The Mahablog

Politics. Society. Group Therapy.

The Mahablog

St. Louis School Shooting: Nothing Will Change

I am still avoiding any news about election polls and midterm predictions. I don’t want to know. I may not watch returns election night. These races are so close it may be a couple of days before we know anything. I need to catch up on other things, anyway.

First, I want to note the recent passing of Jerry Lee Lewis. Rock on, Killer. It has been truly said of Jerry Lee that even his wrong notes were right.

I want to write about the school shooting in St. Louis last week, which hasn’t gotten much attention. There’s a good account of how it happened at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — A quiet morning, then screams and bullets: How the St. Louis school shooting unfolded.

The shooter, Orlando Harris, was 19 and shot by police at the scene. He died in a hospital later. His parents had been worried about his moods and behavior, but Missouri has no red flag laws, of course. So police couldn’t take his assault rifle.

The family of the St. Louis high school mass shooter asked police for help removing the AR-15-style assault rifle from him nine days before the rampage — but it somehow ended up back in his hands, police said.

On Oct. 15, police responded to a domestic disturbance call at 19-year-old Orlando Harris’ home, where his mother found the weapon and wanted it removed, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Officers determined Harris was legally permitted to have the gun, but transferred it to a third party so it would not remain on the premises, officials said late Wednesday.

Harris had failed an FBI background check, so he bought the gun from a private seller, which apparently was legal.

The teenager accused of shooting a teacher and a student dead at a school in St. Louis earlier this week had been blocked from buying a gun from a licensed dealer due to an FBI background check, authorities said. Orlando Harris, 19, then purchased the AR-15-style rifle used in the attack from a private seller, according to police, with no law in place which could have prevented such a sale. The revelation comes after it emerged that Harris’ family had asked police to help remove the rifle when it was discovered in the family home before the attack, but Harris was somehow able to get it back after it had been given to a third party known to the family.

Missouri doesn’t require background checks for private sales. I haven’t heard any explanation of how Harris got the gun back. Whoever had it and gave it back to him might be in trouble in a sane place, but probably not in Missouri. The right to possess guns overrides everything else around here.

Harris had a AR-15-style rifle, over 600 rounds of ammunition and more than a dozen high-capacity magazines. Again, he may have acquired all that legally, in spite of his failed background check.

Predictably, when alleged governor Mike Parson finally addressed the incident, he said that these things happen and there’s nothing to be done about it. He originally claimed that state law allows for guns to be removed from people with mental health problems, which Harris had, but that was not true.

“People have mental health issues, you can take their weapons on that,” Parson incorrectly said. “That’s part of the bill that was passed and I think you can go in and read that.”

5 On Your Side has asked Parson’s office to show evidence to support his claims. His spokesperson has not responded to that question.

According to a link Parson’s office sent in a press release, the Second Amendment Preservation Act “declares…laws…,” and “court orders… invalid…including those that…prohibit the possession, ownership, use, or transfer of a firearm, or the confiscation of one.” 

Law enforcement also visited the shooter’s home on three other occasions this year. 

According to police reports obtained by 5 On Your Side’s Christine Byers, a crisis response unit visited the home in June — the shooter attempted suicide on July 6 and made a threat with a violent weapon on July 26 — and officers visited the home for a domestic disturbance on October 15. 

On at least three of those visits, police could have theoretically confiscated any weapons in his possession at the time if state law allowed it.

Police said all the red flags were there. The red flag laws were not. 

“The State of Missouri does not have a red flag law,” Officer Wall said. “That means SLMPD officers did not have clear authority to temporarily seize the rifle when they responded to the suspect’s home when called by the suspect’s mother on 10/15/22.”

Still, Parson claimed gun safety laws adopted in red states like Indiana and Florida wouldn’t have made any difference in Missouri. 

“The red flag laws have never been in place in Missouri,” Parson said. “You got a criminal that committed a criminal act, you know, and all the laws in the world are not going to stop those things.”

The man is absolutely and utterly worthless, I tell you.

