The Volokh Conspiracy

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Thursday Open Thread

What's on your mind?


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  1. The best fruit is raspberry. All other opinions are invalid.

    1. Only if you have floss handy.

    2. Blueberry is tough to beat, also has lots of antioxidants (like raspberries).

    3. Not when strawberries are ripe and fresh.

      1. I find American strawberries are blandsville for the most part.

        1. Back when I lived in Michigan, I always watched out for the wild strawberries to appear in the spring; The flavor was lip puckering intense. They never made it back to the house to star in my desert plans.

          When I first saw wild strawberries in my lawn here in SC, I was quite excited, until I tried one. No taste at all! I was quite surprised.

          We go strawberry picking at the U-pick farms, and they're generally good. Mostly get frozen for smoothies, though.

        2. S_O,
          Do you live in CA?

          1. Used to. Now in the DC Metro area.

            NorCal had great oranges.

            I'm a raspberry/cherry guy myself. But in Europe I've had some strawberries that make me realize why people like them. In America they're mostly sweet crunchy water.

            1. Yeah, last time I was in Germany, I'd have a big breakfast and lunch, (The main meal of the day.) but I frequently had nothing for "dinner" except a pint or two of strawberries.

              If you're ever going to be in Rinteln, the breakfasts at the Stadt Kassel are incredible. I highly recommend it as a place to stay.

            2. There are plenty of both wild and European varieties that you can grow in a pot that are flavor/sweet bombs. Some of the English white types, that date back to Victorian times are simply amazing. We started with something like 4 or 5 plants 3 years ago, now we've got them everywhere.

              I'd like to get enough to try making wine.

    4. My vote goes to Macoun apples.

      1. Another vote for Macouns. The best just-picked-from-the-tree Macouns literally put me in mind of the one glass of Chateaux Margot I was privileged to enjoy many decades ago, and cannot forget.

        Every fall I go to a New England place where you can pick Macouns off 100-year-old trees, which seem to be the best. The apples hit perfection just around October 9, give or take maybe a week.

        I just had to buy a new refrigerator. The choice was made on the basis of crisper performance and capacity. I want my annual Macouns to stand up to at least two-a-day consumption at least until Thanksgiving. I am a Macoun enthusiast.

      2. We have a farm market nearby that always carries about 20 varieties of apples when in season, but I don't think I've ever seen that variety there. I usually go for the Arkansas Black, myself.

        1. They grow mostly in the Northeast, and aren't available year-round.

          I've never heard of Arkansas Black, but according to this, Macouns are a cross between Macintosh and Jersey Black.

    5. And raspberry bushes are less likely to be destroyed by ungulate vermin than many other kinds of bushes.

    6. Hard to get good ones if you don't live where they're grown. The ones in our supermarket are just plain sour. Not tangy, sour. And they'll last about 12 hours before spoiling.

      1. Grow your own, they are stupid simple.

    7. I'd say black raspberries get a lot closer than red. But ultimately I'm with Commenter_XY on blueberries.

    8. Power rankings of fruit. And by fruit, I mean things generally considered as fruit ... not following strict botanical definitions.

      1. Berries. These have the highest "miss" ratio of any fruit- you know it to be true. Get a box of any berries in a typical market in most of the U.S., and you've got a decent chance of getting something tasteless. But the best berries are ... sublime.

      FWIW, nothing beats a perfect blackberry. Nothing.

      2. Melons. No, not the tasteless honeydew and 'lope that are the terrors of bad breakfast plates everywhere. Real, good melons. There's a reason that the melons are a luxury gift in Asia. Complex and delicious. And watermelon, in season ... pure candy.

      3. Mangoes. I'm biased, because I have a mango tree in my yard. Every year, I look forward to the fresh mangos. For the next two weeks, they are glorious ... so friggin' glorious. Nothing is better. But here's the thing- trees produce a lot of mangoes. You end up like that Shrimp scene in Forest Gump. (The answer is mango salsa, btw).

      4. Pears. You know why. They're apples for adults.

      5. Citrus. It's a big category- everything from Buddha's hand to kumquats, grapefruit to oranges. Solid.

      6. Cherries. Yummy in season!

      7. Apples. The apple renaissance is well-deserved. Good apples are excellent, but there are still far too many bad apples in the U.S. Don't get me started on red "delicious."

      8. Bananas. I love bananas. But they're all the same. Literally. If you can get some exotic bananas, that can be fun.

      9. Figs. Fine. Better in a newton.

      10. Papayas. Just ... why? Bland.

      11. Durian. Ugh.

      12. Dragonfruit. OVERRATED.

      1. My brother in California had an avocado tree in the front yard, and orange tree in the back. Visiting him was the first time I'd ever tasted either tree ripened. Never understood why, when he moved, he didn't bother to plant new trees. I suppose because he didn't have trouble buying them ripe locally?

        There was this tropical tree nursery not far from his house that had all sorts of exotic species available, and sold small quantities of the fruit for you to try. Ice cream bananas really earned their name.

        1. Blue Java (Ice Cream) bananas? We're growing them here in of all places, Pennsylvania in pots, of course. This will be year 3, so they're up to about 10 feet now. Really not sure how I'm going to get the damn things back outside once the weather warms up. Hoping I'll get fruit this year,.

          Also growing Musa Basjoo fiber bananas outside. They are Zone 5 tolerant. I'll be curious to see if they come back this spring..

          1. One of my friends out in the country keeps threatening to build a conservatory, so that he can grow some tropical trees for his wife. My own backyard is just a bit too small for a greenhouse large enough for non-hardy bananas, and the hardy ones aren't really worth eating.

      2. Blackberries are good, Loki13. Especially in the form of blackberry brandy. 🙂

      3. "FWIW, nothing beats a perfect blackberry. Nothing."
        But that requires having blackberry bushes on your property. What is sold in markets is nearly tasteless.
        If you want exquisite strawberries, go to japan and be prepared to pay a few dollars per strawberry. Frais de bois are sublime.
        You missed plums. They are routinely picked too early. Have a prune plum just of the tree in an area with sufficient degree days, and you'll enjoy a superb treat.
        You missed dates - the candy of the dessert.
        Ripe figs off the tree are excellent. You need a tree on your property.
        Blueberries - what i get in the supermarket (often tasteless0 is a very far cry from the wild fruit is picked as a kid.

        1. I have one very large fig tree, and another that is 'coming along'. Figs with goat cheese and date syrup is amazing.

        2. I did miss plums! I like plums, but I'd probably put them after citrus.

          As for dates- I love dates. I don't consider them fruit. I consider them pure heaven.

          And figs are ... fine. But everyone always loves them more when they are served with something else.

          (I also left of pineapple ... because I'm like a pizza, which means ... NO PINEAPPLE)

          1. loki13....My favorite 'greet the shabbos treat' = figs are fine


            When you pick the figs that day, and you make this, the taste is pure heaven. Don Nico reports that sheeps milk cheese is also damned good (costco brand, which I did try and agree, it is good). The warm date syrup makes the recipe sing.

            You're right though, figs on their own don't quite get there, so you gotta add stuff to 'em.

            1. That sounds delightful ... but then again, everything is better with goat cheese!

              (Except watermelon, which is actually better with some feta cheese)

              1. Just right. for watermelon it is Greek feta - not some imitation stuff.

        3. Nico, I had blackberry bushes on my property. They came unbidden. For that, I judged myself fortunate. The location they chose was convenient, a less-tended spot behind the garage. Encourage them, I thought.

          They needed no encouragement. I shifted my emphasis. Keep them in proper bounds, I thought. And rejoiced that sun ripened blackberries would come in abundance. They did.

          Then I made two discoveries. First, my blackberries followed no rules known to civilized agriculture, or gardening. Orderly spread was right out. Instead, swiftly-developing underground runners shot out, to expand the berry domain by leaps, instead of by increments. Second, a new far-flung sprout no sooner poked up, than it extended itself eight feet, dived its top back into the ground, and formed a loop rooted at both ends. The plants thus spread built a structure, storing a prodigious energy to power repeated expansions—both under the ground, and through the air.

          Efforts at control turned problematic. Sever a loop, and behold: two plants, where previously there had been one—both plants madly pushing out underground runners in all directions. The Sorcerer's Apprentice came to mind.

          I called in professional help, in the form of a DitchWitch, and a skilled operator. My blackberry patch nearly killed him.

          Part of the patch was a bit steep, then quite steep. I warned him. The visible contours formed by the blackberry plants concealed the terrain, but did not follow it. They were treacherous, I explained. Their tops looked almost level.

          The operator's tracked equipment fell off the steep part sideways, stopping just short of crushing him against my chain link yard fence. By happenstance, aid was available. A few doors away, tree removal was ongoing. There was a crane, with a hundred-foot boom. In place in my driveway, communicating by walk-talky, the crane operator reached over the top of my garage, to connect to the crippled DitchWitch he could not see. And righted it. The undaunted operator climbed back aboard, and proceeded to clear the blackberry patch down to bare earth—leaving only stumps of the sprouts poking above ground. It became my honor and privilege—helped by my wife—to root out those stumps, following all their runners, and digging them up, one-by-one.

          Of course that did not put a stop to it. But by then we had sold the house.

      4. Pineapple doesn't make a list that includes durian and dragonfruit?

      5. The best melon in the known universe is the Cavaillon melon.

        Put some sweet wine in the scooped-out part.

        1. On your recommendation, I just ordered some seeds. We'll give it a try on our garden tunnel.

          1. I don't think you will be disappointed.

      6. For blueberry fans, take note. I have had truly excellent blueberries, right off a bush in the yard where I grew up. So much better than anything I ever got from the store since. Little did I know.

        Those back-yard treats paled in comparison to wild blueberries I found on the edge of a peat bog in Newfoundland. Berries almost the size of my thumbnail, in prodigious abundance, on bushes so large you could browse one side while a Moose browsed the other—with neither the wiser (it happened). The taste was proportionate to the size and abundance—gigantic.

        Nothing remotely like it ever since. Take the ferry to Newfoundland, and turn right at Port aux Basques, down a dirt road along the coast. I was hitch-hiking, and got a ride with two locals, chatting away amiably as they drove the dirt road at 60 miles an hour. We had gone 10 miles before I realized they were speaking English, and another 10 before I began to understand any of it. Bring tall rubber boots, and travel in company. The peat bogs are treacherous, as are the mosquitos.

    9. The best fruit is raspberry. All other opinions are invalid.

      Burn the heretic! Tree-ripened freestone peaches are the one true best fruit.

      1. Advocating for stone fruits, but picking peaches over cherries.


        1. If you say that S_O, you must never have had a perfect tree-ripened white peach

          1. If you say that S_O, you must never have had a perfect tree-ripened white peach

            Racist. What about POCs (Peaches Of Color)?

        2. Advocating for stone fruits, but picking peaches over cherries.


          I see that, once again, you've forgotten which sockpuppet account you were using and have responded to the posts of someone you made a big deal of declaring you had on mute. Or that was just another of your many, many lies.

          Speaking of typical.

    10. "The best fruit is raspberry. All other opinions are invalid."

      A little strongly worded, but you aren't wrong. The blackberry is neck and neck. And an Amish cantaloupe is, on their best days, good enough to be used as a strong argument for the existence of God.

    11. Growing up my Dad had a place in Northern Michigan. The cherries up there are absolutely mind-blowing. Especially tart cherry pies. But for pure fruit joy it is hard to beat a Michigan sweet cherry.

    12. Glenn and Edwards mangoes, mamey sapotes, anons, and their cousins atemoyas, lychees, and caimitos, all of which I grow, top anything you temperate growers can produce. I am only missing mangosteens because of occasional winter fronts, but a few more years of climate change should make my south Florida yard ideal for them too, at least until we are submerged by sea level rise.

      1. Consider salt-water hydroponics. By far the best way to garden in submerged areas.

      2. Add a foot of fill dirt, you'll be good for the next century.

    13. Washington Cherries are hard to beat, don't get fooled by California cherries, they come out a month or two earlier, but they just aren't in the same league. I'm in Asia now and I recently had some Australian cherries, the don't make the grade either.

      Raspberries are great sprinkled with a little sugar with a heavy cream poured over it, but not whipped cream. Peaches and nectarines too.

  2. The House January 6 investigating committee has submitted its memorandum of law regarding John Eastman's assertion of attorney-client privilege regarding e-mails of January 4-7, 2021.
    The memo details how Eastman assisted Trump in attempting to obstruct the January 6 session of Congress in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1512(c)(2) and in conspiring to defraud the United States in violation of 18 U.S.C. 371, such that the crime/fraud exception to the a-c privilege applies.

    Here's hoping the Department of Justice takes heed. Trump and Eastman, among others, plotted a coup to overturn the election result. They belong in prison.

    1. I wonder if Judge David Carter, who is presiding over John Eastman's lawsuit seeking to hide information from the January 6 committee, will come to be regarded as this century's John Sirica.

    2. Professor Eastman has responded to the House committee's memorandum with a request for delay and a motion for "produc[tion of] exculpatory information" in this civil lawsuit. Eastman avers, "Were this Court to sustain the defendants’ claims, it may be the first formal finding of Presidential criminality by a federal court in United States history."

      Well, duh. The narrow issue before Judge Carter is whether to conduct an in camera inspection of Eastman's e-mails of January 4-7, 2021 to determine whether the crime/fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege applies. This is not a criminal proceeding. Eastman is the Plaintiff, seeking to hide relevant information.

      Complicating the matter is that Eastman has potential criminal exposure himself. He invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination 146 times when interviewed by the House investigating committee. The man knows full well that what he and Trump did is crooked. He does not need a delay of the March 8 hearing to once again invoke privilege in this civil lawsuit.

  3. The State Bar of California’s Chief Trial Counsel has acknowledged that since September 2021, his office has been conducting an investigation of Professor Eastman regarding whether Eastman engaged in conduct in violation of California law and ethics rules governing attorneys following and in relation to the November 2020 presidential election.

    I wonder if Eastman in that investigation will assert his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, as he did 146 times before the House January 6 investigating committee.

    1. I wonder whether anyone remembers that the Volokh Conspiracy endorsed John Eastman for public office.

      That must have been the "often libertarian" or "libertarianish" side of this blog.

  4. An Oath Keeper who served as private security for right-wing figures around January 6 pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy and is cooperating with the Justice Department, becoming the first person charged with seditious conspiracy related to the attack to strike a plea deal.

    Joshua James, who led the Alabama chapter of the Oath Keepers, a far-right extremist group, also pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding. He faces up to nine years in prison and up to a $300,000 fine, according to the deal read aloud during Wednesday's hearing.

    The indictment to which this guy pleaded guilty also describes how he and others amassed an arsenal and stashed it in a Virginia hotel, for use by a, "Quick reaction force," according to CNN.

    One of the figures James was body guarding was Trump's close associate Roger Stone.

    As a point of interest it is worth noting that Joshua James was also the name of a famous coast life saving hero, based in Hull, MA. As a matter of character, Hull's James was a conspicuous opposite of the fellow indicted. His Wikipedia article is worth a read, for any fans of true-life heroism.

    1. "The indictment to which this guy pleaded guilty also describes how he and others amassed an arsenal and stashed it in a Virginia hotel, for use by a, "Quick reaction force," according to CNN."

      IIRC, the feds' communications intercepts had them discussing this, and they were saying it was because it would have been illegal to bring them into DC. But, yes, they had been expecting the rally to be attacked by Antifa, didn't everybody expect that?

      It was one of the reasons I didn't go, myself.

      Isn't that what their "quick reaction force" was proposed to react to? An illegal assault by Antifa on innocent protesters? Which, based on past experience, they would have expected the police to not provide any protection against?

      As it happens, the assault didn't occur, and the guns stayed where they were legal. Doesn't strike me as terribly incriminating; If they'd meant to actually commit crimes, they'd have brought them, not left them behind.

      1. The gravamen of seditious conspiracy is an agreement "to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereo". 18 U.S.C. 2384. Here is the statement of offense to which Mr. James and the prosecution stipulated to be true and correct.

        IOKIYAR is not a maxim of statutory construction.

        1. Yeah, you're discussing the charge he pled guilty to, I'm discussing what it appears to me he actually did.

          I'm not terribly keen on conspiracy law, given the way it allows people to be convicted based on legal acts and somebody else's confession, perhaps achieved by offering a plea deal.

          1. I'm discussing facts that the Defendant stipulated to be correct. Have you read the statement of offense? The nut graf is paragraph 19: "In advance of and on January 6, 2021, James and others agreed to take part in the plan developed by Rhodes to use any means necessary, up to and including the use of force, to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power."

            1. People say and confess to lots of stuff they may not actually have done, especially given the right "pressure" from the feds.

            2. I'm perfectly aware that people stipulate facts when they accept plea deals.

              I expect you're perfectly aware that those facts stipulated aren't necessarily true.

              As I said, I'm not fond of the way conspiracy law allows you to be convicted on the basis of legal acts and somebody else's confession obtained as part of a plea agreement.

