Demands for Sua Sponte Do-Overs and Billy Barr’s Thought Experiment about Trump’s Criminality
In a post last year about what was then a still heavily-redacted Amy Berman Jackson opinion ordering DOJ to release a Barr memo covering up the Mueller investigation, I wrote that this might finally be the case where DOJ would be held accountable for bullshit claims made in service of protecting secrets in FOIA cases.
Will Amy Berman Jackson Finally Break the Spell of OLC Feeding Bullshit FOIA Claims to DC District Judges?
Yesterday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that the government must turn over a memo written — ostensibly by Office of Legal Counsel head Steve Engel — to justify Billy Barr’s decision not to file charges against Donald Trump for obstructing the Mueller Investigation. The Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington FOIAed the memo and sued for its release. The memo itself is worth reading. But I want to consider whether, by making a nested set of false claims to hide what OLC was really up to, this opinion may pierce past efforts to use OLC to rubber stamp problematic Executive Branch decisions.
A key part of ABJ’s decision pivoted on the claims made by Paul Colburn, who’s the lawyer from OLC whose job it is (in part) to tell courts that DOJ can’t release pre-decisional OLC memos because that would breach both deliberative and attorney-client process, Vanessa Brinkmann, whose job it is (in part) to tell courts that DOJ has appropriately applied one or another of the exemptions permitted under FOIA, and Senior Trial Attorney Julie Straus Harris, who was stuck arguing against release of this document relying on those declarations. ABJ ruled that all three had made misrepresentations (and in the case of Straus Harris, outright invention) to falsely claim the memo was predecisional and therefore appropriate to withhold under FOIA’s b5 exemption.
Yesterday, the DC Circuit decided that (unless DOJ appeals again) yes, this will be that case. It ordered DOJ to release the rest of the Barr memo and it did so for precisely the reasons ABJ laid out: DOJ had played games with its claims about what was in the memo.
The opinion, written by Sri Srinivasan and joined by Judith Rogers and David Tatel, agreed with ABJ that the Department’s Declarations evolved but yet never actually described the predecisional advice at hand — which ABJ and the Circuit agree pertained to what Barr should say to Congress about Mueller’s results.
The Department’s submissions during the course of this litigation have at various times suggested three decisional processes to which the March 2019 memorandum might have pertained. The first two, as the Department acknowledges, cannot support its reliance on the deliberative-process privilege. As for the third, although that one might well have justified the Department’s invocation of the privilege, the Department never relied on—or even mentioned—that decisional process in the district court until the Department had already noticed its appeal to this court. And the district court was not required to grant judgment to the Department on a theory the Department never presented before taking an appeal.
The first of the three decisional processes suggested in the Department’s submissions to the district court concerned whether to charge President Trump with a crime. Although the Department has since clarified that it was never in fact considering a prosecution, the Department’s submissions to the district court appeared to indicate in various ways that the March 2019 memorandum made recommendations about an actual charging decision.
If the Department’s analysis of whether the evidence in the Mueller Report would support an obstruction-of-justice charge did not in fact relate to a decision about whether to initiate or decline a prosecution, then why engage in that analysis? The Department’s submissions to the district court perhaps could be interpreted to indicate that the memorandum’s analysis of that question, if not related to an actual charging decision, was instead part of an abstract thought experiment. On that conception, the memorandum formed part of an academic exercise to determine whether President Trump’s conduct met the statutory definition of obstruction, solely for Attorney General Barr’s information, without any connection to any ensuing action by Barr or the Department.
3. Because there was never an actual charging decision to be made in this case, and because the Department does not rely on a mere thought experiment about whether the evidence would support a charge as the relevant decisional process, the question naturally arises: what is the decisional process that the Department believes justifies its withholding of the March 2019 memorandum? The Department’s answer, per its briefing in our court, is that the memorandum “was intended to assist the Attorney General in deciding what, if anything, to communicate to Congress and the public about whether the evidence recounted in the Special Counsel’s report was sufficient under the Principles of Federal Prosecution to support a prosecution.” Dep’t Br. 25–26. That is, the deliberations about whether the evidence in the Report amounted to a crime went to deciding whether to say something to the public on that issue, not deciding whether to initiate a prosecution (which was never on the table).
