It was a bad day for Trump. It was a far worse day for Judge Cannon in Florida. The appeals court ruled that every element of Judge Cannon’s ruling was incorrect, and totally agreed with the DoJ in every particular.

Trump’s declassification argument was ruled (1) unproved; and (2) even if it had been proved, irrelevant. It is irrelevant for two reasons: (1) declassification does not impact the content of the documents, and none of the cited criminal statutes are affected by whether any documents are classified; (2) even if everything was declassified, the documents would still belong to the United States, not to Trump, and the government agents therefore had the right, and obligation, to seize them.

The appeal was reviewed by a three-judge panel, two of whom were Trump appointees.

There is another issue with declassification that nobody has mentioned but (surprisingly) Bill Barr. If Trump did in fact declassify some documents that include material that needs to be secret for the security of the United States, thus making them accessible to anyone through the freedom of information act, that would be an act of recklessness more dangerous than anything else Trump has ever done.

To make an extreme example, suppose some documents showed that Al-Qaeda was developing a nuclear weapon, based on a tip by our spy within Al Qaeda. If declassification allowed Al-Qaeda to find out about the spy and to move their base of operations, and thus to continue the operation while eliminating our eyes on it, that would be providing aid and comfort to an enemy of the United States.

Declassifying that kind of information would meet the precise constitutional definition of treason. If I were in his shoes, I’d be less concerned with a charge of mishandling some papers than a charge of treason. I think it would be wise of him to drop that “I declassified everything” argument.

But then again, when has he ever been wise?

Note: The fact that somebody has the POWER to do something does not automatically make it legal. A President of the United States has pretty much unlimited power to grant federal pardons, but if he offered to grant pardons for ten million dollars each, it would still be corrupt and would be prosecuted (after the President left office) under the RICO and other statutes.

Similarly, the Vice-President has the POWER to break a tie in the Senate, but if she were to do so in return for a massive kickback from the Pharma companies, it would be criminal.

The same logic applies to declassification. If the Presidential declassification of a necessarily secret document provides aid and comfort to America’s enemies … well, he has the POWER to do that, but it could be an act of treason.

(Those are hypothetical arguments. I have no idea what is actually in the secret papers because … well, mainly because if a schmuck like me knew, they wouldn’t be very secret, would they?)

HUMOROUS SIDEBAR: I assume that back in his school days, Trump’s excuse for not having his homework was that he did it in his head. Today he said there is no documentation of declassification because he did it in his head!

“If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, ‘It’s declassified.’ Even by thinking about it.”

He also speculated that the FBI may have been looking in his desk for the missing Hilary Clinton e-mails, a speculation which is utterly demented even by his own lofty standards.


“I just can’t believe they were there for some measly papers instead of the large pile of skulls that sits in the middle of the Grand Ballroom, or the still-decomposing arms and legs that protrude from sand traps all over the golf course. But good for me! If they want to haul a bunch of boxes out of that place while walking upon the shallow, unmarked graves of people I’ve had tortured and killed, what do I care?”

Another great Onion headline:

Trump Boys Thrilled FBI Seized Documents, Leaving Dozens Of Empty Boxes To Play In”

Who could that quote be from?

Well, whoever has done the most for religion, step forward.

Not so fast, Jesus of Nazareth, Saul of Tarsus, Abraham, Mohammad, Joseph Smith, Gautama Siddhartha, the Dalai Lama, America’s founding fathers, Cool Pope Frank, and all of you other pretenders.

There’s a new holy man in town!

Nearly 60 per cent of US voters would back independent candidate over Biden or Trump

Ross Perot made the mistake of being born too early and having to run against two fairly popular candidates. If he were alive now, he could probably beat these two! Come to think of it, I don’t think there is anything in the Constitution that requires the candidate to be alive.

Speaking of not being alive … I don’t remember how to do actuarial calculations, but I wonder about the odds that both Biden and Trump will be alive in November, 2024. They are both elderly. Biden looks more feeble every day, and Trump is obese. That would be an interesting prop bet for those online gambling sites.

I can’t see how this position could be in his interest.

OK, let’s say he’s right.

Now let’s assume Trump runs against Kamala Harris in 2024 and beats her fair and square.

According to his theory, barring any new legislation to the contrary, Vice-President Kamala Harris has the authority to reject any slate of electors she has any question about, accepting instead alternate electors beholden to her, thus installing herself as President!

(That’s a pretty sweet authority – essentially the right of any party to hold power forever!)

“We can say that it was marginally better than 2020. Granted, this is not high praise. It’s like saying that somebody is marginally nicer than Hitler. But it’s something.”

“The Capitol is invaded by thousands of people who are fiercely loyal to Trump and determined to ensure that his enduring legacy, as president, will be that he inspired a tragic, futile and utterly stupid riot at the U.S. Capitol.”

“President Biden proposes a fiscal 2022 federal budget of $6 trillion, to be raised by what the White House describes as ‘an exciting new partnership with Herbalife.'”

“The big story in August is the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, a country that, thanks to 20 years of our involvement, has been transformed — at a cost of many lives and more than $2 trillion — from a brutal, primitive undemocratic society into a brutal, primitive undemocratic society with a whole lot of abandoned American military hardware lying around.”

I don’t know whether I really give a crap, but I don’t think Trump ever dresses like this. I think he always golfs in a white shirt and unpatterned pants.

Just a matter of passing interest.

