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August 30, 2017


Hard to say, would make for some interesting arguments and lots of citations to Constitutional history on whether this power was to be unlimited and what "offenses against the United States" happens to be.

Violating court orders/injunctions tend to be in a separate category generally, but not sure that takes them outside the scope of the pardon power.

The Due Process argument is interesting.

Criminal contempt probably-if not certainly-falls within the pardon power. Just as you might need injunctive or contempt relief to protect the public, the power to enjoin or hold in contempt can be arbitrarily wielded as well. We have several federal judges in TX who think God waits to hear from them before making His next move. They have been slapped down several times by the 5th Circuit for being mini-dictators.

Nigel asked in a different thread what I think about the pardon. I think it was shitty on a lot of levels, but I thought that about a lot of Obama and Clinton pardons too.

In the meantime, I mandate the raising of bronze statues of Kathy Griffin in every town square, courtroom, and military academy in the U.S. of A.


Pigeons everywhere would prefer by a 100% to 0% margin to crap baptize confederate rump statuary, but they'll still have Rutherford B Hayes' Ronald Reagan's and Milton Friedman's visages available for relief.

What about W's pardons?

If a president can pardon treason it's hard to see how s/he would somehow be constrained from pardoning a lesser offense. Threat of impeachment would seem to be the check against egregious abuse of the pardon power. Short of that, I suppose Congress could pass a law, with veto-proof (and therefore impeachment capable) majorities, abolishing the Secret Service and/or zero out the budget for the executive branch (excluding the president's salary), as a not so gentle nudge to force a resignation, but impeachment would be less disruptive.

Sheriff Joe is no longer Sheriff and can no longer abuse the authority of his office to violate anyone's rights. And if he were still Sheriff, the pardon would not prevent him from being held in either civil or criminal contempt if he did it again.

The problem clearly is not what this individual might do in the future to abuse his office. It is the message that this pardon sends to others: Go ahead and violate people's civil rights, because there's a get-out-of-jail-free card available to you.

I think you could make a pretty solid case that Arapaio should be shipped to The Hague to answer for his crimes.

Alas, and as I am sure you know, the US is not a signatory to the Rome Statute. What foresight!

But if he ever sets foot outside the US, he's still subject to the ICC. (The downside being, he is less likely to go away....)

What happened to extraordinary rendition or mere simple kidnapping?

Soften him up on the plane ride with some preliminary interrogation. Make sure the flight attendants are former tortured incarcerates in his Arizona concentration camps.

The dress code for the overseas jaunt can be orange jumpsuits.

Take his age into account while gelding him.

Use luke-warm pokers.

Distribute little unopenable packages of barbed wire bits for the inflight snack and make him open them using only his right foot and his dentures.

Drinks are on the house. What's in them will be announced at his funeral.

I'd provide more seat room for him to make room for the shackles and the electrified butt plugs.

What is with the Aryan babes on FOX Fake News?


Who did she twirl for over the in-floor air conditioning vent with the fan turned up high?

The law is an ass. When it brays, I send it to the glue factory:


Threat of impeachment would seem to be the check against egregious abuse of the pardon power.

"I promise to pardon anyone charged with assaulting a member of Congress who voted for my impeachment or violently interrupting a session of Congress considering a motion to impeach."
Problem solved.


That's going to be a blanket pardon of 37% percent of the electorate.

Time for Russia and republican Nazis to start stealing 2018 and 2020:


Is it correct that the President's pardon power arguably only extends to Federal law, and that it cannnot affect convictions for violation of state laws ?

I expect The Donald to ignore such niceties, or try to, but I'm interested in how our legal experts think the courts would rule on that question.

I, for one, look forward to California passing a statute criminalizing the abrogation of Californian's constitutional rights, regardless of where it happens.

I'm sure there were a few Californians caught up in Arpaio's gulag, but the fight over extradition, ex-post-facto, pardons, and jurisdiction will probably last longer than Arpaio has on this Earth, so it's all good.


What do you think of this lawyer's argument about why the Arpaio pardon is particularly bad?

AFAIK neither Clinton nor Obama ever pardoned anyone who never did any time. Looking over Obama's list, all the pardons seem to be for offenses at least a decade old. I'm not even sure how many of the pardoned people were still in jail when he pardoned them.

Joel - it's pretty much settled law that POTUS can't pardon people for state offenses.

Ugh -

That's what I'd heard.

If that's the case, it's my long-term estimate that The Donald's goose is cooked, because New York State does have some financial laws, and he has drawn attention to his habitual violations thereof. IIRC, NY AG Schneiderman has a grand jury impaneled and is quietly working to preserve Truth, Justice, and what I once thought of as The American Way.

New York State and what Army?

rump's not leaving. And the republicans in Congress who stole their elections last November on his russian coattails ain't leaving either.

i would happily support NYS impounding Trump™ Tower.

Just came across this little poem by Langston Hughes. Thought I'd dedicate it to Marty:

“Looks like what drives me crazy
Don't have no effect on you--
But I'm gonna keep on at it
Till it drives you crazy, too.”

Nigel asked in a different thread what I think about the pardon. I think it was shitty on a lot of levels, but I thought that about a lot of Obama and Clinton pardons too.

Glad to have you back, McKinney, and thanks for the response.

I have to say that seems a bit of a lawyerly cop out, though (and if I were being provocative might even be tempted to say it reminds me of a recent "on many sides.." comment.)

I'm happy to stipulate that some Clinton pardons were shitty - and accept that you might take that view on Obama too, though I'd disagree - but in neither case could they been seen as instrumental beyond themselves.

