Steven L. Taylor
Thursday, April 13, 2023
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective.
He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog).
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The Meritocracy at work:
By the time one catches a corrupt organization, they’ve been doing it for a while.
Yeah, that may well be true, but you weren’t taking any chances, were you?
There’s video but I passed, the descriptions of his treatment was graphic enough for me.
Of course not, and as the article points out, this isn’t the first time an inmate died due to the conditions of their confinement and nobody was prosecuted that time either.
Says the organization now headed by the entry-level hire’s father. .
@BugManDan: No connection at all between those 2 facts, you can take there word for it, trust me.
The person who leaked secret documents to Discord hates minorities and loves guns:
@Kingdaddy: So in my off-the-cuff list of possibilities from the other day, the closest was probably “Residual Trump Trash acting because of Q Anon stuff” but that doesn’t really hit the nail either.
The lady’s not for learning: Liz Truss tells US group she was right all along
Cheeerist, these people are totally lacking in self awareness.
Mikey referenced this story yesterday:
Leaker of U.S. secret documents worked on military base, friend says
Given the amount of details in the story, I would imagine an arrest is imminent. He could be a low level aide, either military or civilian, engaged in the height of stupidity. Or a intentional plant. Either way, I think we will soon know.
@Scott: If you read that article he seems like a garden variety conspiracy theorist gun nut who happened to have access to classified materials and shared the docs with his friends who he trusted to keep everything quiet. What I’m wondering is whether the government’s background checks were so lax they didn’t uncover these beliefs or, perhaps worse, they don’t consider being a right wing nut disqualifying, only being a left wing nut.
One of the best things I read this morning about the larger implications of Texas Governor Abbott’s announcement that he intends to pardon someone who shot and killed a protester in 2020:
@OzarkHillbilly: Not sure speaking at Heritage represents a comeback so much as an installment of wingnut welfare. Heritage and the rest of the Kochtopus are to, say, Paul Ryan what something I believe is called the Tufton Street Mob is to Truss. And I suspect had The Guardian dug deeper they’d have found many of the same glibertarian funders.
@Kingdaddy: Abbott and DeSantis seem to be in a contest to see who can do the shittier pander to the GOP primary voters. DeSantis wishes he had a border with Mexico.
Mary Quant, popularizer of the miniskirt, has died, age 93.
@MarkedMan: No, the background checks are the standard employment, school, police, financial, education, medical, foreign travel checks which are self-reported on your security application (10 years worth if I remember right). They will verify that everything you reported is true. Then there will be interviews of people who know you (you identify them also) who are asked if I am a loyal American or if they have any suspicions. Millions of these security investigations are done every year.
It has been over seven years since my last clearance update. I don’t know if they expanded into a social media reporting yet.
Side story: One day an investigator came to my house to ask about one of my neighbors (an Army Colonel) they were doing an updated background check on. Standard procedure. He had put me down as a reference. Two days later I saw the same investigator at his house. He was there to ask about me since I was also in the window for an update. We waved at each other.
@OzarkHillbilly: Liz Truss will go down in history as the Prime Minister who was unable to outstay the lifetime of a lettuce on the grocery shelf.
Somehow I don’t think she’ll be making a comeback. “Lettuce Liz” just doesn’t sound very dignified, no?
For the same reason no one is doing anything about the problem with right wing militia types infiltrating the military: in most cases they do know, but if anyone tries to do anything about it, there will be a huge cry that they’re targeting Republicans and the right wing nut will be protected but the investigator’s career will be over.
Me, I’d let her try her hand at something after first giving the lettuce a chance.
My wife remarked this morning that Trump had to go to New York for a deposition in his trial. I enjoyed having to ask which NY Trump trial: Bragg’s hush money trial, Letitia James’ fraud trial, or the E. Jean Carroll rape trial. Did I miss any?
Wasn’t this a joke in Zoolander?
Apparently there were no adoring mobs to greet Trump, nor even so much as a single lone television camera.
