voting rights — how fucked are we?

Yesterday I was…let’s call it challenged…for not being sufficiently outraged by the Republican assault on voting rights. A Facebook friend suggested I wasn’t taking the threat of voter suppression seriously enough, that I didn’t fully comprehend the severity of the issue, that I was naive. Why? Because I disagreed with this:

Will Joe have the cajones to install voting rights / election law changes even if it takes declaring Martial Law?

I’m not convinced that the willingness to invoke extraordinary military power to seize control of a civil election is a valid metric of my commitment to voting rights. I mean, the US military is brilliant at blowing shit up and killing people, and they’re really great at responding to humanitarian disasters. But martial law isn’t a remedy for our voting rights problems. It’s not the answer for any number of reasons, beginning with 1) the president doesn’t have any Constitutional power to substitute military authority for civilian control of the US election system, and moving through 2) the reality that no election could be considered valid if one candidate is the Commander-in-Chief of the military and the military is in charge of the election process, and ending with 3) an authoritarian act committed with good intentions by a POTUS I agree with is STILL an authoritarian act–and no authoritarian government in history has remained benevolent.

Martial law is just fucked up. I like Uncle Joe Biden, but he’s no Abe Lincoln. Look at what happened to Lincoln after he imposed martial law in some border states during the Civil War. Not only did SCOTUS spank him for violating the Constitution, but his military commanders became so accustomed to ruling without civilian interference that when Lincoln realized he’d made a mistake and tried to unwind martial law, his generals were reluctant–even actively resistant–to giving up their authority. It was so bad that Lincoln, a few months before he was assassinated, had to send General John Pope with another army to dismantle the martial law system.

Still, the fact remains that representative democracy in the US is in danger. It’s threatened by the Republican slide into authoritarianism and their concentrated assault on voting rights. It’s important to ask what’s being done to save democracy. What can be done about preserving our voting rights?

Ideally, the Senate would pass the pair of voting rights bills that have already passed in the House–the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. The former is as dead as Dickens’ door-nail because of the Manchin and the Sinema issues (which are two totally different though equally fucked up issues). The latter, however, has support from Manchin (as well as at least one Republican–Lisa Murkowski), so it’s still a possibility.

The John Lewis bill basically restores the power to the Department of Justice that SCOTUS stripped away in the Shelby County v. Holder decision. It would require DOJ pre-clearance before states can change voting laws involving redistricting, voter ID requirements, changes to precinct locations, changes to early-voting access, or changes to how voter rolls are purged. It wouldn’t end gerrymandering, but it would seriously limit it. The John Lewis Act wouldn’t heal our wounds, but it would help stop the bleeding.

IF the John Lewis Act is passed, then it’s all up to Merrick Garland.

“Help us, Obi-wan, you’re our only hope.”

I fucking hate to trust government officials. Even the ones I like. I don’t entirely trust them because there’s always other shit going on. And let’s face it, every government official I’ve ever counted on has, in some way, let me down. And it’s always for the same reason (that ‘other shit going on’ I mentioned a moment ago). Merrick Garland, as the US Attorney General has SO MUCH other shit going on that you’d need an abacus the size of the St. Louis Gateway Arch to keep count of them. I mean, in addition to voting rights, he’s also got the matter of possibly prosecuting the former president to deal with. That’s a full plate, right there.

But in his speech last week, AG Garland said he was doubling the size of the staff of the Civil Rights Division “within the next thirty days.” They’re the folks who’d handle the voting rights cases. So that’s…promising? Even without John Lewis, a doubling of the staff suggests the DOJ is serious about voting rights.

So that, in my opinion, is where we are. Hovering in the null zone between Totally Fucked and Semi-Fucked. We will almost certainly remain Fucked In Some Fashion so long as the GOP continues to hold fast to authoritarianism and SCOTUS continues to be held hostage by unqualified conservative hacks. The degree to which we’re Fucked will depend a lot on the future of our voting rights.

accountability, not vengeance

Let’s talk about Kimberly Potter, the Minnesota police officer who was recently convicted of manslaughter. This case has been badly reported in the news media; it’s both more simple and more complex than the news reports.

