The Day of the Jackal updated for the 2024 attempt to kill Donald Trump

The Day of the Jackal is a famous 1971 novel about a rifle expert who tries to kill Charles de Gaulle (he needn’t have bothered, presumably, since France would soon destroy itself via low-skill immigration).

*** spoiler alert: stop here if you’re planning to read the book or watch the movie; otherwise scroll below the cover ***

Wikipedia: “… hire a professional mercenary from outside the organisation … the Jackal’s exhaustive preparations for the forthcoming project. … he commissions a master gunsmith to build him a special suppressed sniper rifle of extreme slimness with a small supply of mercury-tipped explosive bullets. … his first shot misses by a fraction of an inch when the President unexpectedly leans forward to kiss the cheeks of the veteran he is honouring”

What would be the appropriate title for a book about the $3 billion/year U.S. Secret Service attempting to protect Donald Trump from a teenage assassin in 2024? The book would focus on Kimberly Cheatle and other senior bureaucrats establishing sloped roof policies and then keeping their jobs until a fat retirement pension begins to flow. How about The Day of the Jackasses?

Google Gemini’s image generator is back (some cognitive decline issues?):


Looks like book jacket designers will still have jobs for a while…

Related… a friend asked an aviation group if anyone wanted to donate items for a non-profit org auction. My response: “I will donate a year of protection from the $3 billion/year Secret Service. Also, a concrete bunker in which to hide during that year.”

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California’s next senator says Donald Trump will undermine the very foundation of our democracy

In Why do the non-Deplorables deplore the Trump shooting? I highlighted the apparent contradiction between saying that Donald Trump will end American democracy and also that one is praying for Donald Trump’s long life and good health.

“Schiff Calls on Biden to Drop Out of Presidential Race” (NYT, July 17) quotes the person who is 99% likely to win the California Senate race (since he/she/ze/they already won the Democrat nomination and California is controlled by one party):

Representative Adam Schiff of California said on Wednesday that President Biden should end his campaign, restarting a drip of opposition within the Democratic Party that had paused after the attempted assassination of former President Donald J. Trump over the weekend.

Mr. Biden “has been one of the most consequential presidents in our nation’s history, and his lifetime of service as a senator, a vice president and now as president has made our country better,” Mr. Schiff, who is running for Senate, said in a statement to The Los Angeles Times. But, he said, “A second Trump presidency will undermine the very foundation of our democracy, and I have serious concerns about whether the president can defeat Donald Trump in November.”

Let’s ignore the curious situation of the party elites, who were in daily contact with Joe Biden, telling the peasants to vote for Biden just a few months ago and now saying that the will of those who voted in the Democrat primaries should be disregarded. I want to focus on the “undermine the very foundation of our democracy” statement. I think that’s pretty much the same allegation as “Trump will end American democracy” since, once undermined, democracy must necessarily topple.

Why wouldn’t this statement by Mx. Schiff, if believed, justify violence against Donald Trump? Schiff presents Americans with a choice between potentially becoming slaves/subjects (no more democracy) and eliminating the identified cause of future slavery.

Separately, here’s Mx. Schiff, a few days earlier, wishing that the person who will “undermine the very foundation of our democracy” recovers swiftly:

Separately, it looks as though Democrats will do a COVID-safe “virtual roll call” for the formal nomination of Biden as their candidate in November 2024 (see below). That’s certainly consistent with their support for lockdowns and public school closures!

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What would the Secret Service have done differently if they’d wanted a random kid to shoot and kill Donald Trump?

We’ve been getting some details about the face-off between the arch criminal below and the $3 billion/year Secret Service.

