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Wednesday, May 10, 2023


 My son, Tobias, who is a professor of law and an expert on civil procedure posted this comment on Facebook today.

A note about the impact of E. Jean. Carroll's victory going forward: If the Orange Monster defames E. Jean again in the way he has in the past, she and her lawyers can file another lawsuit and use the judgment in her earlier verdict to immediately seek damages against him through the doctrine of preclusion. It is important to take a moment to think about the practical implications of that fact.
First some basics on Civil Procedure. In U.S. courts, when a person prevails in a civil case and obtains a judgment, that judgment does not merely constitute a victory on their claims. It also constitutes a determination that binds the parties to the lawsuit on all the issues that were actually litigated and decided in the proceeding and wound up being necessary to the judgment. Going forward, if the exact same issue comes up again then the person who lost on that issue in the first proceeding can be bound to the determination of that issue in any subsequent proceeding. This is the doctrine of issue preclusion. (There are some exceptions to that doctrine but none would apply here.)
Here's what that means in practical terms. The Orange Monster is running for President. He will be asked about E. Jean Carroll and her successful verdict, and even without being asked he will no doubt feel the compulsion to hold forth about her. He can still try to deny that he sexually assaulted her and claim that the jury decision was wrong; that's fine. But if he demeans E. Jean Carroll in the way that the jury found to be defamatory -- calling her a liar and saying her story is a hoax that she made up to increase book sales -- then Carroll and her lawyers can go straight to court, file another lawsuit, and seek additional defamation damages against him without having to prove her case all over again. All they will have to show is that whatever he said raises the same issue of defamation that the jury already adjudicated in the first lawsuit and they should be entitled to summary judgment in their favor. They would only have to prove damages. All of this is true even though the Orange Monster and his lawyer are appealing the judgment. Preclusion attaches when final judgment is entered at the trial court level.
This means that the Orange Monster will have to give mealy-mouthed answers to questions about E. Jean Carroll when he is asked about the verdict by the media or in debates (and he will presumably be asked all the time) and he will have to restrain his impulse to keep calling Carroll a hoax, a liar and a gold-digger in front of adoring crowds in the ways that worked so well for him before. If he cannot manage to do those things -- consistently -- then he will be slapped with a second lawsuit on a fast-track to force him to pay more damages for defamation.
I do not think he will be able to show that kind of discipline. We are going to see round two.


s. wallerstein said...

He's right that Trump does not have much self control and that he's going to continue to defame Carroll, but the problem really isn't whether he's going to be fined another million or two million dollars. Some rich Republican can help him with the cost, a million dollars or even five million dollars isn't so much money for the super rich these days.

The problem is that if Trump manages to convince his fans that Carroll is a liar or that she invents things to increase her book sales or that she's completely crazy and hysterical, he might get elected again.

LFC said...

Trump's devoted base already believes that about Carroll (or alternatively doesn't care). But the size of his base has been shrinking and it's far from clear that he has a path to Electoral College victory should he win the Repub nomination. This is why the leanings of key people like secretaries of state who oversee elections at the state level are important, and why it's significant that most (though not all) of the Trump-backed candidates for such offices did not win in 2022.

John Pillette said...

A "mealy-mouthed" (or "restrined" or "disciplined") Trump is indeed a contradiction in terms ... unless he can be persuaded to immediately undergo an emergency superego transplant, he's most likely done for!

How amusing is it that after all the vast quantity of earnest chin-stroking pieces by various members of the literary intelligentsia, his downfall comes thanks to a women's magazine advice columnist? E. Jean Carroll deserves a medal, or a monument, or at least the ambassador post to Liechtenstein ...

Jordan said...

This is interesting. Maybe s. wallerstein is right that this won't prove to be a significant disincentive for Trump, though if I'm understanding Wolff fils correctly, the lawsuits would quickly add up if he was saying defamatory things repeatedly, as he would be primed to do by journalists, especially once they caught on to the effect that it was having on him.

What's especially interesting to me is that if Trump can restrain himself, it may be bad for him politically, since so much of his brand is saying whatever he wants (or at least appearing to). Everyone (including his potential supporters) will know (or at any rate, feel or sense) that he's holding back from what he really wants to say.

Jordan said...

....aaaand here we go:

Marc Susselman said...

Query to the resident political pundits:

Are the Republicans just bluffing about opposing raising the debt limit ceiling unless the Democrats agree to spending reductions, as a way to impress their constituents, and will cave when push comes to shove at 11:59 P.M. on May 31, or are they serious about risking pushing the U.S. and the world over the financial brink and causing a world-wide economic crisis?

When I see pictures of Kevin McCarthy smiling and laughing, I have to believe he is just playing a faux game of chicken and he intends to eventually throw in the towel.

LFC said...

Imho, the real problem is those people in McCarthy's caucus in the House who made him run the gauntlet to get elected Speaker and who probably don't give a crap about, figuratively speaking, blowing everything up.

Marc Susselman said...

Regarding the possible consequences to Trump if he continues to repeat his defamatory statements about Ms. Carroll, at some point the federal judge may hold him in criminal contempt of court, and impose a fine for the first infraction. If he continues to repeat his misconduct, the judge will hold him in contempt again, and impose a jail sentence. The jail sentences will increase in length as he continues his contempt. While the jail sentences will invigorate his base as violating his 1st Amendment right to free speech, they will also hamper his ability to campaign effectively, enhancing Biden’s re-election.

LFC said...

