thinly populated. It’s someplace that’s far enough from the powers that be that they can’t micro-manage you.

          No place on Earth can be a frontier these days.

          1. So basically the frontier is the State of Nature?

            1. Pretty much. Like I said above, being faced with existential threats cuts through the BS, and forces institutions to devote themselves to their core goals.

              Like in evolutionary genetics, complexity and function in society have to be maintained by genuine threats. If a function degrading doesn’t cause ‘death’, it degrades, like the eyes of cave dwelling fish.

              That’s the secret to free market economics, after all: Businesses that don’t do the right thing fail. Take away the threat of failure, and you take away the need to do right by the customer, and the businesses start doing things unrelated to their purpose, like, oh, canceling paying customers.

              All of society doesn’t have to be in the state of nature, but you need some state of nature around to keep things real.

              1. Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall. In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.

              2. That’s the secret to free market economics, after all: Businesses that don’t do the right thing fail.

                No. That’s not “the secret to free market economics.”

              3. “That’s the secret to free market economics, after all: Businesses that don’t do the right thing fail. Take away the threat of failure, and you take away the need to do right by the customer, and the businesses start doing things unrelated to their purpose, like, oh, canceling paying customers.”

                Tell Twitter you want a full refund. FaceBook, too.

                1. They’re not failing, now, are they. Because the users aren’t the customers, they’re the product.

                  Visa and Mastercard, OTOH, ARE turning down paying customers for ideological reasons, and that’s just plain nuts. Or rather, it’s the management deciding to screw fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders, and lose the companies money to satisfy their personal ideological predjudices.

                  1. “They’re not failing, now, are they.”

                    No they are not.

                    “Visa and Mastercard, OTOH, ARE turning down paying customers for ideological reasons”

                    VISA and MasterCard’s customers are the banks that issue cards with their logos on them. Which banks have been turned away for ideological reasons, in your bubble?

                    1. Hey, Brett, you forgot to answer the question here.

  8. Trumpists and militias quiescent on election day. Will they regroup for more sedition, or is this the start of a slide toward law and order on the political right?

    Note also, Biden going up and down stairs like a track star at the Capitol, and at Arlington. And still going strong at the end of the day. I admit I did not expect that was possible. Neither Trump nor George W. could have handled the stairs. Biden looks pretty fit.

    1. I would have hoped that the discrepancy between police reactions to the COVID lockdown protests versus the George “Fentanyl” Floyd protests would have convinced Republicans that the cops (local/state/federal) are NOT their friends and ceased their #BlueLivesMatter bootlicking.

    2. The number of people in DC who engaged in anything you could seriously call “sedition”, (I think you mean ‘insurrection’, sedition is a speech act.) were quite few. Not particularly representative of a major faction on the right, or else last summer’s riots would have been enormously more bloody running street battles.

      Biden is going to get a honeymoon, and if he doesn’t go nuts, things will remain peaceful, because the right’s ‘militia’ are not a revolutionary force, they’re defensive. Don’t attack them, and they have nothing to do.

      The worst case is that Biden does something serious on gun control, and then goes postal when people don’t fall in line and comply. He IS pretty hard core on gun control, and his proposed gun control ‘czar’, Beta O’Roarke, is much worse.

      1. “The number of people in DC who engaged in anything you could seriously call ‘sedition’, (I think you mean ‘insurrection’, sedition is a speech act.) were quite few. Not particularly representative of a major faction on the right, or else last summer’s riots would have been enormously more bloody running street battles.”

        Sure, sure: you’re all such manly men, America never would have had a chance if you’d REALLY wanted to take over.
        That said, the seditionists weren’t necessarily in Washington, because it could be done from that keyboard in the basement.

        The combined brain power of the actual insurrectionists doesn’t make you guys look good.

        1. Sure, sure: you’re all such manly men

          Not really. Leftists like you just make other men look more masculine by comparison.

          1. Sorry, ma’am, I wasn’t referring to you.

      2. Brett Bellmore : “…right’s ‘militia’ are not a revolutionary force, they’re defensive. Don’t attack them, and they have nothing to do”

        Uh huh. The “attack” that brought the latest bout of right-wing violence were obvious lies about election fraud. Crude propaganda that was no more believable that what you would have seen on the pages of Soviet-era Pravda. But damn if your “defensive” citizen warriors didn’t eat that shit up.

      3. Shorter Brett:

        “Nothing happened, and antifa did it.”

        1. No, I think the handful of idiots in DC were mostly on the right; The left does not have a complete monopoly on violent idiots.

          I would say that the protest to riot ratio was a lot higher in D.C. on the 6th, than on any random day in Portland last summer. Or yesterday, for that matter.

          The Democratic party is going to be learning in the coming days that riots are like forest fires: They’re a lot easier to start than stop.

          1. Portland may well have more rioters, but this is due to getting an influx of outsiders looking for an excuse to riot. Hint: most of the riots have followed right-winger rallying.

            1. Oh, yeah, lots of right winger rallying at that Democratic campaign headquarters, they’re known for it.

              1. That’s exactly where the Patriot Prayer protests were held. Democratic Party headquarters in Portland was closer to the protesters’ home in Vancouver than is the state capitol in Salem.

        2. Shorter Brett:

          “Nothing happened, and antifa did it.”

          Shorter bernard11: Let me emulate Sarcatr0 by lying about what someone said so I can pen a cheap and dishonest straw man argument as compensation for my limited cognitive abilities.”

          1. Doofus, it isn’t lying when you say you’re interpreting what someone else said.

      4. “the right’s ‘militia’ are not a revolutionary force, they’re defensive. Don’t attack them, and they have nothing to do. ”

        Telling them that they lost an election they lost is apparently just the sort of “attack” they’re prepared to riot over.

      1. Is that before or after the Second Civil War you keep predicting?

      2. You’ve been predicting some kind of imminent violent downfall of our country for how long now?
        Do you get tired of being wrong?

        I know people in Portland. There have been protests in Portland since Floyd. The right just been highlighting coverage of them to try and keep Trump voters lathered up.
        It’s not even a most-of-Portland issue at the moment; certainly not a national issue; hard to see why Biden would get involved.

        1. *Someone’s* paying to replace a lot of broken windows, and if it’s insurance, that will quickly become higher premiums in Seattle.

          1. Bit of a walk down from “Weimar Republic, here we come…” eh?

            1. No, I think there was some broken glass involved in that, too.

              1. That wasn’t Weimar, and it takes more than a broken window to make Kristallnacht.

                But you know that, you’re just being dumb.

                1. “and it takes more than a broken window to make Kristallnacht.”

                  Yeah, maybe throw some arson and assaults in, you think? Kill a few people, a billion or two in property damage? Eventually you get there.

                  “A” broken window? Are you a parody account?

                  1. Something in a right-type yearns for grandiosity & aggrandizement. Second Civil War! Armageddon! Stolen Election! Kristallnacht! You guys need to ratchet-back your whole drama-queen shtick. It’s going to be a long four years (even free of loathsome trump-like behavior)

                    Pace yourselves…….

                  2. “Yeah, maybe throw some arson and assaults in, you think?”

                    Google “Jeremy Christian” to see the kind of assaults (murders) that Brett isn’t talking about.

        2. C’mon guys. Antifa literally means “anti-fascist”. They fight fascists, like the guys who landed at Omaha beach. And if they break windows at the Democratic Party headquarters, that means that the Democrats are Nazis. QED.

        3. I know people in Portland.

          Do you have a black friend too?

          1. “‘I know people in Portland.’
            Do you have a black friend too?”

            Probably not in Portland. It’s extremely white there.

      3. We’re going to have political conservatives align with a fascist party on the assumption that they can control and use them to defeat the left/socialists/communists and then the fascist party gets too much power and uses legal and extra-legal means to completely abandon democracy?

        1. Scary thing is that could happen.
          Depends on how far the Left goes, it really could happen.

          Scary….

          1. You already signed up, didn’t you?

    3. “Trumpists and militias quiescent on election day [aka Inauguration Day ].”

      Your side was not:

      “A group of protesters carrying signs against President Joe Biden and police marched in Portland on Inauguration Day and damaged the headquarters of the Democratic Party of Oregon, police said. Some in the group of about 150 people smashed windows and spray-painted anarchist symbols at the political party building. ”

      Note the “protesters” though.

      1. “Your side was not:”

        Were you planning on offering some evidence to support this claim?
        Because what you typed after it does not support this claim.

        1. Left wing militia attacked offices of ruling party.

          Seems insurrectionist to me.

          1. Sorry, I forgot that you were supplying details from your imagination.

  9. Meanwhile, the disappointment of Qanon followers will continue to be hilarious for a while. They’re basically talking like cult members who realised the apocalypse isn’t coming.

    https://sports.yahoo.com/after-failed-attack-on-capitol-q-anon-asks-if-it-can-still-trust-the-plan-165944608.html

    Sadly, sooner or later this is bound to go wrong even more than on 6 January.

    1. Those assholes have ruined 4chan’s politically incorrect board. Back in my day, /pol/ was a safe haven for autistic libertarian pedophiles and Holocaust denying National Socialists. Now, it’s just a bunch of Boomers going on about the “MAGA revolution” and “trust Q / trust the plan”. It has totally ruined the board and those unpaid, faggot janitors refuse to clean that shit up!

    2. I get a kick out of this. I’m guessing half of these anonymous internet “Qanon” postings are thoroughly fake and posted for the purpose of providing amusement to viewers imagining that they are genuine. The other half is akin to the national media’s undying obsession with tiny irrelevant groups of illiterate hillbillies who dress up like the KKK.

