Leftover executive privilege

Sep 6th, 2022 10:19 am | By

The Daily Beast on the “privilege” issue:

[Cannon’s] ruling was widely criticized by former prosecutors and legal scholars on Monday over the way it awkwardly lent credence to the idea that an ex-president can somehow assert “executive privilege” over government documents, even if federal law enforcement agencies operating with the tacit approval of a current president are acting in their capacity as the current executive branch.

Similar to the question I kept squawking yesterday – how does he get to claim “executive privilege” when he’s not the executive any more? What executive privilege? The whole point of it is to enable the actual executive to do the job. When the job is not yours any more you don’t need the privilege and you don’t get to hang onto it. Trump seems to think it’s an honorific, like a knighthood. Why aren’t people just slapping him and telling him to snap out of it, like Cher in that movie?

Cannon’s order was chock-full of innuendo, including odd swipes at the Biden administration and jabs at investigative journalists for their role in uncovering what exactly Trump did with these classified records at Mar-a-Lago.

Any gossip? Diary entries? Shopping lists?

She went even further, noting the importance of having an independent referee oversee the handling of seized materials to ensure that Trump wouldn’t suffer “irreparable injury” from “exposure to either the Investigative Team or the media.”

But Trump should suffer irreparable injury. Lots of it, starting right now.

According to a transcript, the Justice Department’s top counterintelligence prosecutor, Jay I. Bratt, later summed up why it’s bonkers to have a former president assert executive privilege against a current president to slow down the FBI—and put some of the nation’s most closely guarded secrets right back into the hands of a former president who no longer has no any authority to have them.

“We have no idea where they would be stored; and again, this would be giving access to people [to] things that they do not have the right to have access,” Bratt said, criticizing what he called “a fanciful view that somehow they would… prohibit the Executive Branch from reviewing the Executive Branch materials for a core Executive Branch function.”

This isn’t the first time Trump has waved around his expired credentials and claimed what some have called “leftover executive privilege.” When he tried to stop the Jan. 6 Committee from obtaining his administration’s records at the National Archives, the argument was shot down by a federal judge who proclaimed that “presidents are not kings, and plaintiff is not president.”

What I’m saying. He has it confused with royalty or a dukedom.

He added to prosecutors’ portfolio

Sep 6th, 2022 9:38 am | By

To cheer us up a little

Smart law enforcement actions can domino into unsmart defendant reactions.

After the FBI released the photo of top secret documents placed on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago office carpet, Trump posted a response on social media: “The FBI took them out of cartons and spread them around on the carpet, making it look like a big ‘find’ for them,” he asserted. “They dropped them, not me — Very deceiving.”

Very deceptive, he means. The word is “deceptive,” not “deceiving.”

Trump was again playing his “aggrieved martyr” card to his base — but in the process, he added to prosecutors’ portfolio against him. His own words confirm that he held sensitive national security documents at Mar-a-Lago — in “cartons,” in his desk and elsewhere.

Take note: What a subject of investigation doesn’t say when he talks can be as important as what he does say. Prosecutors will note the absence of any assertion that the FBI “planted” the evidence, as Trump had previously suggested. So there goes that defense if Trump tries to make it at a future trial.


Trump may not understand that when a Justice Department he doesn’t control is breathing down his neck, he’s in a different world from the one he’s known. It’s not smart to play the same old cards. The ones that worked on social media won’t have the same effect in a courtroom.

But will he ever be in a courtroom or will his paid-for “judge” succeed in keeping him out of one?

Laughably bad

Sep 6th, 2022 8:42 am | By

More lawyers say this ain’t law.

Legal scholars called Cannon’s ruling unprecedented, in the sense that it goes against decades of court precedent — especially expanding the special master role to include executive privilege potentially claimed by a former president over the executive branch, for government-owned documents the Justice Department argues Trump had no right to take or keep.

Surely to god “executive privilege” applies to current executives, not ones who have been booted out. Surely Trump doesn’t have any claim to “executive privilege” now – all the more so since on his way out he incited an insurrection.

This was “an unprecedented intervention by a federal district judge into the middle of an ongoing federal criminal and national security investigation,” University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck tells The New York Times. “Enjoining the ongoing criminal investigation is simply untenable,” agreed Paul Rosenzweig, a George W. Bush administration official.