Does a finding of civil liability for defamation impose a legal duty on the defendant not to repeat the behavior, on pain of criminal contempt? And if the judge can jail Trump for further defamation, I wonder why Tobias Wolff didn't mention that in addition to recommending further civil suits relying on issue preclusion. (Or maybe he did mention it at the full FB post.)

Marc Susselman said...

Final Jeopardy question for tonight’s first round.

Category: First Millennium

In 311, Emperor Diocletian visited this city for the first time?

I got it. Only one contestant had the right answer.

Marc Susselman said...


The authority of the court to issue an Order precluding Trump from repeating the defamation of Carroll is implicit in Prof. Tobias Wolff’s proposal that if Trump does defame her again, she can go back to court and sue him for defamation based on the verdict in the first lawsuit. In either case, Trump would have the right to challenge either the lawsuit, or an Order issued pursuant to the lawsuit, for violating his 1st Amendment rights. The right to sue for defamation is an exception to 1st Amendment protection. Any time a court issues an Order prohibiting someone from engaging in certain conduct, the individual can be held in criminal contempt for disobeying the court’s Order. (Disobeying the alternative kind of Order, which orders someone to take a certain action, e.g., to a journalist to disclose sources, is punishable by civil contempt, which allows the court to jail the individual until the individual complies with the court’s Order.)

Answer to the Final Jeopardy question: Rome. Diocletian was emperor after the capital of Rome was moved East to Byzantium.

Michael Llenos said...

Although the Jean Carroll civil case was bad for Trump, he seemed to make a very fast rebound in the CNN Town Hall Meeting he had tonight. This comes within 48 hours of Putin's somewhat successful May Day ceremony. I believe people have a fascination with fascism. They have a fascination with dictatorships. And some citizens even have a fascination with a One World government.

Achim Kriechel (A.K.) said...

Unfortunately, we cannot register a "KO" against Trump until today. He may be down for the count until ... 6 or 7? And I seriously wonder if another Republican candidate might be even more dangerous. Unfortunately, in war, if it lasts long enough, the opponents begin to learn from each other. But very likely you have to fight them as they come.

Meanwhile, the pace of change seems to continue to accelerate. Not much is left of the call for a moratorium on AI. Of course, it was naïve from the start to think you could stop an express train with a piece of paper. To expect this effect from a pamphlet is rather an indication of the latent and partly manifest hubris of this entire high-tech industry. Even if one has not been able to recognize it so far, at the latest with the "arrival" of GBT-4.0, the religious dimension in which parts of Silicon Valley have set themselves up will become more clearly visible. From the absolute good to the devil in machine form, from the parousia of the Missiah and the heavenly Jerusalem to the Purgatory, everything is there that is needed to get into the confused heads of the people.

Perhaps there is a simple explanation for all this madness. When I was born, there were pretty much 2.5 billion people living on the surface of this planet. Today there are 8 billion. There are anthropologists who claim that our social intelligence until today, can only manage the format of a stone age horde emphatically in full extent. Perhaps the formatting possibilities with which humans can form a peaceful society are long exceeded.

Marc Susselman said...


Way to go, Achim!

I've got to figure a way to get that word into a brief.

David Zimmerman said...

Trump publiclly defamed E. Jean Carroll at the ill-advised CNN "Town Hall."

s. wallerstein said...

The one positive thing about Trump and about the rise of far right populism in so many countries is that it may finally force the left to take a good look at how the mass of people really behave, what their hang-ups are, what their fears are, how their minds work, how herd mentality (to use Nietzsche's term) functions.

During the campaign for last year's constitutional plebiscite here in Chile, which the left lost badly, I began to listen to a podcast by two rightwing political pundits, and I could not believe how cynical and Machiavellian they were about voter mentality and how insightful they were about how the average Chilean thinks. At first I was repelled by them, but I kept listening and finally, they were right, not in their political project, but in their insightfulness about how to win votes.

The left needs to wake up, drop the unrealistic ideals and dreams and appeal to voters as they really are with proyects and proposals that win voters and that work, above all, that work.

Marc Susselman said...

Yes, David, Trump has opened himself up to another lawsuit by Carroll’s attorneys, and a potential contempt of court order by the judge:

Two of three women on this panel were not bothered by Trump’s defamation of Carroll:

Anonymous said...

Consider that the GOP's support of Trump is not about getting him elected, but getting down-ballot candidates elected to ensure a 2028 sweep.

BTW - I think the purpose of AI is to eliminate Natural Intelligence.

John Pillette said...

SW, let's hear more about the Chilean constitutional fiasco!

It didn't get much coverage here, but it seemed to fit my pet theory that the right knows more about mass politics, while the "left" has lost sight of people's material concerns. (The latest culture war skirmish here in the States regarding "Drag Queen Story Hour" supports my thesis, I'm afraid.)

LFC said...

What the "drag queen story hour" thing shows above all is not the "left"'s abandonment of people's material concerns but the "right"'s skill in manufacturing hysteria about something that, in a more sane society, would not occasion controversy. Is there any instance of children having to attend over their parents' objections? I very much doubt it.

John Pillette said...

Well, in a way you’re right, the left didn’t abandon people’s material concerns so much as disappear entirely. I put “left” in scare quotes because THERE IS NO LEFT. What’s left of the left is a mere flavor, a *soupcon*, a gesture, a “lefty” sensibility.

Howard said...

As a casual observer it appears the right is more interested in doing anything, including insurrection and default on debt to win power; while the left, which is in disarray and lacks wise leadership, is interested in winning debates, and proving they are right and feeling safe
Not sure how this state of affairs came about

John Pillette said...

Everybody got all "huit-tarded" up in here!

LFC said...

