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Culture War Roundup for the week of August 14, 2023

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This place has made me more anxious, more prejudiced, more frustrated, more hopeless, less compassionate, less able to appreciate beauty, less joyful.

For what it's worth I sympathize, and I have found myself participating less and less of late for much the same reasons. I find myself wondering why I'm wasting my time arguing with idiots and assholes here when I could be playing with my kids or spooning with their mother. The counter is that little voice in the back of my head that tells me that the righteous are in no need of a priest, and that a physician goes where the sick are. Maybe that's arrogant of me but that's what it is.

Edit to Elaborate: "Be the change you want to see" is one of those stupid fucking cliches that is also a deep wisdom. One that people in general, and rationalists in particular, seem to shy away from out of fear of appearing stupid or being taken for a sucker. Why "cooperate" when "defect" is an option? they ask. The answer takes many forms depending on context but what it ultimately boils down to "people like you are why we can't have nice things".

When @BurdensomeCount asks Are you stupid or am I evil? the answer is "yes". We are all at least a little bit stupid, we are all at least a little bit evil, but that doesn't mean you should be the sort of guy who wears flip-flops in the foundry.

FWIW I hope you stick around but will wish you well if you don't. Do what you must.

I think this is false. Every idea that ever mattered didn’t start out with political power. The American Revolution probably started out in pubs before it became a mass movement. Same with the French Revolution. Communism started out that way and academically does have some appeal but fails in the real world. CRT was a bunch of professors in academia before it owned everything. The origin of the gay rights movement I believe was a bunch of gay men in bath houses in San Francisco.

HBD is a quant discipline so I don’t think it’s going to be popular with most of society or a store clerk. I do think it’s fairly popular in the mainstream in a different form. For instance the movie “White Men Can’t Jump” everyone just accepts the premise. That’s as blatantly hbd as anything.

I'd actually go even further - if you do not take the knowledge gained from HBD into account your society will fail or otherwise incur significant costs that can only be papered over with extravagant amounts of energy or plunder (i.e. the modern era or historical empires). But more than that, the idea that HBD isn't going to play a role in the future is just flat out wrong. As you've noted, there's an instinctive understanding of HBD baked into most people and most of popular culture(as long as you're talking about acceptable targets), but there's actually a far bigger nexus for HBD thought - China. HBD et al (or whatever the Chinese term for those theories are) is commonly accepted at all levels of society and factored into government policy, and China is one of the largest and most influential countries in the world right now - urquan isn't just wrong about the future, he's wrong about the present.

guess this is the only comment i can reply to.

you raging about threads here is a tough look. same for deleting your top-level, something @ZorbaTHut & co should block as an option, at least when the thread it's in is the weekly.

i don't know of anywhere online where discussion is as good as the motte. i see twitter commentators racking up followers and media appearances/cred for observations that are at best watered down versions of ideas posted here years ago. it's all i think of with the hanania hubub. his pieces i've read, not many, would receive bipartisan scorn if posted by a rando here. yet i see people here treating him with respect and i know a lot of that is only because he's a known name. it's not his old and just bad arguments, it's certainly not his asinine leaps in reasoning or pure worse writing. not when a lot of people here could go on twitter and make a name for themselves, and i think more than a few would do better than hanania. how couldn't they? he'd be a motte washout.

i maybe get some bit of what you're feeling, i try to comment only when i think i have something to add. but i'm tired of people being critical of this place because they can't get a handle on their own emotions, whatever the angry/nihilist/impotent root. yeah in some cases, by no means all, quality dips here because a matter's clearly settled and there's no good faith arguing to be done. or to counter my own point, because it's been hashed out and explored enough everybody knows the positions and without anything novel it suffers from repetitiveness. but in whole, the motte is better at so novel and astute posts than all of substack. i'd like to find the time and impetus to contribute one of those, maybe you should strive for that too. posting something truly interesting, not attention-seeking complaining on the meta level of the best place for real discussion on the english-speaking internet.

also--scott stepped back from this community because for all his brilliance, he greatly lacks conviction.

I was really hoping that hyperlink was to a story about some idiot wearing flip flops at a foundry because that would prove to me the multiverse theory!

I like this place, but I think it's gotten too right-dominated since the move from Reddit. I come here to be challenged by people to my left who are both smart and intellectually honest, a rare breed. The only other place where I could find them was the SSC Discord, and they permabanned me. (The adjacent servers also have a uniform rule to ban me if I ever talk politics.) So I'm stuck here regardless of my criticisms, but I wish it was leftier.

Do you see the irony in "I wish we had more leftists, like that other place where they ban anyone who isn't leftist"?

They didn't ban me for not being a leftist, bro. They banned me because of my significant personality problems that made me impossible for the management to deal with. They had a number of right-wingers there as of the last time I checked (which is admittedly over 3 years ago), and I hear the new admin is an anti-woke libertarian (so basically right-wing).

I just want to be challenged more.

More lefty people would be nice, but even more than that I'd just like more perspectives, and more topics, whether about tangential political issues or even nonpolitical ones.

Agreed. It feels like there's a lack of new blood and new ideas. Not an unexpected problem, but still there's no solution.

We need to hire paid shills. Not to advertise this site, but to post on it. Maybe we can find some Correct the Record or JIDF alumni!

I must be getting old because the idea of someone standing out as "new blood" just sounds annoying. As for new ideas, I suppose you're right, but it's not like they can be found anywhere else.

Come to think of it there seems to be a distinct lack of energy at the moment. As much as I hated it, back during the rise of BreadTube it was undeniable the energy was there. I tend to think it's for the better, the last decade was a wild ride, I don't think you can do anything constructive in that kind of atmosphere.

I find myself wondering why I'm wasting my time arguing with idiots and assholes here when I could be playing with my kids or spooning with their mother.

My personal approach to dealing with this is that I reserve my motte posting for downtime at work. At most I'll look at replies I've received when extremely bored, but I've done almost all of my posting here during times I'm ostensibly meant to be performing my actual job. I should probably use this time on more productive habits, but posting here is fun and enjoyable... and I can dimly justify the time spent here as polishing my rhetorical skills and understanding of the world for my actual creative endeavours.

I'll admit that I've always been vaguely puzzled by the posters here who claim to be worried about getting canceled (as distinct from getting banned by theMotte's mods) for their postings here but now I realize that there are people here who are posting from work. Fucking A, am I really such an ancient-fag that I just took it as a given that no one here was dumb enough to post using their work or school account?

It's not like this account has my work username or profile attached to it in any way, I (mayhaps foolishly) trust the moderation staff here not to go "HEY LOOK THIS DUDE BELIEVES IN HBD, CAN SOMEONE TRACK HIS IP SO WE CAN GET HIM FIRED" because that's the only way I'll get doxxed outside of revealing myself. That said I do find it amusing that you called me dumb while simultaneously somehow believing that my randomly generated Reddit username is the official corporate branding of my employer.

  • Smartphones are a thing these days, grandpa.
  • A sufficiently motivated mob will find out who you are from the few traces you leave behind, find out where you work, and spam your employer about how horrible you are. Not posting from work won't save you.

you're not using your own phone though are you?

Who's phone am I supposed be using? That's the one I have control over, and can be sure no one is spying on.

