The Volokh Conspiracy

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Thursday Open Thread

What's on your mind?


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  1. It appears that the House of Representatives January 6 committee is seeking to interview Rudy Giuliani. I wonder if Giuliani will assert his privilege against self-incrimination.

    1. Yay....political witchhunts...

      1. Another of Trump´s lawyers, John Eastman, has invoked his privilege against self-incrimination with the January 6 committee. I suspect that there is in Trump´s circle some acute cases of assholus constrictus going on.

        1. Well, a star chamber is going to find out what it wants to...whether or not it's true.

          1. Interesting reference? Isn't a Star Chamber a secret group trying people. This is really a very open process. Any of the people called have the opportunity to put their side of the story on the official record.

            We have over the course of time seen many people of all political persuasions be willing to go into difficult situations. Many have testified before Congressional committees. Our country celebrates Benjamin Franklin's willingness to stand before the British Parliament.

            1. Star chamber, witch hunt, etc., it's all hyperbole all the time with the party that has a Twitter addict as it's Orange God.

            2. "Many have testified before Congressional committees."

              Keep that in mind next year.

              1. I only have to look to the past, to see that both Republicans and Democrats had spines. A backbone that ex-President Trump now requires all Republicans to have removed.

              2. I don't know why conservatives keep saying this like it's some kind of threat. If Kevin McCarthy wants to call Adam Schiff before some committee comprised of the Republican's leading lunatics, then let him. Adam Schiff can testify truthfully to whatever they ask him questions about, without concern or need for evasion, because he hasn't been engaged in an embarrassingly corrupt, illegal, or unconstitutional plan to overthrow a democratically elected government. What are they going to do? Ask him why he didn't make a bigger deal out of the Strzok texts?

                1. Indeed - let the Republicans abuse the system like they think the Dems have. See how that plays.

                  1. The result of the American culture war is not only predictable; it has been settled. Republicans are just whining and squirming and blustering, without genuine hope of success and largely inconsequentially.

                    Do your damnedest, clingers. It won't do you any good, but perhaps whining about your defeat will bring some brief respite.

                2. Eric Swalwell might not like being asked about Fang Fang.

                  The Jihad caucus either.

                  1. The Jihad caucus
                    Yes, that bigotry is sure to play well.

                    1. Bob the Bigot is among my favorite culture war casualties.

                      Open wider, Bob.

                      Or not. Your comfort is a receding concern among your betters.

                  2. No, I'm sure they'll all be annoyed. But if subpoenaed, they'll appear. They'll answer questions truthfully. And then they'll go home.

                    What's hard about this to understand? Republicans don't want to testify about what they know because what they know is that they actively participated in trying to throw the election to Trump through election subversion. And then, when the mob bubbled over into violence on 1/6, they ran around confused, with some panicking over what to do about it, and others content to let the mob run its course. They're trying to bury that record and make the 1/6 commission look illegitimate - while preparing to do it all over again in 2024.

                3. The Republican audience for such Congressional investigation is not the American people, but rather weak-minded individuals willing to send them money. These weeks questioning of Dr. Fauci was a case study. There were no notable questions merely attempts to get people to send the questioners money.
                  Republican are studying the Jim and Tammy Fay Baker grifting manuals. How can I get poor people to send me their life's savings.

                4. I'd ask him why he claimed he had evidence of Russian collusion when he obviously didn't.

                  But I'll settle for just removing him from the house intelligence committee. Swallwell too.

                  1. Again, I don't know why you think that's supposed to be some kind of punishment. If the Republicans want to warp their committees into bodies that don't do any meaningful oversight of the executive branch or work on legislation that will benefit Americans, and instead pull administration officials in front of cameras for "gotcha" moments to play on FoxNews, then I don't see why Schiff would want to participate in that farce anyway. Some other Democrats will get their chance to develop some screentime, I suppose. Not actually a big deal. And then, when the Republicans' unhinged corruption and cynicism once again costs them seats and Democrats regain control, Schiff will be put right back where he was.

                    Talking to hyper-partisans like you is like talking to children. Democrats are worried about the future of the country, regardless of who's in power. You just think it's a stupid game you're playing.

                    1. "Democrats are worried about the future of the country, regardless of who's in power. "

                      You should do stand up.

                    2. Bob, do you think Republicans are worried about the future of the country, regardless of who's in power?

                    3. Because this is part of what I see - Dems think the GOP is willing to sacrifice the future of the US to own the libs.

                      And the GOP agrees that they want the US fail when a Dem is in power! But they just think the Dems think the same thing, so it's okay to be that cynical.

            3. Interesting reference? Isn't a Star Chamber a secret group trying people. This is really a very open process.

              And it's not a prosecution, either.

              1. Sure looks like one and seems to act like one. But see the definition below.

                1. Um, you know the J6 committee can't send anyone to jail (or even fine them), right?

                  1. Directly? No, it can't. Indirectly...yes, that is what it's trying to do.

                    (Unless of course you're talking about how it is currently set up in violation of its own rules)

                    1. The House committee can make a criminal referral to the Department of Justice. Any prosecution decisions are made by the executive branch.

                    2. The House committee can make a criminal referral to the Department of Justice.

                      Of course, I can make a criminal referral to the DOJ too. So can you, and Armchair Lawyer, and the guy who mows my lawn each week.

                      "Criminal referral" is one of the silliest most pompously overused phrases. It's designed to sound official and scary, but it has no legal significance.

                    3. "Of course, I can make a criminal referral to the DOJ too. So can you, and Armchair Lawyer, and the guy who mows my lawn each week."

                      Of course neither you, nor I, can issue subpoenas to people to demand they come to you and answer your questions. Neither you, nor I, can subpoena and gain access to vast quantities of confidential information just because we want to, from, private and public sources. And it's not a crime for people to make false statements to you...unlike making false statements to Congress.

                    4. Those are new goalposts, AL.

                    5. The House committee can make a criminal referral to the Department of Justice. Any prosecution decisions are made by the executive branch.

                      Yes, yes. Even a kangaroo court does a bare minimum to keep up appearances.

                      If the committee makes a referral and the DOJ (under this administration, let's be clear) declines to prosecute, I'll cheerfully print out this entire comment thread and eat it with a nice garlic aioli.

            4. " Isn't a Star Chamber a secret group trying people."

              Not necessarily.
              Star Chamber
              1. a former court of inquisitorial and criminal jurisdiction in England that sat without a jury and that became noted for its arbitrary methods and severe punishments, abolished 1641.
              2. any tribunal, committee, or the like, which proceeds by arbitrary or unfair methods.


    2. There would have to be a crime first

    3. Just as a point of curiosity, for those who are claiming that January 6 was just a bunch of tourists, what do you think should happen about it? Would you not prosecute anyone? Would you send them all home with souvenirs? Would you not have any investigations to find out how it happened? If you were dictator of the justice system for a day, what, if anything, would you do in response to January 6?

      1. Nobody thinks they were just a bunch of tourists. There were tourists, (Mostly towards the end of it, after the doors had been opened, and the signs barring entrance disposed of.) and genuine bad actors, and lunatics, and probably some Feebs egging things on, (Which is why the FBI witnesses refuse to answer certain questions under oath.) and all the usual mess.

        Each should be treated on their own merits, no reason to go easy on the bad actors, or be ruthless with the tourists.

        1. AmosArch is calling them picnickers. He may not believe it, but crapping your pants ironically still makes you a pants crapper.

        2. Brett, suppose a burglar smashes your window to burglarize your house, and your nosy neighbor, who is not a burglar but who has always wanted to see the inside of your house, follows him in. He's a burglar, she's a trespassing tourist, but if the police show up and arrest both of them, she's got no one to blame but herself if some of him ends up sticking to her. If I were the DA, I might well charge her with burglary and let her try to convince a jury that she was just a tourist.

          Now, I don't think that's what happened on January 6. I think almost all of the people who invaded the Capitol were rioters. But even if I accept your version of the facts, so what? Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.

          1. Keep in mind that my home is not normally open to the public, and the Capitol ordinarily is. So your analogy fails right up front.

            You arrive at the Capitol, and there isn't any indication it's closed to the public, it is perfectly reasonable to assume you can walk right in; Most days, you could have, prior to this pandemic!

            1. OK, you're just wrong on the facts. Not only was the Capitol not open to the public on January 6, there was a fence around it with big signs that said closed to the public. One of the reasons the term "insurrection" is plausible is that they had to smash their way into the building.

              1. Yeah, you seem to have missed something: One of the first things the actual attackers did was remove those signs, and shove the barricades out of view.

                As I said, the tourists showed up towards the end of it, after the barricades and signs had been cleared, and there wasn't any obvious indication entry was prohibited.

                1. Brett, assume there had been no signs and the doors had been wide open. Who seriously thinks anyone can wander through the Capitol Building?

                  Yes, I've been there, several times. And while anyone can walk inside, there are pretty obvious restrictions about where in the building the public is, and is not, welcome.

                  1. So.....if you....perhaps just walked in to the Capitol. You should spend months in jail for trespassing?

                    Like this person trespassed?


                    1. Was a riot in progress at the time?

                      Sorry, I’m just not buying that anyone is stupid enough to have mistaken what was then going on at the Capitol for anything other than a riot. Or thought it would be a good time for a touristy stroll through the building

                    2. Wait a second now're saying that trespassers shouldn't be thrown in jail if they trespass in the Capitol?

                      As for rioters....ah yes, them crazy rioters, staying inside the velvet ropes. Throw 'em all in jail, it's clear they're rioting.


                    3. Sorry, I’m just not buying that anyone is stupid enough to have mistaken what was then going on at the Capitol for anything other than a riot.

                      I dunno; when you put it that way… these people seem precisely stupid enough for that.

                    4. AL, here's what I'm saying: I'm tired of making a comment, only to then have you say, "Oh, so you're saying . . ." something that bears no resemblance whatsoever to what I actually said. If you're going to make stuff up about what I said, please find someone else to talk to.

                    5. Krychek,

                      I'm not making up stuff. I'm asking a question, based on your response. Here's the sequence.

                      1. You said "Not anyone can just walk inside, there are obvious obstructions"...the implication being trespassers should be arrested and jailed"
                      2. I asked about a different, specific, trespasser, asking if he should've been jailed for his actions
                      3. You responded "was there a riot"? Implying that trespassers shouldn't necessarily be jailed
                      4. Then I responded, asking if trespassers SHOULDN'T be jailed....based on your statement
                      5. And now you object assuming I say your "saying something"

                      Here's the real issue. You don't have CONSISTENCY. You want harsh charges for one group of people, but not a different group of people, based on similar actions. And what you object to is this being pointed out.

                    6. No, what I object to is you taking my words that, in context, mean one thing, ignoring completely the context in which I said them, and then applying them to a different context altogether to create a meaning totally different. And you're smart enough to be doing it intentionally.

                      Just to take one example, you say:

                      "3. You responded "was there a riot"? Implying that trespassers shouldn't necessarily be jailed"

                      No, that does not imply that. In fact, that's a logical fallacy. Saying "people who murder police officers should go to prison" does not imply that murderers whose victims weren't police officers should go free. It means I'm talking very specifically about a subset of murders, and have not yet taken a position on other types of murders. But like I said, you're smart enough to know that.

                      Bottom line is that what happened on January 6 is totally different from anything else. Unlike the Kavanaugh protests, the January 6 rioters smashed their way into a building, used weapons and chemical irritants on law enforcement, killed a police officer, and chanted for the murder of Vice President Pence. You're desperate to justify the January 6 rioters, but your attempts to make them like other protests are ridiculous.

                      And I'm busy this morning, so that will be my last word on the subject.

                    7. Krychek,

                      When you deliberately avoid the question being asked, but ask a different question...yes it implies what I said it implied.

                      But I'll ask directly now. Should Joe Biden be put in prison for up to 1 year for trespassing in the Capitol, as he freely admits he has done. Yes..or no. Ignore the statue of limitations.

                      If he shouldn't be put in prison for trespassing in the capitol, why not? Why not when you advocate it for other people?

                    8. No, you don't get to make up that someone implied something even if you think your question wasn't fully answered. "My chocolate cake has sugar in it" does not imply that it *doesn't also* have flour, eggs and baking powder.

                      As for Joe Biden, did he smash his way into the building? Did he use a metal pipe or a chemical irritant on law enforcement? Did he chant "Hang Mike Pence"? If he did those things, then yes, he should go to jail, probably for longer than a year. If he did not do those things, then he is completely inapt as a comparison to the January 6 rioters.

                    9. You're still doing the same damn thing Krycheck...avoiding the question, and implying other things. But since you don't want me to "imply things"...directly answer the question.

                      Part 1:
                      Yes. Or. No.?
                      Should Biden go to jail for Trespassing in the Capitol?
                      Yes. Or. No.?

                      Part 2:
                      If the ONLY thing you have specific people on charges for are items like "trespassing" and not assaulting police officers, should they go to jail?
                      Yes. Or. No?

                    10. I've explained why it's a stupid question. What Biden did is in no way comparable to what the January 6 rioters did. As with "have you stopped beating your wife," there are some questions to which the answer is that I object to the question.

                      That said:

                      Part 1: No.

                      Part 2: It depends. On the facts of January 6, given that everyone inside the building knew there was a riot in progress, I'd say yes, absent mitigating facts in specific cases.

                    11. AL, different situations are different. We have scanty facts on that Letterman story you linked is about.

                      You are asking us to compare an apple with a snozzberry. Sorry, about your sick own, but insufficient info.

                    12. HA!

                      Biden shouldn't be charged with trespassing because he's Biden.
                      Other's should be charged, because we don't like them.

                      Your HYPOCRITICALITY is amazing.

                    13. AL, there is absolutely no reason to take seriously someone whose take-away from my carefully crafted and nuanced response is that:

                      Biden shouldn't be charged with trespassing because he's Biden.
                      Other's should be charged, because we don't like them.

                    14. Sorry, I can't imagine what else you might be thinking....

                      You want to charge some people with a crime because a "riot" is ongoing and put them in jail for a year, but not other people with the SAME EXACT CRIME, because a "riot" isn't ongoing...and those get off with zero charges. These people need be doing nothing violent in either situation...simply a "riot" (undeclared of course, some people may think it's just a "protest" and act accordingly) needs to be ongoing at the location.

                      It's amazing.... The cops let you into the building, hold the doors open for you...and you get charged with trespassing because on the other side of the building people are being violent. Thrown in jail for a year. Do the same exact thing when people aren't being violent on the other side of the charges.

                      It makes zero sense, unless you're being partisan and adjusting your logic for your political beliefs.

                2. Christ.

                  No, sorry. If I were to have gone to any of the sites where looting happened during the George Floyd protests, but after the looting had substantially ended, and then just wandered throughout the premises, picking at strewn objects, etc. - that wouldn't make me a "tourist," just because the actual violent acts were performed by others. That would make me a scavenger and a looter.

                  Every good American should have been shocked by what happened on 1/6. Regardless of who you think started it, whose idea it was. You don't walk up to a ransacked Capitol building, after such a shocking moment, and think, "Huh, I'll take a look around, figure it's a good time for a tour." You stay the hell away and hope that it doesn't result in anything more serious.

                3. That's just Brett Bellmore's autism talking.

                  Or maybe his chemical-addled brain.

                  Or maybe just his bitter bigotry and obsolete backwardness.

                  1. Lol. Whatever it is, it sure beats your rank stupidity.

                  2. I don't think Brett is autistic. Frustrated, lonely, contemplating his mortality as he enters old age, maybe. But autistic? I'm less sure about that.

                    When I first saw him commenting here, he seemed like someone without legal experience trying to grasp legal and political concepts he wasn't an expert in. Frequently, consistently, and annoyingly wrong, but that's it. As time has passed, his tolerance and endorsement of conspiratorial nonsense has only increased. I no longer think that he's trying to get at the "truth," which I at least once believed to be the case. I have to wonder if he's been consuming too much FoxNews/OANN/Bannon podcasts, etc., over that period of time.

                4. So you show up somewhere - a museum, say - no barricades,but smashed windows and doors, general turmoil, etc.

                  All fine? Just stroll in and look at the art?

                  OK. Maybe there were a few idiots who did that. By all means, let them go. But stop pretending that's what the crowd was all about. It wasn't random passers-by. It was made up of Trumpists, sent there by Trump, and not because he told them the paintings were really nice.

                  You are just delusional here.

          2. " If I were the DA, I might well charge her with burglary and let her try to convince a jury that she was just a tourist."

            Really? Why would you do that? Do you as the DA have a grudge against this woman? That's the only reason you would do that....

            Oh wait...Now I see....

        3. "(Which is why the FBI witnesses refuse to answer certain questions under oath.)"


            1. Of course the FBI director has to say that as a general line.

              1. Not much of a blow, it seems to me.

                1. That's because you are a deluded, ignorant, birther-class bigot and right-wing loser, Mr. Bellmore.

                  1. Or because after being blown by your mom, nothing seems like much of a blow anymore.

                    1. Thank you for demonstrating so vividly how dishonest this conservative blog is when it tries to defend its censorship of liberal-libertarian mainstreamers by claiming it is just enforcing civility standards.

                2. Look at the Jenga tower you've built on such flimsy foundations. Oh, the Director didn't say whether Epps was a Fed or not, ergo he must be one!