John Pillette,
Just out of curiosity, how would you characterize, say, the Sanders campaign, outlets such as Boston Review, Dissent, Jacobin, New Politics, and Labor Notes, and the writings of e.g.
Adolph Reed Jr.? Relatedly, when did the left disappear? 1916, 1959, 1985, 1993, 2007?

John Pillette said...

Jacobin and Boston Review are good examples of what I’m talking about. If what’s “left” now entirely consists of the exquisite pensees of upper-middle-class college professors and their students, then that is not a left that has any kind of political force. Most of these stories (in BR especially) are cultural-studies-ridiculous and I enjoy reading them on that basis, but it’s hard for me to see any of this as bringing about any real change … quite the opposite.

Take Bernie Sanders. His program is no further to the left than FDR’s and yet it is now seen as extreme. Is that not an indication that the left has ceased to exist? Elizabeth Warren (who is not bad) was a REPUBLICAN until 1992!

I’d say that 1947 put a stop to left expansion. In 1972 the Dems decided to abandon labor. The labor unions themselves during their heyday (1945-75) didn’t bother to think strategically. Since 1975 or so automation and offshoring has eliminated the old industrial labor base.

Since 1992 I’ve dutifully held my nose and voted for one neoliberal Dem after another. Bill Clinton was a right-to-work governor for Christ’s sake, and his wife was a corporate attorney for one of the country’s worst employers (Tyson Chicken). I could pat myself on the back and call myself a “leftist” but what does that really mean?

aaall said...

"I’d say that 1947 put a stop to left expansion."

Actually that would be the 1938 elections - 1946 was an exclamation point. The 1947-48 Congress passed Taft-Hartley over Truman's veto which poison-pilled labor. The attempt to repeal 14-b failed in the 1965-66 Congress.

Truman desegregating the military and the 1948 Democratic Convention adopting a Civil Rights plank as well as the Republican Party's decision after the 1960s Civil Rights laws to become the white man's party pretty much gets us to now. All we needed was neo-liberalism and an ideological/theological conservatism to put a fascistic spin on things and Bill Buckley gave us that.

Marc, this may be of interest:

Also Biden could mint the coin or issue consols. Trump advocated default last night and the rat bastards that make up the Freedom Caucus are down for default.

Also, how can one senator be allowed sabotage the military over abortion and white nationalism? Unanimous consent shouldn't be a suicide pact.

David Zimmerman said...

To Marc:

"In the wake of Donald Trump's town hall special on CNN this Wednesday night, E. Jean Carroll says she's considering whether to file another defamation suit against Trump for defaming her yet again, The New York Times reported."

One hopes that she does.

s. wallerstein said...

John Pillete,

The Chilean constitutional process starts in October 2019 when the government of rightwing billionaire Sebastian Piñera raised subway fare 5 cents.

The high school students began to protest, jumping the turnstils, but they protest against everything.

However, a few days later the protests turned massive, with looting, arson, and vandalism, the entire subway system being trashed.

There were huge street demonstrations against Piñera and the "system".

After about a month of demonstrations and looting, congress voted for a constitutional convention to replace the 1980 constitution. The demonstrations and looting continued until the pandemia.

In early 2021 we voted for the representatives to the constitutional convention. The left won most of the seats, including many people to the left of the almost mainstream communist party.

In late 2021 Gabriel Boric was elected president, former leftwing student leader and deputy (lower house of Congress), the most leftwing president elected since Allende in 1970.

In September 2022 the new constitution was voted on and was rejected, 38% in favor and 62% against. The right had waged an effective campaign against it, playing on its "woke" factors, environmental rights, gay rights, feminism, animal rights and above all, rights for the native-American peoples. There was lots of fake news in the rightwing campaign, but the convention had "blown it" from day one when the leftwing majority booed the national anthem.

Besides the woke features, the new constitution also contained social democratic reforms such as a national healthcare system and a social security system to replace the privatized pension system instituted by Pinochet.

However, to our surprise on the left most people preferred their own private pension plan to a social security system. "It's my money" was an effective rightwing campaign slogan.

By this time the popularity of president Boric, elected with 55% of the vote, had fallen to around 30%.

So congress decided to try again, this time with a group of experts and a set of guidelines which would limit the "woke" features of the new constitution. Congress, by the way, is tied left-right.

Last Sunday we voted for representatives to the new convention and the right won once again
62% to 38% with the majority of rightwing votes going this time to the extreme rightwing party called "Republicanos", headed by Jose Antonio Kast, a less vulgar, more elegant and well bred version of Trump.

Conclusions: people don't like "woke". people don't like whoever is in power, be it rightwing president Piñera or leftwing president Boric, people don't want to "share" with others: it's my money and fuck you.

Marc Susselman said...


Prof. Tribe’s proposal to Biden to invoke his power under the 14th Amendment to raise the debt limit in order to avoid default is a good idea. He is correct – no court would hold that the President cannot use the 14th Amendment to avoid violating the Constitution by not honoring its debts.

anon. said...

Two points.

First, I enjoy John Pillette’s comments, probably because I usually find myself agreeing with what he writes. Much of today’s self-described “left” seems to be a bunch of pundits with none or just a few followers. Maybe once upon a time—at least I like to imagine it was so—there was a lot of two-way traffic between thought and action; neither was it thought that thought had to emanate only from academic institutions or the like or from people with university degrees. Didn’t Marx himself make some such claim for the origins of communism?