“To any lawyer with serious federal criminal court experience who is being honest, this ruling is laughably bad, and the written justification is even flimsier,” Duke University law professor Samuel Buell tells the Times. “Donald Trump is getting something no one else ever gets in federal court, he’s getting it for no good reason, and it will not in the slightest reduce the ongoing howls that he is being persecuted, when he is being privileged.”

Even Barr scorns it.

When Trump went judge shopping

Sep 6th, 2022 4:51 am | By

Some lawyery opinions.

This item is especially creepy – she’s like a robot they created especially for the purpose of shielding Trump from the law.


Why is judge shopping allowed at all? If crooks can just find a crooked judge anywhere in the country to block criminal investigations, how can the legal system work?

So the DoJ appeal is doomed to fail? So Trump is going to walk away? (And then steal the next election and do an Orban?)

This is grotesque.

But dude they’re not yours

Sep 5th, 2022 5:26 pm | By

I don’t really understand why this isn’t End of Story:

The Justice Department has staunchly resisted Trump’s request, saying he cannot claim executive privilege because the records do not belong to him; they belong to the government.

“He is no longer the president,” Jay Bratt, the department’s top counterintelligence lawyer, told Cannon at a Sept. 1 hearing. “And because he is no longer president, he did not have a right to take those documents.”

Why isn’t that all there is to it? They’re not his; that’s the whole point; so how does he get to demand a special master to check them all for executive privilege blah blah blah when they’re not his?

I suppose the only answer is that the judge was appointed by the perp. It’s all just batshit crazy.

Guest post: Sex is still real. Gender is still bullshit.

Sep 5th, 2022 4:05 pm | By

Originally a comment by Your Name’s not Bruce? on Fake confusion.

The truth is that sex and gender aren’t so easily divided.

Sure they are. Sex is real, gender is bullshit. But if you’re being paid by the word, succinctness is a liability. Stirring the pot and feigning bafflement is more lucrative.

One appears to be grounded in hard biological facts, while the other rests on the seemingly slippery notion of identity.

One is grounded in hard biological facts, and the other on social structures intended to restrict the sexes (particularly women) in what they may or may not do. It might very well be true that most, if not all cultures have had socially enforced sexual divisions of labour, but the labour apportioned to each sex as their “natural” lot varied from culture to culture. Warfare and hunting might be the closest you might come to finding a universally “male” occupation (via many of the same rmale physiological advantages that have, until recently, barred men from women’s sports), but even then there have been exceptions to this “rule.” (Hi Joan!) With other trades and occupations, it’s not so easy. Weaving, pottery, healing, farming, and fishing might be practiced solely by one sex in a given society, but there would be no way to determine in advance, based on the activity alone, which sex, without visiting. With these trades and pursuits, there’s nothing apart from tradition, social convention or taboo, that preferentially bars or favours one sex over another in their practice. In our own society, there was never anything other than the unjust, wasteful enforcement of restrictive, gendered sex-roles that prevented women from being pilots, surgeons, astronauts or bank managers. Or from even voting. Sure, there were “arguments” and “reasons,” but if any of them had been true, then women would have turned out to have been incapable of doing these things because of their “lady brains.” We still have a long way to go to fully liberate the wasted human potential of the female half of Earth’s human inhabitants.

That some people embrace and internalize those wasteful, destructive, sexist social strictures, reifying them into something that they call “gender identity,” does not actually make the definition of the sexes any more difficult or problematic than it was until very recently. Nor does it make “gender” any more “real” than it was when it was the pretext for the enforcement of confining, stereotypical, sex-role pigeonholes. Sex is still real. Gender is still bullshit. Does Shavisi not see the irony and contradiction inherent in trans-identified-males wielding stereotypical male entitlement and aggression in their demands that everyone recognize, respect, and validate their “lady brains?”

The fix is in

Sep 5th, 2022 11:21 am | By

This is ludicrous:

Federal judge grants Trump’s special master request to review Mar-a-Lago materials

Psssst oh by the way the judge who grants Trump’s request was appointed by Trump.

