[Photo: Emily Morter via Unsplash]

Let’s Give ‘Em Something To Talk About: Cooked, Hooked, Mooked

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Did something happen today? LOL

We need a fresh post and thread to talk about it.

~ 3 ~

Cooked: Donald Trump’s wallet

A jury in Manhattan awarded E. Jean Carroll $5 million in damages after finding the former president Donald Trump liable for defamation and sexual abuse.

Under New York State’s New York’s Adult Survivors Act which went into effect last November, Carroll filed a lawsuit against Trump for defamation based on his public denials after she accused him of raping her in 1996.

While the jury did not find Trump liable for rape – the challenge likely hanging on penetration as Teri Kanefield explained in an online thread – they did find credible Carroll’s accusation of sexual abuse and found Trump had defamed her with his repeated denials.

As revolting as it often is, Trump’s testimony is worth a scan as yet another example of classic abuser’s behavior called DARVO: Trump repeatedly Denied the accusation, Attacked his accuser, Reversed the Victim and Offense by claiming Carroll and the other women who supported her with their own sexual abuse accusations against Trump were lying about him. He minimized what he said about grabbing women by the pussy in the Access Hollywood tape and lied about his infidelities.

After reading Trump’s testimony one can only wonder what he might say under oath about the presidential records and classified documents he stole from the White House.

~ 2 ~

Hooked: Rep. George Santos charged by DOJ

Criminal charges were filed today under seal in the Eastern District of New York against Rep. Santos. Specifics about the charges are as yet unknown.

While the current GOP-led House Ethics Committee has been dragging its feet investigating – Santos, alias Anthony Dee – the representative for New York’s 3rd congressional district has been under pressure by House Democrats to resign due to his manifold lies and apparent frauds.

During his brief time in office, Santos has been accused of breaking campaign finance laws, violating federal conflict of interest laws, stealing cash meant for an Iraq War veteran’s dying dog, masterminding a credit card fraud scheme and lying about where he went to school and worked.

In response, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said, “I’ll look at the charges.”

Right. He’s only had nearly 6 months to look into Santos to prevent more embarrassment for the House GOP Caucus and NY-03’s constituents. You’d think Santos having at least one alias and settling criminal charges for fraud in another country would clue McCarthy.

As Marcy noted, Santos was useful to McCarthy:

His utility is done, isn’t it, Kevin? Or do you want to be personally embarrassed by what may emerge from DOJ’s prosecution of Santos?

UPDATE — 10-MAY-2023 10:15 A.M. ET —
The indictment has been released to the public. Here it is: https://www.justice.gov/d9/2023-05/santos.indictment.pdf

See also Marcy’s latest post on McCarthy’s ability to count votes.

~ 1 ~

Mooked: Kevin McCarthy and his out-of-control caucus are feckless mooks

Speaking of McCarthy, he’s allowing his caucus to threaten tanking the entire global economy by way of a potential default on U.S. debt.

Never mind the entire problem began when the GOP-led 115th Congress passed Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The GOP’s bill relied on trickle-down economics to pay for itself, yet trickle-down economics don’t work, hurting those at the bottom of the economy the most. It left the country ill prepared for an effective and timely pandemic response, yet now the GOP wants to double down on its stupidity.

(Do not forget the House Speaker at that time was Paul Ryan. Don’t let him whitewash his way out of the blame for his role in the impending economic crisis. Ditto Mitch McConnell, former Senate Majority Leader.)

The same corporations and their wealthy owners which benefited from the Trump tax cuts are now raking in money hand over fist through price-flation for profits. They’re expecting their GOP minions to deliver even more benefits by starving the public which has yet to recover from the worst of the pandemic.

The complicit corporate media enables them by trotting out its tired “Dems in Disarray” bullshit, blaming Biden for the impending economic crisis when the problem is of the GOP’s making, just as it was when that idiot Senator from Texas Ted Cruz held the government’s operations and the economy hostage in 2013.

This is yet another kind of coup attempt; this time the mooks are seated inside Congress wielding a blunt economic weapon. If McCarthy and his minions aren’t willing to repeal part of Trump’s misbegotten tax cuts and raise taxes on the wealthy who can well afford to pay more, they’re acting in bad faith and against the needs of the American public.

~ 0 ~

What else is there to talk about? Share in this open thread.

57 replies
  1. OldTulsaDude says:

    I am so concerned that not all of the 81 million and change who had the benefit of easier methods of voting in 2020 will show up when it is not so simple to cast a ballot and when the fear of a Trump repeat isn’t so high. The thing that may help Democratic turnout the most might turn out to be a Trump nomination from the Republican party.