Potter, who’d been a police officer for 26 years, was acting as a Field Training Officer at the time. Here’s a true thing about training: the stuff you learn in a classroom doesn’t always translate well in real life. I’ve done OJT (on the job training) as a medic, as a counselor in the Psych/Security unit of a prison for women, and as a criminal defense investigator. You can learn initial treatment of a traumatic amputation in a classroom, you can practice on an actor wearing a moulage, but it’s not the same as being confronted with a screaming, bleeding, panicked person who’s just had his arm torn off. You can teach somebody various interview techniques, but it’s not the same as finding a witness in a bar and trying to get them to talk to you. Real life is a lot weirder and slipperier. The only way to really learn to do a job is to do the job.

Potter was a passenger in the police squad car driven by her trainee. While they were on patrol, he saw a white 2011 Buick signal a right turn while it was in a left turning lane. He also noticed the vehicle’s registration tag on the licence plate was expired. There was also an air freshener hanging from the car’s rear view mirror, which technically could be considered an obstruction which might impair the driver’s vision. The news media focused almost exclusively on the air freshener, but the reality is that there were legal justifications for stopping the vehicle.

To be clear, they were all bullshit justifications–they’re the sort of things police officers often use to stop black/minority drivers. But, again, the only way to really learn to do a job is to do the job. Even if it was a bullshit justification, it was a legit teaching opportunity–a way for Potter to see how her trainee would handle a real life traffic stop. And also again, real life is a lot weirder and slipperier.

They stopped the car, did the usual “License and registration, please” business. This is what they learned: 1) Daunte Wright, the driver, didn’t have a driver’s license, 2) the car wasn’t registered to him or the woman passenger, 3) there was no proof-of-insurance, 4) a records check showed there was an open arrest warrant on Wright for failing to appear in court on weapons violation, 5) and a protective order had been filed against him by an unnamed woman. Even though it was a bullshit traffic stop, Potter and her trainee had probable cause to arrest Wright. In fact, until they determined whether or not the woman passenger Potter was the same woman who had the protective order against him, they’d have been negligent not to arrest him.

So they did. And then it all got weird and slippery. Wright decided to escape. In her 26 years as a police officer, Potter had never used either her pistol or her taser. When Wright broke away and got back in the car, she drew her pistol instead of her taser. Instead of tasing him, she shot and killed him.

Potter was just doing her job. But had what’s known in tort law as ‘a duty of care’. She had a legal obligation requiring her to adhere to a standard of reasonable care while performing any act that could foreseeably harm others. She had an obligation to know whether she was holding a pistol or a taser. And even though she clearly didn’t intend to kill Daunte Wright, he’s still dead. And Potter had to be held accountable for that.

This is exactly how the justice system should work. This is how it should work for every officer-involved incident. It’s about accountability, not revenge. It’s about a professional being held to a standard of behavior.

If a surgeon makes a mistake during an appendectomy, they have to be accountable for that. If the pilot of a commercial fishing vessel misjudges their speed and crashes the ship into a marina dock, they have to be accountable. If a bartender serves a clearly intoxicated person and that person dies in a traffic accident (or kills somebody else in a traffic accident), they have to be accountable. If a landscaper accidentally kills your lawn, they have to be accountable. And if a police officer kills a person in the line of duty–even if it’s unintentional–they have to be held accountable.

Kimberly Potter was almost certainly a good, solid police officer. She made a terrible mistake and Daunte Wright died as a result. It doesn’t matter that Wright was complicit in his own death, she remains responsible and accountable. I hope she gets a relatively light sentence, but at the heel of the hunt, she has to be accountable for it.

It’s about accountability, not vengeance.

This also applies to presidents.

you can’t trust the soup

Today the Supreme Court of the United States begins its new term — and it’s going to be a goatfuck rodeo. We’re talking abortion rights, gun rights, religious rights. To make matters worse, these cases are all coming at a moment when the reputation of SCOTUS as an independent apolitical institution is at its lowest point in history.