              1. To paraphrase the late Donald Rumsfeld, you go to court with the law you have, not the law you wish you had.

                Assuming there is an agreement to cooperate here, Mr. James will have to testify and be subject to confrontation and cross-examination before his statement of offense can be used to convict any defendant who chooses to stand trial. OTOH, the disposition of his case may well become part of the plea negotiation process for other conspiracy defendants.

                1. You assume that the "evidence" here will go to trial, and not be used as "pressure" to convince others to please.

                  And now James "has" to support his story in court, otherwise he'll be hit with perjury charges.

                  1. Don't be silly. Partisan hacks and unserious people assure us that there is no such thing as a perjury trap.

                    1. Perjury trap doesn't mean what you seem to think it means.

                  2. I acknowledged that the disposition of Mr. James's case will come into play in plea negotiations for other conspiracy defendants. If James is cooperating, it makes going to trial more risky for other defendants.

          2. Well, the way we tend to decide what people did is go to court. This "Oath Keeper" swore an oath to tell the truth.

            But more to the point, do you deny this particular stipulation:

            On December 14, 2020—the same day that presidential electors from each state and the District of Columbia cast their votes in the Presidential Election—Rhodes published a letter on the Oath Keepers website advocating for the use of force to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power. He sent similar messages that day to the “Leadership intel sharing secured” Signal group chat, in which James was a participant.

            So the guy he was working with was openly advocating for force to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power, he collected a bunch of weapons to be used as part of "quick reaction force" and your response is: but antifa! Seriously, Brett?

            Then he went to the Capitol and was recorded doing this:

            James approached J.M., a Metropolitan Police Department Officer engaged in the performance of his official duties, and repeatedly told J.M. to “chill” and yelled at the officer, “Do you want out? Do you want out? Do you want out?” James then assaulted J.M by grabbing J.M.’s vest and pulling J.M. toward the mob. Other officers behind J.M. grabbed J.M.’s vest and pulled him back into the line of officers. While pulling J.M., James yelled, “Get out of my Capitol! Get out! Get out of my Capitol!”

            The stipulation, as it has to be, is backed by substantial evidence. He assaulted a police officer and there is a lot of evidence he meant to stop Congress counting the electoral votes, leading to the reasonable inference (to which he stipulated) that his entry into the Capitol and assault on the officer were actions taken to effect that purpose.

            Just invoking antifa doesn't do the work you need it to do.

        2. In which guilty pretends that defendants never plead guilty to bogus charges because they face a prejudiced trial.

          1. Are you suggesting that Mr. James's statement is unworthy of belief?

              1. I am a proud, yellow dog Democrat with 28 years experience as a criminal defense lawyer prior to retiring, and you are tap dancing around my question. Are you suggesting that Mr. James's statement is unworthy of belief?

                  1. Once more, are you suggesting that Mr. James's statement is unworthy of belief? It won't break your word processor to give a straightforward yes or no.

                    1. We should believe his name is correctly started, and that he decided to plead guilty rather than face a prejudiced trial.

                      You continue to be a partisan hack and an unserious person.

                    2. What is your factual basis for discrediting what Mr. James said? Or are you merely speculating?

                      If you had anything of substance, you wouldn't need to resort to ad hominem attacks.

                    3. not guilty, he hasn't got one. Michael is like the geese in Animal Farm whose entire repertoire consisted of chanting "Four Legs Good! Two Legs Bad!"

                  2. As for your linked article, I don't know what Ohio law provides as to whether a trial court must find a factual basis for a guilty plea. In federal court, before entering judgment on a guilty plea, the court must determine that there is a factual basis for the plea. Fed.R.Crim.P. 11(b)(3). That remains true whether the defendant acknowledges his guilt or submits a best interest plea. North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25, 38 n.10 (1970).

                    1. We can see who didn't even read the second sentence of the article I linked to.

                    2. I take the author of the article at his word, but I haven't looked up original source material.

                    3. "In federal court, before entering judgment on a guilty plea, the court must determine that there is a factual basis for the plea."

                      And, does the court typically independently investigate whether stipulated facts are actually true, or does it just take them as true? Why, the latter, of course.

                    4. In the ordinary case, the accused's admission of the essential facts constituting the offense furnishes the factual basis. Sometimes a defendant wishes to plead guilty without admitting the underlying facts -- known as an Alford plea. There the trial court typically relies on the prosecutor's recitation of what the essence of the government's proof would show if the case went to trial. The court does not independently investigate. (In Mr. Alford's particular case the best interest plea agreement was reached during trial after multiple state's witnesses had testified.)

                      The trial judge has the right to rely upon the representations of attorneys with a duty of candor to the court. A judge can make the life of a prosecutor who breaches that duty of candor difficult, and most prosecutors are careful not to mislead.

                    5. "In the ordinary case, the accused's admission of the essential facts constituting the offense furnishes the factual basis."

                      Right, and thus, if the accused is coerced into a false confession, complete with stipulated facts making them out to be guilty, the court is not any check on this abuse. They'll, at most, confirm that the stipulated facts match the crime you're pleading guilty to, and sometimes not even that.

                      The court does not rescue people who have been coerced into false plea deals, it enforces them.

                    6. The ordinary give and take of plea negotiations is not coercion.

                      An involuntary guilty plea is subject to being set aside, even on collateral attack. That requires a showing of extraordinary circumstances. Terms like coercion and involuntary should not be bandied about lightly.

                    7. And, does the court typically independently investigate whether stipulated facts are actually true, or does it just take them as true? Why, the latter, of course.

                      You mean, like, does the court conduct a full trial to determine whether the court should hold a trial?

                    8. The ordinary give and take of plea negotiations is not coercion.

                      There we disagree. "Plead guilty to A, which will result in a sentence of X years… or we will prosecute you for A, B, C, and D, which will result in a sentence of X*3 years if convicted. Oh, did we mention that if we convict you of A, we don't even have to convict you of B, C, and D to have you sentenced as if you had also committed those crimes?"

                      The entire process is coercive.

                    9. I am not talking about common parlance; I am discussing legal terms of art. The process of plea negotiation is not coercion such as will vitiate the resulting plea as involuntary -- which other commenters are yammering about. If that were the case, every federal defendant who pleads guilty and seeks a reduction of sentence for acceptance of responsibility would be able later to collaterally attack his conviction under 28 U.S.C. 2255 -- an absurd result.

                      The district judge who accepted Joshua James's plea reportedly estimated his exposure at sentencing to be between 7.25 and 9 years imprisonment. I am sure that Mr. James is not overjoyed at the prospect of being confined for that length of time, but it is a rational choice compared to the risks of going to trial.

                    10. I am sure that Mr. James is not overjoyed at the prospect of being confined for that length of time, but it is a rational choice compared to the risks of going to trial.

                      Which is exactly the point. If what Mr. James did merits 7¼ to 9 years in prison, then he should get a sentence of between 7¼ to 9 years in prison, whether he goes to trial or not. There should not be a penalty for asserting one's constitutional right to a trial.

                  3. Michael P,

                    It is possible to acknowledge that there are a lot of defendants (often poor and unable to afford an attorney) who are pressured into plea deals for crimes they didn't commit, see the Central Park Five, but also point out that this particular stipulation is back by a lot of evidence and worthy of belief unless you can produce evidence it isn't.

                    I guess, to make it simple: Just because the plea system is subject to abuse, does not mean every plea deal involves an innocent defendant or overstatement of their actions. While too many people who plead guilty didn't do it, most people who plead guilty did do "it."

                    So it's absolutely consistent to advocate for plea reform specifically and criminal justice reform more generally, but also point out that there is no reason to think this guy didn't do what he swore he did. (He had the resources to pay for a defense attorney, there are videos of him committing some of the acts, his own incriminating statements during the events in question are part of the evidence upon which the stipulations are based, etc., etc.. There's a lot of evidence that this "Oath Keeper" did what he swore under oath that he did.

            1. "Are you suggesting that Mr. James's statement is unworthy of belief?"

              As I've been saying for years any time this subject comes up, any coerced allocution or other coerced statement is unworthy of belief.

              As a defense lawyer, you should know that.

              1. What is your evidence of coercion here? Please be specific.

                1. The plea deal. Nobody pleads voluntarily.

                  1. Horseshit. A choice among unpleasant alternatives is not coercion.

                    If James agreed to cooperate in hope of receiving favorable consideration, that is an entirely rational choice. Voluntary need not mean eager.

                    1. "Horseshit. A choice among unpleasant alternatives is not coercion."

                      Uh, I'm pretty sure it is, at least for some values of "unpleasant".

                      And "jail" is one of those.

                      You don't think people are willing to lie to stay out of jail?

                    2. Here is Joshua James's cooperation agreement:

                      Tell me what word or group of words therein indicates that he will stay out of jail, or in this case, federal prison.

                    3. This is a law blog. Humpty Dumpty's famous harrumph about the meaning of words does not apply here.

                    4. You're claiming he's not going to do less time as a result of the agreement/cooperation?

                    5. The length of incarceration is up to the sentencing judge, who is not bound by the agreement. The prosecutor can make a recommendation.

                    6. So he's going to do less time as a result of the agreement/cooperation.

                      The statement is not worthy of belief because he expects to do less time as a result.

                      And that's true even if we let you persist in your lie that the arrangement is voluntary.

                    7. What part of "the judge is not bound by the agreement" do you fail to understand? Mr. James may, or may not, serve less time as the result of his cooperation. As a practical matter, he likely will if he complies with his obligations, but the prosecution can't promise that.

                    8. "What part of "the judge is not bound by the agreement" do you fail to understand?"

                      Lol. I understand perfectly, don't you worry. You have neither dazzled nor baffled me.

                    9. Every allocution is now not real, according to TiP.

                      Else he's just into special pleading.

                      Either way, pretty silly!

                    10. "Every allocution is now not real, according to TiP."

                      No allocution is probative. I've been saying that for years.

                      I'm sure many are true, but none carry any weight as evidence.

                      Are you guys seriously claiming otherwise? If so, you're the ones being silly.

                    11. You're nuts.

                      Custodial confessions are if anything more coercive than guilty pleas. Would you invalidate all of those?

                    12. "Custodial confessions are if anything more coercive than guilty pleas. Would you invalidate all of those?"

                      They're not more coercive. Guilty pleas literally require you to go to jail, or spend more time in jail, if you refuse to confess.

                      "Time served" pleas, where you can plead and go home today or sit in jail for months or years and hope for an acquittal, are particularly coercive.

                      Surely you're not claiming that an allocution that literally results in the defendant serving less time than he would have if he were acquitted has any probative value?

                      That said, there are serious problems with coercive custodial (and non-custodial) interrogations as well.

                    13. Guilty pleas literally require you to go to jail, or spend more time in jail, if you refuse to confess.

                      ....No, they don't. You get a trial.

                    14. "....No, they don't. You get a trial."

                      Sigh. And that makes it non-coercive?

                    15. Sometimes.

                      You're taking a maximalist position - that all pleas should be treated as coerced.

                    16. Horseshit. A choice among unpleasant alternatives is not coercion.

                      I think that's literally what coercion is.

                      (Not in a legally actionable sense, but in the actual English sense.)

                    17. Custodial confessions are if anything more coercive than guilty pleas. Would you invalidate all of those?

                      Sounds good. If you can't find sufficient external evidence for a conviction, you shouldn't be able to get a conviction based on a custodial confession. If you can, you don't need the confession.

                    18. Huh. Good point re: confessions, DMN. I thought I was a heterodox badass about eyewitness testimony, but you have another good position that challenges tradition but is also common sense once you interrogate it.

                      I still think pleading guilty carries some quantum of evidence of guilt, though.

                    19. I still think pleading guilty carries some quantum of evidence of guilt, though.

                      Yeah, I'm not quite ready to go all Clark Neily and say that every case should go to trial. But I don't think we should whitewash the coercive nature of the situation, either.

                    20. Nieporent, why should we care? Aren't the specifics of the allocution subject to challenge in court if they get introduced into any other trial as evidence? Didn't James get a choice to challenge them in a trial himself? Is it your assertion that the sentence he risked if he elected to go to trial would be unjust even if he were convicted? That last seems to be the only basis to make an issue of it. Why not focus on that, if that is what you think?

                  2. Nieporent, why should we care? Aren't the specifics of the allocution subject to challenge in court if they get introduced into any other trial as evidence?

                    I'm not exactly sure what you mean, but not really, no.

                    Didn't James get a choice to challenge them in a trial himself?

                    Yes, but he got a heavily coerced choice.

                    Is it your assertion that the sentence he risked if he elected to go to trial would be unjust even if he were convicted? That last seems to be the only basis to make an issue of it. Why not focus on that, if that is what you think?

                    My assertion is that the system is unfair to the defendant, to society, or both.

                    If a person has committed some crime for which the appropriate sentence is 20 years, then offering him (or her) 5 years just for saving the prosecutor some work is a bad thing. (Let alone because the prosecutor secretly knows he can't get a conviction on the 20 year charge.) On the other hand, if a five-year sentence is sufficient based on what he has done, then hitting him with a 20-year sentence solely because he decided to go to trial is also a bad thing.

                    And turning it into a game in which the accused has to decide whether a sure five years is worth risking a 20 year sentence is inappropriate.

                    1. Just to pile on, if the government is 98% certain they can get a conviction and sentence of 10 years, and they offer a plea to 9 years to avoid the expense of a trial, I'm not going to get too outraged over that.

                      But imagine you are factually innocent - you are 100% certain of that because you know you didn't do it - and the plea offer is 1 year if you plead, 20 years if you don't. The government's evidence is that they put a jailhouse snitch in your cell who is willing to testify you made a detailed confession to him[1].

                      If the jury believes him, it's 20 years. If you plead to something you didn't do, it's 1 year. One way means seeing your kids grow up without you, your wife on welfare, etc. The other means pleading guilty to something you didn't do.

                      The innocent person isn't going to take the 9 v. 10 plea deal, but an innocent person might well take the 1 v. 20 deal. No one should be put in the position of making that choice.

                      [1]If you're not familiar with jailhouse snitches, the first rule of jailhouse snitches is 'they lie'.

      2. Bellmore, you know who did not say anything like that stuff you are claiming, about Antifa, etc.? The guy who just pleaded guilty. You are full of beans.

        1. Birds gotta fly. Fish gotta swim. Brett gotta make shit up.

          1. It's quite enjoyable to watch you destroy Michael and Twelve with the actual facts of the case while they all scream whataboutisms.

            Thank you!

            1. And by "actual facts of the case", you mean he is all but screaming that he doesn't need actual facts because he has a guilty plea.

          2. No rhythm. It's

            "Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly,
            I gotta love one man 'til I die."

            Or, as Tom Lehrer has it, in "Pollution,"

            "Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly,
            But they don't get far if they try."

      3. It's always antifa with Brett.

        1. I like how he hints that having a “quick response force” whose only intent in illegally bringing weapons into DC is to confront ANTIFA! is some mitigating factor.

          Also how he pretends any of this ever had anything to do with ANTIFA! at all.

          1. Well, it did for him. He says Antifa kept him out of DC.

            1. Expecting them kept me out of DC. I'm unaware of any evidence they showed up in significant numbers. But I'm old enough that I don't heal so fast anymore, so I have to take the prospect of violence occurring at a political rally seriously.

              " like how he hints that having a “quick response force” whose only intent in illegally bringing weapons into DC is to confront ANTIFA! is some mitigating factor."

              Well, sure: The fact that they brought them in case they were needed for self defense, and left them in VA to avoid breaking the law unless that self defense was actually needed, certainly IS a mitigating factor.

              Again, if they'd actually intended to use them for some illegitimate purpose, they wouldn't have left them in VA. Who goes out of their way to avoid breaking the law if their intent in bringing guns is to break the law?

              1. Antifa and other FBI agents were leading the break-ins.

                1. Evidence, BCD? Or did you get your information from that noted source, Otto Yourazz?

      4. "But, yes, they had been expecting the rally to be attacked by Antifa, didn't everybody expect that?"

        No. No rational people expected that. When it didn't happen, 99.9% of people were completely unsurprised.

        The far right's obsession with Antifa is as bizarre as their obsession with pedophilia, satanism, and human sacrifice. If Q-tards and wingnuts are to be believed, pedophile satanists who sacrifice babies to harvest ... something weird ... are as numerous as stars in the universe. And Antifa is hiding under every bush.

        1. Why, it's almost as though we had riots across the country causing a couple billion in property damage, and procurers who hang around with politicians keep committing 'suicide' in jail cells where the cameras are broken.

          1. Wow. That is one densely-packed bucket of crazy. How many baseless conspiracy theories did you manage to reference in that short post?

            1. Zero. There were no conspiracy theories there.

    2. OMG, Josh.

      They got Josh, never would have figured that.


      1. Different Josh.

  5. And just like that the PLANdemic is gone. Watch the rise of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. Gotta have a spoon to stir up the idiots.