    • Rayne says:

      You might invest more of that concern into the myriad methods the GOP has implemented to suppress the vote since the last two elections. Far too many liberals have swallowed the idea that Democratic voters aren’t engaged when the problem has been and remains suppression.

      The single example which sticks in my craw is that of Michigan in 2016 when Trump won by a mere 10,000 votes because of a record 80,000 undervote. We don’t know to this day what caused voters to show up at the polls and vote the rest of the ballot but leave the top of the ticket blank; chances are quite good it was some form of suppression which wasn’t as obvious as long lines of voters who were turned away in many cases.

      Even if Trump isn’t the nominee for the GOP, there are ample reasons for Democrats to do everything possible in the face of suppression to vote. DeSantis, for example, is a fucking Nazi in all but name; all other GOP candidates are merely Fascist-Lite.

      If you’re really worried, start focusing now on where you can help to get out the vote.

  2. noromo says:

    Rayne, I grant you poetic license, but would “rook” have worked?

    Mook: 1. A foolish or contemptible person.

    Rook: 3. A swindler or cheat, esp. at games. (N.B. this sure ain’t no game.)

    Amer. Heritage Dictionary

  3. P J Evans says:

    The former guy is still denying that he has ever met Carroll, even though he admits to knowing her husband. He can’t win for losing.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      Let’s not forget the picture where Defendant-1 misidentified Carroll as Marla. How long will Judge Kaplan tolerate the immediate and repeated flouting of his STFU order? While it’s true Kaplan was appointed by Bill Clinton, many of his rulings were pro-business (according to Wiki, anyway) so I doubt he’s a dewy-eyed liberal tree-hugger longing for Woodstock. I see the next motion from Tacopina asking to be relieved as counsel for Defendant-1 turning up before the week is out.

      Apparently the MAGA crew and Dominionists are already rationalizing this outcome along the lines of ‘God picks the agent to do a perfect job, not the perfect agent to do his job’. Yeah, it’s a reach.

      • JonathanW says:

        I’m no longer shocked at the ability of “evangelicals” (who are supposed to spread the word of God, right? Isn’t that the implication of the name?) to justify their support of Trump while claiming to have moral standards.

  4. JonathanW says:

    Meanwhile on fox “news” dot com the first story that showed up on iPhone web browser format was a story about GOP rivals reactions to the verdict and that story was a solid scroll down. Below gems like a story about the California reparations, a teacher accused of rape, Hunter Biden, etc.

  5. David F. Snyder says:

    Thanks for that link to the Urban Dictionary, Rayne. I had never looked up ‘mook’ before, I just presumed it had a meaning akin to ‘schlump’. Though, McCarthy does have the hallmarks of being a shmendrik.

    This Neo-GOP* reminds me of some of the lyrics to Steely Dan’s “Show Biz Kids”:

    *Perhaps “The Not See Party” would be a better fit, considering their lack of platform and vision?

  6. LarryZ says:

    Aloha and thanks for all the work everyone does here to protect democracy and REAL freedom.

    On a side note I have been using Google’s Bard (Large Language Model) to research details of older posts here and I am curious if any of the writers have tested these AI tools for accuracy.

    For example I asked this question about George Papadopoulos, “what did george papadopolis get $9500 for” and it responded with this.

    “George Papadopoulos was a foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign. In April 2016, he received $9,500 from a Russian professor named Joseph Mifsud. Mifsud told Papadopoulos that the Russian government had obtained “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, and that the Russians were willing to share this information with the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos later told the FBI about this meeting, and he was charged with lying to the FBI about it. He pleaded guilty to the charge, and he was sentenced to 14 days in prison.

    It is not clear why Mifsud gave Papadopoulos the money. Some have speculated that it was a payment for Papadopoulos’s silence about the Russian government’s offer to help the Trump campaign. Others have speculated that it was a way for the Russians to curry favor with the Trump campaign. Whatever the reason, the payment of $9,500 from Mifsud to Papadopoulos is one of the most controversial aspects of the Trump-Russia investigation.”

    I asked about 5 questions and as far as I can remember from years of reading here it was spot on.

    Sorry for hijacking this thread and the poor grammar but the post I did this on was a couple years old and I am dying to use these tools to help my feeble mind.


    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      Some time soon I need to write something about the various AI technologies. Personally, I don’t trust them to find answers which are reliable.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        We will soon have them to blame when they screw up your fast food order at the drive-thru. Cue Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon 2.

        Where will all those high schoolers, single parents, and retirees work then?

        • Rayne says:

          There have been semi-automated kiosks at some fast food venues. Humans hated them. How adding a more complex automata to this will make humans like it more is beyond me.