And the justices on the Court — particularly the conservative majority — know it. They’ve spent the last couple of months making a preemptive attempt to repair the Court’s reputation. Last Thursday, Justice Samuel Alito gave a speech defending the Court’s refusal to act on the new Texas abortion law. He claimed that the tsunami of criticism faced by the Court was, in effect, an effort “to intimidate the court or damage it as an independent institution.”

A month ago, Justice Clarence Thomas gave a speech in which he stated the Court doesn’t base decisions on their personal feelings or religious beliefs. He warned that the people who criticize the Court risked “destroying our institutions because they don’t give us what we want when we want it.”

A week or so before Thomas’ speech, Justice Amy Coney Barrett gave a speech claiming any divisions on the Court were a result of differing judicial philosophies, not partisan motivations. She said, “[T]his court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks.”

Four Supreme Court Justices and five Partisan Hacks

When three of the most conservative judges on the most conservative Supreme Court in modern history all feel compelled to defend the Court against claims of being driven by partisan political ideology rather than by the law, you’re almost forced to quote William Fucking Shakespeare. The Court doth protest too much, methinks.

(Okay, sorry, short tangent…wait, two short tangents. First, I’ve come to despise that archaic term, methinks. A lot of people use it in a way that sounds ironic, but it usually comes across as cute. Cute and irony go together like corn flakes and okra. Second, for some reason, people who quote that line tend to put ‘methinks’ at the beginning. That’s not how Shakespeare wrote it. At least quote it accurately, people.)

In Hamlet, that line is delivered in response to a play that takes place within the play itself (look, it’s Shakespeare, everything is complicated in Shakespeare). Queen Gertrude is commenting on an actor’s performance; she’s basically saying the actor’s declarations of love and fidelity are too excessive to be believed.

That applies to the speeches made by these three judges. Their declarations of independence and political objectivity are too excessive to be believed. Alito, Thomas, and Coney Barrett can claim SCOTUS is an independent institution not comprised of partisan hacks who act on personal religious beliefs or political ideology — but nobody believes them. Because that’s exactly what they are, and that’s exactly why the GOP put them on the goddamned bench. Uh…in my opinion.

Tuscan soup — it looks good, doesn’t it.

Here’s an analogy: if a chef secretly poured an ounce of urine into six quarts of Tuscan soup and served it to you, you’d eat it. You wouldn’t be able to taste the urine, and it wouldn’t do you any harm to eat it. But if you SAW the chef pour an ounce of urine into the soup, you wouldn’t eat it. Wouldn’t matter if you couldn’t taste it, or that it wouldn’t harm you, you’d push the bowl away. Not only that, you wouldn’t trust that chef to cook for you again.

We all SAW Trump and the GOP Senate pee in the SCOTUS soup. Doesn’t matter if the conservatives on the Court tell us there’s nothing in the soup that can harm us, there’s no way we’re going to trust that soup.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Yes, we ‘eat’ soup. The reason we don’t ‘drink’ it is because many (maybe most, I don’t know) soups have solids in them that require chewing. Eating involves chewing and swallowing; drinking is swallowing without chewing. So stop fretting about it.

until proven guilty

I’m afraid I’ve pissed off a friend. Well, it would be more accurate that I’ve further pissed off a friend who was already pissed off. They were already pissed off because former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin–who, of course, is charged with the murder of George Floyd–has asked the court to 1) delay the trial and 2) reconsider an earlier change-of-venue motion. I further pissed them off by saying both requests were reasonable.

I was asked How can you defend the cop who murdered George Floyd? My friend either forgot or was unaware that I’d once made a living helping to defend people accused of all manner of awful crimes. For seven years or so, I was a private investigator specializing in criminal defense. Murder, rape, arson, child abuse, animal abuse, pick an awful crime and there’s a good chance I’ve helped defend somebody accused of it. Almost all of them were factually guilty; almost all of them had actually committed the crimes of which they were accused.

