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September 15, 2022

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I'm on a transPacific flight in an hour or so. so don't wonder if I don't respond quickly to your howls of protest. ;-)

As we saw in Kansas, abortion is a serious loser, even in red states.

Let me modify that. As we saw in Kansas, abortion as a single ballot issue independent of politicians is a serious loser, even in red states. However, "Sending a Democrat to Washington is just enabling AOC and other coastal elites" is also a thing in red states. (Full disclosure: I often say that sending a Republican to Washington is just enabling McConnell and the other Republican extremists.)

Red states with ballot initiatives have, in recent years, approved individual policies that the Republicans oppose: higher minimum wage, medical and recreational marijuana, taking the expanded Medicaid money. It hasn't turned them blue in the sense of electing Democrats.

However, "Sending a Democrat to Washington is just enabling AOC and other coastal elites" is also a thing in red states. (Full disclosure: I often say that sending a Republican to Washington is just enabling McConnell and the other Republican extremists.)

Your statement has the virtue of being true. Also, too, the equivalency, political threat-wise, between McConnell and AOC, is lacking. One is the current minority leader and former (and possibly future) majority leader of the Senate. The other is a House rep, who never had enough power to block, almost single-handedly, a SCOTUS nomination for nearly a year.

(Not that you don't know these things. I just needed to write them.)

Forgive any commas as you see fit.

Almost all American politics is Short Attention-Span Theatre. No object permanence, no larger context.

"Sending a Democrat to Washington is just enabling AOC and other coastal elites" is also a thing in red states.

But is "Sending a Democrat to the state capitol" subject to quite the same tactic? Maybe a given red state has a similar, locally famous, progressive to serve as a boogie man. But perhaps not.

Maybe a given red state has a similar, locally famous, progressive to serve as a boogie man.

Stacey Abrams comes to mind. Worse than just progressive she is a dangerous instigator of voting.
Also not aiming for just a seat in parliament but for the postion of governor despite lacking a Y chromosome combined with an excess of melanine.

Considering how long Abrams has been around, and that she very nearly won the Georgia Governor's office last time, I'm not sure she quite qualifies. Not enough to totally counteract the unhappiness with the new "6 week" abortion limit law. (Especially with those voters who also lack a Y chromosome. ;-)

despite lacking a Y chromosome

That's a strange way of putting it: a Y chromosome is a largely a gene desert, so that it's men who lack most of a second X chromosome. My late wife kindly explained to me, with much science, that men can reasonable be described as chromosomally defective.

Pro Bono, the basic argument for male genetic superiority can be found in the works of St.Thomas Aquinas (who had never heard of chromosomes, as far as I know, and would possibly have confused it with chrysostome).

The more modern version is based on the fact that everyone starts as female in the womb (default) and that it requires some extra steps to get a male (and if those do not take place the baby will be female even if the chromosomes say otherwise). So, the female is unfinished and thus inferior. All the childbearing stuff and parts is just the result of an emergency program kicking in when the intended goal (male) cannot be achieved but the unborn is still viable*. Since thousands of years great male thinkers have dreamt of a time when mankind could get rid of all those defective and inferior bodies running around (females) and create perfect specimens (male) without them. The technology could be available within this century but most males (slaves to their lust and intellectually inferior) will probably not understand the wisdom in that.

*that's the exact argument the Aquinate makes.

But wasn't Aquinas just cribbing that, like much else, from Aristotle?

See, he's just standing up for the foundational principles of Western Civilization.

Reading Aquinas, or other medieval theologians, as I seldom do, I'm struck by what a waste of intellectual endeavour the whole thing was.

The underlying problem, as I think Bertrand Russell remarked, is that the conclusions come first, the arguments are then summoned to support them.

What stuck with me from both Aristotle and Aquinas were not the premises, nor the conclusions, but rather the taxonomies of thought by which the explored the topics at hand. When I teach Aristotle, I foreground the bad assumptions that he makes and focus instead on the habits of mind that he displays while testing and developing his positions. It's the habit of making productive distinctions and trying to understand the significance of those distinctions that first year college students most need to learn, so they stop being mere collectors of information (and credentials).

Taxonomy is important, and understanding how to create taxonomies even moreso. It's the most important thing I learned in my first two years of college.