      1. Where are Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, Lauren Boebert, and Ted Cruz in that constellation of right-wing luminance?

      2. ” I’m guessing half of these anonymous internet postings are thoroughly fake and posted for the purpose of providing amusement to viewers imagining that they are genuine.

        FTFY =D

  10. One thing that always interested me is how much more accepted it is to be a Genghis type misanthrope than a Hitler type misanthrope.

    I know a disturbingly number of people who appear to be of opinion that a large portion of humanity needs to be wiped from existence. Most don’t openly advertise it but its something some seem surprisingly proud of and of general unconcerned apathy to those around them as long as the murderous intent is indiscriminate.

    You add the proviso that it applies to only certain specific groups however and suddenly for some reason this is the step too far. Even if you just want to ‘gently’ cleanse them…like many of the Genghis types profess. Or your position is far less genocidal than a typical Genghis type misanthrope.

    1. Yes, wanting a lot of people dead is a lot worse, morally, if you mix in racism. Why does that surprise you?

      1. I can’t wait to teach AOC how to perform Mongolian throat singing, if you understand the subtext of my words.

      2. I don’t think Genghis Kahn wanted a lot of people dead. Just subjugated. Those willing to submit were generally not killed. Those not were treated brutally.

        1. I know, but that error didn’t seem essential for AmosArch’s underlying point, so I skipped over it.

        2. Human life having meaning and value is a rather new idea, one largely instilled by Christianity in the West. Khan probably cared little about life FWIW…

        3. “I don’t think Genghis Kahn wanted a lot of people dead”

          Well, his generals did. Not just the people, they’d kill all the animals, too, and burn all the crops in the fields.

          1. That was to encourage the next group to surrender instantly.

            1. Or to keep the troops sharp.

      3. Yes, wanting a lot of people dead is a lot worse, morally, if you mix in racism. Why does that surprise you?

        So how wrong mass murder is depends on whether or not the murderer(s) was/were motivated by something that’s on your naughty list.

    2. Keep looking, I’m sure you’ll find a type of misanthrope that’s popular with the masses. There’s already a Lewis Black, for example.

    3. Visit r/childfree or Reddit in general if you want to see misanthropy distilled into its pure form.

    4. I don’t know who these Genghis Khan people are. He was, as Martinned says, a conqueror, not a genocidal maniac.

      I’m not claiming he was a good guy, but there have been lots of conquerors, actual and wannabe, in history. Indeed, a fair portion of the US was won by conquest.

      Khan was also a pretty good general, BTW, and his armies were well organized, had powerful weapons, and used effective tactics.

      1. AmosArch’s comment looks to me like a utilitarian trying to understand deontologists.

        1. I’m imagining the single panel New Yorker cartoon that would appear above this caption.

    5. I know a disturbingly number of people who appear to be of opinion that a large portion of humanity needs to be wiped from existence.

      For example, a large number of commentators on this here website frequently talk about the need to kill all liberals/Democrats. And y’all never bat an eye.

      1. That’s because every once in a while, all the proto-Democrats get their shit together and get registered to vote, and then actually show up on election day, denying a true American Patriot of their rightful place as ruler of this country.

      2. a large number of commentators on this here website frequently talk about the need to kill all liberals/Democrats.

        Cite?

        1. Look for yourself and see.

  11. The recent CARES extension act, which Trump eventually signed into law after some political theater, runs well over 5,000 pages. Although most of it concerns handing out a big wad of cash, and other economic arrangements, buried in there are other provisions that have nothing to do with COVID.

    Among other things, both the Copyright Act and the Trademark Act were amended. As an IP lawyer, I now have to study and
    incorporate that into my practice.

    I rather doubt that in this mass of a law, anyone was paying attention. It seems to me this is a poor way to legislate — sneak in unrelated provisions to an emergency bill.

    I don’t know what can be done about it. There is certainly no Constitutional provision that prevents it. But it is not good government. Perhaps like the secret ballot (which is not Constitutionally mandated and was only adopted in the 19th Century), someone can propose a reform.

    1. Single topic requirements can help, but they’d need to be enforced, and the courts are already pretty much ruined as a constitutional enforcement mechanism, have been since FDR’s Court packing threat worked.

      1. It might be nice to try for a UK-style speaker who is truly impartial. That would solve all sorts of problems in the US Congress, from people attaching amendments to essential bills, to silly names for laws, to proposals that are supported by a majority somehow not coming up for a vote.

        1. “UK-style speaker who is truly impartial”

          Like Bercow during Brexit?

          No one in politics is “impartial”.

          1. You’re confusing my meaning. The job of the Speaker of the House of Commons isn’t to be impartial between the House of Commons and the government, but to be impartial between the different parties and MPs in the House. With respect to anyone outside the House, the Speaker’s job is to advocate for the House, and for its ability to debate and legislate. So if the government is trying to shut down debate and prevent amendments being voted that plausibly command a majority in the House, the Speaker’s job is to make sure those amendments are voted.

            Lest I be accused of moving goalposts, this is the thing I referred to in my previous comment as the US problem of “proposals that are supported by a majority somehow not coming up for a vote”.

      2. “Single topic requirements can help”

        It doesn’t.

    2. “I don’t know what can be done about it. There is certainly no Constitutional provision that prevents it. But it is not good government. Perhaps like the secret ballot (which is not Constitutionally mandated and was only adopted in the 19th Century), someone can propose a reform.”

      Well, as every 1L (or 2L in some places) who has taken ConLaw knows, we tried the line-item veto and … no dice.

      Of course, it’s legislation like this that lobbyists feed on. You know, “Hey, here’s some provisions that I happened to draft. Mind inserting them?”

      And no, I don’t have a good solution. Weirdly, it’s actually better at the federal level than the state level because there are more eyes on it (usually) and more opposing lobbyists. *shrug*

    3. How about a line-item veto?

      (Wiki) Forty-four of the fifty U.S. states give their governors some form of line-item veto power; Indiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Vermont are the exceptions.

      The Mayor of Washington, D.C. also has this power.

      The Governor of Wisconsin is empowered with a sweeping line-item veto. Wisconsin governors have the power to strike out words, numbers, and even entire sentences from appropriations bills.

      1. As loki13 points out, that was struck down by SCOTUS. So you would need a Constitutional amendment. But if we are going to amend the Constitution, that would be a good idea. (Line item veto would have to extend beyond spending bills to all kinds of bills and provisions.)

        1. It would primarily be effective by stopping log rolling, and strongly discouraging omnibus legislation. Given line item vetoes, “omnibus” translates to, “ala carte menu”.

          1. As a general rule, line-item vetoes are preferred by people who believe the executive will be excising line items they themselves disapprove of. When this doesn’t seem likely, support for line-item veto dissipates.

    4. Be more willing to pass more laws. Knee-jerk less laws make for less government is wrong and leads to inefficient government like what you highlight.

      Omnibus must-pass bills have become a thing because some have taken a system designed to make it hard to pass new laws and made it nigh-impossible to do so, feeding mostly off of the aforementioned new laws means more government bumper-sticker fallacy,

      1. That would be nice, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

        Everyone knows that the status quo is terrible.

        But when they want to destroy the status quo because the status is not quo, they fear what might come.

        ….especially Bad Horse.

        1. I do get that ref!

          Our style of representative democracy with lots of veto points was cool while it lasted – a resolute policymaking body rather than an agile one. But it has proven inherently unstable against populist do-nothingism.

          Right now there’s appetite to knock down some of the veto points. I don’t think that’ll do the trick in the long run, though; a number of them are designed in.

          1. What the last four years has taught us is that if we put more power in the executive, we still have to do a much better job of filtering out the unfit for the job at the ballot box. Perhaps a solution would be to allow parties to nominate more than one candidate. If voters had more choices, they’d be less likely to use the “hold your nose and select the lesser of two weavils” method of deciding who gets their vote.

    5. I don’t think you are going to find a formal solution. Yet more rules and veto points are not the answer.

      Whatever you do is going to have loopholes, and given the current state of our politics someone is going to exploit them.

      Suppose, for example, you give the President a broad line-item veto, as apedad suggests. Then Congress strikes a compromise deal on legislation with the White House, and the President vetoes the parts containing his concessions.

      This is why you need norms and accepted practices and so on. But we seem to have given up on those. Maybe Martinned’s suggestion of a truly nonpartisan Speaker would work, but that’s ultimately a norm too, isn’t it? How is the UK Speaker chosen?

      1. You can’t find a formal solution to anything where the people in charge don’t want a solution. That is the real problem, We have a self-perpetuating political class that have effectively defeated the functioning of democracy by exercising control over who can get elected, and they do NOT mean to relinquish that control.

        That was the real reason Trump was public enemy number one: He managed to get past the gate without their approval.

        1. You do know line-item veto legislation passed, right?

          Politicians have their issues, but they aren’t quite always the evil people you take them for.

          1. No they are all lizard people.

        2. I’m not sure that’s the problem with the inability to get legislation voted on.

          Someone is going to be in Congress after all, and if the mechanisms to bollix things up are there, and there is no custom or practice that prevents their use, then things will get bollixed.

          This is, IMO, destructive of our democracy. The idea, after all, is that we elect legislators, who then vote on matters that come before Congress. When their term is up voters can look at the record and re-elect, or not. Instead, we have BS TV ads, bumper stickers, and pure partisanship guiding our votes.

          1. Smart, rational people aren’t influenced by BS TV ads, bumper stickers, and cable new programs (yes, including CNN, etc.).

            1. “Smart, rational people . . . ” Not enough when you need a majority.

