News Media: Bizarre hammer assault on Speaker Pelosi’s husband. Suspect: I was after Nancy. News Media: Law enforcement has offered no motive for the attack. Suspect: I wanted to kill Nancy. News Media: Police silent on Pelosi attacker’s intentions. Suspect: Really, I just wanted to kill Nancy. I guess she wasn’t there. News Media: Did divisive political rhetoric play a part in attack? Suspect: Everybody on FOX says Nancy is a monster, so I wanted to kill her. You know…with a hammer. News Media: Pelosi needed brain surgery after hammer attack. GOP: CA should relax gun laws so Pelosi could have defended himself from hammer-wielding attacker. Dems not tough on crime. Suspect: I would have used a gun, but this is California and I can’t buy one. FOX News: Lots of people injured in hammer attacks in CA. Why lib media focused on this one minor assault? Pelosi didn’t even die. News Media: Unconfirmed report: Pelosi attacker said to be dressed in his underwear. Suspect: I’m a hammer killer, not a pervert. Fully dressed. In camo. Elon Musk: An obscure news source that once claimed Hilary Clinton was dead and replaced by a body double says the attack MAY have some kinky gay thing going on. GOP: After recent DUI arrest, Paul Pelosi engaged in extramarital gay hammer sex party. News Media: Uh, well, okay, maybe? Suspect: Look, all I wanted to do was kill Nancy then go monitor voting drop boxes like any other normal patriotic American. I’m a victim of cancel culture.
News Media: Sources say Pelosi lured hammer suspect with offers of twisted gay sex. Suspect: Wait, what? No. News Media: GOP claims prosecution of Pelosi hammer attacker is politically motivated. Suspect: I’m announcing my candidacy for Gov. of Cali, which I’ll win unless the votes are tampered with. GOP: Vote for us, we’ll hammer Biden and his gay socialist agenda!
EDITORIAL NOTE: Today, 10-31-22, the FBI released an eight page affidavit “for the limited purpose of securing a criminal complaint and arrest warrant” for the asshole who assaulted Paul Pelosi with a hammer. It includes statements made by David DePape outlining his motives for breaking into the Pelosi hom. You can read the affidavit here.
Will this end the wild speculation by Republicans and other conspiracy theory fuckwits?
“We thought it was just a regular intruder drill. But when we started hearing sirens outside and the teachers started to even get scared, then we knew that this wasn’t just a regular drill and it was real.”
A regular intruder drill. Three people, including the shooter, are dead. But students thought it was just one of their regular intruder drills. At least eight people have been transported to local hospitals. So, NOT just a regular intruder drill.
The fact that a high school in St. Louis, Missouri even HAS regular intruder drills is an indictment of US politics. It’s an indictment of the Republican Party. It’s an indictment of American gun culture. But given the horrific reality that there have been at least 545 mass shootings THIS YEAR in the US, then yeah, regular intruder drills are probably needed. Because the GOP is sure as fuck not going to let anybody do anything about the guns.
The GOP and the NRA will argue we need to arm teachers. The St. Louis school had SEVEN security officers INSIDE the school, but some 20-year-old asshole still managed to wander in toting some sort of long gun (and will anybody be surprised if we learn it was some AR-15 variant?). But hey, most of the 545 mass shootings this year DID NOT take place at schools. Maybe we also need to arm cashiers at the supermarkets. Maybe we need to arm receptionists and the kid who puts your burrito together and the person who passes the collection plate at church. Because guns make us safe?
Following the shooting, the mayor, Tishaura Jones, texted “Help us, Jesus.” Jesus ain’t gonna help us. You might as well call on Thor to help us. Prayer doesn’t do shit to stop a bullet. But you can be assured the GOP will be calling for thoughts and prayers, and holding out their hands for the NRA to donate to their campaigns.
You know what would help? Making it harder to buy guns. That would help. Making it illegal to wander around the streets openly carrying a rifle or shotgun, that would help. Open carry of long guns in public is completely unregulated in Missouri. This shooter would have been legally able to walk right up the school doors openly toting his gun, and that would be just fine with the GOP. That’s just fucking crazy, right there.
Even if the US Congress passed some minimal firearm legislation (which, hey, they did), it wouldn’t help. Why? Because in 2021 the Missouri GOP passed what they called the Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA). This specifically prohibits state and local law enforcement officials from enforcing federal gun policies. Hell, SAPA even punishes state and local police officers for trying to enforce federal gun laws.
In fact, more than 1,200 jurisdictions (state, county, municipal) in 37 states have adopted some form of resolution or law restricting local law enforcement from enforcing federal laws IF they feel those laws violate the Second Amendment. Want to guess which political party pushed for that?
Republicans are simply willing to sacrifice children to protect the gun lobby’s shaky interpretation of an amendment written 230 years ago. An amendment written at a time when there were no police and no standing army in the US. A time when there was open conflict between settlers and the native peoples whose territory they were intruding upon. A time when the most common firearms were muskets capable of firing a single round (maybe three rounds per minute) and with a maximum accuracy range of around 50 yards.