'foreground'?

"Foreground" = "mention and discuss ahead of time so that students are aware and can take this into account" in pedagogical circles.

But wasn't Aquinas just cribbing that, like much else, from Aristotle?

I think the general intent is the same but the details are his (some influence from his teacher Albertus Magnus is possible).
For Aristotle women were inferior and useful only for childbearing (even for sex another male was better in his view iirc) but I can't remember him actually stating that females were the result of an emergency program ('secondary intent of nature') in case of a failure to produce a male.
I find it interesting that Plato on the other hand played with the idea of giving (upper class) women equal rights to men in an ideal state since their inferiority was less intellectual than in raw strength.

A disclaimer has more of a sense of disapproval. Foregrounding qualifies what to pay attention to and leaves the discussion of the problematic issues for another time or class without lending tacit approval.

The underlying problem, as I think Bertrand Russell remarked, is that the conclusions come first, the arguments are then summoned to support them.

Sounds sooo like today's reactionaries. The conclusions come first, too. The only difference is that, rather than composing arguments (likely beyond them), they invent "evidence" instead.

To make at least some excuses for scholastic philosophy (St. Thomas Aquinas being the patron saint of), it was about trying to find a way to justify divinely relevated truth by non-divine means. As I understand it the main idea is: Revelation is nice but it would be much more persuasive, if we could come to the same conclusions by simply using our god-given mind and ability to reason. And Aristotle is both a great thinker and most definitely not biased in favor of Abrahamic religion. So, if he comes to the same conclusions by logic that got to us by revelation, that's a huge boost for our credibility.

That POV was by no means universally shared. To use a pre-Christian pagan to support what should stand on its own (divine revelation beats mortal logic any time by definition) borders on blasphemy and clearly shows lack of true faith. It's "credo quia absurdum" for G*d's sake (not the pagan booze).
It undermines the very foundations of organized Christianity to ask for reasons beyond 'it's divinely relevated truth, don't question it!'

Reading Aquinas in Latin as someone used to classical texts is not easy. The Latin is usually extremly simple but the meaning of terms tends to be highly specific and often very different from the classical. As a self-contained system it (probably) makes sense but one has to know the new definitions of terms that the writer assumes his readers already know.
For modern learners of Latin who grew up in a originally Christian context (the West) this still creates hurdles because Christianity usurped many terms from 'pagan' Latin and filled them with new meaning. We read the likes of Cicero to a degree through Christian-coloures glasses, and it's not easy (or outright impossible) to fully take them off and read the stuff like a contemporary would have read and understood it.

Yesterday I learned that the basketball/volleyball arena on the Colorado State University campus is officially named "Moby Arena" -- says so in big bright letters -- in the sense of Moby Dick, not after a donor or distinguished faculty.

That's almost as good as the Alferd Packer Grill on the University of Colorado campus. The grill's slogan is "Have a friend for lunch!" (For the lazy, Packer is infamous for being trapped in the Colorado mountains by snow during the winter of 1873-74 and survived by killing and eating the other members of his party.)

U. Penn has a "Charles Addams School of Fine Arts"

No word if Lurch works as a doorman.

UC Irvine has Middle Earth student housing. They just opened an expansion, The Two Towers (which, yes, are two towers) a couple years ago, but that sadly shut down the Pippin Dining Commons for repurposing.

In the mid 2000s the students found the Tolkien stuff to be a lame hippie leftover, but the current students are all in thanks to a steady diet of fantasy in pop culture.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals appears to have ruled that social media may not ban users, nor moderate content posted by users. History tells us that every platform that's tried it fails in three to six months, overrun by screaming lunatics.

History tells us that every platform that's tried it fails in three to six months, overrun by screaming lunatics.

Perhaps the Fifth Circuit has a soft spot in their collective heart for screaming lunatics. (At least outside their courtroom....)

An argument that the Texas and Florida media laws violate not only the First Amendment but also the Takings Clause.

"The present litigation against the Florida and Texas laws does not involve Takings Clause claims. But such claims could potentially be filed in the future, especially in the Texas case, where the law seems likely to go into effect, unless and until the Supreme Court reverses the Fifth Circuit ruling on the First Amendment issue. If social media firms choose to pursue this issue, they could well prevail - and certainly deserve to do so."
Why the Florida and Texas Social Media Laws Violate the Takings Clause: They mandate occupation of private property without the consent of the owner.

