Cannon Dismisses Documents Case

Loose Cannon has fired. She just dismissed the documents case, on the grounds that Jack Smith’s appointment as special counsel somehow violated the Constitution. I’m reasonably sure it didn’t, and since (as I understand it) no jury had been selected, double jeopardy doesn’t apply. Jack Smith can appeal. This will be viewed as a victory for Trump in the short term, however. Coverage in Washington Post here. More later as it happens.

Vance is the New Pence

I was horrified to learn the RNC convention is starting. In my head it was next week. Oh, well. I promise I will avoid watching any of it.

Several news outlets have now announced that annoying twerp J.D. Vance will be Trump’s running mate.

On Not Being Pathetic

Please, please read this Josh Marshall post, titled On Not Being Pathetic. I agree with it 100 percent. Apparently a portion of the Democratic Party and Dem-friendly “pundits” have decided since the Saturday shooting that they aren’t going to be able to replace Biden, so they are resigned to losing the presidency.  Josh Marshall calls out Jonathan Chait in particular; Chait has been pushing hard for Biden to be replaced, and now apparently he’s decided Trump is going to win, and we might as well just get used to it. But he’s not the only one. Here’s Josh Marshall:

The folks talking to the Capitol Hill sheets didn’t say, we’re dropping the swap Biden idea. They apparently said, well, we’re giving up on presidential race altogether. That is just the kind of toxic loserdom that makes me see red every time. Can’t stand it. I’m agnostic on the replace Biden thing. If the big party players want to do it then do it. And if not then Biden’s the candidate. I go back and forth on which option I think has the better shot at success. What I’m hearing now is that these ringleaders are just going to take a pass on the whole race or have their contribution be giving demoralizing quotes to Politico if they can’t get their way. The truth is we don’t have any time for whining. If members of Congress want to replace Biden on the ticket, they can. They need to get together and do it. If not, then drop the idea and move on. But again there is just no damn time for whining.

The replace Biden effort was slowing down before Saturday, Josh said, mostly because “it was hitting a lot more resistance from regular voters than the people pushing it anticipated.” As I wrote earlier this week, there simply wasn’t a significant shift in the polling. My take is if there really was significant concern that Biden was impaired and not just having a bad night, the party should have acted already and gotten the switch over with. The longer this drags out, the harder it’s going to be for Biden to reassure voters he’s still capable. But apparently not everyone in Washington was all that concerned. So here we are.

And now that Trump managed to survive getting his ear nicked he’s being hailed in even mainstream media as some kind of great man; a man of destiny; a new Napoleon, or something. It’s really sickening. Someone on social media today was praising Trump for “rising up” after being shot, while President Biden sometimes has trouble walking. I never saw him have trouble walking, but apparently there’s a video. I responded that one of our greatest presidents couldn’t walk at all because of polio, and that superior ambulatory skills have nothing to do with the job. But I’m ready to go find a quiet spot in the woods someplace and just scream for an hour or so. This has to be the worst election year ever.

Today’s News Bits

Update: Shots were fired at a Trump rally in Pennsylvania. Trump appears to have been grazed near his ear, but he doesn’t seem to be seriously injured. There are no reports anyone else was shot. The shooter is, reportedly “down.”

Updates: One attendee was killed, and another seriously injured. Trump will be okay, according to all reports. Also the shooter is dead. The story now is that he was shooting from a rooftop outside the security perimeter. I’m surprised the Secret Service could get to him so quickly.


You may have seen some of this yesterday. Here’s the complete video of Biden’s rally in Detroit last night. Do watch at least some of it if you haven’t seen it already. They should just run bits of this rally as Biden campaign ads.

Bernie Sanders has an op ed in the New York Times endorsing Joe Biden for president. It has struck me that the MSNBC evening hosts have been supportive of Biden, even while cautiously holding a door open to the possibility of replacement. I’m sure there are exceptions, but from what I’ve seen the progressive wing is either behind Biden or sitting out the argument. Most of the naysayers appear to be centrists. One can understand how Democrats running for re-election in red and swing states are nervous about whether Biden on the top of the ticket will help or hurt them. And it’s the Usual Weenies at the New York Times and centrist pundits like Jonathan Chait who seem most certain Biden has to go.