                  But as the article notes, it's routine for federal law enforcement to not confirm or deny such questions.

                  1. "Oh, the Director didn't say whether Epps was a Fed or not, ergo he must be one!"

                    That and he hasn't been charged with anything, even though he is on video doing things that would normally get people charged.

                    1. Ask someone with a legitimate education to try to explain that to you. You may need to travel through two or three towns to find a suitable candidate but it would be worthwhile.

        4. What happened to your Reichstag fire scenario?

          Finally abandon it?

          1. No, I think it's still a viable theory, I always thought that if it was a Reichstag fire, it was executed by the FBI using useful idiots as patsies.

            1. Why do you keep falling for crazy conspiracy theories? Don't you get tired of the eventual embarrassment that follows?

              1. Does he seem capable of embarrassment?

                And like most conspiracy theory adherents, he actually thinks that believing conspiracy theories makes him sophisticated.

      2. "Just as a point of curiosity, for those who are claiming that January 6 was just a bunch of tourists..."

        Ah yes, the festival-like atmosphere.

    4. 1/6! 1/6! 1/6! 1/6! 1/6! 1/6! 1/6! 1/6! 1/6! 1/6! 1/6! 1/6!

      Not working.

      1. Bob, unlike for you, not everything people around here think about is calculated for partisan gain.

        1. Don't rile Bob. Every time you get his attention, a deed for a $23,250 resident property in Pig's Knuckle, Ohio must wait for its proofreading, grinding backwater commerce to a halt.

  2. The District Attorney for Fulton County, Georgia has said that her office is making progress toward a charging decision on Donald Trump and others regarding attempts to pressure Georgia officials to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.

    Here´s hoping a decision comes sooner rather than later.

  3. Documents from the National Archives now show beyond dispute that Republicans in at least 5 states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin—submitted forged electoral college returns to compete with those states' legitimate returns based on actual ballots. Those forged returns showed Trump the winner in each state.

    Slates of named electors signed the fake returns, and purported to have met and voted for Trump according to customary legal process. The fake returns show by an identity of type face, and by formatting similarities, that they were part of a centrally organized scheme—or perhaps conspiracy. It seems fair to assume that the fake electoral college returns were in some way an effort to sow chaos in the electoral vote tabulation process.

    Because the legal process for handling multiple purported electoral college submissions from a state is outlandishly complex (it apparently varies according to particular state laws about designating electors), I am unable to conclude in exactly what ways the national election process might have been threatened. It is not easy to discern whether this was all nonsense, or a grave threat.

    An obvious thought is that if Pence—during the January 6 tabulation—encountered rival slates from a state, he might have initiated process to discard both rivals as insufficiently legitimate. Do that for several states—if doing it got through all the legally-prescribed filters, which might themselves have turned on votes in Congress—and it could have denied Biden an electoral college majority, and thrown the election to Trump via Congress.

    I ask for feedback. What the hell were the fake electoral returns about? Did they have real potential to do harm? Should the Justice Department investigate? Should the people involved be charged criminally?

    1. I say not to rest until the threat posed by Emmnuel Goldstein has been stopped.

      Goldstein fixed the elections!

      Goldstein caused the inflation!

      Goldstein invented the Omicron variant in a lab and turned it loose!

      Let's take two minutes and hiss and curse at Goldstein!

      1. Its funny. They roll in. Kill and beat up a bunch of people (all but one probably accidental death from an unknown source was a proTrump picnicker) and arrest hundreds of others yet THEY are the victims. If you watched the news you'd think Trumpsters had strung up thousands of Biden loyalists from the lampposts in Stalingrad 2.0

        Guess its true what they say. The Prog cries out in pain as he stabs you.

        1. Is 'they' the Capitol police? They came to those rioters houses and rolled in on them?

      2. Subverting democracy? Shrug. Let's talk fetuses!

        1. Let's just continue to shove progress down these bigots' throats, and watch with amusement as Prof. Volokh and his colleagues whine about it.

    2. Attempt to corruptly obstruct, influence, or impede an official proceeding before Congress in violation of 18 U.S.C 1512(c)(2) comes to mind.

      1. Does the Kavanaugh Insurrection also come to mind, or is that just like totes cool?

        1. This is how pathetic following Trump makes one. On the one hand, you have an attempt to stop the process for the peaceful transfer of power re the Executive egged on by the President himself involving thousands of people and lots of assaults, property damage, etc. On the other hand you have, what, about a hundred women sitting in to disrupt a Congressional hearing on a SCOTUS nominee. Yeah, totes the same!

          1. Insurrections for my causes is just and righteous, insurrections for your causes are evil!

            The Obama/Biden/DOJ “transfer” to Trump, meanwhile is the model for non-treasonous, non-couplike transfers of power! No subversion or illegality or harm caused at all!

            1. Did they have spears?

              Break doors and windows to get in?

              Beat up capitol police?

              Throw fire extinguishers?

              Stop your BS.

              1. Well the FBI on J6 2020 was throwing spears, breaking dinwos and beating up capitol police.

                The FBI on J6 2016 was spying on the incoming administration and entrapping it's officials.

                1. Baseless silliness. You're like someone speed reading Breitbart.

                2. ¨Well the FBI on J6 2020 was throwing spears, breaking dinwos [sic] and beating up capitol police.¨


            2. See, these people are really incapable of making distinctions.

            3. I remember that transfer. Obama ordered all the departments to prepare extensive briefing books—info about ongoing stuff for incoming counterparts. They couldn't even get the Trumpkins to look at them. Probably everyone with Trump already knew that if you showed him paper with writing on it he would kick you out of the administration.

          2. "Yeah, totes the same!"

            Well, they're both attempts to corruptly obstruct, influence, or impede an official proceeding before Congress in violation of 18 U.S.C 1512(c)(2) comes to mind.

            1. Yeah, and driving one mile above the speed limit and 20 are both speeding...

              1. Where is the evidence that the Kavanaugh protesters acted corruptly?

                1. You don't think breaking the police cordon around the SCOTUS and slamming on the doors isn't designed to intimidate?

    3. Basically a non-story.

    4. You're going to have to provide more details on this.

      What do you mean that "Republicans" submitted forged returns? Returns are submitted by the state legislatures, not by political parties.

      A tag to that question is what do you mean by "submitted"? Which office did the submitting? Who signed the submission?

      These aren't trivial questions. You're asking us to believe that electoral count documents can be forged to the extent that Congress wouldn't know which was real, and which was fake. How would that happen, exactly?

      1. Politico reported on Monday that Arizona and Michigan attempted to fool the National Archives by sending forged certificates of ascertainment declaring Trump the recipient of the state’s 2020 electors
        The Arizona group that sent the forgery, called “AZ Protect the Vote,” is a sovereign citizen group. Because their letter included the state seal, the state sought legal action, referring the case to the attorney general and writing a cease and desist letter instructing the group to stop using the insignia. Lori Osiecki, who leads the group, told the Arizona Republic in Dec. 2020 that a meeting with Rudy Giuliani helped convince her to send the forgery. The Michigan group did not use the state seal.

        Pro-Trump groups in at least five states sent the government forged certificates of ascertainment declaring Trump the recipient of the state’s 2020 electors

        The national archives doesn't have a lot of authority, but this is reality-denying, cultlike behavior.

        1. Yes, claiming that a sovereign citizen group is part of the Republican establishment is reality-denying, cultlike behavior.

          1. That group’s leader, Lori Osiecki, had told the Arizona Republic in December 2020 that she decided to send in the certificates after taking part in post-election rallies and after attending a daylong meeting in Phoenix that had included Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

            1. I thought you were supposed to know that "post hoc ergo propter hoc" is a fallacy.

              1. Yes, but what about the THIRD AMENDMENT?

              2. Are you just using random words you don't understand?

                1. It's okay, you are allowed to go look these things up. Advance warning: Learning a few things might make you less of a gullible tool.

            2. So what does this have to to do with a congressional committee?

              1. Very little, but he's sure that guilt by association is fair here but not in the cases where Democratic politicians encouraged rioting and insurrection in 2020 that led to dozens of murders.

                1. Trump's election guy was deeply involved. You can't brush that off as guilt by association.

                  1. Michael P has no capacity for critical thinking, therefore he can in fact brush off anything.

                    It's one of the few benefits of being a moron.

        2. "...but this is reality-denying, cultlike behavior."

          The sovereign citizen types are pretty out there.

          I'd have to think about whether they are or are not farther out than the guy who used to stand on a milk crate delivering sermons that had something to do with Jesus and space aliens.

          Now, about those masonic symbols on currency...

          1. 1. There were 5 states, not just AZ.
            2. All the formats were largely identical.
            3. A number of them met with Giuliani to coordinate this.

            This is more deeply involved with Trump's election efforts than you would seem to wish.

            1. Yeah, you need more than just they met with Giuliani to make the claim that those meetings were about coordinating submitting forged documents to the national archives.

              I have no idea what effect that would even have. The legitimate ballots are supposed to be sent to the president of the Senate, not the National Archives.

              1. Slyfield, copies of the forgeries were sent everywhere they were supposed to go, not just to the National Archives. I mentioned the Archives because that is where the copies I saw apparently were found. Each forgery listed the various recipients. There was clear intent to make the forged documents at least stand in as colorable alternatives to the real ones.

              2. That is not my claim.

                This is my claim: 'this is reality-denying, cultlike behavior.'

                Thank you,

            2. ?????

              I was just making the rather anodyne observation that the sovereign citizen types are very, very reality challenged. I mean, have you ever read any of their stuff?

              They make up their own license plates and driver's licenses, zip codes in brackets, the secret $630000 Treasury accounts, etc, etc. These are some seriously mentally ill people.

              1. It looked a lot like deflection from the Trump folks to me.

                BUt if not, then yes, they are crazy. Also, a lot of Trump supporters, in 2020 seem similarly unhinged. And it didn't go away in 2020.

                1. The thing is, those crazies have always been there and probably always will be there. Trump's major contribution to our polity was organizing them so they could achieve critical mass.

                  1. I don't think it's at all clear that's all Trump has done. Radicalization is a thing that exists. And cults of personality are good at it.

                  2. No. Social media does a pretty good job of letting those crazies self-organize. Trump's major contribution was burning down all the guardrails. The media is fake news, the FBI is corrupt, any Republican who stands up to Trump even a bit is a traitor, judges who rule against him are corrupt or Mexican, scientists are just engaged in a hoax to bring Trump down, his own cabinet members were incompetent/crooks/etc., Big Tech works for China, the crazies are right, etc., etc.

                    Republicans for decades have argued (correctly) that there's liberal media bias. But Trump took it ten steps further and argued that the media were complete liars. And not just the liberal media! If Fox said something critical of Trump, he blasted them as corrupt and told people to turn to OAN instead.

                    Trump's goal, unlike that of the garden variety authoritarian, was not to seize control of the institutions for his own benefit. It was to destroy all the institutions so that he was the only thing left standing.

                    1. Of course there is liberal media bias. Superstition and bigotry deserve to be disregarded or mocked by mainstream institutions involved with education, news reporting, and the like.

                2. "deflection from the Trump folks"

                  Spoken by an expert.

              2. There are reality challenged people all around. Some of them just don't have enough access to the levers of power to force the rest of us to live under their delusions, thankfully.

                I tell those sovereign citizen types, "Even assuming everything you're saying is true, why do you expect it to do you any good? The government isn't some demon that has to respond if you recite the right spell flawlessly. They simply don't CARE if you're right, figure that out."

                1. This is whattaboutism, and ignores the Giuliani involvement.

                  There are crazy peope everywhere, but these crazy people are part of a pattern

                  - the national GOP itself drumming out everyone who doesn't endorse the conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen
                  -the condoning and defense of the Jan 06 of violence in that direction
                  -GOP statehouses taking the power away from those who prevented Trump's 2020 attempt to steal the election over the voters' disapproval
                  -Continued threats of violence to poll workers in swing states that went for Biden in 2020
                  -Trump clearly plans to do the same thing again in 2024

                  This is part an parcel to that.
                  This kind of crazy is corrosive to democracy, and the GOP (and you) are indulging it. Fucking stop it.

          2. Note also, from Arizona the sovereign citizen forgery was rivaled by another forgery—two forgeries from one state—one of them likely at the instigation of Republicans (it matched their typography and formatting from other states' forgeries).

            Don't worry Absaroka, you will be hearing more about these forgeries, and there will be no shortage of proved connections to Trump insiders.

        3. Howdy! 🙂

          These are just records, correctable ones upon noticing any glaring errors, and not something that would change anything about the results of the election right? Nationally archived and keeping the record for the curious in the future?

          This really sounds juvenile to the point that it reminds me of kids putting jokes/cursing/creepy things in their 'memories' for their yearbook entries so its there in print for all to see. No one gives a crud after the initial chuckles wear off. (Except for starchy collared school Principals. They never forget!) Am I right to think that these voting records would simply be corrected if they slipped by unnoticed? And we would then have to wait until the next round of youthful exuberance had a chance to virtually moon us before it would be an issue again?

          Unless turning in forged docs has some tangible effect (there it is in the archives, now Orange Julius Caesar has to be prez!!!) I don't see what the issue is outside of a bunch of drunken frat boys screaming 'nuh uh!' 🙂

          1. Am I right to think that these voting records would simply be corrected if they slipped by unnoticed?

            I mean, nobody knows for sure what would happen, but the idea was that on 1/6, Congress would start counting, would get to Arizona and see this document, and then either count it instead of the genuine electoral votes or just toss out Arizona altogether. And then at the end of the day declare that according to their official count Trump is the winner.

            It's not clear that there's any legal way to "correct" that, once it happens.

      2. You're asking us to believe that electoral count documents can be forged to the extent that Congress wouldn't know which was real, and which was fake. How would that happen, exactly?

        By pretend, maybe. I do not have insider info about plans and intent. But a malign result brought about by pretense looms as a genuine possibility.

        What do we know? We know that Trump was attempting, somehow, any how, maybe chaotically, maybe in some way better organized than we yet realize, to hold on to power illegitimately. If you do not agree with that, stop reading and stick to delusion.

        If you do agree, then by inference we can suppose Trump intended to so pressure Pence that when rival electoral ballot presentments appeared, Pence would seize on that as a colorable way to cooperate with Trump. The Electoral Count Act of 1887 sets out procedures for handling multiple presentments. They are anything but transparent, depending as they must on individual states' particular methods for choosing electors.

        A potentially lengthy process is set forward, contingently involving also votes by both houses of Congress on contested questions. The general point is that contested presentments could have been made the means to delay and obfuscate the transfer of power, opening who knows what opportunities for Trump. If, for instance, Pence could have been persuaded to disallow all the contested presentments, then that would have deprived Biden of his electoral college majority. Congress would then decide the election for Trump.

        I mention that possibility because of something which sticks in my mind. Somewhere during the run-up to January 6 I remember hearing Trump urge Pence publicly, "Something, something, that means no votes at all." It is easy to see how that could have indicated Trump's knowledge of the rival presentment scheme, and how it could indicate a plan (perhaps a stupid, futile plan, which would disregard safeguards) to try to deprive Biden of his EC majority by simply disallowing all contested presentments. I have been trying without success to Google that moment, to refresh my memory on "Something, something." I would welcome hearing from anyone who can find that bit of Trumpery, and refresh my memory.

        Regardless of what I just wrote above, it is already proved that Trump insiders, including at least Justin Clark, knew of the rival presentment scheme. The House committee has a copy of a memo from him where he mentions it.

        The jibes elsewhere about sovereign citizen crackpots are off the mark. Documentation already exists to show it more than likely that rival presentments were at least a facet of a real, Republican-instigated plan to do something-not-yet-clear to enable Trump to usurp power. There will be more about this story ahead. Denial and minimization is already foolish.

    5. As I've read it, there is actually a historical precedent for their doing this, as a way to preserve the issue for later resolution. In fact, Nixon, as VP, actually voted to accept such a slate of electors from Hawaii, for his opponent, even though they weren't the officially certified slate.

      What happens when a state can’t decide on its electors

      At least some of these people will have solid legal precedent in their favor.

      1. There is nothing to preserve, Brett. There was no dispute.

        1. Right, keep telling yourself that.

          1. Yeah, that former stripper saw thousands of frauds!

          2. OK. There was no dispute.

            Get over it, Brett. Trump lost. Even your (apparently now bankrupt) Cyber Ninjas say so.

            Get therapy if you need it.

            1. Hell, I've been saying since late last year that he lost. Did you somehow miss that?

              Nobody would mistake this guy for a Trump supporter, Election Law Blog doesn't permit those, you're all in on the Democrats or you can't play in their sandbox. But he thinks that at least some of these people have a colorable legal claim to just be preserving the challenge. What should happen to 2020’s renegade presidential electors?

              1. Link doesn't work for me, but appealing to authority when it's some blog you assure us is super lefty biased really shows how little you need to defend this kind of election reality denial.

                1. Worked for me ... try again?

                  "In Hawaii, a very close election gave Richard Nixon Hawaii’s three electoral votes in 1960. He was certified the winner by the governor. But there was a recount, and the recount extended beyond the date the electors were scheduled to meet.

