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Ocelot II

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Hometown: Minnesota
Member since: Mon Oct 27, 2003, 12:54 AM
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What is meant by "legitimate"?

The pertinent dictionary definition is "accordant with law or with established legal forms and requirements." So in that sense, the court is legitimate. It exists and operates in accordance with the Constitution and federal statutes. What it has become, however, is a legally established and therefore "legitimate" body that has lost the confidence of a large sector of the population. It exists in the first place as a branch of government intended to provide an ostensibly neutral arbiter of the law and thus a check against the political tendencies of the other two branches. Some of its decisions since its creation have been politically-motivated and some have been downright bad, but overall it has at least seemed neutral and fair enough that the other branches and the people have been willing to accept its decisions as reasonable applications of the law that they were willing to accept even if they didn't agree.

It started to slide, I think, with Bush v. Gore, which was such a bad, dumb, poorly-reasoned and disingenuous opinion that its goal - to achieve a particular political outcome by twisting the law and the facts of the case - was screamingly obvious. It's gone to hell in the proverbial handbasket during TFG's maladministration with the addition of overtly biased and arguably unqualified justices, and now the draft opinion in Dobbs shows beyond doubt that the court is just another political body, and as such will have lost the confidence of a whole lot of us that our cases can have a chance at a fair hearing. That's the whole reason for a court to exist - to give all cases before them a fair hearing - and if a court can't be trusted to ensure impartial justice, its technical "legitimacy" is meaningless.

I'm not sure natural selection will weed out this particular brand of idiocy.

I wonder whether the trait of ignoring science for political or ideological or tribal reasons is inheritable. If it is, the trait will persist just because so many of the anti-vaxxers have already reproduced. However, I question whether the type of stupid that causes some people to prefer rumors and conspiracy theories that reinforce their existing suppositions about the socialist government forcing them to do things they don't want to do is genetic. There is research suggesting that conservatives are more fearful than liberals, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mind-in-the-machine/201612/fear-and-anxiety-drive-conservatives-political-attitudes - although this theory has been questioned, https://www.livescience.com/conservatives-not-more-fearful-than-liberals.html - because it appears that conservatives aren't necessarily more fearful than liberals, only that they are afraid of different things. And, the author suggests, it might be that people adopt a political identity first and then fear certain specific things as a result.

Fearfulness in general is probably an inheritable trait. But people who won't get vaccinated don't fear covid, or at least not enough, even though they should (like the caveman fighting off a lion with a stick), but they fear the vaccine. Why? It's not because they are fearful in general, but perhaps it's because their political identity has motivated them to fear the vaccine more than the disease. Arguably this is just plain stupid, but is it low-IQ stupid? Probably not. I'd posit that it's a learned stupidity (and here I define "stupid" not as developmentally disabled in some way, but as willfully ignorant) arising from rigid political identity. It's a social disease, not a genetic one.

But even so, if the 'rona kills off enough of these morons to keep the GOP from winning elections I will be satisfied that their karma has run over their dogma.

Actually it isn't. It's an argument that the president was acting

within the scope of his presidency when he said what he said, not that it was OK to say it. If he was acting in that capacity the government is obligated to raise a defense on his behalf and substitute itself as the defendant. The catch, of course, is that the government can't be sued for defamation, so the government would be off the hook for damages. in Clinton v. Jones, the Supreme Court case held that a sitting president of the United States is not immune from litigation for acts done before taking office and unrelated to the office, but this is a case involving an act done while the president was in office. So they have to rely on Nixon v. Fitzgerald, which held that a president is absolutely immune from litigation for discretionary acts done while in office. The decision is very broad, and although it doesn't define exactly which activities Fitzgerald covers, the case is generally interpreted to mean that as long the action is within the broadest understanding of the president's function as president, he's immune. The reason the appeal is being taken by the current DoJ is not to protect Trump but to determine, by an appellate court, where that line is. The notion that a president can make allegedly libelous statements regarding a situation not related to his function as president is a huge stretch and it will probably fail, as it should. But it is in no regard inappropriate for the DoJ to want to get an answer to the question for the sake of future administrations.