  6. In a report concerning the most secure, fairest election in history that will surely garner almost zero coverage from our stellar media, Office of the Special Counsel in Wisconsin found that "it is clear that Wisconsin election officials’ unlawful conduct in the 2020 Presidential election casts grave doubt on Wisconsin’s 2020 Presidential election certification."

    Among the findings:

    1. Election officials’ use of absentee ballot drop boxes in violation of Wis. Stat. § 6.87(4)(b)1 and § 6.855;
    2. The Center for Tech and Civic Life’s $8,800,000 Zuckerberg Plan Grants being run in the Cities of Milwaukee, Madison, Racine, Kenosha and Green Bay constituting Election Bribery Under Wis. Stat. § 12.11;
    3. WEC’s failing to maintain a sufficiently accurate WisVote voter
    database, as determined by the Legislative Audit Bureau;
    4. The Cities of Milwaukee, Madison, Racine, Kenosha and Green Bay engaging private companies in election administration in
    unprecedented ways, including tolerating unauthorized users and
    unauthorized uses of WisVote private voter data under Wisconsin
    Elections Commission (WEC) policies, such as sharing voter data for free that would have cost the public $12,500;
    5. As the Racine County Sheriff’s Office has concluded, WEC
    unlawfully directed the municipal clerks not to send out the legally
    required special voting deputies to nursing homes, resulting in many nursing homes’ registered residents voting at 100% rates and many ineligible residents voting, despite a guardianship order or incapacity;
    6. Unlawful voting by wards-under-guardianship left unchecked by
    Wisconsin election officials, where WEC failed to record that
    information in the State’s WisVote voter database, despite its
    availability through the circuit courts—all in violation of the federal
    Help America Vote Act.
    7. WEC’s failure to record non-citizens in the WisVote voter database, thereby permitting non-citizens to vote, even though Wisconsin law requires citizenship to vote—all in violation of the Help America Vote Act. Unlawful voting by non-citizens left unchecked by Wisconsin election officials, with WEC failing to record that information in the State’s WisVote voter database; and
    8. Wisconsin election officials’ and WEC’s violation of Federal and
    Wisconsin Equal Protection Clauses by failing to treat all voters the same in the same election.

    1. I can't get the link to work. Is there a mirror or something?

      1. Link Works fine for me.

        Can also be accessed via:

        The Nursing Home stuff is stunning in the massive fraud.

        They vetted 30 different nursing homes in Milwaulkee with 1084 registered voters. And observed a stunning 100% of registered voters voted in the 2020 election. So, the investigators went to visit the nursing homes and interview these people who voted. And many were clearly incompetent to vote.

        In one case "Milwaukee County Facility 2, Resident I is 104 years old and clearly incompetent. Resident I’s family indicated Resident I had been incompetent for several years. This is an extremely egregious case as shown by video of Resident I with family. Resident I cannot comprehend anything"

        Nursing homes are a clear avenue for voting fraud. "Helpful" people get absentee ballots for the residents and "help them" fill them out, even if the residents don't understand a thing. Wisconsin has clear laws to prevent this, whereby special voting deputies (SVDs) are sent to nursing homes specifically to prevent this sort of fraud.

        Wisconsin election officials blatantly violated the law, ignoring sending SVDs to the nursing homes. This unsurprisingly, led to massive fraud. Criminal voting fraud charges have been recommended against a number of Wisconsin election officials for their part in this massive voting fraud.

        1. I would point out that no other than a judge can decide that a person is not competent to vote. The people who voted had the right to vote.

          Gableman's numbers are in question. He high balled the nursing home numbers and they don't always agree with recorded numbers.

          He also interviewed residents about their voting which is illegal.

          1. This isn't about legal incompetency. This is about ACTUAL incompetency. Many of these people had literally no clue what was going on. They were unable to read, think, or contemplate voting.

            And you care about their voting rights. Their voting rights were STOLEN from them by people committing fraud... People took their ballot, put down the choices the people wanted...not the resident, then fraudulently had it signed.

            If you really care about voting rights, you should deeply care when people have their voting rights STOLEN from them through fraud. Which is what happened here. And those people who enabled this theft should be punished under the criminal statues which they violated.

            1. More votes found to have been stolen.

              "In Brown County Facility 3, Resident D was taken from the facility to vote by family and guardian to Resident D’s assigned polling location. Resident D had registered to vote at this location on Oct 29th as well. When Resident D presented herself to vote on election day, the Resident D was told that Resident D had already voted. After questioning from family, Resident D recollected that someone at the nursing home had come around talking about voting at the nursing home, however, Resident D denied voting at the home. WisVote shows her voting absentee; "

              1. Why is that evidence that even Resident D's vote was stolen? Let alone evidence of massive voting fraud. Resident D is an old forgetful person. Resident D voted absentee, and forgot she did it. So what?

                Sorry, foamers. You are going to have to do better than that. So far, in support of charges of massive voting fraud, we have Resident I and Resident D, neither of whom has been shown to have voted illegally. Especially ludicrous is the charge that Resident I voted, despite the charge, "Resident I cannot comprehend anything." Well, yeah. Since when has comprehending anything been a requirement to vote?

                On the other hand, this notion of state supplied, "special voting deputies," sounds ripe for extreme abuse. How does that work? The SVD arrives and says, "I think you are senile, no vote for you?" Or does the SVD get empowered to browse patient records? Maybe challenge the patient with math problems? Ask what day it is? Ask who is President? If any of that stuff is going on, it's just the old Jim Crow voting qualification quiz all over again.

                By what process did SVDs come to be?

                1. "Why is that evidence that even Resident D's vote was stolen? Let alone evidence of massive voting fraud. Resident D is an old forgetful person. Resident D voted absentee, and forgot she did it. So what?"

                  Huh? Of course it's evidence that the vote was stolen. It may not be dispositive evidence, but it's evidence.

                2. "On the other hand, this notion of state supplied, "special voting deputies," sounds ripe for extreme abuse. How does that work?"

                  Sounds like you should look up the relevant law, and how it worked.

                3. They should just pass a law that makes it a felony for anyone to handle an opened ballot who is not a family member, or a staff member pre designated by name at least 2 weeks before the election and the designation expires on election day.

                  They should also require that anyone marking a ballot for someone else to sign an affidavit, that they were authorized by the voter, and the voter clearly expressed their choice of candidates and questions for every selection marked. And the same requirement for requesting an absentee ballot.

                  That would prevent someone from showing up at the nursing home collecting the ballots and then depositing them in the drop box anonymously.

                  Yep, that will take some time and effort, but voting at the polls takes some time and effort too, and we need to insure that its done legitimately.

                  1. Harsh punishments for something there is no evidence is going on.

                    What a small government thing to call for!

                    1. Well I can say the same thing about harsh punishment for the "insurrection".

                      But in most states voterf fraud is already a felony, and no one is suspending
                      beyond a reasonable doubt.

                      What it does do is establish a chain of custody when 3rd parties handle a ballot. .

                    2. The insurrection actually happened. And then, in 2020 we had another attempt. With the same flag, even.

                      You've got a solution in search of a problem.

                    3. What insurrection in 2020?

                    4. 2021, AL.

                      Pretty sure you knew what I meant.

                  2. Kazinski, let's impose some more time and effort, blue-state style.

                    Pass a law. If you own real estate in more than one state, to vote you need an affidavit from the Secretary of State in each state where you own real estate, but are not voting. It is a felony (of course!) to try to vote without first presenting current affidavits at the polls. Also, any state official who provides an incorrect non-registration affidavit commits a felony.

                    Likewise for out-of-state vehicle registrations and gun permits. In fact, any credential which would entitle you to register in another state must be accounted for, with an affidavit that you are not registered to vote there, or you go to jail if you vote without it.

                    It will take some effort, but we need to be sure voting is done legitimately.

              2. "There are safety precautions in place for seniors in care facilities. WEC should follow existing law and not put our elections at risk. Our vulnerable seniors deserve proper oversight." said Representative Brandtjen.

                That is a comment from a Wisconsin Republican Representative who obviously is extremely concerned that, "vulnerable seniors get proper oversight," during elections. I am more concerned about seniors' vulnerability to that state voting oversight.

                More generally, what we see here is more of the Republican overreach on voting. It's predicated on the foolish notion that states ought to have plenary power to pass whatever voting laws they want. Voting is not a privilege. It is not even just a right. It is a sovereign power, superior to the power of the state.

                States' power to condition voting ought to be strictly limited to ministerial responsibilities—keeping elections fair, and counting the votes. That power should never approach anything with potential to affect voting outcomes.

                1. "Voting is not a privilege. It is not even just a right. "

                  Ummm. Voting is a right. You know that. Right? Right.....?

                  1. Sorry, Armchair. Voting is far more securely lodged in American constitutionalism than any mere right. Voting comes straight from the source, the same place rights come from—from the will of the sovereign People. Under American constitutionalism, voting is a sovereign power.

                    1. No, the *formation of a commonwealth* is an Act of Sovereignty. The act of electing Magistrates as officers of the commonwealth is but the exercise of one out of the bundle of Civic Rights secured under the commonwealth.

                      If voting is a sovereign power then a New commonwealth would be formed at the time of each election, apparently without any constraints on the Magistrates. Only an Elective Monarchy would seem a form consistent with such a scheme.

                    2. @ Smith_FT_MI. No. That sounds like one of the more exotic flowers which cropped up in the garden of British political turmoil, from the 17th century onward. But your pervasive passive-voiced description renders it incomprehensible. Whatever it is, the notion of an, "Act of Sovereignty," as you describe it, has nothing to do with American constitutionalism.

              3. "WisVote shows her voting absentee"

                It would be useful to know who earned this "fraudulent" vote, since the overwhelming majority of people who have been caught casting fraudulent votes voted for Trump.

                1. Why don't we just make the process honest?

                  1. It already is. A .01% fraud rate is almost impossible to improve on. That's what we have now.

                    No system is foolproof. If your agrument is that to get better than 99.99% it is worth disenfranchising some voters "by mistake", you don't place enough value on the right to vote.

            2. If the people had no idea of what they are doing, they should have been adjudicated to not vote. Only a judge can do that. Listen the reason that people in nursing home can vote is that they skew Republican and the Republicans have control the Wisconsin legislature for over ten years. Most of the laws that Gableman complained about were put in place in Wisconsin by Republicans. No Republican in the legislature is suggesting their own election is tainted. This is all being done to appease the vanity of a former President.

              1. "Listen the reason that people in nursing home can vote is that they skew Republican "

                Umm.. What?

                No, the reason people in nursing homes can vote, is because they're US Citizens (those that are citizens, of course). You don't "give up" your right to vote because you're in a nursing home. The implication that they can only vote because they skew Republican is....offensive. Not to mention implies that "Democrats" would take away their right to vote.

                But isn't that may have happened? Their right to vote was stolen from them via fraud? Do you support such fraud?

            3. This isn't about legal incompetency. This is about ACTUAL incompetency. Many of these people had literally no clue what was going on. They were unable to read, think, or contemplate voting.

              Sure. We call them "Trump supporters."

          2. If it has gotten to the point where the defense of illegal voting practices is "we made it illegal to check that", you have a serious credibility problem.

            1. They're defending voting theft at this point, by asserting you can't ask if someone voted

              1. AL, you don't need to ask if anyone voted. You can check election records. They tell you who voted.

                1. You are correct. It is not legal for an individual to ask a person if they voted. There are plenty of records to check for that information.

                  1. Stop using facts and laws. It makes the Big Lie conspirators sad.

                    1. It's completely legal to ask if someone voted. That's the truth.

                  2. You do understand that it is perfectly legal to ask if someone voted in an election. Right? And in fact surveys do this all the time. Right?

                    1. While you can ask a person, they are under no obligation to answer. Was that made clear to the people that Gableman spoke to?

                    2. Wow...move those goalposts. Like...1000 miles.

                      You REPEATEDLY asserted that it was illegal to ask if someone had voted. Now, suddenly, you admit, it's completely legal to ask. But the person doesn't have to answer.

                      Of course, that's true of literally any question someone asks. They can ask literally anything. And the person doesn't have to answer, except under very specific circumstances (typically a court order).

                    3. I have seen attempts to go around after an election asking people if they really cast absentee ballots construed to be "voter intimidation", with threatened prosecution. Not recently, though, this was about 10 years ago.

                  3. You don't know what you are talking about. its not against the law to ask someone a question, whether they voted or even who they voted for. Its a pretty common question people ask. Whether or not an answer could be compelled, might be dependent on the circumstances. If a felon or an alien cast a vote illegally then perhaps they could be compelled to disclose that, or if they were paid to vote for a particular candidate.

                    Whether or not someone cast a ballot is a public record. If it says in the public record that you voted then how could it be against the law to ask someone to verify it?

              2. They're defending voting theft at this point, by asserting you can't ask if someone voted.

                Yeah, AL, go with that. What a good faith reading of the issues people have - they are all defending fraud!

                Man, you really need to do better about people who disagree with you and not thinking they must be lying to you.

                1. Look who jumped in here...

                  What about you Sarcastro. Do you think it's legal to ask if someone voted in an election? Yes or no.

                  1. I don't think that's a question relevant to the article you linked.

                    1. Whoosh.... Watch Sarcastro avoid the very point in my post that he quoted.

                      Just for reference, here EXACTLY is what Sarcastro quoted, with his response. "They're defending voting theft at this point, by asserting you can't ask if someone voted."
                      Sarcastro: "Yeah, AL, go with that."

                      And when directly asked about EXACTLY WHAT HE QUOTED, Sarcastro says "I don't think that's a question relevant"

                      This is why he's can't be trusted to discuss things rationally...

                    2. Funny, AL, you left off the second part of my comment. The 'to the article you linked' part.

                      That changes the whole point of my comment from what you claim, making your triumphalist post here a big swing at a strawman.

                    3. Here in the real world Sarcastro, when you respond to a post, directly quote it, then run away...

                      Well, that's your MO.

                    4. You say I run away in response to my reply to your post, pointing out it's crap.

                      Hardly running away. Seems more like you're just reaching for irrelevant insults.

        2. "Criminal voting fraud charges have been recommended against a number of Wisconsin election officials for their part in this massive voting fraud."

          Recommended by one sheriff without jurisdiction it seems, but not actually pursued by any prosecutor.

          I still can't get at the original document, but it seems like a lot of these claims are not only disputed but have been previously adjudicated and found to be incorrect. e.g., the claim about the Center for Tech and Civic life (this decision was upheld by the 7th Circuit on appeal):

          1. Your court case is from October of 2020

            The claims about the CTCL within the document are new, which have been revealed upon further investigation of 2 years and the actions they took since. They cannot have been found to have been incorrect by the court, because many had not happened yet.

            1. Huh? They bribed the elections officials after the election? That seems like it would be ineffective at changing the result.

              1. Stop being sensible and logical!

              2. The election wasn't until November. The court decision was in October. Order of's important.

                1. Yes. As pointed out, the only way bribery works to impact an election is if you do it BEFORE the election. Which is why October is relevant and anything after the election would be pointless. It's not rocket science.

                  1. Remind me again....If the court order is in October. But the election is in November. Is there a period of time in between the court order and the election when bribery could affect an election?

                    1. Really? That's what you're reduced to?

                      There was no widespread voter fraud.

                      Trump lost.

                      Let it go, for the love of God.

                    2. "Really. That's what your reduced to"

                      Yes. Accurately correcting you about the timing of events. Which you seem to want to ignore.

                    3. No, you insinuated that between October and the election in early November, fraud if some sort might have happened, so we should assume that there was bribery. With no evidence.

                      When some verified evidence of bribery/fraud/hypnotism actually shows up, let me know. Until then, please stop with the repeatedly-disproved lie that there was widespread voter fraud and that Trump won the election.

          2. You should read a decision before you cite it. That decision was nothing more than a denial of a temporary injunction by a Federal court based on constitutional claims which were a stretch.


            "Plaintiffs Wisconsin Voters Alliance and six of its members filed this action against the Cities of Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee, and Racine seeking to enjoin the defendant Cities from accepting grants totaling $6,324,527 from The Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), a private non-profit organization, to help pay for the upcoming November 3, 2020 election. Plaintiffs allege that the defendant Cities are prohibited from accepting and using “private federal election grants” by the Elections and Supremacy Clauses of the United States Constitutions..."

            Not only did the decision not reach the merits, it says nothing about whether it conformed to Wisconsin elections law.

            1. Sure. But also, "whether it conformed to Wisconsin elections law" says nothing about whether there were any fraudulent votes.

              1. Two completely different issues, I don't think fraud decided the election, but I also think state and local officials should follow the law as written by the legislature.

                We should be able to be able to agree with that principle.

                Ask the SEC whether they will just take a pass on enforcement for a securities dealer that blatantly violates record keeping requirements if the SEC can't detect any fraud.

                Are you going to advise a client that it's ok as long as nobody loses any money?