Do read Will Bunch’s Philadelphia Inquirer column, Why St. Louis hero teacher Jean Kuczka did what 376 Uvalde cops couldn’t. Jean Kuczka, 61, was a physical education teacher at the school. She was also a mother of five, grandmother of six, and a national championship field-hockey player. She died because she put herself in between the shooter and her students.

The student who died was named Alexzandria Bell. She didn’t quite make it to her 16th birthday. I understand one of the students who will survive is an art student who may lose the use of his hands.

Missouri gun laws are, basically, do what you want. No permit, no restrictions. There is no provision for taking guns from anyone, including domestic abusers and people who are mentally incapacitated.

See also Texas Goes Permitless on Guns, and Police Face an Armed Public.



Not About the Midterms News Highlights

I’m sorry I have been busy. I’ve been working on something for another site — A Brief History of Christian Nationalism: From the Founders to the Cold War. I turned up some historical bits I didn’t know before, so I hope you will enjoy reading it.

I am still trying very hard to not listen to news about elections and polls and whatever might happen in the midterms.

So Elon Musk has taken over Twitter. People are starting to take bets on how quickly Twitter goes the way of MySpace. The geeks are very certain Musk has no idea what he’s gotten himself into. You have probably heard he fired the three top executives of the company last night, and now there are reports that other employees are leaving the building carrying boxes of belongings. However, that last part is unconfirmed and could be a hoax. Last week there were reports Musk planned to fire 75 percent of tech support staff, although today Musk says that’s not true. Even so, I bet a whole lot of people in that company have already updated their résumés and put them into circulation.

And, of course, this happened.

An emboldened cast of anonymous trolls spewed racist slurs and Nazi memes onto Twitter in the hours after billionaire industrialist Elon Musk took over the social network Thursday, raising fears of how his pledge of unrestricted free speech could fuel a new wave of online hate.

It could fuel all the high-end users — journalists, politicians, academics, etc. — to drop off the platform, which would be its downfall.

Greg Sargent:

Musk’s takeover will certainly have international ramifications, if not yet interplanetary ones. But they may not be that sunny. The world’s richest man buying perhaps the world’s most influential political echo chamber is the latest sign of a development that international relations experts have long feared: With tech giants amassing stratospheric levels of influence over global affairs, they are morphing into a species of geopolitical actor, with uncertain long-term consequences.

Those experts have a term for this development: “Technopolarity.” The idea is that big tech companies have become their own sovereigns, on a par with nation-states. The result: an increasingly unchecked level of influence over international affairs that will demand a new kind of political response.

Bad news. We aren’t that good at old political responses.

The attack on Paul Pelosi — here’s what we know about the alleged attacker

David DePape, 42, was identified by police Friday as the suspect in the assault on Paul Pelosi at the speaker’s San Francisco home.

Two of DePape’s relatives told CNN that DePape is estranged from his family, and confirmed that the Facebook account – which was taken down by the social media company on Friday – belonged to him. …

… Last year, David DePape posted links on his Facebook page to multiple videos produced by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell falsely alleging that the 2020 election was stolen. Other posts included transphobic images and linked to websites claiming Covid vaccines were deadly. “The death rates being promoted are what ever ‘THEY’ want to be promoted as the death rate,” one post read.

DePape also posted links to YouTube videos with titles like “Democrat FARCE Commission to Investigate January 6th Capitol Riot COLLAPSES in Congress!!!” and “Global Elites Plan To Take Control Of YOUR Money! (Revealed)”

And so on. The story is that this guy ran into Nancy Pelosi’s house in San Francisco yelling “Where’s Nancy!” Not finding Nancy, he attempted to tie up Pelosi’s 82-year-old husband, then assaulted him with a hammer. Paul Pelosi is expected to be okay, I understand. I have a hard time believing an 82-year-old will ever be okay after being assaulted with a hammer, though.

If you haven’t gotten a flu shot yet, do it now. That’s an order. I got mine (and the new covid booster) yesterday.  I’ve had so many covid shots they had to start another CDC card for me, as the old one was full. I haven’t turned into a magnet yet, however.

This would have been huge news if it weren’t for everything else going on — yesterday Trump lost another appeal at another appeals court to shield his tax returns from investigators.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declined to reconsider an August ruling from three judges that gave a House committee the right to Trump’s tax returns for 2015 to 2020. The former president can still challenge the decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, but the appeals court declined a request from Trump to automatically hold the release of records pending that challenge.