No. Trump's "craziness" consists of some fairly extreme personality disorders

but he's not psychotic in a way that would support an insanity defense (which rarely works anyhow). Gigante feigned mental incompetence as if he was developmentally disabled rather than psychotic; he shuffled around in a bathrobe, mumbling to himself, and acting as if he didn't understand what was going on around him; his lawyers claimed he had been mentally disabled since the late 1960's, with a below-normal I.Q. of 69 to 72. He was willing to publicly humiliate himself in a way that Trump would never, ever do. Trump, however, is a malignant narcissist who apparently has managed to convince himself that he won the election because his disorder won't permit him to acknowledge he lost. But he would never allow his lawyers to raise an insanity defense, and he isn't legally insane (unable to understand the nature and consequence of his actions) even though he is certainly not normal.

A somewhat similar case is that of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian white supremacist who, in 2011, killed eight people by detonating a bomb in Oslo, then killing 69 young people at a summer camp. Initially he was diagnosed as schizophrenic, but a second psychiatric evaluation determined he had narcissistic personality disorder but was legally sane. Breivik was outraged at the initial diagnosis that he was mentally ill, even though it would have kept him out of prison. He "expressed hope at being declared sane in a letter sent to several Norwegian newspapers shortly before his trial, he wrote about the prospect of being sent to a psychiatric ward: "I must admit this is the worst thing that could have happened to me as it is the ultimate humiliation. To send a political activist to a mental hospital is more sadistic and evil than to kill him! It is a fate worse than death." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Behring_Breivik I think Trump would be equally outraged at the idea of raising an insanity defense.

I am hoping - maybe naively - that once Trump is out of office, most of the MAGAts will

gradually drift away from the cult. It is, after all, a personality cult, and allegiances to personalities are not transferrable to others. Trump has a unique talent - he's a carnival barker crossed with a demagogue, like the bastard offspring of P.T. Barnum and Hitler. He has been able to tap into and cultivate the worst impulses of people who already had dangerous attitudes - racism, white supremacy, xenophobia and "Christian" nationalism at the top of the list - with outrageous and offensive statements that expressed, loudly and publicly, what they were thinking and wanted to say themselves. He was able to make angry, privileged white people believe that only he could get rid of the bad people who they thought were keeping them down in some way (of course, equality looks like oppression to those who are accustomed to privilege). Obviously some GOP hangers-on like Cruz and Hawley hope to pick up those voters in 2024, but they don't have Trump's unique talent for mesmerizing throngs of angry, stupid people (Hawley just torpedoed his own chances, and Cruz is so oily and obnoxious that everybody hates him already). As of now, nobody else does either.

No doubt the current lunacy will continue for awhile, but I think that once Trump is no longer president and has to try to maintain his influence from Mierda-Loco (assuming he isn't in prison), that influence will gradually dissipate when it becomes apparent that he can't actually do anything. It will probably take a couple of years, but reality has a way of intruding into people's delusions. Those who aren't being prosecuted for trying to sack the Capitol will find that they still have to support themselves and their families and go about their lives. Continuing to carry the flag for some fat old washed-up ex-politician who can't do anything for them will eventually be seen as a wasted effort. Some might even recognize that they've been had. Many will continue to hold racist and otherwise Trumpist beliefs but at least they won't be storming government buildings.

I hope I'm not being unrealistically hopeful.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Mon Jan 11, 2021, 01:44 PM (0 replies)

I would, too, if he weren't so malicious and destructive.