Wikipedia says that the building from which Thomas Matthew Crooks shot at Mr. Trump was identified as an ideal location for an assassin, that police snipers were sitting inside the building eating donuts and drinking coffee rather than risk falling off a mostly-flat roof, that law enforcement ignored the crowd’s attempts to warn them of Mr. Crooks’s activities, and that Crooks’s use of a rangefinder wasn’t considered sufficiently suspicious for anyone to take action. The state of knowledge as of July 16, 2024:

According to WPXI, Crooks was photographed twice by security officers prior to the shooting. Prior to 5:45 p.m. EDT, a police officer saw Crooks on the ground and reported him, with a photograph, as a suspicious person. An officer searched for Crooks but did not find him. Multiple local law enforcement officers identified Crooks and believed that he might have been acting suspiciously near the event’s magnetometers; they expressed their suspicions over the radio, and their radio communications were available to the Secret Service.[38] At 5:45 p.m., a member of the Beaver County Emergency Services Unit (ESU) tactical team saw Crooks on a roof, notified other security services, and photographed Crooks.[47] According to Forbes, in one of the two cases of Crooks being photographed, the police officer who photographed Crooks saw him “‘scoping out’ the roof and carrying a range finder”.[43] Reports indicated that several bystanders also witnessed a man carrying a rifle on the rooftop and alerted the police about him nearly a minute and a half before shots were fired at Trump.[48][49] A Butler Township police officer attempted to climb to the roof of the building in search of Crooks, hoisted by another officer. Crooks spotted the officer while the officer’s hands were clinging to the edge of the roof and aimed his rifle at the officer, at which point the officer let go, falling 8 feet (2.4 m) to the ground and severely injuring his ankle. Crooks undertook the assassination attempt immediately following the confrontation with the officer.

My question for today is “Suppose that the Secret Service and local law enforcement actually wanted a random kid to be able to shoot and kill Donald Trump. What would they have done differently?” Short of actually handing out rifles, scopes, and ammo, how would it have been possible for the Secret Service and police to facilitate what young Mr. Crooks was trying to do?

Note that the Secret Service was supposedly at its most vigilant last weekend. “U.S. Detected Iranian Plot to Kill Trump Separate From Last Weekend’s Shooting” (NYT):

U.S. intelligence agencies were tracking what they considered a potential Iranian assassination plot against former President Donald J. Trump in the weeks before a gunman opened fire last weekend, several officials said on Tuesday, but they added that they did not believe the threat was related to the shooting that wounded Mr. Trump.

The intelligence had prompted the Secret Service to enhance security for the former president before his outdoor campaign rally in Butler, Pa., on Saturday, officials said. Yet whatever additional measures were taken did not stop a 20-year-old local man from clambering on top of a nearby warehouse roof to shoot at Mr. Trump, grazing his right ear and coming close to killing him.

American progressives now agree with Iran on both (a) Palestine, and (b) the importance of getting rid of Donald Trump?

Separately, at least according to Joe Biden and/or his minders, here are some of the threats that Mr. Crooks came close to eliminating:

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NYT: Being shot is part of a “narrative”

From the Newspaper of Record:

If getting shot is part of a “narrative” then “be the author of your own story” seems like either pretty good or truly terrible advice, depending on whether being shot is a required part of any narrative.

Separately, let’s have another look, courtesy of the New York Post, at the threat to a single human that overwhelmed the Biden administration’s $3 billion/year Secret Service:

Then recall that we are informed by the media that the same administration is more than qualified to tackle what it says is an “existential threat” to all humans.

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Why do the non-Deplorables deplore the Trump shooting?

I’m in a chat group with a few Deplorables, a couple of whom are gun nuts. I’ve been trying to get some of my software expert witness work done before EAA AirVenture (“Oshkosh”) and thus was in the middle of a real-time work session when the Trump shooting occurred. I ]wasn’t paying close attention to the chat group, for which I get alerts, or the news, for which I don’t get alerts. During a short break in the work, during which I scanned the gun nuts’ exchange, I responded with the following:

I haven’t checked the news, but let me guess: all of the people who said that Donald Trump would end our democracy (i.e., destroy the U.S. as we know it), kill Americans who identify as “pregnant people” by denying them abortion care, kill Americans by refusing to order masks, school closures, and lockdowns next time a respiratory virus comes through, etc. are now saying that it is reprehensible that someone would try to preserve American democracy and American lives by killing the one big threat to both.