                1. A lot of the violations were, not incidentally, the sort of chain of custody breaks that can be used to render actual fraud impossible to detect. So I wouldn't put as much weight on the level of detected fraud as you do.

                  Seems to me the Democrats were trying to set things up so that if the election went badly for them, THEY could be the ones to cry fraud. it wasn't until they won that they settled on the narrative that everything was on the up and up.

            2. Uhh, from the parts of the decision that you decided not to quote:

              'Plaintiffs allege that the defendant Cities are prohibited from accepting and using “private federal election grants” by the Elections and Supremacy Clauses of the United States Constitutions, the National Voters Registration Act (NVRA), 52 U.S.C. §§ 20501–20511, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), 52 U.S.C. §§ 20901–21145, and Section 12.11 of the Wisconsin Statutes, which prohibits election bribery'

              Notably Section 12.11 of the Wisconsin Statutes is the exact same provision cited in the report. (You can just scroll up this comment thread to see!)

              The court then goes on:

              "Plaintiffs have presented at most a policy argument for prohibiting municipalities from accepting funds from private parties to help pay the increased costs of conducting safe and efficient elections. The risk of skewing an election by providing additional private funding for conducting the election in certain areas of the State may be real. The record before the Court, however, does not provide the support needed for the Court to make such a determination, especially in light of the fact that over 100 additional Wisconsin municipalities received grants as well. Decl. of Lindsay J. Mather, Ex. D. Plaintiffs argue that the receipt of private funds for public elections also gives an appearance of impropriety. This may be true, as well. These are all matters that may merit a legislative response but the Court finds nothing in the statutes Plaintiffs cite, either directly or indirectly, that can be fairly construed as prohibiting the defendant Cities from accepting funds from CTCL."

              So, sure, the court technically didn't get to the merits. But they did look at the claims by the Plaintiffs and determined that there was no chance that the grants violated any of the relevant laws. At that point, it's a distinction without a difference.

        3. "Resident I cannot comprehend anything"

          And so who did Resident I vote for? It would be useful to know who earned this "fraudulent" vote, since the overwhelming majority of people who have been caught casting fraudulent votes voted for Trump.

          1. "And so who did Resident I vote for?"

            Does it matter? No. Stealing someone's vote is wrong, no matter who they would've have voted for.

            1. It wrongs that individual and everyone else who voted in the election. Dems' interest is trying to get away with it, as always.

              1. Except, as I pointed out before, most of the people who have gotten caught for voter fraud were Republicans voting for Trump. Hell, there were at least a half dozen or more at The Villages alone.

            2. Did I say that? No. I pointed out that ttying to aim that the wrong candidate got Wisconsin's electors would require some sort of evidence that there were fraudulent votes cast for Biden. You can't just assume they were 100% for Biden without making a dishonest argument ... oh, wait.

            3. Armchair, votes from people who cannot comprehend anything ought to be a non-factor, right? Wouldn't they be randomly distributed among the candidates? Come to think of it, maybe that means voting incompetence benefits thinly-supported third parties—just as everyone has suspected!

        4. Note how the Dems here don't want votes to be correct. They want everyone to shut up and let the fraud happen.

          1. First off, I"m a libertarian and have never in my life been a Democrat. Secondly, I am not so foolish as to pretend that any election will ever be free of illegal ballots, whether fraudulent or honest mistakes.

            In an average Presidential election, around 5-7k votes are fraudulently cast. I believe, with the higher voter turnout, that 2020 was around 10k. Usually around about 2/3 are honest mistakes, the majority being people who had recently been found guilty of a felony and lost their right to vote but didn't think about it and voted like they always had in the past.

            Even if EVERY INTENTIONALLY FRAUDULENT VOTE were for Biden (an assumption that the data disproves), there were not enough fraudulent votes to change the election. Even if the fraudulent votes nationwide were all cast for Biden and all cast in the state he won by the slimmest margin (Georgia), it would not have changed the outcome.

            The Big Lie may have started out as The Big Self-Delusion or The Big Unwilling To Accept Other People's Votes Count Too, but at this point with 100% of all available evidence (and there is a shit-ton of it) showing that the election was free, fair, and was won convincingly by Joe Biden, it's just a sad bunch of pathetic losers and whiners lying to themselves about reality.

            Trump lost. Get over yourselves. Voter fraud is the closest thing (~.0125% fraud rate) to nonexistant as you can get unless you beleuev there is a system somewhere that is foolproof. Although if you believe The Big Lie, you're probably that delusional.

            1. I think your mistake is assuming that the only way to illegally rig an election is through fraudulent votes. There are plenty of illegal election manipulation schemes that don't result in actual fraudulent votes.

              For instance, if state law doesn't permit setting up drop boxes for ballots, and local elections officials do so anyway, this is illegal, may influence the outcome of the election, but that doesn't mean the ballots dropped in them were fraudulent.

              1. but that doesn't mean the ballots dropped in them were fraudulent.

                By Jove, I think he's finally got it!

                It doesn't. Which means that it's irrelevant. It does not constitute stealing an election for eligible voters to cast votes in the appropriate jurisdiction. If indeed drop boxes were not compliant with the law — and there has been no definitive ruling to that effect — then that might be grounds for firing the people who implemented them (or maybe not; it depends whether they had a reasonable basis for thinking so). It could even be grounds for prosecuting the people who implemented them. What it is not is grounds for claiming the election was stolen.

                1. What it is not is grounds for claiming the election was stolen.

                  Or "illegally rigged," to use your word choice.

                  Brett: "This election was rigged! So-and-so voted!"
                  Normal person: "What's the problem? He's an eligible voter. He cast one ballot, and he did so freely and without coercion, in the jurisdiction where he's entitled to vote."
                  Brett: "Yeah, but he didn't jump through a random hoop that did not alter the genuineness of his ballot, first!"

                2. "It does not constitute stealing an election for eligible voters to cast votes in the appropriate jurisdiction."

                  No, but it may constitute stealing an election for election administrators to violate the law in a way that influences the outcome of the election.

                  1. No. Not unless those violations result in ineligible voters casting votes.

                    You still don't seem to get that the rules are instrumental, not substantive. We need some rules to make the election administrable, yes. But anything beyond that is meaningless at best, immoral at worst. You have this idea that if the legislature passes a rule saying, "A voter must hop on one leg before putting his ballot into the ballot box, or his ballot is invalid" and the election administrator ignores that and counts the votes of non-hopping voters, that the election administrator has somehow stolen the election if too many of those non-hopping votes were cast. Because The Rules. But that's just not it. All of those votes are legitimate regardless of The Rules, assuming they were cast by otherwise-eligible voters, and the election was not stolen.

            2. First off, I"m a libertarian

              A libertarian who wants to force web designers to design websites they disagree with? That's… interesting.

              1. No, a libertarian who can look at Jim Crow and know that discrimination in the public square is detrimental. I don"t have a problem seeing that the most extreme version of a principle is usually bad.

                But my main argument against the web designer (and the baker, and any other coercive Christian) is this: you don't have the right to play by a different set of rules than everone else. If you don"t want to sell to/design for/work with a group that is specifically protected by a law, then find something else to do for a living. The rule of law is that important.

                You knew what the law was before you chose to go into business. Jumping in front of a car and then claiming they had no right to hit you because it is your "sincerely held belief" that you are alloed to ifnorevtraffic laws is not a valid argument.

                1. I don"t have a problem seeing that the most extreme version of a principle is usually bad.

                  The most extreme? This isn't anywhere near the most extreme. The most extreme would be that all anti-discrimination law is invalid. This is just saying that an anti-discrimination law, as a mere statute, does not overturn the first amendment.

                  But my main argument against the web designer (and the baker, and any other coercive Christian)

                  A libertarian who thinks that choosing not to do business with someone is "coercive"? As opposed to the person trying to force people to do business with him? That's certainly a take. That involves a language not entirely unlike English, but very close to such.

                  is this: you don't have the right to play by a different set of rules than everone else. If you don"t want to sell to/design for/work with a group that is specifically protected by a law, then find something else to do for a living. The rule of law is that important.

                  A libertarian who thinks that complying with a statute that violates the NAP is more important than individual liberty? That's also an interesting notion.

                  The problem with your argument is that even if it had merit in the abstract, it would not be applicable to this case. You keep trying to make this case about religion, but it's actually about free speech. And, of course, as such the web designer is playing by the same rules as everyone else: the government can't coerce anyone to speak — not just him.

                  You knew what the law was before you chose to go into business.

                  Setting aside the question begging about whether the law is constitutional as applied, that's true in this particular case but isn't necessarily true, and thus is not a valid argument: the law applies to people who chose to go into business before it was enacted, too.

    2. Gableman's report is a fiction. Gableman has no real understanding of the voting process. He has not voted in over three years. Even leading Wisconsin Republicans are keeping their distance. This report has an audience of one, the former President.

      By the way this report has cost $676,000. That is my tax money and its only purpose is to make Trump happy.

      1. "He has not voted in over three years. "

        Smart guy, can prioritize.

      2. By the way this report has cost $676,000.
        That is my tax money

        Six hundred seventy-six

        As in, it may well have cost you a significant fraction of a penny?

        When Team Blue has recently shown itself incapable of envisioning spending money in increments under a trillion, playing the taxpayer card over an amount like this feels just a wee bit like a distraction.

        1. Waste and fraud is bad, right?. This nonsense is both.

        2. That's not even Dr. Evil money.

          That's the kind of money you would expect to spend on a study exploring non-traditional gender expression in migrating monarch butterflies.

      3. A lot of Judges don't vote intentionally because they feel it may cast doubt on their impartiality. I don't think they need to go that far, but I certainly can respect that decision without drawing any negative inferences.

    3. FDW...These formal reports (and similar investigations in other states) are an important part of the overall historical record. I see these different investigations highlighting various unsavory practices and other aspects of the 2020 election as a necessary step in restoring some civic confidence in our elections.

      The election is over. POTUS Biden is the certified winner. For better or worse, he is the man sitting in the Oval Office. That is how our system is set up. You have the election, and then there is an 11-week interregnum period to make your case...and then it is just over. And we move on. There is always a 'next election' just two years away. The Founders were very smart that way, I think.

      It all starts with transparency (to me): what is objectively true? Right now, we don't really know. In hindsight (some years from now), it will be clear what actually happened. I can wait patiently.

      1. "FDW...These formal reports (and similar investigations in other states) are an important part of the overall historical record. I see these different investigations highlighting various unsavory practices and other aspects of the 2020 election as a necessary step in restoring some civic confidence in our elections."

        No. You're missing the point of this completely.

        Look, if someone says, "There's going to be a fire!" and gets everyone looking for fire, and there's no fire, and then afterwards, gets people to keep pumping out reports to say that they saw smoke (even though there was no smoke), then eventually there will be people that believe that there was a fire, because were there is smoke ...

        That is what is happening here. This report, here? Total BS. Go ahead and look at it (look at the twitter thread below, do your own research, whatever). But ... the important point isn't that it's not credible. It's that it exists. So people like FD can share it, and keep it around, and like to it.

        The lies keep getting propagated, no matter how often the truth comes around.

        The whole point is to keep destroying the trust we have in elections, in the civic process.

        1. Loki, destroying trust is not the only point. Raising money is another point.

        2. loki13, if the report is crap (I do not know), and nothing in the report is true, it will be obvious with the passage of time. I am of the mind that we should let the rough and tumble of the process play out (it will take years) over time. For now, I am a somewhat interested bystander. Only somewhat, because I don't live in the Badger state. They need to work that stuff out between themselves.

          We have plenty of issues here in the People's Republic.

          O/T: You really have mango trees? I am sooooo jealous.

          1. Commenter_XY, rough and tumble, extended process, and the judgment of history are all fine, so long as no one sworn to uphold the Constitution is involved, or pulling the strings. But if after an election has been certified, someone sworn to uphold the Constitution continues to call the election stolen, that puts you in a different world.

            Every election result is a sovereign decree, from the highest power in American constitutionalism. Everyone who swears to uphold the Constitution (which is also a sovereign decree) owes a special duty of loyalty and full support to the sovereign American People. To continue indefinitely to deny the validity of their decree is equivalent to setting yourself up as a rival for their sovereignty. Doing that is similar to treason, and ought to be punished criminally.

            Let unsworn people, people without that special duty of loyalty, do the retrospective work of determining what really happened. Bar sworn office holders and election candidates from continuing to dispute elections past their certification dates. That will let investigation go forward, but draw a sharp line between historical investigation, and quasi-treasonous attempts by those in power to overturn valid election results.

          2. Again, though, there was already a BI-PARTISAN report.

            This is just ... well, it's total BS. Seriously- it doesn't take a moment of checking for you to find out for yourself. And that's the point. So people like FD can send on this junk, and for others (like you) to think that there must be smoke. It's our domestic version of Putin's lies- keep lying and hope that some people believe you.

            And yes- a mango tree. It's one of a few fruit trees, but it is by far my favorite! If you don't have one, you have NO IDEA how much fruit one mango tree produces.

            1. Hmmm....your comments on the amount of fruit produced by the Mango tree makes me think that I should never, ever get one. Because picking up the fallen, rotted fruit is a real chore.

              I get it. I once had a peach tree. You know, the make your own peach pie sort of thing. Sounds wonderful when you plant the tree, right? There was a lot of fruit. I used to send my small children (ages 5,7) on 'peach patrol' - they loved it. And over time the boys tired of 'peach patrol'. Then, the 'peach patrol' morphed into 'peach grenade launching'. I later chopped down the tree when I was preparing to sell that home. I'll stick to Whole Paycheck's mangoes, based on your comments. 🙂

              All the other stuff (2020 election investigations, Jan 6 prosecutions, et al)....That will all play out over several years. It is not going away. There is no putting toothpaste back into the tube. The things that happened, they happened. Today it is WI. I mean, it is information (the report) but not particularly relevant to me because I do not live in the Badger state. Next week, it will be something else. Two months after that, it will be (fill in the blank). The point is, knowing this, my view is shine a proverbial light on all of it (transparency), and people can decide for themselves the veracity and soundness of evidence, and the legitimacy of the investigatory process itself.

              It will take years to compile the historical record and make sense of the data, loki13 (and lathrop - I did not ignore you). Time (meaning years) really will tell. As for me personally, I am just sitting on the sidelines as a somewhat (emphasis on somewhat) interested bystander.

          3. it will be obvious with the passage of time

            How? This area is already all politics, with anecdotes curated to taste.

        3. There is no better way to destroy faith in our elections than saying allegations of a rigged process can't be investigated.

          When Stacey Abrams was claiming the 2018 Georgia governors race, that she lost by over 50,000 votes, was rigged, the proper response was for them to go ahead and certify the election because the result was clear. But it was also proper for the state legislature to examine her claims about voter roll purging, long lines at polling places etc., and then decide if there were any legislative fixes to be made.

          You aren't really trying to say the Florida legislature was out of bounds when they investigated, then changed the law to ban butterfly ballots after it cost Al Gore the 2000 election?

          That position is ridiculous on its face. Are you also claiming the Mueller probe should never have been started because it cast doubt on the 2016 election (it shouldn't have because it was based on a chain of fabrications, but that's different from your "principle").

          1. Turns out the better way to destroy faith in our election is to throw up bullshit allegations of election theft and insist that anyone pushing back against your eternal investigation is the reall problem.

      2. The conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty as well as the Wisconsin Audit Bureau have reported on Wisconsin's 2020 election and their reports deserve consideration. Gablemen's report is a work of fiction write to appeal to the former President. Let Trump keep a copy and recycle the rest.

      3. Regarding transparency, it is a two-way street. Michael Gableman has on and off subpoenaed a number of Wisconsin election officials and mayors for testimony. Most have refused but have volunteered to testify in public hearings on the election. He doesn't want that. Gableman and Assembly Leader Vos have both been ordered to provide documents on the investigation by a court. Both have been fined for not doing so. They cannot find the documents.

        There is far more transparency in the 2020 election than there is in Gableman's investigation.

        1. Agree: Transparency works both ways.

        2. Incorrect. Many groups have failed to cooperate with Gableman's investigation. There has not been enough transparency.

          1. Maybe because he is full of shit and everyone knows it? Maybe because there has been a bipartisan study that found it was free and fair and some people will never accept the truth?

            Or maybe because at this point anyone who won't accept the massive body of evidence of a free and fair election in every state in the country is not worth wasting valuable time on.

            1. Or maybe because they have personal guilt to hide. Who can say?

              Attempting to prevent people from learning what happened looks dishonest though. Partisan stonewalling of fact-finding on public matters doesn't serve the public.

          2. No one has failed to cooperate with Gablemen. They have refused to be cowed or to commit illegal acts in his behalf. People have offered to testify but asked that it be done in public. He has been offered access to ballots and equipment but only in line with legal requirements.

            What you should be asking is why Gablemen will not accept in public testimony, why he will not agree to legal requirements for ballot access, why he will not provide documentation as ordered by the courts.