If the St. Louis shooter had an AR-15 variant, even without any training, he could easily fire at least 30 rounds per minute, probably closer to 60, with a lot more accuracy. The Second Amendment, as it was written in 1791, simply doesn’t address modern killing tech.
What happened in St. Louis today wasn’t a regular intruder drill. Sadly, it was just a regular school shooting, around the 40th school shooting this year (we average about one a week–and let me just say that again, this year we averaged about one school shooting every fucking week). Unless a couple more people die, it’s not even a mass murder.
This question/comment was made by a senior economist employed by a major economic policy center:
Seems if we had an attorney general who respected the law, he would send the FBI to ALL of Trump’s residences and tear them apart to look for every damn missing document, just like would happen with a drug lord. What happened to no one being above the law?
Yeah, that’s not gonna happen. And it shouldn’t–not to Trump, not to a drug lord. It’s not gonna happen because we DO have an Attorney General who respects the law. It’s not gonna happen because it’s fucking illegal.
I’ve heard similar questions/comments by other folks. Some of those folks are boneheads, some are smart folks, educated folks, folks who follow the news. I blame television. On television, all a detective has to do is say to some flunky, “I know in my gut that this guy did the crime. I just need to find the evidence. Get me a warrant to search his house!” and hey bingo, the detective gets a warrant.
That just ain’t how it works. Law enforcement–and I’m talking about everybody from the FBI down to officers from your local Mayberry police department–can’t just act on a hunch or a gut feeling. This is pretty basic stuff, and it’s right out of the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No warrants shall issue. What the hell is a warrant, anyway? The term comes from the Old French ‘garant‘ out of the Frankish ‘warand‘ meaning ‘pledge.’ It’s also the root term for ‘guarantee’ and ‘guard’ and ‘warden’. It means a pledge or guarantee that the information written down has been attested or given under oath.
If the State wants to search a place, they first have to swear an oath that they’ve got a legit reason to do that. There’s a process to this search warrant business, and that process always, without fail, begins with the question, Hey, did somebody break the law here? Is it illegal for Comrade Ex-President Donald J. Trump to stuff classified documents down his pants and take them to Trump Tower or one of his many golf resorts? The answer, of course, is yep. Totally illegal. But you have to be specific; you have to be able to point to an actual criminal statute and be able to say to a judge, “That law right here, that’s the law we believe Trump broke IF he walked away with those documents.“
Step two is another question: Did Trump do that? Did he stuff documents down his pants and walk away? This is where shit gets complicated. Obviously, you can’t prove Trump did that without evidence and you can’t get the evidence to show he did that without searching for it. But you can’t search for it until you can convince a judge that (okay, here’s some legal-sounding language) you have sufficient credible information to establish that Trump probably did that.
The judge will expect you to lay out what that information is, how you got that information, why you believe the information is credible, and your qualifications to justify your belief in the credibility of that information. So you tell the judge, “The Archives reports that Trump was supposed to give them all his shit after he left office, but there’s shit they KNOW exists and they don’t have it, so probably Trump does. The Archives haven’t ever lied to us before and we’re seriously experienced and skeptical FBI agents, and we trust them, so there.”
So yeah, you’ve shown that a crime was probably committed and Trump probably committed it. Now comes Step three: finding the damned evidence. Now you have to convince a judge that you’ve got good reason to believe the evidence of that specific crime exists and can be found in these specific locations. In the Mar-a-Lago search, the FBI told the judge, “We got us some witnesses who saw Comrade Donald J. Trump stuff like TWO truckloads of boxes labeled Classified Shit down his pants at the White House, and witnesses who saw those same boxes unloaded from his pants at Mar-a-Lago, and we’ve even got witnesses who saw those boxes in Trump’s basement and in his goddamned office, if you can believe it, where all sorts of loopy people go wandering through.”
The FBI had all that for Mar-a-Lago. So they were able to convince a judge to issue a search warrant and do the search. They apparently don’t have everything they need to get a warrant for Trump Tower or any of Trump’s other golf resorts. Not yet. But we know they’re talking to folks with information about those locations. So they’re working on it.
Why is this search and seizure business so complicated? To protect innocent people. To keep the agents of the State from wandering through anybody’s home or place of business on the off chance that maybe they’ll find something illegal. It’s to stop them from just walking into YOUR home or your office, opening YOUR drawers, snooping through YOUR closets, rummaging around in YOUR kitchen, or trolling through YOUR private stuff on YOUR computer.
The irony, of course, is that if Comrade Trump were ever to have power again, that sleazy motherfucker absolutely WOULD want to be able to do that.