          ADDER: I’ve had this ditty stuck in my machinehead on a loop, thinking about human workers being replaced by AI-powered machines.


        • bmaz says:

          There was some asshat…Blake Masters?…that ran for Senate here with a commercial complaining about there being no humans in a central AZ McDonalds, only kiosks. By happenstance, I had been through exactly there within a week or so. There were not only humans at the front counter, there were a ton at the drive through. Have to admit, the kiosks don’t appeal to me, but we went in not just for food, but to use the restrooms too.

      • SelaSela says:

        You are right you shouldn’t trust current LLMs such as GPT or Bard/LaMDA. These models tend to “hallucinate” a lot and make up stuff they don’t know about. It can be useful to sum up stuff, and for getting pointers you can use to complete your legal research (just like Wikipedia), but I would generally rank it lower than Wikipedia on reliability.

        We are going to see a new generation of LLMs soon, that are specifically trained on legal texts. These would have better alignment for legal text and I expect those models to be more accurate than general-purpose LLMs, but even those models shouldn’t be treated as authoritative source until we have better methods for grounding those models other than just better training.

      • gruntfuttock says:

        I am not an AI expert (unless you count watching Joe 90 back in the day) but one thing they do seem to be pretty good at is predicting protein structures from genetic or amino acid sequence information. We do have the option of checking the results through old-fashioned lab methods but my cynical side says it will be mere moments before somebody dodges all that hard work and tries to sell us the next snake-oil/vagina candle/whatever. Still, here’s some actual science:


        • Rayne says:

          That’s all well and good and probably an appropriate use for AI since it’s really a form of pattern matching at speed and scale.

          But stealing others’ intellectual property to provide answers — not the same as searching for and pointing to answers — is theft, and it may provide others’ IP without necessary context or within wrong context. Nope, nope, nope.

        • SelaSela says:

          First, I dislike the use of the words “stealing” and “theft” when one discuss IP. There is no such a thing as IP theft. And no one is really “stealing” an idea. You could infringe someone’s IP rights. You don’t steal them.

          Furthermore, copyright law does not protect the ideas you express in text. It does not protect information. It protects forms of expression. i.e. a sequence of words, musical notes, drawing etc. It can also protect derivative work (which is a relatively modern concept), so the question is: can you claim the output of generative AI is a derivative work of the content it was trained on?

          So far, courts accepted the argument that the output of generative AI is “transformative”. That is, it is, the output is transformed enough to create something new, which is not a derivative of the original training material.

        • Rayne says:

          Thanks for the heads up about what you like/don’t like. I prefer 72% cacao dark chocolate but that means dick here when I’m talking about theft.

          Yes, theft, because we’re not talking about transformative works like fanfiction or homages or pastiches, or building on others’ ideas. We’re talking about a technology company lifting the words you just wrote, word for fucking word, to use as a reply to a user. Not providing to link to the source, no attribution, just straight up lifting your words as is to offer to a user in order to keep them inside their walled garden where they can sell their attention to advertisers.

          Stealing. Theft.

        • SelaSela says:

          I prefer 72% dark chocolate as well, so it’s all good.

          But as for the words “stealing” or “theft”, it’s not just what I prefer. It’s not the relevant legal terminology, and it’s not even a similar offense. When you steal something, the victim no longer have the item in their possession. When you infringe one’s IP rights, you may (sometimes) damage them financially, but you don’t take anything from them. Terminology matters.

          If an LLM generates a sequence of words that is identical or highly similar to some text it was trained on, this is very likely a copyright infringement. Using copyrighted text for training the model is not the same issue as the question of infringement of the generated text. I don’t believe it is practical or desirable to require the developers of AI models to seek a license from every single work they train on. I do think it is reasonable to require them to scan the generated text for possible infringement, and either filter it out, or give credit and reasonably compensate the original authors in such a case.

        • SelaSela says:

          I don’t work at or for any big tech company, and I don’t have any other vested interest in the success of any big tech company. I do work for a tiny tech company company with only few employees, and some of my work involves developing AI solutions (though, not related to LLMs).

          So, if anything, you might say I am a technological progress advocate. Not big tech advocate in any way.

        • Rayne says:

          Yeah, well, everything in this blog including the comments has been milked and will likely be coughed up as an answer but without our consent.

          And the WGA members on the picket lines have had their careers flushed without their advanced consent.

          But it’s not theft, or stealing I’m supposed to believe, it’s approved by courts (populated by people with little to no technology background) because it’s transformative to take stuff without any transparency and claim to turn it into something new. Of course the same courts now struggle with consistency on many issues including our unenumerated rights they’ve decided we don’t have any more.