Apart from anything else, the most controversial pardons (Rich, Manning) took place right at the end of their respective administrations. Indeed in Obama's case, for the majority of his time in office he issued fewer pardons than any modern president.

Here we have a president issuing a pardon in a completely unprecedented manner, before sentence had even been passed, let alone the established pardons process gone through. Six months into his first term. While engaged in what half the nation suspect to be obstruction of justice.

Is your opinion really that this is just 'shitty' along the lines of previous pardons you disapproved of, or do you think it something that might be of an entirely different kind ?

Not sure how we can be having a conversation about bad pardons without mentioning Bush's pardoning of his Iran-Contra co-conspirators. That's worse than Arpaio in my book.

RE: wj's original question concerning the pardonabilty of those who have been accused of violating the civil rights of others, Reagan pardoned two former FBI agents who were convicted of conspiring to violate the constitutional rights of anti-war radicals in the early 1970s.


Reagan's official statement on the pardon:

Statement on Granting Pardons to W. Mark Felt and Edward S. Miller April 15, 1981

Pursuant to the grant of authority in article II, section 2 of the Constitution of the United States, I have granted full and unconditional pardons to W. Mark Felt and Edward S. Miller.

During their long careers, Mark Felt and Edward Miller served the Federal Bureau of Investigation and our nation with great distinction. To punish them further -- after 3 years of criminal prosecution proceedings -- would not serve the ends of justice.

Their convictions in the U.S. District Court, on appeal at the time I signed the pardons, grew out of their good-faith belief that their actions were necessary to preserve the security interests of our country. The record demonstrates that they acted not with criminal intent, but in the belief that they had grants of authority reaching to the highest levels of government.

America was at war in 1972, and Messrs. Felt and Miller followed procedures they believed essential to keep the Director of the FBI, the Attorney General, and the President of the United States advised of the activities of hostile foreign powers and their collaborators in this country. They have never denied their actions, but, in fact, came forward to acknowledge them publicly in order to relieve their subordinate agents from criminal actions.

Four years ago, thousands of draft evaders and others who violated the Selective Service laws were unconditionally pardoned by my predecessor. America was generous to those who refused to serve their country in the Vietnam war. We can be no less generous to two men who acted on high principle to bring an end to the terrorism that was threatening our nation.

It would not be difficult to play madlibs with this and draft one for Trump to justify Sheriff Joe's pardon.

For what it's worth, I don't see that the Felt/Miller pardon was ever challenged and I don't see any reported opinions citing it. Accordingly, I don't think this is binding precedent as a legal matter, but then again, this isn't something that I deal with in my practice so add NaCl to taste.

In researching the Felt/Miller pardon, I came across this comparative analysis at 538:


I think this just has to do with the fact that pardons don't inherently vacate convictions. A pardoned person was still convicted. They were just pardoned afterward. I am pretty sure that the judge had every right to just say no.

There might also be an argument to be made that POTUS cannot use the pardon power to effectively override the separation of powers. That is, outside the constitutional rights/due process aspect noted in the post, pardoning people convicted of criminally violating court orders eviscerates the power of the judiciary to ensure compliance with its orders.

Note that, AFAICT, Arpaio was not convicted of criminally violating the civil/constitutional rights of people in the US, but for criminally not refraining from doing so when a court ordered him to stop. So, I'm not sure the Felt/Miller comparison is apt.

I want two things to happen.

I want rump to pardon Menendez, in consideration of their vast similarities.

I want Antifa to go after Menendez in his front yard, considering the vengeance that is due him for this.


He could always run as a republican in Texas, and win, considering his corrupt chops.

The reckoning in this country will take both parties down hard.

Among Antifa's mistakes, which are legion, like all radical insurgencies, is that if you are going to use violence, if you are that foolish and desperate, at least choose targets who goddamned deserve violence against them.

The big ones.

Make it count. Don't burn down the wrong neighborhoods, by which I mean your own.


But the "antifa" rioters in Berkeley were basically anarchists.** Rather than, for examples, liberals. So the concept of "your own neighborhood" (or even just "neighbor", let alone "neighborhood") is somewhat outside their understanding. And, to the extent that they get it, Berkeley is no more theirs than the deepest red city you can imagine.

Maybe they could relate to a seriously libertarian place. But that's as close as they get to empathy with others.

** With which Berkeley has been afflicted for at least half a century to my personal knowledge.

This guy, for example:


He needs to be physically assaulted. Why is Antifa wasting their time in San Francisco?

His staff cries when he treats them like shit?
That doesn't sound very conservative/republican for people who conceal carry.

Punch him out.

Are we raising these legions of assholes in gigantic petri dishes somewhere? Where did they get the idea, besides from their parents and our fucking adversary fuck-you culture, that you treat people like this.

I'd like to see this lout take that act into a bar, or for that matter, any place of business, and see what happens to him.

The customer is not always right. I've seen customers tossed on their asses at the curb.

He must have an MBA. He must attend church.

Maybe we ought to take the approach some took with Michael Brown, also a lout, but he's dead now, and blame the culture this republican lout was raised in.

Why do we indulge this?

wj: "Rather than, for examples, liberals."

Well, as usual, I'm reacting to the right's propaganda characterizing Antifa as "liberal" provocateurs. That's what most of the American people believe too, because they are stupid.

Truth, for now, is what the rump conservative base sez it is. Ask them. They'll tell ya.

The decent left needs put a sock in the decency and beat up both rump conservatives and Antifa. But until they do, I guess Antifa is all we (me, I have no "we" to call my own) got when trouble starts from the right.

