“Rudy come back!”

Just a couple of days ago I was reading how Trump had managed, after many, many top lawyers had refused his offers to become part of his legal team, to get a couple of reputedly competent lawyers to represent him during his impeachment trial where the oral arguments start on February 9th. Then news comes today that they too have bailed out.

The ability of Republican senators who plan to acquit Donald Trump at his upcoming impeachment trial to pretend to have weighed the case on the merits has been endangered by the mass resignation of Trump’s legal team at the weekend.

But the trial schedule, and its substance, have been thrown into doubt with the departure of five lawyers on Trump’s defense team – apparently the entire team. The resignations were first reported by CNN, which said the lawyers and Trump disagreed over strategy.

A Trump spokesperson told the New York Times that there had been a strategy disagreement but denied it was over Trump’s insistence that his defense center on the wild, false accusations of election fraud that he has been peddling for months.

The departure of Bowers and Deborah Barberi, two South Carolina lawyers, was described by a source familiar with the situation as a “mutual decision”.

Three other lawyers associated with the team, Josh Howard of North Carolina and Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris of South Carolina, also parted ways with Trump, another source said.

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Expect more masked madness and violence

Joe Biden has issued Executive Orders mandating that masks must be worn in a wide variety of venues.

Under the executive order, Biden is directing departments and agencies under his jurisdiction “to immediately take action to require people in federal buildings or on federal lands, on-duty or on-site federal employees, and on-site federal contractors to wear a mask and maintain physical distance,” according to the White House.

But the order also requires masks on various modes of public transportation, including trains, airplanes and intercity buses. And it’s that provision, attorneys who have challenged mask mandates in the past say, that could be the most vulnerable to a legal challenge.

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Capitalizing Black but not white

Commenter Mark Dowd urged me to get on board with the spreading movement to capitalize Black when referring to a group identity. I had noticed the trend myself but had not done anything about it partly because of inertia and partly because I was not sure what the full ramifications were. How much does it generalize? For example, does that mean that ‘white’ should be capitalized too?

So I looked to that authoritative journalistic source, the Associated Press Style Guide and they said that had been looking into this question for over two years and in June 2020 gave reasons why they had decided to capitalize Black.
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The GameStop controversy

I have said many times before that I don’t really understand how the stock market works. I mean that I understand in theory about how it should work. Companies sell stock to raise money to grow the business. If the company is well run and makes money, its value, and the price of its stock, goes up. If it is run poorly, then its stock price goes down. For an investor, the goal is to identify companies that show promise of growth and success and buy its stock so that when the price rises, you can sell it at a profit. But the modern stock market has in practice so many layers over that basic idea that the relationship between cause and effect, what causes stocks to go up and what causes them to go down, has become highly opaque.
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The purge of those not slavishly loyal to Trump begins

Michigan is a state that has a panel of four people, two Republicans and two Democrats, to certify election results. The Trump camp wanted the board to not certify Michigan’s presidential results even though Jos Biden easily won by a margin of 50.6-47.8% or about 150,000 votes. But one of the Republicans Aaron Van Langevelde voted to certify and the other abstained, resulting in Biden’s victory being confirmed by a 3-0 vote. I wrote about the heated debate back on November 24th..

So now the Michigan Republican party has decided to not renominate Van Langevelde for a second term when his term expires at the end of this month. He is unrepentant.
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The rise and fall of a would-be autocrat

The PBS program Frontline has released an excellent 53-minute documentary titled Trump’s American Carnage that is a review of the Trump presidency. It starts with how he whipped the Republican party establishment to gain the nomination in 2016, in the process making his harshest critics such as Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Lindsey Graham become shameless groveling sycophants. Trump also took aim early at Mitch McConnell, with withering criticisms of his failure to repeal Obamacare, that resulted in McConnell deciding to try and get into his good graces by doing his bidding and never saying anything critical, however terrible Trump’s actions were.
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Black police officers and the insurrectionists

We have seen a lot of videos of the insurrection that took place on January 6th at the US Capitol building. Some of those images showed white people bearing confederate flags and Trump signs attacking an overwhelmed security force, some of them black police officers. The officers said that their superiors had not been ready for the assault and did not seem to have any plan of action, leaving it to the officers to improvise against overwhelming odds. This has led to a loss of confidence in their leadership. Two police officers have taken their own lives following the attack.
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