Contrary to your position, I find the discussion in former Culture War as well as here in The Motte quite valuable, it not only serves as an aggregator of things happening, but many of the phenomena described here helped me navigating real world situations regarding the Culture War like for instance those in my workplace that to my amazement started to ramp up in last year or two. Compared to that, many of my colleagues are like megafauna waiting to go extinct one way or another by stepping on some mine unknown to them. I do not share neither the loathing for denizens of this place, nor self-loathing you display here. And I definitely do not share your view on moral superiority of Scott Alexander and his "niceness" field.

Nevertheless this would probably only "devolve" into another discussion with a loser hater witch that you are no longer interested in. So I wish for you to enjoy whatever comes next. Take care.

I feel the same way. This place is valuable as a sort of internet speakeasy. I don’t think we’re the most rigorous debate society ever, though I think we do fairly well. But what we do well is allowing people to express views that cannot be safely expressed elsewhere. I find that by itself extremely valuable, as so much of society is ruled by nannies who want to silence anything that might hurt feelings. I find that to be extremely harmful because ideas suppressed don’t go away, and some of them might be true. I’d rather face such things head on.

The Babylon project was mankind's last, best, hope for peace. It failed.

Quality contribution right here. Love it.

Sidenote, anyone know where you can stream this nowadays?

It’s on Tubi if you want an app.

For my tv needs I'm using - fmovies . to

Odysee has an insane amount of treasure found on the high sees. Their search feature kind of sucks though, but it's worth a try.

But in the year of the shadow war it became something better. Our last best hope for victory.

I find it important to sometimes take time away from all heavy controversial stuff, whether personal or political, and just do innocent stuff that I enjoy, whether that's watching videos of puppies, or reading about sports (which is often controversial but rarely heavy), or watching adventure videos on YouTube, or going outside, etc.

When I am in politics mode, I find myself bouncing back and forth.

First I go read some stuff in mainstream media or Reddit and get angry at the leftoids (the left/right distinction is pretty meaningless but I use these terms as loose pointers). Stupid fucking imbeciles! Unselfaware hypocrites who hide their desire for power behind virtue signalling! Why can't they see what's so obvious to me? Useless swine!...

So then I go to TheMotte or 4chan to get some relief, but there I get angry at the righoids. Dumb, dull-witted morons! Cruel, cold sociopaths! Supercilious geeks with withered hearts covered by layers of defense mechanisms! Fuck all of them!...

So then I go back to mainstream media or Reddit and get angry at the leftoids again...

And then I go back to TheMotte or 4chan and get angry at the rightoids again...

I have a pretty dark sense of humor and can find a lot of twisted shit really funny, so a lot of the time I'm just reading political content and laughing my ass off. I like to go to rdrama sometimes, at least they make fun of both leftoids and rightoids and understand the virtue of brevity, but I usually get tired of rdrama after a while too, there are only so many layers of irony, smugness, and compassionlessness one can endure before one wants to go look at some flowers or just go to the bar and talk to actual people in the flesh.

When my humor runs out and I start to find all the politics actually heavy instead of fun, I know I gotta take a break. Step away, go enjoy sensory experience and be around people, maybe go out and try to get laid... And when I get out and about I am usually reminded that offline, most people actually don't seem to care much about politics, and the ones that do are usually not raging leftoids or rightoids. Well, or they're hiding it, but I think for the most part that's not the case, most people just genuinely are not very gung-ho about politics.

Many have said it before and I will say it again. The Internet really overrepresents the kind of people who care enough about politics to spend all day posting about it. One person who is obsessed with politics will tend to generate 100 times more online political content than the average person. As a result, when you are reading about politics on the Internet, you are not reading a fair sample of the overall population's political thoughts. You are reading, largely, the thoughts of the kind of people who, for whatever reasons, spend a lot of time writing about politics on the Internet.

TheMotte is far from perfect and I can criticize it all day long, whether for the transparent and weak attempts to get around the rules that many posters consciously or unconsciously engage in when they feel like posting a bit of emotional venting disguised as logic and rationality, or for the lack of simple human compassion that I detect from some. But at least here I usually do not immediately get called either a communist cuck or a racist fascist when I disagree with people, so there's that. I think that relatively speaking, and I mean very relatively speaking, this place is still an island of sanity, at least if you compare it to other places where people are willing to openly discuss extremely controversial political topics.

I hope that you find a way to reconcile your feelings and find peace in this world.

The one thing I disagree with is I am nice on the internet. I would say the same things to people in person especially after a drink or two. Maybe I’m just autistic enough. The one area where I won’t speak freely is on twitter under my real name. For well obvious reasons.

Seems like I got a permaban from Reddit today. So I am retired from Reddit. I guess IP or something but my phone and laptop accounts got linked. And since I’ve gotten a few don’t be evil messages for freely speaking about anti-trans arguments guess I’m not getting back in.

On net my guess is Reddit made the world a worse place. Now I won’t even have a clue how people on the left think.

I enjoyed reading your posts, and wish you well.

Out of interest in the phenomena you describe: I don't personally relate to this, though. The most fun I've had here in the past week was this exchange, where I poorly expressed an (imo) interesting, entirely non-culture-war concept, which led to a tangential discussion of how good-faith someone was being in a voice debate. The debater I was defending held the opposite of my object-level position. I mostly just enjoyed getting into the gears of some random topic.

More generally, less than half of my comments are directly related to the culture war, and of those that are, probably more than half of them oppose my partisan lean. Most of the posts I enjoy reading also aren't directly culture-war.

My favorite comments to read (aside from 'new true insights') are the ones that capably disagree with me - this often includes pro-religion commnts. While I oppose religion on technical grounds, there are clearly many tensions in the space between christianity and liberal atheism that aren't resolved and should be.

But I do discuss CW topics. So why don't I get heated at all, even though I have very strong views? I'm used to drama tier ironic insults, so partisan overstatements aren't notably high-heat. "Annoying partisan does bad-faith attack" just seems like ... yeah, most people suck at debating, even people who are good at debating still suck a lot of the time, I suck sometimes too, just ignore it and move onto the next interesting post. I try to situate political ideas relative to historical context and their consequentialist impact on society - comparing today's 'bad thing' both to the wonders of modern life and its grand catastrophes (which don't really inspire rage as much as they do quiet dismay). Not as a psychological trick, but as an entirely practical way to understand their impact. Maybe you believe civilization is decaying morally, maybe you believe AI is about to take over - and if these are practical things you're trying to understand and fight in a small way, what about atheist #5 or republican #17 doing annoying response #351 is interesting enough to be mad about?

Hopefully my fat acceptance post didn't contribute to this.

I try to situate political ideas relative to historical context and their consequentialist impact on society - comparing today's 'bad thing' both to the wonders of modern life and its grand catastrophes (which don't really inspire rage as much as they do quiet dismay). Not as a psychological trick, but as an entirely practical way to understand their impact. Maybe you believe civilization is decaying morally, maybe you believe AI is about to take over - and if these are practical things you're trying to understand and fight in a small way, what about atheist #5 or republican #17 doing annoying response #351 is interesting enough to be mad about?

This post actually made me understand some of the points you've been trying to make elsewhere a bit more accurately. I do my best to view events in a historical context as well, but I think some of our prior disagreements stemmed from a different understanding of the significance of certain events and actions in politics.

I was very sympathetic when you wrote your first post, now I'm rather bemused. If you like it here, stay, if you don't, go. If you want to write a farewell post, that's fair enough, but I think you should only get one of those. This ain't an airport, as they say.