A month ago I made the argument that Comrade Trump doesn’t have many actual supporters; instead, he has fans. I wrote:
Trump fans aren’t supporters of Trump’s beliefs (if he has any) or his political or religious ideology (if he has any) or his policies (if he has any); they’re fans of Trump his ownself. They want Trump to win, of course, but the thing about fan loyalty is that it doesn’t require winning.
It’s just a coincidence that I recently stumbled upon a 2009 article by Roger Ebert, the late and much-missed film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times. Ebert had written a scathing review of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which apparently upset Transformer fans (or maybe Transformer movie fans or fans of somebody in the movie–I don’t know and can’t bring myself to care enough to check). The thing about fans, of course, is that they will immediately go to war with anybody who questions their fandom. And they went to war with Ebert.
The thing about Ebert, on the other hand, is he was always rational, analytical, and really fucking smart. He starting rationally analyzing fandom. He wrote this:
A lot of fans are basically fans of fandom itself. It’s all about them. They have mastered the ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Star Trek’ universes or whatever, but their objects of veneration are useful mainly as a backdrop to their own devotion. Anyone who would camp out in a tent on the sidewalk in order to be the first in line for a movie is more into camping on the sidewalk than movies.
Extreme fandom may serve as a security blanket for the socially inept, who use its extreme structure as a substitute for social skills. If you are Luke Skywalker and she is Princess Leia, you already know what to say to each other, which is so much safer than having to ad-lib it. Your fannish obsession is your beard. If you know absolutely all the triviea about your cubbyhole of pop culture, it save you from having to know anything about anything else. That’s why it’s excruciatingly boring to talk to such people: They’re always asking you questions they know the answer to.
And yeah, that’s spot on. It applies perfectly to Trump fans (who, come to think of it, aren’t that different from Transformer fans — they’re both devoted to something fundamentally ridiculous and tacky). Trump’s fans tend to be not just socially inept, but aggressively and proudly so. Believing in Trump saves them from having to know anything about anything, or from having to retain internally consistent views. If Trump, on a Monday, says Candidate A is a genius but on Wednesday describes him as an idiot, then Candidate A is a genius until, through the power of Trump, he becomes an idiot. It’s that simple.
The difference, of course, between Transformer fans and Trump fans is Trump fans are more willing — even eager, at times — to turn violent against critics of their fandom. I’m talking about violence ranging in scale from a recent incident in which a Trump fan hurled a can of beer at a comedian because she voted for Biden to a few thousand people violently assaulting the Capitol Building in an effort to overturn a legit election.
The risk posed by Transformer fans is that they increase the odds that more shitty movies will get made and inflicted on the public. The risk posed by Trump fans is sporadic irrational large scale violence, the occasional attack on FBI buildings, possible assassination of Trump ‘enemies’, and the potential destruction of representative democracy.
Ebert described Transformers as “a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine.” The four years of the Trump administration could be described in much the same way, only with Trump humping the leg of Vlad Putin.
Herschel Walker: Abortion is bad, wicked, evil and I am against it totally. Press: Didn’t you pay for your girlfriend to have an abortion? Walker: That’s a lie. I did NOT pay for that woman’s abortion. Press: Your ex-girlfriend says you did. Walker: She’s a liar. Press: We have the get well card you sent her. Walker: Okay, I sent her a get well card. She was…you know, sick and all. Press: We have a copy of the check you sent her to pay for the abortion. Walker: That check was for medical supplies. Aspirin, hot water bottle, stuff like that. Press: The memo line on the check says, ‘This is to pay for your abortion’. Walker: It’s a forgery. Press: We have video of you dropping her off at the abortion clinic. Walker: I thought that was a Target. Anybody can make a mistake. Press: In the audio of the video we can hear you saying, “Bye now, have a nice abortion!” Walker: Fake news! Women lie! GOP: We completely support Herschel Walker and are outraged by these scurrilous accusations. It just proves Democrats can’t be trusted. Press: GOP says Dems can’t be trusted.
GOP: It’s possible Mr. Walker at one point in his otherwise exemplary life thought abortion might be okay under certain circumstances, but now he realizes he was wrong and all abortion is murder, so leave him alone. Press: Exemplary life? He put a gun to his wife’s head and threatened to kill her. GOP: A candidate’s domestic life isn’t the issue. The issue is pedophiles teaching CRT to grade school students. Press: Walker used to play Russian roulette. GOP: The Republican party cares about mental health rehabilitation. The past is the past. Press: We’ve just received video of Herschel Walker paying to abort endangered baby eagles. GOP: There’s no law against aborting baby eagles. Stick to the real issues that are important to American families. Inflation, the price of gas, trans girls winning medals in high school sports, Democrat crossdressers in girls bathrooms selling fetanyl. Press: GOP says Dems killing teen girls. Tucker Carlson: Are there are videos of Hunter Biden dressed in a frilly Lolita skirt taking bribes and cocaine from Chinese agents in the girl’s bathroom of a Catholic grade school? I’m just asking questions. Next up, Herschel Walker discusses how to arm yourself to protect your family from baby eagles.