And here, it is now apparent that the March 2019 memorandum recommended reaching a conclusion on the evidentiary viability of an obstruction-of-justice charge as a means of preempting a potential public reaction to the Mueller Report. In that light, if the Department’s submissions to the district court had connected the memorandum to a decision about making a public statement, then the district court might well have concluded that the memorandum was privileged. But that is not how the Department elected to justify its invocation of the privilege in the district court.
And because DOJ claimed that the memo pertained to one kind of predecisional advice (whether to charge a President who could not be charged) rather than the real predecisional advice (to tell Congress that he couldn’t have been charged based on the evidence), the Circuit holds, DOJ must release the full memo.
In short, while the decisional process on which the Department now relies involved a determination as to whether the Attorney General should make a public statement, none of the Department’s submissions to the district court suggested that the March 2019 memorandum related to such a decision. In its briefing to us, the Department expresses regret that its submissions to the district court could have left the misimpression that an actual charging decision was under consideration, and it assures us that any misimpression it may have caused to that effect was inadvertent and not the result of any bad faith. Still, the Department at no point indicated to the district court that the memorandum gave advice on the making of a public statement. The Department thus failed to carry its burden to establish the relevant decisional process.
This section of the opinion, if it is not appealed, would lay important new groundwork for FOIA litigation. It effectively holds that if the government provides bullshit excuses about the reasons it wants to protect something from FOIA release (as they did here), even if there was a different reason that would have been legal but embarrassing that they did not make, their failure to provide the real reason in their declarations effectively waives their opportunity to make it.
Holding an agency to its burden in that regard serves important purposes. “The significance of agency affidavits in a FOIA case cannot be underestimated.” King v. DOJ, 830 F.2d 210, 218 (D.C. Cir. 1987). In a standard FOIA case, the government agency knows the full contents of any withheld records, while the requester confronting black redaction boxes is (literally) left in the dark. The requester’s lack of knowledge “seriously distorts the traditional adversary nature of our legal system’s form of dispute resolution.” Vaughn v. Rosen, 484 F.2d 820, 824 (D.C. Cir. 1973). An agency’s declarations supporting its withholdings “must therefore strive to correct, however imperfectly, the asymmetrical distribution of knowledge that characterizes FOIA litigation.” King, 830 F.2d at 218.
This case is illustrative. In its district court briefs, CREW focused its arguments on why the Department could not have been considering obstruction charges against the sitting President. That was understandable, because CREW had no reason to suspect that the memorandum might have related to a distinct decisional process about making a public statement. We cannot sustain the withholding of the memorandum on a rationale that the Department never presented to the district court and that CREW therefore never had an opportunity to challenge.
The Department responds with an argument that would effectively shift the burden from the Department to the court. According to the Department, even if it failed to establish that the March 2019 memorandum related to a decision about making a public statement, the district court should have reached that conclusion of its own accord based on its in camera review of the memorandum. The Department thus now seeks to prevail based on the district court’s in camera review even though the Department had initially objected to that review. We cannot accept the Department’s argument.
In a FOIA case, the government bears the burden of showing that requested records are exempt from disclosure. The government is a party in every FOIA case, is well versed in the conduct of FOIA litigation, and is fully capable of protecting its own interests in that arena. A district court can rely on the government to do so and can assume that the government has reasons for its choices and an understanding of their implications. It would put too much on the district court—and would relieve the government of its summary judgment burden—to expect a judge reviewing records in camera to come up with unasserted legal theories for why a document might be exempt from disclosure. To hold otherwise would “seriously distort the traditional adversary nature of our legal system’s form of dispute resolution.” Vaughn, 484 F.2d at 824.
Here, the Department failed to satisfy its burden, and the district court, as the court itself explained, was “under no obligation to assess the applicability of a privilege on a ground the agency declined to assert.” CREW, 538 F. Supp. 3d at 140 n.11.
And the opinion rejects the government’s argument it should have gotten a do-over, because it did not ask for reconsideration.
The Department contends that, even if the district court was not required to grant judgment in its favor, the court at least should have given the Department an opportunity to make supplemental submissions. We are unpersuaded by the Department’s assertion that the district court needed to sua sponte grant it a do-over.