So does that mean the House committee will really truly get the tax returns any minute now?

Jerry Lee Lewis died. He was 87.

The Department of Justice has hired a new hot-shot national security prosecutor for the Mar-a-Lago documents team.

Finally, a Washington Post investigation — Inside the secretive effort by Trump allies to access voting machines. No paywall.

Mz Lindsey Gets a Reprieve

Today there was a school shooting in St. Louis that resulted in three deaths, including the shooter’s. I can already promise you that the governor may issue a statement, or not, but that will be the end of that. Nothing else will be done. Because guns are more important than people.

In other news — Miz Lindsey Graham really does not want the criminal justice system to know how he was involved with Trump’s scheme to overturn the election. He’s been fighting a subpoena from the Fulton County GA grand jury, and courts keep telling him he can’t get out of it. Now Clarence Thomas has given the senator a temporary freeze on a lower court’s ruling requiring Graham’s testimony to the grand jury.

Seriously, Graham could just show up and plead the Fifth. There must be something he is desperate for people to not find out that they might find out if he testifies, somehow, even though it’s a grand jury. People who have already testified to that grand jury include Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Pat Cipollone, Kelly Loeffler, Brad Raffensperger of course, and a Trump lawyer named Boris Epshteyn. They all survived. Why does Miz Lindsey think he is special?


The Mar-a-Lago Docs: The More We Learn, the Worse It Gets

The Washington Post is reporting that the Mar-a-Lago classified documents held secrets about Iran and China.

Some of the classified documents recovered by the FBI from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and private club included highly sensitive intelligence regarding Iran and China, according to people familiar with the matter. If shared with others, the people said, such information could expose intelligence-gathering methods that the United States wants to keep hidden from the world.

At least one of the documents seized by the FBI describes Iran’s missile program, according to these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing investigation. Other documents described highly sensitive intelligence work aimed at China, they said.

Also, too, the Trump documents case legal team blew a deadline yesterday. Special Master Raymond Dearie is not happy.

Per an earlier order from the special master, U.S District Judge Raymond Dearie for the Eastern District of New York, both sides had to file by Thursday a list of unresolved disputes between them over a subset of the records seized by the FBI in its August raid.

The Justice Department filed its own rundown of the disputed documents in a timely fashion, but Trump attorney Jim Trusty seemed to unilaterally give himself four extra days to file. In a brief letter Thursday night, Trusty disputed claims that the DOJ had made about what documents that Trump wants shielded from the investigation, and added that Trump would file its full response on Monday.

Dearie wasn’t having it with the blown deadline and self-appointed new deadline. In a Friday order, Dearie said that Trump’s filings were now “untimely” and that he needed to submit his position by close of business on Friday.

It’s coming out that a lot of the dispute seems to stem from the definitions of “government” and “personal.” Trump is claiming White House pardon and immigration policy records as “personal,” for example, a position the DoJ says is nonsense. Trump also seems to think he can claim “executive privilege” over “personal” documents, suggesting he still doesn’t grasp how any of this works. It’s possible his lawyers do understand how it all works, but that Trump is not letting them file anything with the court without his approval. And he’s a bleeping moron. So it’s a mess. Lawrence O’Donnell explains it:

Also, too, Steve Bannon got a slap on the wrist sentence today; more months in prison and a $6,500 fine. And Bannon will remain free pending an appeal of the sentence.

And the House J6 Committee has formally issued its subpoena to Donald Trump. Unless by some miracle the Dems keep the House, this will go nowhere.

I Don’t Want to Know About Elections

I can’t even look at election news any more. It’s all doom and gloom. The fact that the Republican party can talk openly about cutting Social Security and Medicare without fear of punishment at the polls is astonishing. That a Nazi like Doug Mastriano is in Pennsylvania spouting blatant anti-Semitism as the Republican nominee for governor is astonishing. That the rummage pile of damage that is “Herschel Walker” might possibly defeat the Rev. Raphael Warnock is astonishing. I’m not sure there’s any coming back from this. We don’t have a country any more. What used to be the United States just a big dysfunctional socio-cultural-political garbage heap.