I could truthfully argue that I wasn’t actually defending the accused criminals; I was defending the US Constitution, which guarantees everybody the right to a fair trial. I could truthfully argue I was actually defending civil liberties. Because the ONLY way to insure the innocent get the full protection of the law is by forcing the State to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt within the strictures of the law–and forcing them to prove it every single time. That means defending the guilty as vigorously as the innocent.

Derek Chauvin, police officer

But here’s the thing: it’s going to be incredibly difficult–maybe impossible–for Derek Chauvin to get a fair trial. It’s going to be incredibly difficult–maybe impossible–to find 14 jurors (twelve jurors plus two alternates) who will be willing and able to put aside everything they ‘know’ about the case and decide on a verdict based solely on the evidence and the law.

Most of the people I know are dead certain Chauvin is guilty–that he murdered George Floyd. There are other folks who are certain he caused Floyd’s death, but aren’t certain about Chauvin’s intent (which matters in a murder case)–maybe Chauvin was reckless, maybe he was indifferent, maybe he was just negligent. There are folks who think Floyd was somehow complicit in his own death–that he wouldn’t have died if he’d made better decisions. And there are folks who think Floyd’s life just doesn’t matter–that Black lives don’t matter. Very few folks are capable of putting their thoughts and beliefs aside long enough to focus purely on the evidence.

That pool of potentially impartial jurors HAD to decrease when the city of Minneapolis announced it had reached a US$27 million civil settlement with the Floyd family. I suspect a lot of potentially impartial jurors heard that and thought, There’s no way the city would cough up that much cash unless they knew they were responsible for killing that man.

Derek Chauvin, criminal defendant

So yes, I think there are legit reasons for delaying the trial. And yes, I think there are legit reasons to hold the trial in a different jurisdiction–one that hadn’t gone through weeks or months of protests, demonstrations, and riots as a result of Floyd’s death. I think the requests are legit because–and this will also piss off some/most folks–right now Derek Chauvin is innocent. Every defendant walks into a criminal court as an innocent person; the State has to prove they’re guilty. That’s the core principle of our justice system. Innocent until proven guilty. It has to apply to Chauvin, just like it applies to any accused criminal.

That said, I hope the State does its job; I hope they’ve followed the law and legally obtained enough forensic evidence to convince a jury to convict. I hope the defense team does their job; I hope they hold the State to the letter of the law and force them to prove their case. And I hope the court does its job; I hope the court abides by the letter and spirit of the law to insure Chauvin gets a fair trial.

Years ago, when I was doing criminal defense work, there was a bailiff at the Strafford County Courthouse–a former Sheriff’s Deputy who’d been injured in the line of duty and had a bum leg. While I was waiting to testify in some trial, he told me this: “I’m a great believer in mercy; but justice just keeps happening.” I agree with him about mercy; I’m not convinced justice happens as often he believed. But I hold out hope that it will.

EDITORIAL NOTE: One of the problems with being involved in the criminal justice system, even from a defense perspective, is the tendency to focus on specific issues rather than the broad system itself. I was asked a question about delaying and moving Chauvin’s trial, and I addressed that question–and only that question.

I wasn’t addressing the criminal justice system itself, but yes lawdy, it is wildly fucked up. And I didn’t address the obvious irony that the legal protections that are–and should be–afforded to Derek Chauvin were denied BY Derek Chauvin to George Floyd. Almost every criminal trial is about protecting the rights of people who refused to recognize the rights of their victims.

the looming repeachment

Comrade Trump has a new legal team. Another new legal team. A new new legal team. His original impeachment team declined to represent him in his repeachment, so he had to find a new legal team. Over the weekend, his new legal team walked away from him, which makes them his old new legal team. His new new legal team will probably defend him in his repeachment trial. I say ‘probably’ because this is Trump and who the hell knows?

The new new team revolves around two lawyers, David Schoen and Bruce Castor. These guys are taking a metric ton of shit about their previous clients and legal decisions. Castor, for example, was the prosecutor who initially chose NOT to prosecute Bill Cosby for drugging women and raping them. And Schoen? He represented Jeffrey Epstein, among others. He’s been quoted as saying the following:

“I represented all sorts of reputed mobster figures: alleged head of Russian mafia in this country, Israeli mafia and two Italian bosses, as well a guy the government claimed was the biggest mafioso in the world.”