Ludicrous, fucked up, shaming, disgusting. Lifelong criminal appoints judges who then protect him from consequences of his lifelong crimes. This country doesn’t work.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has granted former President Donald Trump’s request for a special master to review documents seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago last month, temporarily stopping federal prosecutors from using those documents in their investigation into obstruction and mishandling of government secrets.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon who was appointed U.S. District Judge by Trump – that should be in every sentence about the subject, not left to many paragraphs later.

Cannon, a Trump appointee, cited in her order on Monday the need to ensure “the appearance of fairness and integrity under the extraordinary circumstances presented.”

Oh really? Then what does she think her role looks like? I can help: not like fairness and integrity.

Reproductive justice and pregnant people

Sep 5th, 2022 10:24 am | By

Also Arianne Shahvisi:

Pregnant people. Even when talking about the overturning of Roe v Wade, an epic disaster for US women, she says “pregnant people.”

She’s an academic at…wait for it…Sussex.

Fake confusion

Sep 5th, 2022 10:17 am | By

The great mysterious question again – what exactly is a woman and how can we possibly know? Arianne Shahvisi in the LRB is stumped.

The truth is that sex and gender aren’t so easily divided. One appears to be grounded in hard biological facts, while the other rests on the seemingly slippery notion of identity. Yet most of us have a much firmer grip on gender than we do on sex. Gender is an observable part of our everyday world, while the decisiveness of sex is mostly taken on trust.

Is it? Is it really? Mostly? Are we really mostly guessing who is which?

I think not. I think we mostly know who is which, and ambiguities are rare.

But apparently that’s because I’m one of them dumb gender critical feminists.

‘Gender critical feminists’ adopt a strategic simplicity, describing women as ‘adult human females’, most often defined by their possession of a uterus, or of the right genitals. Penises are associated with sexual assault and vaginas with sexual vulnerability, which sets up exactly the sort of fairy-tale fear-mongering that puts them in league with the far right.

Fairy tale. It’s a fairy tale that men are more likely to rape women than women are to rape men.

Theirs is, as Judith Butler writes, ‘a rich fantasy, and one that comes from powerful fears, but it does not describe a social reality’. Trans women are more likely to be sexually assaulted than cis women, and vulnerability to violence is, for most women, a more concrete definition of what unites and constrains us. Though they might reject the terms of the question, those intent on excluding trans women from their concerns must reflect on some version of Audre Lorde’s challenge: ‘What woman here is so enamoured of her own oppression that she cannot see her heel-print on another woman’s face?’

That’s it; that’s her “argument.” Judith Butler said and Audre Lorde said; case closed.

Sir, sir, sir

Sep 5th, 2022 9:53 am | By

He actually does. He actually does say, with stentorian emphasis, “LAST WEEK weirdo – he’s a weirdo – Mark Zuckerberg came to the White House, kissed my ass.”

After that he does his annoying dialogue routine, where he plays first the sycophant kissing his ass calling him sir over and over then himself then the sycophant some more.

LAST WEEK weirdo Zuckerberg came to the White House and kissed Trump’s ass.

At least it’s not Oświęcim Pride

Sep 4th, 2022 4:24 pm | By

Well now what’s the problem with this? Just a harmless bit of fun isn’t it? Exaggeration for comic effect?

No. Why? Because the threat is of a type that is not exaggerated or fictional. Whether the people who display the banner mean it or not, the words are all too familiar to women. Sexual violence is a tool to punish, dominate, control women. Forcing a woman to suck a huge cock is a way to humiliate, disgust, punish, harm her. Saying “women who disagree with us can suck our huge cocks” is not funny to women, just as threats of whipping or lynching are not funny to black people or Zyklon B jokes to Jews. “If you don’t do what we tell you we will make you do it” is not funny to an oppressed class. Union-busting isn’t funny to workers, and forced fellatio isn’t funny to women.

Each tweets adds evidence

Sep 4th, 2022 10:59 am | By

Grown man makes fool of himself abusing his betters on social media.

Who is this rude bozo? According to himself on Linked in he’s “an internationally recognised psychodynamic coach, innovation consultant and university enterprise educator.”

What is any of that? It sounds like a grift. If you’re a genius at innovation and enterprise wouldn’t you just be putting them to use to make tons of money rather than setting up as a coach and consultant and educator in them?