In the era between WW2 and Trump, only two elected presidents have run for a second term and lost the general election:

In 1980, Jimmy Carter ran for a second term. Forty-four million Americans went to the polls to vote for his main oppponent (Reagan). In all, 51 million Americans voted against him.

In 1992, George Bush the Elder tried for a second term. Forty-five million Americans went to the polls to vote for his main oppponent (Clinton). In all, 65 million Americans voted against him.

In 2020, Donald Trump the Elder ran for a second term. Eighty million Americans went to the polls to vote for his main oppponent (Biden). In all, 83 million Americans voted against him.

The comparison is made more significant by the fact that Americans were not universally and specifically rejecting Carter and Bush, two decent men. Many Americans liked those two but nonetheless turned out to vote for charismatic opponents in elections complicated by substantial third-party voting. In the 2020 election … well, nobody thinks of Biden as Joey Charisma. Furthermore, down-ballot Republicans did fairly well. It’s obvious that the vast majority of those eighty million people who voted against Trump were casting votes specifically to reject Donald Trump.

It was the most resounding rejection of a president in modern history, and by a very large margin. Before this, no modern President trying to be re-elected for a second term had ever been replaced by an opponent receiving more than 45 million votes. Trump has been replaced by an opponent receiving 80 million votes.

In fairness, we should also note that no President running for re-election ever received as many votes as Donald Trump.

Voter turnout in the 2020 Presidential election was the highest it has been in 120 years! There were record numbers of votes for the president, and even more impressive record numbers of votes against him. Because Donald Trump is so loved and so hated, he has in a sense re-energized American democracy as much as he has polarized it. His very presence has made people on both sides more aware of the importance of the right to vote, and of the potential cost of not exercising that right. He has raised the stakes.

For these medical professionals, it is difficult to hold back tears:

“From a nurse in South Dakota who spoke on CNN today, the brainwashed are literally dying and fighting with the nurse that it’s a hoax and must be something else:”

“I have a night off from the hospital. As I’m on my couch with my dog I can’t help but think of the Covid patients the last few days. The ones that stick out are those who still don’t believe the virus is real. The ones who scream at you for a magic medicine and that Joe Biden is going to ruin the USA. All while gasping for breath on 100% Vapotherm.

They tell you there must be another reason they are sick. They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that “stuff” because they don’t have COViD because it’s not real. Yes. This really happens. And I can’t stop thinking about it. These people really think this isn’t going to happen to them. And then they stop yelling at you when they get intubated. It’s like a fucking horror movie that never ends. There’s no credits that roll. You just go back and do it all over again.”

Biden, you monster!


Earlier, “President Trump mockingly warned at his rally in Nevada late Sunday that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would ‘listen to the scientists’ if elected.”

Gee, I wonder what happened to countries that did follow the science.

Oh …

“The Chinese economy grew 4.9% between July and September, as China becomes the first major economy to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Only the best people.

Scott Atlas is a radiologist. He has no training in virology, epidemiology, public health management, statistical analysis, or any other field that would be relevant to the COVID crisis. It appears that he knows far less about viral diseases than laymen who have been cramming on the subject. You would be better off listening to a witch doctor. They always wear masks. And at least garlic poultices and incantations can’t do any harm. It is also believed that Atlas is nudging President Trump in the reckless direction of using a herd immunity strategy with no vaccine on the horizon.

As the director of the CDC pointed out bluntly, “Everything he (Scott Atlas) says is false.”

To repeat the math on herd immunity: scientists estimate that successful herd immunity would require about 2/3 of a population to carry antibodies. In the USA that is about 220 million people. At least 1.4% of Americans who contract the virus are expected to die from it (currently about 700 dead per day, and 50,000 infections per day), so the death toll would be three million.

And that’s if it works.

It probably won’t work because the immunity seems to be short-lived, which means that, lacking a vaccine, a population might never get to a point where 2/3 of the people have antibodies, because by the time the last people are infected, the immunity might be wearing off in those infected early. Let’s suppose that the antibodies last only four months. In that case, the only way to achieve herd immunity is to get antibodies into 220 million people almost instantly, and the only realistic way to do that is with a vaccine. Infecting 220 million people through community spread in three months may not even be possible, but if it were, the health care system could not possibly handle the number of hospital patients that would emerge from the strategy.

At this point I don’t know the actual average duration of immunity, nor does anyone else. Top researchers throughout the world are still learning about COVID-19. But if it is truly as short-lived as four months, we will have a decidedly difficult time with the logistics of fighting it – even with a vaccine, let alone by community spread.

“Throughout a pandemic that has now landed squarely in the West Wing, Trump officials — who routinely shunned masks — declined to institute thorough safety protocols to protect the White House press corps, according to interviews with reporters who now face the prospect of a rapidly escalating outbreak in their daily work space.”

I’m not sure this article really has the answers, but their success has been astounding.

Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand have about 250 million people between them and to date they have a total of 244 covid deaths for all five nations added together, despite the fact that three of those countries have borders with China. Laos and Cambodia have no fatalities at all, although Laos borders China.

  • Taken together, those five nations have one death per million population. The USA has 624 deaths per million – and rising.
  • The United States, with 330 million people, has more than 200,000 covid fatalities. If it had the same rate as SE Asia, it would have 320 fatalities in total – an amount that it actually had every seven hours yesterday!

That may not be a fair equivalence, but in more realistic terms we could compare the USA to Canada. If the USA had the same fatality rate as Canada, it would have about 80,000 fatalities rather than 200,000. That’s 120 thousand deaths that could have been avoided.

So far.