I think I also disagree with your main thesis. I can understand the Culture War bumming you out, I've been there, but my impression is that it wound down. This is not the Summer of Fiery But Mostly Peaceful Protests, we're not in lockdown, MeToo is not claiming a scalp every day, and it's a far cry from the fever pitch of The Trumpening. Sure, there's plenty of horrible stuff going on that you can complain about, the ground lost during these peaks of the Culture War is not going to be won back easily, if ever, but the bad juju itself seems to be fading. If I had to zero in on where you have a point, it would be this:

There have been several posts in our history (one very recent) by women interested in the motte, begging for other women who also like discussing controversial ideas to show themselves, please. I suspect the contrarianness, and closely related firmness of opinion and argumentativeness makes it difficult for women to find it enjoyable here. It's not that women don't have controversial or interesting ideas, but that, like me, they are on average higher in neuroticism, and the sort of intense argumentativeness and debate culture you find here can be incredibly off-putting. I know women in my life who enjoy highly motte-like conversations, but who have always found this community off-putting for that very reason.

Ages ago I'd have these sort of political discussions with my brother. One time his wife told me that every time we start she has to leave the room, because she feels like we're about to kill each other. We were just having fun.

I get it, it's not for everyone, and it's certainly no foul that it's not for you. But why do you have to shit on me for enjoying it?

I’ll just take this opportunity to say: not every space has to be welcoming to everyone! And that’s ok! Really!

I think it would be great if more women were encouraged to post here. But not at the expense of changing our existing culture and standards.

I know a woman who might fit right in here, not sure if she's into debating.

Fairly smart, rather fierce (due to size and dedication not a joke martial artist), guessing about 1.5-2sd+ above norm. Stunned me by bringing up eugenics on a date. Also liked to establish dominance with her German shepherds by play biting them.

I fell out of contact with her after dating didn't work out. She did however tell me she'd like having a beer and talking sometimes though.

Was ten years back. Not sure if I should try contacting her. (Tbh I doubt she remembers me, I'm nowhere near as memorable as she was).

My calculation is reminding her off her then offer could, at worst embarrass me privately, but it's really not in my comfort zone.

Yeah, and on the other hand, when in I saw them mention a woman-only forum with motte-ish vibes, my first thought was "What are you doing? Don't mention in publically!". I breathed a sigh of relief when it turned out there's a paywall, and another when it turned it's not anonymous, otherwise they'd be sure to get an influx of guys that would kill the vibe of their community.

It just seems to me that in the modern world you're given way too much information than you can handle. You receive the news all over the world every day and do you know there's a war going on and here's the latest about that, also someone is dying in Africa due to a military coup, and somewhere is a genocide...probably. Oh and don't forget about the climate change that's going to kill us all....

This information stays with me for days on end. Sure some things I just forget due to not caring or just because the information provided didn't hold in my brain, like I know about the coup, but no more than that and my brain just leaves it as not important. But other things just sit there, and very frequently I just start thinking about them even though I should really finish work on the project (procrastinating is a thing). Sometimes consciously, most times....... it ends up like this. It's like the empty space is running out on my hard drive and I'm just hoarding everything dating back to my childhood and refusing to dump it.

Just feels like humans are not designed for this type of information overload (especially if you can consider it "too much and too fast") and living in the old times was simpler.

We were never designed for this level of information intake. We're designed to live and have relationships in villages of a couple of hundred people max, with concordant gossip. Not drinking from the firehose of social media weaponised to trigger and exploit our emotions.

You can push what you've said further and imagine a dystopian Warhammer 40k type setting where the capital planetary administration receives reports from thousands of worlds of all sorts of unimaginable horrors. Anyone with access to that information stream would have to either become completely emotionally unresponsive or go insane.

I saw an interview with Sam Harris the other day on Diary of a CEO. He talks about how he deleted Twitter and his mental health improved exponentially. It's a common story, but Sam is ostensibly meant to have a strong mind and even he had to take a step back.

Given that you've blocked me and wrote this post shortly after I replied to you, I can't help but feel like I'm one of the people you're talking about. I don't personally feel like an asshole or like someone who has particularly inflexible opinions (outside my bugbears wrt to Russiagate), but c'est la vie. I can't recall getting angry at anyone on here, even if I disagree with them, and I find the argumentativeness animating rather than dispiriting. For the record, there wasn't any animosity or desire for point-scoring in my comments. But then again I'm a poster who cut their teeth on anonymous imageboards, so maybe my own internal evaluation is miscalibrated when compared to the broader internet. I've noticed more of a compulsion to post here in some cases, but the only negative aspersion I feel like casting is that it sometimes feels like the internet points I get from posting is more closely related to the position that I take rather than the quality of my post. That said...

And I myself can identify. I've thought about leaving dozens of times, because I said something that got negative pushback, or was upset by people making strong claims with which I have fundamental values clashes. (I'm sure I trigger the same response in people, and I'm sorry.) Fortunately I have just barely enough sense to stop before I start shouting curse words at people, but trust me when I say I've come close (and that was what I was worried about a while ago when I said I was afraid I'd start breaking the rules). Just recently I nearly threw my computer across the room reading some of the latest threads, which clearly demonstrates that it's not healthy I continue to be a user here. I have never left because I crave culture war content, but I have stopped talking about some of the bugbears for which I have received the least positive feedback, especially religious content.

If you are getting this angry and this potentially violent about words on an internet forum you absolutely should take a break from them and you're doing the right thing. Stress and anxiety of the kind that expresses itself in curse-word shouting and physical violence is bad for the health of the soul and body both. While I would enjoy continuing to read your posts on here(though sadly this seems one-sided), I hope for your own sake that you're able to get yourself into a more stable and healthy position.

For what is worth, I saw nothing extraordinary about that exchange. Thinking about this I maybe do have one obese friend (with BMI slightly over 30) who I really like and who is funny and very good company to be around. But he does not share my interests with other friends in my circle for things like hiking, skiing or even long walks around the city if we go somewhere on roadtrip or whatever. So from my personal experience you exaggerate a bit, but then maybe you live in a slightly different social bubble.

I live in a place that made the news due to how attractive and fit the median person was. So many people were so good looking and in such good shape that it made a tourist from the UK feel bad about themselves when they went to the beach because their relative attractiveness took such a big hit when compared to being back home.

I think it's healthy to take breaks from social media at different points so qdos. I suspect I might be a different age from you because my expectations are very low for this kind of site (at the same time I really enjoy it).

From my perspective any sense of a 'community' in such places is already illusory, which doesn't mean there's not connection, shared perspectives etc but it's not real life and for me it's at the level of infotainment - sometimes very good infotainment, but not really anything to get hung up about.

The best thing about the motte, is the lack of censoriousness. People are free to express ideas people might find odious but that is what free speech is. I'm taken aback somewhat by the views some people have landed with but I'm not adversely affected by them.

Something that shifted for me with 'ideas' was at around age 40 i read some Jung and became intensely interested in the bodily feeling of being triggered by other peoples ideas. I started to actively lean in to this and it has helped me become more detached from various debates because I am also interested in my own thoughts, ideas and reactions and other peoples commentary is in fact fuel for this process. It also goes along with Haidt's moral tastebuds ideas. I may not agree with someones ideas but if I'm not triggered I'm actually in a better place to perhaps see where they're coming from. Perhaps it's an age thing.