                  So on December 19, 1960, the three Nixon electors arrived in the Capitol to cast their electoral votes. In the meantime, the three electors for John F. Kennedy literally watched them across the room. The Nixon electors met at 2 pm and wrapped up by 2:45 pm. Then the Kennedy electors gathered at the same table across the room, filled out their own electoral votes and certificates, and mailed them off to Congress, without state sanction.

                  By the end of the recount in January, a state court concluded that Kennedy, not Nixon, had won the state. As explained by attorneys at the time, the Kennedy electors needed to cast their votes on December 19, even if they had no authority to do so, to preserve their legal challenge in the recount. After all, if they won the recount, they needed to ensure that electoral votes made their way to Congress.

                  And, in fact, when Congress gathered to count, outgoing Vice President Nixon asked for unanimous consent to count the Kennedy electors over the Nixon electors, which occurred"
                  "Back to 2020. Were presidential electors simply trying to “preserve” their legal challenges in the (extremely) longshot event that they won them? ... In short, I don’t have easy answers about how to square these matters. I know states are investigating how to prosecute these claims. Congress might be investigating, too. Some are much more obvious falsehoods, like purporting to meet in the Capitol when they didn’t. But others look more like “preserving” challenges a la 1960. How much that matters in 2020 remains an open question"

                  Fun story about Nixon. Sounds like a good blog for election law nerds.

                  1. It is a good blog for election law nerds, even if Hasen went off the deep end a bit when Trump won in 2016.

                  2. Thanks - the linked page hangs for me for some reason.

                    there was a recount, and the recount extended beyond the date the electors were scheduled to meet.

                    This is the rub. There was no recount. There is no factual basis for dispute. This is not about preserving anything other than a fantasy.

                    1. Oh, there were factual basis. They weren't getting much traction with the courts, but of course at the time we're speaking of, neither had Kennedy's people made much progress in reversing the outcome in Hawaii.

                    2. No, Brett, there was no factual basis.

                      Everyone knew what Trump was pushing was bunk - that's why right wingers were making things up left and right.
                      And that was also admitted by these powerpoints on how to seize the election if you could cast enough spurious doubt.

              2. Hell, I've been saying since late last year that he lost. Did you somehow miss that?

                No. But you continually crawfish away from it, with all sorts of hedges, like this one. You actually are convinced, I think, that there was serious fraud, just maybe not enough to actually swing the election.

                1. I think there were serious irregularities, that certainly could have concealed a great deal of fraud, but, yes, I don't think there was enough of it to have swung the election.

                  I wouldn't want to bet that the same techniques taken national couldn't allow you to steal an election, though.

                  And, anyway, once the EC voted, it was all over but the crying, Congress's role is purely ministerial. Which is why I've said that Trump should have dropped his challenges at that point, because it was OVER.

                  1. Turns out your last paragraph is mistaken. The 1887 Electoral Count law creates an exception to EC vote finality—which may be recognized if rival presentments of electors must be dealt with afterward.

                    1. Yeah, that's Congress presuming to have more than a ministerial role, which I dispute.

                    2. The problem is that this can't be true. Congress has to have more than a ministerial role. The duty of counting the ballots requires that one decide what ballots to count. If there are two sets of ballots from a state, one has to decide what to do. Count neither? Count both? Count Set A? Count Set B?

                      One could decide that in advance such that there's only a ministerial role on counting day — but someone has to make that advance decision.

      2. If it were actually forgeries meant to be taken as the official electoral college submittal then they should be prosecuted.

        If they are alternative submittals meant to show what they thought the real count should be then they are protected speech.

        It shouldn't be hard to tell the difference.

        1. Kazinski, have you seen them?

      3. 1) Nixon did not, of course, "vote" on anything.
        2) There was an actual count and recount that came out differently — not just one side saying, "Nuh uh, fraud Mexicans middle of the night!"
        3) Nobody cared because everyone knew that it didn't affect the outcome, so it was purely academic.

    6. Again, what we have is clear evidence that some groups were attempting to commit fraud in the 2020 election. Republicans assert the issue is ballots and yet we have only found a handful of illegal ballots. In many cases these illegal ballots are more a product of confused voters rather than a real fraud attempt. But here we see a real attempt through falsified documents. We also have hard evidence in the form of taped conversations of attempts to find ballots in Georgia.

      All this points out that improving election integrity is being focused in the wrong direction.

      1. Conservatives have, at best, grudging disdain for democracy. They honestly want less people to be voting, they'll tell you that.

        1. They know it's over for them. That's why they are desperate, deluded, and disaffected.

      2. Hey remember that postal worker in PA that blew the whistle that the post office was back dating mail-in ballots and then he recorded when the Democrat Postal Inspectors came to interview him and they were caught on tape trying to intimidate him and get him to change is story?

        1. Same response as I have to all these stories. If you got something take it to court. Still waiting to see evidence in court.

          1. You have misplaced faith in the institution.

            Which is bizarre given what we see them do day in and day out.

            1. Slate?

              Lmao dude we all heard the video of the Democrats intimidating him.


                "I didn't specifically overhear the whole story. I just heard a part of it," Hopkins said in the recording. "And I could have missed a lot of it."

                "My mind probably added the rest. I understand that," he said at another point, adding: "All it is is hearsay, and that's the worst part."
                This is the kind of thing a Trump-infested mind falls for.

                1. What were the investigators doing to the whistleblower?

                  Anything? Investigating his claims, or persuading him to change his story?

                  1. His claims were ridiculous and he recanted them. You've got nothing.

                    1. Not exactly nothing. The clingers picked up 10 seditious conspiracy charges today, with the prospect of plenty more prosecutions.

            2. No, you just are mired in crazy conspiracy. The guy's claim was laughable from the get go and he's recanted to boot.

  4. Taking a break from the wails of the above traumatized victims of dead Jan 6th picnickers. How would you divide your life so far? Do you feel your best/worst stage in life is behind/ahead of you? What would you tell each of your previous life stages if anything? Has it changed from what you would tell your younger selves before? Any regrets?

    1. AmoArch, you pose an interesting question: What would you tell each of your previous life stages if anything?

      Childhood: I would say, 'Speak'. In the aftermath of my parent's divorce, I grew up with a suicidal mother. I stayed silent because I thought if I said anything, DYFS (child services) would take me away. That was a long 10-year period in my life. There is a lot of unresolved trauma I have from that period that might have been alleviated had I spoken out.

      Teen: Compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world. Take the time to really understand it. Ironically, I also say: Speak less (in contrast to childhood) and listen more.

      Young Man: Start saving for retirement from your very first W-2 job in low cost index funds. No joke. Just get the match (if available), nothing more; else, do 10%. You'd be amazed how that money you save early compounds. Learn (and understand) that the most powerful phrases in your life are (in no particular order): 'Yes'; 'I was wrong'; 'I am truly sorry'; 'I love you'; 'I forgive you'; 'You are right'; and 'Guilty' (ok, that last was just joking at 6am). Also, learn the value of pre-nup.

      About to be a Father: Remember that three were present your creation, at the creation of your child; and, that your children are given to you to hold in trust. Remember before whom you stand. Remind yourself every morning that being a father is the greatest responsibility you will ever have, and resolve to do it right each day (Yes, affirm this every day). Also, as long as blood is not spurting out from somewhere, and the kid has not turned blueberry blue, they'll probably be fine by the next morning. Finally, remember all of these things BEFORE you decide to pull the marital rip-cord (get divorced).

      I'll check back on this question in a quarter-century or so and let you know what I learned in early middle age. 🙂

      Great topic!

    2. My childhood self, I'd tell to be less passive. I was bullied for years in elementary school, and it didn't end until I beat the crap out of the bully one day, which I could have done at any point if I hadn't been stupidly following the school counselor's advice on how to cope with bullies: "Don't fight back, he wants a fight, if you don't do anything he'll get bored and leave you alone."

      By the time I figured out that advice was wrong, I'd become a misanthropic loner. Warped me for years, when all I ever had to do to end the bullying was beat him senseless, so that he'd go looking for a different victim.

      For myself at all ages: Get more exercise, being physically fit makes everything better.

      1. +1,000 on physically fit. That is a lifesaver (literally).

    3. Do you feel your best/worst stage in life is behind/ahead of you?

      The best is gone. Outside of that I hope my worst has now passed. I peaked in 2013-14 when I found my dream again. It nearly bottomed out in 2019 with hospitalizations, homelessness, and elimination of most family ties.

      What would you tell each of your previous life stages if anything?
      -Childhood: Play. Write some of your imaginations down. Keep hiding their cigarettes. Enjoy being 11-12 and being able to make a few bucks doing yard work for folks, riding the bus into downtown to blow them on football and baseball cards and french fries.
      -Teen: Its going to be rough. Keep on *not listening to the voices outside of you telling you to kill yourself. Keep on ignoring your mind telling you these family members and classmates must be right that I shouldn't be here. Weep damn you! I know you've been told it makes you weak to cry, so find somewhere where no one will hear you and have regular good cries. Release tension. It sounds like a lie, but it will get better. Its not your fault.
      -Young Adult: FOCUS. You want to put your penis inside everything you see. I understand. But you need to occasionally bring your head out of the clouds and focus on other things. Start college. It *will be awhile before you are able to trust and seek help for the things in your past and you are going to fail a lot because of it but KEEP GOING. I know you won't listen. You have a good head for not getting involved in the really bad stuff but you need to focus and keep going. Once you meet up with *her* again don't hold back on the love and try listening to her.
      -About to be a father: Try not to look like you just swallowed something bitter, making a squishie face when they hand you your son for the first time (eww could they wipe him off a bit more or...) Keep buying coins and savings bonds for him. Don't be so angry because you quit smoking but she didn't. Four months from now the world is going to change for the worse. Hold him, and his mother. Focus. Help your wife out more. DON'T LET YOUR MOTHER IN LAW DRAG YOU TO THE BABY SUPERSTORE. You won't like the results.
      -Post crashing out of grad school and cutting ties with family: Sorry buddy, I've got nothing other than get your stored stuff out of your families possession and workout more you putz.

      Any regrets? Not being able (thusfar) to find a mindset where I don't feel guilty for everything happening around me and taking it on like its my fault. Until then, its nearly all regret. Except my son. That one is a win. 🙂

    4. Just as a point of curiosity, for those who are claiming that January 6 was just a bunch of tourists, what do you think should happen about it? Would you not prosecute anyone? Would you send them all home with souvenirs? Would you not have any investigations to find out how it happened? If you were dictator of the justice system for a day, what, if anything, would you do in response to January 6?

      1. Sorry, the immediately above comment was intended for further up the thread.

        Truthfully, if I were 20 and doing it all over again, I would go to medical school instead. The legal profession has been good to me financially and I've had the opportunity to help a lot of people along the way, but I like science a lot and I think I would have been happier as a doctor. I might go to law school too just to have a law degree, but the benefit of science over law is that your result is not going to be based on whether the judge is having a bad day or whether your client lied to you or whether opposing counsel is playing fast and loose with the rules and being permitted to get away with it.

      2. I don't think January 6th was just a bunch of tourists. I think it was a mix of tourists and genuine bad actors, with an as yet unquantified contribution from FBI informants egging things on.

        I'd get that quantified, instead of letting Congressional witnesses from the FBI refuse to answer questions about it, I'd send the tourists home with a direction to be less oblivious, and prosecute the bad actors to the hilt. Yes, even the ones drawing a government paycheck.

        1. "with an as yet unquantified contribution from FBI informants egging things on."

          In ConservativeLand it's all conspiracy, all the time.

          The party of 'personal responsibility' (as long as it's some other person than them!).

          1. In LiberalLand the FBI are 100% upright and trustworthy, except when Republicans in charge.

            Give me one good reason they don't record their interviews. Just one.

            I say it's so that they can lie about what was said.

            1. The FBI sucks.

              That doesn't mean you can just ignore the need for evidence they're part of a big conspiracy.

            2. In LiberalLand the FBI are 100% upright and trustworthy, except when Republicans in charge.

              No. But in LiberalLand we do ask about things like motives, evidence, etc.

            3. It's really funny how conservatives turned on the FBI, like most law enforcement agencies its teeming with conservatives. But they dared not avert from the Orange God's sketchy dealings so there you go.

              Give me one good reason they don't record their interviews. Just one.
              Here's a few.

            4. Brett, have you ever been interviewed by the FBI?

      3. How would you differentiate between the Kavanaugh Insurrection and the J6 Insurrection?

        In your mind, what was the difference and why is one being treated as a nothingburger, while the other has people being charged with misdemeanors after sitting in solitary confinement for nearly a year?

        1. I'd prosecute the Kavanaugh insurrectionists too, but I don't think the two are an apples to apples comparison.

          Were the Kavanaugh insurrectionists chanting "hang Mike Pence" and "Nancy, we're coming for you"? Did anyone die during the Kavanaugh protests? Were any police officers beaten? Were any pipe bombs discovered? Were people attacked with metal pipes or chemical irritants? The building was open to the public during the Kavanaugh protests but closed to the public on January 6.

          Those are not insignificant differences.

          1. The loss of the ability to make distinctions is a prime symptom of modern conservatism.

            1. It works like Covid and the sense of smell.

          2. By the way, just to be clear, I don't think the Kavanaugh demonstrations were an insurrection for the reasons I've already given; I simply repeated the term BCD used. I probably should have changed it just to be clear.

            1. Weird what happened to that pipe bomb investigation…

              1. After the trail was a year cold, they did finally ask the public for leads...

              2. OK, so that's all you've got in response to the multiple facts I listed on why the two are different? No comment in response to the fact that the January 6 people smashed their way into the building, beat law enforcement officers, used metal pipes and chemical irritants, and chanted to hang Mike Pence? All you've got is "weird what happened to that pipe bomb investigation"?

                1. When you got nothing, pound the table.

                2. Your cherry picking got ignored just like you ignored what's become the obvious FBI involvement in the violence.

                  1. FBI can't find the pipe bomber because they never search their own offices.

                  2. "obvious FBI involvement in the violence."

                    Obvious to the conspiracy addled I guess.

                  3. Ok so you got nothing.

          3. I think until more information is available the pipe bombs are a red herring.

            As I recall pipe bombs were found at both the RNC and DNC and no one has been arrested for placing them. A suspect was videoed but was unidentifiable to to their clothing. The FBI can't even say if it was a man or a woman..

    5. In my low-40s, I'm probably at the best stage or nearing the best stage. The kids are old enough to be largely self-sufficient, but not old enough to not want to be around me. Finances are stable and even if things turned poorly in my current job, I'm confident I'd land on my feet elsewhere. And still young enough to be active and play sports (even if not quite like in my 20s and 30s).

      If I were to advise my younger self (other than giving stock picks), it'd probably go as follows:

      Teenage - You're on the right track, and it will turn out just fine. And don't worry about girls. You get out of this small town and there are 3 billion more. You'll meet one of them. Also, hit the gym and build as much muscle as you can while it's easy.

      College - Focus on making yourself the best you can be in your sport. And don't stop playing. Once you do, you'll never be able to participate like that again. Also, you've got a lifetime of marriage and family. Don't stay in a serious relationship. You'll regret the lost opportunities later.

      Young Professional - Network and build your name even more than you think you are. Developing work is like farming. Plant as many seeds as you can to reap the biggest harvest.

    6. Best is behind, in one sense, because of age, though I'm still enjoying things.

      Advice I would give:

      Work harder. I blew good opportunities, of various sorts, by not doing that.

      Resist peer pressure. And I'm not just talking about the occasional ill-advised adventure - more about standards and behavior in general.

      1. That's for sure about working harder. You look at basically anybody who's a success, they worked their asses off, and there were a dozen people with as much talent but less work ethic who fell by the wayside.

        Talent, nice as it is to have, is no substitute for hard work.

      2. Yeah, work harder is good advice bernard11. Still though, you worked plenty hard and enjoyed a level of success, no?

        1. I worked hard, XY, some of the time, and was lucky enough that it came at the right time to matter.

          Too often, I didn't.

          1. As Orwell said, “A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats.”

            Certainly describes mine, though I finally found some share of happiness in my 40's.

          2. But you made it, bernard11. In the end, that is what matters. You teach a good life lesson on the value of hard work.

  5. Trump has filed a motion in federal court for the Northern District of New York seeking a preliminary injunction disqualifying the New York Attorney General in her pending state court investigation or, in the alternative, an order of the federal court staying civil investigative proceedings until a parallel state criminal investigation is concluded. The motion for injunctive relief is supported by nothing other than the conclusory, unsworn averments of the initial complaint.

    Nowhere does the request for injunction acknowledge the pendency of state court litigation to which Trump individually has been made a party. Nowhere is there any discussion of principles of equity, comity and federalism that would attend federal court interference with state court proceedings. There is no acknowledgement that the opportunity for Trump to vindicate his claimed federal rights in state court is fatal to any claim in federal court of irreparable harm.

    Trump seems to be throwing every delay tactic against the wall to see whether anything sticks.

  6. This is about controlling inflation. An interview I saw with Lawrence Summers got me thinking. Summers was spouting the customary anti-inflation mantra that it is time to put the screws to the economy, to get inflation under control.

    Seems to me that it might make more sense to address what almost everyone thinks are the major causes of current inflation—supply chain bottlenecks, Covid-caused labor shortages, and pandemic-backlogged consumer demand. Can raising interest rates alleviate any of those? Maybe, but not efficiently. It would take rate hikes so high that they added new burdens to the economy, to afflict it alongside the others.

