The XPOTUS continuing to get indicted for trying to steal the 2020 election wasn't the only bit of authoritarian fuckery this week:
Finally, Michael Oher, the subject of the book and film The Blind Side, says the white family that he lived with not lied to him about adopting him, but also used their positions as his conservators to screw him out of compensation from the story of his own life. Which, if you remember, put the white folks up as the heroes. I wish I'd been more surprised and shocked, but no, it tracks.
An Atlanta grand jury charged the failed fascist and 18 of his mooks with another 41 counts, including orchestrating a "criminal enterprise," following his attempts to steal the election in Georgia:
The 41-count indictment, an unprecedented challenge of presidential misconduct by a local prosecutor, brings charges against some of Mr. Trump’s most prominent advisers, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, his former personal lawyer, and Mark Meadows, who served as White House chief of staff at the time of the election.
Mr. Trump, who is running again for president in the 2024 election and is the early favorite to win the Republican nomination, has now been indicted in four separate criminal investigations since April, including a federal indictment earlier this month over his attempts to cling to power after losing the 2020 race.
Although that case covers some of the same ground as the one in Georgia, there are crucial differences between state and federal charges: Even if Mr. Trump were to regain the presidency, the prosecutors in Georgia would not report to him, nor would he have the power to attempt to pardon himself if convicted.
The 13 counts against the XPOTUS bring his total charge sheet to 84 items, most of them felonies, and most of them with the potential of jail time.
The defendants include Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Ken Chesebro, Jeffrey Clark, and Sidney Powell.
I thank the editors of Politico for keeping track of all of the XPOTUS's criminal cases. We have only 448 days until the 2024 election. We are unlikely to see any of these cases resolved by then. That said, I agree with Josh Marshall: in these dominance contests between the XPOTUS and the People of The United States, the People of Georgia, and the People of New York, the People must win.
Author Michael Wolff believes the prosecution in all three of the XPOTUS's trials has to climb a steep epistemological hill to secure any convictions:
It is precisely this behavior, unconcerned with guardrails or rules, unmindful of cause and effect, all according to his momentary whim — an overwhelming, almost anarchic instinct to try to invert reality — that prosecutors and much of the political establishment seem to most want to hold him accountable for. The chaos he creates is his crime; there is, however, no statute against upsetting the dependable order. Breaking the rules — often seemingly to no further purpose than just to break the rules as if he were a supreme nihilist or simply an obstreperous child — is not much of a grand criminal enterprise, even though for many, it’s infuriating coming from someone charged with upholding the rules.
His prosecutors will try to use his words against him: among them, his exhortations that arguably prompted the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, his admission — on tape! — that he still had classified documents, his various, half-baked plots about how to game the Electoral College system, his relentless and unremitting insistence that he won his lost election and his comments to his bag man, Michael Cohen, before he paid off Stormy Daniels.
There’s an asymmetric battle here, between the government’s precise and thorough prosecutors and Mr. Trump’s head-smacking gang of woeful lawyers. The absolute ludicrousness and disarray of the legal team defending Mr. Trump after his second impeachment ought to go down in trial history. Similarly, a few months ago, a friend of mine was having a discussion with Mr. Trump about his current legal situation. A philosophical Mr. Trump said that while he probably didn’t have the best legal team, he was certain he had the best looking, displaying pictures of the comely women with law degrees he had hired to help with his cases.
As someone who has studied law, I believe the prosecutors only need to show that the XPOTUS intended the harms he caused, even if he didn't understand them. Regardless, it's clear that he's batshit crazy, and must never hold public office again.
First, because it's April 20th, we have a a couple of stories about marijuana:
(The Daily Parker owns shares in Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries.)
Second, because it's the 21st Century, we have a collection of articles about the end of democracy:
And in me. I've got software to write.
US Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) held her seat, as did Mark Kelly (D-AZ), meaning the Democratic Party has held the Senate:
[W]ith Ms. Cortez Masto’s victory in Nevada, Democrats have nailed down the 50 seats they need to retain control of the upper chamber, a major feat considering that voters typically punish the president’s party during the midterms.
The Democratic victory will bolster Mr. Biden’s political capital as he moves toward a possible bid for a second term. Even if Republicans do take the House, he will be able to stock the judiciary with his nominees and will be insulated from politically freighted G.O.P. legislation. And Democrats will be free to mount their own investigations to counter the threatened onslaught from a Republican-controlled lower chamber.
A Democratic Senate will be invaluable to Mr. Biden, even if Republicans narrowly secure control of the House. In addition to having two more years to confirm judges, the president will have more control over personnel in his government with the confirmation of nominees under the guidance of Mr. Schumer.
There was fist-pumping at my table last night at Rachael Yamagata's concert. I don't know if Yamagata knew the result during her set, but I'd like to think I saw an extra bit of optimism in her eyes.
It does look like we will lose the House, but I do love these two bits:
- Democrats picked up a seat in the 3rd congressional district in Washington state, a district that had been held by a Republican, Jamie Herrera Beutler. But she voted for former President Trump's impeachment and was ousted by the right in the primary. There's an irony in the fact that she was ousted because she voted to impeach Trump and, now, a Democrat has taken over that seat. It's indicative of the broader message in this election.