As soon as work was done, I checked Twitter. I refreshed my memory by sampling some Democrat thought-leadership… According to “the big guy”, we could “lose everything”, including our democracy, if anyone votes for Donald Trump:

Joe Biden hadn’t changed his mind (such as it is) as of last month:

Also, from June 28 (screen shot in case this gets memory-holed):

How does Joe Biden feel about the failure of the rifleman to neutralize the dire/genuine threat to our democracy that he identified and, therefore, the continued realistic possibility that we will soon “lose everything”? Joe Biden is “grateful” and “praying for [Donald Trump]” (i.e., praying that Americans continue to be threatened):

Let’s check the New York Times. “Is Donald Trump a Threat to Democracy?” (NYT, December 16, 2016) answers the question in the affirmative. Here’s the worst part:

There are signs that Mr. Trump seeks to diminish the news media’s traditional role by using Twitter, video messages and public rallies to circumvent the White House press corps and communicate directly with voters…

Also, Trump would seek to imprison the political opposition:

An even more basic norm under threat today is the idea of legitimate opposition. … Governments throughout history have used the claim that their opponents are disloyal or criminal or a threat to the nation’s way of life to justify acts of authoritarianism.

The idea of legitimate opposition has been entrenched in the United States since the early 19th century, disrupted only by the Civil War. That may now be changing, however, as right-wing extremists increasingly question the legitimacy of their liberal rivals. …

Such extremism, once confined to the political fringes, has now moved into the mainstream. … Mr. Trump’s campaign centered on the claim that Hillary Clinton was a criminal who should be in jail; and “Lock her up!” was chanted at the Republican National Convention. In other words, leading Republicans — including the president-elect — endorsed the view that the Democratic candidate was not a legitimate rival.

Did the newspaper of record’s opinion change over the intervening 8 years? No. Just two days ago, the NYT said that Trump was “Dangerous in Word, Deed, and Action”:

(How is this dark NYT image different from Catherine the Great wondering if there was any chance that her 34-year-old husband, Peter III, might develop a fatal health condition while in prison? Or Henry II’s “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”)

The clear thinkers at the NYT have been warning us for at least 8 years about the dangers of Donald Trump being anywhere near the levers of power. What do they now say? “The Attack on Donald Trump Is Antithetical to America”:

It is a mercy that Donald Trump was not seriously injured by gunfire at an evening campaign rally … We hope that Mr. Trump recovers quickly and fully.

They want the person whom they said would end American democracy to “recover quickly and fully”? They don’t at least hope he’ll be incapacitated through November 5, 2024?

Given all of the above, I rate my prediction in the chat group exchange as TRUE.

Readers: Have you found any examples of a righteous person admitting that there is at least an apparent logical contradiction between his/her/zir/their previous vilification and expressed fear of Donald Trump and current expressed hope that Donald Trump be preserved from any future harm?

(Personally, I do hope that our fellow Palm Beach County taxpayer Donald Trump recovers completely. And I have to say that I’m impressed by his apparent sangfroid. How many among us can say that our courage has been tested with an actual shooting? But my well-wishing isn’t a logical contradiction because I did not previously express an opinion that Mr. Trump was dangerous, a threat, or likely to end American democracy. (I did say that I preferred both Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis as candidates, but not that I expected or demanded everyone else in America to agree with me.))


  • Mar-a-Lago and the Palm Event (from March 2024; “The most hated man in America appeared midway through the event to welcome the guests, praise the organization, praise the musical and theatrical talent, etc. Donald Trump was gracious and did not mention politics nor did he talk about himself. He had no teleprompter.”)

Update: Let’s also check out Kamala Harris. Last month, “[Donald Trump] is a threat to our democracy and our fundamental freedoms.”