    Thus, if the initial problems persist while interest rates climb, you get stagflation all over again. Experience has shown that it takes sky-high interest rates to knock down prices when the high prices are caused by some factor—like Covid labor shortages, or backlogged demand for refrigerators—which the increased interest rates do not address.

    Summers' advocacy struck me as a prescription for punishing less-well-off Americans. They will have to endure a maximally constrained economy if the Fed follows Summers' advice. Why not instead try remedies which address the supply chain problems, the Covid labor problems, and the backlogged demand problems, and put folks back to work as quick as possible?

    1. Pouring insane amounts of (borrowed) money to stimulate an economy half shut down deliberately is political malpractice. It has nowhere to go but sitting there, and so, raising prices. Remember the rhetoric is no longer helping people out of work.

      These politicians are not you. They are on the dole. They need to win an election to get this, and so their spouses can become mysteriously genius investment gurus.

      Inflation doesn't enter into their personal enrichment vector. Indeed, it helps it, as it allows still more borrowing as the same phenomenon that crushes your savings, reduces the burden of already-borrowed money.

    2. I've got a much simpler explanation for inflation: the government flooded the economy with $5.3 Trillion dollars in the entirely mistaken belief that devaluing the currency will create a false impression of temporary wealth that will last long enough for them to fool people into voting for the current party in power.

      1. Anyone that's super sure why there's inflation, and it aligns with their policy preferences?

        Maybe you're not as economically insightful as you think they are.

        1. Yea printing money based on no production causes inflation. Anyone who can't see that is an economic idiot.

          Were the politicians in the Weimar Republic blaming the "greedy corporations" for inflation too.

        2. Have you considered that maybe, just maybe, our policy preferences are a product of our economic views, and not the other way around?

          1. In that case, your hubristic sense that you understand how inflation works in any but the most theoretical sense does you no favors.

            1. We understand it better than a President who blusters that Milton Friedman isn't in charge anymore, and starts raving about conspiracies when prices go up after the government 'prints' a huge amount of money.

              1. raving about conspiracies


                  1. “Pandemic profiteering.” is dumb, but also not 'raving about conspiracies'.

                    1. It is literally raving about conspiracies, they're threatening anti-trust action.

                    2. Doesn't seem warranted to me. But also an anti-trust action is not accusing anyone of a conspiracy. Cartel behavior does not require formal coordination.

                    3. Whew, that's all you've got?

                    4. Do you think "Cartel behavior does not require formal coordination." is false?

                    5. "Doesn't seem warranted to me."

                      Not something I have looked into a lot, and some random newspaper article from a couple of months ago, but FWIW the story was that if you go back 20 plus years, hog/chicken/beef farmer Bob could sell into a competitive market, as in when he had steers to sell he would be getting bids from more than one buyer. But that middle layer of packers has consolidated to the point that there might only be one buyer in Bob's region. Dunno if it's true, but free markets do kinda need competition to work.

                      And more competition among middlemen might or might not affect prices in the supermarket.

              2. Haven't you been complaining about the government 'printing money' for decades?

          2. Also, who do you think you're fooling? You have a moral alignment towards small government well before economics come into play.

            1. Big government is as capable of running on a cash and carry basis instead of borrowing madly as small government is, Sarcastro.

              1. 1) No it's not, not politically.
                2) Deficits are not a priori bad.
                3) Your reasons for not liking entitlements, the civil rights acts, educational funding, etc. are not driven by your concerns about the national debt, it is the other way around.

                1. "1) No it's not, not politically."

                  You mean because people would prefer to increase spending without increasing taxes? I'm not sure that helps your argument.

                2. 1) Yeah, I've said it myself: Once borrowing tomorrow's money to buy today's votes is on the table, any democracy is doomed. It's one of the major failure modes, and last chance we had to beat it was '95, when Gingrich promised a vote on a Balanced budget amendment, and then deliberately made sure it failed.

                  But, as an economic matter, yes, a big government is just as capable of running a balanced budget as a small government. Just like your average overweight slob is capable of dieting and exercise.

                  2) Yes, they are. On rare occasions they're a bad thing that is worth taking on to avert a greater evil, but they are ALWAYS a bad thing.

                  3) Whatever.

                  1. 1) Your cynical view of how people can be easily bribed ignores that the GOP, who runs explicitly against that, still wins elections. And that the threats to democracy are much more direct than transfer payments these days.

                    Yes, on an infinite frictionless economic plane lots of things are true. None of them are useful to discuss.

                    2) Why are deficits almost always a bad thing? Are you just treating sovereign debt the same as personal debt?

                    1. "1) Your cynical view of how people can be easily bribed ignores that the GOP, who runs explicitly against that, still wins elections."

                      Only because they don't actually do anything, Sarcastro. They can survive it only as long as it's empty talk. They are, unavoidably, almost as addicted to borrowing to buy votes as the Democrats.

                      "2) Why are deficits almost always a bad thing? Are you just treating sovereign debt the same as personal debt?"

                      Every cent you borrow obligates a cash stream from your income to cover interest, which is thus not available to cover expenses. Eventually this can accumulate to the point where all of your discretionary income is obligated to carrying the debt, and you're trapped, but even at lower levels it requires you to spend significantly below your income to avoid sinking deeper into debt, and even further below to get back out.

                      And every cent you borrow is a cent you can't borrow in an emergency.

                      "Are you just treating sovereign debt the same as personal debt?"

                      Sovereign debt is WORSE than individual debt! Individuals go through a life cycle, and occasionally face one time expenses, (Such as purchasing a house or car.) which are beyond their day to day income, and thus can't possibly be financed without borrowing unless they're willing to do without for a substantial fraction of their lives.

                      Countries seldom face such expenses relative to income, outside of existential wars. No individual expense they face exceeds their income, and they are much more capable of simply operating on a cash and carry basis than any individual.

                      When countries go into debt, this is rarely due to unpredictable, unavoidable expenses, that couldn't simply be paid from current revenues. It's almost always because they're seeking to live beyond their means, and do so on a prolonged basis.

                      And can you seriously claim that our current debt was accumulated dealing with emergencies? No, it was accumulated because the government wanted to spend more than it was taking in, and found it could by borrowing. For a while.

                    2. You have lots of shoulds here, but zero functional analysis.

                      This is a moral argument, though I'm not sure you know it.

                    3. Once again, Brett, you have no grasp of what you are talking about.

                      Every cent you borrow obligates a cash stream from your income to cover interest, which is thus not available to cover expenses. Eventually this can accumulate to the point where all of your discretionary income is obligated to carrying the debt, and you're trapped, but even at lower levels it requires you to spend significantly below your income to avoid sinking deeper into debt, and even further below to get back out.

                      Unless the money is spent in such a way as to generate returns in excess of interest payments. Finance 101, Brett. Right now, btw, the US is facing pretty close to negative real rates.

                      Sovereign debt is WORSE than individual debt! Individuals go through a life cycle, and occasionally face one time expenses, (Such as purchasing a house or car.) which are beyond their day to day income, and thus can't possibly be financed without borrowing unless they're willing to do without for a substantial fraction of their lives.

                      Fucking ridiculous. Governments have way more capacity to carry debt than individuals, not least because they are not mortal, collect taxes, etc.

                      And you know, private companies carry massive amounts of debt as well. Apple has $109 billion as of Sep. 26, up from about $98 billion a year earlier. Surely they're going broke any day now.

          3. "Have you considered that maybe, just maybe, our policy preferences are a product of our economic views, and not the other way around?"

            Yup. Personally I'd be in favor of the government printing as much money as it wants, and giving it to everybody, if I didn't think it would cause inflation.

            1. That's a blatant excluded middle right there.

              1. No it's not.

                1. No middle ground between being a debt hawk and printing infinite money?

                  Don't be obtuse.

                  1. You're the one being obtuse.

                    I said I'd be in favor of printing infinite money if I didn't think it would cause inflation. I don't need a middle ground.

          4. Have you considered that maybe, just maybe, our policy preferences are a product of our economic views, and not the other way around?

            Do you really want me to think you are that clueless? Economic nostrums—including the most sophisticated, equation-driven MIT-style super-theories—will essentially never predict accurately how any non-trivial economic dilemma will resolve. As often as they fail, almost any politician's gut instinct will deliver more successes than today's economic ideology. Even ten years ago, if you had asked any big-shot economist to name a major economic thesis that was non-trivial, reliable, and beneficial, the leading answer would probably have been, "comparative advantage." Now the economists are all going around mumbling, because they know that notion went horribly wrong, but they still believe in it (It's math!), and can't figure out how to explain away the failure.

            1. I mean, none of that is true.

              1. It's all true, Nieporent. I got it from MIT-trained, big-shot economists—tenured faculty at major research universities. What did you think, that I could make up that example about comparative advantage on my own?

            2. "Now the economists are all going around mumbling, because they know that notion went horribly wrong..."

              Comparative advantage is the basis for economic specialization. There might be risks associated with some types of specialization, like in international trade, but the idea that the notion is wrong is nuts.

              1. TwelveInch, nope. The notion that comparative advantage is a terrible guide for policy is well founded. You can readily describe reasons why it failed the U.S.—not that any of the economists I hang out with yet show much willingness to accept those reasons.

                Reason 1. The math does not encompass the entire theory.

                Idealized math shows that even in an exchange of two kinds of goods where one partner has more advantage than the other in both kinds, the weaker partner still gets advantage by specializing. Sure. But experience shows that the weak partner can get still more advantage by not trying to get away with that. The weaker partner can instead try to protect some of its weaker sectors, especially if doing that supports workers who will be dealt out of participating in the theoretically more-efficient specialized trade, and left unemployed or under-employed. Incidentally, but not unimportantly, that policy also protects the weak partner from getting crushed in a no-choice competitive war with an erstwhile trading partner it has been continuously advantaging at the weaker partner's own comparative expense.

                Reason 2. Fungible labor is a mistaken premise.

                Comparative advantage as a notion depends on a tacit premise, which is that all labor is fungible. Identify your advantaged sectors, and move all your labor into them. That does not work today, if it ever did. Turns out, coal miners, and even coal miners' kids, do not mostly become programmers. And programmers too often fail to complete careers without being tossed aside in middle age. Farm boys can be geniuses at practical fabrication, and incorrigibly bad at reading complicated blueprints. People are different. It advantages productivity to give them wide opportunity to be attracted freely to activities they practice with personal advantage. Comparative advantage for nations—with the specialization it encourages—disadvantages personal advantage for individuals—it narrows their opportunities to be maximally productive.

                Reason 3. Economic ideology sucks at making the cross-over from theory to practical implementation.

                There is a reason you can hardly get any professional economist to discuss political complications. Try it, and see what happens:

                "Oh, that is not what economists do. We are mere theorists. Politicians have to be in charge of policy. Our job is to tell them what will work best economically. Their job is to take responsibility for making it work in practice."

                So give a lever like comparative advantage to a politician, and he will notice in an instant what the economist barely discerns at all—that there is nothing in the theory to say who reaps the increased wealth the policy predicts. Absent political amendments to the theory—to deal with issues of distribution—the theory becomes in political practice an open-ended invitation for opportunism, to help people with political clout loot everyone else. See if you can get any economist to propose appropriate theory amendments to address distribution. Good luck.

                Political allegiance to comparative advantage—a policy smart politicians (Obama, for instance) are proud to think they understand, and which most of them understand inadequately—has proved a decades-long catastrophe for the U.S. economy. At some point you have to look around and take stock.

        3. Didn't Friedman settle this issue? Why are there suddenly questions about the consequences of substantively adding to the money supply?

          1. Because there are plenty of counterexamples and confounding factors.

            There is a pandemic. And a recent demand glut. And supply chain issues.

            But you're sure it's all about this one policy.

            No you're not, you just found a scapegoat you can use.

            1. Gaslighto hard at work.

              1. Ed, inflation is just transitory. Move along, nothing to see.

              2. What did I say you think is a lie?

            2. Monetary denialism?

              1. TweleveInch, if monetary policy is a less-efficient means to deal with inflation than purpose-built measures which address the actual causes of a particular inflation, why use monetary policy? One answer is that a minority of folks stand to benefit from monetary policy, no matter how inefficiently it works. If that means the vast majority of Americans suffer the cost of that inefficiency, those who benefit may not care.

              2. Monetary policy isn't even being discussed - y'all are off on fiscal policy.

                And ignoring the supply chain, because it's inconvenient.

                1. We were talking about printing money.

                  1. And you're drawing a causal connection when there's plenty of other potentially causal things going on in this wide economic world of ours.

                    You're ignoring those, because you have a narrative to push and allowing in the uncertainty that comes with dealing in the real world is not part of your plan.

                    Economics is hard. This was somehow easy. That should be a red flag. If you cared about the truth.

                    1. "Economics is hard. This was somehow easy. That should be a red flag. If you cared about the truth."

                      Lol. Not all economics is hard. Supply disruptions will normally not upset the equilibrium too much because you will have corresponding disruptions in demand. Unless you debase your currency.

                      If you increase the money supply and stand there scratching your head wondering why we have inflation, you're the one pushing a narrative. I mean, didn't you ever wonder why we didn't just print all the money we needed?

                    2. "Supply disruptions will normally not upset the equilibrium too much because you will have corresponding disruptions in demand."

                      And to the extent that they do, increasing the money supply exacerbates the problem.

                  2. You were changing the subject to printing money. Which for all you know, was mostly replacing money which was going to get printed anyway if the economy had not collapsed on account of Covid-driven demand loss, Covid-driven labor shortages, and Covid-driven supply chain failures.

                    You can hardly claim to be a monetary policy guy if you do not understand the need to print money continuously to accommodate economic growth. You do know it is not inherently bad to print money, right? Or are we discussing the gold standard without mentioning it?

                    1. "You can hardly claim to be a monetary policy guy if you do not understand the need to print money continuously to accommodate economic growth."

                      You think we printed money in this situation to accommodate economic growth? Come on.

                    2. No. I think we printed it to counter economic collapse.

                    3. By the way, TwelveInch, are you discussing the gold standard without telling us?

                    4. You think we can print gold now?

                    5. TwelveInch, I want to know if you think the unprintability of gold makes it a better medium of exchange than paper currency.

        4. "Maybe you're not as economically insightful as you think they are."

          No one claiming that inflation is unrelated to an increase in the money supply understands economics.

          If you have inflation, then you either increased your money supply, or failed to reduce it. We increased it.

          1. If you have inflation, then you either increased your money supply, or failed to reduce it.

            Nonsense. You could also put a key component of economic production in short supply, while keeping the money supply the same. Short the gasoline supply, leave the money supply alone, and in short order the money multiplier becomes the inflation multiplier.

            Then, with the money supply not expanding at all, you get stagflation. After that, you have a choice. You can fix the inflation problem efficiently, by restoring the gasoline supply. Or you can fix the inflation problem inefficiently (maybe extremely inefficiently, with horrific costs), by reducing the money supply.

            Some folks are positioned to alway benefit from a smaller money supply. They may not care about the inefficiency, or the costs to others. It would be a salutary politics which learned to keep those people away from the money supply levers.

            1. Yes, but if you're going to put an economic component in short supply and you want to avoid inflation, you need to reduce the money supply.

              The point is that you can't treat money as if it's not fundamentally linked to prices. If you have inflation, whatever the other drivers, it's because you failed to control the money supply appropriately.

              So you can't just say, gee, we have this inflation, but it may or may not be related to the recent expansion. It's always related, even if some expansions don't result in inflation.

            2. Stephen,
              The relative supply of money needs to stay in balance with the supply of goods and services being produced. If production is down because of a pandemic, then the money supply needs to be brought down relative to that.

              As a hypothetical let's suppose everyone had a bunker with a years supply of food and essentials, and then we locked down for a year. But everyone's incomes stayed the same, in fact everyone gets a 10% raise.

              Now imagine everyone coming out of their bunker in a years time, flush with cash, but nothing has been produced in a year, and almost everyone's supply reserve is empty.

              At that point cash is almost nothing, but commodities are almost preceless.

              That is an illustration of our current dynamic.

          2. By the way, TwelveInch, you have not answered whether you think gold is a better medium of exchange than paper currency.

      2. Obviously, it would have been much better for the economy if those unemployed people just ended up homeless, those businesses went bankrupt, those renters were evicted, those children went hungry, etc...

        1. Well no one is saying that, but let's not pretend the bill isn't coming due.

          It might have been better if we hadn't of goosed the bill by giving the same benefits to people who kept working, retirees whose income stayed the same, or the well to do that didn't need the stimulus payments.

    3. "Seems to me that it might make more sense to address what almost everyone thinks are the major causes of current inflation—supply chain bottlenecks, Covid-caused labor shortages, and pandemic-backlogged consumer demand."

      Start with a wrong premise, end with a wrong conclusion. No, almost everybody does NOT think those are the major causes of inflation. Actually, most people with any grasp of economics think it's monetary.

      Yes, we've been borrowing like mad for years, so why did inflation hold off as long as it did? Well, it didn't hold off, as anybody who's been buying groceries or paying bills knows quite well. They were just rigging the numbers to keep it understated, by manipulating the 'market basket'.