Ted Cruz is merely Antifa in a suit and with the cojones to show his face in public.

Or, in other words, meaning the same thing, pontificate their quiffs. Don't tut-tut the maceration of the Uber tuber.

Will rump and his Budget Director, with republican congressional help, defund and abolish the IRS now that Mueller has enlisted the agency to prosecute and, one hopes, recommend the summary executions of these thugs, besides firing the entire Mueller team?

If rump role-models Al Capone or Vlad Putin were President, and anything is possible now in bullshit America, that's what they would do.

As far as I can tell from a distance, all antifa folks aren't anarchists. Probably even most aren't. So we wouldn't want to overgeneralize. (Isn't that what you object to in so-called conservatives?) But the ones in Berkeley were.

I think the Black Bloc nuts are mostly stupid kids who were raise watching to many ninja warrior movies. From what I hear Antifa has no hierarchy of control and anybody who wants to put on a mask and do their thing to cause havoc can call themselves Antifa. Mostly they appear to be dupes who bring a stick to a knife fight. They confronted a WP event in my town and the tally was one WP protester hospitalized with a blunt force injury and 6 Antifa hospitalized with knife wounds.

"Isn't that what you object to in so-called conservatives."

Sure do. But I admire it's remarkably reliable success as a strategy, not that they don't mean every hateful word they utter, to demonize all opposition and the unfortunate and achieve monopoly power over all levels of government and hold on to that power by lying, cheating, stealing, and destroying institutions from within.

I'm a decent, nice person at heart, with the usual quotidian faults for leavening.

Also powerless. I pay my taxes. I'm such a sucker.

But I view becoming more like them as a self-improvement program, under the house rules of success in bullshit America.

Probably ought to move to Iceland or Canada instead, but I don't care for winter.

Just like many down-market republicans, assholes in their own right, running for office now are starting to emulate rump's behavior, as he redefines ordinary assholishness, damn the polls.

It's what works, and in America now, stooping as low as a human can limbo, leads to untold power and riches.

We have a guy now in Congress who physically assaulted a reporter and won and is part of the thug club now.

If I run for office, I will take that as an object lesson of success and the first Brietbart, FOX, or National Review "reporter" who gets in my face, will report that news though a breathing tube inserted in his body cast.

Liberals, of course, will then not vote for me and stay home or vote for the Republican opponent, because winning does not mean to liberals what it means to red-blooded ruthless all-American conservatives. Everything.

Sounds a little iffy on paper. I don't think I'll proofread it.

But only think how delighted you will be if Trump-like Moore wins the primary runoff in Alabama. And then loses to the Democrat. Unlikely, sure. But judging from the polls, not as unthinkable as it would have been a year ago.

Do you mean the primary win or the subsequent loss in the general will be the object of my delight?

Duh! The general, of course.

here's the self-appointed spokesman of 'antifa'


Sean Illing [Vice] Do you think your emphasis on deescalation is shared by most of the people in antifa?

Daryle Jenkins [antifa]
While we do have some people who go on the offensive, that’s not what I do. I try to encourage folks to not put themselves in bad positions. I tell them to not make themselves the aggressor or the bad guy when you’re not. But what’s happened over the last couple of years is that the frustration levels have gone way up. People are lashing out now. There’s a desperation setting in and people don’t know what to do.

Sean Illing
Is this about Trump?

Daryle Jenkins
Of course it is. Everything really started to ratchet up during these Trump rallies. People were getting attacked by his supporters and he was encouraging it, celebrating it. We were asking, “How is he getting away with this?” These were peaceful protesters, and a candidate for president of the United States was cracking jokes about protesters leaving on “stretchers.” So we decided that this couldn’t go unanswered any longer; we had to fight back.


whatever their intentions, they've given the right a way to turn this into a partisan issue.

condemning Nazis should be something nearly any American could do without a second thought. but now, because 'antifa' has made themselves part of the story and is targeting people who have nothing to do with Nazis, the right can make it a 'both sides' issue.

good job, kids.

Well, I prefer Moore lose in the first and yes I would be delighted if he lost in the general, BUT, my gut tells me that his win in the general would get us that much closer to the total sabotage, derailing, looting and wrecking of the train by the republican party.

And I think we have to go all the way there nationally, even though California so far has had the collective wisdom not to, so as to lance the boil, as they say.

I prefer the terminology "removing the head" by way of 1000 assassins.

Some may prefer an alternate terminology.

Somnambulate the ghost gibbons.

I'd agree that Moore in the Senate would be my last choice. But to have a Trump clone lose, in Alabama? That would say something.

The radical street left in this country has always been an amateurish, self-defeating, rabble with stupid targeting and dumb cant.

I would prefer, of course, something along the lines of Martin Luther King or Gandhi, a peaceful but highly disciplined and unsmilingly militantly steadfast movement, a huge national force, just shutting the entire country down day after day, week after week, month after month.

Completely. No government function permitted, airport runways blocked by tens of thousands, train tracks, even in the hinterlands, impassable for the reclining bodies. Every bridge coned off, every street blocked. Every military installation and government facility surrounded by silent crowds a mile deep.

No Lululemon yoga pants available for the indifferent. Take the day off. The year, too.

Turn off the computers, turn off the cellphones. Every left of center blog goes dark and silent.

Dress nice, no masks (let our faces be our masks so they read us), watch the language. Please and thank you to authority. Don't carry weapons, but make it known they are available in abundance.

No manifestos, no fucking chanting slogans, no fucking banners or signs. Utter, total ominous silence.