            1. Ummm. According to his report, many people have failed to cooperate.

              1. Gee, what a surprise. When one guy says one thing and wants to keep everything secret and everybody else says the opposite and wants everything out in the open, which one do you think is full of shit and knows it?

              2. If it looks like red meat that's too good to be true, consider that it might be not actually be on the up and up, AL.

                It's not a massive media coverup, it's that this is nonsense for partisans to swallow without critical thinking.
                And you have ably shown how willing you are to go out of your way to not think critically when you want to believe.

                1. Come back when you actually respond to questions about things you directly quote in the same thread.

                  Until then, you can't be trusted to be honest.

                  1. I know you get off on calling me a liar.

                    But your question is not the clever trap you think it is.

              3. No, according to the report Gableman listed a number of obstructions, including people having dark money lawyers (almost sounds like a Democrat with the "Dark Money" complaint). Complaints that his staff was asked for documentation. People said they would cooperate, its recorded in the newspaper, but only with an open investigation.

                I don't know if you have followed this investigation, but people have in Wisconsin. The Republican Party had put the 2020 election to bed. There were several reports, by WILL and the LAB all found the election results valid. The former President whined, and Robin Vos caved and started another investigation with Gableman. The investigation had no organization or purpose, because in the end its only purpose was to say that the election was wrong. Which essentially it did, again with no proof just accusations. As I noted earlier, most Wisconsin Republican leaders are steering clear of this wreck.

        3. I can certainly see keeping details of an investigation secret until its complete, it keeps people from tailoring their statements to what's already been said.

          In most courtrooms witnesses are often not allowed to attend a trial if the judge thinks their testimony could be colored by another witnesses testimony, even though courtrooms are open to the public.

    4. Well that certainly isn't a partisan hack job. Here are a couple simple points:

      1) Did this change the vote count? Meaning if this was actually relevant to anything, would the people who used the drop boxes have voted any differently if they weren't there?
      2) Grants are bribery? Really? Also, did this change the vote count?
      3) Define "sufficiently". Is i the same definition as in past elections? So, did this change the vote count?
      4) so they gave away information for free that was worth $12,500. Did that change the vote count?
      5) They didn't monitor voting in nursing homes well. And some people (as in every election) erroniously voted when they weren't eligible. Since they were caught (because they know the voters weren't eligible), did this change the vote count?
      6) So there was an administrative violation, but no cases actually found (which is what "left unchecked" means). Did this change the vote count?
      7) So they didn't record non-citizens but, since you have to be registered to vote in order to vote and non-citizens can't register to vote, how would they have voted? Also unanswered: did this change the vote count?
      8) This is so vague as to be meaningless. How did they "[fail] to treat all voters the same in the same election."? And,.of course, did this change the vote count?

      Basically this is a list of minor administrative issues that are common with any large-scale endeavor (voting, international shipping, data entry, etc., etc., etc.). None of them claim to have chnaged the vote count. At best, if everything listed was 100% true and 100% fraudulent and 100% of the votes went for one candidate (a patently ridiculous scenario), was it enough to change the outcome? Since they aren't saying that it would have, this is just mor Big Lie nonsense. Like every other Big Lie claim.

      1. 1) Yes
        2) Yes, they can be. Yes
        3) It made it harder to accurately assess.
        4) Yes
        5) Yes. Many weren't caught. Their ballots were counted.
        6) Yes
        7) Non Citizens have registered in the past. Yes, it changed the vote count
        8) Was it enough to change the outcome? Yes.
        8) Read the report. Yes, it changed the vote count.

        1. OK. Even if we assume the vote count changed (and there is no affirmative evidence of that), by how many votes did it change and for which candidate?

          1. It's typically impossible to determine that, the best you can do is to establish that enough ballots were compromised to plausibly exceed the margin of the election.

            For state offices, particularly local, this can result in an election being canceled and rerun. However, there's no mechanism for doing that for Presidential elections.

            This is why there was basically no chance that Trump would prevail in his post-election legal challenges. There was no remedy available, and judges will not entertain cases without remedies.

            1. "It's typically impossible to determine that, the best you can do is to establish that enough ballots were compromised to plausibly exceed the margin of the election."

              Yes and that point was made by then USAG William Barr. Was there some fraud yes, the amount was very small and in no way affected the results. You cannot say a half dozen votes are enough to change an election won by over 20K votes. The fact is the recount Trump demanded in Wisconsin found more votes for Biden then fraudulent votes found in this state.

              1. 92,000 people reside in nursing homes in WI.

                Assuming just 20% - 30% of these were fradulent (based on the absurd 100% voting rate at some of these nursing homes, and adjusting to a more normal 70-80% (which is still high) voting response rate.)

                That's easily enough to swing the election.

                1. Why do you assume 20% to 30%? Most studies of voter fraud find generally less than 1%. Can you provide a citation for such a high assumption?

                  I also don't believe a 20% to 30% fraud because it would be too evident. This number would be a red flag to everyone, not just Trump cultist like Gableman.

                  1. "Why do you assume 20% to 30%"

                    As mentioned in the post, typical voter turnout rates are on the order of 60 - 70%. In 2020, voter turnout was 66.1% nationwide.

                    Having "100%" turnout (which is what occurred in nursing homes in WI) is absurd. To a first approximation, it's not unreasonable to assert turnout in nursing homes to be at approximately the same level as the general public. Given such an assumption, if actual voter turnout was only 70%, but the recorded turnout was "100%"...then 30% of ballots would have been fraudulently filled out and submitted.

                    1. So basically, all you are going on is assumptions.

                      I reread the Gableman report. It does not say that nursing homes reported 100% turnout. It says many nursing homes report 100% turnout and it does not define the term "many". The fact is we don't know what the total rate of ballot return from Wisconsin nursing facilities was in 2020. That number is not reported.

                      Gableman also list nursing homes residents as 92K, but the Kaiser Family Foundation report only 21.5 K Wisconsin residents in nursing facilities in 2020. Gableman in his report used a very broad definition including adult daycare facilities, assisted living and other facilities to pump up the numbers.

                      As I noted earlier Gableman's report is primarily fiction and fiction written primarily for an audience of one, the former President.

                    2. In its response to the Gableman report the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC) notes the lack of methodology used in reporting 100% reporting rate at some nursing homes. The WEC goes on to note that reporting rate actually declined in some area nursing homes.


              2. I keep pointing this out: Fraud isn't the only sort of illegality that can effect the outcome of an election. Campaign finance violations, breaking ballot chain of custody, illegally different polling hours, partisan GOTV drives run out of election offices, throwing out ballots from areas known to vote heavily for one's opponent, the list goes on and on.

                It probably is the only sort that gets elections overturned, though, as opposed to just perpetrators being prosecuted.

      2. The outcome will not change. But the people who have been harmed by having their vote stolen or devalued by fraud can get justice and measures can be taken to secure voting and counting so we don't have to keep doing this every election.

        Everyone is owed a fair election. And if you want people to agree it's fair and agree on the result, then procedures to ensure fairness and have to be followed.

      3. I don't think grants are bribery, but if Zuckerberg didn't want to affect the election then why did he make such selective grants?

        I don't think government functions should be funded selectively by private donors. Do you think it would be proper for a conservative organization to offer the Milwaukee DA funding for 50 additional prosecutors to prosecute auto thefts and property crimes? I think there would be some concern expressed about that.

        It's probably illegal is most jurisdictions anyway. For instance Bloomberg issued grants to several state attorneys general to privately fund prosecutors to go after oil companies civilly or criminally for climate change, NY and Oregon at least had to return the money to Bloomberg. There is currently or was a house committee that was using private funding for congressional staffers which is against house rules.

        1. I don't think grants are bribery, but if Zuckerberg didn't want to affect the election then why did he make such selective grants?

          He made grants where places applied for them. The Trumpkin GOP was having a tantrum, so they didn't.

          1. Well why don't you address my hypothetical then?

            Say Walmart, Target, Walgreens, and Geico and Allstate team up to issues grants to jurisdictions that apply for them to fund 50 prosecutors to address auto theft, shoplifting and other property crimes. Basically what Bloomberg did giving states resources to selectively go after companies contributing to GHG emissions.
            Is private funding of core government power, like prosecutions and election administration ok to further someones private goals?

            1. You appear to be conflating infrastructure with direct service.

    5. Idiots such as yourself believe anything they already want to believe.

      Isn't it amazing how a (Trump!) guy who claims the election was stolen long before being appointed to investigate it, would walk away claiming the election was stolen?

      1. Did you actually read that? It's a clearly Dem-partisan opinion piece and it still says that laws were broken and that much of the report remains to be verified but they have zero facts to contradict any of it.

        They disagree with Gableman's opinions though. So what?

        1. No, that's not what it says, with the exception of the nursing home SVD issue. Which it points out was a bipartisan decision, and also points out that there's no evidence of any fraud relating to that.

          1. It's weird to say there's "no evidence of fraud" related to something that was determined to be illegal.

            What evidence did the AP present? None.
            What parts of the report did they contradict? None.

            1. Not everything that's illegal is "fraud". Referring to every form of election related illegality as "fraud" is as lazy as the left calling every election related practice they don't like 'vote suppression'.

    6. The Wisconsin Election Commission has responded to the report.

      Citing numerous inaccuracies.

  7. A transgender teenager, her parents and a Houston psychologist have sued the Governor of Texas, the Commissioner of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the DFPS in state court, based of Texas law and the State Constitution, to enjoin the Governor's order to investigate parents for child abuse if they seek gender affirming medical treatment for their transgender children.
    The Texas legislature had rejected an effort to redefine child abuse; the Governor acted unilaterally based on a State Attorney General's opinion.

    I wonder, what became of Republicans' vaunted concerns about the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children? I guess hatemongering overrides all.

    1. The trial judge in Austin issued a temporary restraining order immediately halting investigation of the Plaintiffs before the Court and scheduling a hearing for March 11 on whether to issue a statewide temporary injunction against enforcement of the challenged policy.

    2. Calling genital-destroying treatments "gender affirming" is an excellent example of modern Marxism treating Nineteen Eighty Four as an instruction manual rather than a warning.

    3. The right to direct the upbring of your children does not extend to mutilating their genitals and giving them puberty blockers.

      Fifteen years ago, if you had taken your five-year-old to a doctor demanding he perform a sex-change operation on the child, the state probably would have removed that child from your home, and 99% of the sane population would have supported its duty to do so.

      But sometime in the interim, the Democrats decided to go full retard and seemingly can't fathom why anyone could possibly object to this.

      1. Who are you to second guess other families' parenting decisions and the professional judgment of the healthcare providers that parents choose? That is remarkable hubris.

        And what business is it of government?

        1. Lots of laws second-guess parenting decisions. Family law courts do it all the time, often at the direction of corrupt government employees who want to teach a lesson to parents who defy them. And yet, child abuse sometimes happens anyway.

          1. Why do you want to enhance the ability of "corrupt government employees who want to teach a lesson to parents" to interfere in parental decisions regarding child rearing? As a preacher in my youth was fond of saying, that doesn't even make good nonsense.

            1. I don't want that. The fact that executive branch officials, whether prosecutors or social service workers or otherwise, abuse their position does not mean laws are useless or improper. The fix is to improve the process and incentives, not wipe child abuse laws from the books or ignore new forms of child abuse.

              As usual, you are a partisan hack and deeply unserious.

        2. There are three parties contesting this with the state. They interviewed one of the mothers on yesterday on the news. Her kid who is transit is eight years old.

          Yeah the Texas law is harsh bullshit but there’s got to be some minimum age involved somehow. An eight year old has no idea what they’re deciding.

          1. Are you talking about Doe v. Abbott? Mary Doe is sixteen years old.

        3. How do you feel about Female Genital Mutilation?

          Can the government tell parents its not allowed for minor children?

          And what's the difference legally and conceptually between FGM and hormone treatments and mastectomy and sex reassignment surgery?

      2. Does that include circumcision? = The right to direct the upbring[ing] of your children does not extend to mutilating their genitals and giving them puberty blockers.

        1. Female "circumcision", certainly.

          Removing the foreskin of a penis? It seems to cause little or no long-term harm, and may reduce likelihood and severity of various diseases. It doesn't have side effects of infertility, loss of sexual response, and so forth.

          1. Yeah, the UN started funding male circumcision clinics in Africa for minors and adults:

            Now, trials in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa have all shown that male circumcision significantly reduces a man's risk of acquiring HIV. The three sets of trials have shown circumcised men are up 50 to 60% less likely to acquire HIV during heterosexual intercourse.

    4. Parents have the right to direct the upbringing of their children. But many have sought to undermine that right when it comes to parents who disagree with purported medical experts (see, for example, the Justina Pelletier case). This is particularly true with this type of gender transitioning, where the "science" is largely polluted by ideology and parents are often forced out of the decision-making process.

      Maybe this will restore some sanity to the whole issue.

      1. Here is a case about a parent who lost custody of his son by a judge who was so ideologically captured that she couldn't understand the difference between a parent not accepting the existence of gender dysphoria and not being convinced that his son had gender dysphoria.

        The judge used a terrible analogy: "If your son [Drew] were medically psychotic and believed himself to be the Queen of England, would you love him?
        [I]f you were told by [Drew’s] psychiatrist, psychologist that [Drew] was very fragile and that confronting him—or, I’m sorry, confronting them with the idea that they are not the Queen of England is very harmful to their mental health, could you go along and say, ‘OK, [Drew], you are the Queen of England and I love you; you are my child and I want you to do great and please continue to see your psychologist.’ Could you do that?”

    5. Cultural conservatives are hypocrites and want to use the power of the state to force everyone else to conform to their minority opinions about how America should be. This shouldn't surprise anyone any more.

      1. "...[the other] are hypocrites..."

        This is what you say when you refuse make distinctions. Child abuse has to have a definition unless you want to turn a blind eye to the worst horrors imaginable.

        That has to be a government process unless you want private people deciding to intervene on their own.

        "...conform to their minority opinions..."

        Sex changes for children under 10 are not supported by a majority. A majority opposes them.

      2. I'm afraid that bad road runs both ways. I don't see any innocents.

    6. They got laws in a lot of states that restrict tattoos by age, for instance Iowa and Arkansas doesn't allow minors to get tattoos even with parental consent, so I don't think transgender surgery should be regarded as a more trivial decision.

      I don't have an opinion about whether Abbott has the authority under Texas law to issue an executive order, hardly seems like more of a reach than a governor issuing an executive order saying parents have no say about whether their kids need to wear masks in schools.

  8. Got to love Oklahoma

    Passing a bill that will close down existing Tesla repair centers and not allow Tesla to sell cars in the state anymore.

    1. Just for clarity: the bill passed through one House committee. It hasn't been voted on by the full house or the Senate or signed by the governor.

      1. At this level of support its pretty much a given.

        Got to love living in a capitalist country where an American company employing Americans cannot legally sell to Americans in some states.

        1. As I read it, they can't legally sell to Oklahomans without a licensed representative in Oklahoma. It prohibits direct sales from out of state, without an in-state licensed representative, rather than categorically prohibiting the sales.

          I'm not terribly fond of the bill, but it's about ten thousand times more defensible than the similar laws regulating firearms sales.

    2. Got to love Oklahoma

      Passing a bill that will close down existing Tesla repair centers and not allow Tesla to sell cars in the state anymore.

      Blindly accepting as truth the claims you find on Twitter is definitely the path to wisdom, especially when the individual making the claims clearly has no idea what he's talking about.

  9. In the trial of the first January 6 defendant, a jury was selected in two days without undue difficulty. That is encouraging.

    1. What difficulty were you expecting? The only concern about jury selection in DC that I'm aware of is that it's likely to result in 100% Democratic juries in politically weighted cases, not that it wouldn't be prompt.

      1. How is it "politically weighted" to determine if defendant x violated statute y? What exactly does "politically weighted" mean?

        1. What it all means is that Brett, and others, are preparing their retreat when some of the Jan. 6 defendants are convicted. "It was a biased DC jury! Of course the defendants never had a chance."

          They are already saying that in anticipation. Never mind seeing the evidence or anything. The Oath Keepers would never do anything criminal, don't you see?

          1. No, I'm sure some of them would do illegal stuff, it's pretty clear they're not all the sharpest tools in the shed. Maybe even some of them didn't need to be entrapped into doing illegal stuff, the left can't have a total monopoly on criminals.

            I'd ask what you'd think of it if the situation were stood on its head, and BLM protesters were being tried in some jurisdiction where 95% of the jury pool were Republicans. Except that can't happen, because BLM only riots where Democrats are in control, and there AREN'T any sizeable jurisdictions that are 95% Republican. So you're in the comfortable position of knowing that the shoe can't ever be on the other foot.

            I'm just going to say that, when all trials involving the nation's capitol or the federal government are guaranteed to have juries of the same political party every time, you've got a problem.