The Department was given a number of opportunities to justify its withholding of the March 2019 memorandum. After initially attaching two declarations to its motion for summary judgment, the Department attached an additional declaration to its reply brief. Those three declarations, coupled with the Department’s two briefs, gave ample opportunity to identify Attorney General Barr’s messaging to the public as the relevant decisional process. But the Department never did so. Nor did the Department ask for an additional chance to clarify its position after seeing the district court’s summary-judgment decision, which pointed out that the Department’s submissions up to that point had created a misimpression about the nature of the decisional process. The Department did not move for reconsideration, instead seeking only a stay pending appeal. We cannot fault the district court for not giving the Department another chance when the Department never requested one.
The government can appeal this decision.
And by my read, DOJ still (says it) disagrees with CREW and the judges about the predecisional advice was. In DOJ’s briefing, it maintains the decision was ultimately about the sufficiency of evidence against Trump — which the Circuit calls a thought experiment — not about a PR stunt. That is, it’s saying that its briefing was close to accurate, and ABJ should have understood that once she read the memo itself.
Perhaps whatever Steven Engel and Ed O’Callaghan had to say in the sealed part of the memo really is something DOJ will go to the mat to (or assume a Trump majority on SCOTUS will) hide. Perhaps that’ll incent DOJ to try again or go to Trump’s protectors at SCOTUS to keep this sealed.
But some of the other things DOJ did — such as not asking for reconsideration — may make this an uphill climb in any case.
In any case, the Circuit did — as ABJ did herself — sharply limit the application of this decision. This decision does not affect the hated b5 exemption.
Our decision is narrow. We do not call into question any of our precedents permitting agencies to withhold draft documents related to public messaging. Indeed, if the Department had identified the March 2019 memorandum’s connection to public messaging, the district court might well have sustained the Department’s reliance on the deliberativeprocess privilege. And of course nothing in our decision should be read to suggest that deliberative documents related to actual charging decisions fall outside the deliberativeprocess privilege. We hold only that, in the unique circumstances of this case, in which a charging decision concededly was off the table and the agency failed to invoke an alternative rationale that might well have justified its invocation of the privilege, the district court did not err in granting judgment against the agency.
It only affects the consequences of providing bullshit excuses for trying to keep something secret.
We won’t know for some days yet whether DOJ will appeal. For now, though, the Circuit is holding DOJ accountable for misrepresentations in service of Barr’s cover-up.
May 3, 2021: Initial redacted ABJ opinion
May 5, 2021: Will Amy Berman Jackson Finally Break the Spell of OLC Feeding Bullshit FOIA Claims to DC District Judges?
May 24, 2021: DOJ motion for a stay pending appeal
May 24, 2021: Unredacted ABJ opinion
May 24, 2021: Partly redacted memo
May 25, 2021: On the Barr Memo: Julie Straus Harris Says Julie Straus Harris’ Unexplained “Flourish” Wasn’t a Lie
May 25, 2021: Frankenstein’s OLC: DOJ Says DOJ Can’t Do What DOJ Did in the Barr Memo
May 26, 2021: Bill Barr Issued Prosecution Declinations for Three Crimes in Progress
June 5, 2021: Bill Barr Is Not Dick Cheney
June 14, 2021: ABJ order granting stay
Imagine the Government being held to the same legal standards as us plebeian riff-raff. The common thread here (aside from the desire to dodge unpleasant questions that cross party boundaries) is the (re-) establishment of a quasi-feudal system where the ‘betters’ (currently the GQP in their minds) make the decisions for all. Political affiliation is a key part of what makes someone part of the ‘betters’ class, and it was the principal consideration of Individual-1’s recruiting run by McEntee. That’s how we got Ziegler, Kash Patel, BDTS and the other infamous twits that were in power because that is how Individual-1 determined who was ‘the best people’. It’s something else Haberman missed in her reporting, the circle that resulted from Individual-1’s malignant narcissism.
Ties went to those who shoveled more money to Individual-1’s coffers. Perhaps a question that must be asked of all politicians is something like “What makes someone the best person for the job?”.
Don’t ever accuse Maggie of reporting
I’m ready for my close-up column Mr. DeMille.