No dialogue, no compromise, no discussion, no mediation, no negotiation, no promises, no back channels. No presentation of grievances.

One message. Fuck Off.

One demand. Go Now.

Merrick Garland EVERYTHING.

The Year The Country Stood Still, starring Michael Rennie.

The Right, the entire republican party, the entire conservative movement stands down, goes away, tends their gardens, fingers their mistresses, whatever, like the Poliburo, like the Marcos family, like every other malign imposition in this world, slinks off and shuts their fucking mouths.

They wanna start their own separate country, go, face the ocean, and start swimming. Take Google with you. We won't even do the Right the honor of taxing them any longer, let alone raising their taxes. Keep your fucking money.

Fill the streets like the Women's March or the crowds on the original Armistice Days.

If the Right, instead, wants to take things to a martial ending, fine.

There's always a Plan B, motherf%ckers.

But that last is too much information until such time as it is needed.

In the area of specific policy, which will not be unveiled until after the above-mentioned general strike, I would replace the estate tax for conservatives with the following:

When you die, and I expect the Kochs and conservative company will embrace the grave immediately once they learn of the incentives I'm providing for their self-demises ..

When you die, instead of taxing a percentage of your wealth above a certain dollar amount, we will take an accounting of your entire treasure, which your family may keep, and the government will pay, as a bonus, for the happy news, your survivors twice, no, THREE times, that amount to their bank accounts in Barbados once we see proof in the form of your death certificates.

Even the shits born in Kenya will qualify, because I'm a nice guy.

We'll also pick up the tabs for your funerals.

For example, when rump croaks, though he is an outlier when it comes to the normal incentives human beings respond to, his family will be remitted, what fake number does he supply for his his net worth ... $16 billion? ..... let's see three three times .. carry the six ... $48 billion dollars!

I realize the risk of inducing moral hazard with these conservative ilk. There will be a rash of fake deaths, why not, everything else is fake with these people, as droves of wealthy conservatives are reported to have kicked the bucket just in the first week after the policy goes into effect.

So, we'll need to secure the corpses, no fair substituting homeless people's corpses or your black sheep brother's corpse, for the genuine dead item, and do some routine DNA analysis to verify the deaths.

No forms to fill out, not even a postcard.


Mueller needs to capture all of the air above San Francisco and reconstitute the ashes and vapors into the memos and transcripts I'm sure were being burned in the consulate's fireplaces and that incriminate rump, all rump officialdom, and republican candidates across the country in the most massive and successful election-stealing conspiracy on the history of Democracies.

Bigly. I know you know this, maybe you haven't heard of this. Very, very Bigly. I'm told I can't say it. They stole and cheated everything. You didn't hear that here.
Just saying.

i think that means they're electing a new pope

They wanna start their own separate country, go

I have the impression that the Horn of Africa has a great climate -- like Arizona, or Florida without the humidity. Great place to retire to. And no %$#&! government to muck things up.** What more could one ask?

** I'd exclude Somaliland, for the obvious reason that they seem to have set themselves up a functional government, etc. Makes you wonder why we refuse to extend diplomatic recognition. (Getting off high horse on that topic now. Temporarily.)

i think that means they're electing a new pope

Actually, we've got serious smoke and smog already (from fires up on the California Oregon border). So it could well be a covert chemical attack on Silicon Valley. I mean, if you love conspiracy theories, what's not to like about that one?

For the Count:


I have some impressions about that article, much of which I agree with, but give me a couple of days to get my ducks in a row.

He got some things wrong about the 1960s low-scoring phenomenon for one.

But here's what I notice about baseball this year.

I have more fun playing it myself, but that's always been the case.

But this year, I'm having more fun playing fantasy baseball than watching the real item.

Because I like the stats and when the likes of Jonathan Schoop, just to pick a name, already have 30 homeruns and 100 RBIs in August and every reliever strikes out two of every three batters, the numbers are mind-boggling ... in a guy's fantasies.

But that's not really baseball. That's baseball porn.

I suppose, just guessing, that baseball itself is like every other thing in America now, striving to be as big and outrageous as possible to get market share.

Like the absurd, tie-on-the-feedbag helpings in many moderate to mid-priced restaurants now, so large and doggie-bag encouraging it's not really enjoying a meal any longer, it's who can open their mouth the widest and stuff their gullet the fullest.

It's not eating, it's gorging .. stuffing your

And why aren't my (mine are fine) vacations like reality shows, with ripped babes whizzing by me on zip lines on the way to eating large bugs.

But you know what it's really like, and, natch, I relate this secondhand, baseball itself is becoming like the porn industry. I mean, how can so much of the population be near-addicted to porn and possibly be any longer interested in normal, let alone enjoyable, intimate sex with their partners, given the size, frequency, number of partners, and outrageously dramatized fake orgasms observed in porn.

I simply don't know how Rick Santorum's wife can live up to her husband's expectations in the sack, given the dog on cat stuff he apparently feasts on.

After that quick obligatory cuddle, could you hoist me aloft in that trapeze device that looks like something out of Abu Graib and then call the neighbors in and let's see what they're up for, because normal no longer satiates.

Sex, the video game.

Just so Giancarlo Stanton or 250 other guys swatting the ball out of the park with the frequency of batting practice against an underhanded tosser. It deadens the nerve-endings for the beautifully-executed sacrifice bunt to get the guy over to third, or the other million little things that can swing a game either direction.

More later. Now I've made myself excited.