Mister Envypants

Sep 4th, 2022 10:22 am | By

Apparently these two things happened around the same time yesterday, which is amusing.

Trump reveals his envy, Obama wins an Emmy.



Sep 4th, 2022 6:47 am | By

Ah yes the old “female brain” joke. Don’t tell me, I already know – shoes, gossip, shopping, gossip, romance novels, gossip, bad driving, talking too much. Hahaha that’s such a funny joke. The millionth time every bit as funny as the first.

A leading doctor who is under investigation at one of Scotland’s oldest universities has come under fire for a ‘sexist’ image that was shown to medical students.

Professor John Paul Leach, a consultant neurologist who is head of undergraduate medicine at the University of Glasgow, displayed an graphic of the female brain as part of a teaching session with a large area designated the ‘headache generator’.

A tiny part is labelled  ‘sex initiation’ gland while driving skills and ‘realisation of wants vs needs’ are shown as dots. A male equivalent of the slide was not created.

And if it had been it would have been all politics, current affairs, economics, cutting down trees, eating lunch, wars, explosions – the serious stuff.

The graphic of the female brain:

Ok now wait a minute. It’s a joke. Come on, it’s obviously a joke. He didn’t show it as, like, an actual medical slide. Lighten up.

Point taken. It’s a joke, just like the old jokes about Jews or the Irish or Rastus. That kind of joke.

Hur hur shopping, gold digging, SHOES, talk talk and more talk, gossip, Melrose Place, shiny things. SO FUNNY.

Trump claimed without evidence

Sep 4th, 2022 4:10 am | By

The former guy, the one who stole boxes full of classified documents, is out there libeling people as if he hadn’t a care in the world.

Former President Donald Trump baselessly accused Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman of using drugs and disparaged his clothing while speaking at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on Saturday night.

In his speech, Trump claimed without evidence that Fetterman supports “taxpayer-funded drug dens and the complete decriminalization of illegal drugs including heroin, cocaine and crystal meth and ultra-lethal fentanyl.”

“And by the way, he takes them himself,” Trump added.

There is no evidence to suggest Fetterman has ever used illicit drugs. Fetterman has never expressed support for decriminalizing the drugs mentioned by Trump, although he has advocated for marajuana decriminalization.

In other words, libel.

During his speech, Trump also mocked Fetterman’s signature casual attire.

“This guy is a disaster. He comes in with a sweatsuit on. I’ve never seen him wear a suit. A dirty, dirty, dirty sweatsuit. It’s really disgusting. You know, I’m a clean freak. I’m a clean freak, Oz. I don’t like those dirty sweatsuits. They’re disgusting.”

Imbecile. A sweatshirt is casual; that’s not the same as dirty. His everlasting shiny blue suits are doubtless clean as a bar of soap but they’re ugly and boring and he looks stupid in them.

Do it to her instead

Sep 3rd, 2022 5:55 pm | By

Yet another Diddums. He’s distraught.

The Rugby Football Union have been rocked by a legal challenge against their ban on transgender women from female contact rugby.

Telegraph Sport can reveal transgender player Julie Curtiss has issued the RFU with a pre-action protocol letter – a legal document written to resolve a dispute before court proceedings are commenced – following the controversial decision.

It’s “controversial” to keep men out of women’s sports – that’s how stupid this whole thing has become.

Curtiss, one of two trans players who featured in a special Telegraph Sport report about the impact of the RFU’s ban last month, claims the governing body’s new gender participation policy discriminates against her on the basis of her gender reassignment protected characteristic under Section 7 of the Equality Act 2010.

But giving a woman’s spot to him discriminates against that woman. He’s a man, so he has that massive advantage, however fervently he identifies as a woman; therefore he is not the one most discriminated against here. His taking a woman’s place would be worse discrimination than her keeping her place. It is not fair to make women pay the price for men’s sexual or “gender” fantasies.


Sep 3rd, 2022 2:52 pm | By

Women can’t have anything just for women.


She doesn’t say where this is, so I tried Google: the only two institutions named are UCL and the University of Washington Bothell – Bothell being a suburb a few miles northeast of Seattle. UW Bothell doesn’t have the status or fame or infrastructure of the UW itself, which is in Seattle. I’m guessing UCL is the more likely culprit, being much less obscure than a suburban branch of a west coast state university. That’s just a guess though.