I say anyone who is certain how Biden will do, or not, against Trump in November is blowing smoke. We are in new territory here. Old patterns may not fit. A lot can still happen that could push the contest in any direction. And now even People magazine is running articles on Project 2025 and tying it to Trump. Some awareness of it seems to be breaking through, finally.

With everything else going on I hadn’t realized that large parts of Houston lost power a few days ago, and lots of people are still waiting to get it back. Hurricane Beryl swept through on Monday, and 2.2 million people in Houston lost power. As far as I can tell, it’s still out for a few hundred thousand households. So no air conditioning. In Texas. In July. I understand people are sleeping in their cars. So far, only three heat-related deaths have been reported. I won’t be surprised if that number goes up.

And the power company’s tracking system failed and could not pinpoint where power was out. Houstonians figured out they could check where power might be by looking at their Whataburger apps, which showed which Whataburgers were in operation and which weren’t.

A lot of people do have backup generators, but they were having a hard time getting gas to power their generators. Solar panels with backup batteries, people. This should be a no-brainer in Texas. The solar panel industry people insist that the panels will survive hurricane force winds.

Note that this is the third time this year there has been a significant power outage in Houston. Hurricane season hasn’t peaked yet. So when will Texans get mad enough to vote in new politicians who will overhaul the energy system? Seems to me there’s no need for anyone to mess with Texas, since it does such a good job of screwing itself.

Well, So Much for the Prediction

We seem to be back at square one. Currently Conventional Wisdom says that somebody is about to take Joe Biden aside and tell him to step down. So who knows? I caught a bit of the press conference he held yesterday and enjoyed hearing President Biden speak intelligently about foreign policy, as opposed to Trump, who says NATO is dead. And lately Trump seems to think Hannibal Lechter is a real person.

I’m seeing news stories saying that the polls aren’t significantly different from what they were before the debate. Here’s one:

538’s average of the presidential race includes a few dozen polls fielded entirely after the June 27 debate. Most show a modest gain for former President Donald Trump over Biden, and the average has correspondingly increased from about a dead heat on debate day to a lead of around two points for Trump as of July 11 at noon Eastern.

Observers and operatives, as they are wont to do, have made hay of this.

The article goes on to say that this is a marginal difference, not a steep one. And an ABC News / Washington Post poll that came out this week says the race is tied, or at least the difference is within the margin of error. The numbers say that a substantial number of people who would prefer Biden drop out are still going to vote for him if he doesn’t.

This is from NPR, today: “The race for the presidency remains statistically tied despite President Biden’s dismal debate performance two weeks ago, a new national NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds.” And Ed Kilgore writes at New York magazine, “Biden v. Trump Polls: Joe’s Support Is Slipping, But Not Crashing.”

So whatever you want to call this conflagration over the debate performance, it appears it really hasn’t created a groundswell of support for Trump. But it does make the Electoral College map a bit iffy for Biden. And it’s caused a real problem with Biden’s Super PAC donors.

So, I’m back to having no idea what the party will do.

A Weenie for the Ages

File this one under “what we’re up against.” U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin’s 6th District this week trotted out all his Mommy issues for all to see.

In a speech on the House floor Thursday, Representative Glenn Grothman railed against government programs such as subsidized childcare, calling out President Lyndon Johnson’s “war on poverty” as taking “the purpose out of the man’s life, because now you have a basket of goodies for the mom.”

Grothman went further in his misogynist rant, blaming the “breakdown of the family” on “people like Angela Davis, well-known Communist, people like the feminists who were so important in the 1960s” and somehow coupling them with the U.S. government in the 1960s. 

“So I hope the press corps picks up on this, and I hope Republican and Democrat leadership put together some sort of plan for January, in which we work our way back to where America was in the 1960s,” Grothman added.

Wow, Angela Davis. I hadn’t thought about her in years. Yeah, so I guess that there never used to be such a thing as poverty or irresponsible men or any of that until the government passed laws that, what, made men irrelevant? That’s not exactly what I remember. But where do these specimens come from? Well, okay, his district is just north of Madison and Milwaukee. I’m guessing more Holsteins live there than people. Maybe he needs more contact with human women so he doesn’t mistake us for cows.