During the legal proceedings, Arpaio made the puzzling assertion that he had never violated his oath of office, despite having ignored direct orders from a federal judge. As far as he was concerned, the oath of office gave him the right, indeed even the responsibility, to ignore the federal court. He was merely doing the rightful job of a sheriff, enforcing the laws and Constitution as he saw them, unaccountable to anyone but himself. Now that Arpaio has been pardoned, his place in the pantheon of constitutional sheriffs is secure. And his view of American law and history—one shared by kindred spirits, and one that menaces not just federal law but the Constitution itself—just got a troubling endorsement from the president of the United States.

I'll finish the entirety of that article, but gotta say the weasel word "troubling" as in "troubling endorsement from the president if the United States", is a troubling trend by journalists who refuse to be subjective and radically opinionated about the objective truth regarding the filth who aren't merely troubling, they are individuals in our threatened society who should be viscerally disappeared to preserve our American way of life, as the 450 Sheriffs who are members of this murderous so-called Sheriffs movement should be coagulated in place.

will antifa put down the eggs and the bullhorns and go for it, like their counterparts on the right do with fully automatic regalia?

Because someone has to.

The remaining Sheriffs in the country should declare their counties, cities, towns, and municipalities sanctuaries from this fascist Sheriff's movement and should any of the 450 sheriffs and the other members of Mack's bullshit movement who cross the borders into the rest of America, they should be apprehended and transported to concentration camps for conservatives modeled on Arpaio's but with a different dress code of tar and feathers, imbedded buckshot, and land mines instead of barbed wire.

And, yes, I'm a hypocrite, because I believe sanctuary cities to protect innocent immigrants are a good thing. Any sanctuary from republican/rump messing about in local affairs, when it is conservative mettleling, is a good thing.

Liberal mettle is fine by me.

$5000 for meals? I guess he's going back for seconds at the Golden Corral.


antifa must disrupt rump the younger's First Amendment rights by throwing bags of elephant and cheetah blood all over his natty suit, and save the University of North Texas $100,000 that could better be spent firing conservative professors.

Some perspective from The Economist:

“Racist behaviour is declining in America”


I don’t think these blogs there are paywalled, but just in case I’ll push the boundaries of fair use …

The researchers report that Donald Trump’s election victory did not make participants more xenophobic—but it did make those who were already xenophobic more comfortable about expressing their views without the shield of anonymity. The Charlottesville protest matches that result: racists were willing to march in public, but there weren’t very many racists. Only about 500 people were involved and they were rapidly outnumbered by counter-protestors. In Boston, counter-demonstrations to a subsequent "free speech" rally organized by alt-right groups drew at least fifteen times the people who turned up to the rally itself. And while those with racist views may have become freer about expressing them, a recent Marist poll suggests only 4% of Americans say they ‘mostly agree’ with the white supremacy movement (there is greater evidence of professed racist views amongst supporters of Mr Trump).

Long-term trends, meanwhile, suggest a decline in both professed racist views and racist acts. On a range of survey measures including reported discomfort about living next to someone of a different race, or opposition to inter-racial marriage, Americans appear far less racist than in the past. Only 4% of Americans supported inter-racial marriage in 1958. By 1997 that was 50%; today it is 87%. Inter-racial marriages climbed from 7 to 15 percent of all marriages between 1980 and 2010. And racially and ethnically motivated hate crimes reported to the FBI fell 48% between 1994 and 2015. Because local law enforcement agencies aren’t required to report hate crimes to the FBI and because they can only report to Washington if the crime has been reported to them in the first place, the FBI statistics are a considerable underestimate of the problem. But the trend is still revealing.

I’ll admit to some confirmation bias in linking this article. After growing up in the Deep South, I was surprised at the racist attitudes that were evident to me in Boston, Philly and Chicago and out west (So Cal and New Mexico). I assume that like moths to a flame, my southern accent was drawing out racists who (wrongly) marked me as a fellow traveller. I ended up with the belief that rates of racism aren’t really all that different regionally, but the social stigma of being openly racist is much less in the South. I’m not saying that rates are equally distributed, but the perception of a huge disparity isn’t accurate either.

Pet theories aside, it’s nice in these days of Trump to be reminded that the arc of the moral universe is still bending towards justice.

"Pet theories aside, it’s nice in these days of Trump to be reminded that the arc of the moral universe is still bending towards justice."

Indeed, the long term trend line is bullish, but too bad about the Alt-arcist corrections from time to time. Somehow, though, they get their politicians elected over the keeps of the long term flame.

And they say there are too may gummint impediments to qualifying to practice the professions.

I give you Phineas Alabastard Fascistfluffer, Attorney at Law. He passed the bar and then sat down at it.


From the balloon juice link:

"We can be thankful that they don’t make fascists like they used to."


And yes, I know the voice of the Ant and The Aardvark had his first amendment rights violated early in his career, so he's open to permitting Nazi hate speech. But this material wasn't that:

I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.

It's no longer a question of staying healthy. It's a question of finding a sickness you like.

Eighty percent of married men cheat in America. The rest cheat in Europe.

Perhaps the way the Economist should have phrased it is "fear of a rising tide of overt and visible racism." I doubt that the amount of racism has risen. Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised if recent events have contributed to reducing it a little. But certainly a lot of racists are more comfortable coming out from under their rocks.

11:29 AM is about Jackie Mason, whom the attorney for the weeping Wazi invoked in client's defense.

I must have deleted an intervening comment.

I probably should do that more often ... delete me.

This cracks me up on 50 shade-levels of confused America:


The city of Chicago should like the takeover because it improves their chances of survival once rump triggers nuclear holocaust to the US mainland.