Yesterday the Fifth Circuit, “America’s Trumpiest Court,” declared that the entire Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutional. The court’s reasoning is already being called “novel.” It used to be that courts were there to save us from the idiocy of politicians. Now there’s no one to save us from the idiocy of courts.

On that cheerful note … it’s looking more and more likely that Trump is going to face criminal charges for something, eventually. You probably heard about this yesterday

Former President Donald J. Trump signed a document swearing under oath that information in a Georgia lawsuit he filed challenging the results of the 2020 election was true even though his own lawyers had told him it was false, a federal judge wrote on Wednesday.

The accusation came in a ruling by the judge, David O. Carter, ordering John Eastman, the conservative lawyer who strategized with the former president about overturning the election, to hand over 33 more emails to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Judge Carter, who serves with the Federal District Court for the Central District of California, determined that the emails contained possible evidence of criminal behavior.

“The emails show that President Trump knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public,” Judge Carter wrote. He added in a footnote that the suit contained language saying Mr. Trump was relying on information provided to him by others.

I understand these emails will be made public eventually.  And then this week Trump was deposed in the E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit. What he said in the deposition has not been made public. But it’s interesting to note that Trump’s original defense was that whatever defaming thing he said about Ms. Carroll was said while he was President and acting in the capacity of POTUS. Even if judges agree with that, which is questionable, the moron repeated the same statements that inspired the lawsuit on his social media platform. And he wasn’t acting as POTUS then.

After Judge Kaplan denied Mr. Trump’s request to delay, Mr. Trump blasted Ms. Carroll in a lengthy social media post, repeating the kind of statements that had prompted her to sue in the first place.

“This ‘Ms. Bergdorf Goodman’ case is a complete con job,” Mr. Trump said in his statement. He said that Ms. Carroll was not telling the truth, that he did not know her — and that she was not his type: “While I am not supposed to say it, I will.”

That was before he was deposed. After he was deposed he “shared videos on Truth Social calling E Jean Carroll ‘crazy’ and mocking her rape claims against him just hours after he was deposed in her defamation case against him.” So if she didn’t have a strong enough case against him before, she’s got a stronger one now.

Also, Trump’s fundraising isn’t going so well. Bloomberg reports that he’s spent 91 cents to raise each dollar.  Of course, that there are still people willing to donate to Trump is kind of astonishing.

In other court news, today Lindsey Graham lost another appeal to block the subpoena from the Fulton County Grand Jury.

This just in — the SCOTUS rejected a request to block implementation of the Biden administration’s student debt relief program.

I believe this is the most recent development in the Mar-a-Lago documents case

 An excerpt from a new audiobook revealed that President Donald J. Trump shared classified letters from Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, with the journalist Bob Woodward and seemed to acknowledge that they were sensitive material that he should not be sharing.

“Don’t say I gave them to you,” Mr. Trump said in December 2019, according to a copy of Mr. Woodward’s audiobook obtained by CNN, adding that “nobody else” had the letters and imploring the journalist to “treat them with respect.”

The Washington Post reported that a month later, in January 2020, Mr. Woodward also asked to see letters that Mr. Trump had written to the North Korean leader. Mr. Trump replied, “Oh, those are so top secret.”

The original letters between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump were among the voluminous number of presidential records that the National Archives tried to recover from Mr. Trump after he left office. Mr. Trump resisted returning the boxes of documents he had taken to his Florida estate, describing them to several advisers as “mine.”

I’m sure there’s something I’m forgetting. Too much going on.

Durham Investigation Ends With Barely a Whimper

That faint whimper you may hear is the end of the much overhyped Durham Investigation that was supposed to reveal how Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and the Deep State and the Democrats all colluded to pick on poor Donald Trump and level false charges against him about his collusion with Russia.

A little over a month ago we learned that Durham’s grand jury’s time was up, and he wasn’t calling another one.

As of November 2021 Durham had issued single-count indictments against two Americans for making a false statement, and a five-count false statement indictment against a Russian national. One of the Americans was acquitted at trial; the other, an FBI lawyer, entered into a plea agreement with no jail time for doctoring an email used in preparation for a wiretap renewal application.

