226 Comments
Nov 20, 2022Liked by Joyce Vance

I so appreciate your insight. I became a fan of yours thru MSNBC and signed up for your newsletter. I so look forward to your calm, logical and smartly “simple” explanations of all this calamity. Keep up the good work. Somebody smart said, “We’re all in this together”. ✊🏻

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I agree. Cafe Insider lived up to its considerable promise only when JV joined.

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Thank you Stephanie for saying what is also in my heart and mind.

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I think the appointment of the Special Counsel is appropriate. AG Merrick Garland is a by-the-book type of prosecutor. This Special Counsel, Jack Smith, has direct experience supervising the DOJ's Public Integrity Section having overseen it AFTER the Ted Stevens debacle. The fact that he has been at The Hague for the last four years means that he apparently managed to avoid somewhat the politicization of the DOJ during the Barr Administration. This Special Counsel started his career in the Brooklyn U.S. Attorneys' Office, which like other NYC U.S. Attorneys' Offices has among the best prosecutors. I am the type of institutionalist that likes seeing important high profile cases handled by career prosecutors.

I don't think it will delay any indictment by much. And I think it will streamline the bureaucracy & put as point person someone with a lot of relevant trial experience. If the case cannot be succinctly explained to him, it is not ready. And by bringing in a new supervisor it is bringing in a fresh pair of eyes. I tend to think Garland brought Smith in because he believes that the case is nearly ready for indictment

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Nov 20, 2022Liked by Joyce Vance

Yes. The more I read about this appointment the more I like it. People have been complaining that Garland is too cautious to go after Trump, now we have a prosecutor who has tried Presidents and has a reputation for being tough. (Trump can boast that he's so important they brought in the big guns.) I also notice that he is in charge of the two cases: J6 and stolen documents. I suspect those teams were separately led before. And most importantly this observation from Heather Cox Richardson, "It is also of note that a special counsel can be removed only for misconduct, insulating the investigations from the new Republican majority in the House." Elsewhere I've read that the special counsel appointment continues no matter what happens politically - even into (god forbid!) a 2024 republican president.

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I’ve heard so much back and forth about the new special counsel. Lots of pundits are easy to criticize Garland’s decision but I think wisdom is at play here and Smith is going to knock it out of the park. If there is one thing I’ve learned during the midterms, stay focused on a positive outcome.

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Could you provide specific examples of Smith "knocking it out of the park" stateside against high profile suspects? While focusing on a positive outcome did help to achieve holding back the fascists, BARELY. The reality is many of us are living in fascist run states and every race at every level had at least 30% votes for fascism. Some races the percentage of fascist votes was 50%or more. Thinking positive is not going to resolve this. Prosecution of the high level criminals will.

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Nov 20, 2022Liked by Joyce Vance

What surprised me a little was Neil Katyal not liking the move. But Lawrence Tribe has changed his mind and sees it as a positive appointment. The malignant narcissist lashed

out, so that's positive. Looking forward to Joyce's opinion and learning what the chickens and Joyce's German Shepherd think about it.

No matter how Garland handles anything, the former republicans will attack with lies. They don't like anyone who tries to apply a law to investigate them. So, sending it the case to Smith doesn't seem to matter. Both Garland and Smith will be attacked to keep this country moving into the rocks below. That's their obvious mission from billionaires.

I see Smith, with a magnificent resume that make me cringe, because we have use for that expertise on the former president (yikes) while the work continues as he gets to speed really quickly. Just remember it only takes one person who's part of the cult to not convict the dude who said, ""I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK?" We've learned that he has been right thus far. It makes my head spin.

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Nov 20, 2022·edited Nov 20, 2022Liked by Joyce Vance

Lawrence Tribe has been one of my legal heroes since I went to law school many years ago. His endorsement of the appointment of the Special Counsel has done a lot towards calming me about this move. I think it does remove the investigation and—dare I say it?—prosecution from a more political realm, and insulate it from Republican reprisals. But I fear the appointment will delay indictment and allow the trump circus to continue its grifting and lying until the 🤡 is possibly re-elected.

On the other hand, more chicken news please!

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But Smith's conviction rate for high profile cases stateside is very poor. This concerns me.

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Show me a prosecutor who doesn't lose cases & I will show you a prosecutor who cherry-picks their trials.

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Smith is our generation’s Archibald Cox. At least we don’t have Barr around to fire our special prosecutor. Let’s give Smith a chance to do what Archibald Cox was never allowed to do. One thing I think I know for certain is that we need to get this prosecutorial train moving out of the station.

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Understand but in my non legal opinion, some have not focused on is the enormous amount of Pols on the Hill and throughout the Country. I think we are somewhere north of a hundred. Many serve in Congress . This is a monumental task and glad Garland is officially moving some of the load to Smith. He is also protecting the investigation and documents from the reach of H committees where their sole mission is to place as many roadblocks in the way in order to protect themselves and Trump. I too, like you, are willing to be patient. Maybe me more but we both want the same thing.