            1. You haven't answered my question. And since this is obviously such a big problem, perhaps you can cite a case where it's alleged that a DC jury decided a criminal case for such a reason. I think you are talking nonsense here.

              1. It has not previously been an issue because we have not previously been holding what amount to political trials. On the flip side you have gotten quite a bit of nulification of the law in the case of left-wing protesters such as rioted at Trump's inauguration. But throwing Republicans in jail and overcharging them wasn't previously a thing.

                It likely will be, going forward.

      2. "Brett Bellmore does not understand how voir dire works. Film at 11."

        1. Really, you think peremptory challenges can't be use to purge the sole Republican from a jury? Why not?

          1. What "sole Republican"?

          2. Brett, non-Republicans can be objective too.

            Good lord, the densely packed bad faith you see everywhere must be exhausting.

  10. VC Conspirators.....Purim is on my mind, and so is the color emerald green! Did you know that Purim is right around the corner?! And wouldn't you know, St. Patrick's Day happens to overlap Purim. Talk about the luck of an Irish Jew. Purim is a perfect match to Irish customs on that day (the partying aspect). 🙂

    So I am looking for 'green' recipes, beverages, and other constructive ideas on celebrating Purim, with a St Patrick's Day twist. Why not make the holiday fun?!

    I don't know about the rest of you, but I could use a little holiday cheer right about now. The world seems gloomy these days.

    1. As a home brewer, (Mostly mead.) I've found it fairly frustrating that it's basically impossible to brew green alcoholic beverages without the use of artificial food coloring; The green color of your ingredients comes from chlorophyll, which gets denatured and stops being green. Even post-fermentation addition of green herbs only provides a temporary green coloration, it fades over time.

      1. It doesn't matter if it fades. My father in our deli refused to make green potato salad for St. Patrick's Day. As he put it, who's going to want to eat the rest of it on March 18 (when hung over to boot)?

      2. So Brett, what are the best green herbs you have used to infuse your mead? For the color, of course. 🙂

        1. After some initial experiments with kiwi, I largely abandoned the effort to produce green brews. They generally end up yellow in the end, and I'm not exactly obsessed with the color, as long as I can get a good flavor and respectable clarity.

          My herbal additions to mead have mostly been ginger and similar culinary herbs. I'm thinking of trying a rosemary and bay infused mead next, perhaps just starting with some already completed orange blossom mead I have on hand.

          I'm not exactly into psychoactive herbs, if that's what you're suggesting, though I suppose I'd be open to attempting an absinthe mead.

    2. Just remember C-XY,
      no cream in the horseradish for your corned beef brisket.

      1. OMG, no! Fresh grated horseradish only. My God man, do you think I am a total colonial philistine? 🙂

  11. A sitting GOP congressperson was forced into a run off because it appears he was having an extra-marital affair with an 'ISIS bride.'!!!

    Imagine the press coverage if this were a Democrat!!!

    Liberal mainstream media my behind.

    1. Reminds me of Randall Tobias, the Bush Administration official in charge of the U.S. Agency for International Development, caught with Asian masseuses.

      1. What's wrong with that? have you ever had a Thai massage?

        When we are in Thailand my wife has 5 or 6 a week, however she seems to think I live a stress free life.

        1. There's an Asian massage joint right up the road from where I live. My wife got me a massage there for my birthday a couple years ago. Honestly, by the time it was done I was so relaxed I might as well have been drunk, I just wanted to go to sleep on the table.

    2. Imagine the press coverage if this were a Democrat!!!

      What coverage? 🙂

    3. It got a fair amount of coverage on the right wing political blogs I read, Instapundit, RedState, and the NYPost is the top Google result.

      He dropped out of the runoff, but conservatives aren't going to try to put a lid a story like that during primary week, that's shooting yourself in the foot for the general election.

  12. Today would be a good day for the SC to issue an opinion in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen

    1. I wouldn't expect it before May or June, there is going to be a lot of back and forth between dissents, the opinion and concurrences.

      I know the issue isn't ripe yet, but maybe just a line or two of dicta about shoulder fired anti-tank missiles to give some guidance to the lower courts would be welcome. They seem to be in the news a lot, and I think under the original public meaning they would clearly be allowed. But I have to admit I am trepidatous about easy availability of stingers, although the legal analysis would be pretty much identical.

      1. I think you can actually make a case for a different treatment of "arms", weapons typically issued to soldiers as normal equipment, and "armaments", weapons that may be man portable but the individual soldier wouldn't be issued one.

        Sure, practice at the time was that you could own anything up to and including anti-ship shore batteries, but that doesn't really imply the right extends that far.

  13. I have just finished reading "Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention" by Johann Hari. The book spends a large amount of time on the effect of internet and social media. But also addresses other environmental causes of a loss of focus. These include dietary changes, medication, pollution, and lack of outdoor and unstructured time. Like so many of today's problem there are lifestyle elements that contribute to the problem and that will likely make change difficult. Much of the loss of focus from media and life stressors keep people focusing attention on real problems. It lowers people productivity and children's learning.

    I wanted to suggest the books applicability to the libertarian point of view. Mr. Hari does a good job pointing out that social media is invested in keeping us glued to our screens. That it does this through psychological manipulation. Algorithms that we expect to help us find information also are designed to keep us viewing. They are also designed to profile us, surveillance capitalism, to support the effort to keep us at their site. The question facing people is is it acceptable to regulate these media companies. Much of the discussion of regulation is focusing on the passing of misinformation or on banning of individuals or groups from platforms. But this type of regulation really only addresses the outwardly visible problems. Are we comfortable with the information gathering and manipulative methods used by some platforms?

    Having grown up in a time when getting information was a difficult task. Going to the library looking through books. In college, it was pouring over indexes to find journal articles. I very much appreciate academic and other search engines that can dump a pile of information in a few seconds. I am also older and more likely to stop when I find what I want and not be distracted down rabbit holes. This book made me realize that the information gains are not without costs.

  14. Tamara Lich, one of the organizers of the Canadian trucker / Occupy Ottawa protest, faces ten years in prison for "counseling to commit mischief" due to her role as an organizer.

    That is a stark reminder of how much the First Amendment protects.

    1. "how much the First Amendment protects"

      Shaman dude got 41 months for sitting in Nancy's chair.

      1A is only good as the courts.

      1. Unclear on the distinction between speech and conduct?

        1. Peacefully assemble is a 1A right too.

          1. Peacefully????

            What are you smoking?

            1. "Peacefully????"

              How was he, not others, not peaceful?

              Be specific. State your evidence.

          2. Obstructing an official proceeding is not free speech, nor assembly.

            1. Well ok, now we know the standard sentencing range when someone stands up and shouts or unfurls a banner at a congressional or regulatory hearing.

              1. Funny how when that happens no one is rushed out of the Capitol in fear of their lives.

                Almost as though they are completely different things.

                1. I thought the offense that was charged was obstructing an official proceeding? There was a lot of film following his every move for hours, he didn't seem to be terrorizing anyone, and I've never heard of any evidence of him conspiring with anyone who did.

                  Charge him and sentence him.based on what you can prove, and charge and sentence someone who disrupts a congressional hearing on what you can prove, and the same offense should have the same sentencing range.

                  1. So the facts are different, but you want them to be charged under the same law based on the title of the law.

                    You used to be an ideologue, but now you've become a tool. Too much right-wing media.

                    1. Facts are different in every case, but if the act fits the statute charge the crime.

                      Otherwise people are going to get the idea insurrections aren't a big deal.

                      Really when did asserting that similar acts that can be charged under the same statute should be handled the same, regardless of political motivation?

                    2. You know there is the law as written and the law as applied.

                      You are advocating for the law as written to apply to the people you don't like, but the law as applied to ignore the people you do like.

                      What you can prove and what happened are also different. And this is also something you know, and are pretending not to.

                      Standing up during a hearing with a sign and getting escorted out is NOT a similar act to Jan 06. You know this. You argue otherwise because you're attached to Jan 06 as being XXXThere is no Jan 06, only Dem badnessXXX. Which is a pretty bad and tribal way to be.

      2. " Shaman dude got 41 months for sitting in Nancy's chair. "

        His betters were merciful.

      3. What little learning you flaunt before us, confused one! Shaman dude did not get 41 months for sitting in Pelosi's chair. Now, who can put any faith in your factual statements? Only fellow sycophants.

  15. Electing an actor as president turned out to be a very good move for Ukraine.

    1. I have to say, as an American Jew, I have grown to admire Zelenskyy a lot. He is displaying a level of courage by staying with his people and encouraging his military to fight on that I just don't see from country leaders, in general.

      This last week has been his finest hour (to me).

      1. Ditto from an American, but not Jewish, admirer. He has to know that this is going to end badly for him amd his country, but he refuses to take the easy way out. If Putin's assassins succeed, the world will lose one of the most impressive and unlikely examples of moral courage I've seen in a long time.

    2. A much better choice than a KGB thug.

      He certainly has a lot more guts than Justin Trudeu.

      And his 'I need ammunition not a ride' is a lot more inspirational than 'I shall return' or .'Peace in.our time'.

      But really i am intrigued, what was the genius move he missed? Surrendering a few weeks ago.when Putin started massing his troops? Obviously that's the smart move like police telling women the smart move is to not fight back when you are being raped.

      1. It's not just the willingness to stay in harm's way. It's his understanding of how to manipulate people, from his TV and comedy background, which is what his country needs. Try to imagine Biden walking around DC during a riot to make a selfie video to inspire his side. Or Bush.

        Last night I saw the Ukrainian military's new music video, Bayraktar. Another good bit of propaganda. It's named for the Turkish military drone that has been so important in Ukraine, Nagorno-Karabach, and Ethiopia. It closes with an implicit call to take out Putin with a drone strike.

  16. Texas had its primary on Tuesday. Held under the new voting law. Apparently there was a little confusion around the new mail in voting requirements, although the head of the League of Woman Voters in an interview was pretty sanguine about getting that cleared up in the next election.

    Perhaps more problematic is that the law requires that the vote count be finished within 24 hours of the closing of the polls. Seems stupid and severe to me. I don’t know how that went around the state, but Harris County didn’t make it.

    1. And by the way there were no cross burnins’ or people being sprayed with fire hoses for trying to vote, so at least there’s that. The New Jim Crow is certainly different than the original.

    2. There is no reason the votes cannot be counted if you fund the effort.

      BTW in Madison, WI we counted absentees the same day as the regular vote. It is not that hard to do.

      1. Houston (which I believe is in Harris County) has more people than the entire state of Wisconsin. The scale is much different.

        1. This again. Houston has more resources than the entire state of Wisconsin, too. So why should size matter, when resources scale about the same as the size of the job?

          1. Your assumption is that the resources would be allocated equivalently. I think we know exactly how sad the Texas GOP would be if they were able to "discard" thousands of votes from Harris County. And since they control the allocation of resources, this would be easy to achieve.

            But I'm sure the people who fear the idea of *more* people voting wouldn't possibly try to limit voter participation in a heavily Democratic county, right?

        2. Population of Harris County: 4.713 million
          Population of Wisconsin: 5.822 million

          1. Wisconsin has way better beer, too.

            1. Thank you. We also make some good wine and distilled spirits. Oh, also cheese a great complement to beer, wine and cocktails.

              1. Damn. I suddenly want to be in Wisconsin.

              2. Wait a minute 4ever,
                Good wine? WI wine cannot be better than MI wine, and that wine is terrible. Stick to beer.

              3. Everything New Glarus makes is exceptional, but Wisconsin Belgian Red and Raspberry Tart are two of the best beers brewed in this country, hands down.

          2. You're kinda missing the point. Comparing how quickly votes in Milwaukee can be counted with how quickly votes in Harris County can be counted, due to the massive difference in the number of votes, is the point. The fact that the population numbers I found with a 2 second Google search don't match yours is irrelevant to the point.

            I don't think you missed the point, I think you wanted to avoid it and found something else to "get" me with.

            1. You're the one missing the point, which is that resources available to count scale with the votes needing to be counted, so there's no practical reason why areas with large populations need more time to count.

              Election administration is locally run and funded. If an area has bad election administration, that's the local government's fault.

        3. Nope. Wi is 5.9 million, Houston City is 2.3 million, Harris County is 4.8 million. You are confusing the Houston Metro region at 6.9 million which I spread over at least a half dozen counties, which is hardly the same thing.

    3. " Perhaps more problematic is that the law requires that the vote count be finished within 24 hours of the closing of the polls. "

      That the type of law an imbecile would devise and love.

      Did any Republican vote against it?

  17. I am an older person who keeps a land line telephone. Naturally, that means I get a lot of random calls, from scam artists prospecting for feeble seniors to defraud. It is shocking to see how much of that goes on, apparently without much law-enforcement oversight. I get a few such calls per day.

    Lately, however, I found a method which I recommend to everyone. The incoming call always displays fake identity data on my phone's LED panel, but you don't have to notice that to use the method. Just answer and say, "Hello."

    After I do that, there is a brief pause while the speed dialer at the other end turns me over to a real live scam artist. The scam artist asks for me by name, or for my wife. Sometimes the scam artist also announces they are calling for a police charity, or whatever.

    To every scam artist, I then ask this question, "Are you calling from a charity?" They invariably hang up without another word.

    My point is not that doing it that way minimizes intrusive calls. If it does, it is working too slowly to notice. My point is that if everyone did it that way, that might have power to suppress the telephone scam business—something which law enforcement seems completely unengaged in doing.

    If you too get scam calls, try it and see if it works the same for you.

    There might even be vulnerable seniors who could be taught to answer every incoming call with that same screening question. Doing that might shield them from getting sucked into dangerous conversations with scammers.

    1. Tmobile identifies most scam calls with Scam Likely, that works for me.

  18. I have a question for the Conspirators.

    In the middle of the 20th Century, the Supreme Court embraced the idea that traditional mediating institutions coming between the individual and the absolute state, particularly thise relating to the dissemination and transmission of ideas, had a special constitutional status. This status was at one point characterized as a sort of penumbra to the First Amendment. The idea was that if institutions related to the transmission of ideas could be controlled or taken over by the state, the First Amendment would become a nulity.

    At the height of the doctrine, a number of traditional institutions had this status. They included universities, journalists as a profession, private teachers, and perhaps most notably the traditional marital family. Religious institutions also had this status (although also getting separate protection under the Religion Clauses).

    By the late 20th century, this doctrine had come under assault. In Griswold v. Connecticut the Supreme Court had placed the marital family in the category of First Amendment penumbral institutions and extended its protection to family-as-institution decisions about using contraceptives. Griswold cited Sweeney and indicated the marital family was similar to a university, among other speech-related institutions. But in Eisenstadt v. Baird, only a few years later, the Supreme Court completely refuted the institutional grounding it had previously brought forth as its main hustification. Individual, and individuals alone, make decisions about sex and contraceptives. Families have nothing to do with it. Indeed, the Court was later to hold that families are mere extensions of individuals and shouldn’t be regarded as having any meaningful separate existence at all.

    The Court proceeded to narrow or repudiate a number of its other previous institutional-protection decisions. It ruled that unlike churches, umiversities are no different from anyone else with respect to discrimination claims. It held that journalists as a profession have no more First Amendment rights than anyone else. In general, claims that institutions have special rights as institutions have been met with great skepticism, and when such claims have succeeded it is for reasons having nothing to do with the First Amendment.

    There are two classes of institutions that have arguably gained in protection since Eisenstadt, churches and corporations. Special institutional protection for churches, for example against discrimination claims, has become grounded more thoroughly in the Religion Clauses and distinguished from general First Amendment protection, which has much less institutional protection. Similarly, protection for corporations come from their status - some would call it a legal fiction - that they are persons having a separate legsl existence and hence rights of their own. This personhood-based argument has nothing to do with any traditional role in disseminating ideas.

    Indeed, Conspirators have been at the forefront of arguing that only individuals as individuals, never institutions as imstitutions, should have First Amendment related rights. Professor Volokh, for example, has repeatedly argued that everyone is a journalist, and hence journalists are nobody special.

    So let me ask this question. Almost uniquely among the wide array of first-amendment penumbral mediating institutions in the mid-20th century, universities have retained a special status as institutions, and faculty rights based on their role in the institution and not as individuals, based solely on their role as traditional penumbral First Amendment institutions, not grounded in other considerations as has been necessary for other surviving mediating institutions.

    Why should this be so? Why shouldn’t special protections for universities go on the dustbin of history just like special protections for other traditional mediating institutions. Why shouldn’t the constitution assume that people make decisions about their exducation solely as insivoduals just it now assumes as they do with sex and child-rearing? Why shouldn’t everybody be a professor, and hence professors nobody special, just as the courts have largely held with journalists? If everybody is a professor, of course, professors’ rights with respect to their employers would be exactly the same as everybody else’s?