It's so difficult. On the one side these states* dream about censorship like in China, on the other hand they rely on their uninhibited internet troll armies.

* 'L'etat c'est nous' the GOP leadership would say, if they spoke French or knew history.

if they spoke French or knew history.

If they knew history, they would have been far less willing to indulge Trump. Because it would be obvious to them (as it is to everybody else) that if he gets back into power (God forbid), they're all toast. Terminated "with extreme prejudice" would be about the best they could hope for at the hands of his cultists.

I appreciate the importance of the Queen's passing and I understand its newsworthiness. But I'm kinda done with it. Or rather, I'm done with MSNBC's (et al) coverage of it, at least.

News isn't 45 minute drone footage of a queue with talking heads fawning about pomp & circumstance and regurgitating random royal anecdotes. Did you know the Queen once drove the Saudi King around her Scotland estate? Because I do. Because it's only been mentioned roughly a billion times.

And can Andrea Mitchell just... um... which... I... uh... to the... it's...

Spit it out, Andrea! She's had a great career and I respect it, but geez, maybe it's time to call it a day. And this has nothing to do with her twat of a husband. I mean, the husband part is fine - the heart wants what it wants. Rather, he's a professional twat. But the point is, she needs to retire. She is unlistentoable.

/open thread rant

----

the current students are all in thanks to a steady diet of fantasy in pop culture.

I like sport. Yes, it's completely arbitrary - put this ball in this thing or whatever. Whatever floats yer boat. But... Quidditch. Let your freak flag fly, but why not just beat your shins with a stick and give yourself a trophy?

Then again, Jugger became a thing, although not nearly as widely known as the Harry Potter thing.

Also, I’m gonna miss Federer. That dude is a class act and has the most devastatingly graceful backhand I’ve ever had the privilege to see.

Bear season here. One on the university campus earlier in the week, another along an irrigation ditch near one of the trails where I regularly bicycle just north of the touristy section of downtown yesterday.

Bear season

Looking for water, perhaps? Or for prey looking for water....

I’m gonna miss Federer. That dude is a class act and has the most devastatingly graceful backhand I’ve ever had the privilege to see.

Seconded.

Attorney General Garland gives a great speech, after administering the citizenship oath to a new bunch of Americans,
https://digbysblog.net/2022/09/18/your-duty-as-a-citizen/

When I was growing up, high school graduation required us to take, and pass, a Civics class. One which, we were given to understand, required the same knowledge and understanding of the American system of government as is required by the citizenship test.

From the behaviour of some of our younger "Real Americans", it appears this is no longer a requirement. Pity.

When I was growing up, high school graduation required us to take, and pass, a Civics class.

Same. My class went from 126 at the start of senior year to 98 that graduated. Most of the attrition was the civics course.

I know several that passed, though, that continue to support the Orange Menace, so knowing that information is not proof against ignoring it or disagreeing with it.

And at least two of the would-be seditionists have also sworn an oath to uphold the constitution. And both are active law enforcement.

Looking for water, perhaps? Or for prey looking for water....

These are coming down past all manner of little ponds and a big reservoir, all full (strong monsoon this year). But fruit still on trees, garbage bins set out the night before pickup instead of morning of, etc. One of the trails I ride, still in town but close to the foothills, has a sign that says "Let the bears stay wild" and a list of things for people to remember -- like not putting trash out too early.

The local paper quoted an expert who said bears are looking for 20,000 calories per day at this time of year.

I guess the drought here has me assuming everything is about water.

I know several that passed, though, that continue to support the Orange Menace, so knowing that information is not proof against ignoring it or disagreeing with it.

Proof? No. But a help in reducing the numbers of cultists? That's what I'm thinging/hoping.

This Dearie appointment seems like a good thing. Well, insofar as there’s anything “good” about this Special Master (that title makes me cringe for some reason) window dressing. From what I understand, it’s just adding an extra step to an obvious conclusion.

And that, like all things Trump-associated, gives me an uneasy feeling. Like, I know I’m the mark. I just don’t know where the con is coming from.

Like, I know I’m the mark. I just don’t know where the con is coming from.