This is Homeland Security:


This is not Homeland Security, considering Duke's and White Nationalist's role models are in the White House, being seeded throughout the government with their conservative principles, and flooding republican congressional staffs:


A former board member of Redstate, the erstwhile John Cole:


with a link to former obwi contributor https://twitter.com/beyerstein, though I couldn't locate her comments regarding antifa at the link (will scroll more later)

The first tweet includes a link to hilzoy.

That second link doesn't work. Maybe Cole's still does.

Here's the Hilzoy subject matter:


See, there are plenty of ways for antifa to make life Hell for the fucking right wing authoritarian guilty, like showing up en masse in that cop's front yard and using a flame thrower on his shrubbery, without bothering the innocent.

wj wonders how I maintain the outrage.

It's my Buddhist training.

Maybe rump will unify the Koreas and both of them can nuke his fucking ass:


republican NRA murderers must be pleased:


Why didn't another armed American shoot that rump c&nt in the face?

Probably because the rest of the folks were normal, not conservative.

Gimme that Scooby Doo lunchbox! It's mine!

Somebody is wrong on the internet dept. I don't think a link or attribution is needed, it's from LGM.

"There's nothing new about this. In Shogunate Japan, samurai could arbitrarily kill random people for any reason or none -- they were untouchable unless they chose to kill the wrong person, which is why sumptuary laws were so important."

Uh no. In theory more than practice. Sometimes.

Kiri-sute gomen

In practice, samurai had an economy to run, and a polity where a samurai would kill any peasant who failed to smile cowboy would open his own belly at one p. Cause peasants rioted or stopped working all the time, and the lord who didn't make his rice quota to the shogun splayed his own intestines. Or usually his advisors.

Most times it was cop-stuff. See a rape or peasant stealing going down, you could stop it. Otherwise, you needed permission ahead of time to even draw your sword, or you damn well have a good rap going for your boss. And his bosses.

Yeah, Edo-era Japan was repressive as hell and there are plenty of horror stories about state-sanctioned violence but in practice samurai killed very few without state permission, including other samurai. And they were in big trouble, as were their families/clans cause Edo ran that way.

In anarchic places or times, or before Edo, a lot of bets were off. Yojimbo/Seven Samurai/Rurouni Kenshin and most other fictions make that clear.

Domestic violence? Sure. But wives had families and dependency on social norms was absolute in ways we can't imagine. Not Afghanistan. Not even India.

Did it happen? Yes. Was it common? God no. Peak shogunate was pretty damn peaceful. They weren't crazy, and it wasn't the Wild West. That is the difference between US cowboy myths and Edo samurai legends, the samurai operated in a totalitarian all-seeing state. That is what makes it interesting. That kirisute-gomen didn't happen is what is interesting.

Whether more recent Japan is relatively non-violent because of the lack of guns or partly because of this history is an interesting question.

A link from someone who knows more than I do.


Karl Friday: "On the other hand, let's not forget that it was really a symbolic right, not a practical one. As history teachers have been reminding everyone since the Shogun TV series first ran, there isn't one, single instance of a kirisute gomen incident in any historical record for the entire Tokugawa period (unless someone's discovered one very recently)"

Much more restrained than US cops.

Quoting myself. "That kirisute-gomen didn't happen is what is interesting."

Okay, so a patriarchal society where young men hanging constantly with other young drinking a lot with a ton of privileges (sort of) carrying deadly weapons at all times...and there was very little deadly violence...that's interesting.

The command to wear swords at all times made the samurai constantly think of the state and never free of it. This worked.

in other news, border patrol is setting up checkpoints on the interstates in new hampshire to catch folks sneaking in from the north.

i guess they bagged about 25. not a bad haul.

will justin trudeau pay?

Intermittent WiFi, and not just on the green sofa!

PdM, I hope that Economist data is right, didn't a recent WaPo poll show that 9-10% of Americans held, or thought it was fine to hold, white supremacist views? On accursed phone, and catching the WiFi as I can, but I linked to it on the last week or so.


I don't know exactly where we stand *right now* (lies, damn lies, yadda yadda), but I do like the trend lines. That's where I draw solace.

in other news, border patrol is setting up checkpoints on the interstates in new hampshire to catch folks sneaking in from the north.

My daughter and I were in Quebec for a few days, left there last Saturday, she drove back to Boston, I drove south-east-ish toward central Maine. She ran into the checkpoint on I-93, but was not stopped. Cars that were stopped were being checked with dogs.

We New Englanders are pretty much all in the hundred mile zone.

I didn't catch that miss on LGM about kirisute gomen, but the new set up has me skip over articles more. A google advanced search doesn't turn it up, can you post the link Bob? Not that I disagree with your take.

imo, one reason why Japan is so peaceful is that the country experienced civil wars that made everyone really really sick of violence. Toyotomi Hideyoshi just had the good fortune of timing his lifetime at a point just after high tide of that and then sending all the PTSD vets off to Korea to vent on the population there, which is one of the reasons why the Korean relationship is so fraught.

Why everyone, including Japanese, are so taken with martial arts etc is because the rise of the middle class had everyone wanting to play like they were a martial arts master, so you develop this whole culture of martial arts based on imagined exploits. Any real martial art is simple moves, repeated over and over, honed to a point where you do them without thinking. Japanese martial arts adds this layer of artifice to them that is fused to what are basically military moves.