            2. Apedad, by the way, I think you are mistaken about who is influenced. When you find yourself scoffing at what you take to be patently unpersuasive marketing materials, you should consider whether that means you are brighter than the target demographic, or merely outside of the target demographic.

              Advertising experts who want to reach you probably know how to do it. Those ads won’t look to you like the ones you scorn. They will look instead like rare exceptions, full of useful information, and aesthetically brilliant besides. They might not look like ads at all. They might not be ads, in any graphically recognizable way.

              The advertising and public relations industries are not a thing because smart people aren’t responsive. They are a thing because they know how to make different kinds of folks responsive, each according to their kind. Advertisers are very good at doing that.

              1. Agree that PR knows how to reach their audience (I read the bumper stickers too!).

                What I mean is AFTER receiving that information (via bumper sticker, CNN, Fox, etc.), and if the issue is important to the receiver, then they’ll follow up to verify/refute etc, the info.

                1. apedad, good response. Tempered by increasing difficulty finding forthrightly-presented information on too many online platforms. Makes follow-up difficult if some algorithm keeps serving folks what it thinks they want to hear. Not saying that’s you, of course.

                  By the way, I do think automated online info manipulations are on the verge of delivering an existential crisis in the nation’s public life. I’m trying hard to get known as a tediously repetitive crank on that point, with special emphasis on pushing for publishing diversity and profusion online. Repeal Section 230, of course.

        3. “You can’t find a formal solution to anything where the people in charge don’t want a solution.”

          Nor can you when some of the people in charge don’t/won’t/can’t keep their word.

      2. The election and behaviour of the UK Speaker is definitely a matter of unwritten norms. The Speaker is chosen by a secret ballot, simple majority. So that doesn’t guarantee their impartiality at all. And there is no (written) law that requires them to resign from their party, or that protects them from having to run for re-election. It’s all unwritten norms, and some of those norms have been under sustained attack for the last 5 years or so.

        1. P.S. Some of that stuff can be codified. For example, the fairly excellent Irish Constitution has an explicit rule that protects the impartiality of An Ceann Comhairle by making sure they don’t have to run for re-election:

          art. 16(6): Provision shall be made by law to enable the member of Dáil Éireann who is the Chairman immediately before a dissolution of Dáil Éireann to be deemed without any actual election to be elected a member of Dáil Éireann at the ensuing general election.

          http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/cons/en/html#article16

    6. How did copyright change?

      1. They set up what is essentially a small claims court in the Copyright Office (which has a year to implement it). Much more streamlined procedures. But there is a limit of $15k per copyright and $30k total per claimant, no attorney’s fees unless there is bad faith, no jury, no depositions. And it is voluntary, the other side can opt-out within 60 days of filing the complaint.

        1. That strikes me as a good idea that has been proposed more than once.

          1. If’n it appeals to Dr. Ed there’s probably something wrong with it.

            1. One problem, if I understand the law correctly, is that the ‘courts’ they set up are in violation of Article III of the Constitution.

              1. Since you have 60 days to opt out, I don’t see that.

                Similar thing happens when the parties in a civil suit agree to have the Magistrate Judge act as the trial judge. Magistrate Judge’s are not Article III judges, but I believe the voluntary nature has been used to uphold that practice against an Article III challenge.

                1. Allowing any sort of ADR presents a possible problem via Article III.

    7. Bored, I wonder if a long-shot case against it could use the Presentment Clause, plus separation of powers. Argue that multi-focus bills are not properly presented, and illegitimately deprive the president of the use of his veto power.

      1. Think about who confirms judges and justices.

  12. What is Joe Biden’s favorite ice cream flavor?

  13. I turned on the news to find something local which was ongoing only to initially think Jesus’ Second Coming was happening. Then I was disappointed to see it was just media fanfare for Biden. I’m sure after the ceremony there was a line of media elites waiting to perform felatio on the man.

    1. So very NotMad.

      Well, I suppose it’s better than dark brooding about America being over.

      1. Na just more examples of blatant hypocrisy, bias, and double standards in the media.

        1. The example being coverage of happy people at the inauguration?

          Believe it or not, they did the same thing in 2016.

          1. “Believe it or not, they did the same thing in 2016.”

            Gotta go with not, Gaslighto.

            It was wall to wall “poor crowd”.

            1. Don’t forget the networks that cut out half way through Trump’s speech. That was extra special. And then justified it as “poor turnout made it not a news worthy event…”

              1. “Don’t forget the networks that cut out half way through Trump’s speech. That was extra special. And then justified it as ‘poor turnout made it not a news worthy event…’

                The people who wanted to hear him speak were there to hear it. The people who didn’t want to hear it, didn’t go.
                It’s not like he really had anything to say.

            2. Poor crowd showed up after Spicer was ridiculous about it.

              We were all there. The day of inauguration, they covered the inauguration.

              Just because you’ve edited your memories doesn’t mean the rest of us have that problem.

              1. Those are some great alternative facts you are gaslighting. Got any more?

                  1. It would be great if he and everyone else would stop calling another commenter a rude name, even if they had support.

                1. Jimmy

                  He needs a 9 hour video to support his comment. Get to work, find that 2 minute segment for him.

                  1. And we all know the legitimacy of a President is determined by the size of the crowd…

                    Also forgot the very next day all we could hear about was how muslims were now banned from our country (which was not remotely true).

                    1. “And we all know the legitimacy of a President is determined by the size of the crowd”

                      We know that a President who lies about the size of his inauguration crowd will likely lie about important things, too.

            3. “It was wall to wall “poor crowd”.”

              Not until some idiot started claiming it was the biggest inauguration crowd ever.

    2. Jimmy the Dane : “I turned on the news…..”

      Look on the bright side: At least with Biden we don’t have to spend the next week reading his lies on crowd size. True fact : On the first full day of Trump’s presidency he went to CIA Hqs to attend a ceremony on agents killed in the line of duty. He spent most of his speech whining about his inauguration crowd size.

      Don’t you feel a great burden has been lifted off our collective shoulders?

      1. Maybe the fact the media decided to make the entire event about the size of the crowd is the problem….

        1. More that the media covering Trump telling a blatant and ridiculous lie and a bunch of people falling into line to believe it.

          That was a novel thing back then.

          1. Thank goodness the media can ask these hard hitting questions of Biden now:

            REPORTER: “Will [Biden] keep Donald Trump’s Air Force One color scheme change?
            PSAKI: “This is such a good question!”

            See, the press secretary has already lied. It was not a good question.

            1. “See, the press secretary has already lied. It was not a good question.”

              It was a great question, from the point of view the Press Secretary, because A) she knew the answer to it, and B) could proceed to answer the question truthfully.

        2. Jimmy the Dane : “Maybe the fact the media….. ”

          I’ve noticed this from Trump supporters. Their cult idol tells grotesque lies or engages in crude & ridiculous acts – then it’s media’s fault for noticing. Here’s a newsflash: The average incident of brat-child behavior from our former president received less coverage than would have resulted with an average president (or normal human being). That’s mainly a result of fire-hose volume, but is true nonetheless.

          Take a typical example : Trump claims Obama faked the death of Bin Laden and assassinated the members of SEAL Team Six. In a normal presidency a lie so bizarre would warrant days of breathless news stories. With Trump it was just Tuesday. There was some new story about his mental illness to cover the next day.

          Trump’s presidency started with a pathetic & ludicrous lie on his inauguration crowds, and ended with pathetic & ludicrous lies on nonexistent voter fraud. In his entire term there wasn’t a single week he didn’t contemptuously wipe his lard butt on the office of the Presidency. Don’t blame the media for noticing. They could barely keep up.

  14. Will SCOTUS rule Patriot Act 2 unconstitutional?

    1. We can’t put suspected terrorists from “Muslim majority” countries on a watch list because of razzcisms or something like that. But sure no problem throwing on a guy who was on video daring to use his first amendment rights on January 6th on a similar list.

      1. The no fly list is not the Muslim ban. Don’t be dumb.

        1. There was no muslim ban. That was just a media jargon for an immigration regulation.

          1. It’s what Trump called it, it’s what many people on this site argued was constitutional and good policy, so…yeah, it was a Muslim ban.

            1. So why did the media then have to put their tail between their legs and stop calling it a “muslim ban” (substitute “restriction from muslim majority nations”) and none of the court filings called it as such either? Yeah that is because it was not a muslim ban. Sounds a lot more ominous though. Can’t really call it what it was which was “law that protects the United States from people who want to harm its citizens” which doesn’t have the same alarmist ring.

              1. Because after it was struck down, the Trump Admin revised it. And then it was struck down again and they revised it yet again. And that’s what made it to the Supreme Court.

                As close to a Muslim ban as they could jam through the courts.

                So enjoy your semantics, but we all know what it was and why it was passed.

                1. “As close to a Muslim ban as they could jam through the courts.”

                  So… Not a Muslim ban?

                  1. Insert photo of a duck and sound file of ducks quacking.

              2. Trump’s ban was a stunt. That’s all it ever was. He got raucous cheers from campaign crowds on a Muslim ban. To dress it up as policy, Trump said he’d sign a ban on his first day in office to protect the country while new vetting procedures were researched and implemented. That would take 2-3 months.

                But Trump’s ban was stayed by the courts much longer than that. Well past the supposed timespan the ban was needed, a judge asked how those new procedures were coming along. The administration hadn’t even started them.

                It was only a stunt, like the wall Trump ignored for two years until he started taking heat from his base. Like the tariffs he threw out willy-nilly without a hint of strategy or objective. The reason Trump has a cult following is exclusively because of brat-child theatrics and stunts. That’s all his base ever needed or wanted.