Me, I don’t have a problem with that. In the US every accused criminal has the right to defend themselves, and every defense lawyer has an obligation to defend their client to best of their ability. The fact that Trump’s new lawyers worked with some other nasty folks doesn’t bother me at all. It’s the least interesting aspect of the looming repeachment.

I like the sound of that. The looming impeachment. [Okay, tangent: loom as a verb is entirely unrelated to loom as a noun. A loom, of course, is a weaving machine, and the term originates from the Old English geloma, meaning a utensil or tool. An heirloom is a crafted thing bequeathed to one’s heirs. Nobody is quite certain how loom as a verb meaning ‘to be imminent, especially in some menacing or threatening way’ came into being. Some folks think it’s from the East Frisian lomen, which meant “to move slowly” and was probably related to the way ships move in a harbor. Which is appropriate, since Trump’s repeachment is slowly coming to the dock — and lawdy, there’s another etymological rabbit hole.]

Comrade Trump, did you order the Code Red?

Anyway, what I find interesting about the repeachment is how Trump’s defense is being framed. Trump, it seems, wants his lawyers to focus on the same thing the rioters and insurrectionists focused on — the ridiculous claim that the election was stolen from him by fraud. That would require Trump’s lawyers to present a case based on lies, which would get them soundly spanked by the American Bar Association. Instead, Trump’s lawyers apparently want to challenge the constitutionality of the repeachment, claiming that it’s unconstitutional to impeach a president who’s no longer president. Most constitutional scholars describe that strategy as “a load of stinking bullshit.”

Steve Bannon, Trump’s recently-pardoned former adviser, has been suggesting Trump should lead the defense team himself. It’ll never happen, but lawdy, there’s part of me that would love to see that, because there’d be a really good chance of a Colonel Jessup / A Few Good Men moment. “You can’t handle the truth! We live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns!”

But no, that’s not going to happen. Still, what’s interesting is that neither defense approach really addresses the crime with which Trump is charged: incitement of insurrection. The sole article of impeachment accuses Trump of engaging “in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States.” Claiming “the election was stolen from me” may speak to Trump’s motives, but it isn’t a defense against inciting violence against the government. Claiming it’s unconstitutional to impeach a former president isn’t a defense against inciting violence against the government either; it’s just an argument saying the Senate isn’t legally authorized to rule on Trump’s behavior since he’s no longer in government.

On February 9th Democrats are going to say, “Trump incited a riot.” Trump wants his defense team to argue, “The election was stolen from him; he was just trying to get it back.” His lawyers want to argue, “Y’all aren’t authorized to decide whether or not he incited a riot.” It appears nobody will be arguing, “No, Trump didn’t incite no riot.”

“Yeah, I incited a riot. And I grabbed women by the pussy, cheated on my taxes, and gave intel to Russia. What’re you gonna do about it?”

That’s because Trump did, in fact, incite a riot. To be clear, he hasn’t actually been charged with the federal crime of inciting a riot. I’m not a lawyer, but I suspect you could make a case that Trump violated 18 U.S. Code § 2101 in that he 1) traveled interstate, 2) told his supporters the election had been ‘stolen’ from him…and from them, 3) encouraged them to travel to DC, 4) on a specific date, where 5) he told them they had to “fight like hell” to stop Congress from ratifying the Electoral College results, and then 6) told them to walk to the Capitol building.

He may not have specifically told them to riot, or to break into the Capitol building, or to harm anybody, but he created the conditions that inflamed the crowd, then he pointed them in the direction of the Capitol, and told them to fight like hell. Which they did.