Practically and without wanting to sound condescending, I scroll through a lot here without reading much. I'm not inclined to care enough about us politics, HBD paradigms or atheist argument chains. There's also stuff I don't comment on because I have no particular insight but I enjoy reading, such as law, history, economics etc. And then there's a few nuggets that resonate really well each week as well as my own culture war pet topics. I know the sense of despair that people seem so at odds but I guess that's just the world?

On comparison with Scotts community i don't actually believe 'niceness' is a value though it may coincide with one at times. I suspect there must be a lot of interesting discussion wherever he is but am guessing it would be prone to status games and idolatry. The motte is good because it's like that semi-grotty pub in the wrong part of town where you engage, or overhear, people not like you. And I'd warn against people mimicking Scotts style. I see it here often falling flat and adding unnecessary word count.

Trump has been indicted (again), this time in Georgia, under RICO charges. The charges against him and a large number of co-conspirators relate to efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Full indictment here.

We've seen a range of charges laid against Trump in varying jurisdictions, and I think it's fair to say the cases have varying strength. These new charges seem to me to be on the strong end of the spectrum.

Helpfully, the indictment is painfully clear at every point as to what particular acts constitute which particular crimes or elements of crimes. This makes it a lot easier to assess for an uneducated layman like me. On at least some of the charges, it would appear that he's deeply screwed. E.g. "Solicitation of Violation of Oath by Public Officer" seems to be open and shut, and carries a minimum 1 year sentence. He also has no capacity to pardon himself if he is elected President, as these are not federal charges.

As far as I can tell Trump's only hope to escape conviction here is jury nullification.

Wouldn't it have been nice if all the indictments were like this.

If solicting a government official to violate their oath of office is a crime punishable by 1 year per instance, then the very second a libertarian government gets in every single democrat and half of republicans will be put in the work camps for repeatedly soliciting politicians to pass gun control and violate their oath to defend the constitution (which includes the second amendment).

Also every single crime will now be a life sentence because asking police officers and judges to go easy on you will now be likewise criminal solicitation to violate the law and not uphold it.

This law is a blatant violation of not only free speech, but the right to petition, it is not on the public not to ask politicians and government officials not to violate their oaths, it is on the government officials not to violate it.

Notably the first president or public official ever convicted in any way related to their oath will not be convicted for violation, which has basically never been adjudicated and has no precedent, not even rank madness like Lincoln bringing in a draft never mentioned in the constitution or the illegally ratified 16th amendment which makes a mockery of every privacy and property right in the constitution or english common law...

But instead the first notable conviction for anything oath related would be of an elected American President, not for any war crime, not for any violation of American's rights, not for corruption, not for colluding with hostile foreign powers (as FDR certainly did with Stalinist Russia), but for asking a state official to review something the state official didn't....

If Trump can go down for this every soul who's ever set foot in DC could be hanged. And I would lead the revolutionary tribunals to do it.

If solicting a government official to violate their oath of office is a crime punishable by 1 year per instance, then the very second a libertarian government gets in every single democrat and half of republicans will be put in the work camps for repeatedly soliciting politicians to pass gun control and violate their oath to defend the constitution (which includes the second amendment).

These are plainly not analogous. In the gun control case, those advocating gun control clearly don't view it as a violation of the second amendment, whereas as I understand it the charge against Trump is that he knowingly advocated an action which would violate oaths of office.

They are well aware via plain reading of the second amendment and any of the surrounding documentation, as their is enough evidence that they did know the text of the second amendment or should have known such as makes no difference.

But even if we allow that by your logic the tens of millions of democrats who have at some point said "The Second Amendment says this, that's why politicians need to get rid of it" Would thenforce be guilty anytime they advocated gun-control, and probably on every individual count.

Think of all the democrats who at some point said something like "the constitution was written by slaveowners, we don't need to listen to what slaveowners wrote about slaveowner's rights to own guns" All of them go to prison under this standard, that's hundreds of thousands if not millions of democrats.

They are well aware via plain reading of the second amendment and any of the surrounding documentation, as their is enough evidence that they did know the text of the second amendment or should have known such as makes no difference.

I think there is ample evidence that a reading of the 2nd Amendment vastly different to that which you advocate can reasonably be taken; even if you disagree with it there is a legitimate perspective that rejects what you consider to be the 'plain reading'. See, for instance, cases like Aymette v. State of Tennessee, which held that the right to 'bear arms' was a political and group right rather than an individual one, such that the 'legislature have the power to prohibit the keeping or wearing weapons dangerous to the peace and safety of the citizens', as the 2nd Amendment (and the provisions of the Tennessee state constitution) guaranteed the right to employ weaponry only in 'civilized warfare'. Hence it upheld a ban on the concealed carrying of knives. Also, because it exists as a 'group' right for the 'common defense' only, though the general right has to be preserved 'it does not follow that the legislature is prohibited from passing laws regulating the manner in which these arms may be employed'. See also Buzzard, City of Salina v. Blaskley and US v. Adams (1935, not 1966). This interpretation is not in fashion these days, but it is clearly a legitimate view, and indeed to my mind a very persuasive one.

But even if we allow that by your logic the tens of millions of democrats who have at some point said "The Second Amendment says this, that's why politicians need to get rid of it" Would thenforce be guilty anytime they advocated gun-control, and probably on every individual count.

I'm not so sure. While I don't think there are 'tens of millions' who would concede what they want is in violation of the constitution (most would surely give some rationale, either similar to the above, or arguing about 'well regulated etc. etc., or simply advocate changing the constitution), the level of 'solicitation' is vastly different between the incumbent President pressuring officials into changing election results vs. a man on the street with a placard in favour of a gun control proposal he deep down thinks is contrary to the constitution.

"the constitution was written by slaveowners, we don't need to listen to what slaveowners wrote about slaveowner's rights to own guns"

I think this sort of rhetoric is more about being in favour of a 'living constitution' interpretation, but either way what I said before still applies; we should hold an incumbent President to a much higher standard on this kind of thing than an ordinary person, as the extent and harmful effects of the 'solicitation' are vastly different.

The law wasn't written for presidents, it was written for the general population. Indeed an individual state would not be able to write a law binding only the president.

Ergo if it applies to him Retweeting and commenting on a news piece, it applies to literally everyone for all political speech.

It wasn't just about tweets, it's about a letter he sent to Raffensperger asking him to decertify the election. Of course the law applies to everyone equally, but not everyone has an equal capacity to 'importune' to the same extent.

Note: I strongly dislike Trump

How many times are they going to try this and fail? The Steele dossier was an embarrassment for everyone who pushed it.

I don't know how else to say this but Trump derangement syndrome is a thing (compare similar scandals between Trump and Biden). I've heard people cry wolf too many times to see this as anything other than political persecution.

Members of the enterprise also corruptly solicited Georgia officials, including the Secretary of State and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to violate their oaths to the Georgia Constitution and to the United States Constitution by unlawfully changing the outcome of the November 3, 2020, 16 presidential election in Georgia in favor of Donald Trump.

Are you joking or something? There's no way I'm reading a ~100 page indictment, but if that is your idea of a strong charge then the rest of it is probably not worth reading anyways.

Have you listened to the Raffensberger call? It's extremely clear (to me) that Trump is claiming that there are many fraudulent ballots in Georgia (he goes on and on about it, and why he thinks so) -- then asks the people on the call to try to locate some of them. It's right there in the first few minutes.