                America expects more now that we have a real president again.

                1. So we are getting to the “truth” now that there was never a “muslim ban” and whatever he signed was nothing more than meaningless red meat for his supporters to feed the frenzy and there was nothing to it anyhow. (Which you could say the same thing about “mask mandates” and many other EO’s so that is probably fair…)

                  1. Just the facts, Jimmie. As I keep noting, look at the substantive ways your cult god differs from the milquetoast Republicans you despise and there just isn’t a lot of substance there. It’s all gimmicks, stunts, and empty noise. In the end, Trumpsters worship their day-glo orange diety because of his childish antics, not in spite of. Being a tantrum-prone irresponsible two-year old in adult form was a feature, not a bug.

                    That’s why I doubt all the Hawley-types will ever pull it off, no matter how hard they pander. Your average MAGA-type will look at one & say, “Where’s the entertainment here?”

                    (Kinda fortunate I don’t look to Biden for cartoon thrills)

          2. “There was no muslim ban.”

            Because when he was running around America promising a “muslim ban” nobody told him that it would obviously be a violation of the Constitution to institute a “muslim ban” and then oops, he got elected and so the staff had to rush around and find something they could call a “muslim ban” so it wouldn’t be quite so obvious that Trump liked to promise things he couldn’t deliver.

  15. Most cringy media tweet or report yesterday?

    My nominee

    Matt Viser@mviser [ed: WaPo “reporter”]
    Joe and Beau used to watch an eagle soar by the dock.

    Now, when Biden steps to a lectern, he will be greeted by a presidential seal. It features as its most prominent symbol a bald eagle, a reminder both of what he has accomplished and what he has lost.

    1. My nominees are the countless articles about “fashionistas” at the Inauguration with the forerunning being a woman who seems to have bought her ill fitting outfit from a thrift store in the 1980’s. Also all the double speak about how Harris is “cool” because what she wears, but how she totally should not be judged on what she wears. (Reminds me of in the 90’s when celebrities who wanted to be treated like role models would say things like “I’m not a role model!!!”)

  16. CNN and the major networks must have laid off all their “fact checkers” yesterday. Haven’t seen one article “fact checking” Biden yet…

    1. Oh but they do have another article about how the bad men who did bad things on capitol hill used flagpoles and fire extinguishers to “assault” police….(then the article notes the singular use of a fire extinguisher, not multiple…)

      They couldn’t publish anything about how BLM terrorists shot incendiary devices at police, threw feces at them, or fashioned homemade bombs using propane tanks. But flagpoles, that is news!

      1. Blind stupid luck is why the officers protecting the White House last summer suffered broken ribs instead of fatal head injuries.

      2. Yes, they only killed a single cop. How unreasonable of those liberals to make such a big deal of that!

        1. Yes, they only killed a single cop.

          Not for lack of trying.

          1. Here you folks are purporting to know who killed that officer, and their political affiliation and motivation. Care to share? Or are you just making up lies as usual?

            1. Working along the theory that the rally for Trump supporters was attended mostly by Trump supporters.

                1. OK, ya got me.

                  There aren’t any REAL Trump supporters, which is how we know he din’t win the election.

          2. “Yes, they only killed a single cop.

            Not for lack of trying.”

            The pipe bombs didn’t go off.

        2. Let’s add up how many BLM has killed since Ferguson…

          1. By counting actual facts, or by just imagining things the way you want them?

            Because those are two totally different numbers.

      3. Nothing about the festival-like atmosphere of the mostly-peaceful but fire-extinguishery protests?

        1. Fire extinguishers aren’t harmless toys.

    2. Hate watching CNN and the major networks is really a bad way to spend your time. Maybe watch TCM instead.

  17. So now that Trump through the Bomb and labeled China’s actions as Genocide as the official U.S. position, how does everyone think the trade war is going to go? Governments don’t hesitate to label clear genocide as genocide because the word is icky, its tied into a treaty that requires real consequences. We’re going to have a lot of trouble justifying allowing trade between us and them until either they stop or Biden walks back the truth.

    1. Though if the complete radio silence from Reason (who I’m not even sure is actually aware this happened) and other media outlets I’m seeing on this is anything to go by, Biden may just take the tack of pretending nothing has happened, and continue business as usual.

    2. I’m kind of pissed off at Trump for that move. China’s actions were no less genocide when he came into office, why didn’t he open with the truth, instead of closing with it?

      1. Because now it was an excellent opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: Stick it to the Chinese and pwn the libs in one move!

        1. And that’s a reason to be pissed off at him. Pawning the libs is so far down on my list of priorities from discouraging genocide that I can’t even see it from there.

          1. Go back into Trump’s presidency and you find the Uighurs were never his concern – precisely the opposite. Like everything else DJT-related, China policy was mostly a huckster show. First they were the object of random tariffs so Trump could prove his protectionist chops. During these gaudy fireworks he sent messages to Xi Jinping as lovey-dovey as those to Kim Jong-un. It was never personal – just a show for Trump’s political base.

            Then he needed a villain for the pandemic and things really switched into high gear. But vision or strategy was never involved, before or since. The most substantive action Trump ever took towards China was a gift handed to them on a silver platter: He gave that country economic leadership in Asia by sabotaging the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Beijing just stepped into the vacuum with a treaty of their own.

            But what should Biden do?!? I’m really not sure. Imagine dealing with a cold-war Soviet Union that was also critically important to the world economy & trade. Things are much easier when evil is coupled with economic inefficiency.

            1. “Imagine dealing with a cold-war Soviet Union that was also critically important to the world economy & trade.”

              Changing that latter as fast as possible is the obvious thing to do. But I don’t see how Biden can afford to pursue that policy, given his family’s connections to China.

              We’re in a pretty bad position with China, worse than we were with the USSR, because we never stupidly let the USSR take over vital parts of our industrial infrastructure, and the USSR could only dream of having the sort of detailed dossiers on everybody in the government the OPM provided them with.

              Having the President be somebody this deep in hock to China only makes it that much worse.

              1. Brett Bellmore : “…given his family’s connections to China”

                That’s so much pathetic bullshit, but apparently that kind of blather allows you to cope with the day’s news. I only need point out that (1) Trump’s family entanglements with China are measurably larger than Biden’s, (2) Beijing never did any special favors for a Biden as they did for Ivanka’s trademarks, and (3) at least Biden never sent people sneaking into Beijing to conduct secret business discussions during the presidential campaign – which he then lied about repeatedly when questioned. If you recall, that was the case during the ’16 election, when Trump had Cohen doing a secret agent bit to hold talks with Kremlin officials. You couldn’t come up with a Biden equal to that in a million years.

                So you’re completely full of shit with your somber so-serious nonsense, but everyone already knew that – yourself included. Your “we never stupidly let the USSR take over vital parts of our industrial infrastructure” is also problematic. “We” didn’t stop the Soviets from becoming an integral part of the world’s economy; their own economic inefficiency did. We didn’t allow China to become a major force in world trade, the free market did. Think back and imagine us throwing roadblocks. Ask yourself whether they would have had long-term efficacy against China’s economic growth. Personally I doubt it.

                1. “Ivanka’s trademarks”

                  LOL We all know this is a fixation with the left. Just a conspiracy theory.

                  She doesn’t have an active business. What value is a Chinese trademark? Does she also have the same trademarks in the US or EU?

                  1. (1) Weird that something that happened in plain sight can be described as a “conspiracy theory”. Just goes to show how far you must reach to find one.

                    (2) What’s disputed is whether Xi Jinping told the Trumps of the Chinese ruling while dining at Mar-a-Lago. Accounts differ and I say flip a coin. Anyway, the two events happened simultaneously.

                    (3) As for their value, who knows? I don’t track the commercial fashion market. The contemptuous account from the link below says this :

                    “As she crafts a political career from her West Wing office, her brand is flourishing, despite boycotts and several stores limiting her merchandise. U.S. imports, almost all of them from China, shot up an estimated 166 percent last year, while sales hit record levels in 2017. The brand, which Ivanka Trump still owns, says distribution is growing. It has launched new activewear and affordable jewelry lines and is working to expand its global intellectual property footprint. In addition to winning the approvals from China, Ivanka Trump Marks LLC applied for at least nine new trademarks in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Canada and the U.S. after the election”

                    (4) Conspiracy, huh?

                    (5) Regardless of the value of Ivanka’s enterprise it’s still true the Chinese government has shown the Trumps more business favor than the Bidens, which was my point.

                    (6) It’s also true the Trumps have more financial entanglements in China & money at risk there than the Bidens ever had (by a massive margin).

                    (7) Leaving fantasy behind, a reminder : The sum total of Biden family business connected to China in any way is this : (a) Hunter had a 10% piece of an investment group. (b) Hunter tried to put together other deals that went nowhere. Now, that empties the whole bag. You can add the dodgy laptop with its fish-like smell and that’s still it. You can Include the former partner who’s now a right-wing-news agitprop hack and that’s still it.

                    (8) Which makes your comment above pathetic bullshit

                    (9) Which is what I said

                    https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-ivanka-trump-trademark-china-20170418-story.html

            2. “Go back into Trump’s presidency and you find the Uighurs were never his concern ”

              Do we still have a couple of them in Gitmo? As I recall, around the end of the W regime we knew the ones we had weren’t terrorists, but couldn’t get China to take them back.

      2. “China’s actions were no less genocide when he came into office, why didn’t he open with the truth, instead of closing with it?”