      The Covid cash dumps finally pushed it so high they couldn't hide it anymore. In part because a great deal of the earlier insane spending was going to well off political cronies, not the average person, and so got banked instead of spent; Wasn't inflationary OR stimulatory, just made some people's bank balances look better.

      The desperation to buy votes finally overcame the political instinct to pay off cronies in return for kickbacks, and they dumped huge boluses of money on people who'd immediately spend it, and, ta da! Inflation spiked.

      What's the answer? Sadly, it's exactly what you'd expect: The only cure for living beyond your means is living beneath them.

      1. They were just rigging the numbers to keep it understated, by manipulating the 'market basket'.

        Oh fuck off, Brett. That's just plain wrong, as has been explained to you any number of times. Nobody is "manipuylating the market basket."

        Your refusal to understand the point doesn't do much to support your claims about how good you are with numbers.

        1. As you've asserted any number of times. I understand your position, and disagree with it. The CPI, the Consumer Price Index, should track prices, not expenses as warped by the consumers' efforts to cope with the inflation it's supposed to be measuring.

          Everything can go up in price 10%, and you can make it look like 5% by changing the market basket, and that's what they've done, regardless of your defending their having done it.

          1. Volatile good are not in the basket because they respond to too many other things than inflation.

            If you want an index that includes them, those are also publicly available.

            1. The volatility is a real thing, Sarcastro, and the cost of not measuring it is not measuring what people actually experience.

              But I'm not talking about what's left out. I'm talking about things like replacing beef with chicken, because while both went up in price, chicken was still cheaper than beef.

              Yeah, people responded to the prices going up and their pay lagging by eating less beef and more chicken, but you're still using people's responses to inflation to understate the degree of inflation. And the end of that road is claiming food prices haven't gone up as much as they seem to have, because chicken might be unaffordable, but you can still afford dog food.

              1. The volatility is responding to other things than inflationary pressure. This is not hard.

                I'm talking about things like replacing beef with chicken, because while both went up in price, chicken was still cheaper than beef.
                Are you telling me they're replacing beef with chicken and not reindexing? Because that I do not believe.

                1. You average out volatility, Sarcastro, you don't pretend people don't need things that have volatile prices.

                  "Are you telling me they're replacing beef with chicken and not reindexing? Because that I do not believe."

                  I'm telling you exactly that.

                  1. Don’t worry, he still won’t believe it.

                  2. Through statistical sampling, the BLS attempts to measure what percentage of consumers "substituted" products, and account for it in the CPI calculation. This method nearly always winds up with the CPI being lower than it would have been otherwise.
                    CPI market basket was created based on surveys of consumer spending habits. The Bureau of Labor Statistics used the surveys to select more than 200 categories of goods and services to monitor.

                    This is nothing like what you claimed. If people are actually eating more chicken than beef because the price of beef goes up, then their buying power is reflected by their actual habits.

                    I was talking about Core CPI, which omits food and fuel because they jump around a lot and don't really tell us anything about underlying inflationary mechanisms.

                    BLS's sampling makes sense, and also does not depart from the other measures of inflation over the long term.


                    1. Ah, S_O, the voters in November will not make that mistake.
                      They know inflation not by a government index, but by what the effects on their daily lives are. And that is what has the Administration worried.
                      Getting free masks is 1) not going to stop covid waves and 2) not going to buy votes in November.
                      People have already seen that the vaunted 6% increase in Social Security benefits is a sham, because of how much the Medicare premiums have increased.

                    2. Don, you're basically saying perception is what matters, not reality.
                      And that a change in one area is all people will care about.

                      Sure, maybe all this talking up inflation will make people think there's super high inflation - maybe it will cause it, in fact! But predicting the facts-independent manipulability of the crowd is not too interesting.
                      the fact is that right now for all the people saying causality is clear, it is not.

                      And also Brett's understanding of how it's calculated and why is pinched and simplistic. But I'm pretty sure he's not interested in learning why.

                    3. "Don, you're basically saying perception is what matters, not reality."

                      No, he's saying the reality is what matters, and if people are paying more for the stuff they buy, that's going to drive their voting decisions and not some index. You know, "are you better off than you were four years ago?"

                  3. Brett, your source is inaccurate, and the explanation is murky.

                    Try this.

                    This new formula effectively presumes modest consumer substitution within item categories, correcting for what the Boskin Report termed “lower-level substitution bias.” That is, it assumes that consumers will substitute away from one brand or type of item, such as a steak or a car, as that brand or type becomes relatively more expensive compared with other brands or types of that product. It does not assume, however, substitution between steak and chicken or between cars and bus fare.

                    1. Bernard,
                      I just don't believe that. Are you saying that people will switch from sirloin to chuck rather than to chicken. Okay on some nights yea. But the proportion of chicken meals will go up compared to the proportion of beef.

                      Certainly as the price of wine goes up, I do not downgrade to "two-buck Chuck" I have mineral water that meal.

                    2. This is why they have surveys, Don, so no one needs to make assumptions about what people are doing, they use actual data about what they are doing.

                    3. Are you saying that people will switch from sirloin to chuck rather than to chicken.

                      Nico, that is what I do. I also make it a point not to discuss the actual bargain cuts of beef that can be made so, so tasty. Got to keep demand for those down.

                      I will give you this tip. At my market I can buy for $4.69 a rotisserie chicken. Take the breast meat and turn it into stir fry, served over noodles or rice. You can get two meals to feed a couple that way, and have a lunch left over. The remainder of the chicken, drumsticks, thighs, and wings, provides two more ample meals. Delicious, very filling meals for under $2.00 apiece—after you add salad or fresh vegetables to taste.

                      I am not panicked by alleged food inflation.

                  4. Brett I think you are mostly wrong. People do substitute out things for cheaper commodities, but that is normal, natural, and necessary.

                    As an extreme example, candles used to be a household essential, but they were expensive and inefficient. They were replaced first by whale oil, then kerosene, then natural gas then electricity.

                    Should all those components still be in the cpi at their former weight.

                    The the other thing is they don't re-weight the index monthly or even yearly, so it does show monthly and year to year inflation accurately.

              2. The CPI includes items with volatile prices, like food and gasoline.

                There is also a "core inflation" measure that excludes these things. In fact, there are any number of indexes.

                Nobody is trying to lie about any of this.

          2. "The CPI, the Consumer Price Index, should track prices, not expenses as warped by the consumers' efforts to cope with the inflation it's supposed to be measuring."

            Devil's advocate: from dim memory, in my starving student days canned salmon was some of the cheapest protein you could get - quite a bit cheaper than chicken. And my sense is that has reversed, and now I can get chicken cheaper than salmon. I'm fairly indifferent to which I eat. If I'm not alone in that sentiment, then overall consumption will shift as a result of those price changes. Should the market basket stay eternally fixed because people changed habits as a result of price changes?

            For an extreme case, farmers switched from draft horses to tractors precisely because tractors were cheaper. But it would be absurd to still have draft horses in a farmer's market basket.

            I'm not discounting your point altogether ... if I have a strong preference for beef, but change to tofu because beef prices skyrocket, then yes, the CPI should reflect that.

            The bottom line is that it is a hard problem, and I don't think there is much of a case that the books are being cooked (it is a pity that the Billion Prices Project shut down).

            1. There are always going to be relative changes in prices and consumer preferences, but those aren't what the CPI is supposed to be measuring, and taking them into account screws it up as a measure of inflation.

              1. those aren't what the CPI is supposed to be measuring

                I...don't think you understand what the C in CPI means, or what inflation does.

              2. But I'm not talking about what's left out. I'm talking about things like replacing beef with chicken, because while both went up in price, chicken was still cheaper than beef.

                One more time - you completely misunderstand something you should have learned in basic economics.

                A chained index, which the CPI is not, by the way, might replace beef with chicken. It might also replace chicken with beef. It does this in response to change in relative prices, whether inflation is present or not. If beef costs twice what chicken costs, and then things change so that it costs only 1.5 times, consumers will increase their spending on beef relative to chicken. And if the prices move the other way so too will spending.

                The regular CPI makes changes because consumption patterns change, available goods change, etc.

                1. Fair enough,
                  but only a partial truth. Let's say that steak costs 3x the cost of chicken per pound. and that relative cost remains constant. For any rate of inflation, steak will move out of the range of the consumer UNLESS the consumer's disposable income increases at a faster rate than meat.

              3. taking them into account screws it up as a measure of inflation.

                No. It doesn't.

                You seem to have this bizarre idea that when measuring inflation we shouldn't concern ourselves with what people buy - that what matters is the price of stuff they bought fifty years ago.

            2. Absaroka—here is a salmon anecdote for you. A food entrepreneur—for all I know it may have been P.T. Barnum—finds himself on the receiving end of a giant shipment of peculiar-looking, colorless salmon. The solution is in the labeling:

              BEST WHITE SALMON
              The only salmon guaranteed not to turn pink in the can.

          3. No, Brett, you are just plain fucking wrong. If you'd quit thinking everything is a conspiracy and try to understand you would understand. But then you wouldn't be Brett Bellmore.

            The CPI measures Consumer prices. So it should measure the prices of things consumers buy, not things they bought 50 years ago. Besides, just how far back do you think we should go to establish the stable basket you want? Forty years? 100 years?

            Look. If you are trying to measure the cost of living you have to measure what the things people buy cost. And if they stop buying something - cassette tapes say - you want to drop them from the index. If seemingly similar items - cars, say, or TV sets - improve over time then you have to allow for that. If new products come on the market that are popular - internet service, smart phones - you have to include them. So the weights have to change or else you are not measuring the cost of living.

            If relative prices change, which they do all the time, consumers will change what they buy.

            None of this has anything to do with concealing anything. It would all happen if there were no inflation whatsoever.

            Stop being an idiot. What I am presenting here is not a "defense." It's not a controversial opinion. It's bog-standard basic economics. You like to pretend you know something about that.

            Plainly you don't

          4. The CPI, the Consumer Price Index, should track prices,

            The prices of what, Brett? Does it matter if something gets more expensive if it's something nobody wants anyway? It's tracking the prices of things consumers are buying. That's not a conspiracy; that's what it's trying to measure.

    4. Inflation is a problem but should not be as all-consuming as it might a appear. Today's inflation is not the same as in the 1970's. Most economic indicators are very good. My investment portfolio is up over 15% in the last year.

      Addressing the root causes is the correct way to address the problem but the question is how to best do this? This issues really need to work their way out through the market. Direct attempts to address them will likely have unintended side consequences.

      Raising interest rates are a way to address inflation. They do hurt the poor more and benefit the rich. I bought my first house with a down payment made up of gains in high interest CDs in the 1970s. Those with money are not afraid of inflation.

      1. "My investment portfolio is up over 15% in the last year."

        I'm sure that will comfort those who can't afford ground beef.

        1. Happy to see you concerned about the poor. Hope you keep that concern when Republican are back in power.

          1. I'm always concerned about the poor. I just don't want Democrats to keep making more of them and keeping them poor.

            1. I'm always concerned about the poor.

              Liar. You don't want them to have pubic defenders when charged with a crime. You're not concerned with that at all.

              1. State and cities are free to provide such defenders, fat lot of good they do. Its not a constitutional requirement no matter how many insults you throw.

                1. "Its not a constitutional requirement no matter how many insults you throw."

                  Well as you said below the justices disagree. So you can kindly fuck the fuck off.

                  "fat lot of good they do."

                  You're such a POS. A real detriment to this entire profession. They're. 10x the lawyer you area nd 100x the lawyer you think you are. You would be destroyed in litigation by any public defender.

    5. Simple answer SL.
      One requires a wave of the magic wand. The other requires political wisdom (in short supply these days) and a lot of time.

  7. A question for VC Conspirators that I have arising from the OSHA case argued last week. The 'Major Questions Doctrine'. Justice Kavenaugh during argument (and later CJ Roberts) indicated that this doctrine is very much in play, one reason might be that the statutory text is ambiguous on whether OSHA actually has the mandate from Congress to do what they are attempting to do. SG Prelogar argued the law was not in fact ambiguous.

    My question: What are the (objective) criteria a Justice should use to say that a statute is 'ambiguous', or 'cryptic'?

    Not interested in the politics here, but how this major questions doctrine actually gets instantiated (by an ambiguous law) is a question I have arising from oral argument (which was fascinating, BTW). Is it a Potter Stewart standard: I know it when I see it?

    1. Typically, one side puts forward their reading, and the other side theirs, and if they're different and both plausible, then the statute is ambiguous.

      That hasn't really happened here. There's some question about the word "necessary," but really the case just doesn't seem to be about competing readings of the statute. In the argument at least, potential flaws in the process got much more attention than potential ambiguities in the text.

      Like you said, Kavanaugh really tried to push Major Questions, and he seemed to be willing to apply it even where the statute isn't ambiguous. His idea was basically that it's a judgement call on the part of the judge to decide whether the language is too "cryptic" to support a policy that's "major enough." But nobody was able to think of a reasonable standard for either "cryptic" or "major," at least not one that would apply to the facts of this case.

      1. Yes! = In the argument at least, potential flaws in the process got much more attention than potential ambiguities in the text.

        I did not want to go there, but you are right it was discussed at some length during oral argument.

  8. Ok, I lied. I actually have two questions for VC Conspirators. I also listened to the CMS oral argument. I think it was Justice Kavenaugh (again) who mentioned anti-commandeering, and that the CMS criteria for payments (by mandating certain job requirements in hiring) was not an allowable extension of the statute.

    Is what CMS attempts to do anti-commandeering? That determination seems to be the crux of that case.

    So my second question: What should be the (objective) criteria used by the Justices to determine whether the CMS statute ran afoul of anti-commandeering?

    This is a legal, not political question.

  9. The most disgusting part of Volokh's view is that he thinks malicious doxing should NOT be a crime. Posting someone's public information for the purpose of harassing or intimidating them online should NOT be a crime, even if it leads to financial or emotional ruin for the victims. Eugene doesn't give two shits about the right of the victim to be FREE FROM HARASSMENT, he fights tooth and nail so that psychos, mentally ill pervs, stalkers can do whatever they want online to ruin peoples' lives in the false name of "Free Speech."

    I have a hard time understanding which side Volokh is on. He is paid by Google behind the scenes to fight against laws that would force Google to delete harmful content to protect Americans' privacy online.

    Volokh is nothing but pure evil.

    1. lol I wish we lived in a world where Google had views anywhere close to Eugene. We'd probably be coming off our 5th consecutive term of a President who makes Ted Cruz look like AOC with 1/10th less of their enormous and constant interference in all levels of society.

      1. There is no way Ted would be able to fit into that dress. 😀

      2. LOL. So the reason Obama won was not because W took the country into a meaningless, costly and unpopular war, and was presiding over a sharp recession, but because a 10 year old tech company with operating income basically the same as News Corp at the time somehow was manipulating all of society.

        Oh, and also somehow W would also have to "make Ted Cruz look like AOC" given that he was in office five terms ago.

        1. Google’s political manipulation of their products Is not in question.

          The ability of manipulating search results to influence election outcomes is also resolved.

          1. Even if your assertions were true (which are far less certain than you suggest) today, it doesn't change W's politics or explain why Obama won.

            You've got to be a complete nutjob to think that the 2008 version of Google somehow created a 7 point popular vote and nearly 200 point electoral vote margin.

    2. I think studies of governments empowered to censor will reveal much worse, much purer, much truer evil.

    3. Setting out the rest of your lunacy aside, you understand that Google doesn't host content so it can't delete content, right?

    4. Why do you keep ironically harassing us electronically with your loony Voloch vendetta?

      1. He's very mutable.

  10. Does the Privileges or Immunities Clause incorporate all, some, or virtually none of the first eight amendments?

    (I suppose one might say, "do whatever the Supreme Court said," but it would be more interesting to consider what they *ought* to say.)

    1. (P&I and/or due process clause)

      1. The incorporation decisions have invariably been based on the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process clause.

        1. Right - if you want to go with due process, go ahead, but it would be nice to consider if the Supreme Court was right or wrong, not simply to repeat what they said.

          1. To me, the Privileges and Immunities clause is a more plausible vehicle, but I'm fishing for everyone else's view.

            I think we all know what the Supreme Court's view is. Since they've been all over the map, they can't have been right *every* time.

            1. The various Supreme Court justices have differed as to the underlying rationale, but the result has been to incorporate all provisions of the first eight amendments except the Fifth Amendment right to a grand jury in criminal cases and the Seventh Amendment right to jury trial in civil cases.

              1. When was the Third Amendment incorporated against the states?

                1. Don't be a pedant.

                2. Vegas should offer a bet on whether, should a state order people to house militia members, whatever that is, it will get overturned by the Supreme Court.

                  What would you bet?

                  1. I would bet that if a "state guard" (which is now a thing, because some states don't want to share governance like with the National Guard) were to be housed and quartered inside houses that belong to the state's citizens, courts would either allow it -- along the lines of police being allowed to destroy houses because an unrelated criminal fled into the house -- or would reject it on 4A seizure grounds rather than 3A grounds.

                3. I believe the Third Amendment has never been violated, according to courts, so the question of whether it applies to states may not have come up.

                    1. Thank you for the cite -- it's interesting that it was indeed incorporated against the states.

                    2. Thanks for that.

              2. This may be a lost cause, but

                "(I suppose one might say, "do whatever the Supreme Court said," but it would be more interesting to consider what they *ought* to say.)"