Judge Cannon. She's playing fast and loose with all sorts of stuff.

Judge Cannon.

The blistering criticism of her ruling (even from Barr!) makes it clear why the Bar Association rated her "not qualified".**

** The trouble with those "not qualified" ratings is it makes it easy for Trump and his fellow grifters to go judge shopping. No need to evaluate a judge based on past work. Just look for the helpful label.

That’s the thing, tho. Cannon is a nitwit. But Dearie appears to be as qualified for the job as it gets. And since qualified is kryptonite to anything Trump, why did his lawyers propose him?

Swan @ Axios speculates that, because he was burned on the Carter Page surveillance, he’s an FBI skeptic. I don’t see it. Then again, there are guys like Jonathan Turley who had all the bona fides of a progressive civil rights guy and is now on Fox & Gary Johnson said he’d nominate him for SCOTUS.

So I dunno what I’m missing, but I must be missing something.

But Dearie appears to be as qualified for the job as it gets.

Cannon very carefully wrote the special master stuff indicating that she would consider anything that she thought Dearie got wrong de novo. That is, she would look at it herself with no regard to whatever conclusion Dearie had drawn. I took it to be an instruction to Dearie: either you find a generous personal privilege for Trump, or I'll do it for you.

This past week was a personally depressing one, so... If the SCOTUS upholds her instructions, it's a solid signal that they intend to install the Republican as President in 2024.

Thank you for the clarification. I was under the impression that she had to rubber stamp his decision. I can’t wait to see what sort of tortured gymnastics it’ll take to vacate Dearie’s conclusion, should it come to that. Which seems to have a very non-zero chance of happening.

Dearie appears to be as qualified for the job as it gets. And since qualified is kryptonite to anything Trump, why did his lawyers propose him?

When this sort of thing happens, the two most likely explanations are incompetence or ignorance. Or both. After all, the allergy to qualification and competence extends to the lawyers who represent him. Compounded by the increasing reluctance of competent attornies to represent him.

Incompetence is my first thought, but these guys always have an angle. Not that the 2 are mutually exclusive.

And the new lawyer got 3 mil up front, so he isn’t a complete idiot. ;-)

the new lawyer got 3 mil up front, so he isn’t a complete idiot. ;-)

Not proven. Admittedly demanding payment up front, when dealing with Trump, might indicate some small amount of cunning. Then again, he may just be setting himself up to bilk the mark (i.e. take the money and run) -- "the mark" in this case being Trump.

In today's news,
All of Puerto Rico without power as Hurricane Fiona slams island
The National Hurricane Center warned that Puerto Rico should expect “catastrophic flooding” from the storm.

Anybody expect we'll see Biden tossing paper towels after the storm? Me neither.

Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and, to a lesser degree, Alaska are treated like stepchildren of the US with Puerto Rico being the poor one.

Guam and American Samoa would like to have a word with you...

Unlike Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Alaska, they, along with U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands have the advantage of being exempted from the Jones Act.

being exempted from the Jones Act.

The Jones Act is the kind of idiocy you can expect when politicians think they know anything about economics.

That said, I expect everybody on the island territories would happily take being subject to it, if it meant getting equal treatment otherwise. It's simply not as big a deal as a bunch of other stuff.

Michael Cain, in relation to your 10:01 last night (the 18th), what do you think of the analysis here? Is it all irrelevant except what SCOTUS is going to do in the end?

Partly answering my own question, some of the comments to that thread cite the same thing you did, Michael.....

Janie, here's how I read it. (From your link):

"Trump got what he asked for - a SM he proposed - and now he's in deep, deep trouble."

Short term thinking (which is about all Trump is capable of) can really turn around and bite you in the *ss. Couldn't happen to a more deserving guy. And, since he got the SM that he proposed, it's going to challenging to argue that the SM was biased against him.

The only bright spot for Trump, when it comes to the SM, is that Cannon reserved the right to overrule or remove him. But even a very pro Trump Appeals court is likely to have a problem with removing the SM that Trump suggested. Which is to say, she could get overruled on that at great speed.

And even the Supremes would be challenged to find a pretext to support her. Other than the 3 political hacks that he appointed (and maybe Alito), I can't see them going for it.