        Same answer as all the others, if he’d done it earlier, people might have expected him to DO something, and the only tool in his toolbox is demeaning nicknames. Besides, all of his merch was manufactured in China.

  18. Is the failure of an executive to honor his own executive order (e.g., Biden and family sans mask at the Lincoln Memorial yesterday) sufficient grounds for dismissing it?

      1. “Accordingly, to protect the Federal workforce and individuals interacting with the Federal workforce, and to ensure the continuity of Government services and activities, on-duty or on-site Federal employees, on-site Federal contractors, and other individuals in Federal buildings and on Federal lands should all wear masks, maintain physical distance, and adhere to other public health measures, as provided in CDC guidelines. ”

        “The heads of executive departments and agencies (agencies) shall immediately take action, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to require compliance with CDC guidelines with respect to wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, and other public health measures by: on-duty or on-site Federal employees; on-site Federal contractors; and all persons in Federal buildings or on Federal lands. “

        1. And when the relevant head of department or agency has done that, you might have a point. But the bit you quoted doesn’t require anyone to wear a mask.

          1. Please re-read the first paragraph. Also, the president is a head of an executive department.

            1. The first paragraph uses the word “should”. It expresses that it would be desirable for people to be wearing masks, but it is not where the ordering is happening.

            2. As I recall, the Lincoln Memorial is outside.

              1. “on Federal lands”

                1. Indeed “on Federal lands”. but the virus dies outside in January, so social distancing serves to limit the spread of the virus from person to person. A mask is needed when people are closer than 6 feet apart. The Bidens’ photo op kept all of them 6′ away from any of the other tourists visiting Mr. Lincoln.

              2. As I recall, the building it’s in is outside. The statue of Lincoln is inside the building.

                1. they’re all posed on the steps of the building, with Lincoln in the background.

  19. Ann Coulter said it well today:

    “I’m beginning to suspect that conservatives are the only people who were genuinely appalled by Trump supporters storming the Capitol. The left’s consistent reaction has been: OK, what do we have to do to make it look bad?

    It must be awkward to have to work up a high dudgeon about the Capitol protest after spending half of 2020 saying “mostly peaceful” protests were OK, even if beyond the “mostly” there was a lot of arson and looting.

    Liberals were indignant with Sen. Tom Cotton for saying Trump should send in troops to restore order during the George Floyd riots. His New York Times op-ed making this point was slapped with a disclaimer from the editors that’s nearly as long as the original column.

    Today, there are more troops on patrol in D.C. than in actual war zones.

    See: https://anncoulter.com/2021/01/20/first-duty-of-the-press-make-it-about-racexx/

    1. By that logic, you’re not a conservative.

  20. 2020: Peaceful transfer of power

    2016: No peaceful transfer of power

    WaPo 2016: “After the swearing in, protesters arrived at the Franklin Square area and clashed with police. The protesters were throwing rocks, bricks and chunks of concrete and taking newspaper boxes and barriers and putting them on the streets. Meanwhile police appeared to be using a flurry of flash-bang grenades and chemical spray to hold the protesters back, pushing them block-by-block west along K Street, from 12th Street toward 14th Street.

    During the afternoon clash, the protesters started a fire in the middle of the street using garbage bins and newspaper boxes, and some climbed trees and light poles. About 100 officers in riot gear, carrying shields, stood in a line blocking off K Street…

    When one police SUV tried to drive through the crowd, several protesters dressed in all black tried to block it; when the SUV sped up, pushing the protesters aside, one picked up a rock, threw it, and smashed the vehicle’s rear window. At about 4:15 p.m., as the inaugural parade took place blocks away, protesters set a car on fire along K Street, sending plumes of dark smoke through downtown.”

    1. M L you must have missed the memo. Today’s talking point is that the mainstream media suppress news about violent lefties. Your WaPo quote undermines the whole program.

      My advice to right wingers: Read more mainstream media. You’ll get a double benefit. First, you will find out stuff about what is going on in the world. Second, you will find out firsthand how the mainstream media cover the news. The great thing about this opportunity is it’s so easy to do. It’s all right in plain sight. They even publish it. Every day.

      1. Well, they do that, too. Especially for the last year.

        But yes, things aren’t so dark that the Washington Post could get away with simply not reporting on a massive spree of violence, in their own city of Washington D.C., on inauguration day. There are limits to how far they can go without undermining their own propaganda objectives.

      2. “They even publish it. Every day.”

        One article means nothing. They can’t ignore everything.

        Number of articles. Placement in paper or on web site. If tv, is it 2 hours coverage in prime time or 2 minutes at 3 am in the overnight program?

        Mass media smothers anti-Dem stories and promotes anti-GOP ones.

        Story from today on collapse of trust.

        https://www.axios.com/media-trust-crisis-2bf0ec1c-00c0-4901-9069-e26b21c283a9.html

        1. Bob, I am a highly critical (nearly hostile, actually) consumer of published media. As a former newspaper publisher myself, I know what to look for. My trust in mainstream media has declined a little, not collapsed. The reason for the decline, by the way, is mostly because news budgets have been starved, not so much because of left-wing bias, and not at all on account of any left-wing news conspiracy.

          Note that I do not discount left-wing bias as a problem. But thankfully, mainstream media practice editing standards which considerably constrain effects resulting from that bias. I do wish it were constrained more, especially with regard to the balance of stories selected for publication.

          Nevertheless, it is utterly circular, and stupid, for right-wingers to propagandize their media base against better-quality competitors, and then try to make a substantive story out of it when the base buys into the propaganda, as you appear to have done. There is cause for serious concern when so many people reject decent-quality media with no good reason to do so. There is yet more reason to be concerned about well-organized attempts to make that happen on purpose.

          1. (Wiki) According to the Pew Research Center, 20% of adults in the United States in 2018 said they get their news from social media “often,” compared to 16% who said they often get news from print newspapers, 26% who often get it from the radio, 33% who often get it from news websites, and 49% who often get it from TV.

            Ugh, so 49% get their “news” from TV.

            THAT’S the problem with us now.

            TV news is just entertainment (pretty faces, flashy graphics), with non-news commentary thrown in.

            And I’m including CNN here.

            1. apedad, visually, CNN looks too much Foxified, I’ll give you that. Ideologically, it’s completely in the tank for the political left. But that does not mean it publishes lies, or makes up stories. Pretty sure it would still fire someone caught making it up. Which makes CNN about an order of magnitude better than Fox. Just take care to consume CNN’s output as a wisely-managed fraction of your well-balanced news diet, and you can thrive on what they feed you.

              By the way, I think of MSNBC as CNN on steroids. Except for Rachel Maddow. Maddow is also ideological, like the rest. Makes no secret of it. But she is a brilliant and conscientious reporter. Few if any broadcast reporters even attempt, let alone accomplish, what she does routinely by collating and explaining information her staff researches. She breaks news.

              When Maddow is on a hot streak—she is streaky, but reporting tends to work that way—she breaks more important news than practically the rest of the nation’s broadcasters combined. I mean that literally. That means Maddow is very good; it does not imply superhuman.

              Another part of it is that on their own initiative, the rest of the broadcasters break almost no news at all. The nation’s public life remains heavily dependent on information dug out by legacy print media, then stolen from them by broadcasters who read it on air. That is practically NPR’s entire news output. Their own work product tends toward softball features, opinion, and, most of all, ethnic identity advocacy. Very little news to speak of in that mix, except what they get elsewhere.

              If it weren’t for continuing news gathering done by increasingly beleaguered legacy print media, even online sources of news would shrink to a tiny fraction of what online enthusiasts take them to be. So far, the internet has not stepped up with any business model to replace the legacy news gathering the internet is killing off. On present trends, over-reliance on the internet for news will shortly create news consumers who know little, or nothing at all.

              1. CNN publishes stories from anonymous sources which are contradicted on the record by people in a position to know. I suppose that’s technically not lying so long as they actually believe the anonymous guy instead of the guys putting their names on the line, but it’s close enough for government work.

                1. Brett Bellmore : “believe the anonymous guy instead of the guys putting their names on the line”

                  So righteous put! However you should recognize that some of those guys “putting their names on the line” are known habitual liars & worked for a pathological liar boss. If I was a betting man I’d say the odds are good about 75% of the time for CNN.

                  What would be your best guesstimate?

          2. “mainstream media practice editing standards which considerably constrain effects resulting from that bias”

            Delusional.

            1. Bob, if you knew what editing standards were, your commentary here would not be so . . . deficient.

              1. He is, admittedly, delusional.

  21. Obligatory “I Hate Nazis,” of course.

    But a Free speech concern —

    Since the conviction of Christopher Caldwell for a “rape threat” (you can read about it here: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/crying-nazi-christopher-cantwell-found-guilty-extortion-rape-threat-case-n1241263), the 1A part of my brain has been confused. He was found guilty of one count of transmitting extortionate communications and one count of threatening to injure property or reputation. Faces up to 22 years.

    The DA stated: the conviction should serve as a warning for anyone using the internet to send such messages, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Murray for the District of New Hampshire said.

    My question is: aren’t these sorts of statements exchanged every minute of every day on the internet? Will we see a point where massive amounts of individuals are being arrested for crass banter? Isn’t this a slippery slope?

    1. Only if you’re the wrong kind of person.

      1. That seems precisely what’s going to happen in the near future, and to people on every side of every issue, over time.

    2. Without digging into that specific case…

      My general position has been –for years– that police need to treat threats as “real threats” by default, requiring exceptional evidence that it was made in jest or unserious.

      Yes, this means a lot of “crass banter” (as you put it) would be treated seriosly, but I think the converse is a bigger problem: police routinely ignore real threats because there are so many non-real threats that look exactly the same.