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Understand your concern but there is much we may not know. He also had a string of wins.

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For me there is too much at stake to place hope on such a poor record of conviction.

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Thank you, Joyce, for brightening my day with your chicken video and pictures. 😀

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My hope and prayer is that the Special Counsel, Mr Smith, will live into his reputation and continue with alacrity the Justice Department’s excellent work thus far. I despair the the man-child Elon has let Trump back on Twitter. Maybe Trump will keep his word to not go back to Twitter. But I doubt it.

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Nov 20, 2022Liked by Joyce Vance

Joyce - Along with Chuck Rosenberg, no one breaks down the events and issues of the day better than you. Both of you take the time to articulate a clear and understandable analysis of the complex stories that all of us face every day. Thanks for your wisdom.....and thanks for sharing the activity of your chickens!! It truly is a welcome and funny break from the insanity swirling around on a daily basis.

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Nov 20, 2022·edited Nov 20, 2022Liked by Joyce Vance

Your post reminded me of the importance being grateful and taking time to just be present. This week is a welcome diversion for me, planning and cooking for my family. I too played with my three new Speckled Sussex chicks and loved on my old horse. I’m hopeful about the new special counsel, mostly because I listen to people like you who are wise in these matters. Happy Thanksgiving!

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I think Speckled Sussex chickens are so incredibly beautiful! Would love to get to see yours!

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They are awkward teens now but I’m hoping for big beautiful hens! These are my first speckled variety. I just keep finding more I have to have!

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How old is your horse? My gelding Comet is 24.

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Sabrina he is 28! I’m still lazy trail riding in the cool months but mostly just hang out with him. Thunder is a huge part of my life!

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That is so lovely! I still ride Comet regularly all year. He is my Steady Eddie. He is looking more like a Teddy Bear than a horse at the moment.

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Fluffy chicken bottoms! I have never thought to appreciate fluffy chicken bottoms. And the wall behind them looks like a beautiful abstract painting. I could stare at it all day (when not distracted by chicken bottoms...) Thank you for all this.

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We call it chicken tv. You see down to watch them and it becomes impossible to tear yourself away!

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Nov 20, 2022Liked by Joyce Vance

I noticed the wall, too. It's beautiful (as are the chickens)!

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I'll share all the compliments for the wall to the dear friend who built it for us. I built beds out of railroad ties when we moved into the house 25 years ago. I didn't a mediocre job, but in my defense, I was 6 months pregnant. It's been great to have those really pretty walls there—they look especially good with Lavender blooming in front of them.

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Yes, that is a gorgeous wall!

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I so agree about fluffy chicken bottoms.

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Nov 20, 2022Liked by Joyce Vance

Needed this today. Chicken bottoms and all. Thanks, JV.

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I liked finding out that, when he took leadership of the public integrity unit, Smith was asked by a reporter if he was worried about the political power that subjects of his investigations might wield against him, and he replied "If I was someone who could be cowed, I'd have sought a different line of work." I think Trump should be trembling in his shoes.

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I was a journalist for 40 years. Someone once asked me if it might be unethical of me to accept a cup of coffee from someone I was interviewing for a feature story. I said if I could be swayed by a cup of coffee I was in the wrong business. Less intense that Smith's but same idea.

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Nov 20, 2022Liked by Joyce Vance

You and the Sisters-in-law are better than any game that will be played in the history of foozeball or pickle ball. I look forward to all our batteries being charged and coming out of a holiday buzz to enjoy how the rule of law will finally provide the exit for a primordial grifter and his acolytes. For all the folks who cannot afford to even cuss me out because of their lack of any way to communicate their discontent, I will never forget how much I have to be grateful for. I am a work in progress. Grateful for all your writings, Joyce.

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Nov 20, 2022Liked by Joyce Vance

I love your entry to discussion with the beautiful chicken and chicks. Life is beautiful there. I still cry that my husband has died and no one in his family invites me for the holidays. I don’t know why. So that I don’t make myself deeply depressed I’m doing everything I like about Christmas. 🎄 I just ordered a big wreath for the front door and I’m making the Québécois foods I was taught by my great-grandmother and my grandfather. We lived in Salem, Massachusetts where we’d lived for many years and our families on my mother’s side went back to the days of the witches and beyond. My dearest friend still lives there where I was born too. We are deeply connected that way, as my 11th great grandfather was chairman of the grand jury that sentenced 2 of her 11th great-grandmothers to be hung. How lucky we were that the governor put a stop to all these and we lived generations to know one another and face the curse that would dissolve. We both write about Salem. This makes every holiday special. Thank you for your posts. Have a good Thanksgiving.🦃

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I'm so sorry for your loss, but glad you're able to throw yourself into doing things you love. Ever since I read the Witch from Blackbird Pond in second or third grade, I've been obsessed with everything about the Salem Witch trials. I'd love to get to read more of your work--please share the information about where we can find you? It sounds like you have a fascinating story to tell.

