I'm going to pick apart a very narrow part of this Morning Shots because I think a lot of the right-wing

(and even FIRE) takes on the have been maybe lacking context or understanding of just what respect the 5th Circuit (which this Judge is a member of) has in the broader legal community? I'm also going to ignore the students' heckling as it's outside the specific points I'm getting at, though I do acknowledge it's an important aspect of the situation there in total.

For one, the 5th circuit has no respect amongst the broader legal community, outside of the few who take the position that one must respect all federal judges by virtue of their station as judges (a view I don't take, to be clear). It's a lawless circuit that regularly decides that it is unconstrained by Supreme Court precedent, whose judges on the bench often act more like Trump (and Republican) press spokespeople than actual impartial observers of the law. Would we expect people to treat Kash Patel with respect if a college invited him to talk just because he was the Principal Deputy of National Intelligence?

I'm being a bit hyperbolic with the last point, but context absolutely matters. MAGAing from the bench erodes credibility. Would I want law students to not shout him down/heckle him such that he can't speak or would I want the administration to interrupt him? No. But we're treating this judge as if he has inherent credibility when he's established, repeatedly, that he has none.

One more quick nitpick - "while some critics on the left have focused on Duncan's petulance, that's not really the key issue here, is it?" I think is completely wrong. First, if we're to afford him enhanced respect due to his station, we would expect him to act better than law students on campus, no? And wouldn't his failure to act better than the law students affect our relative weighing of his value as a speaker? And finally, this is a point I don't see brought up a ton, is the rest of the campus supposed to react politely and respectfully when the right-wing organizations on campus invite trolls to the podium who are just there to own the libs?

Like, you look at his responses to questions (valid questions about his prior rulings!) and he was clearly not there to discuss his legal jurisprudence with any sort of criticism. You might say, then, that he was mad that Stanford didn't afford him a safe space to air his views without pushback. Again, while I appreciate and hope students act more respectfully in general, Duncan was clearly there to own the libs - do the libs have a responsibility to just sit there and take it because it's the libs responsibility alone to be polite?

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Tellingly, SVB went nearly eight months without a Chief Risk Officer. A good part of my career was spent at a bank that took risk seriously--risk management was an essential part of its culture. Plainly, that wasn’t the case at SVB. It’s an incredibly complicated endeavor that requires resources, stamina, and commitment from the Board on down.

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DeSantis removal of an elected prosecutor is the perfect example of how he would rule the country as president. By authoritarian fiat.

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Pence is perhaps the most ridiculous creature on the American political scene. His pre-Trump career was one long boast about his moral rectitude. Then he signs on to be the chief sycophant for a man who at bottom believes all moral ideals are shams. Pence is both idiotic and morally bankrupt.

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Good morning to all from rainy Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida.

About the bank column, (SVP), John Auther’s piece in Bloomberg this morning, an excerpt here, nails it (my opinion):

“The 2008 implosion left another issue. Virtually nobody was punished. Indeed, prosecutors under the Obama administration barely even tried to hold bank executives to account. This was a moral outrage that makes it far harder to persuade the public at large to support bailouts. Stopping a big bank from going under is meant to bail out depositors who might lose their money, not their executives. But if executives never pay a price, it looks much more as though public money has gone to bailing them out personally. And moral hazard is much increased — the sight of a few “perp walks” by senior financial figures going to jail might well have drastically changed the way investors and bankers went about their business. That never happened. With no significant criminal penalty, the argument is that moral hazard has been stoked further. It has also made people angrier (as it should), and much less willing to accept further moves to rescue other banks.”

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“It would be better though if Pence said it front of a crowd of actual GOP voters sometime, wouldn’t it? “

It would be better still if he would voluntarily talk with the Special Counsel’s people or at least testified under subpoena. But that would piss off the same partisans he doesn’t want to hear the truth of what he knows. He’s a material witness; why is he acting like a target? To show those same partisans that “he fights.”

He did the right thing on January 6th. Since then he has reverted to his default state of being a weenie.

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So, the issue I have with framing the Stanford (and Yale) confrontations as simply about cancel culture, or the illiberalness of the liberals, or the denial of free speech, is that this framing is way too cribbed. It assumes that our political situation is basically in the “normal” range of policy differences between liberals and conservatives. It assumes we are living and operating in an environment where considered and respectful discourse should be normative.

But what if we aren’t living and operating in our “normal” political environment:

*What if, instead, one of our two parties and tens of millions of its adherents, thought-leaders, far-right militants, and plutocratic funders are actually in the midst of engineering a national “divorce?”

*And what if there is evidence everywhere (red lights flashing and alarms sounding), in our lives and politics, of the fundamentally anti-democratic purposes of the new governing approach this party and its adherents are working feverishly to enact?

*Gov. DeSantis, emerging as the possible front-runner in the GOP presidential primary contest is one of many Republican Governors along with legislatures and courts that are strong arming their states into “laboratories of Autocracy,” building and modeling exactly the sorts of anti-democratic policies to which they are fanatically committed?