- One of the other races with a razor-thin margin is Rep. Lauren Boebert's seat. The conservative lightning rod had been trailing in this right-leaning district on Election Night, but is now up by just over 1,000 votes. The race appears to be trending in her direction. But it's a result that is far closer than what was expected.
On Boebert's race, keep in mind she beat a sitting Republican 55-45 in the June 2020 primary and went on to win 52-45 in the general by running as a MAGA extremist. Will she feel any contrition? Probably not. But she hasn't said anything since Tuesday, so we know she's rattled.
In case you needed more things to read today:
There are others, but I've still got a lot to do today.
A lot has happened in the past day or so:
- The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 down partisan lines that everyone can carry a gun anywhere they want to, because they had guns in 1791 and so we have to live by 230-year-old rules. (Fun fact: a well-trained militiaman in 1791 could fire four aimed musket shots in a minute! Another fun fact: in 1791, bullets didn't yet exist!)
- That will surely comfort the parents of Uvalde, Texas, about as much as the news that the school police chief finally got suspended in light of the abject incompetence of everyone he supervised.
- Josh Marshall thinks the Justice Department may, actually, prosecute some of the January 6th insurrection leaders—including, perhaps, the XPOTUS.
- Microsoft's president and vice chair Brad Smith explains how Microsoft has fought the cyberwar in Ukraine.
- Robert Wright (sub.req.) argues in favor of a negotiated peace in Ukraine, and that American foreign policy over the past 25 years has made the benefit of standing on principle less than it could have been.
- Philosopher Slavoj Žižek responds that pacifism is the wrong response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
- Walter Shapiro shakes his head at how badly we (the West) squandered the "lost weekend" of 1989 to 2001.
- After investing $50m in the Republican primary election Illinois has next Tuesday, Ken Griffin has decided to up sticks to Florida. He will not be missed.
- Just four weeks before I visit my ancestral homeland, three transit-related industrial actions (strikes) have either started or will start soon, affecting the national railways, the London Underground, and Heathrow's ground staff. It's a good thing that the only modes of transit I typically use in the UK are planes, trains, and the Tube!
- The US Food and Drug Administration has halted sales of Juul e-cigarette products.
Finally, let's all congratulate Trumpet, the bloodhound who won the Westminster Kennel Club's dog show last night. Who's a good boy!
Max Fisher outlines how constitutional crises resolve, and suggests we should look at Latin America, not Europe, for insight into our own potential upheavals:
Such crises, with democracy’s fate left to a handful of officials, rarely resolve purely on legal or constitutional principles, even if those might later be cited as justification.
Rather, their outcome is usually determined by whichever political elites happen to form a quick critical mass in favor of one result. And those officials are left to follow whatever motivation — principle, partisan antipathy, self-interest — happens to move them.
Taken together, the history of modern constitutional crises underscores some hard truths about democracy. Supposedly bedrock norms, like free elections or rule of law, though portrayed as irreversibly cemented into the national foundation, are in truth only as solid as the commitment of those in power. And while a crisis can be an opportunity for leaders to reinforce democratic norms, it can also be an opportunity to revise or outright revoke them.
Presidential democracies [like ours and those in Latin America], by dividing power among competing branches, create more opportunities for rival offices to clash, even to the point of usurping one another’s powers. Such systems also blur questions of who is in charge, forcing their branches to resolve disputes informally, on the fly and at times by force.
Chicago's official temperature at O'Hare hit 35°C about two hours ago, tying the record high temperature set in 1994. Currently it's pushing 36°C with another hour of warming likely before it finally cools down overnight. After another 32°C day tomorrow, the forecast Friday looks perfect.
While we bake by the lake today, a lot has gone down elsewhere:
Finally, apparently John Scalzi and I have the same appreciation for Aimee Mann.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), currently locked in a cage match with Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-MS) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) for "Dumbest Person in Congress," is under investigation for some pretty dumb shit:
Colorado officials are examining allegations that Representative Lauren Boebert, a Republican representing the state’s western half, inflated the mileage she logged on the campaign trail in 2020 and then used more than $20,000 in reimbursements from donors to pay off years of tax liens on her restaurant.
The allegations have bounced around liberal circles since The Denver Post first reported in February 2021 that Ms. Boebert had cashed two checks from her campaign totaling $22,259 for mileage reimbursement. The number equated to 38,712 miles — well more than the 24,901-mile circumference of the planet.
At the core of the inquiry are eight tax liens from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment totaling $20,000 and filed against Ms. Boebert from August 2016 to February 2020 for failure to pay unemployment premiums on her business, Shooters Grill.
In late 2020, Ms. Boebert reimbursed herself for mileage from the 2020 campaign and paid off the liens.
“As you are both fully aware, utilizing an illegal source of funds or ill-gotten funds to pay off a tax lien is illegal in Colorado and under federal law,” the Muckrakers complaint to the attorney general stated, adding, “That is the very definition of ill-gotten funds.”
This won't really go anywhere before the November election, of course, but it will eventually get there. It'll be fun to watch though.