The Russian national, Igor Danchenko, goes on trial next month. The Right is feverishly looking forward to the Danchenko testimony that will discredit the evil Steele Dossier. The problem, of course, is that (one) the Steele Dossier has already been pretty much discredited; (two) the Steele Dossier wasn’t nearly as big a part of the evidence against Trump that the Right claims it to be. In fact, when the FBI began its investigation it didn’t yet know the dossier existed.

Well, folks, today Igor Danchenko was acquitted of all charges. And that’s the end of the Durham investigation.

Durham tried to prove that Danchenko had lied about the dossier, and those lies led to an FBI wiretap of a Trump adviser. But the jury decided otherwise.

Mr. Trump and his supporters have falsely sought to conflate the dossier with the official investigation into Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia, but the F.B.I. did not open the inquiry based on the dossier and the final report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, did not cite anything in it as evidence. …

,,, Mr. Steele hired Mr. Danchenko to canvass contacts in Russia and Europe about Mr. Trump’s business dealings in Russia.

Mr. Danchenko conveyed rumors that Mr. Trump’s campaign was colluding with Russia, and that Russia had a blackmail tape of Mr. Trump with prostitutes in a hotel room in Moscow. But during an interview with the F.B.I., Mr. Danchenko said that he had first seen the dossier when BuzzFeed published it and that Mr. Steele had exaggerated his statements, portraying uncorroborated gossip as fact.

So that’s that.

How Long Will Russians Put Up With This?

The Washington Post is reporting that Russian men are being grabbed off the street and enlisted into the military.

Police and military officers swooped down on a Moscow business center this past week unannounced. They were looking for men to fight in Ukraine — and they seized nearly every one they saw. Some musicians, rehearsing. A courier there to deliver a parcel. A man from a Moscow service agency, very drunk, in his mid-50s, with a walking disability.

“I have no idea why they took him,” said Alexei, who, like dozens of others in the office complex, was rounded up and taken to the nearest military enlistment office, part of a harsh new phase in the Russian drive.

In cities and towns across Russia, men of fighting age are going into hiding to avoid the officials who are seizing them and sending them to fight in Ukraine.

Police and military press-gangs in recent days have snatched men off the streets and outside Metro stations. They’ve lurked in apartment building lobbies to hand out military summonses. They’ve raided office blocks and hostels. They’ve invaded cafes and restaurants, blocking the exits.

I want to know if the bobbleheads on Fox and OAN and whatever who love Vladimir Putin are mentioning this. The Brits stopped using press gangs at least a couple of centuries ago.

Suffering massive military casualties and repeated defeats in Ukraine, Russia has begun cannibalizing its male population. The hard-eyed pundits on state television are demanding more Ukrainian blood and more sacrifice from Russian men who they say have grown too used to soft living.

I’m assuming those hard-eyed pundits aren’t exactly living in caves and hunting their own meat.

Antiwar sentiment could harden as the bodies of soldiers who were deployed just weeks earlier begin returning home for burial. Alexei Martynov, the 29-year-old head of a Moscow government department, was mobilized Sept. 23 and was killed Oct. 10. He was buried last week. Five soldiers from the Southern Urals region, mobilized on Sept. 26 and Sept. 29, were killed in Ukraine in early October, authorities in Chelyabinsk reported.

So they grabbed Alexei Martynov on September 23 and he was KIA on October 10, only 18 days later. They really aren’t bothering to train them. are they?

And then this happened:

MOSCOW—Two recruits opened fire at a Russian military training ground near the border with Ukraine on Saturday, leaving 11 people dead and 15 injured, the state news agency TASS reported. 

The shootings happened during a live-fire training exercise in the Belgorod region. The assailants opened fire with small arms before they in turn were fatally shot, the report said, citing the Russia’s Ministry of Defense. 

TASS quoted ministry officials as calling the incident a terrorist attack and said the two gunmen were volunteers and citizens of a country from the Commonwealth of Independent States, a grouping of former Soviet republics. The report didn’t specify which country the men came from and whether they were included in the toll of 11 dead. 