Of course, that doesn’t mean Republicans in the Senate will vote to find Trump guilty. They’ll probably never find him guilty of anything. Republicans have proven themselves to be invulnerable to evidence.

nashville police and the christmas day bombing

I’m hearing/seeing a lot of variations on this theme:

Unbelievable. Anthony Warner’s girlfriend reported he was making bombs in an RV eighteen months ago and the Nashville Police Department did nothing. If he’d been black or brown, they’d have found a reason to arrest him.

It sounds bad, doesn’t it. Really bad. I mean, Nashville police officers could have prevented the Christmas morning bombing if only they’d done what the police are supposed to do. Right?

Well, no. Here’s the problem with that. Folks are evaluating this case through a lens of known guilt. We KNOW Anthony Warner made a bomb in his RV, drove it into the city, blew it (and himself) up. We’re criticizing the police for not knowing in August of 2019 what we know right now. It’s like complaining that somebody bought the wrong Lotto ticket after seeing what the winning Lotto number is. Okay, that’s an unfortunate analogy; I’m not suggesting detonating a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device is anything like winning the Lotto. What I’m saying is the odds of knowing the winning Lotto number before the drawing is 1 in 292,201,338, but the odds of knowing the winning number after the drawing 1 in 1. We’re basing our understanding of an extremely improbable event after learning the probability was 100%.

Let’s look at what actually happened and evaluate the behavior of the police based on what they knew at the time. On August 21, 2019 MNPD received a report that Pamela Perry was suicidal and sitting on her porch with two handguns. Police arrived and found her with two unloaded pistols. She told the officers the firearms belonged to her boyfriend, Tony Warner. She didn’t want the guns in her house. She also told them Warner was making bombs in an RV parked behind his house, which was located about a mile and a half away. The officers called for an ambulance which took Ms. Perry to a mental health facility for an evaluation.

Based on what they knew at the time, the incident could have ended there. The officers could easily have dismissed Perry’s bomb-making claim as the delusions of a suicidal person. I mean, the police have a long history of ignoring the complaints of folks with mental health issues. Or they could have dismissed her allegation as baseless accusations made by an angry, unstable woman in an unhappy relationship. Again, the police have a long history of not listening to women and dismissing their concerns. I’m not saying that would have been appropriate; I’m just saying knowing only what they knew then nobody would have been surprised if, after the ambulance drove off with Perry, the officers had just continued with their routine patrol.

But they didn’t; they actually followed up on the claim. They spoke to the attorney (who was also the person who reported Perry was suicidal). He told them Warner had spoken about bomb-making and military stuff. So they went to Warner’s home and saw that there was, in fact, an RV parked in back yard behind a fence. There was no answer at the door, and they lacked any exigent circumstance to climb the fence and invade the privacy of a citizen. They didn’t even have enough information to ask a judge to issue a search warrant. All they had was the accusation of a suicidal person who was undergoing a psych evaluation at that very moment. So they informed their supervisors of the incident and sent a report to MNPD’s Hazardous Devices Unit.

The next day the Hazardous Devices Unit checked Warner’s police record — nothing but an old marijuana case (for which he’d been placed on probation). That could have been the end of the matter too. Knowing only what they knew then, nobody would have been surprised if the report was filed away and treated as a low priority. But they didn’t. They got in touch with the FBI, who had no record of Warner.

At that point, knowing only what they knew then, they let it go. All they had was 1) a claim by a possibly mentally ill person that her boyfriend, who had no serious criminal record, who had no known ties to violent groups, who was gainfully employed and owned a home in a decent suburb was making a bomb in an RV, and 2) he actually owned an RV. That’s it. That’s all they knew. There wasn’t any reasonable legal grounds to expend policing resources on any further investigation. So they let it go.

Had he been innocent, that would have been the end of it. And remember, in the US we’re all operating under the presumption of innocence. We don’t have to prove we’re innocent. Totalitarian regimes operate on an assumption of guilt.

But as we know now, Warner wasn’t innocent. He was doing exactly what his former girlfriend said he was doing.