Second, while I appreciate s.w.’s predicament in Chile, I’m a bit dismayed by the pejorative way he mentions Machiavelli. Yes, I’m aware that his name has become just another term of abuse in popular speech. But I keep hoping a reminder every now and then that he was going on about a lot more than dirty tricks and manipulation might at least lead some others to consider what he, a long dead humanist, might actually have been trying to say. (But then I’m under the influence of having recently read Isaiah Berlin’s essay on Machiavelli.) All of which is just a prelude to urging s.w., and others, that we not do what opponents seem to do so well, namely, “drop the unrealistic ideals and dreams and appeal to voters as they really are.” “[V]oters as they really are? How do we know what they “really are?” What if they/we harbor hopes and dreams? A tinge of elitism lurking here perhaps?

SrVidaBuena said...

The ongoing obsession and pearl-clutching over whether or not Trump gets his comeuppance adds insult to injury of the state of true ‘leftism’ as illustrated by John Pillette’s comment.

This I think is the true privilege of the times: getting so deep in the weeds on daily gossip and the Trump soap opera… seriously watching the news all day to follow this? Trump will (deservedly) get his comeuppance, or he won’t, the legal system will work, or it won’t. The work of the left remains…

If there’s any ‘left’ that wants to win anymore they’ll get to organizing and making a difference instead of rending garments and gossiping around the water cooler.

I’m so over Trump that if I ever hear his name again it will be too soon. The idea of ceaselessly watching MSNBC to follow the play by play seems like a form of masochism worth mentioning to one’s analyst.

This is, as the kids say these days, a case of Trump living rent-free in your heads.

John Pillette said...

“the convention had ‘blown it’ from day one when the leftwing majority booed the national anthem” …


Orwell noted that the typical 1930’s English leftist would feel more shame about standing for God Save The King than stealing from a poor box. (“England, your England”, 1941).

A few years ago, recall how Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem was reported on, at least in the NYT, as a righteous show of truth to power (or something …)

But really wasn’t it about a certain kind of (NPR tote bag) sensibility giving the middle finger to another kind of sensibility? To an ENTIRE STADIUM of people of that other kind of sensibility? And then when that other (numerically superior) group of the other kind of sensibility took offense, blaming them for taking offense?

And they say that the “left” doesn’t know how to win friends and influence things … !

(Never mind that even as “protest” it didn’t make any sense. Whassisname was stomped by LOCAL police, and this was the NATIONAL anthem … but who wants to get bogged down all of that State vs. Federal civics-class stuff?)

s. wallerstein said...

John Pillette,

Actually, they booed the national anthem played by an orchestra of school children, which makes it worse.

John Pillette said...

Ha ha ha ha ha! ... HA HA HA HA HA! ... OMG, that is PERFECT.

Well, those school children were obviously all FASCIST, so fuck 'em!

LFC said...


The notion that Kaepernick's protest did not make sense because police brutality is local and the anthem is national is, imo, pretty ridiculous. As if racist police brutality were not in fact a national phenomenon.

As for how the NYT reported it, it was an individual act that was, in context, indeed a speaking of one person's truth to power.

The idea that "the left" was at fault because people "in the stadium" were offended is b.s. The roots of right-wing populism go far deeper than those kinds of reactions to specific manifestations of protest.

John Pillette said...

The solution to (local) redneck southern policing was federal legal enforcement, so the distinction seems pretty germane to me.

Police misconduct may be a nationwide phenomenon, but that does not mean that it is a problem that arises because of national (i.e., federal) shortcomings. Quite the opposite, I'd say (I could be wrong, but that's how it looks to me ... )

My point was that this "protest" accomplished nothing. There are a LOT of NFL fans out there (and NASCAR fans and Monster Truck fans) and taking them to task for their gauche sensibilities is not only a big waste of time, it's politically counter-productive.

I mean, I can do it, to my heart's content, and enjoy myself all the while, but that's because I'm an asshole! I'm not running for office ...

John Pillette said...

I'm referring, of course, to that hyper-modern form of ethical discourse: AITA?

(Am I The Asshole?)

I find it's easier and quicker to simply call yourself "the asshole" before someone else does.

Howie said...

Speaking truth to power is a form of vanity: the power is so powerful nothing can be done about it through mere words; you're probably gonnna have low impact even on the Republican fan base. It is just a ritual to maintain one's side's emotional energy.
Each side strives to stay motivated and the protesters think they have nothing to lose, so they hardly think strategically

LFC said...

I'm glad you weren't in a position to veto, e.g., the August '63 march on Washington on the grounds that it would be a mere ritual.

John Pillette said...

March on Washington for jobs and freedom = Colin Kaepernick taking a knee?

Seems like the fallacy of composition to me (but remember, I'm the asshole here!)

John Rapko said...

I think we can agree that this is the proper way to do political protest at a sporting event:

T.J. said...

It's easy to be reflexively cynical and criticize any given protest as being of the wrong sort or at the wrong time or directed to the wrong audience. The plain fact is that some people are trying to make the world better and other people are content to feel smug.

Even if protest is really just a mechanism for building solidarity within a broader social movement, I don't see why that should mean it's not worth doing.

As for the self-defensive tactic of declaring oneself the asshole preemptively, that seems pretty transparent. Since all it seems to amount to in the end is begging that no one take you seriously, I, for one, am happy to oblige.

John Pillette said...

Well, anyone can listen to what I’m saying and take it seriously or not take it seriously, but I’m afraid that comments on a blog (even one belonging to someone as estimable as Professor Wolff) are not “serious” as a matter of course.

Moreover, fuck “serious” anyway! One of the big problems with today’s pseudo-left is just this sort of tone policing. But I say (to paraphrase our distinguished Black entertainer Mr. Ice Cube) FUCK Tha Tone Police!

Who’s with me?!?