Yeah, I bet those guys “volunteered” the same way men were “volunteering” in Moscow.

We see also that the Russians are not good at public relations.

Conductor Yuriy Kerpatenko declined to take part in a concert “intended by the occupiers to demonstrate the so-called ‘improvement of peaceful life’ in Kherson”, the ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page.

The concert on 1 October was intended to feature the Gileya chamber orchestra, of which Kerpatenko was the principal conductor, but he “categorically refused to cooperate with the occupants”, the statement said.

So, the Russians entered the conductor’s home and shot him dead, which is now in the news around the world. Like I said; they don’t grasp how PR works.

There are a lot of analyses saying that Russia’s recent escalation is more desperate than calculated. It’s all they’ve got. See:

Russia’s airstrikes, intended to show force, reveal another weakness

How Putin’s Latest Attempts to Escalate in Ukraine Have Backfired

Russia’s escalation won’t turn tide of the war, experts say

Unfortunately, now we’re seeing that Iran is sending missiles and drones to Russia, which probably won’t do anything but keep this horror show going on longer.

More News! The Goddess of Justice Is Not Smiling on Trump

What is probably the series finale of the J6 Hearings ended with a bang, with the committee members voting to subpoena Trump. He’ll probably wriggle out of it somehow, but it still was clever plot twist.

While the hearings were going on, the Supreme Court dropped an unsigned, one-sentence order that it would not reinstate Judge Loose Cannon’s order that the special master review the classified documents.

In other news, we learned that Trump formed a new company in Delaware, called Trump Organization II. Now New York AG Letitia James is asking a judge to restrict Trump’s business activities while her office sues him for allegedly committing decades worth of fraud. As I understand it, she believes Trump planned to move all his assets to the new company to put them out of her reach.

In more other news, a federal judge has denied a request by former president Donald Trump to pause proceedings in a defamation case against him brought by former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll. Trump had won a temporary pause from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, which sent the case to the appeals court in D.C. to determine whether Trump was a federal employee as defined by the law when he publicly rebutted Carroll’s story that he had raped her years ago. Trump is scheduled to be deposed in a few days, and it looks like he can’t get out of that.

All this stuff has happened within the past 24 hours. Headline at Alternet: ‘Furious’ Donald Trump ‘raging the last few days’ as legal woes pile up.

Donald Trump is “furious” and has been “raging the last few days” over three of the numerous legal cases he is facing.

According to The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, the former president’s rage is over the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s classified documents case, the defamation case against him by journalist E. Jean Carroll who alleges he raped her, and a so-called “pyramid scheme” which he and some of his family members were involved in. He is being sued for fraud in that case, and was forced to give a deposition in it last week.

Here’s a link to a story about the pyramid scheme.

On Wednesday a federal judge said Trump should not be allowed to delay the E. Jean Carroll defamation case and ordered him to give a deposition next week, refusing his request for a delay.

“Trump put out a statement yesterday excoriating E. Jean Carroll, who is suing him for defamation after she accused him of rape decades earlier.” … In his rant Wednesday night some legal experts say he established further evidence for Carroll’s defamation case. He had argued his comments were protected because he made them while being president. While that argument is in question, he now is no longer president.

Way to go, champ.

Lots of News! J6 Hearings! Alex Jones Is Toast! Trump Is in the Toaster!

J6 Hearing today! I’m planning to spend the afternoon watching the teevee. Please do add any comments about the hearings to this post.

While Alex Jones was setting new standards for being an asshole, a Connecticut jury awarded some Sandy Hook parents nearly a billion dollars. And that’s just compensatory damages; I understand there may be more punitive damages. Jones’s previous penalty was from a court in Texas. Texas tort laws have been written to protect defendants and make it hard for the damaged plaintiff to get relief. This includes very strict limits on awarded damages, so whatever Jones was penalized in Texas will be whittled down considerably. But that’s Texas. Connecticut is different. The bobbleheads on MSNBC last night doubted an appeals court would lower the penalty, especially given Jones’s behavior through the trials. Jones might possibly get some accommodation in bankruptcy court someday, it says here, but we’ll see. It’s likely Jones will spend the rest of his sorry-ass life getting money wrung out of him by those Connecticut plaintiffs.