The folks who say, “If he’d been black or brown, they’d have found a reason to investigate and/or arrest him” are correct. If he hadn’t been a suburban white guy with a job, the police might have leaned on him, pressured him, intimidated him. They might have cobbled together some excuse to barge into his home and search his property. But we’ve spent much of this year demonstrating against the casual, routine violation of the civil liberties of people of color. Are folks really suggesting the police should treat everybody as badly as they treat POC?

No, not really. What they’re saying is police should have violated Anthony Warner’s civil rights. Not everybody, just him. Why? Because we know he’s guilty. It’s easy to deny the rights of guilty people.

But here’s a horrible-wonderful thing about civil liberties: they apply to everybody, the guilty as well as the innocent. They have to apply to the guilty in order to protect the innocent, because we don’t always know who is guilty or innocent.

If we want to stop future Anthony Warners, the answer isn’t to give the police more power or to encourage them to ignore civil liberties. If we want to stop bomb-makers, we should make it more difficult to buy and sell (and re-sell) the common ingredients necessary for making bombs. It’s fairly easy to buy the ingredients to make a triacetone triperoxide explosive (I haven’t bothered to check, but I won’t be surprised to learn Warner had purchased significant amounts of hydrogen peroxide and acetone — the primary ingredients of TATP). If we can limit the monthly amount of Sudafed (“Provides Powerful Sinus or Cold Relief!”) an individual can purchase, we can do the same with bomb-making ingredients.

DISCLAIMER: I spent seven years as a criminal defense investigator. I’m not accustomed to defending the police. But I try to be consistent. The Nashville police followed the law. They didn’t let us down. We were let down by legislators and regulators who are in the pockets of pharma-chemical lobbies.

3 things about the texas lawsuit

To the horror and astonishment of many, Ken Paxton is the actual Attorney General of the State of Texas. Our boy Ken has filed a lawsuit asking the Supreme Court of the United States to basically shitcan the election results in the States of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin. None of those states, you may have noticed, is Texas.

You already KNOW that Comrade Trump and his squad of Orc lawyers have had their asses handed to them in around forty courtrooms where they’ve had the audacity to present their arguments. They’ve been claiming they have gigantic mounds of real honest no-shit evidence of fraud and they’re going to produce it any minute now — but they never get around to showing it. So if you’re a semi-normal functioning adult, you’re probably wondering what’s different about Ken Paxton’s suit.

“Who farted?” Trump’s elite legal team.

Three things are different. First thing: Kenny is straight up admitting they don’t have any evidence of actual voter fraud. Because it’s invisible.

“[T[he media has consistently proclaimed that no widespread voter fraud has been proven. But this observation misses the point. The constitutional issue is not whether voters committed fraud but whether state officials violated the law by systematically loosening the measures for ballot integrity so that fraud becomes undetectable.”

Kenny is basically saying voter fraud is like a fart at a tea party — you can’t see it, but you know it happened. And it happened because Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin were just too fucking stupid to stop it. So he wants SCOTUS to light a match and burn a Republican-scented candle.

“Who farted?” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Second thing: Ken Paxton is pimping for a pardon. His own staff in the Texas Attorney General’s office snitched on him, accusing him of corruption, bribery and abuse of office. The FBI is investigating, and things look a wee bit grim for Kenny. But lo, what corrupt light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Comrade Trump is the sun. Trump has been offering pardons to his family, friends, and staff like a fishmonger trying to get rid of day-old tuna. Nobody is saying it very loudly, but our boy Kenny has his hand out.

Third thing: didn’t nobody in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, or Wisconsin ask Texas to come fart at their tea party. In fact, Pennsylvania filed a response with the Supreme Court calling Kenny’s suit a “seditious abuse of the judicial process.” (Sedition, by the say, refers to the act of inciting revolt or violence against a lawful authority with the goal of destroying or overthrowing it. It’s one step below treason; the difference between sedition and treason is treason requires an overt act — the difference between farting at a tea party and dropping a turd in the punch bowl.)

Is SCOTUS likely to take this seriously? Almost certainly not (and yeah, it should be ‘certainly not’ but Trump has winkled all the integrity out of the judiciary, so who the hell knows?). But at the heel of the hunt, the Texas lawsuit seems to be nothing more than a corrupt attorney general hoping to please a corrupt president enough to get a pardon.