(Fuckin' with me ‘cause I’m a teenager / With a little bit of gold and a pager… !)

T.J. said...

I've always said this about the Real Left, they have what it takes to seize the means of production and usher in the dictatorship of the proletariat, but how could we expect them to overcome the tone police? What problem could be bigger than tone policing?!?

I put forward the modest proposal that we halt all political actions until we can sort out who is responsible for orchestrating the tone police and bring them to justice.

Marc Susselman said...

If Trump gets re-elected, the American electorate will be as responsible for this country’s descent into fascism as were the Germans who ignored Hitler’s threat and either voted for him, or sat on their hands.

Howard said...

LFC, I'm talking about today- I hope I'd join the demonstrations. Power has been consolidated today that the best way to keep control from the Republicans is to vote. Professor Collins assures me that Civil War requires a split in the military and wrote a novel illustrating that possibility. The PhilsophersBeard in a recent post argues that protesting is undemocratic. You might want to comment on his blog. I disagree with him, maybe he's right

Howard said...

Dear Marc:

I'm unsure the public really grasp the consequences of allowing Trump a second term. Unlike Hitler, we have no incessant rallies to torch light in major cities; politics has gone virtual and people in their homes feel safe and people in their homes partake of a "virtual mob".
Trump though he is a moron is shrewd enough to sense this new media regime and how it affects politics

aaall said...

"Police misconduct may be a nationwide phenomenon, but that does not mean that it is a problem that arises because of national (i.e., federal) shortcomings."

Qualified immunity is the result of a SC decision and can only be cured by the Supremes or Congress.

Watch the debate and then watch one of these:

and you will understand. Rubes will always buy the kayfabe.

Understanding the debt (I managed to cut it):

Michael Llenos said...

Christians on the Far Right have two major ends they can achieve if Trump wins. Firstly, they'll be able to stop abortions period. That will be a big win for them. Secondly, if Trump is starting an age of U.S. dictators then the 3rd Anti-Christ isn't far off. That's because they believe 7 years after him Jesus will return.

Catholics are taught far differently from this scenario. The Great Tribulation is called a mini Judgment Day by some priests. They believe Jesus can return tomorrow or 3,000 years from now. Nobody knows when exactly.

Michael Llenos said...

I believe that Town Hall meeting fell into the arms of Trump. I'll say this. There are only 3 ways to make Trump look bad. You can make him look stupid, or chauvinistic, or both. The mostly Republican crowd didn't care that Trump acted chauvinistically at all. And Trump didn't look stupid because he responded to the interviewer with better repartee than even the interviewer herself. The interviewer was not stupid though. I believe Trump was luckier that night.

Howard said...

Dear Michael:

Trump's idea of repartee is very crude. He does act dominant. That impresses a certain sort and he tells his followers what they want to hear. Someone like say a Don Rickles could have manhandled Trump at the beginning of his ascendance. His charisma is established and even if some clever fellow dismantled him Trump's people would stand by his side to the bitter end.
I've noticed a similar phenomena on the Jewish Right: God. they call him Ha-Shem, loves us and if we are true to him, we can do anything, including erecting a third Temple no matter how reckless, and he will support us.
So the Christian Right exists and they feel victimized and they feel like taking charge and inflicting damage. Maybe we have to expect their rights, but as Marx said G-d is a drug, in this case something more like crack than an opiate

Howard said...

respect their rights

Marc Susselman said...

In the Jeopardy Masters Tournament, James Holzhauer is in the lead, with 9 points. Andrew Yee is second, with 6 points.

In the two segments Friday evening, the Final Jeopardy questions were:

First game

New England women:

At her funeral in 1936, it was said that “the touch of her hand…literally emancipated a soul”

No one got the answer (including me).

Second game:

Fictional places:

The dominions of this land “extend five thousand blustrugs (about twelve miles in circumference)”

I guessed the answer. Only one contestant had the right answer (Mattea Roach, who is in third place, overall)

I will provide the correct answers later today.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone really care about a stupid tv quiz show?

s. wallerstein said...

I certainly don't care about or have the least interest in the stupid tv quiz show, but maybe others do.

We could take a vote or maybe just live and let live.

David Palmeter said...

Marc's report on Jeopardy is a good example of his need for his own blog. I'd follow it.

Marc Susselman said...

Thank you David. Yesterday I filed a 66-page brief in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. It took me 70 hours, over five days, to write. The Conclusion of that brief states:

“Emily Evans has been the victim of an egregious travesty of justice, caused by the combination of a state court judge, who was irritated by her mother’s efforts to protect her daughter’s rights, violating Evans’ constitutional rights by vindictively proceeding to hold a jury trial without any attorney present to protect her interests, compounded by the commission of perjury by the plaintiff’s chief witness, suborned by an officer of the court. This travesty of justice has had catastrophic financial and emotional consequences for Evans. Fed. Rule Civ. P. 60(d) provides a mechanism to redress this travesty of justice, and it was adequately pled under Johnson v. City of Shelby, 574 U.S. 10 (2014), yet the District Court refused to implement it, and did so without noting or discussing the perjury, and subornation of perjury, notwithstanding that the irrebuttable documentary and testimonial evidence proving that the perjury and subornation of perjury, committed by an office of the court, had occurred, was provided. This constituted an abuse of discretion. This travesty of justice continues to affect Evans’ life, through the actions of the receiver whom the state court judge appointed, and whose motions for fees the state court judge has continued to grant, despite the same documentary and testimonial evidence proving that the judgment he issued was procured in his court via perjury, and the subornation of perjury by an officer of the court. As long as that judgment stands unrectified, it represents a stain on the administration of justice in Michigan, on its judiciary, and on the entire Michigan Bar.