It may be less clear to you for whatever reasons, but surely this is at least a plausible interpretation of what Trump is trying to say -- and if this were the case, he is definitely not asking anyone to violate their oath. Finding such votes would be required by their oath, surely?

I'm aware that the media has widely reported that Trump was asking R. to fabricate some votes so he could win (probably significantly poisoning the jury pool in the process) but presumably the court will hear the actual call rather than reading Washington Post clippings -- and if you think this interpretation is open-shut I really don't know what to say.

Also included in your quote is the request made to David Ralston, speaker of the house, asking him to convene a special session of the house for the purpose of appointing fake electors.

What's illegal about asking the House to convene for that purpose? It's like saying we have proof Trump illegally ordered a Hawaiian pizza, we even have recordings of him requesting one. Ok -- but what about that is illegal?

Trump is charged under OCGA 16-4-7, which says

A person commits the offense of criminal solicitation when, with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a felony, he solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage in such conduct.

The felonious conduct he is accused of trying to solicit from Ralston is under OCGA 16-10-1, which says

Any public officer who willfully and intentionally violates the terms of his oath as prescribed by law shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.

The oath taken by Ralston includes swearing to support and uphold the Constitution of the United States.

The Constitution of the United States requires that presidential electors are chosen by the manner directed by the state legislatures.

The elector-selection manner directed by the state legislature of Georgia is described in OCGA 21-2-499, which says

(a) Upon receiving the certified returns of any election from the various superintendents, the Secretary of State shall immediately proceed to tabulate, compute, and canvass the votes cast for all candidates described in subparagraph (a)(4)(A) of Code Section 21-2-497 and upon all questions voted for by the electors of more than one county and shall thereupon certify and file in his or her office the tabulation thereof.  In the event an error is found in the certified returns presented to the Secretary of State or in the tabulation, computation, or canvassing of votes as described in this Code section, the Secretary of State shall notify the county submitting the incorrect returns and direct the county to correct and recertify such returns.  Upon receipt by the Secretary of State of the corrected certified returns of the county, the Secretary of State shall issue a new certification of the results and shall file the same in his or her office.

(b) The Secretary of State shall also, upon receiving the certified returns for presidential electors, proceed to tabulate, compute, and canvass the votes cast for each slate of presidential electors and shall immediately lay them before the Governor.  Not later than 5:00 P.M. on the seventeenth day following the date on which such election was conducted, the Secretary of State shall certify the votes cast for all candidates described in subparagraph (a)(4)(A) of Code Section 21-2-497 and upon all questions voted for by the electors of more than one county and shall no later than that same time lay the returns for presidential electors before the Governor.  The Governor shall enumerate and ascertain the number of votes for each person so voted and shall certify the slates of presidential electors receiving the highest number of votes.  The Governor shall certify the slates of presidential electors no later than 5:00 P.M. on the eighteenth day following the date on which such election was conducted.  Notwithstanding the deadlines specified in this Code section, such times may be altered for just cause by an order of a judge of superior court of this state.

The elector appointment method advocated by Trump obviously does not accord with these requirements.

In conclusion, Trump asked Ralston to participate in appointing presidential electors in a manner contrary to Georgia law, which is contrary to the US Constitution, which is contrary to the oath of office Ralston took, therefore Trump is guilty of Solicitation of Violation of Oath by a Public Officer.

He said it on the phone and everything, lock him up!

You're just criminalizing the First Amendment, obviously Trump has a right to ask officials to consider his schemes, this is a crazy reinterpretation of existing norms that would never be tolerated if the target wasn't Trump. Your argument is inherently contradictory, look:

The Constitution of the United States requires that presidential electors are chosen by the manner directed by the state legislatures.

So, if the Georgia state legislature changed the way presidential electors were chosen, what would be unconstitutional about that? What would he incorrect about Trump asking for such if Georgia had actually granted it?

You can Frankenstein together different parts of the law code to create whatever outcome you want, but the result is still a legal abomination. Trump asked for something we decided was illegal, therefore he cajoled officers into violating their oath of office, therefore, jail! If this really impresses you, if this really strikes you as a sound legal and moral argument, I don't know what to say man. This is a blueprint for destroying democracy, because anything could be defined as asking an official to violate their oath of office. Did you protest against the vaccine, when vaccines are in the public interest, and the public interest is in the oath of office? Did your remarks incite hatred by soliciting officials to [...]? You're crazy if you don't see the implication here, and you're sticking your head in the sand if your only counterargument is to cite more laws at me, as if the existence of a statute is evidence in favor of the validity of your interpretation of it.

Give state officials the power to jail federal politicians for making requests of other politicians, and you literally do not have a democracy. It's just rule by lawfare.

So, if the Georgia state legislature changed the way presidential electors were chosen, what would be unconstitutional about that? What would he incorrect about Trump asking for such if Georgia had actually granted it?

Process, my dude. The legislature of Georgia has every right to change their method for selecting electors. They just need to amend the law. And Trump would be entirely in his rights to ask them to do that.

Trump did not ask them to change the prescribed method for choosing electors. He asked them to violate it. The distinction matters. You're allowed to change the law but you're not allowed to break the law.

This is a blueprint for destroying democracy, because anything could be defined as asking an official to violate their oath of office. Did you protest against the vaccine, when vaccines are in the public interest, and the public interest is in the oath of office?

Which oath of office would that be?

Don't be obtuse, you know what my argument is and you have constructed a technicality that in no way addresses it. Who decides the difference between asking for the law to be broken and the law to be changed? You make it sound as though your problem isn't with anything Trump did, but if only he had worded his request slightly differently, everything would have been fine. Come on, charging Trump with "soliciting" officers to "violate their oaths" is crazy, and the fact that this impresses you makes me question your credibility. Do you really not see any problems with this line of argument? The oath of office is a formality that is never enforced, you aren't worried about any precedents here, any unintended consequences, at all? Not even a little bit?

Who decides the difference between asking for the law to be broken and the law to be changed?

The difference is very clear. There is a prescribed process for changing the law. You introduce a bill, it gets voted on, it gets signed, it becomes an act. You don't just appoint someone as an elector who has not met the legislated requirements, which is what Trump asked for.

if only he had worded his request slightly differently, everything would have been fine.

I wouldn't describe it as "slightly" differently, the distinction is large and important in my eyes. It would not have been the same request. But yes, if he had done legal things instead of illegal things, he would indeed have been fine.

you aren't worried about any precedents here, any unintended consequences, at all? Not even a little bit?

If enforcing the law on a criminal sets a precedent, it would be a good precedent to set.

Now, please answer my question. What oath of office includes "the public interest"? I looked and couldn't find one. I'm sure you wouldn't just make something like that up.

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Trump is charged under OCGA 16-4-7, which says

A person commits the offense of criminal solicitation when, with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a felony, he solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage in such conduct.

The felonious conduct he is accused of trying to solicit from Ralston is under OCGA 16-10-1, which says

Any public officer who willfully and intentionally violates the terms of his oath as prescribed by law shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.

The oath taken by Ralston includes swearing to support and uphold the Constitution of the United States.

By this logic, every time a President does something unconstitutional (eg, Biden's student loan forgiveness plan), then everyone in Georgia who promoted that policy or petitioned for that policy committed a felony. The prosecutor's use of this law is absolute madness, it criminalizes the losing side of any political battle involving Constitutional issues.