Four days ago, “wants to turn our democracy into a dictatorship”:

This evening, “praying for Donald Trump” and “relieved” that the pathway to dictatorship for the U.S. is still available:

.. and the Washington Post:

But when people draw parallels between Donald Trump’s 2024 candidacy and Hitler’s progression from fringe figure to Great Dictator, we aren’t joking. Those of us who hope to preserve our democratic institutions need to underscore the resemblance before we enter the twilight of American democracy.

How about this evening?

Thankfully, Donald Trump is reported to be “fine” after an apparent attempt on his life

(They’re happy that the person they called Hitler With a Golf Cart Instead of a Volkswagen is hale and hearty.)

The New Republic should get an award for clarity. I’m going to leave this “Trump = Hitler” cover as a placeholder to see if the progressive magazine comes up with a paired “We’re sorry that the latter-day Claus von Stauffenberg did not kill Hitler” story:

We chose the cover image, based on a well-known 1932 Hitler campaign poster, for a precise reason: that anyone transported back to 1932 Germany could very, very easily have explained away Herr Hitler’s excesses and been persuaded that his critics were going overboard. After all, he spent 1932 campaigning, negotiating, doing interviews—being a mostly normal politician. But he and his people vowed all along that they would use the tools of democracy to destroy it, and it was only after he was given power that Germany saw his movement’s full face.

I will have a lot more respect for The New Republic if they say that they’re sad the modern Claus von Stauffenberg wasn’t more successful than the original Claus von Stauffenberg.

Monday update: It seems that The New Republic is slower than other progressive Democrat media outlets, but not more logically consistent. “Trump Assassination Horror: “America Is Not Ready For What Comes Next” (July 15, 2024):

After the despicable attempt to kill Trump, a reporter who writes regularly about political violence explains how deeply unprepared we are for the terrible escalation that may now be coming. … At the time of this recording, we know little about the attempt to assassinate Donald Trump. He was hit in the ear, but thankfully doesn’t appear seriously injured.

It’s “despicable” to kill a person whom they said was a defrosted Hitler and they are thankful that Hitler wasn’t seriously injured. I sampled the podcast and the main issue, it seems, is violence perpetrated by Republicans. So just maybe the magazine’s position can be considered consistent with the Hitler cover. They’re thankful that Trump wasn’t more seriously injured because a serious injury would be more likely to result in violence against noble Democrats, not because they they want Trump to be alive and well. And the shooter was “despicable” because his action could have resulted in violence against noble/precious Democrats.

I’m not a Tucker Carlson fan, but I discovered “Tucker Carlson stokes conspiracies, claims U.S. is ‘speeding towards’ assassination of Trump” (NBC) from September 1, 2023:

“If you begin with criticism, then you go to protest, then you go to impeachment, now you go to indictment and none of them work. What’s next? Graph it out, man. We’re speeding towards assassination, obviously. … They have decided — permanent Washington, both parties have decided — that there’s something about Trump that’s so threatening to them, they just can’t have him,” Carlson said in the interview, which was posted online Wednesday.

In far-right and conspiratorial circles, Trump has long been presented as the target of a vast plot orchestrated in part by Washington’s “deep state” as well as the Democratic establishment and the news media. The former president has embraced this worldview, referring to himself as a “victim” and the center of a “witch hunt.”

NBC reassured readers that this theory was “presented without evidence” and only someone gullible enough to believe a conspiracy theory would consider the possibility of an attack on literal Hitler.

The New York Post shows us the threat with which the $3 billion/year Secret Service was confronted:

Is it fair to say that the Biden administration’s Secret Service is at least as effective as the Biden administration’s Department of Homeland Security, responsible for securing the border?

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A Constitutional amendment to impose an age limit of 67 on the President?

An immigrant physician friend, simply based on videos that she watched in 2020, diagnosed Joe Biden with dementia four years ago and referred to him as “the senile puppet” long before the New York Times editorial board noticed that anything was wrong. Democrats now believe that Joe Biden’s cognitive abilities are insufficient to handle the job of U.S. President. Democrats also hate Donald Trump and there are at least some Republicans who prefer Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley to Mr. Trump.