    2. All. This was made perfectly clear during the Congressional debates.

    3. "Does the Privileges or Immunities Clause incorporate all, some, or virtually none of the first eight amendments?"

      The intent was to have them apply to most or all of the first eight amendments (at least one and two), but SCOTUS forclosed that possibility because it would have meant applying them to black people.

      So they had to do the less straightforward SDP thing.

      1. No, they did NOT have to do the less straightforward SDP thing.

        They could have simply overturned the Slaugherhouse cases, and admitted the earlier Court had got it wrong. That was the right thing to have done, and the Court is perfectly capable of overruling its earlier rulings.

        Why didn't they?

        1) They hate admitting their predecessors have made mistakes, let alone that their predecessors deliberately got something wrong.

        2) SDP let them treat the Bill of Rights like a Chinese menu, and order ala carte, instead of having to admit the whole thing was incorporated. It also gave them more room to just make stuff up.

      2. I'd certainly like to conclude that it was meant to incorporate the BoR, but why did they do so in such a cryptic fashion? I would think they knew how to straightforwardly say 'the states must follow the first 8 amendments' if that's what they wanted.

        It's also really interesting that conservatives are now suddenly in favor of incorporation. When in the world did that happen, and why, is an interesting question to explore.

        1. "I would think they knew how to straightforwardly say 'the states must follow the first 8 amendments' if that's what they wanted."

          Indeed, that would be a good argument against incorporation - the could have just said it.

          One way to answer that objection is that privileges and immunities (with apologies to Justice Black) include every right which was recognized as belonging to Americans, including but not limited to the rights in Amendments 1-8, and the fact the rights were written down is simply evidence they were recognized as American rights. Other recognized rights might be the right to damages for violations of rights, etc.

          (As for the Punch-and-Judy show, I notice that both conservative and liberal justices tend to incorporate the rights they like and turn down the ones they don't, cafeteria-style. Unless the 14th Amendment said "the state shall follow liberal [or conservative] principles," then I don't think the suitability to a particular partisan view is the measure of what's in the constitution. Also, American liberalism and conservatism are constantly evolving and changing, so what was orthodoxy for a particular faction in one year is heresy in some later year. And of course liberals don't agree with other liberals on every issue, and likewise for conservatives.)

          1. It was pretty mainstream conservative thought back in Meese's day that incorporation was a wrong and/or bad thing. It's interesting how that's changed.

            "One way to answer that objection is that privileges and immunities (with apologies to Justice Black) include every right which was recognized as belonging to Americans, including but not limited to the rights in Amendments 1-8"

            Why didn't they just say that then? I mean, a privilege, an immunity and a right are all different words for a reason, they usually refer to different things.

            1. "mainstream conservative thought"


        2. "I'd certainly like to conclude that it was meant to incorporate the BoR, but why did they do so in such a cryptic fashion?"

          There's some evidence in the Congressional Globe that it was meant to incorporate the first 8 amendments.

          But the point of the PorI clause was to overturn the holding of the Dred Scott case that said that black people were not entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens. And that case described the right to free speech and the RKBA as among the Privilege and Immunities of citizens, so it's hard to imagine that they would not be among what the 14A was trying to protect.

          1. The Dred Scott opinion seems to use the terms rights, privileges and immunities so it seems odd the 14th doesn't use the first.

            1. “ For if they were so received, and entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens, it would exempt them from the operation of the special laws and from the police regulations which they considered to be necessary for their own safety. It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognised as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went. ”

    4. "Does the Privileges or Immunities Clause incorporate all, some, or virtually none of the first eight amendments?"

      What is a "Privilege"? What are "Immunities"?

      Are "Privileges or Immunities" the same as "rights"?

      1. Privileges are things you are entitled to do, and immunities things that can't be done to you, and together they cover "rights" in their positive and negative aspects.

  11. And in other news...soon you will need a government issued photo-ID to do many common place activities in Washington DC...including eating in a restaurant, going to a movie, going to a gym, or entering a hotel meeting room.

    But not to vote. You can still vote without a voter ID in Washington DC.

    1. See its all consistent if you understand the goals. One goal is to control folks by forcing them to get a jab. Next goal, since this isn't really that popular, is to let anyone who votes the right way, for "the Party", vote and vote often so that those in power can be assured to stay in power.

      Perfectly consistent, Liberty and honest elections are just not the goals.

      1. "control folks by forcing them to get a jab."

        Get over yourself.

    2. ID to vote is horrible racism, ID to leave your house is not racism.

      Its really simple.

      1. Lol, people like Bob love making criminal the lack of certain documentation in other contexts.

        1. Americans shouldn't have to show papers, Mein Herr.

          1. Bob is against voter ID laws now? Interesting.

    3. I think the position of a lot of people who are opposed to voter ID requirements make the case that if there were a free, easy-to-obtain ID then voter ID would be a lot more palatable.

      DC has just such a thing, so while they haven't implemented a voter ID requirement, the major objection against and ID requirement has already been addressed there unlike in many states that have adopted a voter ID requirement.

      1. I agree here. I have no objection to an ID if that ID is tailored to the task. The voter ID is to establish a link between a person's appearance and the name in the poll book. Many valid IDs can do this and should be accepted.

        1. "Many valid IDs can do this and should be accepted.'

          States that require it accept a variety of IDs.

          1. But not all that could be used for the task at hand. Why not accept a work ID with a picture as your employer has verified who you are. Why not college student IDs. Again the college has verified who you are.

            There are any number of ID that would work and should be accepted.

            1. Because neither your employer nor your college really care in any strong sense who you are, they're just trying to make sure it's the same person each time.

              1. Same rule applies to voting. The purpose of the ID is to make sure the picture and name match. I would also point out that for security reasons many employers have stricter rules that the government.

                1. perhaps,
                  but try to convince the TSA agent when you show something other than a government issued ID.

                  I have even had trouble when I showed the idiot TSA agent the same kind of hspd-12 badge that he wears as ID and he refused to accept it. I had plenty of time and demanded a supervisor. That worked.

                  1. I once got through airport security using a Sam's card, that had my grainy black and white picture on it ( I forgot my drivers license). Recently I saw a guy with no id at all talk his way through, they did check him pretty good be he got through. My wife had gotten through using a government contractor ID. As for company IDs I own my company and could create a company ID for me with any name on it I want.

      2. "I think the position of a lot of people who are opposed to voter ID requirements make the case that if there were a free, easy-to-obtain ID then voter ID would be a lot more palatable."

        Free and easy is a relative term. It's a lot easier to get an ID than it is to guess the number of jelly-beans in a jar.

        1. Some years ago Georgia wanted to implement a Voter ID requirement the usual suspects opposed it. Offering to make it free brought up an objection that many people couldn't get to a government office to get an ID. Offering to send someone to the persons residence wasn't acceptable.

      3. I think the Democrats should accept voter ID in exchange for 1) an easy to obtain federally provided ID, 2) one-time sign up for no-excuse mail-in voting, 3)two weeks of early in-person voting, 4) voter registration at the DMV and at the polls on election day, and 5) tighter rules on purging voter rolls.

        1. Why do you think ballots passing through a whole bunch Democrats hands between the voter to the vote counter is a good idea?

        2. 1) All in favor of the easy to obtain secure ID.

          2) I'm generally opposed to no-excuse mail in voting, I don't like the way the chain of custody of ballots is disrupted, and you lose the guarantee of ballot privacy. I'd be willing to spend quite a bit on mobile election vans that visited shut-ins, with full security.

          3) I'm generally opposed to having voting spread out over a long period, because it results in different people voting based on different sets of information, and can result in people being elected after highly damaging revelations just because too many people already had their votes locked in.

          4) I object to the election day registration, because it provides no time for checking on validity. Now, if election day registration only gave you the right to cast a provisional ballot in that election, I might change my mind.

          5) I think the rules on purging voter rolls are already very strict, if anything the problem is that they're NOT being purged. For instance, I would vote in the precinct where I and my brother grew up, and every election I'd see his name still on the voter roll, though he'd moved out of state many years before. He should not have been on that roll. Names on voter rolls that can be counted not to vote are the raw material of absentee ballot fraud.

          Once you have provisional ballots available, the justification for being lazy about updating voting rolls goes away.

        3. The government is moving in the other direction with eth Real ID, which requires a slew of collateral information, including at least 2 recent documents verifying your address. I have no acceptable verification of my address because I have all of my bills sent to my office and that it's good enough.

      4. In practice, states that implement voter ID requirements mostly (maybe all?) do provide ways for people to get them for free if they can't afford the normal fee. Critics then complain that it's never easy enough.

        1. A non-driving state id in ohio is $10, a diver's license $27.

          Its a red herring that people cannot afford $10.

          1. Generally, if you can show you can't afford the fees, they'll be waived.

            1. That may be true in some states, but doesn't seem like it in either North Carolina or Ohio to name the two I have looked at.

              1. North Carolina offers free non-drivers ID to certain people in need (see website for categories).

                Ohio offers free IDs to either 'disabled' or 'disabled veterans', depending on which page of the website you look at. Probably disabled veterans only.

        2. North Carolina has no free ID. As Bob mentions below, Ohio doesn't either. Looks like Texas and Oklahoma do. Someone may have more comprehensive data, but it seems like some states do, some states don't.

          1. The cost is de minimus regardless.

      5. You really think that if a Republican Congress proposed a DC voter ID requirement in 2025, Democrats would be fine with it because getting an ID in DC isn't that hard?

        1. If they funded it, yeah. I personally think a federal ID would be great policy, if it were free.

  12. Hey folks. I just thought I'd share a little tale of when my son was born.
    So there I am, with the head nurse, each of us with one of my (now ex) wife's legs over our shoulders, the nurse is karate kicking the intercom switch on the side of the bed, telling the nurses station that if the doc doesn't get there "like now" the baby is coming without her...

    He starts crowning, and literally is comin out.... the nurse says: "Well dad, tell her what you see!"

    "Ummm... its purple." I said.

    WHACK! I get smacked on the shoulder by a backhand from the nurse who whispers horsely but quietly "HAIR! He has HAIR!"

    "Oh yeah, he has hair honey..."

    The (now ex) wife is only slightly amused given the situation. The frown she shoots me looks like she's all kind of aware and un-foggy from any medication. She's been resolute, stubbornly so, to make sure she's had no pain killers for this delivery.

    The Doc makes her grand entrance, and a bunch of other nurses make it to the scene and after less than twenty five minutes, out he comes. A nurse suctions out fluid from his throat/lungs and pinches his leg.

    He sighs. No crying, no yelling, just a bored look.

    "Is... is he supposed to do that?" I ask.

    The nurse reassures me that as long as he's breathing he's fine, he doesn't have to cry.

    After a few minutes and some cleanin up after being on Mom's tummy, the same nurse pulls me aside and says "Don't worry dad, this one always gets em, its a vitamin K shot. You comfort him while I hold his leg straight and give him the shot."

    The area under the warming lamp is definitely warmer than I care for but I put my hand on his arm and she straightens out his leg and bam! goes the needle and in goes the vitamin K and out comes the needle and my son:

    ...musters another sigh.

    Good christ my wife and I have just given birth to the next infamous serial killer. He who feels no pain, kills without remorse.... I'm going to be found face down in a ditch somewhere and my neighbors are going to give the obligatory "he was so quiet" interviews to the evening news crews...

    This goes on for a day and a half, at which point the staff wheels him out to be circumcised. This is it - I'm thinking if this doesn't make a kid scream, nothing will.

    I'm nervous as hell (for many different reasons, let alone the fact that someone is going to be using something very sharp next to my son's mr. winkie) when the doctor who performed the procedure comes into the room to let us know how it went.

    "Mr. and Mrs. Coughlin, everything went well, everything was successful. Your son's a real trooper, he didn't make a peep throughout the whole thing.

    So, I'm thinking that I'm dead meat, living on borrowed time...

    Then, the reassurance that I needed comes in the form of a function. Biological, that is. When the boy wee wee'd in his diaper on a fresh set of incisions, the wail could be heard on the floors above and below us.

    I have never been so happy to hear a child cry in my entire life.

    1. My wife went in planning on a natural birth. They put an IV in her with an oxytocin drip, and inside of five minutes she was moaning "Epidural". Which they soon obliged her with, but apparently it was a bit shallow, (Which is certainly better than too deep!) because it didn't totally numb her.

      Fifteen hours later they decided she was never going to dilate that last centimeter, and wheeled her in for the C-section.

      I recall them using an instrument that looked like a huge horn after the incision. She's conscious through this, but a tent with warm air is over her head, and they've got me describing what's going on, all she's feeling at this point are tugs.

      Out comes our son, and they flop the womb outside her belly to stitch things up, and there's a spurt of blood and "Better do something about that.", and the nurse asks me if I don't want to take a picture, and I've left the camera in another room, but I did get a pic with my phone, and the nurse took a couple.

      8 pound, one ounce baby, built like a little sumo wrestler, and she was only 80 pounds herself. And all that kickboxing he did in the womb worked, he could actually stand at that point if you helped him balance.

      Most moving experience of my entire life.

      1. We were in one of those birthing suites, btw, and she had a nice bed, which I didn't begrudge her, and I had a tiny couch, more of a loveseat. I had to take care of the baby while she was recuperating enough to go home, curled up on that couch with him, getting no sleep because I had to feed him from a syringe every few hours, and because I'd have fallen off the couch if I'd slept.

        I did get congratulated by the hospital staff for doing such a good job of it that he actually left the hospital having gained a half ounce.

  13. I'm currently watching my little brother desperately try to find an unvaccinated person to blame for him coming down with Covid. It's doubly hilarious because we have a vector of transmission, one of our vaccinated friends had Covid and spent the night sleeping in my little brother's bed while he was out.

    He and my mom are so married to the vaccinated people getting Covid is rare narrative that he can't believe that was the transmission source. Despite my little brother's vaccinated self then proceeding to infect two other vaccinated people.

    1. Your family must love Thanksgiving.

      1. My family gets on great, because we like each other enough to have more to talk about than politics.

        1. I'm sure as you're crapping on your brother and mom here.

          1. You must live a very lonely life if you aren't capable of liking people you disagree with or believe have ridiculous opinions on certain things.

            1. Where I come from I don't run down my family to strangers for political approval. YMMV.

              1. Your reaching hard to find offense in a harmless anonymously shared anecdote. Maybe you should step away and ask yourself why it bothers you so much to hear a story about someone being in denial of having caught Covid from a vaccinated person.

                1. What bothers me is someone casually throwing their family members under the bus to make a political point to strangers. I get YMMV

                  1. If anyone believes that I have a bridge to sell them.

                    1. You have a rich fantasy life I guess.

      2. Both my brothers are very liberal, one borders on communist, but he's gotten Bernie's memo to day Democratic Socialist. My mother is a Henry Wallace Democrat.

        My kids are mostly liberal Democrats, but one son is too prone to conspiracy theories to trust the Democrats.

        We all get along fine. Family is a lot more important than politics.

        But I did get a couple of lectures from my daughter about not going above and beyond CDC guidelines when I got the covid, she thought only isolating 5 days was borderline criminal.

    2. Illocust : "I'm currently watching my little brother desperately...."

      Ya know, some people have been triggered recently, because I insist on calling today's Right the pro-disease party. I've offered to use "anti-anti-covid" instead, even though you do the math and the result is the same pro-disease stance. One commenter recently suggested it was hurtful & mean to talk about the Right as though they were some "party of death"

      But of course they are. Let's say you discount the endless right-wing lies about this pandemic (and it is painfully easy for me to find dupe-wingnuts who think covid is mostly made-up and all the statistics phony). Let's say you ignore the vicious right-wing slander campaign against public health officials (often run by morons, but still). Let's say you forget the crude politics of right-wing quack miracle "cures", even though people have died believing them.

      You're still left with a party that found polling gain in going anti-vaxx. That decided to make the anti-vaccine stance into a question of tribal solidarity. That created a massive new anti-vaxx faction in the U.S. almost overnight - and for the ugliest of political motives alone. Every time this forum goes anywhere close to a covid topics, the right-wing faithful roll-out to offer endless variations of its new anti-vaxx message. Some are more subtle than gleefully sneering at one's own brother, but they all serve the pro-disease cause.

      And, yes, that cause has killed thousands upon thousands of people who would have lived if vaccines weren't considered the newest way to "own the libs"

      1. I think you are delusional, if you look at the top 15 states for covid deaths per capita you'd be hard pressed to see a common pro-death theme there.

        It's dominated by lower income lower vax Southern states, and higher income high vax NE states. And doesn't include California, Florida or Texas.

        The reason so many of us are skeptical of lockdowns, mandates, and masking requirements, is because no jurisdiction on the planet has shown that they are effective.

        All pain for no long term gain is not an effective strategy. We are long past the time covid death rates were dire enough for the remediation efforts some people are still advocating can be justified.

        Drop the mandates, the travel testing requirements, the masking requirements. It's clear now they no longer are doing any good, and certainly not enough good to justify their harms.

    3. People are not to blame for disease. Why would anyone want to find a villain to blame for a completely natural process? Who needs more enemies that badly?

      1. Because people have been in enforced isolation for two years without enough human contact to get them outside their own spiraling thoughts. Solitary confinement fucks people up.