Would this be a chance for Garland’s DOJ to separate itself from the actions of Barr’s? If Garland chose not to appeal, and given the DC Circuit’s narrow holding and the unique facts of the case, Garland’s DOJ wouldn’t be surrendering the standard prerogative on keeping charging rationales confidential.
That is exactly what it would be doing, surrendering the standard protocols.
Judge Berman Jackson’s opinions always reward reading. Her writing exactly expresses the crisp clarity of her thinking, and your framing of her work, Dr. Wheeler, adds layers of context with matching insight and clarity. My favorite line: “DOJ still (says it) disagrees with CREW…” That parenthetical “(says it)” alerted me to read what followed with, effectively, a double consciousness, which I think was your intention.
I thought that arguments could not be dropped into an appeal without predicate. What could possibly have made DOJ think that (“Well, actually, we were ‘deliberating’ about a public statement, Your Honor”) would fly here?
“It only affects the consequences of providing bullshit excuses for trying to keep something secret.”
Well, it only affects the consequences of providing bullshit excuses for trying to keep something secret if you don’t also include another plausibly less-bullshit reason alongside it.
Yes, DOJ really serially fucked this up.
Is it known why Barr didn’t throw in some brief reference to the existing policy of not charging a current president along with the rest?
It’s not like that policy was secret. He’d been awfully successful spinning friendly reporters to only focus on things he wanted them to focus on, so I’m not sure it was any big risk of losing the narative.
I always assumed that, since the purpose of all of Barr’s letters was PR exonerating the President, that Barr wanted to de-emphasize how close they were to needing to exercise the Not-charging-a-current-president option. Instead he was saying that Mueller didn’t find grounds to charge Trump, which wasn’t true. (IF it were released that Mueller had found grounds to charge Trump with a crime and the only reason it wasn’t being charged was OLC policy, the logical response would be a referral to Congress for impeachment–this wouldn’t have been Trump’s third impeachment, but rather his first)
“Barr wanted to de-emphasize how close they were to needing to exercise the Not-charging-a-current-president option.”
I can definitely see that part, what I’m struggling with is that de-emphasize doesn’t equal not mention at all, which seems to be what happened here.
If he threw a cursory mention into a final section but told his usual lackeys in the press to ignore it, why would he worry if a few close readers managed to pick it up? As far as any impeachment concerns, the worst case scenario seems like it would be a vote here or there, barely anything Barr would consider worth losing any sleep over.
Maybe he’s just so arrogant he figures he didn’t need to even reckon with this? Seeing as the NY Times hasn’t even deigned to mention this in the past 24 hours, maybe he was right?
“Separately, I intend to consult with Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Special Counsel Mueller to determine what other information from the report can be released to Congress and the public consistent with the law, including the Special Counsel regulations, AND THE DEPARTMENT’S LONG-STANDING POLICIES.” [my emphasis]
The implication being to tell Congress it’s not HIS fault that he won’t pursue The Donald.
Lol, welcome new commenter!
Precluding fruit of the poisonous excuse.
The overwhelming impression is that DOJ always gives us the run-around to keep its deliberation secret, until the information comes out years after people have forgotten what that was all about. Here, the improprieties under Bill Barr’s DOJ are reflexively covered up by all DOJ leadership, because all of DOJ can never admit that the institution has flaws.
Add to that the Catholic Church, which moves priests who are sexual predators to a different parish, the army, which buries the slaughtering of innocent civilians killed by error, academia, which hides all sorts of things, and whatever happens in the corporate world, and you have it my friends, “the elite”.
Even an honest and just AG is going to make every effort to protect the power and privileges of DOJ to do its job. DOJ under Barr, valuing the outcome of particular cases over precedent, norms and policy, is exactly the problem that fighting to preserve those things and demonstrating the will and discipline to be bound by them is about. Barr abused the power of DOJ but pulling its teeth in response will not give us a safer or more just society. As has been amply demonstrated, the machinery of democracy is important but it is still mostly about the people, the few inside the government and and the many outside.
I understand the institutionalist perspective, but this particular case seems like poor hill to die on.
I was thinking the same thing.