*The stolen and packed Supreme(ly conservative) Court is clearly on an ideologically-driven course to strike down, essentially by fiat (blithely overturning longstanding precedent and inventing new Constitutional theories) to dismantle liberalism in governance, administration, culture, and economics.

And what if many younger people, especially, many of those, like these university students, are in positions to be keenly aware of all of this and either/both scared shitless and/or outraged? What if they are desperate to confront this vast and extremely threatening development in our society when it comes within their purview?

It seems to me that, if one takes the threat of authoritarianism seriously, then one has to take that into account when taking the measure of resisters’ fears and action and passing judgement on those who are rising up to confront it. And this doesn’t pertain simply to university students. It pertains also to the much-mainstream-maligned Black Lives Matter Movement, to the teachers and parents desperately trying to push back against book banning and state-decreed curricular sanitization, to swing voters who reject MAGA crazies at the polls, to corporations trying to embrace decency and equality in their corporate cultures and polices, to people outraged by the Sarah Huckabee Sanders of the world who are abolishing child labor laws, to the millions of Democrats, led by a thoughtful and Democracy-committed president and other leaders, desperately and doggedly trying to find and pursue mechanisms to reinforce our democratic systems and institutions, and to so much more resistance that is taking place and must grow quickly, lest the truly illiberal forces gain the upper hand not simply through divorce, but through continued insurrection, and executive and judicial usurpation.

We may not be at the threshold of a (hot) Civil War, but we do look to be on the brink of the consolidation of perhaps dozens of Red states into a war by other means: a “Cold War Confederacy.” If we don’t confront these developments, if we don’t raise alarms -- even sometimes in ways that don’t conform to the assumption of normal political discourse -- we may well find ourselves with the fait accompli of not a physical Trumpian wall, but of a much more formidable virtual wall of confederacy forming the “facts on the ground” of state-sponsored illiberal governance, law and social division. ANd this would be a civil war of much longer and crippling duration.

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Mar 13·edited Mar 13


I was surprised that you tossed in that Mannequin Mike is somewhat a hero for doing his freakin' job on Jan 6th.

He had to ask numerous people before standing up and doing his job.


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Big news weekend I guess:

- If I had to vote for anyone in the Republican primary, I'd vote for Pence. Why? Not because he's the only one who's demonstrably anti-coup. A low bar, but maybe the one that matters. Of course, I am not going to vote in the Republican primary.

- Silicon Valley Bank. This is an example of mismanagement that's pretty rare but it should also be an obvious example of what NOT to do. Like, don't have close to the majority of your assets in securities? The lesson here is that this bank should not have been exempt from the stricter Dodd-Frank regulations in 2018. Everyone talks about moral hazard, but the real moral hazard is letting these banks set their own rules. They always eventually gamble and fail.

- The Stanford protest was dumb. But so was the judge, and conservative jurisprudence generally. Judges like Duncan imagine they're doing something high and mighty when they invent doctrines to produce results. But everyone can tell, and the people hurt by those decisions will eventually show up to tell you to your face. If Duncan wants his career to be esoteric and boring again, that should be reflected in his work.

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"Stanford’s free speech debacle"

Whatever happened to not showing up in protest if you don't like the speaker or their views? Who decided that acting like a bunch of angry, petulant MAGAts is anymore acceptable from the progressive left than it is from the radical right?

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No one in the Standford debacle comes out looking good, but I gotta say too, the whole episode really just proves to me how fracking useless the Federalist Society really is at its core.

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Mar 13·edited Mar 13

The Stanford story has ass-hattery all around! The Judge is clearly a bit of a jackass from what I have read about him but the students were stupid to protest in the manner they did. They should have just not attended or attended and then when he started to speak, just walked out. Instead, he now gets to be a martyr on the right for how poorly those on the left behave and how the left "cancels" those on the right they disagree with.

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re: Gosar. *Of course* he expects criminal indictments--that's why he requested a pardon while Trump was still driving the train.

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Yes, too big to fail is back. Moral hazard is back. Privatize the profits and socialize the risk is back. Bail out the well to do but not poor recent college graduates is here.

Economically insane and morally outrageous.

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I find Pence's strategy to avoid subpoenas quite interesting.

He resisted the Congressional committee subpoenas on the grounds, as Vice Presodent he was part of the Executive Branch and not answerable to a legislative committee

He is resisting the DOJ subpoenas on the grounds, in his role as President of the Senate, he was part of the Legislative Branch and therefore not answerable to a department of the Executive Branch.

Well, isn't THAT special? Pretty nifty don'tcha think?

I am sure the special counsel will have none of that pretzel logic.

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On Pence, I listened to Longwell's Focus Group over the weekend featuring Evangelicals who voted for Trump twice, and none of them supported Pence. And their reason was that he didn't do what Trump wanted him to do on January 6. McKay was a good sidekick, but man I wish JVL would've gotten to cohost on this panel. To consider yourself a holier than thou Evangelical and still consider Pence's refusal to abet a coup a dealbreaker is just mindblowing.

Charlie's point is well taken. Pence's CV is pretty sparkling. But he's an outcast because the base of the Republican Party is insane.

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