Update: Rudy Has a Bad Day

A judge has dismissed Rudy’s bankruptcy case.

A judge threw out Rudy Giuliani ’s bankruptcy case on Friday, slamming the former New York City mayor as a “recalcitrant debtor” who thumbed his nose at the process while seeking to shield himself from a $148 million defamation judgment and other debts.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane criticized Giuliani for repeated “uncooperative conduct,” self-dealing, and a lack of transparency. The judge cited failures to comply with court orders, failure to disclose sources of income, and his apparent unwillingness to hire an accountant to go over his books.

“Such a failure is a clear red flag,” Lane wrote.

Dismissing the case ends his pursuit of bankruptcy protection, but it doesn’t absolve him of his debts. His creditors can now pursue other legal remedies to recoup at least some of the money they’re owed, such as getting a court order to seize his apartments and other assets.

My Prediction for the Democratic Nomination

I’m going to go out on a tentative limb and predict that Joe Biden will remain the nominee, assuming there are no new public malfunctions. Here are some of the tea leaves I’ve seen over the past several hours:

The Congressional Black Caucus is staying with Biden.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gave Biden a ringing endorsement yesterday.

Today a report in Axios says the anti-Biden rebellion in Congress is crumbling. It hasn’t completely crumbled, but it appears to be a minority that isn’t getting anywhere.

Some contrairian evidence:

Bill Kristol thinks Biden should get out of the race. Bill Kristol is always wrong.

James Carville thinks Biden should be pushed out. Carville hasn’t been worth listening to for a couple of decades, IMO.

The New York Times editorial board thinks Biden is toast. See above about Kristol and Carville. The Times editorial board isn’t always wrong, but it has terrible political instincts, IMO.

What pushed me over the line, so to speak, is going to sound a little weird. Politico reports that a “top Democratic pollster” that I confess I’ve never heard of —  Bendixen & Amandi? — has a poll out showing Biden dropping considerably behind Trump. But against a hypothetical Kamala Harris candidacy, Harris beats Trump. But guess who would really beat Trump like a prizefighter if she got in the race now? Hillary Clinton.

Sure she would. I’m guessing HRC even now is waiting for the call asking her to come and save the party and the nation. A call I hope she never gets. This poll is nuts. And the opportunists have arrived.

When Trump heard about this poll he threw a fit, as you can imagine.

What could tilt the equation the other way? I’d be worried if Bill Kristol changes his mind, for one thing. Seriously, I can think of a couple of people whose opinions weigh more than most, and those people are Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi. Barack Obama has already said “bad debate nights happen.” Pelosi has been a bit more on the fence. But if either of those came out and said that Biden should drop out, that would seriously change the direction of conventional wisdom. And, of course, President Biden absolutely cannot afford any more bad debate nights or any more episodes of being publicly frail.

Othewise, I’m predicting that by this time next week most of the Democratic Party will be prepared to stand with Biden. I don’t expect everyone to fall in line that quickly, but most will. Not that my predictions pan out all the time, either. For what it’s worth.

Trying to Move Forward

What a surreal time this is. We still have no idea how the Democratic Party is going to move forward in the presidential race. The party seems to be splitting between a “we need a new candidate” faction and a “let’s rally around Joe” faction.  And I have no idea what they should do. See also David Kurtz, What An Utterly Surreal Week In American Politics.

The best news over the weekend is from France. Polls had predicted that the far right National Rally party would take control of the government in a “snap” vote, but it failed. It came in third after two other coalitions, one very left-wing and the other of center-left Maronists. The coalition-building saved France. People put aside differences and united to freeze out the Right. How this will work in governing going forward is likely to be messy, I understand, but at least the neo-Vichy faction will have little to say about anything.

Joyce Vance mentioned France in her column yesterday.

Recent polls aren’t as good for Joe Biden as he might have wanted them to be and there are a lot of people on social media suggesting a Trump victory is inevitable. Of course, we know that’s not the case. Polls are mixed, and people pushing a certain narrative don’t always have pure motives and often aren’t who they pretend to be online. November is a long way out. Polls ahead of the snap election in France showing a quick, easy victory for Le Pen and the far right got it completely wrong. And as the Angry Staffer account tweeted this morning, “Polls don’t vote.”