I think the importance difference though is whether those petitioning for a policy themselves know/consider it to be contrary to the constitution, rather than whether it actually is ruled as such by courts. So the point is that Trump didn't care if it was contrary to the constitution, he wanted it done anyway.

Putting pineapple on pizza is a crime against God and Nature (and pizza), and accordingly subject to universal jurisdiction even in the absence of specific local statutory law . I thought this was common knowledge on a forum where high IQ and good taste were the default.

I strenuously disagree with a lot of your political positions but I'm extremely glad that, in the spirit of the Motte, I'm able to reach across the aisle and give you a fist-bump in recognition of your excellent taste in this matter.

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If Trump thinks the election has been stolen, then the electors aren't fake (from Trump's point of view, obviously).

This sounds about the same as the Smith indictment, and is far from open-shut for the same reasons. (mens rea, essentially)

It's the same principle as - you think your wife conspired with a corrupt family court to take your children, so you forge documentation to get a school to turn them over to you, breaking a court order. Maybe you're right. But there are processes for addressing that, and if you ignore those (or in trump's case try them but perform terribly and don't prevail), you don't have a right to lie and manipulate other processes.

This is a fundamental way modern governance works. The process prevents conflict by giving both individuals and the state a - usually fair - 'final authority' to appeal to, instead of using violence, coercion, or deception. Even if it's sometimes wrong, it's better to have a single source of truth to prevent conflict - whether that's individual conflict over who owns what or who deserves what, or political conflict over who has power. It's known who wins and how that's decided, according to the process and the court, the monopoly on violence enforces it, so nobody bothers to even fight. If you're wrongfully convicted, your supporters don't suicide bomb the cops/accusers and start a blood feud, they collect evidence and appeal. If someone screws you on a deal, you sue based on the contract both parties signed. If you lose an election and are upset, you file a lawsuit.

It could be argued this is a fundamental pillar holding up modern life. I'm not entirely sure - certainly a neoreactionary government would have less of this at the top-level, but that isn't ours. And if the election wasn't stolen (and I'm very unconvinced by arguments that it was), then Trump's actions is not good for democracy.

Maybe you're right. But there are processes for addressing that, and if you ignore those (or in trump's case try them but perform terribly and don't prevail), you don't have a right to lie and manipulate other processes.

This is a fundamental way modern governance works. The process prevents conflict by giving both individuals and the state a - usually fair - 'final authority' to appeal to, instead of using violence, coercion, or deception.

This is exactly what the neoreactionary critique gets at, though. In this scenario, the process is your king; your final authority. And because those processes are carried out by people, ultimately those people are your kings.

In short, this way of thinking creates and sustains an oligarchic form of government. Don’t like the process? Don’t like who runs it? Then appeal. By what means? A process. Who runs that process? You’ve already guessed.

Honestly, I agree with you that this is probably the best way of doing things a lot of the time, as opposed to direct personal power or mob democracy. But this flaw is inherent and IMO when the bureaucracy gets too powerful and too uniform then this form of government starts to curdle.

Who runs that process? You’ve already guessed.

You're allowed to change the people who run the process.

(How? By a process...)

But still. You can indeed change the people in charge and they can indeed change the processes of government. Even if in theory you can get into a closed loop where the people in power use their power to stay in power, that is not currently the case in reality. Although Trump did give it the old college try.

You can indeed change the people in charge and they can indeed change the processes of government.

I thought that's what we voted on in 2016, but instead the people in charge of the process didn't play fair, and instead hamstrung the duly elected executive at every opportunity. The uniparty did not play fair.

Instead the 2016 election remains Trump's greatest crime. He defied the uniparty and must be punished for doing so. I have yet to see anything that contradicts this interpretation, and so it remains the lens through which I view these developments.

Might there be other explanations for Trump's failure than the forces of Mordor using dark plots to defeat our lone hero? Maybe Trump was an ineffective executive with a lot more bluster than execution, who was too stubborn to not commit crimes that didn't benefit him at all?

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Even if in theory you can get into a closed loop where the people in power use their power to stay in power, that is not currently the case in reality.

Yes it is. The deep state is in power and will forever be in power unless someone can fire 3/4 of the federal government which is impossible due to lawfare. The bureaucracy is a self-sustaining cancer at this point.

Even if in theory you can get into a closed loop where the people in power use their power to stay in power, that is not currently the case in reality.

That’s exactly the point under discussion, no? The allegation from trump’s side is that this has already happened, and that following standard procedure for resolving disputed elections is therefore meaningless because the entire bureaucracy is controlled by the enemy.

Personally, though, I was thinking of the Civil Service, who I very definitely can’t vote out of office. From where I’m standing Britain has been in that closed loop for at least 20 years now.

I assure you that politicians very much do have the power to shut down departments, fire civil servants, etc. And if none of the options on your ballot paper are promising to do that, you can stand for election yourself.

The obstacle you face is not that the civil service is all-powerful. It's that your fellow citizens disagree with you.

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If Trump thinks the election has been stolen, then the electors aren't fake (from Trump's point of view, obviously).

I don't believe this is true. Even if you think fraud has occurred, you can't just appoint electors based on what you think the result would have been. There's a process that has to be followed.

Even if Trump believes that the process has been corrupted, it's still illegal for him to solicit a public official to subvert the process.

By analogy, let's say I buy a lottery ticket but then someone steals it from me. The lottery gets drawn, and I am convinced I had the winning numbers. The lottery won't pay me out based on my insistence that I would have had the winning numbers if they hadn't been stolen. I am not then allowed to rob the lottery office to rectify the theft I suffered - even if I am correct that I had the numbers.

Now, perhaps I am misunderstanding the law in some important way here - I am not a lawyer, and much less a Georgia lawyer. But my understanding here is that the effort to solicit a public official in a plan to appoint electors who could not be lawfully appointed is straightforwardly illegal.

The electors aren't fake either way. They are proposed alternative electors, which is how past elector disputes have been done. There was never any conspiracy to present them as the primary electors.

The irregular Georgia electors submitted a "Certificate of Vote" to Pence's office where they claimed to be the primary electors, as did the irregular electors in Arizona, Michigan and Nevada. The irregular electors in Michigan are being prosecuted locally for falsifying an official document. It looks like most of the irregular electors in Georgia have rolled and are going to testify against Trump.

The irregular electors in New Mexico and Pennsylvania worded their certificates to be contingent on their later being determined to be the real electors, which keeps them out of legal trouble, but means the certificates are less useful for the Eastman/Chesebro scheme to have Pence overturn the election on Jan 6th.

worded their certificates to be contingent

Aha! The whole time I was writing about the Georgia charges, I was thinking “this wouldn’t have been a criminal charge if they’d covered their asses better.” It’s good to know some of the other groups agreed.

I don't believe this is true. Even if you think fraud has occurred, you can't just appoint electors based on what you think the result would have been. There's a process that has to be followed.

Others disagree -- there was an arguably legal path to this, and it has happened in the past. Obviously much depends on the particulars, but criminalizing the advancement of legal theories which may or may not apply in a given case seems like a bad idea. (not to mention conflicting pretty badly with the first amendment)

I am not then allowed to rob the lottery office to rectify the theft I suffered - even if I am correct that I had the numbers.