Yes, samurai were a lot more restrained then _current_ US police, but back in the day, I would think that questioning a cop's authority, especially if you were black or Hispanic, was going to get you head cracked if not worse. The revelation of various incidents whose names should be remembered, but become a roll call by a bored teacher (Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Grey, Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile...) suggests that this has always been the case, but as privilege is threatened, people who go into these professions to partake of the privilege they feel is due them (this is not to say that any of these people did anything that triggered what happened to them, that threat to privilege could have taken place earlier in the day or even just in the mind of the cop, a sort of 'what are you looking at me' scenario) Things would be better if people just knew their place, an attitude I see pop up often.

The interdependencies about women and social norms are also an interesting point. One thing, as family ties break down, women are in a lot worse position because they are pushed by fashion and trends to be independent, but when they do, they get shat upon. So, as a minor example, if you are naming your kids and you want to give a bilingual name, you better hope that you have a girl to name, cause bilingual boy's names are rare as hen's teeth. This Japanese TV ad for a beauty salon, where a Japanese daughter named Naomi goes and returns as... Well watch the video. The second video, where the wife thinks about following the daughter's lead get an interesting reaction from the father.


"super explosive power"


He talks exactly like rump.

In the photographs of the North Korean dope leaning over the thermonuclear warhead, he reaches to touch it and the other guys are saying "Jesus, don't touch it there! That's the trigger! You'll kill all of us ..... great leader.

A beautiful, beautiful thing.

"Oh yeah, yeah, there's a lot of water. I can hold all of it in both of my big hands. Reminds of the fountain in the lobby at Mar-a-Lago. Have you seen it?

"Have a good time."

Maybe he talks like Trump because he is Trump. Have you ever seen a photograph of the two of them together? Of course not. QED

(I'm practicing to open a conspiracy theory website. I think I've got the basic idea....)

This is new and amuses me. "Paine" at Economist's View

"Jim Crow thrived for decades it only ended
When black arms and hands in the field at noon ...by the tens of millions
were no longer necessary to Dixie"

Now that's some admirable historical materialism, sure to infuriate the circulation of commodified affect crowd.

Now that's some admirable historical materialism, sure to infuriate the circulation of commodified affect crowd.

Well sure, bob. But you know that anything that smacks of 'materialism' (marxism) is, by definition, intellectually detestable and easily shrugged off as irrelevant.

Carry on, sir!

So who will Trump nominate to head the Fed when Yellen's term ends in February?

With Munchkin at Treasury, the mere thought gives me palpitations.

Trump is going to need his loyal minion in place at the Fed for when he tries to cash in a Trillion Dollar Platinum Coin™.

Why do you think Munchkin went to Ft. Knox to "look at the gold"? HA, he was looking to see if they had any platinum stashed also, too.

Plus paperweights in the WH and Treasury. Myself, I prefer lead bricks, but I'm not addicted to SHINY!!1!

So who will Trump nominate to head the Fed when Yellen's term ends in February?


You don't really want lead bricks with this administration. Perhaps something in the plutonium family...? Transuranics: get something really unique, not something any dufoos could buy.

Carry on, sir!

I was being mildly ironic. Although I would give it some thought, even I wouldn't have the guts to publicly proclaim that several hundred years of institutional racism was entirely economically based. Or to discount as irrelevant all the activism and social movements that ended Jim Crow and say it ended when it was no longer profitable. Although I may phrase it badly above, or misinterpret, maybe both the racism and anti-racism are economically determined. That's hardcore Marxism.

But Paine's a rebel
who formats his comments
like this.

(How do you center the last two words? Been also thinking about how
disappears in computer storage)

Read on net today:GB's Aaron Rodgers, Kodak janitors vs Apple janitors (outsourcing), the technosocial meaning of toilet paper, mysterious Iranians seeking to patent pot, French vs British geography of old Roman towns.

Life is too short to read about Republicans.

I wouldn't say that that "several hundred years of institutional racism was entirely economically based", but I would say that the economics of slavery was a necessary and sufficient condition for the rise of slavery and a necessary condition for its continuation.

The really nasty racial attitudes came later as broader European/white society began to wake up to the evils of slavery and there arose a need to justify the continued existence of slavery on some moral grounds.

When these justifications were adopted by poor whites who were not slave-owning, the concept of treating blacks as sub-human took on a life of its own independent of any need to justify the economics of slavery and gave rise to the institutional racism that long survived emancipation.

maybe both the racism and anti-racism are economically determined

i dunno. kids can learn racism far earlier than they can learn economics. suggests dividing us v them is an innate talent.

"Life is too short to read about Republicans."

I'm with you, but how else to keep track of the many ways republicans try to make the others' lives shorter.

Prejudice, race-based or otherwise, appears to be far easier to teach than economics. Or maybe just easier to teach to the very young (i.e. "before you are 6, or 7, or 8").

I think tribalism is very much innate. Tribalism can take the form of racism easily enough.

I put tribalism in the same category as the other seven deadly sins. Like greed, lust and gluttony, tribalism is just something that our better selves mitigate, or should mitigate.

North Korea could drop a nuke today on Houston, or incinerating LA, or firetrap Montana, and who would notice.

Have a good time.

The nuke might annoy the folks in makeshift shelters and shake them from their reveries throughout the country as they are having such a good time amid the spreading happiness of God's prosperity apocalypse with a mosh pit.

"Recovery will be very tough and slow, but we'll have you up and running, back to normal, and better than before in ten or fifteen minutes. Never you worry. Have you seen my rubber chicken? Mike, you brought the rubber chicken, didn't you?

The DOW JONES loves it. When the asteroid hits, my retirement accounts are going to bust their seams.

I dread the taxes when I cash them in. Maybe a second asteroid will hit and we'll get a tax holiday to boot.

America is blessed.