This is a man who seems to have no joy in his life. His only pleasure, if you can even call it that, comes from putting down anyone who opposes him, which his father apparently taught him is winning - and losing is completely unthinkable. He doesn't seem to enjoy music or art; he doesn't go to plays or concerts; he doesn't appreciate nature; he doesn't even like pets; he doesn't read anything but news items about himself; he has no real friends, just toadies and hangers-on; his wife doesn't seem to especially like him and all of his wives have been nothing but arm-candy for him (and he cheated on all of them); his relationships with his oldest children are weird, to say the least, and he seems to have none at all with the youngest; he has no hobbies other than golf, at which he cheats because he always has to win; and he's so absurdly vain that he is said to need two hours to do his hair and makeup. Everthing is superficial. He has to have the biggest, the best, the most expensive, the most ostentatious because he needs everyone to know that he's rich. His NYC apartment looks like Versailles redecorated by Saddam Hussein's pimp. He spends every waking hour fretting about the possibility that someone else might be richer, more powerful, more appreciated, more valued, and it drives him crazy. I can't imagine a more miserable existence. But in the process of trying to fill the bottomless black hole of his ego he is causing immeasurable damage, even killing people. So, yes, he's a sad, wretched specimen, but I can't bring myself to feel sorry for him except maybe in the Buddhist sense of compassion for all sentient beings.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Thu Aug 20, 2020, 03:04 PM (2 replies)

Bad to the bone.

You rarely see that level of bad outside prisons and psychiatric facilities. There is something so completely wrong with him that it's hard to wrap your head around it. He doesn't love anyone or anything. He doesn't enjoy anything that's not completely about him. His only motivation is to be seen as better at everything than everybody else; he likes golf only because as the owner of the courses he plays at, he can easily cheat. He doesn't enjoy the arts - he had a fake Renoir that he insisted was genuine despite the fact that the real one was hanging in a museum, but he had it not because he valued it as a work of art only so he could brag about owning a painting by a famous artist. He doesn't go to concerts, plays or other performances. He doesn't appreciate nature - he doesn't sail like Kennedy, ride horseback like Reagan, or even cut brush like Bush II. He doesn't like animals and doesn't have pets, unlike any of his predecessors (even Hitler liked dogs!). He doesn't do music (Clinton), he doesn't paint (Bush II), he doesn't write (Obama), he doesn't even read. He leads what seems to be a completely joyless life, full of nothing but anger and infinite insecurity. It must suck to be him.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Sun Aug 2, 2020, 11:53 AM (0 replies)

That's because the lies are so outrageous that nobody who has a cerebral cortex

with more functioning synapses than a squirrel's could believe any of them, but that's been true of Trump's press secretaries' lies from the beginning. At least Sean Spicer occasionally looked uncomfortable - the magnitude of the lie could be gauged by how angry he seemed while telling it. Outraged halibut SHS was perpetually belligerent, but that affect seemed to arise from indignation that reporters had the nerve to doubt and question her. In the case of soul-deprived spokesBarbie McEnemy, however, the most outrageous lies flow trippingly on her forked tongue while her dead eyes never blink at all.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Wed Jun 10, 2020, 10:10 AM (0 replies)

An excellent choice - or Sally Yates.

Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Fri Jun 5, 2020, 11:23 PM (0 replies)

The weird thing is that after the Spanish Flu epidemic was over

hardly anybody except the medical researchers talked or wrote about it. You'd think there would be a whole lot of literature that addressed it, considering that it was much worse than this epidemic (at least so far), but the major authors who were active at the time barely mentioned it, if at all. A letter supposedly written by F. Scott Fitzgerald while quarantined in France turned out to be a parody that was created this year. In fact, authors like Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway pretty much ignored it in their writings. In 1939 Katherine Anne Porter wrote the novel Pale Horse, Pale Rider, which described her own experience with the illness - but there wasn't much else. The only other authors of note who wrote about the epidemic - years later - were John O’Hara (The Doctor’s Son, 1935) and William Maxwell (They Came Like Swallows, 1937). I wonder why? Was the experience so horrific that people decided they just didn't want to think about it? PTSD had to have been rampant then, too, considering that the carnage of WWI was part of the mix (and a significant cause as well). Will we react the same way?
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Thu May 7, 2020, 09:11 PM (1 replies)
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