Assorted Stupidity

Assorted Stupidity #140 (Sedition Edition)

Not as much fun a week later

You know, I have lots of more traditional Lowering the Bar items that I need to write up, and plenty of other work to do besides. So I would really appreciate it if people would, you know, quit doing terrorist attacks on Congress and trying to destroy democracy and whatnot. It’s very distracting, and frankly kind of irritating. But it makes me feel a little better to make fun of the vast number of idiots who are involved in that, and the stupid things they are doing. So I’m going to do that again.

  • Continuing the theme from last time, when we discussed the idiots’ insistence on posting evidence of their crimes: Gizmodo reported Monday that the Parler network many of them used did not strip metadata—including GPS coordinates—from videos posted by users. And if that GPS data shows that at the time of posting you were, let’s say, inside the Capitol Rotunda or down the hall from Nancy Pelosi’s office, where it is illegal for you to be without authorization, that’s bad for you. Oh, you say somebody stole your phone? Good luck with that.
  • But isn’t that location data protected by the Fourth Amendment? The government might not be able to get it without a warrant, but the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to private parties, like the hacker who archived all the Parler data before it was purged. (Amazon booted Parler from its servers because it was being used to threaten and organize violence.) According to the report, she has over a million raw video files with GPS data attached. Hopefully that is making a lot of idiots nervous.
  • Speaking of idiots, Trump legal team member (or whatever he is) Lin Wood had his pro hac vice admission revoked by a Delaware judge on Monday. Pro hac vice, which means something in Latin, is what you generally need to practice in a jurisdiction where you’re not licensed. A judge grants it for purposes of a particular case. And that means the judge can revoke it, which he or she just might do if, for example, your conduct “exhibited a toxic stew of mendacity, prevarication and surprising incompetence.” This particular conduct happened in other jurisdictions, so the judge agreed he didn’t have the power to discipline Wood. But he could revoke the pro hac admission, and he did.
  • Most of us would be sufficiently deterred by not wanting a judge to say something like, “you exhibited a toxic stew of mendacity, prevarication and surprising incompetence,” or that the complaint you filed “would not survive a law school civil procedure class,” which the judge also said. But things like that don’t seem to deter Wood or allies like Sidney “Kraken” Powell, so something more is necessary.
  • Adam Johnson, who posed for a picture while stealing the Speaker’s lectern, has been arrested and charged with stealing the Speaker’s lectern, as well as two other crimes (see above). Is it a problem for the defense that there’s a picture of Johnson stealing the Speaker’s lectern? Well, yes, according to his lawyer, who maybe shouldn’t have spoken to the media about it. “You have a photograph of our client,” he told a reporter, “in a building, um, you know, unauthorized to be there, with, uh, you know, what appears to be a … lectern…. Yeah, we’ve got a photograph of our client who appears to be … inside the Capitol with the government property.” So, does that present a problem? “[Y]eah, that’s, that’s, that would be a problem. I’m not a magician.”
  • Just a suggestion, because I don’t know this from personal experience, but “I’m not a magician” is probably not something most clients want to hear their defense lawyers say.
  • Another person who needs to hire a magician is Thomas Baranyi, 28, of someplace in New Jersey, who was arrested after giving an on-camera interview in which he admitted being part of the insurrection. “We tore through the scaffolding, through flashbangs and tear gas,” he told WUSA9, “and blitzed our way in.” He admitted, in fact, to being present when Ashli Babbitt was shot while trying to break into the Speaker’s Lobby, though he claimed he was only there to “pull them back” from the door. So far as I can tell from the video, nobody’s trying to pull anybody back, but maybe his magician will offer evidence to the contrary.
  • Oh, while I was finishing this, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald Trump for the second time. The vote this time was 232-197-4, with 10 Republicans voting to impeach. On the one hand, it’s good that this was at least nominally a bipartisan vote. On the other, 93% of House Republicans refused to vote to impeach a Republican president who incited a terrorist attack on a building they were inside at the time. I guess they think impeachment should be reserved for really significant matters, and Trump will be in big trouble if he does anything like that, probably.
  • For comparison, a majority of Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee also thought Richard Nixon hadn’t done anything impeachable, but a larger percentage (six or seven of 17) did agree with Democrats on two of the five charges. It should be noted that the House voted overwhelmingly (412–3) to accept the committee report—but given that Nixon had resigned almost two weeks before, that shouldn’t be seen as particularly courageous on anyone’s part.