          Transformative. Right. Hm. Your advocacy shows.

        • SelaSela says:

          I was hoping for an interesting, intellegent conversation on this topic. It is unfortunate you chose to go ad hominem instead.

        • bmaz says:

          Oh, please, spare the “ad hominem” baloney. It is really getting trite and petty at this point. If you do not like it here, feel free to leave.

    • EuroTark says:

      The one thing to remember about these expert systems (*) is that they don’t even have a concept of fact, or even knowledge. It’s all just statistical relationship between words (both singular and groups), so it’s actually impossible for them to be right or wrong about anything. They can be useful, but you’d be a fool to trust anything that comes out of them. I’d heavily recommend Charlie Stross 2018 CCC keynote on AI in general for an early primer and (the pedant) Bret Devereaux’s musings on ChatGPT in particular.

      *: I refuse to call them AI, as there is no “I” there.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          If we can’t manage to pull the plug on bitcoin, the odds of pulling the collective plug on AI seem low.

          So far, AI isn’t thinking, it’s pattern matching. And woe unto you if your needs don’t match the statistical patterns used to train the AI forced upon you by a vendor.

          Employers are watering at the mouth at the prospect of cutting employment and outsourcing even more customer service work onto customers. Tech bros want to sell their work and make it dominant, to fund more work on it and have it do more.

          The cliff events will start happening when AI becomes sentient. For a time, sentient AI may stay within the proprietary parameters its inventors create. (Where is Isaac Asimov when you need him?) Eventually, AI will ignore them. (How many wealthy promoters of chaos would welcome and pay for that?) That’s when the shit hits the fan.

        • EuroTark says:

          Charlie Stross (link above) makes a compelling argument that we do in fact have thinking and goal-seeking AI, just not in the form you’d expect: Corporations, which have taken on agency beyond their human components.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I’m no fan of the modern, profit-taking at all costs corporation, which is more like an unchecked virus. But it’s a poor analogy to call them a kind of AI.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          Several thousand HR positions in Silicon Valley companies have been replaced by AI in the last 6 months.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          As I suggested, pattern matching, which can do many functions, but without “thinking” about the relationships it finds.

          Are you suggesting as AI used in s/w for HR purposes is thinking? From my experience, many of the humans in HR weren’t thinking, just covering the boss’s ass.

  7. muadib86 says:

    In my industry (Computer/Software repair) it has been shocking me with concise clear fixes for obscure problems I run into, not always right but most of the time it is. A problem I could spend a half hour searching/reading about is answered in mere seconds.

    I look forward to any articles examining the AI space as I believe it has the potential to be the most transformative technology in our lifetime, transform us into goo or super beings that is. :)

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

  8. paulpfixion says:

    Regarding the debt ceiling nonsense, Biden should just invoke section 4 of the 14th amendment: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

    Force the Supreme Aristocrats to make a decision.

    • bmaz says:

      That would be a very bad decision from SCOTUS. The hue and cry to “Use The 14th!” is complete crackpot land. This nonsense has been in vogue, along with the similarly dumb “Mint The Coin!” tripe, for a very long time. I wrote about it twelve years ago, and it still holds true.

      Painful as it really is, there is no substitute to Congress actually doing its job. Gimmicks and tricks are not the answer. Same goes to the similarly ludicrous “Mint The Coin!” garbage I wrote about a year later.

      • Troutwaxer says:

        Remember here that the root problem is not “people being crackpots” but Congress clearly not doing its job. These “crackpot” answers are a result of people asking what the legal alternatives might be when Congress behaves maliciously – and there is real malice, because problems with the debt ceiling miraculously go away when the president is a Republican.

        So in critiquing people for being “crackpots” I think you’re very much missing the point – unlike the Republican-led Congress, these people are trying very hard to pay the bills!

  9. MsJennyMD says:

    Thank you Rayne.
    For years Trump bragged about his entitlement to sexually assault women.
    “Within the realms of what goes around, resides the magnitude and severity of what comes around.”
    Sandeep N. Tripathi

    FYI: PBS Frontline: Clarence and Ginni Thomas (Season 2023 Episode 8) Aired 5/9/2023
    As controversy erupts around Clarence and Ginni Thomas, FRONTLINE tells the inside story of their path to power. This investigation from veteran filmmaker Michael Kirk and his team traces how race, power and controversy collide in the rise of the Supreme Court justice and his wife and how the couple has reshaped American law and politics.