And yesterday we learned the feds have hard evidence — surveillance videos and witness testimony — that Trump had a lot of the stolen government documents he was hoarding moved after he’d been subpoenaed. This is obstruction on its face. See Aaron Blake, Trump’s fast-growing obstruction of justice problem, and Quinta Jurecic at Lawfare, Trump’s Obstruction of Justice, From Mueller to Now.

John Fetterman Can Do the Job

I’m saying John Fetterman can do the job in the Senate. I never met the man, but he was on television a bit last night and was holding his own. His one lingering problem, which he is very open about, is that his brain has trouble processing what people tell him. So he uses a close-caption machine that captions other peoples’ speech, and he reads what they’re saying to him, and responds.

That may sound a bit weird, but after having had a TIA (transient ischemic attack) last spring I can kind of appreciate what Fetterman is going through. We both had blood clots in our brains. Mine broke up after about 40 minutes, give or take, and then I was okay. But during those 40 minutes my brain was not processing sensory input the way it usually did. Things didn’t look right. It wasn’t that my vision was blurry. I could see things, but they didn’t look familiar. At one point I was trying to find my phone so I could call 911, and I knew exactly where the phone was because it was being charged. I had it plugged into the same power strip my laptop was plugged into. But when I tried to find it I couldn’t recognize it. I was lucky I could find a land line phone and could dial 911.

Modern neuroscientists explain that the thing around us we call “reality” is really a kind of collaboration between external stimuli and our nervous systems. Stimuli enter through our eyes and ears, but it’s our brains that create the experience of sight and sound. This is how our brains evolved to navigate the world. Our brains are creating colors and depth perception and the way things sound. So if some neurons somewhere start misfiring, the brain can’t replicate reality the way it did before. This is basically how psychedelic drugs work also.

In Fetterman’s case, his auditory processing problem doesn’t mean he can’t think and reason as he did before. It’s interesting to me that he can understand what he reads even if he can’t understand the same thing spoken to him. But he has a work-around for this, and the problem may correct itself eventually.

Do read The Vulnerability of John Fetterman by Rebecca Traister at New York Magazine. She has been covering his campaign and has seen big improvements in his functionality.

As summer turned to fall, Fetterman returned to the trail in person, powering through his convalescence at rallies and via television and newspaper interviews, his physical condition visibly improving. “Standing up in front of 3,000 people and having to talk without a teleprompter or anything? That is the most pure example of transparency there is,” he told me. …

… Tucker Carlson said that Fetterman is “brain damaged” and “can barely speak,” and has joked about his “stupid little fake tattoos,” comparing him to a “barista in Brooklyn dressing like a lumberjack.”

Do you want to talk brain damaged? Herschel Walker almost certainly has some degree of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Nearly all men who have played professional football do, it says here. I’ve seen no discussion of that anywhere, in spite of the obvious fact that Walker is dumb as a sock. Yet yesterday Charlie Cooke wrote at National Review that “Like it or not, voters are going to discuss Fetterman’s condition, and trying to browbeat them into silence won’t work.” I am not seeing anybody being browbeaten into silence about John Fetterman’s condition. What the bleep are these people going on about?

Recovering from a stroke takes some time, and Fetterman has had to do it while running for Senate. How many people could stand up to that?

See also Senators Who Have Had Strokes Say John Fetterman Can Do The Job.

John Fetterman’s gradual recovery from a stroke has become a Republican attack point in the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race, but two senators who recently suffered strokes said Fetterman’s health shouldn’t be an issue.

Like Fetterman, Sens. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) had strokes this year, but both returned to work and have been doing their jobs. They said Fetterman would be able to do the job, too.

“We’re walking around, we’re having conversations, we’re talking to people, we’re engaged,” Lujan told HuffPost on Wednesday. “Cognitive ability is strong. And so I’m confident of the work that John Fetterman will do when he’s elected U.S. senator.”

Strokes are caused by a lot of different things, and I am not a physician. Fetterman’s doctors have said they believe he will make a full recovery, and I see no reason to doubt that.