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Charles Pierce: The Ghoulish Hubris of Letting People Die and Calling That Bravery


No paywall

Presumably, they all sat witness at hospitals and bedsides. Presumably, they all made the arrangements and attended the funerals and laughed over the cold cuts and bulky rolls, and the beer and whiskey afterwards. Presumably, they all still mourn. But did any of them learn anything? Did any of them learn anything that they subsequently put into practice? Who were these people anyway, and what kind of monster did you have to be to lead them on? Who lives through a pandemic and makes war on the cures?

In September, the National Bureau of Economic Research attempted to answer all of these questions. And the answers remain, well, baffling even as Florida Gov. Ronald DeSantis (to name only one example) runs for president on the basis of his “highly successful” COVID policies, which held the butcher’s bill in that state to a mere 82,875.

We estimate substantially higher excess death rates for registered Republicans when compared to registered Democrats, with almost all of the difference concentrated in the period after vaccines were widely available in our study states. Overall, the excess death rate for Republicans was 5.4 percentage points (pp), or 76%, higher than the excess death rate for Democrats. Post-vaccines, the excess death rate gap between Republicans and Democrats widened from 1.6 pp (22% of the Democrat excess death rate) to 10.4 pp (153% of the Democrat excess death rate). The gap in excess death rates between Republicans and Democrats is concentrated in counties with low vaccination rates and only materializes after vaccines became widely available.

Then there was this finding, which was both predictable and utterly bizarre:

Overall, our results suggest that political party affiliation only became a substantial risk factor in Ohio and Florida after vaccines were widely available.

In other words, within this particular demographic slice of our fellow citizens, after the arrival of the vaccines that protected us from the pandemic, the pandemic got…worse, and political affiliation was a contributing factor. I’m not sure I ever want to meet anyone whose mind is not blown by this fact. But I’m damn sure not voting for a guy whose platform is built on pride in his “I was brave enough to do nothing” performance in the face of a once-a-century public health emergency.


Gerrymandering Project: Redistricting Report Card


Redistricting Season is Open
Every 10 years, U.S. states redraw their congressional and state legislative maps to account for changes in population. In many states, the politicians who control this process draw district lines in a way that maximizes their party’s partisan advantage and makes it effectively impossible for their opponents to win power.

This practice is called gerrymandering.

Visual tool with powerful analytics
In response to the 2021 redistricting cycle, the Gerrymandering Project developed this report card as a tool to help the public identify gerrymandered maps. The Redistricting Report Card uses a powerful and unique set of analytics to grade each state’s newly-drawn maps during the redistricting process.

Select a map from the dropdown above to view its report card, or select a state to view report cards for maps as they become available.

Holistic and Interpretable Scoring System
In addition to scoring maps on competitiveness and geographic features, the Redistricting Report Card uses a cutting-edge algorithm to provide unprecedented analysis of a map's partisan fairness. Along with grading maps in these categories, the tool takes a holistic look at the partisan and minority composition of proposed districting plans.

Powered by A Million Maps
Our algorithm generates around one million potential districting plans for each state, providing us with a baseline of what’s possible to draw in a state given its political landscape and redistricting rules. We have also enlisted a collection of 75 advanced mappers with intricate knowledge of specific states and communities to incorporate local geographic expertise in our final grades.


Mar-a-Lago Model Prosecution Memo (Just Security)

Tweet text:

Laurence Tribe

DOJ should study this comprehensive Mar-a-Lago prosecution memo prepared by a superbly qualified team of experts. Despite its deliberate modesty, the memo leaves no doubt that Trump should now be charged and put on trial for grave crimes against the U.S.

Mar-a-Lago Model Prosecution Memo
The authors have decades of experience as federal prosecutors and defense lawyers. They conclude there is a strong basis to charge Trump.
7:41 AM · Nov 17, 2022


This model prosecution memorandum (or “pros memo”) assesses the potential charges against former President Donald Trump emanating from his handling of classified documents and other government records since leaving office on January 20, 2021. It includes crimes related to the removal and retention of national security information and obstruction of the investigation into his handling of these documents. The authors have decades of experience as federal prosecutors and defense lawyers, as well as other legal expertise. Based upon this experience and the analysis that follows, we conclude that there is a strong basis to charge Trump.

Before indicting a case, prosecutors prepare a pros memo that lays out admissible evidence, possible charges, and legal issues. This document provides a basis for prosecutors and their supervisors to assess whether the case meets the standard set forth in the Federal Principles of Prosecution, which permit prosecution only when there is sufficient evidence to obtain and sustain a prosecution. Before a decision is made about this matter, prosecutors will prepare such a memo.

But such a DOJ memo will be confidential, in part because it will contain information derived through the grand jury and attorney work product. Since that document will not be publicly available, we offer this analysis. Ours is likely more detailed than what DOJ may prepare internally. But, given the gravity of the issues here, our memo provides a sense of how prosecutors will assemble and evaluate the considerations that they must assess before making a prosecution decision.

Our memo analyzes six federal crimes:

Mishandling of Government Documents
1. Retention of National Defense Information (18 U.S.C. § 793(e))
2. Concealing Government Records (18 U.S.C. § 2071)
3. Conversion of Government Property (18 U.S.C. § 641)

Obstruction, False Information, Contempt
1. Obstruction of Justice (18 U.S.C. § 1519)
2. Criminal Contempt (18 U.S.C. § 402)
3. False Statements to Federal Investigators (18 U.S.C. § 1001)

Based on the publicly available information to date, a powerful case exists for charging Trump under several of these federal criminal statutes.


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