@Scott: Years ago, while on active duty, my security status was upgraded because of a weapon system I was to be trained on. One day I got a call from my mother who wanted to know what kind of trouble I was in, because an FBI agent was in town and had questioned my high school football coach. I had to explain it was a routine security check.
@Kingdaddy: From what I’ve read about the murderer, this is virtually 100% likely to come back and haunt Abbott. This guy is a malignant thug who appears to have walked out the door with the intent to find someone to kill, and “clever” enough to concoct a Stand Your Ground get out of jail free card before he did. Once someone like that is back on the street it’s only a matter of time until he’s involved in another violent altercation. If someone ends up dead, their family will be all over the media accusing Abbott of letting a deranged murderer walk free to score political points with the NRA.
@Scott: Wow. That’s the clearance I got just to be able to go to the bathroom by myself as a Bureau of Engraving and Printing contractor. It’s scary that they don’t go any more in depth for people with access to information that can result in huge loss of life if mishandled.
@a country lawyer:
When my BIL was getting an upgraded clearance to cover installing software in Army command-and-control bunkers in Europe, he got a phone call from his brother in a small town in Nebraska asking, “What did you do? The FBI is in town asking everyone about you!”
I wonder if this temporary order from the Fifth Circuit isn’t an outline of their eventual straddle. It drew as judges two Trumps and a W. Bush. The order allows distribution of Mifepristone but rolls back the more recent loosening of guidelines and enforces the antique Comstock act’s ban on mailing it. Fortunately Mr. Comstock didn’t anticipate FedEx. If they had a lick of integrity they’d have already tossed the whole thing over standing. But that would hurt their standing with their friends from the Federalist Society.
The Atlantic has a fascinating article about, of all things, the evidence that eating ice cream is good for you. More specifically, how the scientific community reacts to it. If I was teaching a course on the scientific method and the ways biases can creep in, I could do a whole semester just on this one case. Just one take-away: when scientists are confronted with findings that conflict with the standard theory, they are very quick to come up with reasons why those findings are anomalous and then fail to do the necessary work to show that those reasons are in fact valid. And I can 100% state that this is an engineering reaction too.
Leader of Online Group Where Secret Documents Leaked Is Air National Guardsman
Lots more in the NYT piece (it’s a gift link so no paywall).
I got the paywall. But it looks very interesting.
@Mikey: Every time the Clinton email thing comes up, or the Biden and Pence documents thing, certain of our illustrious group of commenters who also happened to have security clearance have been very quick to point out how tight the control of classified documents is thereby proving that something egregious and foul must have been going on.
So… a 21 year old Air National Guardsman, a gun nut, racist, anti-semitic and conspiracy theorist, was given free access to all this very legitimately top secret stuff, and seemed to be able to copy and photograph it at will and walk out with hardcopies. Kind of makes you go “Hmmm…”
@CSK: Maybe the gift link is only good for one click? A bit irritating as I only get a few a month.
@Kingdaddy: Like Damon Linker, I resist using that particular formulation. The short version why is “everyone is like that, though some try to rise above normal human tendencies, and those people aren’t necessarily marked by party affiliation”
The longer version involves the book Behave, and the hormone oxytocin, which Robert Sapolsky describes, along with the implications for “tribal” behavior in it.
That’s probably it.
@MarkedMan: What you describe might take place. I am wondering if this isn’t a form of “dingbat kabuki” though.
Abbot can’t pardon the guy unless the Pardons Board (or whatever it is) refers the case to him. He might well believe they aren’t ever going to do that, and people will forget about it after a few months. So he gets to sound off with over-the-top rhetoric that stirs up the base, and not have to do anything at all, or face any consequences of doing anything.
Asimov claimed the most exciting words in science are “That’s funny.” Meaning an observation did not conform to the theory, or is otherwise odd.
But take the FTL neutrino kerfuffle a few years back. Attempts to duplicate the result wound up confirming neutrinos don’t travel faster than light, and the earlier result was a measurement error.
Nutrition studies, now, are really hard, on top of the everyday messiness of biology. What should happen is 1) check the data and methodology, 2) try to duplicate or otherwise validate the result. If the latter works, then 3) determine what’s in ice cream that has such an effect.