MAGA, bitches. Smell the Republican roses.

i really don’t know anymore

For several years I made a habit of checking in on what I like to call ‘Right-Wing Absurdist Nut-Case’ blogs (I call them that because they’re right-wing blogs that attract nut-cases who seem to be engaged in performative absurdist theater). I usually did it once or twice a week, just in order to see what the crazy fringe believed it.

I haven’t done it very often in recent months, mainly because there was no need. What used to be right-wing absurdist nut-cases have now become mainstream Republicans in Congress. But now that Comrade Trump is being pried out of office, I thought I’d revisit the fetid swamplands of RWANC blogs.

Make America Confederate Again!

Here’s what I learned:

  1. Former President Barack Hussein Obama was arrested by federal agents in Hawaii and charged with Espionage. He was apparently working for the People’s Republic of China to overthrow the US government and establish a New World Order.
  2. President-elect Uncle Joe Biden was detained and fitted with an ankle bracelet. Biden was also working with Chinese communists on that New World Order business, in addition to doing massive voter fraud in his spare time.
  3. CIA Director Gina Haspel was arrested and detained — perhaps at Gitmo — on unspecified charges. But unlike Obama and Biden, she’s cooperating with authorities and dishing the dirt on her co-conspirators.
  4. These arrests and detentions apparently mean a) the China coronavirus is a hoax so we don’t have to wear commie masks, and b) the edict issued by Pope Boniface in 1302 was now revoked, so banks can no longer foreclose on people’s homes.

I confess, I was a wee bit shocked by all this. I figured Obama was still a secret Muslim and was trying to overthrow the US government to establish a New Caliphate. I feel like such an idiot now that he’s been arrested for conspiring with China. And Biden? It’s not clear to me why Uncle Joe was detained instead of his son Hunter, but I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for that. However, it never occurred to me that he’d need an ankle bracelet to monitor his movements. I’d assumed the contingent of US Secret Service agents guarding him would be a fairly reliable source of intel on that. Who knew? And Gina Haspell? I’d no idea she was even a suspect in that China voter fraud business. It seems obvious now. And of course, she’d be a snitch. I mean, she’s a girl, right?

Marching to revoke the swelling knob of the Papal Edict of 1302.

I totally understand how these arrests reveal how China sent us a hoax virus that killed (allegedly!) a few hundred thousand crisis actors, but I’m still a tad confused about Pope Boniface’s ‘1302 edict.’ I thought that was your basic papal bull (okay, slight tangent here — a ‘bull’ is an authoritative document issued by the Pope; it’s called a ‘bull’ because the term comes from the Latin bulla, meaning — and I am NOT making this up — “a round swelling, knob”, which is the description given to the physical seal used to stamp the edict in order to make it official. Got that? Okay, good) stating that a person can only be sure of salvation if they belong to the Church AND in order to belong to the Church you have to submit to the Pope. (Yes, there are LOTS of round, swelling knob jokes to be made here, but c’mon this IS SERIOUS BUSINESS here.) But apparently, unknown to me (and, as far as I can tell, unknown to the Church), the Pope also claimed ‘dominion’ (that name — coincidence or conspiracy?) over the air and all the birds within it, plus the sea and all its creatures, and the land including all the living things and structures on it. So by revoking that edict (which was done by arresting Obama, I guess) it became illegal for banks to foreclose on somebody’s home because they defaulted on a home loan? I don’t know, but I’m sure it makes sense.

I think the Supreme Court is supposed (or maybe legally obligated) to take the 1302 Papal bull into account when they decide whether or not to agree to hear the argument made by Texas that the 2020 election should be given to Comrade Trump because Texas doesn’t like the manner in which the states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin held their elections.

Yeah, okay, well, there it is. If the old school right-wing absurdist nut-cases have become mainstream Republicans, then the new right-wing absurdist nut-cases were forced to become more right-wing, more absurdist, and more nut-casier than they were before. And to my horror, they’ve succeeded.