California Governor Gavin Newsom the plagiarist

Donald Trump

I have urged caution, noting that smoking guns are rarely found,[1] regarding a story of plan presented in a Powerpoint presentation in which it would be alleged that the Chinese had manipulated the voting machines in several states enabling then-President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency and possibly to halt the final certification of the results pending a recount. One option was for then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject electoral college ballots from those states[2] and this idea was taken up by Jenna Ellis, one of Trump’s wacko lawyers.[3]

A principal advocate for the plan has now been identified:[4]

Phil Waldron, [a retired U.S. Army colonel], was working with Trump’s outside lawyers and was part of a team that briefed the lawmakers on a PowerPoint presentation detailing “Options for 6 JAN,” Waldron told The Washington Post. He said his contribution to the presentation focused on his claims of foreign interference in the vote, as did his discussions with the White House.[5]

Evidently, he met with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who seems not to have acted on the idea. So certainly, there was an effort to come up with a plan: Phil Waldron worked with Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman. Snippets of the plan appear in other contexts with, for example, another Trump lawyer, Sidney Powell pointing to alleged irregularities.[6] And, as I have previously observed,

Judges might have just about had their fill[7] of Trump and his supporters’ [bogus] 2020 election challenges;[8] we’re starting to see rulings punishing the lawyers.[9][10]

But crucially, the plan seems never to have been implemented. Which may well mean this particular gun wasn’t smoking.

Emma Brown et al., “Election denier who circulated Jan. 6 PowerPoint says he met with Meadows at White House,” Washington Post, December 11, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/phil-waldron-mark-meadows-powerpoint/2021/12/11/4ea67938-59df-11ec-9a18-a506cf3aa31d_story.html


Wilkinsburg

Julia Felton, “Wilkinsburg community group files annexation petition to court, seeking to be added to Pittsburgh,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 11, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/wilkinsburg-community-group-submits-annexation-petition-to-court-seeking-to-be-added-to-pittsburgh/


Gun nuttery, Abortion

If California Governor Gavin Newsom is aware[11] that no less than Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh raised this very point, that Texas’ approach to banning abortion could be applied as well to restrict guns, and indeed that the Court may very well strike down the Texas law for this very reason,[12] he didn’t acknowledge it.[13] But if I were employed even wildly approximately in the way that I should be,[14] and one of my students were to make a point like this uncredited, I would have to flag it for plagiarism. Newsom should have credited Kavanaugh. He didn’t.

Sophia Bollag, “Gavin Newsom calls for bill modeled on Texas abortion ban to crack down on gun manufacturers,” Sacramento Bee, December 11, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article256524466.html


Climate crisis

There is a new blog post entitled, “Always remember: The status quo is worth dying for.”

Austyn Gaffney, Abigail Hauslohner, and Scott Wilson, “Deadly tornadoes leave path of destruction across six states: ‘It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen,’” Washington Post, December 11, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/deadly-tornadoes-leave-path-of-destruction-across-six-states-its-unlike-anything-ive-ever-seen/2021/12/11/6a143b2c-5acc-11ec-b0c0-fe531874605a_story.html


Minoritarian rule

Lawrence Lessig, “Why the US Is a Failed Democratic State,” New York Review of Books, December 10, 2021, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2021/12/10/why-the-us-is-a-failed-democratic-state/

Greg Sargent, “The damage done by Joe Manchin is likely to get much worse,” Washington Post, December 10, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/12/10/manchin-filibuster-protecting-our-democracy-act/