      Which is to say… don’t say you’re going to kill someone unless you mean it. Or to put it in other words… we all Freedom of Speech, of course. But we do not have Entitlement to Police Assuming We Are Lying When We Threaten to Murder Someone.

      To this particular case, 22 years seems odd considering the number of rapists who get off with single-digit sentences (when they don’t get off for “time served” and community service), so something looks off.

      1. EscherEnigma, the problem of course is that enforcement resources would be boggled if assigned the task of sorting real threats on the internet from the others. Every case would take at least hours to sort out. Some would take far more time than that. Given the way the internet works now, that task is hopeless.

        Note also how constraint of defamation has largely gone by the boards for want of sufficient legal capacity to cope. So also with a host of other malign publishing phenomena, all of which were far less troublesome before the internet transformed publishing.

        Most of this change for the worse is not inherent in the internet. Most of it happened because congress passed Section 230, absolving internet publishers from any practical obligation to read authors’ contributions before publishing them. That made the difference between preventing problems before they happened, and striving hopelessly to catch up with problems afterwards.

        Before that legal change, editors and publishers shared defamation liability with authors. On all questions of potentially malign published material—not just on defamation questions—that meant an author with unwise intent, or evil intent, confronted before publication a self-interested private editor with a different set of priorities, and different interests—interests including not only self-defense against defamation liability, but also interest in practicing publishing competition on the basis of content quality. Publishers’ interests were thus better aligned with public interests than authors’ interests could be depended to be.

        Yoking publishers’ liability to authors’ liability meant the vast majority of harmful would-be publications were blocked before they happened. The blocking was done privately, without government censorship. Thus, a problem which was strongly curtailed by editing was a problem the law never much appreciated, seldom had to deal with, and was not much on guard to prevent.

        Then everything changed. Since Section 230 struck down the publishers’ shared liability, and as a practical matter left publishing decisions almost entirely up to authors only, every kind of malign publication gets published worldwide, and does full damage, even before publishers themselves realize what happened. Thus, compared to what it had to cope with before Section 230, society now confronts many times the volume of publishing-caused problems. The flood is so overwhelming the law is powerless to keep up.

        As mentioned, the laws we have were never designed to accomplish that kind of publishing decision-making. They did not need to be, because society wisely relied instead on private editing to do it. That worked well. An already-accomplished defamation which would at a minimum take at least hours to deal with legally, required only seconds for a skilled editor to prevent before it happened. It was practical to do, and cost the public not a penny. It was also wise, because it deflected law and government away from a convenient point of entry into the publishing process. That way, it obviated many occasions for government censorship.

        Your call for more police supervision of the press is thus ill-advised. It would invite government censorship, and still fall far short of any meaningful remedy. Before too long—staggering under the shear volume of after-the-fact publishing supervision needed—the law would simply give up in frustration, and proclaim the problem unsolvable.

        It would make more sense to Repeal Section 230—at least insofar as needed to accomplish restoration of defamation liability shared among publishers and authors. Historical experience teaches that method is practical, effective, and beneficial to press freedom. Abolishing it legally was a well-meaning congressional blunder, made in pursuit of a utopian goal of bestowing consequence-free, worldwide publishing power on everyone with a keyboard.

        Now we know better. In reality, calls for government censorship of the press grew, and now abound. Many, many of the comments on this ostensibly libertarian blog call for government press censorship, apparently without realizing they are doing it. Such calls come also from the legal community, on the political left, and on the political right.

        Those calls for censorship have spread across the political spectrum, and into congress. What all those calls share in common is disregard, or ignorance, of what drove this problem to the fore. That is the abolition effected by Section 230 of shared liability among publishers and authors.

        I get that the many legally astute commenters on this blog read Section 230 and do not see that result prefigured in its language. Neither did congress. Nevertheless the result happened.

        Perhaps only experience of the publishing business provides acumen to collate the language of Section 230 with the customs and practices of the industry it purports to govern. Apparently, that more-focused experience is what delivers insight to recognize that phenomena which policy makers and lawyers take to be happenstance, or unavoidable, are actually consequences of policy—and thus correctable.

  22. Was Malcom X right? Insightful, or mundane but correct?

    “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses. The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make the criminal look like he’s a the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. This is the press, an irresponsible press. It will make the criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

  23. This morning on my way to work I listened to NPR News. Two stories struck me as typical.

    In Portland anti–Biden protesters marched on the local Democratic Party Office, broke windows and the Portland Police arrested 8 people.

    No mention that the protestors were in fact J20 leftists marching against Biden and the police and in support of indigenous people.

    When I got in I see a tweet from the National Review that “Portland Rioters Attack ICE Building, Local Dem Headquarters after Biden Inauguration.”

    Some scientists have suggested that the pandemic has peaked.

    1. For whatever reason, pandemics tend to persist for about two years. Lots of theories (herd immunity, potency of virus wanes, viral mutations, long term effects of public health measures, natural events, combination of all, etc.) on why, but if you look back through history every flare up is about 2 years long. As we are coming up on one year it might be a natural conclusion (even without the vaccine) that Covid is on the way out.

      1. Did you bother to read my comment at all? “Lots of theories…”?

        1. Sure. The virus will go away by itself when the weather warms up.

  24. My preliminary evaluation indicates

    (1) Q lied, and The Plan was silly delusion for gullible losers,

    and therefore

    (2) with Pres. Biden inaugurated, the Fantasy EOTUS competition has produced a three-way tie for first place:

    Sam Gompers
    NOVA Lawyer
    rilldrive

    Each winner provided 16 correct answers. Unless someone identifies error in that assessment, in a comment posted to this thread by 10 p.m. eastern time tomorrow (Friday, January 22, 2021), I will award prizes based on that assessment.

    The rules contemplate tie-breaking by lot; another approach would be to divide the relevant prize pool ($150 in Amazon gift cards, absent other arrangement) equally among those three participants.

    I therefore ask each winner to indicate — using this thread — a position with respect to a three-way split. If all three indicate by 11 p.m. eastern time tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 22) consent to a three-way split, I will send a $50 card to each winner. Without three consents, I would draw lots and send a $100 card for first place and a $50 card for second place.

    The predictions were generally pathetic, in part because of a poorly designed contest form and in part consequent to irrational exuberance with respect to former Pres. Trump’s electoral prospects. Perhaps this blog can attract a better class of readers before another contest is conducted.

    The correct answers:
    1. Biden for president
    2. 25 states for Biden
    3. 306 electoral delegate for Biden
    4. Democratic House
    5. Democratic Senate
    6. Presidential margin >2 percent
    7. Presidential margin >4 percent
    8. Presidential margin <6 percent
    9. Presidential margin <8 percent
    10. Presidential margin 2%: no
    25. Hawkins >5%: no

    1. The corrected correct answers:
      1. Biden for president
      2. 25 states for Biden
      3. 306 delegates for Biden
      4. Democratic House
      5. Democratic Senate
      6. Presidential margin >2%
      7. Presidential margin >4%
      8. Presidential margin <6%
      9. Presidential margin <8%
      10. Presidential margin 2%: no
      25. Hawkins >.5% no

      (some strange autonumbering system is interfering)

      1. The corrected correct answers:
        1. Biden for president
        2. 25 states for Biden
        3. 306 delegates for Biden
        4. Democratic House
        5. Democratic Senate
        6. Presidential margin >2%
        7. Presidential margin >4%
        8. Presidential margin <6%
        9. Presidential margin <8%
        10. Presidential margin 2%: no
        025. Hawkins >.5% no

        (some strange autonumbering system is interfering)

        1. The corrected correct answers:
          Biden for president
          25 states for Biden
          306 delegates for Biden
          Democratic House
          Democratic Senate
          Presidential margin >2%
          Presidential margin >4%
          Presidential margin <6%
          Presidential margin <8%
          Presidential margin 2%: no
          Hawkins >.5% no

          (This commenting system must have been designed by especially disaffected misanthropes.)

          1. The corrected correct answers:
            Biden for president, 25 states for Biden, 306 delegates for Biden, Democratic House, Democratic Senate

            Presidential margin >2%, >4%, <6%, <8%, 2%, Hawkins >.5% no

            (some strange autonumbering system is interfering)

            1. I surrender. You should have stuck with the mainstream (Washington Post).

              1. If no one provides a persuasive competing claim by tonight, I will award the prizes next Thursday.

                Those who fail to improve this commenting system, despite ability to do so, should be ashamed.

  25. Joe Biden’s federal shock troops gas mostly peaceful protestors in Portland:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/21/us/protests-portland-seattle-biden.html

    Leftists who complained about much more restrained actions this summer are completely silent, of course.

    1. “Protesters in the Pacific Northwest smashed windows at a Democratic Party headquarters…”

      Protestors? Not rioters or vandals?

      1. They’re mostly peaceful. Every riot is now called a mostly peaceful protest because of the religious taboo against criticism of BLM riots last summer.

        1. Not every riot.

          1. Did you know that the globe during world war 2 was mostly peaceful?

            1. “Did you know that the globe during world war 2 was mostly peaceful”

              Duh. The globe was just sitting there turning quietly around its own axis, minding its own business, when the people of various regions started shooting each other with increased vigor.

    2. What a surprise! Those leftists include commenters on this blog.

      1. Maybe we can read some more prominent op-eds reminding us laws that protect property are racist and artifacts of Jim Crow or something like that…

      2. I guess they no longer need to pretend to have any principles.

    3. Ben_ : “Joe Biden’s federal shock troops gas mostly peaceful protestors in Portland”

      So the usual suspects who insisted left-wing protesters were treated with kid gloves when that was useful agitprop for Trump, now bewail the heavy hand of jack-booted oppression?!?