Filched this joke from a commenter at Juanita Jean:

"As they sat there, each being worked on by a different barber, not a word was spoken. The barbers were both afraid to start a conversation, for fear that it would turn nasty. As the barbers finished their shaves in silence, the one who had Trump in his chair reached for the aftershave. But Donald was quick to stop him, jokingly saying, “No thanks. My wife, Melania, will smell that and think I’ve been in a brothel.” The second barber turned to Barack and said, “How about you, Mr. Obama ?” Barack replied, “Go right ahead, my wife Michelle wouldn’t know what the inside of a brothel smells like.”

I think tribalism is very much innate.

Even if tribalism is innate, and I'm not convinced that it is, the way a "tribe" is defined definitely is not. Just look at how malleable the definition of a "real American" has been over the course of our history. Who's inside the tribe and who's out shifts constantly.

Even if tribalism is innate, and I'm not convinced that it is. . .

I wouldn't be too sure.

But the link also suggests that you're right about the malleability.

Tribalism is all well and good for keeping your DNA chugging along, if you're in a small band on the veldt
competing for scarce resources for survival.

It's an existential threat to humanity in 21st
century civilization.

Not trying to bust anyone's chops here, but the fact that racism is a fact of life always seems to be stated (and I'm including myself here) by white folks.

But (and this is not to deny that anyone can be racist) racism always is expressed in a framework of white-centricity. African Americans and Hispanics (and before them Irish and Italians) were uncivilized and course. Asians were lacking in creativity and independence. It was the melanin-deficient that occupied the special middle ground.

I suppose that in an alternate reality where guns, germs and steel favored, say African Americans, we might have a bunch of white protestors (along with their liberal black supporters) demanding that we tear down the statue of General Nat Turner. But there is really only one framework for racism that we are aware of, and that is valuing white traits (or suggesting that other traits, like rhythm and athletic ability come with the territory) is it.

And I grant that Asians can get up to some pretty rarified tribalism, but (and maybe dr. ngo can help out here) the Japanese were early adopters of Western racial theories. There are some other observations I could make, but I've probably gotten someone's dander enough with that.

course=coarse Sheesh....

I don't know if you are concerned about my dander or not, but I think we're saying the same things for the most part.

I started down this road by setting out my thoughts re: racism in the US being an outgrowth of the need justify slavery in the face of opposition to the practice. Institutional racism being an outgrowth of that justification.

I then followed that up with the proposition that tribalism is a generic human trait hanging out in the poor company of lust, greed and gluttony, and racism is one of tribalism's many forms.

Whether it is a function of a special defect in white folks (which I doubt), or a function of opportunity/circumstance (which I lean towards), whites have exploited other races much more often than any other group giving rise to a need to justify that exploitation. That the justification often initially took the form of racism and then stuck (institutionally and/or culturally) doesn't really surprise me.

I don't know that I'd go so far as to say "there is really only one framework for racism that we are aware of", but white racism is certainly the framework that we are most familiar with because whites have had the most 'justifying' to do.

I'll end with admitting that I've seen lots of writers (from random bloggers to accredited social scientists) who have argued various versions of "only whites are/can be racist". I don't buy that at all. Apologies if I was projecting in my response to you post.

lj, I'm one of those people who think tribalism is more or less innate. I don't feel my chops being busted , but your doubts based on who you think says this don't convince me even a little bit.

Several quick points on a topic that can’t be circumscribed in a blog comment:

You narrowed the idea to racism, but tribalism is a long way from being confined to “race.” See the link I posted above, which describes research on how people placed in completely invented groups like “overestimators and understimators” favored their own. Think about Northern Ireland, or the religious conflicts that shredded Europe for centuries. For that matter, I suppose being gay also makes me skeptical of the notion that only white people looking for an excuse think the tendency to tribalism is innate.

But I also think that even if the tendency is innate, how it plays out can be affected by context, teaching, learning, and especially triggering of various kinds, sometimes deliberate. Probably personality too, for that matter.

For deliberate triggering, see Jefferson’s Pillow, by Roger Wilkins, which includes a brief mention of racism being deliberately fomented by the ownership class in early Virginia as a way of defusing a simmering, more class-based conflict (this was before the entrenchment of slavery). I have read that the same thing happened in northern Ireland three or four hundred years ago – only on that occasion it was religion that was used to keep the poorer folks at each other’s throats so they wouldn’t go after the system that entrenched the powerful/wealthy. (I read this a very long time ago and don’t have a reference.)

[Breaking this up into two comments, because links. Or length, take your pick.]

I took a diversity class at UMaine years ago, mostly teachers and a few oddities like me in the class, an intense three-credit week in the summer. Students all white, mostly female, some African American and Native American presenters, I don't remember any Asian Americans -- rural Maine is like that, it’s a wonder there was anyone who wasn’t white. One woman (who worked at the university) was an Apache from the American southwest who had married a man from one of the Maine tribes, and she told stories both of tribalism within the Native American community and of how her kids navigated life in the local high school. (Not too badly, IIRC.)

It was late in the week when one of the teachers, I think from one of the far downeast communities, or maybe even one of the islands, said that it was bothering her that we were totally leaving diversity of social class out of the discussion. Her classes were all white (Maine seesaws with Vermont as the whitest state in the country), but the class prejudice was deep and pervasive. And you don’t have to go to the poorer, more remote communities to see this, of course.

That class was where I read about the over/underestimators research, in a book called We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know, by Gary Howard. I would also recommend An Ethic for Enemies, by Donald W. Shriver, Jr. It’s a wonderful book, but I’m almost afraid to think about its relevance to our current politics.

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