        Thankfully my little brother has moved in with me and we've just spent a wonderful month with our immediate family living with us, so we should both be much more mentally healthy and less prone to demonizing others going forward.

        1. Until he finds out that you're a shit and making fun of him on the internet to try and score fake argument points.

          I don't see much hope in you being 'less prone to demonizing others' when you can't shut your mouth up about your own brother.


    Ohio Supreme Court struck down the heavily gerrymandered state legislative maps as violating the Ohio Constitution’s anti-gerrymandering provisions.

    What’s still most notable to me is that Pat DeWine could get away with flagrantly violating the code of judicial ethics by staying on when his dad, the governor, was a material witness in the case. This wasn’t a ministerial act or nominal naming of the governor here….he had to sit for depositions and his statements were part of the record before the Court.

    And the dissenters worried about the majority damaging the perception of the integrity of the court as if the governor’s son ruling on a case involving his dad doesn’t do far graver damage. If the local trial judge went ahead with a trial where their dad was a key witness they’d be disciplined extremely fast by the Court. (NB that even the most corrupt judges would never even do this because it’s such an obvious conflict, no one could find a similar case)

    Pat dissented naturally, but at least he had the good sense not to write separately and draw even more attention to it.

    1. The Ohio Supreme Court overruled the map despite the constitution only requiring an "attempt" not to be so blatantly partisan.

      1. Yes. The Court ruled no attempt to meet the constitutional criteria was made.

        "As explained below, the evidence—much of which is undisputed—
        shows that the commission did not attempt to comply with the standards stated in Article XI, Section 6(A) or 6(B)."

        "To start, funding for redistricting was allocated only to the
        legislative caucuses involved, and the commission members from the executive branch were not given access to the mapping programs that would have allowed them to meaningfully participate in the drawing of the maps. Even under this arrangement, only two commission members—Senate President Huffman and House Speaker Cupp—were involved when the plan that was ultimately adopted was drawn. Thus, the commission did not demonstrate a correct understanding of what was required in drawing the maps."

    2. The Supreme Court decides ethics in Ohio. Did any other justice object to him?

      1. Did any Justice try to refer their colleague to disciplinary proceedings? No. But we don't know what objects were made in confidence.

        The rules are clear: 2.11(A)(2)(a), (b), and (d) specifically require recusal. This is a flagrant violation. The fact that no one at the Court publicly "objected" doesn't change that. It's clearly unethical and anyone who answered this was okay on the MPRE would get that question wrong. Anyone who turned in an exam in Professional Responsibility saying this is okay would get a failing grade.

        1. Whoops that should (a) (c) and (d)....Pat violated rule (b) back when his dad was Attorney General and signed all the briefs before the Court.

        2. Well, the justices don't seem to agree with you. If they did, they would have an ethical obligation to report him for discipline. I'm sure you can quote that rule.

          1. This is a non-answer. The fact that the "justices don't agree" doesn't change the rule or his obvious violation. And we also don't know if they agree or not...just that they didn't refer to the disciplinary counsel or take action.

            If you can't accept that this is a clear violation, without recourse to "the justices didn't care" you are hopeless. I mean its not surprising that you think this is no big deal, because ethics are simply a joke to you. I just hope you know enough to keep your lack of ethics out of your practice....

          2. I mean, the rule doesn't seem to have a little of ambiguity. Do you have an argument that it wouldn't require recusal?

    3. You don't seem to be able to distinguish the difference between being named personally in a suit and being named in an official capacity. Or testifying in ones official capacity.

  15. Who'd like to defend Trump's hours of silence on Jan 6th as the riot occurred?

    1. Who'd like to defend Democrats days of silence on all the dates that much more violent riots occurred all over the country?

      1. That's not a defense, it's a 'what about.' Do you agree it was un-defensible, un-Presidential like behavior?

        Also, might there be a difference between the 'what about' in that Trump organized, appeared and endorsed the march that turned into a riot on the 6th?

        And, I seem to recall that Biden and other Democrats routinely condemned BLM-related violence.

        1. Trump is frequently an asshole. Some people like that, others take it as a regrettable trait of a guy who on the whole was better than the alternatives.

          "Also, might there be a difference between the 'what about' in that Trump organized, appeared and endorsed the march that turned into a riot on the 6th?"

          I think you need to look at a timeline. Trump organized a rally at one end of the Mall, a riot occurred at the other end, and that riot was pre-planned by SOMEBODY, (Feel free to prove it was Trump, but don't expect Republicans to assume it was.) and was going on concurrently.

          Members of the Proud Boys were seen heading towards the Capitol before Trump even began speaking, and the attack started about half-way through his speech. And anybody who started walking to the Capitol from the site of the speech when the speech ended would have been late to the party.

          1. "[O]thers take it as a regrettable trait of a guy who on the whole was better than the alternatives."

            Those people are also assholes.

            1. Or just don't like YOUR assholes.

              1. No one I voted for made fun of a disabled person on live tv and then got all his followers to lie about it. Yours did. You’re an asshole.

                1. Yeah, you think he's more of an asshole than he actually is, because half the reports of him being an asshole are fraudulent. Just like half the reports of him lying.

                  And would that be necessary if he really were enough of an asshole to matter?

                  1. No. I think he's one of the biggest asshole in the world because I listen to him speak and read his tweets (now statements). I've never understood this desire to blame the "media" for making Trump look bad. He does that all on his own. It's manifestly obvious to anyone with any sense that he's a manifestly terrible person on any standard of human morality. (FWIW I am including Ayn Rand's egoist anti-morality in this assessment. Despite clearly following her in terms of placing his own good above all else, he's such an obviously unfit, whiny, dumb, and pathetic loser that he could never be a physically beautiful and inspiring Randian hero)

                    1. I've never understood this desire to blame the "media" for making Trump look bad. He does that all on his own.

                      This is false. The media continually conspired to make Trump look bad by quoting him.

                    2. If that was all that was needed, they wouldn't have had to resort to taking things out of context, or having 'anonymous sources' invent things he'd supposedly said in private.

                      The very fact that they had to invent extra obnoxiousness is an indication that he wasn't obnoxious enough for their purposes on his own.

                    3. Brett, media using anonymous sources is not some new thing invented as part of the coordinated plan to take down Trump.

                      Neither is quotes the speaker claims were taken out of context.

                      The whole idea of 'fake news' is new though. The often baseless accusation that stories you don't like are not just biased, but full-on fiction.

                  2. Are you really suggesting that Trump didn't "ma[k]e fun of a disabled person on live tv and then g[e]t all his followers to lie about it"?

                2. "No one I voted for made fun of a disabled person on live tv and then got all his followers to lie about it. Yours did. You’re an asshole."

                  Shallow. Issues? Policy? Nevermind that stuff.

                  1. It's hardly shallow to expect someone responsible for making policy that effects human beings to have the bare minimum of human empathy and social skills. That Trump couldn't even manage this low bar calls into question his ability to achieve good policy results.

              2. Arguendo the Democratic alternative was worse, why did your compatriots pick *that guy* as the alternative? Certainly there were GOP candidates who weren't such an asshole.

                1. Yeah, and I was very disappointed, and disappointed in the Republican electorate, that Rand Paul got so few primary votes. Does not say good things about Republicans.

                  But the establishment favorites? They weren't better. They were rejected by the voters because the GOP establishment has a long record of bait and switch on issues Republicans care about, and the voters were finally sick enough of it to take a chance on somebody like Trump.

                  1. That seems like a cop-out. I think Cruz, Huckabee, Carson would have given conservatives about what Trump did, minus the embarrassing asshole stuff.

                    1. Eh, I met Cruz at a candidate forum. Slick used car salesman, I wouldn't have been surprised if he'd left an oil slick everywhere he went. Maybe I'm wronging him, but he gave a lot of people that impression.

                      Carson I thought was fine on a moral level, but more than a little bit of a lightweight in political terms. But I wouldn't have found him getting the nomination offensives, and would have gladly campaigned for him.

                      Huckabee was too open borders for the tastes of most Republicans.

                      Obviously I wouldn't have supported Paul if I'd thought Trump superior, but Trump did at least plausibly argue that his wealth allowed him to give the Republican establishment the cold shoulder, in contrast to most potential candidates.

                      But, again, he wasn't my favorite in the primaries, and I considered him the lesser evil in 2016 and 2020. I'm hoping he won't run in '24, on account of his age, if nothing else.

          2. The timeline started in the spring. Unless you include the steady refrain from 2016 that the election that Trump won was "rigged" because he lost the popular vote. "The only way I could lose an election, is if it is rigged."
            Leading up to the election, Trump & Co. were steadily talking crooked election, dishonest mail in voting, illegal voting. And of course, there was the Postal Service & mail sorters taken out of service & dismantled in a matter of weeks. There is so much hard evidence, & broad clear context of a concerted effort on Trump's part. And what he actually says is pretty clear. You are nearly always deliberately obtuse.

          3. Well, I don't think Trump had a magic voice that caused the riot, but he certainly asked his supporters to come there and be wild. Worse, he waited a long time to ask his followers to stop it.

            1. Which is unfortunate, but if it rose to the level of legal "incitement" you'd have to jail half of Congress.

              1. Once again your defense is 'hey, it's not illegal.'

                Which not only doesn't exonerate Trump, it sacrifices your own principles in failing to do so.

                1. If you haven't done anything illegal, you don't need exonerating. My view of politicians is low enough that if they refrain from committing crimes, and are decent on a policy level, I consider that a win. I've rarely encountered a candidate for President who I had an actual positive opinion of. Rand Paul was such an exception, and I've said I think less of the GOP base thanks to his losing the primary.

                  1. My view of politicians is low enough that if they refrain from committing crimes, and are decent on a policy level, I consider that a win.

                    This is awful.

                    Lots and lots of damage an unscrupulous politician can do that doesn't break the law.
                    Lots of things there is no law against it because no one thought a politician would be that bad.

                    1. Count me in with BB. I take it as an article of faith that if you seek a national or state leadership role you are by definition a psychopath, at least those who manage to get reelected are. I'm sure there are some good people who serve one term but the system is set up in a way only complete sociopaths can survive. That includes those I have personally voted for and have supported.

                      This is why I have never, nor will I ever, care about the personality traits or personal peccadillos and proclivities of anyone in government. It's the same personality type that rises to the top of the corporate world.

                      The only thing I care about are the policies and whether or not I think they benefit me personally and the nation as a whole.

                    2. No, dude. I've been to capitol hill and your blithe assumption about only sociopaths survive is wrong.

                      Rationalizing your way into not caring about the personal flaws of politicians based on your incorrect assumption seems a great way to seem enlightened, but be more venial than most.

                      The only thing I care about are the policies and whether or not I think they benefit me personally and the nation as a whole.
                      I mean, that's true of everyone. But the difference is most think character has something to do with how a politician will make the decisions that will or will not benefit the country.

                2. Dems see "principles" as a fence to surround and capture the other. The other must obey "principles" while Dems can pull a Feinstein and smear whomever, break or ignore laws, basically do anything.

                  1. Lol. Get a grip. I mean you do realize that Republicans abandon "principles" literally all the time and are quite open about it. In fact one commenter here regularly praises them for it!

                    We're talking about a party that insisted in February 2016 that the American people must have a vote before filling a SCOTUS vacancy and then decided in September of 2020 (after people had started voting) that the American people's input in such things actually didn't matter at all.

                    And then of course there was all the smearing, law-breaking, and do-anything that Trump and co. engaged in after losing to retain power. Literally causing election workers to get death threats and breaking the law to pressure officials to "find" votes.

                    If you really think Democrats have a monopoly on vices and your side only has virtue you need to get out more, or read a book, or IDK actually listen and pay attention to the things Republican politicians and pundits say and do in public.

                    1. Whataboutism. It does not in any way refute or contradict what I posted.

                    2. No. But it does put the lie to your insistence that this is a behavior unique to Democrats or the left.

                    3. Didn’t say that.

                    4. You strongly implied it by making these sweeping statements about how Dems operate as if it was exclusive to them. If other people make that obvious inference from what you are saying then maybe reconsider your words.

                      Also, I am permitted to use the context of your other comments in making my assessment of this one. At no point have I ever seen you suggest anywhere that character flaws are a trait of anyone other than Democrats. It's remarkably consistent on your part.

                  2. Yes, I am aware you have no principles because otherwise those unprincipled Dems will get ya.

              2. Yeah, that the head of your party's behavior didn't rise to the level of actual legal incitement doesn't say much good about your party...

                1. You mean like during BLM riots telling people that they ought to take to the streets and are justified for looting like so many Democrats did....?

                  1. No one was incited by anything a politician said in 2020. Trump was the prime mover on Jan 06.

                    1. Tell that to the people who took to social media citing those politicians when saying it was time to loot....

          4. "Trump is frequently an asshole."
            How true, every day that he breathes.

    2. Trump was right not to tweet the combination to the lock of the room where Nancy Pelosi was hiding. Great man. The best. What a humanitarian.

    3. Not really. I was glad not to hear from the man.

    4. What did the Democrats do on May 30th and the Whitehouse was attacked and 60 secret service were injured, and they took Trump to the bunker in the Whitehouse cellar just in case.

      NYTimes headline May 31:
      Trump Moves to Underground Bunker as Protests and Violence Spill Over

      That seems like more of an insurrection to me than Jan. 6th.

  16. Why are the Democrats obsessed with passing huge 'package' bills? Regarding the voting rights stuff, just introduce each provision separately: election day as a holiday, mail voting, etc. With their spending bill just go to Manchin and say 'what would you vote for' and introduce that.

    1. They're easier to pass than smaller bills. They have a must-pass for everyone involved. Go through all the procedural hurdles once, not multiple times.

      But yeah, I do think the Dems would benefit from just having Manchin write the dang thing. It's pretty clear who is calling the shots, no need to hide it.

      1. Pre-clearance for everyone sounded pretty good. Was he still pushing that idea? I mean that takes away the bogus “equal dignity of states” logic from Shelby at least. Although I assume the court will come up with some other bullshit justification as to why Congress doesn’t get to decide what an appropriate enforcement of the 15th Amendment is, but they do.

        1. Actually, preclearance was pretty dodgy in any case: There's no constitutional basis for a state having to get federal permission to enact laws, as opposed to post-enactment review.

          There was a situational justification, (The South could spam the federal judiciary with more laws than could be reviewed.) but it hardly justifies putting every state into preclearance in 2022.

          1. Fifteenth Amendment. Don’t like it? Go back in time and win the civil war.

            1. Is the word "appropriate" superfluous in that amendment?

              1. Is the word appropriate a greenlight for the Supreme Court to blatantly substitute its judgment for that of Congress? I don't think so, but that's what conservatives believe.

              2. I mean seriously, what's the point of giving elected officials the power to implement legislation only for a small group of unelected officials to say "well that's not appropriate" and not let the. How is "appropriate" a cognizable judicial standard? It's like the Iranian Supreme Leader indulging the existence of a legislative assembly and President, but gets the final say over whether anything they do is "appropriate."

                1. Yeah, what IS the point of having an enforceable constitution, when you've already got an elected legislature. One or the other, please! [/sarc]

                  1. You think this is clever but it is not. The Constitution clearly gave the power to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment to Congress NOT the Court. For the Court to strike down Congressional acts as "inappropriate" is NOT enforcement of the Constitution. It is subversion of it. A twisted subversion of it couched in pedantic legalese and made up "tests" and "principles" for what is appropriate. Shelby County was itself an unconstitutional decision. Blatantly denying the power the Fifteenth Amendment gives to Congress was not enforcing the Constitution.

                    You do not want the Constitution enforced. If you did you should say the Court oversteps. You want your partisans on the Court to rule us no matter what the Constitution says or who it gives power to.

                    You don't revere the Constitution. You utterly despite it.

                    1. LTG.....unrelated topic, but I told you I would follow up. It mattered.

                      Anything on the Judge Pryor clerk investigation? Was there resolution?

                    2. Yes, the Constitution clearly gives the power to enact legislation to Congress, not the courts. Which does not remotely mean they can enact anything they feel like.

                      The voting rights act put a handful of notoriously abusive states into a somewhat questionable status, but at least had a particularized excuse for it. Putting them all into that status?

                      Just a federal power grab.

                    3. But you want the Court to decide what it feels like is appropriate. Just a judicial power grab.

                      "Just a federal power grab."

                      Lol. Said every single Jim Crow politician in the South as historians have been documenting this week.

                      Again, you don't like the despise it.

                    4. It's like, you can put repeat offenders into a monitoring program as part of their sentence, but you can't put EVERYONE into that monitoring program.

                      The reason that part of the voting rights act got struck down is that the people who did the offending are mostly long dead. You had what amounted to a politically motivated "corruption of the blood".

                    5. That is not a Constitutional reason, Brett! That's a policy argument.

                    6. No, the Constitutional argument is that nothing in the 14th amendment actually gives Congress the right to forbid states enact laws, or put them on hold until they get federal approval. That's just not a reasonable reading of the 14th amendment.

                      What happened is that the Court was ignoring that when you had states that were obviously egregious offenders, and decided eventually to stop ignoring that when it became evident that preclearance had nothing to do anymore with whether you were currently, or even recently, a bad offender, and was just being used to block perfectly constitutional state laws the feds didn't like.