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Nov 20, 2022·edited Nov 20, 2022Liked by Joyce Vance

Thank you. My friend, Brunonia Barry is the one who is published. I write about experiences working on my own. While her books take place in today, my work takes place in the past in our hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. My 11th great-grandfather sentenced two of her 11th great-grandmother’s to the gallows. Fortunately the governor put a stop on sentencing people to death for the accused, and Brunonia and I are here to tell the tales. With any luck you will get to read my book one day.

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Hi joyce - i too am very fascinated about all that happened in Salem with the witch trials. I visited Salem many years ago - such an adorable town with so much history - looking forward to going back one day.

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Nov 20, 2022·edited Nov 20, 2022

Side interest: The area where we call home has a history since its beginning that has many similar experiences that are here with us still today. My grandfather lived on a street that you can look down and see historic places like The House of Seven Gables. I Hope to move back home since my husband died, but all seems to look almost an insurmountable a task.

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You write a beautiful story that demonstrates what values bring you joy! The best gift you can give yourself is to reawaken any parts of your soul that had been lying dormant as you moved through earlier seasons of life. I hope that doing so brings memories of times shared with your husband also.

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Nov 20, 2022Liked by Joyce Vance

I am so glad you found a way to get some down time, especially down on the farm with chickens time. It’s been a crazy few weeks and I know you are doing an amazing amount of work to keep us informed and ahead of the game. And what a game it is.

I’m in Florida, where we just can’t move faster than our despicable governor. Our state is gerrymandered and voter suppressed and yet I still hope we can do better in 2024 than we did this year. It is disheartening, but the work must go on.

I know you spend some time on Twitter and I do as well. It’s stranger than it’s ever been. The former guy was allowed back. I have him blocked but that doesn’t stop many people from tweeting out the stuff he does. This will and has directly lead, already, to even more hate on that site. It’s exhausting but we can’t look away, even though I really want to.

All this to say, I’m glad I have dogs. They aren’t as pocket sized as the chickens but they are a great reminder of the good in the world. Thanks for reminding us to take the time to recharge.

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There’s been lot of noise ever since Elon Musk took over Twitter about him letting Trump back onto the platform..I decided that would be my line in the sand..Finally today when that was reported to be happening I shut down my account and dumped it..

I have been thinking about that decision and I realize that it was actually less about Trump and more about Musk..With all of the stupid things he has been doing and tweeting, all of the observant writing about the goings-on at the company, I had just had enough of Elon Musk..

I dumped my Facebook and Instagram presents so many years ago I can’t even remember, now I am without any of these platforms..It is a rather liberating feeling..The place where I’ve discovered a sense of comfort, belonging and sanctuary is on Substack..

”Civil Discourse”, “America America”, “The Warning”, “Letters From An American”. I’m happy to be a member of these committees..where my batteries get a daily recharge..This is the thing I did for myself..

Happy Thanksgiving everybody..

Cheers,

Sam

P.S. The way I’m hearing Jack Smith characterized by those whom I have great respect, makes me feel I can relax..I'm eager to read what you have to say about him Joyce..

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I find your comments validating, as I have never used any of those platforms. I can't remember how I found Substack, but I find it to be a sanctuary for me as well...a place to reckon with reality with optimism, and finding so many kindred spirits. I wish all of you a very warm and beautiful Thanksgiving.

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After having just received an email telling me that my remarks were liked I took the time to reread them.. I found the grammatical blunder below..I try very hard to keep my word usage together, and when I stumble such as I've done in these remarks in a text for example, I send a correction like the following:

*presence..not presents

By doing this it hopefully keeps me sharp..

Cheers!

P.S. My very good friend Julia for the past 30 plus years will simply send the correct word back to me without saying a thing..

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Nov 20, 2022Liked by Joyce Vance

I was comforted by your recent tweet that the appointment of a special counsel would not more than minimally (I.e. a couple weeks) slow down the investigative process. An indictment is coming, in my view, and I think the only real debate is whether the harder to prove crimes will be included. But all that can wait. It is time to be thankful. Among the many things I’m grateful for this year is the certainty, to quote a sage, that we’re all in this together. Thanks for being a sensible voice of explanation in a swirl of chaos. And thanks for sharing your chickens. We all have our “chickens” in one form or another, and your inclusion of them is a constant reminder to set aside the urgent and spend time with the important. Happy thanksgiving to you and yours.

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Good use of a Saturday. Always time for analysis and writing later.

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I am so glad to hear, Joyce, that you found some time to spend outside with the chickens. I can’t imagine how you find time for teaching, podcasting, and doing commentary for MSNBC. But I got a lot more done when I was your age.

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I don't sleep a lot :)

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Nov 20, 2022Liked by Joyce Vance

I had a flock of two dozen chickens that I raised from the hatchling stage when I lived up in NW Connecticut. What a joy they were! I miss mine, and love seeing yours.

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