If the classification system was introduced by Truman, I’m just gonna go ahead and figure Alito will not find it to be deeply rooted in the nation’s history.

Presumably he would find the same with the Espionage Act (which is what Trump will be more likely to get charged with breaking). While it long predates the classification system, it doesn't go back to the 1700s. Let alone the 1500s, which seems to be his preferred point of reference.

In Britain there are documents from the Tudor period that are still classified, so Alito would have to do some extra contortions there. Unless of course he suddenly finds that law traditions from the old country have no relevancy at all.

Unless of course he suddenly finds that law traditions from the old country have no relevancy at all.

He has already shown himself quite capable of selecting some old precedents, while ignoring others which are inconvenient. Basically, he starts with the answer, and works in support which is helpful while ignoring anything which contradicts the desired answer.

... took it to be an instruction to Dearie: either you find a generous personal privilege for Trump, or I'll do it for you.

This past week was a personally depressing one, so... If the SCOTUS upholds her instructions, it's a solid signal that they intend to install the Republican as President in 2024....

Those were very much my thoughts.
With the proviso that I think the odds are somewhat against that happening. While I've little doubt that there are at the very least a couple of SC justices who have become sufficiently unmoored from all legal principle whatsoever to go along with this, I still doubt that there's a majority of them on the Court.

As far as us onlookers delving into the legal niceties of the case is concerned, it's close to a waste of time now. Trump's position is so blatantly against all law and precedent that whatever route the case takes, he will lose - unless the fix really is in.

In Britain there are documents from the Tudor period that are still classified

Which documents?

Which documents?

At least according to what I read e.g. some of Walsingham's stuff still is not available for national security reasons. Well, he was the inofficial founder of the British intelligence service(s).

I took that question to be a joke, playing on the request for Team Rump to specifically identify the documents Rump declassified. I could be wrong.

My own reading is that the question was highly skeptical about the assertion, but willing to be informed. I'm guessing (and agreeing) that skepticism still rules.

What's always a possibiliy of course is that stuff simply stays classified unless explicitly declassified without regard for age or relevancy.

It's like German film (do-not-call-it-)censorship(-it's-volontary). The official rating does not change unless the owner of the rights applies for a new rating (which is costly). That way a lot of films that are completely harmless by modern standards are still rated as our rough equivalent to R (18+) just because they got rated many decades ago. The 1921 Nosferatu was 18+ when I went to school, now it is iirc 12 (thus: PG) because someone must have gone through the rerating process. Films not offcially rated are considered by German law as 18+. A lot of ancient Austrian films are affected by that since the copyright holders in Austria are seemingly simply too stingy to apply for a rating in Germany.

"In Britain there are documents from the Tudor period that are still classified"

The only people that can make sense of that Ye Olde Gibberish are too untrustworthy, so it's impossible to declassify.

Same thing happened with Linear B, and it took FOREVER to straighten out.

Dearie has just said if Team Trump don’t submit actual evidence, then their is no dispute that the documents are classified.

Also good.
Migrants flown to Massachusetts file class action lawsuit against DeSantis and other Florida officials in federal court…
… The lawsuit alleges that DeSantis and his accomplices engaged in "a premeditated, fraudulent, and illegal scheme centered on exploiting [the migrants] for the sole purpose of advancing their own personal, financial and political interests."

https://mobile.twitter.com/JuddLegum/status/1572319313813721089

Dearie has just said if Team Trump don’t submit actual evidence, then their is no dispute that the documents are classified.

And so far they have been careful not to even assert such a thing, at least not in court.** Merely to point out that it might have happened. The avoidance has been noticable.

** The careful distinction betweenwhat is asserted for the press and what is said in court is a phenomena we also saw with regard to challenges to the election results.

Dearie has just said if Team Trump don’t submit actual evidence, then their is no dispute that the documents are classified.

Which, as I recall, conflicts with the instructions Judge Cannon provided. She said that he shouldn't just take the government's word for it, he should require the government to prove they are classified. Which may be possible, but will be time-consuming and tedious, since Trump and the White House staff broke the usual chain-of-custody stuff.

And so far they have been careful not to even assert such a thing, at least not in cour

Presumably because they don't wish to risk disbarment ?

Presumably because they don't wish to risk disbarment?

Precisely.