    The idea of universities having some sort of specialness as an institution runs completely counter to the cultural and ideologic currents which university professors, and particularly libertarian ones, have done a great deal to foster. And why should libertarian professors support the existence of an academic freedom that’s in any way different from anyone else’s freedom? Why not support everyone a professor, just like everyone a spouse, everyone a journalist, etc.? Why not be willing to be intellectually consistent when it’s ones own ox that’s being gored?

    If other mediating institutions, if mediating institutions in general, run against the libertarian ideological bent, which focuses on the rights of individuals as individuals, not on the rights of institutions of rights related to roles in imstitutions, if everybody ought to have the same First Amendment rights so nobody ought to have any more than anybody else, what’s the justification for treating universities and professors any differently?

    If the intellectual justification behind the mediating institution concept has been as wrong as libertarians have been claiming it is for secades, you would think libertarian professors would be proud to put their own institutions on the chopping block.

    And if there is something behind that justification when it comes to iniversities, if it’s really true the First Amendment can’t effectively function without traditional institutions to give it body and substance, perhaps that might have been true of all those other mediating institutions whose special ststus has been triumphantly dismantled over the decafes.

    As CS Lewis put it, “They castrate, and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

    1. ReaderY, that is a pretty interesting comment. Thank you.

      I will take your comment as occasion to mention again that Professor Volokh repeatedly gets press freedom wrong. As a matter of historical record, it is certain and unambiguous that the founders did intend to establish a special constitutional status for newspapers. Here, for instance, is Madison, musing about the size of the nation, and the issues that raised for constitutional governance:

      Good roads, domestic commerce, a free press, and particularly a circulation of newspapers to the entire body of the people, and representatives going from and returning among them [were] equivalent to a contraction of territorial limits, and . . . favorable to liberty.

      More generally, almost all the best-known founders were active either as newspaper publishers themselves (Samuel Adams, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, Paine), or as frequently published newspaper contributors (all those formerly mentioned, plus John Adams, John Jay, George Washington, and many lesser-knowns). It is literally true that the institutional press—mainly newspapers—had been the principal tool used by the founders to promote rebellion and establish constitutional government. They said so themselves.

      Volokh's 1A commentary has been relentlessly populist, portraying speech freedom as virtuous, and press freedom as an elitist vice. There is nothing like that to be found in the historical record of this nation's founding.

      1. How does one obtain this supposed special status, whereby they may fully exercise the freedom of speech, in your vision of things? Form a corporation? Buy a printing press? Host a HTML page?

        How does the Madison quote in any way suggest that a free press must be a gatekept category, somehow limited to government-approved forms and persons?

        1. Exactly. Given the only functional difference is government saying, "You are not part of the capital P press, so delete your video recording of that cop and into jail with you!", I'll take the concept of no difference vs. the average yokel any day.

          It is expansive, not contractive.

          A free press is anyone who wants to publish something. This includes content, and the means of mass production and distribution of speech. No outlawing or burdening physical printing presses, either, as that is a well-exercised method of backdoor censorship.

      2. I'm not buying it. My own formulation is the Freedom of Speech is exactly that, the ability to speak and say things and Freedom of the Press applies similarly to written and published words, which can reach more people that a single speaker.

        There is no special privilege "it don't exist" (to quote Wilfred Brimley in "Absence of Malice".

        1. So, three right wing critics—M L, Krayt, rsteinmetz—of press freedom as a separate right, each with an almost grotesque interpretation of what that might imply. Maybe I can help you understand better.

          Start with this. Just as speech freedom protects the rights of speakers, press freedom protects the rights of publishers. Anyone can be a publisher, but not everyone is a publisher. It is up to you. Practice publishing activities and you become a publisher, without anyone's say-so. Note, however, that does not mean that if you practice speech activities you thereby become a publisher.

          Press freedom is a more complicated right than speech freedom, because publishing is more complicated than speaking. That means, among other things, that principles of speech freedom cannot be equated directly with principles of press freedom. But the two activities can be equated or compared more generally.

          Speech freedom protects speech in its various manifestations. Not just talking, but one-to-one written communications, for instance, count as protected speech. All the activities necessary to perform speech in its various manifestations get constitutional protection as speech freedom. Likewise, all the activities necessary to accomplish publishing in its various manifestations get constitutional protection as press freedom.

          They are two separate activities, so there are two separate rulebooks. If that were not so, then neither activity could be fully protected. The rules for one cannot be applied directly to the other, because the essential activities defining them are different.

          There is no special government oversight over who may speak, who may not, or what anyone can say. Speech freedom requires that. Likewise, there is no special government oversight over who may publish, who may not, or what anyone can publish. There is no licensing of publishers. Press freedom requires that.

          In both cases there are respective specific restrictions, the law of slander for speech, the law of libel for publishing. Those laws are not identical. One especially important distinction is that the law of speech does not normally expose a speaker to liability for content spoken by someone else. The law of publishing differs. Publishers may be held liable for content authored by someone else, if the publisher chooses to publish it.

          Another crucial distinction is that speech freedom may typically be protected completely as an an individual right. That is not so for press freedom. Publishing in some of its most useful manifestations is a group activity, giving rise to institutional identities entitled to claim press freedom collectively. Press freedom cannot be adequately protected if specifically institutional activities necessary to accomplish it are excluded from constitutional protection. While people who wish to practice publishing-related group activities are entitled to constitutional protections (and limitations) for doing so as a group, that does not mean that publishing practiced purely individually goes without protection. It does mean that some of the group-activity protections (and limitations) simply do not apply to the solitary publisher.

          Speakers get to decide what they will say, and crucially, what they will not say. Likewise, publishers get to decide what they will publish, and also what they will not publish. Speech freedom and press freedom protect those choices respectively. In neither case may government compel, either speeches or publications.

          Those are general similarities which justify protecting under one amendment both rights, speech freedom and press freedom. But they remain separate rights, with distinctions between them.

      3. Madison, of course, does not say anything like what you think he said.

        1. Nieporent, presumably you understand it was a quotation. It says what it says. If you do not understand enough about Madison to get that ruminations on the size of the nation were a cornerstone of his constitutional thinking, then you will just have to read a lot more.

          If I had to take the time to nail the point down tighter, I could expand to discuss the context of the quote. We could go on for many pages about the framers and newspapers, and the framers special regard for a constitutional role for newspapers. We could do that because there is so much historical support for it.

          There is zero support for any notion that Ben Franklin, for instance, supposed the press freedom guaranteed by the 1A was about nothing except physical access to a printing press, and treating press freedom as a purely personal right, with no room for protection of an institutional press. Volokh made that up during a particularly dodgy bit of attempted history. It is a laughably bad interpretation of the historical record.

        2. Nieporent, I just realized that because you style yourself a libertarian, you feel duty bound to misinterpret that particular quotation, because it says, "liberty." Modern libertarians made up their own meaning for, "liberty," giving it a heavily Lockean interpretation, with propertarian overtones. Libertarians are so jealous of that meaning that they refuse to countenance that the founders might have used any other.

          But libertarians are mistaken about that. When the founders were talking about government, that simply is not the interpretation of, "liberty," they had in mind. The historical record is clear and explicit on that.

          That Madison quote above is not from Federalist 10, which is the usual most-common source of libertarian misconstructions regarding the founders meaning of, "liberty." But, "liberty," as it was used in the quote above means exactly what Madison also intended, "liberty," to mean in Federalist 10—which is self-government on principles of majority rule, under popular Sovereignty. That was indeed the founders most-common meaning for the word, going back to before the Revolution.

          You can find, "liberty," explicitly defined that way in the Resolves of the First Continental Congress (1774): Resolved, 4. That the foundation of English liberty, and of all free government, is a right in the people to participate in their legislative council: and as the English colonists are not represented, and from their local and other circumstances, cannot properly be represented in the British parliament, they are entitled to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their several provincial legislatures, where their right of representation can alone be preserved . . .

          In the instances of these quotes from Madison, that is the definition of, "liberty," give or take a smidgen to adjust for slight changes of time and context, which history teaches us to apply.

          1. I don't have time to respond to everything you wrote, but I do have time to point out that you once again misinterpret a quote. The foundation of liberty being a right to participate in government is not the same thing as defining liberty to be participation in government.

      4. As a matter of historical record, it is certain and unambiguous that the founders did intend to establish a special constitutional status for newspapers. Here, for instance, is Madison, musing about the size of the nation, and the issues that raised for constitutional governance:

        Good roads, domestic commerce, a free press, and particularly a circulation of newspapers to the entire body of the people, and representatives going from and returning among them [were] equivalent to a contraction of territorial limits, and . . . favorable to liberty.

        I like your use of "for instance" as if this quote has anything to do with your claim. "One guy thought that nationwide publications were good for the country" != "the founders did intend to establish a special constitutional status for newspapers."

        1. Nieporent, it wasn't one guy. Although it is worth noting that the one guy, Ben Franklin, was a leader among the founders second only to Washington, and also probably the world's most active newspaper founder and publisher. It was also, Samual Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Tom Paine—all explicitly on the record about a constitutional role for newspapers—and, notably, all either newspaper publishers, or newspaper founders themselves.

          Of course there were others as well, including especially a list of less-famous newspaper publishers extending from New England, to the mid-Atlantic region, to South Carolina, and to the Caribbean, all of whom Franklin partnered with to get them started, and which, last time I looked, history had not yet fully sorted out. Franklin often preferred to exert influence without being seen doing it, so historians sometimes can't say for sure. In other cases they can. Franklin's behind-the-scenes connections to specific newspapers in the places I mentioned have been confirmed.

          Nor can you overlook the extraordinary resort to newspapers, practiced again and again, habitually, as a first order of business, whenever anything occurred which the founders, in support of their nation building project, wanted the public to know about. The very first thing which happened to the final draft of the Constitution, the moment after it was signed, was that it was taken by Franklin and put in the hands of a Philadelphia newspaper publisher.

          Evidence abounds for the founders' intention explicitly to protect newspapers as a collective institution. They were private institutions judged by the founders indispensable for the function of a public purpose—as multiple founders said explicitly. Other evidence can be drawn from founders' practices to use newspapers, which they aligned energetically—again and again, constantly—with their advocacy for newspaper publishing as a virtue promoting good governance. Taken as a whole, that evidence of explicit advocacy and actual practice is overwhelming proof of the founders' intention to protect institutional publishers of newspapers.

          As for the claim that the press freedom clause was intended only as a personal right, without any intent to protect newspapers specifically as an institution—what historical evidence is there for that? Either as a matter of explicit statement, or by inference from founding era practice, there is none. Nothing at all, in fact, in the historical record to suggest the founders did not intend explicit constitutional protection for newspapers. What has been offered to make that case, are strained inferences worked up in the present, offered by non-historians relying on questionable, out of context, present-day analyses, focused mostly on other amendments.

          If you continue to think otherwise, please improve those weak arguments. Show evidence from the historical record to make the case explicitly, that with the press freedom clause the founders intended to foreclose specific protections for institutional publishing, and to extend the right of press freedom only to individual persons, to access a printing press. And nothing more.

          Please note that protecting a personal right to access a printing press is not what you need to show. I acknowledge that right was protected. What you need to show is foreclosure of an institutional right. That is what EV said happened. You seem to believe it. So show the evidence from history to prove it.

          1. No, Stephen. I don't have to disprove your claim. You have to prove yours. You haven't cited a single statement in which they discussed a "special constitutional role for newspapers." That they thought newspapers were useful is so banal that I can't believe you thought it was worth mentioning. That has nothing to do with the topic.

            Evidence abounds for the founders' intention explicitly to protect newspapers as a collective institution.

            And yet here's all of this evidence you've listed: .

    2. What special protections or privileges do universities have? I mean, other than trillions of dollars deposited directly into their operating accounts from the public treasury, including $1.6 trillion in student loans (anything else surely pales in comparison).

      Second question, if the government in its great benevolence allows ordinary plebs like myself to have freedom of speech (both verbal and written), how does this take away from the freedoms of powerful corporations like the New York Times? Or does it not take away from their freedom, but just takes away from their power when people are permitted to speak things and publish facts that contradict their well-massaged, agenda-driven narratives.

      1. Well, university professors gave much more rights vis a vis their employers than almost any other kind of enployee. They get life tenure, something almost nobody eelse except federal judges ges. They have a lot of freedom in what they will talk about. Unlike other employees, they don’t have to follow their employer’s instructions about what to focus on or say.

        It was recently argued on this blog that unlike other employees, professorrs’ emails shouldn’t even be read by their employers, let alone be subject to freedom of information act disclosure rules that everyone else has ro follow, because treating them like everyone else would chill their ability to fulfull their special institutional role.

        1. Well, university professors gave much more rights vis a vis their employers than almost any other kind of enployee.

          Um, doesn't that mean that universities have less protections/privileges than other institutions?

          They get life tenure, something almost nobody eelse except federal judges ges.

          That's a matter of contract, not law.

        2. You are discussing matters of employment and contract between employees and their employer. What does that have to do with the First Amendment?

          You may be right about FOIA when it comes to public universities, I'd say their emails should be subject to it. Still not sure what that has to do with 1A but I agree they shouldn't have special privileges.

      2. Journalists have argued they should have a right not to reveal their confidential sources and rights to do things others can’t do, like treapassing and certain kinds of deceipt. in order to be free to gather information.

        1. Some journalists have argued those points, most do not. They should always be fierce about protecting information gathering powers, and protecting sources. They are not always in agreement that they need special legal treatment. I personally disapprove of special privileges, and did so when I was a journalist. But I did rely on the notion that government would not choose to inflict such draconian punishments for defiance of courts that press freedom itself would be sacrificed to an over-heavy solicitude for due process.

    3. Your whole premise is flawed. Universities don't have special first amendment status, they are privileged over corporations, and political parties which have spending limits. But for the most part their speech isn't any freer than a newspaper or a foundation.

      As for faculty protections, that is mostly based on contractual obligations, especially private universities, public universities do afford more protections but probably no more than say a municipal employees running for office or writing an oped. Administrators have less protection because they could be seen as speaking for the university whereas if you don't like what a professor is saying, go down the hall to.the next office and you will get a completely different opinion, nobody expects professors to be speaking for anyone but themselves.

  19. When Judge Jackson was appointed the to circuit court, NARAL Pro-Choice America authorized this statement:

    “We applaud the Senate’s confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
    Her confirmation to the D.C. Circuit brings us one step closer to a judiciary that better represents the diversity of our nation and one that will uphold our most fundamental rights and freedoms—including reproductive freedom.”

    Has NARAL changed its mind since then? If not, is there any reason that those who have a...different perspective...from NARAL should support Judge Jackson's promotion to the Supreme Court?

    1. Seems a bit redundant, we knew Biden's nominee would be pro-'choice' before we ever got their name. So I don't see how this endorsement would change anybody's opinion.

      1. OK, but NARAL said it out loud and proud.

        1. Abortion rights cases in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals are vanishingly rare. Garza v. Hargan, 874 F. 3d 735 (CADC 2017), is the only one that comes to mind.

        2. As they should. Hostility towards an individual's right to personal moral, religious, and medical freedom, as well as bodily autonomy, should be the limiting factor. Support for those liberties is a plus.

          That said, neither should be disqualifying. ACB is a religious extremists and supportive of America as a theocracy, but she's qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice.

          She shouln't be, based on the hypocrisy and raw partisanship of her nomination, but shouldn't have impacted her appointment.

          I doubt the lunatic fringe anti-abortionists will support her, but that shouldn't surprise anyone. Since they can't convince people that they are right, they are reduced to forcing their minority moral beliefs on the rest of us and Justice Jackson will be a roadblock to theocracy.

          1. "supportive of America as a theocracy"
            Nelson, that is just crazy hyperbole out of your disagreement with her moral code. You have your, she has hers, I have mine. So be it.

        3. Was there any doubt as to where NARAL stood?

          To be blunt, an awful lot of this sort of thing, all the way around, is just promotional activity.

    2. The idea that Biden or any 21st Century Democratic president would consider anyone who hadn’t been endorsed by NARAL seems as unlikely as the idea that Trump or any 21st Century Republican president would consider anyone who hadn’t been endorsed by NRTL.

      1. Many of these things which "everyone knows" are familiar to people who follow politics, but those who make a rational decision to focus only on those parts of their lives within their control - and politics rarely qualifies - may not know it.

  20. This is a hypothetical question about a hypothetical former president of the United States. Short of a violent crime such as murder or rape, do you believe that a convicted former president could ever be sentenced to a term of incarceration? Assume that the sentencing guidelines would call for incarceration for anyone else convicted of the same crime. Would it matter if the crime occurred pre-presidency, during the presidency, or post-presidency? How would the president be kept safe in prison? Would house arrest be the only safe alternative? Perhaps a military prison?

    1. Seems harsh on the Secret Service agents to send them to prison.

    2. Presidents are not kings, and hypothetical former presidents are not President.

      1. Very True.

      2. Hurrah! That's my position, too. I see no constitutional basis for Presidents to have any sort of legal immunity. Members of Congress get quite limited immunity based on explicit Constitutional text, the notion that Presidents get greater immunity by implication is absurd.