So let’s get acquainted with UCL Womxn in STEM Society:

KCL Womxn in STEM (WiSTEM) was founded in 2015 by a group of students in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) departments.

We are a network of students, professionals, academics, and researchers who aim to support underrepresented people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

But then why call it Womxn in STEM? That suggests women, not people. Why not call it People in STEXM? Or Underrepresented People in STEM?

The root causes of the gender disparity are diverse and intersectional and require a multifaceted approach to continue to improve the situation in STEM. 

The gender disparity? So they do mean women? But then why call it Womxn in STEM and why say it’s for underrepresented people?

Our aims include:

– To support and encourage all intersections of women and non-binary people in STEM to continue their career in academia.

Ah specificity at last – it’s “womxn” because of non-binary people. But why? Why include men who call themselves non-binary? Why take something that was for women, because women are underrepresented, and make it also for men who claim to be “non-binary” – a descriptor that doesn’t mean anything? Why can’t it just be for women? It’s not as if women are a small and trivial group.

And what are intersections of women? Or intersections of women and non-binary people? And why does this group think they need encouragement and support?

– To recognise and raise voices of all women and non-binary people in STEM including people of colour, trans people, people with disabilities, people holding religious beliefs, socioeconomic status, sexuality.

So it’s for everyone. Anyone and everyone can tick at least one of those boxes – everyone for sure has an economic status and probably a sexuality.

– Educating the wider university community about the issues faced by women and non-binary folk in STEM

Just woman and non-binary folk? What about the people who have an economic status? What about the folk who have a sexuality?

Tragically stupid.

No stamina

Sep 3rd, 2022 10:12 am | By

Trump mad at Barr:

Bill Barr had “no guts,” and got “no glory.” He was a weak and pathetic RINO, who was so afraid of being Impeached that he became a captive to the Radical Left Democrats – “Please, please, please don’t impeach me,” he supposedly said. Barr never fought the way he should have for Election Integrity, and so much else. He started off OK as A.G., but faded fast – Didn’t have courage or stamina. People like that will never Make America Great Again!

He “supposedly” said? Supposed by whom? Nobody. Trump made it up and put it in quotation marks. “Supposedly” is not a synonym for “according to me.”

Archivally challenged

Sep 3rd, 2022 9:37 am | By

Ed Pilkington at the Guardian notes that Trump has an issue with documents:

Trump has been archivally challenged, to coin a phrase, for many years. The roots of his refusal to abide by normal rules relating to documents stretch back at least to his refusal to disclose his own tax returns during the 2016 presidential campaign – a resistance to accepting public access to his personal papers that is the mirror image of his current claim that presidential records from his time in the White House belong to him.

Good point. Trump gets to keep his secrets, and he also gets to violate all other forms of secrecy. Heads he wins tails we lose. Trump’s will is all that matters on all occasions.

By June 2018 such proprietary behavior was expressing itself in the White House. Politico reported that Trump was routinely tearing up official records rather than filing them for safekeeping in the National Archives as he was legally obliged to do.

White House aides were left desperately attempting to tape the documents back together – a farcical vignette of government in the Trump era. After he was forced out of the White House, many presidential papers were received by the archives in similarly torn-up condition.

Was there a plan? If so what was it?

Then there is the overriding puzzle: what, if anything, was Trump intending to do with the documents and why has he gone to such tortuous lengths to hold on to them? Cohen, who watched Trump’s antics up close for many years, thinks he knows the answer.

“Donald intended to use the documents to extort the US government and prevent an indictment and conviction. In essence: a get out of jail free card.”

That, or paper the public rooms at Maralago with them.

How they talk about us

Sep 2nd, 2022 12:09 pm | By
How they talk about us

Sisterhood eh what?

Ahhhhh isn’t that nice – most women never work a day in their lives as any fule kno. Lazy sluts living off men.

Who is this Lucy Clark? He’s a football referee who boasts of being the first “openly Transgender” one in the world. He doesn’t hesitate to insult women with condescending “sweeties” and “poppets.”

He’s also…erm…rather large.

But we must incloooood him.