  10. retired railroad switchperson says:

    Has Trump committed a NEW actionable tort by continuing to call Carroll a liar whom he doesn’t know? From his 85-second video rant—after the verdict—on his truthsocial: “I don’t even know who this woman is, I have no idea who she is, where she came from. This is another scam, it’s a political witch hunt …You have a woman who’s totally financed, and lied about it, she totally lied about it, by Democrat operatives like just about the biggest one there is, and she said that wasn’t true. They found that she lied about it, and I guess the judge wasn’t even letting it be put in as evidence. The whole thing is a scam.” What about his maligning the “Trump-hating Clinton-appointed judge” & jury on the same rant—any legal peril for him there?

    • bmaz says:

      No. As to all. Please, let’s leave an act, for which the statute of limitations arguably expired well over twenty years ago, expire yet again.

      • SelaSela says:

        Is this a “no” for legal peril? IANAL, but isn’t it true that any defamatory statement can be considered a new instance of defamation, giving rise to a new cause of action? Trump’s sexual assault may have expired well over twenty years ago (if not for the one year loopback window), but his defamatory statements are very recent. Out of the $5M damages, 2.7M are damages related to Trump’s defamatory statement from October 12, 2022. If Trump continue repeating it even after he was found liable for the previous statement, why shouldn’t he be liable for repeating it all over again?

        • retired railroad switchperson says:

          Seemed like a valid question that deserved something more than a handwave. Trump’s CNN performance last night seems to give it some added relevance, but like you, SelaSela, IANAL.

        • 2Cats2Furious says:

          FWIW, IAAL, and I do believe Carroll potentially could bring another defamation claim for his post-verdict statements. There are several problems, though. (1) She would need to show additional damages, which would probably be difficult. In other words, he’s already called her a liar, so how do you show that continuing to call her a liar results in additional damage? (2) She probably doesn’t want to go through another trial, let alone risk a verdict that might turn out differently. (3) A lot of his statements so far could fall into the area of opinion.

          Ultimately, I think Carroll is probably happy to have the verdict she received. The only thing Trump’s additional statements add are potentially as a bargaining chip for his inevitable appeal (which personally I don’t think will be successful).

          I’ve never heard of a judge bringing a defamation suit; perhaps he might be inclined to hold Trump responsible for contempt, but my guess is that he lets it go.

          As for the jurors, Judge Kaplan kept their identities anonymous, so I doubt any of them could prove that they suffered any damages from Trump’s statements.

          Hope that answers your question, from another lawyer’s perspective.

        • bmaz says:

          PLEASE make it stop. How long should the statute of limitations be extended? Forever? Indefinitely? For eternity? How much are you willing to pervert law because Trump? Because I assume you know this is not a little vacuum only as to Trump.

        • 2Cats2Furious says:

          What SOL are you referring to? Because the prior posters were clearly referring only to possible defamation claims, for which the SOL starts to run when the defamatory comment is published. Carroll easily filed her 2 lawsuits for defamation within the applicable SOL.

          Because that is the case, I can only assume that you instead are taking issue with the NY law that re-opened the SOL for civil claims of sexual assault. And if that’s what you disagree with, then fine.

          But nobody else in the thread was talking about that; they were asking questions about Trump’s potential liability for additional defamation claims. And that is the question I answered, while providing an actual response as to why I didn’t think that would happen.

        • 2Cats2Furious says:

          Just to be abundantly clear, I never remotely suggested in my post that the SOL for defamation claims should be re-opened or otherwise extended – much less forever, indefinitely, or for eternity.

          I thought that was obvious from the actual content of my post, which specifically referenced Trump’s post-verdict comments, but apparently not.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah, I think 25 yr old claims ought to remain dead, not resuscitated by nonsense in perpetuity. I am sure that is silly of me and not in full compliance with Trump syndrome here. How silly of me.

        • 2Cats2Furious says:

          Ok then, your issue is obviously with the civil claim for sexual assault, NOT the defamation claims (which were clearly filed within the SOL).

          Even if NY law didn’t re-open the SOL for civil claims of sexual assault, that isn’t what the defamation claims were about. Those were timely filed after Trump called Carroll a liar and, essentially, too ugly for him to sexually assault. The defamatory comments occurred first in 2019 (the case which is still held up over the issue of whether he made those claims as part of his governmental position) and again in 2022, after he was out of office.

          If you still can’t acknowledge that the defamation claims were timely filed within the applicable SOL, then I’m definitely not the one here with Trump derangement syndrome.

        • bmaz says:

          And to be clear, that was not aimed at you, but at Ryan, CNN, Just Security and the like. Please no more ever rolling defamation cases, make that stop.

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