The latter can be complicated. perhaps it’s the vitamins in the enriched milk used to make ice cream. in which case maybe some skim milk would be a healthier choice. Maybe it’s an ingredient in the ice cream. Flavoring, sugar, some other component of milk, maybe even a preservative. Finding that is neither simple nor easy, and it might be a combination of things rather than just one.
Speaking of biology, the animals that represent the most danger to human beings are the mosquito and the house fly.
The first is a vector for several diseases, notably malaria. The second has two habits that makes it dangerous. Namely it eats the same things we do, and it lays eggs in animal feces. So after picking up pathogens, it goes into homes and contaminates food.
As the Guardian said:
Wingnut welfare is all it was. Her ship is dead in the water and fast slipping beneath the waves and everybody knows it.
@gVOR08: I am sure there are at least 2 or 3 more that haven’t been filed yet.
@Kathy: I have to assume that people are in the running, and that we might get to that top spot. We have global warming, genocide, murder, environmental pollution, war, …
I’ll take my chances with a fly or a misquito over a person any day.
@Mikey: Gifted linky works for me. Maybe they just don’t like CSK. Kinda hard to blame them. 😉
Impeach this corrupt bastard and then drag Leonard Leo into a Senate hearing and go through his finances line by line:
In 2014, one of Texas billionaire Harlan Crow’s companies purchased a string of properties on a quiet residential street in Savannah, Georgia. It wasn’t a marquee acquisition for the real estate magnate, just an old single-story home and two vacant lots down the road. What made it noteworthy were the people on the other side of the deal: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his relatives.
The transaction marks the first known instance of money flowing from the Republican megadonor to the Supreme Court justice. The Crow company bought the properties for $133,363 from three co-owners — Thomas, his mother and the family of Thomas’ late brother, according to a state tax document and a deed dated Oct. 15, 2014, filed at the Chatham County courthouse.
The purchase put Crow in an unusual position: He now owned the house where the justice’s elderly mother was living. Soon after the sale was completed, contractors began work on tens of thousands of dollars of improvements on the two-bedroom, one-bathroom home, which looks out onto a patch of orange trees. The renovations included a carport, a repaired roof and a new fence and gates, according to city permit records and blueprints.
A federal disclosure law passed after Watergate requires justices and other officials to disclose the details of most real estate sales over $1,000. Thomas never disclosed his sale of the Savannah properties. That appears to be a violation of the law, four ethics law experts told ProPublica.
@Jay L Gischer: I hope you are right. The longer this guy is off the streets, the better.
On the bright side for the UK, she’s out of power and out of here, so there’s that.
Can you keep her, please?
OTOH, that Ms. Loser-to-Lettuce ever got to be PM does not speak well for the British polity.
And indicates that a sizable chunk of the Conservative Party is as certifiable as she is.
That she continues to attempt to polish the turd of her premiership indicates just how monumentally lacking in self-awareness she is.
I’ll trade you one trump for her.
Kathy: I’ve been out of it for a while, but ten years ago I worked with metabolic scientists and at that point our understanding of the causes of non-genetic diabetes was still completely in the “and then a miracle happens stage”. One example: we know that if you are obese you are at higher risk of diabetes and if you are morbidly obese you probably already have it. We also know that if you lose significant weight the diabetes can go into remission, and that it doesn’t matter how you lose weight. It can be diet or exercise or bariatric surgery. Here’s the thing though. If you use bariatric surgery you can go into remission the day after, before you have lost any weight. What possible mechanism accounts for that? At the time they had no idea of causation at all.
Yep, the Kochtopus, Mercers and the Tuftonites are all manifestations of the same Lovecraftian gibbering blind idiot god of madness.
In the climate of the times, impeachment is not only useless but counterproductive.
That is, you won’t ever get the votes to convict a partisan favorite, like Thomas or Benito. On the other hand, even if a majority votes to convict, the result is seen as exoneration.
However, as far as I know there’s no idiot rule at the DOJ against the investigation, arrest, or conviction of a SCOTUS justice. Therefore, criminal prosecution seems like the best avenue.