                2. LawTalkingGuy — Similarly, John Marshall explained the Necessary and Proper clause is an enlargement of Congressional powers. But conservatives on today's Court believe otherwise. "Proper," to them is some kind of vague, open-ended invitation to use their policy preferences to apply constraint.

                  Just for those who don't already know. Marshall defined, "Proper," to mean, "effective," as in a means suited to accomplish the legitimate task already selected. In the Constitution, it has nothing to do with any notion as vague as propriety.

                  1. Where what makes the task "legitimate" is that it is putting into effect one of Congress's enumerated powers, rather than an attempt to exercise a power NOT delegated to Congress.

                    "[i]f the end be legitimate, and within the scope of the Constitution, all the means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted that end, and which are not prohibited, may constitutionally be employed to carry it into effect."

                    The national bank was approved on the basis that it was useful to carrying into effect the power to tax and spend.

                    That's exactly the problem with much of the spending today, that it aims at exercising powers not delegated.

      2. S_O,
        Off topic, but thank you for your reference on the Base Rate fallacy.
        One difficulty with its immediate use is that we seldom know the distribution of positives and negatives; we frequently do not know the accurate false positive and false negative rates, and somethings do not know what the entire base population should be reckoned to be.
        My suspicion is that the accurate values are only found through multiple trials on highly controlled and often artificial populations as described in the example.
        Still the potential errors are well to keep in mind especially when the stakes are very high.

        1. Right - all it does is throw some things we know into doubt; it does not bring to light new things that were previously in doubt.

          Here is where I heard about it:

          Short, maximum 24 minutes a week on statistical applications. I've learned a lot.

          1. I'll look at the BBC programme. I have done a lot of ststistics in my carrer, but one always learns new things in looking at field far from one's own.

    2. 2 factors.

      1: They value being able to say "The evil Republicans voted against it!" more than passing something. Huge omnibus bills allow you to include both eminently reasonable provisions, and obnoxious poison bills, and then tell your supporters the other guy voted against the former, when they were voting against the latter.

      2: Some of the really obnoxious (From a Republican perspective, 'natch.) stuff they really want, and would be hopeless as a stand alone bill, so a giant omnibus bill is the only way it has a chance of sneaking through.

      We really need a single subject rule, with teeth, at the federal level. These omnibus bills are getting absurd. I'd say something like half the provisions of the current election monstrosity would have a decent chance of passing as stand alone bills, but they're being held hostage to the stuff that can't pass.

    3. Queen Amalthea : Why are the Democrats obsessed with passing huge 'package' bills?

      Two Points,

      1. There's a very simple answer to this question: The Parliamentarian of the Senate sets the rules of what can be passed by reconciliation - via majority vote alone, without the threat of a filibuster. He ruled the Dems had one shot & one alone to pass a reconciliation bill. (This was one of those tiny little news stories buried in the back pages with tremendous importance). Biden needs to get as much as possible in the bill because it's his sole chance to overcome GOP obstructionism.

      2. Re Sarcastr0 point on Manchin writing the bill: Despite my tribe's rage at him, several lefties have pointed to merit in some of his objections. Like the GOP with tax cuts, the Dems had countless programs whose "cost" was limited by phony sunset periods. Manchin said (with justification) that it was better to do less, but on a more solid long-term basis.

      1. "Manchin said (with justification) that it was better to do less, but on a more solid long-term basis."

        This, by the way, is why the talk of Manchin jumping to the GOP is so silly; Manchin generally shares the goals of the Democratic party, not the Republican, he's just more sane about means. He really would be a lousy fit within the Republican caucus, for all that he pisses off Democrats on a routine basis.

      2. The voting bill is not a reconciliation bill. That is the so called "Build Back Better" bill.

        1. True enuff, Bob. I (carelessly) segued to the "Build Back Better" bill, as opposed to the voting stuff QA specifically raised. I'm afraid my attention drifted to a question where something was at stake. There is zero chance any voting bill from the Dems won't be filibustered by Republicans - whether in a big package or samll individual bills, whether authored by Manchin or God Himself.

          The result will be the same. The Republicans loathe voters; their legislative goal is always petty harassment.

          1. "There is zero chance any voting bill from the Dems won't be filibustered by Republicans - whether in a big package or samll individual bills, whether authored by Manchin or God Himself."

            Nah, there are any number of short, single topic voting bills that could sail through Congress; The parties don't disagree on EVERYTHING voting related. But there's about zero chance of the Democrats letting any of them launch, with the possible exception of an Electoral College Act reform.

            They want too many things that don't have 50 votes in the Senate, and cramming them into huge 'must pass' bills is their only hope of getting them. Only, it seems voting bills aren't 'must pass' in the opinion of a majority of Senators.

            1. This is very untrue. The GOP has become the party whose main purpose is owning the libs.

              The idea that policy agreement will result in cooperating with the Dems misapprehends the situation in Congress entirely.

              I worked on the Hill back in the day. There was a small, local bill regarding the distribution of mining rights in tribal lands. The GOP member liked the bill, and worked with us. *By sending a staffer to meet with our staffer in an undisclosed location so no one would think he was working with the Dems.*
              And then he voted against it, as he had warned us he would for reasons having nothing to do with the substance of the bill.

              1. Well, I won't be proved wrong unless the Democrats actually start sending through single item bills, which they're perfectly capable of doing, so, why don't they, and make the Republicans' perfidy transparently clear?

                Because some of them would pass, would be my explanation. McConnell has already said as much of ECA reform.

      3. Manchin is a Democrat in a conservative state. He that gives him the ability to act with more freedom than some of his colleagues. There are other Democratic Senators who agree with him but are not willing to be so outspoken.

        This is exactly the situation that existed under Trump with Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, although they were less publically outspoken.

        There was a long thread on twitter about how 41 Republican Senators could stop whatever Biden wanted in spite of the fact Democrats have a majority and representing some absurdly percentage of the population. I suppose that's theoretically possible but not in fact the case. I haven't run the actual numbers however there are actually 50 Republican Senators and they represent the second and third most populous states Texas and Florida among other states. There are in fact only 48 Democrats in the Senate, with two Independents who caucus with the Democrats.

    4. Are you forgetting the filibuster?

      I think Manchin is on board a lot of those, and Sinema too, but they don't have 60 votes, and that's what it takes without nuking the filibuster.

      And Manchin and Sinema are hard no's on that.

  17. Why do Covidians act like this?

  18. "WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation jumped at its fastest pace in nearly 40 years last month, a 7% spike from a year earlier that is increasing household expenses, eating into wage gains and heaping pressure on President Joe Biden and the Federal Reserve to address what has become the biggest threat to the U.S. economy."

    Its just transitory.

    1. That's measuring prices compared to a year ago. But a year ago was still lockdown.

      Kevin Drum notes that if you measure inflation over the past month (and then multiply by 12, annualize) you get an inflation rate of 5.6%, down considerably from its peak a couple of months ago.

      So yeah, I'm optimistic it is transitory. But I could be wrong; inflation is complicated!

      Your doomsaying makes it pretty clear what you hope for.

      1. You were optimistic it was transitory in June, August, September etc.

        Sure a slow transit.

        1. It is classic Sarc hand waving.

          1. Yup

            Drum's a left wing journalist, not an economist or a finance expert.

            1. Engage with what he wrote, don't ad hom.

              1. Don't argumentum ab auctoritate.

                1. I didn't say this is right because Kevin said it. I made factual statements, and didn't want to plagiarize.

                  You declared it was wrong because Kevin said it.

                  If you have a dispute with the fact there, make it. But I'm pretty sure you don't.

              2. Well then to engage with what Drum said, one months data is not a trend, and multiplying it by 12 doesn't make it a trend. A quarter is long enough to start seeing a trend.

                Someone that takes a monthly spike or a dip and says you can tell anything from it other than that months data doesn't understand economics much.

                But I hope it is going down, even if it signals a recession.

        2. I don't call that slow, myself.

      2. I too am hopeful that this is transitory. My take is economies are like aircraft carriers, not cigarette boats. Meaning, when you make a change, the course doesn't correct for some time. That is the analogy I have in my mind, thinking of the economy.

        A fairly big chunk of inflation can be tied to the semiconductor chip shortage that is hampering the new car production, and distorting the used car market. So for this aspect of the inflation picture, it is all about semiconductor production and distribution. That is the good news - we know what 'it' is. The bad news is that there ain't no end to the semiconductor shortage in sight. It has been going on for more than a year.

        Sure hope we get down to a more manageable level by EOY. Retirees are getting hammered with high inflation; plays hell with the withdrawal rate.

        1. The only other thing I'd add to your analysis is how little the government can control the economy, compared to how much they're blamed for how the economy goes.

          1. Like many things that are already functioning, the economy has little room for quick improvement, but can be broken with remarkable speed. The more so because JIT inventory systems had already wrung out almost all the economy's resiliency. But, you know, the economy IS capable of tanking without high inflation, and there's a reason it didn't take that route.

            We've been courting high inflation for nearly two decades, getting rid of it won't be the work of a month. Or a year with people in charge who think it clever to dis Nobel Prize winning economists on the topic they're most famous for.

            1. Also not true.

              Price controls are a horrible, market-breaking idea. The government has implemented them a number of times, sometimes to large swaths of the economy.

              Always to long-term detriment, but it's never broken the entire economy.

              I appreciate arguments from entropic irreversibility, but I think evidence shows that's not the case here.

  19. Our system, with the two ancient entrenched & bought parties is failing badly. This country & society are too large & diverse to have such small, limited, & dishonest political choices. And the increasing polarization (no compromise or common ground allowed) has rendered our Government almost inoperative.
    What are you going to do about The Boogaloo? Oh, I know. The Boogaloo is just a white supremacist's joke. Until it's not.

    1. Well, this guy sucks.

      1. 'well this guy sucks'


    2. What the hell is "the Boogaloo", aside from an old dance?

  20. .@craigmelvin asks if it’s time to change admin’s strategy on Covid, Harris says:
    “It is time for us to do what we have been doing. And that time is every day. Every day it is time for us to agree that there are things and tools that are available to us to slow this thing down”

    Can anyone translate this?

    1. I think she meant to say "We will keep on doing the same things, because all we have to do is keep on trying and eventually these things will work. We will mandate more of the same vaccines and tell you to take them until they finally work and provide a sterilizing effect. We will continue to censor scientific information that does not fall into line with what forwards our political agenda. We won't allow the development of alternative therapies because that will take away from the vaccines and mass vaccination effort that will by booster shot number 9 be effective. We require you to show your papers to step out of the house eventually if the courts let us, and we will work on plans to stick everyone who won't take the 9 booster shots into campus assuming the courts let us do that too."

    1. Is that the one where District Judge Alexis G. Krot of Hamtramck goes after an elderly cancer patient?

      1. Yep.

        Plenty of ways she could have handled the case without being a bitch.

  21. The Supreme Court is a court in name only. They have no need to be faithful to the constitution, or to statutory text, or their own prior decisions, or anything else. The only thing constraining them is their perception of what they can get away with, and the extent of their imaginations in creating reasonable sounding pretexts to justify their decisions.

    1. This is legal realism 101.

      It's not falsifiable.

      I also think it misapprehends human nature - most humans have a self image that includes having principles, being intellectually consistent, and not lying for mercenary purposes.

      Not every human, to be sure (Hi, Bob!). But enough that saying we've found 9 of the unprincipled ones requires more evidence than just ipse dixit.

      1. Successful politicians, which includes supreme court justices, have no principles. Losing ones occasionally do but rarely.

        Tom Cotton gave a speech in support of the filibuster yesterday that was 100% the words of Chuck Schumer. Before Chuck gave up his supposed principles.

        1. More ipse dixit. With an anecdote regarding a single Senator for support.

          Not great, Bob!

          1. Democrats filibustered a bill this afternoon! After dragging poor Joe down to rail against it.


            1. You don't seem to understand what principles are or how they work.

              They are not blind to conditions.

          2. Which single Senator was that: Tom Cotton or Chuck Schumer?

            It's rather sad to see Sarcastr0 slipping into such severe dotage. Has he been spending time with Joe Biden? Is it contagious?

    2. "The only thing constraining them is their perception of what they can get away with, and the extent of their imaginations in creating reasonable sounding pretexts to justify their decisions."


  22. Weird how all the Trumpkin loons who claimed that J6 couldn't have been an insurrection because nobody was charged with anything like that seem to have gone silent after today's indictments.

    1. Nobody's been charged with insurrection, so what's your point?

      1. My point is that you're an idiot. Which you have proven, by not being able to figure that out.

      2. Magic words are for fantasy, ThePublius.

    2. I don't know about the others, but the news came out after I'd settled down in front of my fireplace with a good book and some Kahlua and cream, and that accounts for me.

      I wouldn't even say the charges are absurd, though they took long enough about bringing them. Clearly at least SOME of the people involved in January 6th were bad actors, who had planned criminal acts; Arranging for bombs to be found at just the right moment to divert the Capitol police showed considerable planning, and the attack was no spur of the moment thing.

      It's obvious the defense will be entrapment. I wonder how much evidence they'll be able to muster? And whether it will matter with a D.C. jury.

      It's starting to be an issue, I think, that any political trial in D.C. looks to have a jury consisting entirely of members of one party.

      1. It's obvious the defense will be entrapment

        Oy. Read the facts.

        And don't buy into the dumbass FBI op conspiracy.

        1. I do wonder why the individuals who made the most damning statements, like "You are executing citizen's arrest [sic]," were not indicted or even named as unindicted co-conspirators. Doing so would have made the overall conspiracy charges much stronger, because it would have made it clearer what they intended to do.

          One explanation could be that those individuals were in fact law enforcement agents or informers.

          Are there any other plausible explanations?

    3. Which indictments today, the ones charging people with impeding or delaying the execution of a law?

      By that standard, we should have seen thousands of Antifa prosecutions already.

  23. Eleven members of the Oath Keepers have now been charged with seditious conspiracy “to oppose the lawful transfer of power by force, by preventing, hinder[ing], or delaying by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of power” culminating in the January 6 riot. Perhaps the Department of Justice is starting to show some spine.

    Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and others have been sued civilly for damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1985 by several members of Congress. A motion to dismiss was argued this past week before the U.S. District Court. The civil complaint lays out a conspiracy that violates criminal statutes as well.

    I have thought that the Trump/Giuliani/Eastman shenanigans with Mike Pence are a sufficient basis for criminal liability (18 U.S.C. 1512(c)(2)) without having to show vicarious responsibility for the conduct of the rioters, but if DOJ wants to look into Trump´s greater culpability as well, so much the better.

    1. I think maybe the DOJ started to realize crying "insurrection" while charging people with trespassing was starting to look a bit odd, and figured they'd better charge SOMEBODY with the real deal. I'm betting the defense will be entrapment. Whether they can prove it is the question, but maybe the political composition of juries in D.C. answers that question without regard to merit; Watch for defendants to be waiving jury trials, and the DOJ insisting on them anyway...

      18 U.S.C. 1512(c)(2)

      "(c)Whoever corruptly—
      (2)otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both."

      The catch there will be the definition of "corruptly"; People citing this in connection with Trump tend to use a very broad definition of "corruptly" indeed, (And think that Trump even breaths "corruptly".) but I'm not sure the actual legal definition extends to Trump's provable conduct.

      Then again, D.C. juries. If the trial is to be held in D.C., I suspect you could get a conviction on any charge the judge wouldn't throw out. Any likely jury pool is a few preemptory challenges away from having only Democrats on it, and not moderate ones, either.

      1. The defense will not be entrapment. Did you review the communications quoted in the indictment?

        1. I am not seeing a smoking gun in the indictment where any of the indicted conspirators expressed an intent to impede or stop the EC certification. The worst quotes are from individuals who do not appear to be named as unindicted co-conspirators.

          Based on what I see in the indictment, it looks like the conspirators could argue that they were "aggressively demonstrating and protesting" by entering the capital, but nothing more than that. They will be guilty of trespassing, property destruction, etc., but not conspiracy to impede the EC certification.

          Am I missing something?

          1. All the arms and social media posts about taking paramilitary action seem like they give intent, if not specifically to stop the EC certification, at least mess with the transfer of power after an election.

            1. They were pretty clear that they were not going to be bringing firearms with them. That, I thought, was a significant point in their favor. They can argue that what they did bring was for self defense, in case they were attacked by the gummint and/or the black helicopters.

              Note, I am not defending what these people did. I think they are nuts. But the indictment seems very heavy on them acting in concert, but very light on what they actually intended to do in concert.

              1. Yeah, it's pretty hard for honest people to argue that they brought the guns with intent to use them, when the communications say things like "Guns are illegal in DC, so we rented a room in Virginia - everyone leave your weapons there".

                1. BTW, it looks like I was looking at and commenting on an old indictment (from 2/19/21), not the one filed earlier this week.

      2. Can the prosecution in a federal criminal case demand a jury trial over the defendant's objection?

        In Massachusetts the legislature changed the law to allow the prosecution to demand a jury trial in sex offender "civil" commitment cases. Judges were using facts instead of emotions and nobody wants that. It is also not allowed to waive a jury trial when the charge is first degree murder.

        1. Can the prosecution in a federal criminal case demand a jury trial over the defendant's objection?


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