I’m not wise in the ways of playing eleven-dimensional chess about what could happen if we said “Even an honest and just AG is going to make every effort to protect the power and privileges of DOJ to do its job, BUT whatever the hell Bill Barr’s DoJ was doing in this case, it wasn’t doing its job”, but I kind of hope I find out …
As always appreciate your thoughtful analysis & references. The one date I’m trying to track down is when CREW initially requested this memo. I surmise it is sometime before AJB’s initial redacted opinion in early May 2021, but I wasn’t able to find the initial request date on CREW’s website. Thx!
I found, through google, the turn down of CREW FOIYA request in May 2019, by DOJ
It never ceases to amaze me how people that use the internet to post material to blogs and social media still haven’t found out about Search Engines!
From the Circuit Court’s opinion:
Objection! The use of the word “inadvertent” presumes facts not in evidence.
I have a disability that sometimes impairs my cognitive function (as it does today), and I cannot figure out if you’re suggesting that they were deliberately leaving a gaping whole in their arguments so that the court could force them to release the requested information, or simply that they were arguing in bad faith. I’m guessing it’s the latter, but I’m wondering if the former is possible—I’d read speculation in another case that a lawyer’s mistake was not accidental (the Alex Jones phone texts). I don’t know enough to correctly evaluate the likelihood of deliberate legal mistakes in either case.
The DOJ of AG Garland was saying that the DOJ of AG Barr misled the court with their earlier representations, which is plain for anyone to see. The only question is whether this was a mistake on their part or an act of bad faith. The Garland DOJ is being very very generous here, IMHO, as they are giving Barr & Co. a pass.
I am in no mood to be generous, as the Barr DOJ has a pattern of acting in bad faith when it comes to trying to protect Trump. They knew what they were doing when they lied to the district court.
Thank you! Both for the clear explanation, and your patience.
The concession of inadvertent is institutionally restrained, but wholly undeserved by Bill Barr’s regime. I agree that bad faith is more likely.
I think there is also a bit of prosecutorial discretion in play here, too. If they came out and called it anything but inadvertent, they’d face all kinds of calls to prosecute someone from Barr’s DOJ. Not a prospect they’d relish, especially with the Mar-A-Lago stuff percolating.
Minor correction: “…as the Barr DOJ has a pattern of acting in bad faith when it comes to trying to protect Trump.” S/B “…as the Barr DOJ has a pattern of acting in bad faith.”
It is Garland’s call — so for fucks sake – accept the decision and don’t appeal
Dang, dang, dang went the folly,
Sing, sing, sing went the tell,
Ding, ding, ding went the court things,
The moment we saw them we’d yell:
Smug, smug, smug the promoter,
Chump, chump, chump was the take,
Dump, dump, dump & purport things,
All the while we could see it was fake.
Tug, tug, tug at the voter,
Prop, prop, prop for the heels,
Plop, plop, plop went bad sport things,
As they started to show
then we started to know
how it feels when adversity reels.
Cuz, cuz, cuz went the causer,
Flip, flip, flip went the seals,
Hop, hop, hop went the court things,
Let’s get back on the track to ideals.
Dang, dang, dang went the folly,
Sing, sing, sing went the tell,
Ding, ding, ding went the court things,
Rule of law may have broken the spell.
Garland is not an aggressive AG.
This is a slam dunk and I do not understand his position.
We need someone like Bobby Kennedy to call Barr out for his deception
I keep wondering whether Kamala Harris should’ve been chosen for AG rather than VP. Garland’s temperament seems more that of a judge, while Harris’s is that of a prosecutor.
Only a fool would call any case against Trump a “slam dunk”. That is a ludicrous statement.
What’s even more puzzling to me is what that statement even means in the context of recent days.
Garland not only approved a search of the former president’s home, he is obviously savvy enough to know what the blowback would be.
If we ever know 100% of the details it may become clearer if he should have rolled just a little quicker or paused a split second before making his drive to the basket, but this isn’t a case of a guy refusing to take a shot at all.
No, certainly not. It is not at all “unprecedented”, search warrants get issued and executed every day. But the subject of this one does add complexity. Frankly I think the time and discussion Garland and Wray put into it was necessary and proper.
So much of what we’re seeing now in terms of critiquing Garland vs. Trump feels like Stephen A. Smith taking a five second clip of Embiid vs. Ayton and trying to making sweeping statements of what that means for every matchup for the next five years.