I wonder if these groups could get together and do a quickie amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would impose a mandatory retirement age of 67 (the current Social Security full retirement age for those born after 1960) on the job. We need three-fourths of the states to ratify such an amendment and then both the Republicans and Democrats would have to nominate younger politicians for the November election.

We’ve already got a minimum of 35:

Why not a maximum?

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Is Donald Trump worse than George Washington?

In George Washington, Mules, and Donald Trump (2015), I quoted from a book about the Oregon Trail:

George Washington was America’s original maharaja of mules. Historians have long been squeamish about acknowledging that General Washington, like many of the American founders, was a voracious land speculator. Few academics and high school history teachers want to risk their careers by suggesting to their students that the father of their country worked the same day job as Donald Trump. Washington was a land developer, often described as the richest of his generation. By the end of the American Revolution, General Washington controlled about sixty thousand acres of land, more than half of it in the promising frontier country west of the Alleghenies, in what we today call West Virginia, Ohio, and western Pennsylvania. Wresting clear title to this rich bounty of soil from the English crown may not have been a principal motive for fighting the Revolutionary War, but Washington knew that he would profit mightily if independence was achieved.

Donald Trump has now been convicted by New York Democrats of (a) paying a prostitute, and (b) trying to make it look like he didn’t pay a prostitute. For this crime, which somehow expanded into 34 crimes (would someone please explain this?), Trump could be sentenced to more than 100 years in prison. (If Trump had murdered someone in New York State, he could be imprisoned for 15-25 years.)

I visited the North Carolina Museum of Art this week. The curators explain that George Washington was involved in “indigenous dispossession” (not such a bad dispossession that any of the curators want to give their own land back to the Native Americans and pay rent for it?) and also “enslavement of 317 Africans”.

Slavery and stealing from/killing Indians both sound bad, but on the other hand, a political party opposing George Washington never managed to convict him of any crimes. Are we thus forced to conclude that Donald Trump is definitively a worse person than George Washington, the enslaver of 317 lives (all of which matter)?

Update: two days after the case ended, the entire New York Times front page is devoted to the glorious conviction. Note that one article (bottom right) is by a reformed sinner. Democrats reject religion (except Islam?), but work within established conventions for religious worship:

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Was anything new revealed by the New York Democrats’ trial of Donald Trump?

Some friends who are Democrats have been obsessively and gleefully following the New York trial of Donald Trump. When I asked them what they’ve learned, however, they’re unable to offer anything beyond what was already fairly alleged prior to the trial, i.e., an American got paid for having sex and then the same person got paid some additional money as a result of that sex act. A “dog bites man” story, in other words, since (a) the U.S. has for many years been the world leader in the percentage of GDP devoted to compensating people for prior sex acts, and (b) a ruling party putting a political opponent on trial has been conventional in many nations for more than 100 years.

Readers: Have you learned anything new or interesting from press coverage of this trial?

My dream: A South Park episode in which the entire trial happens in South Park so as to ensure an unbiased jury pool.

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Florida asset protection for homestead, insurance, and annuities (why Democrats can’t sue Donald Trump into poverty)

On recent trips to the San Francisco Bay Area and Boston, friends who are Democrats spoke gleefully about the prospect of Donald Trump being reduced to poverty via lawsuits. While this might be straightforward in California or Maskachusetts, stripping a Floridian of all of his/her/zir/their wealth is more challenging.

Florida law shields insurance policies and annuity contracts from creditors. Statute 222.13, for example:

Whenever any person residing in the state shall die leaving insurance on his or her life, the said insurance shall inure exclusively to the benefit of the person for whose use and benefit such insurance is designated in the policy, and the proceeds thereof shall be exempt from the claims of creditors of the insured unless the insurance policy or a valid assignment thereof provides otherwise. Notwithstanding the foregoing, whenever the insurance, by designation or otherwise, is payable to the insured or to the insured’s estate or to his or her executors, administrators, or assigns, the insurance proceeds shall become a part of the insured’s estate for all purposes and shall be administered by the personal representative of the estate of the insured in accordance with the probate laws of the state in like manner as other assets of the insured’s estate.