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Is Pittsburgh the answer?” Irregular Bullshit, December 11, 2021, https://disunitedstates.com/2021/12/11/is-pittsburgh-the-answer/
  2. [2]Andrew Feinberg, “Explosive PowerPoint presentation detailing plan to overturn election for Trump discovered by Jan 6 committee,” Independent, December 10, 2021, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/mark-meadows-trump-capitol-riot-powerpoint-b1973809.html
  3. [3]Betsy Woodruff Swan and Kyle Cheney, “Trump campaign lawyer authored two memos claiming Pence could halt Biden’s victory,” Politico, December 10, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/12/10/trump-lawyer-pence-biden-524088
  4. [4]Emma Brown et al., “Election denier who circulated Jan. 6 PowerPoint says he met with Meadows at White House,” Washington Post, December 11, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/phil-waldron-mark-meadows-powerpoint/2021/12/11/4ea67938-59df-11ec-9a18-a506cf3aa31d_story.html
  5. [5]Emma Brown et al., “Election denier who circulated Jan. 6 PowerPoint says he met with Meadows at White House,” Washington Post, December 11, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/phil-waldron-mark-meadows-powerpoint/2021/12/11/4ea67938-59df-11ec-9a18-a506cf3aa31d_story.html
  6. [6]Emma Brown et al., “Election denier who circulated Jan. 6 PowerPoint says he met with Meadows at White House,” Washington Post, December 11, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/phil-waldron-mark-meadows-powerpoint/2021/12/11/4ea67938-59df-11ec-9a18-a506cf3aa31d_story.html
  7. [7]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court denies Trump allies’ bid to overturn Pennsylvania election results,” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-trump-pennsylvania-election-results/2020/12/08/4d39e16c-397d-11eb-98c4-25dc9f4987e8_story.html; Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court dismisses bid led by Texas attorney general to overturn the presidential election results, blocking Trump’s legal path to a reversal of his loss,” Washington Post, December 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-texas-election-trump/2020/12/11/bf462f22-3bc6-11eb-bc68-96af0daae728_story.html; Devlin Barrett, “Judge dismisses Gohmert lawsuit seeking to stymie Biden electoral college count,” Washington Post, January 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/gohmert-court-filing-claims-pence-is-not-a-glorified-envelope-opener/2021/01/01/eeb6b222-4c51-11eb-839a-cf4ba7b7c48c_story.html; Aaron Blake, “Trump lawyers suffer embarrassing rebukes from judges over voter fraud claims,” Washington Post, November 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/11/11/trump-lawyers-suffer-embarrassing-rebukes-judges-over-voter-fraud-claims/; Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Donald Trump’s brutal day in court,” Politico, December 4, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/04/donald-trump-in-court-443010; John Kruzel, “Supreme Court rejects Gohmert’s last-ditch election suit against Pence,” Hill, January 7, 2021, https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/533161-supreme-court-rejects-gohmerts-last-ditch-election-suit-against; Jon Swaine, “In scathing opinion, federal judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit in Pennsylvania,” Washington Post, November 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-judge-dismisses-trump-campaign-lawsuit-in-pa/2020/11/21/cc097fbe-2c50-11eb-9b14-ad872157ebc9_story.html; Elizabeth Thompson, “Texas congressman suggests street violence after judge rejects his legal effort to overturn election,” Chicago Tribune, January 2, 2021, https://www.chicagotribune.com/election-2020/ct-louie-gohmert-violence-20210102-yozij4rzhffkhn3e4epyrrsa7m-story.html; Elise Viebeck, “Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit against mail ballots with prejudice in another defeat for Trump,” Washington Post, November 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pennsylvania-supreme-court-dismisses-lawsuit-against-mail-ballots-with-prejudice-in-another-defeat-for-trump/2020/11/28/d1d50ef4-31d2-11eb-96c2-aac3f162215d_story.html
  8. [8]Kim Bellware and John Wagner, “Letter from 1,500 attorneys says Trump campaign lawyers don’t have ‘license to lie,’” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/12/08/trump-lawyer-letter/; Kyle Cheney, “Gohmert suit may force Pence’s hand in effort to overturn Trump’s defeat,” Politico, December 28, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/28/gohmert-suit-pence-overturn-trumps-defeat-451485; Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Trump sought to tap Sidney Powell as special counsel for election fraud,” Politico, December 20, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/19/sidney-powell-trump-special-counsel-448694; Marjorie Cohn, “Trump’s Frivolous Lawsuits Are the Tip of the Iceberg in His Refusal to Concede,” Truthout, November 11, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-frivolous-lawsuits-are-the-tip-of-the-iceberg-in-his-refusal-to-concede/; Pam Fessler, “Led By Giuliani, Trump Campaign Effort To Stop Certification Falters In Pennsylvania,” National Public Radio, November 17, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/11/17/936027693/led-by-giuliani-trump-campaign-effort-to-stop-certification-falters-in-pennsylva; Josh Gerstein, “Trump campaign revises Pennsylvania suit, again,” Politico, November 18, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/18/trump-pennsylvania-election-lawsuit-437996; Josh Gerstein, “Lawyers retreat from pro-Trump election suit,” Politico, July 12, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/12/lawyers-pro-trump-suit-499252; Simon Lewis, “Trump unveils $207 million fundraising haul after election in effort to overturn result,” Reuters, December 3, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-trump-fundraising/trump-unveils-207-million-fundraising-haul-after-election-in-effort-to-overturn-result-idUSKBN28E012; Hannah Rabinowitz and Holmes Lybrand, “Al Gore ‘was a man’ about his election loss, unlike Trump, federal judge says,” CNN, November 22, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/22/politics/al-gore-trump-election-capitol-riot/index.html; Aram Roston and Brad Heath, “Trump campaign spent more than $2 million on election lawyers, including Jenna Ellis,” Reuters, December 4, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-election-trump-expenses/trump-campaign-spent-more-than-2-million-on-election-lawyers-including-jenna-ellis-idUSKBN28E2VG; Philip Rucker, Amy Gardner, and Josh Dawsey, “Trump uses power of presidency to try to overturn the election and stay in office,” Washington Post, November 19, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-uses-power-of-presidency-to-try-to-overturn-the-election-and-stay-in-office/2020/11/19/bc89caa6-2a9f-11eb-8fa2-06e7cbb145c0_story.html; Stephanie Saul, “Lindsey Graham’s Long-Shot Mission to Unravel the Election Results,” New York Times, November 17, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/17/us/politics/lindsey-graham-georgia-trump-biden.html; Felicia Sonmez et al., “A frustrated Trump redoubles efforts to challenge election result,” Washington Post, December 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/tuberville-electoral-challenge-trump-conversation/2020/12/20/1658573e-42db-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html; Paula Reed Ward, “Federal judge to consider whether to dismiss case filed by Trump campaign in Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 17, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/federal-judge-to-consider-whether-to-dismiss-case-filed-by-trump-campaign-in-pa/
  9. [9]Jaclyn Diaz, “An Appeals Court Has Suspended Rudy Giuliani’s Ability To Practice Law In D.C.,” National Public Radio, July 8, 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/07/08/1014047881/an-appeals-court-has-suspended-rudy-giulianis-ability-to-practice-law-in-d-c; Rosalind S. Helderman, “‘The stuff of which violent insurrections are made:’ Federal judge punishes Colorado lawyers for 2020 election lawsuit,” Washington Post, August 4, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/colorado-sanctions-trump-lawsuit/2021/08/04/704dec92-f53a-11eb-a49b-d96f2dac0942_story.html; Rosalind S. Helderman, “Judge orders two lawyers who filed suit challenging 2020 election to pay hefty fees: ‘They need to take responsibility,’” Washington Post, November 22, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/they-need-to-take-responsibility-federal-judge-orders-hefty-fees-assessed-against-two-lawyers-who-filed-suit-challenging-2020-election/2021/11/22/b7ff5392-4be7-11ec-b0b0-766bbbe79347_story.html; Erica Orden, Veronica Stracqualursi, and Katelyn Polantz, “Rudy Giuliani suspended from practicing law in New York state,” CNN, June 24, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/24/politics/rudy-giuliani-suspended-law/index.html; Peter Stone, “Rudy Giuliani Is (Probably) Screwed,” New York, October 1, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/10/rudy-giuliani-is-probably-screwed.html; Jan Wolfe, “‘Profound abuse’: Judge disciplines pro-Trump lawyers over election lawsuit,” Reuters, August 25, 2021, copy in possession of author; Jan Wolfe and David Thomas, “Judge eyes sanctions on pro-Trump lawyers who claimed voter fraud,” Reuters, July 12, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/legal/government/judge-blasts-ex-trump-lawyer-sidney-powell-over-lawsuit-overturn-us-election-2021-07-12/
  10. [10]David Benfell, “The danger that still remains,” Not Housebroken, December 7, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/11/24/the-danger-that-still-remains/
  11. [11]Sophia Bollag, “Gavin Newsom calls for bill modeled on Texas abortion ban to crack down on gun manufacturers,” Sacramento Bee, December 11, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article256524466.html
  12. [12]John Bowden, “Kavanaugh flags a major catch in Texas anti-abortion law for conservative gun owners,” Independent, November 2, 2021, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/kavanaugh-supreme-court-texas-abortion-b1949460.html; Irin Carmon, “The Texas Abortion Ban Could Lose at the Supreme Court,” New York, November 1, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/11/texas-abortion-ban-could-lose-at-the-supreme-court.html; Jordan Smith, “Texas Admits Its Abortion Law Puts All Rights Up for Grabs,” Intercept, November 2, 2021, https://theintercept.com/2021/11/02/abortion-texas-sb8-supreme-court/
  13. [13]Sophia Bollag, “Gavin Newsom calls for bill modeled on Texas abortion ban to crack down on gun manufacturers,” Sacramento Bee, December 11, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article256524466.html
  14. [14]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/

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