I agree that not rushing things was good, but taking *weeks* to come to a decision strikes me as more than “necessary and proper.”
You may be right. But we just don’t know what they’re dealing with. It’s Trump, it’s potentially stuff that makes his Stormy Daniels affair seem run of the mill. I’d put the odds at 10% we get details that peel back our eyelids.
Randy Rainbow has weighed in on the subject.
“Garland tests positive for vocal fry”
Love me some RR.
Not clear to me that a case against Barr is the same as a case against Trump. Even if Barr was working for Trump’s interest.
Nonetheless, I don’t think a case against Barr is a slam-dunk given the way things sometimes work in upper reaches of the judicial system. Barr has abused his role in government before, and not been taken to the woodshed by any other AG that I can recall. So ATMO its more piling up on Garland when folks complain that he hasn’t harpooned this monster.
There is no case whatsoever against Barr. Never has been.
There’s no case against Barr. Not after all his cooperating with the J6SC, so conveniently if passive-aggressively public a repudiation of his former boss. Barr effectively deflated the outcry behind calls for him to face consequences, and he was always a master when it came to eluding the consequences themselves.
I expect Garland won’t appeal and lay this to rest.
Barr’s infuriating Derp of Justice BS thought experiment duped the libs who were in full real brouhaha about Trump’s deceptions. A bunk memo and legal drivel was an obstruction of an obstruction report which perhaps reported on an obstructed fair election.
It’s BS all the way down.
BMAZ @ 8:08 PM
Agreed. It’s not a slam dunk it’s a lay-up.
I didn’t mean to play you for a fool.
It is neither. By any stretch of the imagination. And especially if tried in SDFL.
Option A – Don’t appeal. End of story
If the ruling is anything other that full redaction/no release at all, it would be craven, weak, and sick to not appeal. I honestly do not give e a shit about the idiotic public howling. Maintain GJ principles. People screaming for release are NOT in favor of the “rule of law” and “propriety”, they are dead against it and dangerous.
For all you folks that thought the noisy politically tainted PR campaign of Fani Willis was all that, the 11th Circuit just cut you. Willis is a political shill that started this in about a month of being elected in 2021. If she is your hero and savior, you are a dope.
I thought the 11th just sent the case back to US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia “to decide whether the subpoena should be partially quashed or modified because of protections granted to members of Congress by the U.S. Constitution,” not temporarily hold the court order requiring Graham’s testimony because Fulton County DA Fani Willis is what you personally call a “political shill.”
In other words, the 11th Circuit pulled its own form of political batshit shillery for Trumpers by allowing Graham to claim some inapplicable privilege under Speech or Debate when Fulton County is NOT in his state, thereby extending Graham’s interference in Fulton County and Georgia’s official business.
Um huh, I’ll stay right here.
Your winnings, sir. LOL
Thank You! /s/ Captain Louis Renault
I was commenting on the Mueller Case not the Florida decision due next week
The AG from the Peach State is fantastic.
I don’t understand BMAZ’s
If Trump asked Massachusetts to find 11,000 votes. I would tell him to shove it up his arse.
BMAZ is living in a legal bubble.
BMAZ are you a progressive Democrat?
I don’t understand your negativity
What a load of shit. Willis is a common District Attorney, politically climbing and in office for very slightly more than one opportunistic year, not an Attorney General.
If you do not understand me, it is because you don’t understand shit about the law, and are more interested about glib personal politicization of it than real and fair application of it.
I agree the law baffles me. You never answer my question. Are you a progressive Democrat or just an arrogant prick. The January 6th Committee has done a fandamnastic job and the Atlanta DA has got lotsa balls going against a fucking liar
Your negativity is reprehensible
[I’m going to tell you this once: Stop. You are not helping matters; you’re now cluttering this thread. Bmaz owes nobody an answer. Find a different topic to discuss or move on. /~Rayne]
I’m sorry, I have a problem with unethical prosecutors. Clearly, you do not. The J6 Committee has done some okay things, and fucked up a lot of things. Life and law is not the blithe shit you idolize on MSNBC. I am not any of the polarized constructs you wish to paint me. Fani Willis does not “have balls”, she has only political ambition that is screwing up this prosecution. If you think Willis is a hero, you are a fool.
Okay but can you define cluttering for me?