That would seem to protect only the family of an insured after his/her/zir/their death. But then there is 222.14:

Exemption of cash surrender value of life insurance policies and annuity contracts from legal process.—The cash surrender values of life insurance policies issued upon the lives of citizens or residents of the state and the proceeds of annuity contracts issued to citizens or residents of the state, upon whatever form, shall not in any case be liable to attachment, garnishment or legal process in favor of any creditor of the person whose life is so insured or of any creditor of the person who is the beneficiary of such annuity contract, unless the insurance policy or annuity contract was effected for the benefit of such creditor.

Donald Trump could take an unlimited percentage of his wealth and stuff it into a whole life policy and then Florida state law might protect him from, for example, Democrats in New York.

How about 20-acre Mar-a-Lago, worth either $18 million or “hundreds of millions” depending on when you tuned into CNN. It looks like the house and central 1/2 acre of land (maybe this isn’t even the entire house?) can be protected from creditors as long as it it Donald Trump’s primary residence. This is based on the Florida Constitution:

Separately, for those who want to remember the good old Trump days… the U.S. Mint’s Donald Trump medal:

It looks as though they’ve captured the godlike powers that Democrats ascribe to Mr. Trump, e.g., immortality. Age might tarnish this medal, but never the Donald himself!

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Mar-a-Lago and the Palm Event

Despite not being a member of the Palm Beach elite or even elite-adjacent, I managed to bust into Mar-a-Lago recently for an annual event that benefits a local children’s charity, A Place of Hope. Why would anyone want to go to Mar-a-Lago? It’s a National Historic Landmark and important as an example of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. The centrality of this style of architecture to South Florida is explained in Bubble in the Sun book: even those with the best information can’t predict a crash and, in fact, our neighborhood within Abacoa is all Spanish Colonial Revival.

The most hated man in America appeared midway through the event to welcome the guests, praise the organization, praise the musical and theatrical talent, etc. Donald Trump was gracious and did not mention politics nor did he talk about himself. He had no teleprompter. Only a small percentage of the guests mentioned Donald Trump or seemed to have the November election on their minds, but there were exceptions. In the It’s Not a Cult Category:

(Is the “most hated man” appellation accurate? Far more people hate Trump than, for example, Jose Antonio Ibarra (the migrant arrested for the murder of Laken Riley).)

The Mar-a-Lago staff put on a copious buffet. I asked about a dozen of the workers how they liked working there and all were positive, with the exception of a seasonal worker from South Africa who was neutral.

Sadly, we didn’t get to go into the original main house, but some of the architectural details were interesting nonetheless:

What did people drive to the event? Ferrari was a common choice:

More unusual Ferraris were selected for display closer to the house rather than simply parked in the back yard. The silver Enzo below might be worth $4 million. (Remember that Democrats agreed that all of Mar-a-Lago was worth $18 million at his trial in New York, though now CNN’s experts say that it is worth “hundreds of millions”.)

For my friends who are Porsche fans, though it was much more an event for Ferrari nerds:

Rolls-Royce was well-represented. They love their colors:

People wouldn’t think less of you if you showed up in a humble Ford:

I had some difficulty connecting with the local Honda Odyssey owner’s club at the event, but it was a pleasant crowd of people and one in which trust prevails. I managed to lose my valet parking ticket and was able to pick up my car without being asked to prove my identity or association with the car (I knew where it was in the parking lot because I’d been taking photos).

Speaking of cars and Florida, I’ve had to replaced all four tires and the battery recently on the 3-year-old Odyssey. The summer-all-the-time weather is tough on both tires and batteries, apparently.

Related (on the subject of elites in and around Palm Beach)…

(This is the official airport management Twitter account.)

And regarding the challenge of maintenance:

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