Actually, that might just work. We could palm him with the rights to build a golf course on Rockall, on condition of residency. 🙂
FBI makes arrest in investigation of suspected leaker of classified intelligence
They busted the Air Nat’l Guardsman who leaked all the intelligence earlier this week.
That poor kid, who seems to have done it just for attention, is fuq’ed.
@JohnSF: We’ll send Liz to Florida. Nobody will even notice.
@daryl and his brother darryl: Yeah, he be fuq’ed, all because he wanted to impress the punks he was hanging out with.
There are two differences.
One, unlike mosquitoes, people do things on purpose.
Two, if the CEO of Exxon bites you, it’s unlikely he’ll infect you with global warming.
I know Ozark’s warned us about stuff like this before, but even so, I’m still gobsmacked.
DeSantis is going to need one of those high-speed tunnelling machines to keep up with guys like this. 🙁
A 21 year old in the Massachusetts Air National Guard? With rank equivalent to a lance-corp?
And the material printed out and accessible, and photographed; presumably not in a contained controlled environment. Or at least one not properly policed.
Why in the heck should this person ever have had any access to this material at all?
@daryl and his brother darryl:
Once again proving you should be careful what you wish for. For you may just get it.
@Just nutha ignint cracker: The Lege is in session so the stupid reigns supreme and the crazy has to intensify daily. From legislating on microchips in vaccines to transgender care to Constitutional Sheriffs to defunding public libraries every day brings a new low. I am waiting for them to pass a law making it illegal to keep and feed werewolves.
So promoting the rape of 12 year olds is not unexpected.
@Just nutha ignint cracker: (I do have to admit that the evil, bomb throwing anarchist part of me did want to ask Moon if he would have been equally supportive had her parents decided to take her to have an abortion.)
This is really, really good way to get no friendly nation to ever share any sensitive information with the US about anything, at all, ever.
@JohnSF: In the back of my mind, it seems as though he didn’t meet the description. Supposedly a body builder? A 21 year old AIC? Air National Guard at a Guard base? Maybe more of the story will drop in the days ahead. There had to be some serious hacking to get anywhere from there.
@gVOR08: “Fortunately Mr. Comstock didn’t anticipate FedEx.”
No, but in a piece that I skimmed catching up with Mother Jones yesterday, the author noted that the designers/supporters of SB 8 were already lumping the mail and common carriers together as one category of prohibited distribution in their initial drafts of the legislation.
@Jay L Gischer: In light of the consideration that Abbot appoints the Parole and Pardons Board, I refrain from making any suppositions that would serve to excuse, downplay, or gamify any of the Governor’s pronouncements on this type of matter.
What commentary I’ve read that seems to make sense, is that he had clearance for access to do support for senior officers. And this, amazingly, included the ability to print classified documents!
It looks like, once again, access was virtually open to anyone cleared for the classified areas of the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System.
In other words, Snowden etc all over again. Incredible.
According to Bellingcat then he posted this on Discord ThugShaker, apparently limited to his group.
Then somebody re-posted to the Discord WowMao; thence it began spreading out to Discord Minecraft, then 4Chan, then Russian Telegram posts.
Shows what you know. Humpf.
@Kathy: I see the key for that particular study and outcome residing in the less than totally conclusive statement “eating ice cream is good for you.” “Good for you” covers a wide array of speculations, conditions, and outcomes, and can mean nearly anything as a consequence. Good for me relative to what set of conditions and/or expectations?
(In my particular case, eating ice cream is decidedly not “good for me” in that it creates mucous secretions that, because I’ve moved into the emphysema portion of my COPD progression, are difficult to cough loose and out of my lungs. I grant that my situation is isolated–but not all that isolated considering that cow’s milk is considered a lung irritant for many asthma patients and presentation of asthma symptoms is increasing in our society. I just use it as a counter to suggest the notion “good for you” may well be an ingredient in a word salad.)
Figures, a millennial living in his parents basement.