      Of course the protesters/rioters are being treated the same today as they were last month, but look at it this way : If this kind of pathetic whining helps our friend Ben_ adjust to the new political scene, then let him whine away…..

  26. It appears our military leadership denied Trump’s requests or refused to follow his orders on numerous occasions. It appears we have a power structure that does not cater to, and is certainly not politically controlled by, the American people.

    The anti-war position is inextricably linked to energy independence, which Trump fought for very successfully. The day 1 actions of the Biden administration have been to cancel the Keystone pipeline. This is a massive gift to China and Russia. They will also crack down on fracking, reversing Trump’s energy independence achievements. This doesn’t help the environment, but it will help the military industrial complex.

    https://www.realclearenergy.org/articles/2021/01/19/earth_to_joe_biden_canceling_keystone_xl_pipeline_is_a_gift_to_china_and_russia_656961.html

  27. Hey the media just found out that the Covid numbers have been dropping pretty steadily over the last month! No more doomscrolling articles about deaths. Now just rainbows and sunshine about returning to “normal times” is all the msm can print today.

    1. Yes, it’s quite hilarious but predictable. COVID is now becoming akin to “the common cold” per the NYT one week ago.

        1. He made it up.

          1. The Future of the Coronavirus? An Annoying Childhood Infection

            Once immunity is widespread in adults, the virus rampaging across the world will come to resemble the common cold, scientists predict.

            New York Times, January 12, 2021

        2. To be honest, (And I did major in biology in the 70’s.) it was predictable that Covid would eventually become a common cold. That’s kind of the evolutionary sweet spot for viruses, you know, which is why there are hundreds of different “common colds”. And it’s already pretty much a nothingburger if you get it when you’re young.

          The only reason it’s as bad as it is now is that it came across from another species, and hasn’t adapted to humans yet. And adults are being exposed to it without prior exposure as children, as happens with most common colds.

          But probably a reference to this:

          Could the novel coronavirus one day become a common cold?

      1. Yeah, COVID is totally over now that it served it’s purpose.

    2. You have a weird definition of “last month”. Covid cases peaked about two weeks ago.

      I just looked on the NYTimes and the only update on Coronavirus cases/deaths on the front page is: “A year after the U.S. recorded its first virus case, the outbreak has ravaged the nation and deaths remain high.”

      But enjoy your made up narrative, I guess.

      1. You guys really focus on narrow data points when it suits your narrative. Hey look technically it was the last 22.75 days and I looked at this one source, one time and nothing. So, therefore, I have confirmed my own biases to the extent I need to do so in order to stop questioning myself.

        1. Haha, I’m confirming my biases by actually looking to see whether your point is correct, whereas you don’t have a single cite of a major media source downplaying the pandemic but pretty sure that it must be happening. Got it.

        2. By the way, if your theory is that the media is in the tank for Biden, the last thing they should be doing is downplaying Coronavirus right now. They’d want to talk about how terrible the problem he’s inheriting is and then switch polarities after he does a few things.

          1. The agenda is going to go something like this:

            1. Spend two weeks trashing Trump for “having no plan” and cast Biden as “saving the day”… (wouldn’t be fun if you can’t kick the guy on his way out…)

            2. Push articles talking about dropping rates and attribute things like “national mask mandate” and vaccines rolling out (which can be attributed to already declining rates and the current vaccine roll out happening)….

            3. Praise Biden for taking decisive action touting how government saved the day….

            1. That plan kind of makes sense. But you started this sub-thread off saying that the media was already talking about how great the situation is. That doesn’t make sense because it leaves Biden without a problem to fix. So it’s a pretty crappy conspiracy theory.

              1. All conspiracy theories are pretty crappy conspiracy theories.

    3. I think just yesterday I saw an article about how more people have died from COVID-19 in the US then all of WWII, and that people are continuing to die faster day-by-day to COVID-19 then previous wars. Also lots of stuff about problems with vaccine roll-outs.

      So, uh, I think that says more about the news your read “the media”.

  28. Was Biden wearing an earpiece yesterday for the inauguration, whereby somebody instructed him to salute the marines, but instead he just repeated what he heard in his ear?

    https://twitter.com/JimboGoestoDC/status/1351932275097743366

    Lol. This is the kind of stuff I assume is nonsense because it usually is, but yikes, what was Biden doing here exactly?

    1. I think it is clear Biden is in the early stages of dementia and if it were not for the MAGA activism on Jan. 6th he probably would have declined to take the oath of office. The plan has got to be to get him through as much as he can take without flubbing big time in front of the cameras before Harris becomes Pres. And this would explain the lack of diplomacy in his first six month schedule.

      1. “I think it is clear Biden is in the early stages of dementia”

        And that’s coming from an expert on the subject!

  29. John Brennan on MSNBC advocates war on domestic terrorists which includes “religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, nativists, EVEN LIBERTARIANS.”

    What’s funnier, that Privileged Liberals include libertarians in with The Others or that Rev Arthur L. Kirkland will be rounded-up and deprogrammed?

    Over the next couple of years looking forward to all the Law Professors willing to step up and defend actual Civil Liberties for All.

    1. These are the same people that think believing there could be election fraud is a laughable “conspiracy theory” but then will turn around and believe the outright lies of “white supremacy” and “global warming” while keeping a straight face.

      1. Not only that, they believe the US actually sent someone to the moon and that the Earth is round!

        1. A man named Ralph sent Alice straight to the moon well before astronauts made the journey.

          1. No, Jimmy, that was TV.

      2. Wait. Do you think no one is a white supremacist? I don’t understand what you mean by the lie of white supremacy? I mean there are nine dead people from a church in Charleston who probably disagree with that assessment.

        And as for global warming it is actually completely consistent with the view that widespread election fraud in several jurisdictions is laughable: rejecting the former while embracing the latter requires a belief in a massive coordinated conspiracy that involves tens or hundreds of thousands of people willfully faking things in concert instead of independently doing their jobs correctly.

        Democrats believe that elections officials know how to conduct elections and that climate scientists know how to find things out about whether the climate is changing.

        1. If we learned anything from actual election fraud that has been proven in court in terms of criminal convictions it usually only takes a few coordinated people, not some massive public conspiracy effort….

          I’m sure there are some people out there who have wacky beliefs. This is true of just about any extreme…

          Democrats believe in whatever keeps the useful idiots busy and voting for them, that is all.

          1. Actually I’m pretty sure they believe in having a moral and just society where people aren’t destroyed or killed by the cruel and chaotic happenstances of the market, historically marginalized groups of people have a meaningful opportunity to participate in governance, and people don’t have as many opportunities to murder each other with guns among other things.

            1. Meaningful chance to participate in governance….

              You mean like really on media and Big Tech to install the latest President by using censorship and bias? Nothing says “democracy” like letting the corporations run the show!

              1. Do you prefer censorship by right-wing law professors masquerading as free speech champions (in unconvincing libertarian drag)?

              2. “You mean like really on media and Big Tech to install the latest President by using censorship and bias?”

                Are you suggesting that google sent fake ballots around, and FaceBook filled them out? How does “censorship and bias” “install the latest President”, exactly?

                1. No, he’s saying the social media platforms, and media in general, were censoring anything that made Biden look bad, or Trump good, and promoting anything that made Trump look bad, even if it was dodgy as hell.

                  Literally, a major daily got deplatformed on Twitter for reporting a true story that wasn’t favorable to Biden.

                  1. Really? That’s the first I’ve heard of that story, which is surprising given how much time I spend on VC.

                    1. New York Post, Hunter Biden laptop. Surely you recall that? It wasn’t a fake story, it was just one most of the media didn’t want reported.

                    2. Against stiff competition, the Hunter Biden laptop story may well be the least credible story told about the Biden family in the last year or so. It’s the one Biden story out there that was even less credible than him orchestrating nationwide election fraud. So I’m absolutely OK with social media companies taking drastic action to stop people repeating such disinformation. (Insofar as I am ever OK with social media companies doing that anyway.)

                    3. The rationale wasn’t that the story was unfavorable to Biden, it was that the information was stolen at best, and manufactured at worst.

                      You may think that’s a lie, but you need to at least mention what they said happened before going off on your own version of what happened.

                    4. Yes, yes, that was the rationale, it just happened to be false, and a joke after they allowed the actually stolen Trump tax papers to be published.

                  2. They were censoring lies and bigotry.

                    Clingers hardest hit.

          2. “I’m sure there are some people out there who have wacky beliefs.”

            Me, too, because you keep writing them down.

  30. Re: Mr. Bannon:

    I wonder if the stolen funds are recorded on Bannon’s tax return. If not does the pardon cover tax evasion?

    A pardon does not cover civil suits. I am wondering if donors have Article III standing.

    1. Fraud is also a state crime.

      But I also think the main thing about the pardons is what they reveal about Trump, not that guilty people are going free.

      1. . . . what they reveal about Trump and about the substandard people who supported him.

        1. Or if you look hard enough at just about anyone you can find both good and bad qualities in a person…

          1. What I don’t understand was Trump’s obsession with pardoning politicians guilty of public corruption. I honestly think he emptied the federal prisons of every disgraced pol who every sold influence or took a bribe. You just gotta wonder. Trump would get up in the morning, look in the mirror, and say, “I think I should pardon another cooked politician today.”

            Why?!?

            1. Professional courtesy.

            2. ” Trump would get up in the morning, look in the mirror, and say, ‘I think I should pardon another cooked politician today.’