This is a good motto for us to adopt. Polls don’t vote. People do. So this week, make sure you register if you aren’t already. If you have registered, check online at one of the sites like to make sure you stay registered, have a plan to vote in November, and make sure your ballot gets counted. Make it your business to encourage your friends and your family to do the same. It’s very simple: We can’t win if we don’t vote.

All is not yet lost. A lot can happen between now and November.  And here, again, we might take a lesson from France. Josh Marshall:

There’s also some real extent to which numerous Le Pen/RN candidates were revealed as racists, scoundrels, wife beaters (Frenchified Trumpers basically) and that hurt them some too. Not that this is terribly surprising. But Marine Le Pen has managed over the last decade a significant rebranding of the party her father founded. Kinder gentler racist nationalists basically, with less Vichy nostalgia and tchotchkes. But reporting over the last few weeks showed that lots of the candidates were totally the old team under a thin patina of gold paint.

Many voters appaently have amnesia about how awful Trump was a POTUS, and how awful he is as a human being generally. They need to be reminded. A lot.

One other recent development is that the details of the Heritage Foundation’s 2025 Project appear to be finally breaking through to the general U.S. public. And the public doesn’t like it. Trump, of course, claims he never heard of it and knows nothing about it but thinks it’s ridiculous even though he knows nothing about it. And apparently the Trump campaign is telling the RNC to back off of calling for a national abortion ban, even though that’s what Republicans will do as soon as they get enough control of the government. All I know is, if the public is going to learn more about what is planned, the Dems and supporters need to take out a whole lot of television advertising explaining it. News media won’t do it.

Do Try to Enjoy the Fourth

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. However, the official signing ceremony, when John Hancock famously stepped forward and signed with a flourish, didn’t happen until August 2.

Today the Right has turned the Declaration into evidence that the Founders intended the United States to be a “Christian Nation.” The recent atrocity in Louisiana that mandates displaying the Ten Commandments in all classrooms also encourages schools to display the Mayflower Compact, the Northwest Ordinance, and the Declaration of Independence. The Mayflower Compact is fairly dripping with Puritan piety, of course. the Northwest Ordinance contains a passage about how religion is necessary for morals or some such thing. And the Declaration mentions God three times.

But the Declaration was composed by Thomas Jefferson, the most out-of-the-cloest Deist of all the Founders. Jefferson is also famously associated with the metaphorical wall between church and state and made it plain in his writings that other people’s religious beliefs were not his concern. “It does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god,” he wrote. “It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” Here is more on why the Declaration doesn’t have anything to do with a “Christian nation.”

On this day, when our little experiment in representative-self-government and democracy is toppling on the brink, let’s try to keep in mind what we still have, and what we have to lose if we fail.

We’ll Need a New Birth of Freedom

On this day in 1863 the Battle of Gettysburg had entered its third day. In places called the Peach Orchard, the Wheatfield, and Devil’s Den, troops engaged in some of the most brutal fighting of the war. It was on this day that Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain ordered a legendary bayonet charge, and his men of the 20th Maine swept the Confederates off Little Round Top, saving the Union’s flank. And on this day the seige of Vicksburg, Mississippi was on its 45th day. Two days later, on July 4, Confederate Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton would surrender to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, giving the Union complete control of the Mississippi River. Upon receiving this news, President Abraham Lincoln famously said, “The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea.” Although the war continued for nine more months, those July days in 1863 were a turning point.

So, the nation has been in tight places before. But I almost envy the fellows of the 20th Maine, out of ammunition after holding off repeated charges by Confederates from Texas and Alabama commanded by Gen. John Bell Hood. The bayonet charge was a do-or-die move. But it was something they could do, and they did it.

What are we supposed to do, now?

My days of marching in demonstrations are over, unless I can get access to a wheelchair and someone to push it. While I am making ends meet of late I don’t have any extra money to donate to campaigns. I tried watching Rachel Maddow for a while last night and bailed after about 20 minutes. We’re not going from bad to worse, but from bad to planetary doom.

Everything is now scrambled. The sentencing for Trump’s 34 felony convictions will probably be postponed. The judge and lawyers need to sort out if and where Trump’s newly bestowed immunity applies.