[This is a perfect example of clutter. It adds absolutely zero constructive discussion related to this post’s topic. Your squabbling with a moderator is also clutter. Take a move to the shade. /~Rayne]
OT for Rayne:
climate activists target golf courses in france, which were exempted from water bans
You can tell when activists protesting some thing know nothing about that thing. Golf courses cut new holes on their greens every day to prevent excessive wear and ensure each round remains interesting to regulars.
They should have used household ammonia to write FUCK THE RICH SHUT OFF THE WATER on each tee, fairway, green.
Course should have at a minimum stopped watering tees and fairways which would have allowed them to continue operation.
As to your point about reduced watering, except for greens, it was apparent from the color of the turf that that’s probably what St. Andrews has done, even during the Open.
Roughs at many of the Scottish courses are left au naturel and unwatered all the time. The question is how much are the fairways watered, and even if they were watered, would the record heat dry and scorch the grass anyhow.
I could care less so long as humans and animals have enough water to stay hydrated.
ADDER: Here’s an article from four years ago with quite a few photos of Scottish courses. Notice how brown the grass is especially in the roughs.
Thomas Halliday, Otherlands epilogue: “Only by altering our habits, and by endeavoring to live less exploitatively, can we prevent the changes to the environment from becoming an unparalleled catastrophe, another Great Dying. The planet cannot provide the resources required to support a life as profligate as that now enjoyed in economically developed nations, let alone enough extra for other species to feed and mate, and live their own lives. The only reliable way of keeping the wild worlds of today from becoming another forgotten set of ecosystems, another gallery in the future museums of another epoch, is to reduce consumption and stop relying on climate-changing sources of energy.”
Indeed. “..by endeavoring to live less exploitatively” applies to so many different areas. Is that possible? Or is living exploitatively man’s/woman’s fate, with apologies to Malraux? French golfers are voting yes.
LOL you really think the residents of +100 French towns without any drinking water are pondering how to alter their habits and endeavor to live less exploitatively right now? Or is it more likely they are sharpening their knives beneath the moon’s light in the cool of the evening?
Paraphrasing Caddyshack’s Carl Spackler, “In the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre, ‘Au revoir, golfer’.” https://youtu.be/sKjhLLIYjqc
ADDER: More LOL – really, things are pretty tense in France. Set up a tent too close to a golf course and one could be visited.
LOL back to you. I think French golfers and their courses are exploiting water resources. I think their priorities are in the wrong place. I hope residents of neighboring French towns are sharpening their knives as well as diverting water from golf courses to their homes as I think they are being exploited.
De l’eau, encore de l’eau, et toujours de l’eau, unless you disagree. Of course if you want people, anyone, to live exploitatively let everyone here know.
You just called the GA DA “unethical”
You called me a fool.
I can understand you calling me a fool, but not sure, you can substantiate the DA is unethical without proof.
Oh, there is proof. You just blithely ignore it. Fani Willis is a climber, putting your hopes and dreams on her is laughable.
Yes. It maybe laughable to you but not to the residents of Georgia. Can you explain why her actions are unethical?
Sure. She has relentlessly violated every premise of grand jury secrecy by running her yap publicly about it, including doing campaign appearances for involved individuals. Even the supervising court has, more than once, formally noted it, including removing her from one of the arms of the case. Willis is a politically motivated disgrace that ought be removed from all aspects of the matter. But I have explained this before.
As I said before, it is a State issue right?
If it happened in Massachusetts. I would support our DA or AG.
I would not automatically assume they are unethical.
It is up to the state of Georgia to determine if Trump pressured the Secretary of State but it is pretty obvious if you have a fucking brain, right?
Responding to the question of “unethical” behavior
I doubt that anywhere in either FL, MA or any other state jurisdiction is there a statute concerning ‘ethics’.but I’m sure bmaz will set me straight.
Many a DA has made their political profile on the back of prosecuting high visibility cases such as this and this one’s a doozy. Have a look at our buddy Rudy ‘The Runs’ Giuliani for just one example.
It would be difficult for any DA NOT to see the obvious poltical mileage that could be wrought out of this case should they win. Often this clouds their judgement markedly and leads to mistakes and, particuarly, bad optics, which, I believe, bmaz is being so vehement about.