              Why?!?”

              They paid the asking price, and Joe Exotic didn’t.

            3. “federal prisons of every disgraced pol”

              Ha, funny you think there are fewer than 10 disgraced pols in prison.

              1. ” funny you think there are fewer than 10 disgraced pols in prison.”

                Specifically, in federal prison, the ones in state prisons can’t be pardoned by the President.

      2. “what they reveal about Trump”

        Bannon’s pardon, like Stone and Manfort’s, reveal the admirable trait that you don’t leave your wounded on the battlefield.

        They were prosecuted as proxies for Trump. It was right and fitting they got clemency.

        1. Bob from Ohio : They were prosecuted as proxies for Trump.

          Given they committed multiple criminal acts for which they were convicted (Bannon excluded), I’m not sure how to read Bob’s comment. Personally I don’t doubt a second that criminals of all types are proxies for Donald John Trump, a man who who looted his own charity rather than pay his son’s seven dollar Boy Scout membership fee out of pocket. There are people who think an honest law-abiding life is for suckers. That describes our old president and many of his cronies.

          Thank God we have a new president.

        2. “Bannon’s pardon, like Stone and Manfort’s, reveal the admirable trait that you don’t leave your wounded on the battlefield.”

          Now THAT’S topspin!

  31. I’m trying to figure out if the use of a “progressive stack” during the required public forum portion of a City Council meeting would be discriminatory and appreciate anyone’s input. This is based on an article I read about the Burlington, VT City Council at https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2021/01/05/burlington-police-union-accuses-tracy-of-suppressing-opposing-views

    1. “People sign up for public forum using a form on the city website. The names are funneled into a master spreadsheet, which Tracy rearranges to put people who self-identify as Black, Indigenous and other people of color at the top. Tracy also calls on Burlington residents before people who live out of town. ”

      Probably not the case of the century, but giving out blatant racial preferences like that, other then being highly offensive, has got to be unconstitutional.

        1. Jimmy is not an attorney, and is also probably incorrect since order of speaking is not really a benefit.

          1. That’s…. really implausible. Without even going through the details, why would they do it if it wasn’t a benefit? It’s preferential treatment based on race.

            Also, primacy bias. Also, perceived importance. Also, getting to leave earlier. Also, perceived preference. The list goes on.

            1. Symbolism.

              Is a king’s throne a benefit? Trump’s second scoop of ice cream?

            2. tkamenick — The last thing I want at town meeting is the first word. The thing I want most is the last word. What makes that tricky is there are almost always folks who want to speak, but won’t get to. Either time limits or calls for the question cut them off.

          2. Tell that to the guy of the wrong race who has to sit through two hours of public comments in order to address the governing body.

            I know you try to be serious on occasion Sarcastro, but this comment is a great example of why people think you a giant joke. Are you really suggesting it is OK for a govt body to use race in this manner?

            1. I don’t think it’s clearly unconstitutional.

              1. You don’t think the right to petition your government (here the council has created a forum for such purpose) is subject to equal protection? OK…..yeah right…..

                I know if in the counterfactual, where you have a Southern good old boy Trump supporting local council who decides that white people should speak first, you would be swinging from the rafters mad crazy. But we all now see your true colors…

            2. “Tell that to the guy of the wrong race who has to sit through two hours of public comments in order to address the governing body”

              If someone’s holding him down, then a habeus petition might held. If nobody’s holding him down, then he made his choice to listen to two hours of public comments.

      1. Thanks to all for your time. I did file a complaint with the Vermont Human Rights Commission but as a non-resident they determined I didn’t have standing (their response below). I spoke to the City Attorney, who instructed the City Council president that he couldn’t use color to prioritize when the number of people to speak exceeds the time allotted for public comment. I tried to push the idea that “as an employee of the city” that his actions were a violation of the City HR Master Personnel Policy as race based discrimination against the public…. But apparently city council members are not considered employees even when paid.

        From the VT HRV response
        “I recently reviewed your allegations with our Executive Director. According to her assessment, it’s not clear that you have standing to bring this complaint at the Human Rights Commission, and as such we cannot accept your allegations for an investigation at this time.
        If you believe that your current case is meritorious, you should seek the advice of an attorney immediately. You do not need the Human Rights Commission to make a determination on your case to file in court. If you need an attorney and cannot find one, please contact the Vermont Bar Association.

        Thank you again for reaching out to the Vermont Human Rights Commission – feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions or concerns about this or any other complaint of discrimination.

        John
        John McKelvie (he/him)
        Executive Staff Assistant | Human Rights Commission
        14-16 Baldwin Street | Montpelier, VT 05633
        Mobile: (802) 272-1759 | Office: (802) 828-1625
        john.mckelvie@vermont.gov | hrc.vermont.gov

  32. Some clingers are raving online with respect to Sen. Cruz’s ‘Texas Tough’ mask from the inaugural, which declared “Come And Take It,”
    with a picture of a weapon.

    This was an upgrade from the mask it replaced on Sen. Cruz’s face, which had declared, ‘call my wife a hideously ugly pig and I will lick your scrotum for years.’

    1. Why you have to be homophobic all of the sudden?

      1. Don’t think lust was Ted’s motivation.
        (at least I hope not)

      2. There is nothing sexual about it. Pure subservience, obsequiousness, and cowardice.

        1. Anyone want to take a crack at defending Ted Cruz in this context?

          Any clingers still planning to endorse him for president again?

          . . .

          Yeah, that’s what I figured.

        2. Why do you need to use a homosexual act to explain the relationship between the two men. Seems unnecessary and bigoted. I’m sure if someone used that to describe the power relation between two liberals you would be all over the place screaming about how this blog supports all kinds of -isms.

          1. Jimmy the Dane
            January.21.2021 at 10:11 am

            I’m sure after the ceremony there was a line of media elites waiting to perform felatio on the man.

            1. Apedad, there you go again, putting words into poor Jimmy’s mouth. Don’t you see that on 12/21 he wasn’t talking about homosexuals? He undoubtedly meant media elite women were doing the felatio.

              1. Obviously that is what I meant. Thanks for clarifying for me.

                But seriously AK is the one who is always screaming about bigotry and clingers. Asking him why he doesn’t mind using charged rhetoric when it pleases his type of advocacy is fair game.

                1. Stop airing your masturbatory fantasies.

        3. Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland : Pure subservience, obsequiousness, and cowardice.

          But … but … but … Ted was so very brave parroting Trump’s lying agitprop on “election fraud”. Apparently a constitutional crisis caused by pandering to a narcissistic psychopath’s vanity really brings out the statesman in Senator Cruz!

          1. Spare a kind thought for Heidi Cruz, who can never respect her husband again (absent remarriage).

            And for the children of Ted Cruz, who are desperately confused about how a daddy is to behave when someone attacks Mommy.

            And for the other senators, who are grievously torn concerning whom is the most loathsome colleague . . . Sen. Cruz or Sen. Paul.

            1. Anybody confused about that has a pretty warped sense of values. Does Cruz do pro bono medical work? Not last I heard.

              What’s loathsome about Paul, aside from his not being a left-wing Democrat?

              1. Ask the other senators . . . they’re the ones who know and despise him.

          2. “Ted was so very brave parroting Trump’s lying agitprop on “election fraud”.”

            And STILL the insurrectionists’ first impulse on reading his notes was to decide that he was agin ’em. there’s video of the idiots seizing Ted’s notes and initially being outraged that he planned to object to counting Arizona’s electoral college votes, until they stopped and remembered that this was Trump’s goal.

  33. I find Jon Adler’s (everything done by the Trump Administration was wrong) silence on things like the revocation of the Keystone XL pipeline and the firing of National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Peter Robb and Deputy General Counsel Alice Stock very interesting. He must get well rewarded for being a good little lapdog.
    For the record, I did not vote for Trump. I just hate duplicity.

    1. Probably if you think someone is being hypocritical it would be helpful to explain why you think that’s the case instead of just assuming everyone is as smart (or has the same biases) as you.

    2. Those who fight by the sword get killed by the sword. There are way more political appointees in the US than in any non-banana republic, but unless that changes someone who was hired for their party-political loyalty by one president can’t very well complain about being fired by the next one.

      As for Keystone, I’m not sure why keeping a campaign promise is “duplicity”. I mean, Trump building that wall was all sorts of wrong, but not duplicitous.

      1. As I understand it, this was basically the first time EVER NLRB General Counsels were actually fired, rather than just replaced at the end of their terms. The position was supposed to be apolitical and independent of the NLRB bureaucracy, so it could serve as a check on excesses.

        1. The position was supposed to be apolitical

          Did anyone tell Trump that? Never mind, I don’t think there are enough crayons in the world to make that man understand the concept of “apolitical”.

      2. RE: Keystone Pipeline

        I just love the fact that in Biden’s first day in office he killed 2000 high paying jobs and the media didn’t even mention that fact.

        1. This is literally the first non-Canadian news story that came up when I put Keystone in Google News: https://katv.com/news/local/president-bidens-end-to-the-keystone-pipeline-could-impact-arkansas-jobs

          1. You found a local news article. Show me where it got national coverage like the supposedly horrible job market Biden “inherited” from Trump did?

            1. ” Show me where it got national coverage like the supposedly horrible job market Biden “inherited” from Trump did?”

              The job market isn’t “supposedly horrible”, it’s ACTUALLY horrible.

      3. “I mean, Trump building that wall was all sorts of wrong, but not duplicitous.”

        Unless you count the duplicity regarding who was going to pay for it, of course.

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