Although the Manhattan case does not center on Mr. Trump’s presidency or official acts — but rather on his personal activity during the 2016 campaign — his lawyers argued on Monday that prosecutors had built their case partly on evidence from his time in the White House. And under the Supreme Court’s new ruling, prosecutors not only cannot charge a president for any official acts, but also cannot cite evidence involving official acts to bolster other accusations.

I can’t think of anything pertaining to the New York convictions that comes anywhere close to an “official act” of the President. This just makes absolutely no sense. But we’ll see how it works out.

The one dim ray of hope I saw this morning involves the J6 prosecution. Alan Feuer writes for the New York Times:

The Supreme Court’s decision on Monday about executive immunity makes it all but certain that former President Donald J. Trump will not stand trial on charges of seeking to overturn the last election before voters decide whether to send him back to the White House in the next one.

But the ruling also opened the door for prosecutors to detail much of their evidence against Mr. Trump in front of a federal judge — and the public — at an expansive fact-finding hearing, perhaps before Election Day.

This hearing is to be held in the Federal District Court in Washington in front of the Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, and I do have hope that Judge Chutkan will want to get this done asap.

Otherwise, we’re screwed.

Stuff to read:

The John Roberts Guide To Doing A Coup And Not Getting Caught

The Supreme Court Took A Sledgehammer To American Democracy

The Supreme Court’s disastrous Trump immunity decision, explained

A Five-Alarm Fire for Democracy

SCOTUS: Actually, Presidents Are Kings

What to know about presidential immunity after the Supreme Court ruling

And Here It Is … The Immunity Thing

Trump v. United States

Held: Under our constitutional structure of separated powers, the nature of Presidential power entitles a former President to absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for actions within his conclusive and preclusive constitutional authority. And he is entitled to at least presumptive immunity from prosecution for all his official acts. There is no immunity for unofficial acts. Pp. 5–43.

(a) This case is the first criminal prosecution in our Nation’s history of a former President for actions taken during his Presidency. Determining whether and under what circumstances such a prosecution may proceed requires careful assessment of the scope of Presidential power under the Constitution. The nature of that power requires that a former President have some immunity from criminal prosecution for official acts during his tenure in office. At least with respect to the President’s exercise of his core constitutional powers, this immunity must be absolute. As for his remaining official actions, he is entitled to at least presumptive immunity. Pp. 5–15.

Of course, Trump will seize on this and declare he had absolute immunity for everything he did in office. The bit of nuance about “unofficial acts” is not going to register.

Update: Josh Marshall on the debate and its aftermath. No paywall. I’m in about the same place that he is.

An Immunity Decision on Monday, Maybe

I’m still here. In the past couple of days I’ve gone from feeling that maybe it’s not that bad to thinking, yeah, it is. We’re screwed. Still (I tell myself) a lot can happen between now and November.

Per Joyce Vance, tomorrow should be the last day the Supreme Court is in session. This means if we’re going to get a decision on Trump’s immunity in this session, it ought to be tomrorow. And then the justices go on vacation.

SCOTUS dropped a bunch of crap on us last week, but the biggest load was the Chevron decision.

The Supreme Court fundamentally altered the way that our federal government functions on Friday, transferring an almost unimaginable amount of power from the executive branch to the federal judiciary. By a 6–3 vote, the conservative supermajority overruled Chevron v. NRDC, wiping out four decades of precedent that required unelected judges to defer to the expert judgment of federal agencies. The ruling is extraordinary in every way—a massive aggrandizement of judicial power based solely on the majority’s own irritation with existing limits on its authority. After Friday, virtually every decision an agency makes will be subject to a free-floating veto by federal judges with zero expertise or accountability to the people. All at once, SCOTUS has undermined Congress’ ability to enact effective legislation capable of addressing evolving problems and sabotaged the executive branch’s ability to apply those laws to the facts on the ground. It is one of the most far-reaching and disruptive rulings in the history of the court.

This is going to severely hobble the federal government from functioning at all. Something has to be done about the Court.

On the Ledge

I admit I am demoralized and frightened. Until now I was reasonably certain Trump will lose, even if in a tight election. After last night, I believe the odds he will win shot up considerably. And I need to get my head out of politics for a few hours, but do please carry on in the comments.