        And the idea that ex-Presidents have any immunity is doubly absurd.

        That's not to say that Presidents might not be subject to abusive prosecutions out of political motive. Just that they have no more legal protection against such than anybody else.

        1. That's not to say that Presidents might not be subject to abusive prosecutions out of political motive. Just that they have no more legal protection against such than anybody else.

          Yes, they certainly might be, but remember, they also have a certain amount of political protection. If you prosecute an ex-President you better have him dead to rights.

          1. Trump has the disadvantage of being an insurgent Republican, not a member of the party establishment. This means that, in addition to having the whole of the Democratic party against him, he has no small part of the institutional Republican party opposed to him, too.

            As he is still popular with Republican voters, there's only so much they can do openly to attack him. (Ask Cheney about that.) But they can fail to defend him with almost complete safety.

            So the protection he has to rely on is his support among the voters, and state officials in states dominated by Democrats are not much worried about that. I think he has adequate protection against federal level persecution, but until the NY attempt to find charges against him fell apart, I'd assumed he was almost certainly going to be up on charges about the time the 2024 primaries began.

            That really surprised me, the only conclusion I can arrive at is that he was cleaner than I ever supposed, to the point where Berria couldn't find the crime.

            1. This means that, in addition to having the whole of the Democratic party against him, he has no small part of the institutional Republican party opposed to him, too.

              You added an extra "no" in that sentence.

              1. Oh, you think so? Why do you suppose he kept getting cabinet nominees recommended to him who actively worked to oppose him? Why were so many of his initiatives on things he had run on together with the Congressional majority going nowhere in Congress?

                The party establishment fought him to the extent they could without openly admitting opposition, except for the members who were ready to retire, who were open about it.

                1. Oh, you think so?

                  I know so.

                  Why do you suppose he kept getting cabinet nominees recommended to him who actively worked to oppose him?

                  Why do I suppose that something that didn't happen, happened?

                  Why were so many of his initiatives on things he had run on together with the Congressional majority going nowhere in Congress?

                  Because Congress doesn't get much of anything done and because he was lazy and ignorant about the legislative process and didn't really care about any of them.

                  The party establishment fought him to the extent they could without openly admitting opposition,

                  The party establishment never fought him. All non Trumpkins hoped they would, but he coopted them about 5 minutes after he won the nomination.

                  Even now, with him completely out of power and reduced to whining in obscurity in Florida, the party establishment voted to censure his party critics — while not managing to come up with anything beyond mild brow furrowing for the members of Congress that attended a Nazi rally down the road from CPAC.

        2. Brave words, Brett, but it was the practice of post-consular prosecution that eventually destroyed the Roman republic.

          1. That's as may be, but just because a problem is real doesn't mean the Constitution addresses it. The founders had been oppressed by a king, so they designed a constitution to limit the executive and protect the legislature. Co-equal branches my ass, the Constitution created a system of moderate legislative supremacy.

            They didn't write in clauses to deal with abuses they hadn't anticipated happening, even if they should have anticipated them.

    3. House arrest seems the most likely. The secret service is there to protect the former President and court simply gives them an order that he doesn't leave the facility. The court can also limit visitors as it sees fit.

      1. House arrest seems perfectly reasonable; incarceration would have corrosive effects on the country

        1. Special treatment seems reasonable to you? Special treatment wouldn't have corrosive effects on the country?

    4. Legally, sure.

      As a practical matter, it's playing with fire. One of the things that went wrong towards the end of the Roman Republic was exactly that - when your term of office was over, you could expect your successors to go after you via the legal system. If the threat of that is severe enough, it's an incentive to not go peacefully. That is not something you want to incentivize.

      No matter how appealing 'Lock him/her up!' sounds to the partisans in the heat of the moment, it's a really bad habit to get into.

      (And to pre-address 'So you think a president who becomes a serial killer should go free!', nope. In that case you're going to have 90% of the country agreeing with the sentence. And when you catch yet another Illinois governor, off they go. But when the country is divided about whether some prominent national politician should go to jail for mishandling classified email or dodgy taxes or whatever, you don't want to go there.)

      1. Shouldn't want to go there, anyway.

        1. Much of the Constitution orients around stopping abuses of power to hurt your enemies.

          No, the king doesn't get to pour willy nilly through your stuff on a whim, until they find something to tg you with.

          Given most prominent pols are rich, and rich have their fingers in many pies, it's almost certain they can find something illegal, like a cop following a driver looking for a reason. And with tens of thousands of reasons nowadays...

          No the king must get a warrant, and specify what and why, and not just a general filching search warrant.

          This bothered me about the whole impeachment thing -- the utter glee with which politicians went after him, ignoring this both in practice, and in principle. Even state prosecutors lined up to hurt him, just in case the feds failed.

          This was an abomination of adherence to these principles. Quite frankly I will declare it the biggest threat to our freedom the past four years, not the capitol riot.

    5. Anything could happen.

      But no, if you go by all of the media and "experts" circa 2016, going after politicians for any kind of corruption or illegal acts is strictly third world, banana republic stuff.

      1. To make the hypo a little clearer: Neither the nature of the prosecution nor the conviction are at issue. The only issue is what happens to him or her if the crime calls for jail time.

        1. Right. According to these experts circa 2016, it's verboten to investigate such matters or pursue convictions because that's third world, banana republic stuff.

          If regular everyday people like Kristian Saucier are jailed for violating a particular criminal statute, that is totally irrelevant to whether someone who is politically protected violates that same statute.

          Even if you are a politician or a high-ranking official, you may fall out of politically protected status if you don't play the game right. Ask General Cartwright.

          1. It's a simple hypo, ML. Sorry you're having such a difficult time with it. Want to take one more stab at answering, or are you giving up because it's too complicated for you?

            1. Anything could happen.

            2. No. He wants to rave about Hillary Clinton and classified material.

              His indignation does not extend to his cult hero's behavior.

    6. "do you believe that a convicted former president could ever be sentenced to a term of incarceration"

      I say lock up *anyone* who votes the wrong way or even thinks of doing so. That'll learn them!

    7. You seem to be getting ahead of yourself here, what credible charge has he actually been accused of? Where's the evidence of a conspiracy to commit an illegal act? Its well.known that Pence wasn't part of any illegal conspiracy, John Eastmans horrid memo doesn't seem like it could support any charges other than professional sanctions.

      Really if they had anything it would have been leaked by now. Liz Cheney's ridiculous dereliction of duty.theory is just absurd. Especially since Trump signed off on using the National Guard at least 4-5 days before Jan 6. In fact the only troops he offered that were accepted were being used by DC to patrol the metro, and they were the first guardsmen to arrive at the Capitol about 2 hours after the riot started.

      I mean does anyone have a fairly firm allegation of an overt act? And a cite to a statute to charge him with?

      Ill also.note the Manhattan DA's investigation seems to have collapsed. I will.have to admit I never thought Trump could possibility have lived such a clean life, that they can't get anything on him, but there it is, its not like they aren't trying.

      1. Who is the "he" that you're referring to? Let me change the hypothetical to make is easy enough that even you can follow it. Assume President Hillary Clinton is accused, tried, and convicted of crimes that are serious enough to warrant incarceration? Could she and should she be sentenced to prison? Could she be kept safe there? How?

  21. I've been thinking about President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland. There was no action taken by the Senate on that nomination. Is it still valid? Could the Senate decide tomorrow to vote on it and put Garland on SCOTUS? An article in WSJ said the nomination expired with the 114th Congress. Is that true? Does that come from something actually written in the Constitution?

    1. "Nominations that have been neither confirmed nor rejected by the Senate at the time the Senate adjourns sine die or for a period of more than 30 days are returned to the President pursuant to Senate Rule XXXI, clause 6." Return of Nominations to the President under Senate Rule XXXI Congressional Research Center

      "Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings" Article I, Section 5

    2. The Senate does not install people in posts. The Senate authorizes the President to install people in posts. The best the Senate could do is vote on a resolution saying "Jackson is too scary but we consent to boring white guy Merrick Garland if you would rather appoint him." And then Biden could decide. I have not heard of a preemptive vote like that.

      1. Ah yes, of course. That makes sense.

    3. "Does that come from something actually written in the Constitution?"

      Let's not limit ourselves in that way.

      I say confirm William B. Hornblower.

      1. So Hornblower is a real family name, not made up for Forester novels. Never knew thst.

        Looks like it was, like many english names [Smith, Miller], an occupation.

        1. Steady as she goes, Mr. Bush...splice the mainbrace, jib the mainsail, keel-haul the skipper!

  22. Since there is so much political disagreement and violence in this union, a modest proposal. Separate into 50 different jurisdictions called States which will govern their own affairs, so that people can have self-government. This seems more sensible than having people in the backwoods of Alabama voting on the finer details of tax deductions in San Francisco, or the people of New York City deciding gun control laws in rural Idaho. Maybe the States could have an agreement for common defense and free trade.

    1. Any thoughts about slavery, race-targeting voter suppression, special privilege for superstition, or the like?

    2. Any time you create a new government, or layer in this case, politicians flood in and do what they always do: arrogate more power to themselves, and spend in ways that benefit their fortunes, and outlaw in ways that benefit their buddies.

      I warned the EU, and that layer is growing much more rapidly to total control than the US feds did.

      Soon: Germany, Italy, Netherlands, what quaint little flavorful anachronisms that wield a teeny bit of power and spending.

      Don't think it will happen? A few decades of "pay your fair share", and member states will dance the tune the EU wants just to have their own money returned to them. Magnitude of the tax makes it so, and taxes always start out tiny to prevent the populace from running the corruptions out of town on a rail.

    3. I believe this was tried in the Articles of Confederation 1777-1781.

    4. Dude, you lost the Civil War. Get over it.

      1. That battle wasn't lost with the civil war it was lost at the 16th amendment.

        No money no power.

        1. For what ML posits the battle was lost when the Articles of Confederation failed.

          1. The Articles made for too weak of a central government, but the Constitution over-shot the mark.

            But mostly what happened is that we had tolerably good government for long enough people forgot why it was limited.

            1. The next step down from what we have is either Jim Crow but for whomever each state doesn't like or the EU but with America.

              Both seem to me to have the same issue Communism has - great ideas, till you implement them.

              1. Getting rid of Jim Crow didn't require the massively centralized government we have now. It required actually upholding the 14th amendment, as was starting to be done before the Slaugherhouse Court deliberately mooted it.

                It didn't require turning the interstate commerce power into a general police power, for example.

                Actually, what really screwed things up was, IMO, the 16th and 17th amendments. They're what put an end to the designed in balance of power between state and federal governments.

                1. The 14A was a massive increase in federal power. It's certainly not aligned with what ML's OP calls for.

                  There is no general federal police power in America.

                  1. Not officially. But if we're to be honest, many laws that purport to be 'regulating interstate commerce' are just general police power laws with some commerce clause boilerplate tacked on.

    5. If you're interested in considering an alternate proposal, you could look at

      "Rescission of the Constitution for the United States of America — To enable better 'securing the Blessings of Liberty'"

  23. I warned the EU,

    And they were, astonishingly, blind to your warnings. We have our very own Cassandra here.

  24. Hey, is anyone else dreading the end of covid?

    Since Nov 15 I've Ben out of the country, in the last 2months I've been to the Acropolis and Angkor Wat, both were virtually deserted. First time for me at the Acropolis, so I couldn't gauge what its normally like on a sunny mid 40's day in January, but less than 100 people over 10 or so acres was fantastic.

    Angkor Wat had only few more people density wise but I've been there 5-6 times and it was less than 10% of normal. You can always get a seat at any restaurant, I've haven't spent more than 45$ on a hotel, even in Athens and may have been the top 2 or 3 I've stayed in over the last 3 months. I've been able to cook some at a few of the AirBNBs.

    Honestly if you have a little time on your hands hop on a plane and go somewhere reasonably warm that you've wanted to check out.

    But two caveats, air fares are about double what they should be, I paid less than 600:to fly RT to North Macedonia, now it's over 1200. Then the other thing is vivid isn't over yet completely, be prepared to get a PCR test every time you change countries. I had a medium case of the covid for 10 days in Turkey, but my hotel was a cross the street from the beach and my room had outside access, so it wasn't too bad. My wife didn't get it and she got takeout and brought it back.

    Oh yeah, the big attraction for me is the lack of crowds, if you crave the excitement of crowds you will be very lonely. And I do travel pretty cheap, exclusive of airfare I was spending 50-100 dollars anday, and it didn't n hurt I got to Turkey right when the lira collapsed, and I was there a month.

    1. Covid is still around?

      Personally, my family does a lot of camping, and aside from a while when they stupidly, stupidly closed the parks, (Like outdoor campsites are a major source of respiratory disease transmission!) Covid has hardly altered our vacation habits at all.

      Well, we did have to spend all day wearing masks when we flew out to Utah to hike around Zion and the Grand Canyon last summer, but once we got there nobody was wearing them outside of national park buildings.

  25. Third World War? You're soaking in it.

    This message from Mykhaylo Podolyak of the Ukrainian president's office.

  26. It is mindboggling and beyond disgusting that so called "Professor" Eugene Volokh has DONE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to help the USA address the increasingly common issue of cyberstalking and online harassment.

    Rather, Eugene Volokh has tried his best to HARM victims of cyberstalking by trying to argue, incorrectly and foolishly, that online harassment and cyberstalking is "Free Speech". He fights for the "rights" of a bunch of criminals, sociopaths, and mentally ill malicious individuals who want to use the internet to ruin innocent victim lives.

    Eugene Volokh, in his many "papers", completely ignores the impact of cyberbullying, cyber-harassment, doxing, and stalking to the VICTIMS of malicious mentally-ill cyber-stalkers and sociopaths. Instead, he works hard to protect the rights of these mentally ill criminals and leave victims with no legal recourse to regain their lives and stop this atrocious behaviour. Eugene basically supports the criminals.

    Who in their right mind thinks "Free Speech" should be abused by plainly malicious individuals who are often mentally ill and are purposely using the internet to harm the victims by revealing private, personal information (doxing) or slandering them online, or posting their personal private pictures?

    Rather than help the courts in the USA understand that cyber-harassment is NOT protected speech, Eugene Volokh has taken money ("bribes") from Google, Big Tech to peddle the false notion that harassment websites dedicated to tormenting a victim are "Free Speech" and "one-to-many speech." Eugene has disclosed that several of his "First Amendment" papers were funded by Google. Not surprisingly, all of his papers have "concluded" (not surprisingly) that Google should be able to do WHATEVER THE FUCK it wants while having no responsibility for removing harmful content and hosting cyberstalking webpages. Geez, I wonder if Eugene thinks the world is stupid and cannot see the fact that Google has FUNDED your papers. Eugene's conclusions are highly likely to be result of bribes by Big Tech to try to sway the legal landscape in their favour at the expense of innocent American victims.

    Eugene is a dishonest lawyer and speaker taking bribes from Big Tech that favour lack of regulation and allowing crimes to take place online.

    Plainly, Eugene Volokh's First Amendment absolutism is dangerous for America because it allows cyberstalking, cyber-harassment, doxing, and online abuse to flourish, totally ignoring the social harm of this type of criminal behaviour. Eugene Volokh seems blind to the reality that Free Speech especially on the internet needs to be balanced against other "rights", such as a victim's right to be free from harassment, right to be left alone, right of privacy.

    Sadly, Eugene Volokh completely (and purposefully) ignores the impact of these crimes to the hapless victims. He doesn't understand the nature of the internet yet poses as if he's some "First Amendment" expert.

    Eugene also tries to make it as difficult as possible for cyber-harassment victims to file a civil suit against their perpetrators using a "pseudonym", to protect their privacy from even further harm. Rather than sympathizing with the unfortunate and undeserved situation of the victims and finding ways to help these people stop their attackers, Eugene dishonestly tries to argue that for the victim to file pseudonymously would be somehow "unfair" to the malicious defendant, a psychopath who DESERVES to be held accountable for his criminal and harassing behaviour.

    Eugene Volokh reminds me of a wolf in sheep's clothing. He has an agenda - to de-regulate Big Tech so they can maximize profits at the expense of making Americans totally unprotected from cyber-harassment, doxing, and cyber-stalking by mentally ill individuals online. He probably gets a cut of this profit, at the expense of American victims of cyber-stalking.

    Worse of all, Eugene has attempted to DELETE and CENSOR my truthful posts ABOUT him as he found it "harassing", while denying the same recourse to thousands of REAL online harassment victims across the country and protecting the rights of their harassers. So Eugene has exposed his dishonesty and biased - if someone posts TRUTHFUL information ABOUT him that casts him in an unfavourable light, he WANTS it CENSORED, but when it happens to millions of other Americans, he claims they DO NOT deserve legal recourse and that the postings are FREE SPEECH.

    Wolf in sheep's clothing.

    Try and refute me, Eugene Volokh. Everything I said was fact.

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