“This is a very complicated case, both factually and legally, with intricate constitutional and procedural issues. It deserves oral argument. Notably, however, none of the Appellees has requested oral argument, with the exception of the City’s request for oral argument on the cover page of its brief, which it proceeded to retract within the brief. Why should they request oral argument? As far as they are concerned, this appeal is in the bag. They are confident that their factual obfuscations, misrepresentations, distortions and multiple specious legal arguments will prevail. Appellants urge the Court, however, to reject the Appellees’ insouciance, and schedule oral argument.

“Based on the above arguments, and those included in Appellants’ principal appellate brief, the District Court’s decision dismissing the lawsuit’s federal claims should be reversed.”

If I am going to be able to continue to represent people like Ms. Evans, I do not have time to write my own blog. I therefore request that others indulge me and simply tolerate my small peccadilloes.

Anonymous and s. wallerstein; If you do not wish to learn the answers to the above questions asked on a silly TV show, don’t read further.

Question 1: Annie Sullivan, the teacher who taught Helen Keller how to communicate, by using her hands.

Question 2: Lilliput

Marc Susselman said...


I am representing Ms. Evans pro bono.

s. wallerstein said...

Turning learning into a competitive TV quiz show reinforces the competitive glorification of the "winner" in contemporary neoliberal society.

I've always had the illusion that learning should serve to make us wiser and help those around us to become wiser and saner.

No, it's not, as some will quip, that I'm not good at competing in the knowledge Olympics.

Even as a college student I was turned off by disciplines such as philosophy (in the one course I took) that seemed to be a high-IQ Olympics or arm-wrestling contest and not the search for wisdom, which Plato imagined it should be.

Marc Susselman said...

s. wallerstein

Leben und leben leiben. To each his own.

Marc Susselman said...


Leben und leben lassen. My German's a bit rusty.

Michael Llenos said...

"Question 1: Annie Sullivan, the teacher who taught Helen Keller how to communicate, by using her hands."

I remember reading about her once before. How did she ever know how to instruct Helen Keller is beyond me. She was a genius before her time.

Michael Llenos said...

Someone like Marx talking about G-d is like a drug dealer talking about obeying the law.

Michael Llenos said...

"Even as a college student I was turned off by disciplines such as philosophy (in the one course I took) that seemed to be a high-IQ Olympics or arm-wrestling contest and not the search for wisdom, which Plato imagined it should be."

I've never liked sports. You won, you lost. I won, I lost. You're a winner, you're a loser etc.

Sports and this winner-loser mentality in society is the reason many millions of people have committed suicide or bought a gun and shot up a place in a mass murder suicide.

s. wallerstein said...

Michael Llenos,

I agree with you.

I never liked sports myself and I always thought that that was because I was bad at sports.

However, maybe, besides my natural clumsiness, I was bad at sports because I never got the point, never really cared the least about being a winner.

I recall, as a small child, being amazed that I was supposed to compete to get the best grade. That seemed ridiculous to me, but my parents pushed me and I ended up competing to get the best grade and was good at it.

Still, by the time I reached college and left my parents' home, the whole game of winning had lost all meaning to me.

And you're right, Michael, the winner-loser mentality leads many good people to see themselves as "losers" and to become depressed, while really almost everyone can find their own path or route in life. Obviously, it's no fun to be homeless or to earn the minimum wage, but otherwise, most of us can find ways of life that suit our personality and our basic values without winning or losing in a race against others.

Michael Llenos said...


I totally agree. And to think this sports crap is shoved into our faces starting at 1st grade or even earlier.

s. wallerstein said...

Michael Llenos,

Thank you.

Your remarks about sports opened up the doors of insight into a facet of my childhood I had not previously seen.

That's what the pursuit of wisdom should be about, exchanging ideas and reflections which open doors and windows in each other, not firing mortars at each other from our respective trenches.

Michael Llenos said...


You're very welcome. I thought I was the only person who thought sports had a negative impact on society.

The closest I've come to that light before was watching Clark Kent reading a book on Plato while his classmates made fun of him for not liking sports in the 2013 movie: Man of Steel.

Michael said...

This talk of sports - and competition in general - makes me want to read up on what philosophers/ethicists, intellectual historians, psychologists, etc. have said on the subject: It seems indeed strange and regrettable that competitiveness isn't more widely viewed as a vice, but is overwhelmingly promoted. I want to read more, but I'm having a hard time finding a seemingly definitive text/thinker(s) to start with - any suggestions?

I say this, by the way, as someone who regularly watches sports, to the point of being emotionally invested in the performances of certain teams and athletes - which almost unavoidably means harboring some degree of hostility toward their rivals, and suffering some degree of disappointment when the "good guys" lose. It's pretty transparently absurd ("I'm going to be in a good or bad mood depending on what some group of kids does or fails to do with a rubber ball"), but at the same time, it tends to spoil the fun to notice its absurdity; the same sort of thing goes for e.g. suspending disbelief at the movies.

Here and elsewhere, my practice is to compartmentalize: It can be "okay" - maybe even a healthy, tension-relieving pastime - to indulge the irrational, domineering, and destructive side of one's personality in situations where nothing "important" is at stake, and no one "really" gets hurt. (Of course, this fails to justify one's enjoyment of those competitive activities - let alone economic systems! - in which people really do suffer harm, and necessarily so.)

s. wallerstein said...

Michael (you're the other Michael, I believe),

Sports are fine if you like them.