@Just nutha ignint cracker: I’m not making a prediction, just raising the possibility. My question would be how often does he appoint members to the Parole and Pardons Board? How many members does it have? How long are their terms?
Meanwhile, let’s look at another of Abbot’s decisions, the whole directive to investigate gender affirming care as child abuse.
This has been completely blocked by courts. Not just Federal courts, but the Texas State Supreme Court. It’s going nowhere, as I expected when I heard about it. The fundamental legal problem with prosecuting something, anything as abusive is that you have to show harm done. And they won’t be able to.
I would think that Gov. Abbot and Atty Gen. Paxton knew this going in. It’s kind of Paxton’s job to know that.
This does not excuse them or reduce my unhappiness with them. They were determined to make the lives of people like my daughter miserable in order to do some trans punching in the hopes that it will punch up their poll numbers. It’s appalling. It’s also fraudulent. In some regards its worse than if they had a simple belief.
Beautiful. I’m gonna steal that.
@Jay L Gischer: We miscommunicated. I’m sorry. I wasn’t intending to criticize you for making a prediction, merely stating that the particular situation makes one where I refrain from making speculations or raising possibilities. Still, I’m way more cynical than you are and, therefore, am more likely to assume ill-will regarding people like Governor Abbott. In this type of situation, I’ll heave closer to Ms. Angelou’s adage about people who are telling you who they are.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
“Good for you” is a gross oversimplification. You’ll notice I did not use the phrase 🙂
The trump pandemic should have taught us there is great variability in how individual organisms, in this case individual humans, react to the same pathogen. On one end, some people died of COVID. On the other, some were infected but never got sick. And there were steps in between as well.
Republicans don’t even care if they have the authority to do something anymore. They just do it. They are the most lawless group of thugs in the country. This is how the genocide starts.
You can kill every single one of us and the very next day a new trans person will be born.
And don’t stop the investigation at Thomas, Crow, and Leo. And FFS don’t let Robert’s have any say in it.
A couple days ago Jamelle Bouie had one of his excellent columns on this.
We seem to be approaching a point that the supposedly liberal MSM can’t avoid seeing that GOPs are nuts on guns and abortion. Maybe we’re also approaching a point they’ll have to see the role of money in our politics.
More, directly from Trans people:
I have decently severe depression and PTSD. I will have them my entire life. If I had to cure my depression, which is not possible, I would never be able to transition. Quite honestly, I would end up killing myself.
Transition care saved my life.
Yet another techie, like Snowden, Manning, et al.
There are a lot of tricks to catch leakers after the fact, but setting up prevention in this computerized world is a difficult bug to squash. A bit like preventing watchmakers from seeing what’s inside the watches.
@Just nutha ignint cracker: What I relate does not improve my opinion of Abbot. I think he’s telling me he’s a cynically manipulative bastard that loves to fan hatred of a very small group of highly vulnerable people for political gain.
That’s kind of worse than if he believed it.
Thanks for speaking up. You aren’t the only one.
@CSK: Yes, it does. 🙂 🙂
I am above such vulgar attempts to deride me.
@Beth: Transition care saved my life.
Yes, it did. and to repeat Jay, “Thanks for speaking up. You aren’t the only one.”
@CSK: I’m not. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
@Beth: “You can kill every single one of us and the very next day a new trans person will be born.”
Yes, but that person will be very, very quiet about it.
Indeed. You have made that quite obvious.
Case in point:
If that’s the reaction AFTER the person has been caught stealing classified info, can you imagine what would happen to the poor investigator that gave him a bad security review?
@Stormy Dragon: Greene is coming to the defense of a man who has done incalculable damage to America’s defense, and in ways that benefit Russia. That tells us all we need to know.
It’s not straightforward in all cases, but it’s doable.
Our network has locked-off sections; only specially authorised IT staff have Admin access.
It is also possible, on some systems, to prohibit normal Admin access from granting access to certain files, which are only available to listed users or to senior admins.
Linked Domino coding environment is just one example of such.
Granted US military puts a premium on free-flow of information.
But it might stop for a moment and consider what sorts of information, and in what circumstances, is rapid distribution the critical factor.