The same reason that a defense lawyer always says: "My client pleads Not Guilty." If he said "I say that my client is not guilty" he would have to be damn sure it was true. At minimum, that a preponderance of the evidence demonstrated it. (Notice that Trump's lawyers never, ever, say that in court.)

I thought this was interesting, about the Espionage Act, by someone who is perfectly happy (eager even) for Trump to be held accountable:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/sep/21/dont-cheer-for-the-espionage-act-being-used-against-donald-trump-it-will-backfire

Of course Trump should be subject to the laws everyone else is, and that’s not to say the US government shouldn’t be able to control actual secrets. Thankfully, there are plenty of other options besides the Espionage Act to choose from. The Mar-a-Lago warrant cites potential violations of three other statutes, including obstruction of justice, which would still result in prison time if he is found guilty.

Like many others, I hope Trump is held accountable for his insidious corruption and potential crimes. But let’s not prop up one of the most pernicious laws on the books to do it.

Since Trump seems to like murky legal waters, can the Biden administration just go on offense and declare him an "enemy combatant" and stick him in Mar-a-Guantanamo? Bonus: we can see how the whole US citizen/habeas thing actually hashes out in the courts.

"Trump, adult children sued by New York attorney general for fraud"

https://www.reuters.com/legal/trump-sued-by-new-york-attorney-general-fraud-2022-09-21/

The hits keep coming.

The lawsuit was civil, meaning it did not involve criminal charges. But James said she was referring allegations of criminal wrongdoing to federal prosecutors in Manhattan and the Internal Revenue Service for investigation.

Came across this in the Bangor paper -- putting it here because I was wishing for something like this a while back and didn't know it had actually been implemented in this context in Maine:

Disinformation on elections is hitting the local officials who are charged with administering them particularly hard. Many clerks and deputies have signed up for de-escalation training being offered by the state. In 2020, one clerk got a death threat. One faced what she called a “mob” of 40 people and another had a man ask her what she would do if he incited a crowd.

Training for poll workers here includes a video labeled "Extraction Training". Haven't had time yet, what with the conference this week, to watch it. But the title doesn't sound particularly upbeat. (Especially as it's new for this year.)

The 11th Circuit rules on the Justice Department's appeal of Judge Cannon's ruling:

“For our part, we cannot discern why [Trump] would have an individual interest in or need for any of the one-hundred documents with classification markings,”
Note that 2 of the 3 Appeals judges writing this are Trump appointees. Guess some people just don't stay bought.

When the Appeals Court started off its discussion with a blunt

"The United States argues that the district court likely erred in exercising its jurisdiction to enjoin the United States’s use of the classified records in its criminal investigation and to require the United States to submit the marked classified documents to a special master for review. We agree."
I knew it was going to be a bad day for Judge Cannon. What a smackdown.

"Based on the ruling from Judge Cannon, from this point forward we will consider all of her rulings to be Prima facie invalid, until such time as she successfully completes a program of remedial legal education"

I assume everyone is already aware of Rump's claim that the FBI was possibly looking for Hillary's emails in the Mar-a-Lago closets. And the Russia, Russia, Russia stuff. And the spying on his campaign. I don't really understand how they could be looking for any of that or what physical manifestations of those things could be there, but I lack the former president's toddler-like understanding of how the world works.

We shall see if, once again, Trump's lawyers decline to repeat his claims in court.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/22/dearie-trump-order-declassify/

The Mar-a-Lago special master on Thursday ordered Donald Trump’s lawyers to state in a court filing whether they believe FBI agents lied about documents seized from the former president’s Florida residence in a court-authorized search last month, or claimed to have taken items that were not actually in Trump’s possession.

In a Thursday afternoon filing, U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie — the special master — told Trump’s legal team to state by Sept. 30 whether they believe any of the seized items were incorrectly described in the Justice Department’s 11-page inventory list, which said some of the documents were highly classified.

Dearie also told them to say whether they are claiming that any items on the inventory list were not in fact taken from the premises.

It's probably a bit of a rude surprise to some of Trump's legal team that special masters have considerably more leeway than the judge in the courtroom in an adversarial proceeding.

Some of Trump's legal team act like they don't have the wit to pound sand. Guess that's what happens when you habitually stiff the help -- you only get the dregs.

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