Many of them are good forms of physical exercise although these days non-competitive forms of physical exercise such as yoga, pilates and t'ai chi are widely available unlike during my childhood.

The point is that as Michael Llenos says above, they are shoved in your face from the first grade on. For a boy growing up in the 50's, as I did, sports were the chief form of self-esteem and of social status, and if you were not good at them or disliked them (both in my case), you were a loser and a weirdo and even worse, "a fairy".

What's more sports were seen as a metaphor for social interaction in general: society was a supposedly a huge competitive playing-field, and you (as a boy) were not offered any other alternative.

Just as I don't believe that there's anything wrong with smoking a joint or drinking a glass of wine, but both can be abused, so too sports, elevated into the chief form of socialization and social status and competitiveness seen as the major form of relating to others become vices.

Besides the binary options of winner and loser, there are other options in life.

Michael Llenos said...


What you're saying can generate the question: How would a more advanced benevolent civilization view the USA's sports culture? Would it be like how we view the gladiators of the ancient Romans?

There are two fictional civilizations that have been theorized: Star Wars & Star Trek. Roddenberry believed sports would be downgraded as a part of advanced society, while Mr. Lucas believed sports, especially pod racing, would continue on in more various extreme settings within a space faring civilization.

And yes I know Star Wars is supposed to happen 'A long, long time ago...'

LFC said...

Re Michael's (not Llenos, the other one) request for reading suggestions: there is a literature on sport and society etc., but I'm not v. familiar w it. That said, Joshua S. Goldstein's War and Gender, which I've read albeit quite a while ago, has some discussion of sports both as (1) a possibly more benign way of discharging competitive impulses than certain more violent activities, i.e., war, and (2) iirc, some discussion of sports' role in (male, esp.) socialization and relation to biology (e.g., measured testosterone levels tend to go up in a winner of, say, a tennis or wrestling match, and go down in the loser [that's neither nec. good nor bad, just a physiological finding].

Second suggestion, perhaps more squarely 'philosophical': Jose Ortega y Gasset on sport (you'd need to look up the more specific cite -- I think it's an essay in a collection). Third: Huizinga's Homo Ludens (a classic -- but I've never read it). [Disclosure re Goldstein: he was my dissertation advisor; my diss., however, had nothing at all to do w the topic of that particular book.]

John Rapko said...

I agree with pretty much everything that the Michaels and (as usual) s. wallerstein say about sports here, but . . . it seems to me to miss a great deal. Of course there're the malign aspects of sports, well-described above. Still, the emphasis in the comments on winning-or-losing by passes some of the most appealing aspects of sports: (i) participative: there's the sense of the here-and-now, the-past-doesn't-matter and to-hell-with-the-future, the physical confrontation with another person or people, where contingency becomes fate, where uncountable hours and years of practice gain their consummation, or don't; (ii) spectatorial: where the body is the best picture of the soul, where contingency destroys, or is overcome in unforeseeable moments of gracefulness and grace, where virtue and vice are not uniquely correlated with victory and defeat . . . I think the best meditation on the strangeness, the triviality, and the grandeur of sports is Kon Ichikawa's Tokyo Olympiad (1965). If nothing else check out the one minute of women's fencing (starting at 1:22:44), which is shot like a film by Peter Kubelka:

LFC said...

Further to what J. Rapko says, there's also the element of sportsmanship (both good and bad). Athletes esp. at the highest levels, if they're not jerks, respect each other and show it, as you can tell from, for example, the way Nadal and Federer embrace after an epic match. Or the way, iirc, McEnroe, not generally known for good behavior, and Borg acted toward each other after their 5-set Wimbledon final that was one of the great matches of all time.

anon. said...

Wrt sports, I came across a quotation from Rousseau recently:

“By what means, then, are we to move men’s hearts and make them love their fatherland and its laws? Dare I say it? Through their games as children; through institutions, though useless in the eyes of superficial men, form cherished habits and unbreakable bonds.”

I suppose he had participatory rather than mass consumer games in mind.

Anonymous said...

Trump has already called her a "nutjob" during his CNN interview I believe. So, where's the lawsuit you speak of?

Common sense said...

No, what “drag Queen story hour” shows is that too many liberals have lost their minds. Only a fool would take his kid to “drag Queen story hour.” These idiotic events may not be the threat to civilized society that the right says they are, but they do give the right an easy opportunity to make the left look foolish. Of course the right will take advantage of that opportunity.

LFC said...

"Only a fool would take his kid to 'drag Queen story hour.'"

My guess is that such an event will have little impact of the sort you presumably fear. It might prompt a few questions that many kids will probably ask eventually, whether they go to an event of this kind or not.

If I were a parent (which I'm not), my main concern would be trying to inculcate certain values and habits of mind, for lack of a better phrase, not trying to fit a kid into any preconceived mold of the "boys must be athletes" and "girls must be ballet dancers" variety.

John Pillette said...

The "impact" of these kinds of "events" is to coat the Dems in what may be called "Woke Voter Repellent".

Why? WHY? ... is what I've been asking myself at least since the Great Toilet Controversy of 2016.

The answer, I'm afraid, is that the Dems lack any kind of a substantive program and so are forced to offer up their own version of "culture". The problem is that these cultural issues are cooked up by total nitwits, they appeal to a comically narrow slice of America, and they tend to be of the scolding "approve of this, on our terms, or else you're a bigot" variety.

Drag Queen Story Hour is a perfect example. This was cooked up by a San Francisco housewife solely in order for her to demonstrate her ultra-liberal bona fides to her neighbors. (Trust me, I was THERE, and I've been following this story from the get-go. As a long-term SF resident I am VERY familiar with this type.)