But you are allowed to write a letter to the head of the state lotto suggesting that they should give you the money -- you can even go to the press and say that's what they should do!

But my understanding here is that the effort to solicit a public official in a plan to appoint electors who could not be lawfully appointed is straightforwardly illegal.

If this is true, then everyone who issued tweets encouraging faithless electors in 2016 is also straightforwardly guilty.

If this is true, then everyone who issued tweets encouraging faithless electors in 2016 is also straightforwardly guilty.

Do members of the electoral college swear an oath of office to uphold the constitution? Does Georgia have a law requiring electors to cast their votes according to the election results? These are serious questions, I sincerely don't know.

If they do, and a person called an elector from Georgia and asked them to violate the law by being a faithless elector, then yes it does appear that such a person would be straightforwardly guilty.

Biden swore to uphold the Constitution, but created the "Covid" eviction moratorium, which was unconstitutional. If he asks someone to violate the law by preventing a landlord from getting rid of a tenant, is he straightforwardly guilty?

Under OCGA 16-4-7? I wouldn't think so, no. I don't believe that a landlord failing to evict a tenant would constitute a felony.

Was there some other statute you were thinking of? If so you'll need to point me to it.

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Do members of the electoral college swear an oath of office to uphold the constitution?

No - among other places, this is discussed in Baude essay on Section 3, because it creates an interesting lacuna (a presidential elector who engages in an insurrection is not disqualified from future office, but an oath-taking officer who engages in an insurrection is disqualified from being a presidential elector).

Does Georgia have a law requiring electors to cast their votes according to the election results? These are serious questions, I sincerely don't know.

No - see here (although that is the status now, not as of 2020). According to that map, the only states where being a faithless elector is a crime (and thus the only ones where secondary liability for advocating a crime could conceivably trigger) are both Carolinas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The more normal approach is to declare the faithless elector's vote void and to allow the other electors for that state to replace them.

In addition, a rando tweeting into the aether would be protected by the 1st amendment in a way that a high government official making a personal phone call to an individual elector backed up by detailed (false) arguments of why the election was fraudulent and vague threats of criminal prosecution for covering up the fraud would not be - the law distinguishes between non-serious and serious crime-encouraging speech.

Thank you!

I find it a bit bemusing when people pose these questions with the implication that if someone in a somewhat-similar-but-somewhat-different situation wasn't charged with the same crime, there must be some kind of corruption or double standard. Most the time it's just that details are different and details matter.

Not sure whether things were much different in 2016, but I do seem to recall some electors not from any of those states being penalized -- it's irrelevant though.

Regardless of which states attach penalties, electors in most (all?) states do in fact swear an oath to vote according to the results in their state -- the debatable part would be whether they can be considered "public officials" -- which I'd argue against, but "parts of this indictment are based on debatable legal theories" does not seem to be holding anybody up in this business!

Anyways, if you acknowledge that certain states would consider faithless electorism to be some kind of crime, even one would be enough -- this was very much a nationwide, organized, and well funded advocacy exercise: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faithless_electors_in_the_2016_United_States_presidential_election#Public_outreach_to_electors

A conspiracy, if you will! So while random twitterati might squeak by on whatever's left of the 1A, I think your assertion that (say) The Hamilton Electors would be in a different position here than Trump and his cohorts is unsupported.

(I'd say it's actually somewhat worse in that their justification was not "We think Trump committed fraud" but rather "We don't like Trump and want to subvert the will of the voters", and also that they actually succeeded in flipping some electors! At least a few were fined as I recall.)

On the tweeting for faithless electors that gets a lot of Logan Act vibes. Where if that was a crime then everyone is guilty whoever once tweeted about geopolitics

While I don’t know that the “oath of office” stuff holds up, I did listen to the Raffensperger call back in the day. Commentary here. For anyone else who wants to read the transcript, it’s here.

Trump was making his preferred outcome very clear. If there was fraud, the President of the United States would be happy. If there wasn’t, he would be unhappy, and some people might face criminal charges.

You can see how this is truth-agnostic. Trump may well have believed it. But he would say the same things whether or not he did. More importantly, he was suggesting what Raffensperger should report, whether or not he did.

Again, I’m not sure that this rises to the intent standard used by OCGA 16-4-7. It is plausibly deniable. I just don’t know how one can read that transcript and come away thinking the guy wanted the truth. He wanted to win.

I just don’t know how one can read that transcript and come away thinking the guy wanted the truth. He wanted to win.

And I don't know how one can read it and come away with the idea that he didn't think there'd been massive fraud -- at least 90% of the call is him railing on about various instances of fraudulent balloting he claims his team had uncovered, and pushing the Georgia officials for data that they were holding back so that he could prove more that he was sure existed but couldn't prove. I'm not sure what evidence you are using to claim that he would have made these claims regardless -- it seems unfalsifiable. New Hampshire and Maine had similar percent margins (and fewer absolute votes) for Biden as compared to Wisconsin -- why didn't Trump try to flip those states too, if he was making allegations unrelated to whatever evidence of fraud that he thought he had?

Anyways my point is that I don't see how anyone can think that this is open-and-shut in anything but Trump's favour -- we are now talking about serious criminal indictments, and this tape surely raises at least a reasonable doubt in terms of mens rea? He lays out all kinds of specific stuff that he (claims to) believe to be true evidence of fraud.

If anything, the Raffensberger call seems like decent evidence for the defense on the Smith (I think? I may be confused now that there are so many) indictment -- it's hard to listen to the guy and believe that he is lying about his beliefs as to whether there was fraud in Georgia (and elsewhere, bleeding into the call). He sounds quite emotional at times.

I do wonder if Stacey Abrams consent decree could fit into this rubric somehow.

Don't forget the Raffensberger call was a settlement conference between attorneys and clients and its disclosure itself is illegal and should have resulted in sanction. It was leaked only in part in order to give the media the chaff to craft this entire narrative. Listening to the entire call makes it clear what was going on, especially given the context of this being a settlement conference protected by the requirement of confidentiality!

They used the settlement conference as a trap in order to get some Trump soundbites which they could leak and then they and the media could knowingly lie about to craft this entire setup.

Interesting, I did not know this! Thanks.

Why do these things keep occurring during election years by the Dems and whose orchestrating the conspiracy?

2016 - Spy on Trump campaign. Russian plot.
2020 - BLM. Everyone is racists vote Biden. Plus nationwide mail-in ballots. And a massive plot by the media to deny any narrative in unison that would help Trump 2024 - Charge Trump everywhere lawfare. Create law or come up with novel legal theories to make it happen

Or in Movie Terms Trump: The Russian Agent “Save America from installing Putin in office” Trump 2: The White Supremacists “Save America from Racism” Trump 3: He’s Literally a Criminal

I wonder if some red state can whip up some Rico Charges on Kamela for bailing out BLM protestors. She was bailing out and promoting the cause which was to get her elected while knowing the underlines were committing violence. Maybe everyone in 2024 can have charges pending.

Biden might be going to get charged for something hunter Biden related.

Give me odds you actually think that and I might take you up on them.

How much do you really believe?

Plus nationwide mail-in ballots.

Yeah, those evil Democrats making mail-in ballots allowed for all in Arkansas, Montana, Utah, Kentucky, Florida, Missouri, West Virginia, Oklahoma...

Since it is in fact not an election year, I suspect that one answer to your question is that about 40-50% of America's time is now considered to be "election year" in some sense.