The funniest part is that she completely missed the point about drag queens, viz., their PER SE ridiculousness. Now, thanks to her, we are all obliged, as good liberals, to treat Divine and his ilk with po-faced solemnity, as if they were A. Philip Randolph reincarnated.

The last time I checked (which was 2002, to be fair) a drag queen was a man who dresses up like Mae West and makes dick jokes in a dark room full of drunks. I CAN'T IMAGINE why anyone would think that him reading "Pat the Bunny" to little children would be "inappropriate".

John Pillette said...

In listening to the pontification from the liberal intelligentsia about DQSH, I came to realize that nobody who’s talking about it has the least familiarity with the … uh, “set of aesthetic concerns” … implicated by it.

Am I the only person who’s seen a John Waters movie (it seems that way …) Here’s an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry for “Pink Flamingos”:

Displaying the tagline "An exercise in poor taste", Pink Flamingos is notorious for its "outrageousness", nudity, profanity, and "pursuit of frivolity, scatology, sensationology [sic] and skewed epistemology".[4] It features a "number of increasingly revolting scenes" that center on exhibitionism, voyeurism, sodomy, masturbation, gluttony, vomiting, rape, incest, murder, cannibalism, castration, foot fetishism, and concludes, to the accompaniment of "How Much Is That Doggy in the Window?", with Divine's consumption of dog feces – "The real thing!" narrator Waters assures us. The film is considered a preliminary exponent of abject art.

LFC said...

I don't much care about 'drag queen story hour' one way or another.

As to why, say, a 13 year old girl who, for whatever reason, feels like a boy and "presents" to the world as a boy would want to play boys' sports, gee, I can't imagine. It must be something some woke Dems in San Francisco cooked up so as to give people like DeSantis an opening to play culture warrior.

Of course, the culture wars are not new. Andrew Hartman wrote a pretty good book on the subject.

s. wallerstein said...

John Pillette,

Most people are not as intelligent and as well read as you are (no irony intended).

Politics is directed at the average citizen, not at the intellectual elite, of which you seem to be an alienated member (no irony intended).

As Richard Rorty, one of the brightest and most honest observers of the U.S. political scene, commented after watching the Republicans win I-don't-remember-which election, the average person has a IQ of a 100 by definition.

LFC said...

John Pillette
You're a smart person, so you must realize there's no actual connection betw Pink Flamingos and DQSH.

They're reading innocuous material, if that phrase still has some meaning, which it probably does.

LFC said...

This has nothing directly to do with the fact that J Pillette is well read and a member of the intelligentsia. Also nothing directly to do w the fact that politics is geared to people with average IQs.

Rather, it's that he's making category errors and errors of taste, so to speak. Like taking a copy of Lukacs' _History and Class Consciousness_ to a watch party for the World Cup final.

s. wallerstein said...

I'd say that it's like expecting that the journalist who covers the World Cup final has read History and Class Consciousness and will analyze the game using Lukacs' categories of analysis.

LFC said...

Yes. And then expecting the journalist, immediately after covering the final, to get on a plane and fly to Paris to defend his doctoral dissertation on the postwar debates between Raymond Aron and Merleau-Ponty.

John Pillette said...

OMG, are you seriously telling me that you can't see that there is, in fact, an actual connection between Divine (a/k/a Harris Glenn Milstead), the MOST FAMOUS DRAG QUEEN EVER, and DQSH? The clue is in the name.

That's like saying there's "no actual connection" between Tom Brady, the NFL, and Pop Warner Football. It's all football (the clue is in the name).

W/r/t sports, you've got the issue backwards. The problem is not girls playing boys sports, it's boys playing girls sports and hogging all the top finishing places That's what has people, including a fair few number of feminists, riled up.

SW, the problem is that the Dem cultural program (such as it is) is written by and for people who live in places like San Francisco, Berkeley, and Cambridge, Mass. (I hesitate to call this group an intellectual "elite" because they are so obviously stupid on this issue).

It may be effective in allowing this group to feel great about itself but that is as far as it goes. If these issues don't sink the next election I'll gladly eat my hat afterwards, but until then ...

s. wallerstein said...

John Pillette,

I lived in Berkeley for 7 years in the 70's.

To quote Pope (not Francis, but Alexander), a little learning is a dangerous thing.

John Pillette said...

LFC and SW, you're confusing me with my college teammate, Andre Wakefield (no not THAT Andre) who does in fact teach a course at Pitzer on the history and sociology of the World Cup. So, touche (kind of).

John Pillette said...

Come to think of it, our team nickname was “Los Libros” (“The Books”), so I’m afraid it WAS an entire team made up of the categorically confused.

That’s pretty funny ... what’s even funnier is not seeing anything weird about it at the time.

Punch line: we were still state division (Northern New Mexico) champs!

LFC said...

That's an appropriate nickname for a team from St. John's College. A high school classmate of mine went to the one in Annapolis.

John Pillette said...

Yes, the "College of Knowledge"! ... probably more accurately described as "The Island of Misfit Toys" ...

"Misfit Toys" didn't really work on the back of a soccer jersey, though.

I do remember the debate in the team van on the way to Albuquerque as to whether we should go with the proper Latin ("Liberos") or Spanish; we all decided, eventually, that slumming it with the demotic was the only way to go!

Ou sont les ridiculements d'antan?!?

Charles Pigden said...

Marc Susselman is not quite correct. Yes the answer is 'Diocletian' but the capital had not yet been moved to Byzantium in 311. That came later with Costantine, one of Diocletian's successors. Diocletian's effective capital was Nicomedia.