Honestly, your political season is exhausting.

I listen to talk radio and conservative hosts are exhausted by American election cycles and preemptively burned out by the upcoming election.

On at least some of the charges, it would appear that he's deeply screwed. E.g. "Solicitation of Violation of Oath by Public Officer" seems to be open and shut, and carries a minimum 1 year sentence

I guess you're easily impressed? Complaining that politicians are violating their oaths of office is one of the most common attacks in the books. There probably isnt a single prominent politician of whom it hasn't been said. This is why we're destroying norms and legitimacy? Ok then, let's see how this shakes out on a 20-year timescale.

Also you didn't mention that these charges were posted on the internet before the Grand Jury had even voted on them, which sort of makes a mockery of the whole pretense.

Anyways, if it's a crime to ask officials to do something that is later determined to violate their oath of office, everyone is a criminal.

What I find infuriating about this discussion is how often the term "fake electors" is used. If the electors were "fake" and the electors commited "fraud", can anyone provide me with a count of how many of the fake electors' votes were mistakenly recorded in the Senate? Oh, none? Amazing! Well, what kind of detective work went into distinguishing the fake votes from the real votes? Was the Secret Service called in for their expertise in detecting counterfeit money?

Obviously the accurate term should be "contingent electors", in the sense that these would have been the correct electors if Trump prevailed in his various lawsuits. It's easy to imagine that in the case where he was able to establish fraud and the court determined that he had won the election, they wouldn't want the process to get held up by the need to quickly get some electors together to cast their votes and mail them to Washington, DC. The Georgia "fake slate" is dated December 14, so there would not have been much time to get these votes recorded if they had had to wait for all litigation to be resolved.

There's such egregious question-begging going on by calling them "fake electors", it makes me crazy how little pushback I have seen regarding this term.

Obviously the accurate term should be "contingent electors", in the sense that these would have been the correct electors if Trump prevailed in his various lawsuits.

If Trump had won his lawsuits with decisive implications for the election, his slate of electors still had to be appointed by the state legislature. In the absence of that, they're not contingent electors, they're nobody. The only contingency is whether or not he won, which he didn't. In Michigan, for example, the fake electors gathered and selected themselves after all the lawsuits had been resolved (not to Trump's favor, needless to say). They subsequently represented themselves to Congress as the true electors from Michigan despite not being appointed by the legislature. That Congress wasn't fooled doesn't make it less a crime, any more than my attempts to shoot you don't cease to be a crime because my gun jams (nor is my sincere belief that murdering you is justified and legal a defense).

This isn’t an apt analogy because the gun not firing was a mechanical issue and you really did try to kill them.

I don’t think anyone believes sending in a bunch of Trump electors would have worked but well got lost in the mail.

Attempted crimes should be punished, but the details of why the "attempt" failed are relevant to determining whether it was a genuine attempt at all. In your attempted murder analogy, yes, you couldn't shoot me because your gun jammed, but if prior to that attempt you purposely manipulated the gun by jamming up the chamber so that a spent round would get stuck in there and be impossible to eject, that would be evidence that you never intended your "murder attempt" to be effective.

The fact that Congress wasn't fooled doesn't by itself make election fraud not a crime, but the fact that apparently Trump tried this maneuver in several states and in no cases were the "fake elector" votes counted, indicates that there is something suspicious about the narrative that he was trying to deceive Congress. Yes, they sent a piece of paper to Congress saying they were the duly-chosen electors and they were voting for Trump etc., but that paper was presented as what it was, an alternate slate of electors. At no point was Pence saying, "well, now I have no idea which ones are the real votes!"

Ineptitude is not a defense.

the fact that apparently Trump tried this maneuver in several states and in no cases were the "fake elector" votes counted, indicates that there is something suspicious about the narrative that he was trying to deceive Congress.

That his deceit attempts were transparently absurd?

the Secret Service

Are they…usually called in for elections? I don’t anything about involving them in Bush v. Gore. How exactly do the fraud claims relate to counterfeit money?

This sounds like special pleading.

As is insisting that the violation was justified because it wouldn’t have inconvenienced the poor, suffering bureaucracy. Such policies are tolerated if and only if they make a nice fig leaf.

My question about the Secret Service was an ironic reference to the idea that if the pieces of paper from these "fake electors" were a big problem when it came time to count the votes, presumably because said papers are difficult to distinguish from the votes cast by "authentic electors," then maybe they would have to call in the Secret Service, who are in charge of prosecuting cases of counterfeiting money and therefore experts in document authentication, to help sort things out.

It's the same with the phrase "Overturning the election". When the media declared Biden the winner, the election was over, apparently, so all of Trump's efforts to contest the election get called "overturning the election". They can never concede that Trump genuinely believed himself wronged, that filing lawsuits and contesting results is normal. So Trump never "contested" the election, he always "attempted to overturn" it.

Coverage around the election was better at first. Even NBC.

By December, when the legal battles are falling apart, it starts to be called overturning. Possibly because of the “safe haven” limit, December 8th, and of course the actual certification on the 14th. Some outlets were sticki by with “contest,” though. Then the Capitol riots really turn media opinion.

can anyone provide me with a count of how many of the fake electors' votes were mistakenly recorded in the Senate?

I think the idea is that they were in a conspiracy to commit fraud, one is still guilty even if one fails. But more importantly, the fraud laws I have seen always require deception. In what way were these "fake" electors trying to deceive anyone?

The Georgia indictment includes a charge of Conspiracy to Defraud the State, but it doesn't directly relate to the false elector scheme. It relates to the plan to steal voter data.

Deception is not an element of the relevant offence, found in OCGA 16-10-21:

A person commits the offense of conspiracy to defraud the state when he conspires or agrees with another to commit theft of any property which belongs to the state or to any agency thereof or which is under the control or possession of a state officer or employee in his official capacity. The crime shall be complete when the conspiracy or agreement is effected and an overt act in furtherance thereof has been committed, regardless of whether the theft is consummated. A person convicted of the offense of conspiracy to defraud the state shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.

You're probably thinking of last week's indictment. That does have fraud charges relating to the false elector scheme. I don't think deception is an element of those offences either, but I haven't gone back to check.

I can't imagine a definition of fraud that wouldn't involve some kind of deception. Merriam-Webster:

1a : DECEIT, TRICKERY

specifically : intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right

I literally just quoted a legal definition that does not include deceit. If you can't imagine it after having it placed right in front of your eyes, that's a truly profound failure of imagination.

Technically I said fraud not defraud, so that makes me the best kind of correct. Here is the relevant Georgia law, since you are a big fan.

That said, as humorous as you are, you are still wrong. What do you think is involved in the theft? Let's use our imaginations and imagine that Donald Trump says to the official who controls election data, "hey, it's me, Donald Trump, your favorite president. Way better than Carter, obviously. Anyway, I suspect there was fraud in your state, so I need access to your voter data, please send it to me by December 1st." If the official then sends Trump the election data, do you think he would be guilty of theft?

I'm going to skip the part where you answer. The only way Trump and his allies "defrauded the state" in the case at hand is if they falsely claimed that they had the right to voter data.

Technically I said fraud not defraud, so that makes me the best kind of correct. Here is the relevant Georgia law, since you are a big fan.

How is that law in any way relevant? Neither Trump nor his co-conspirators have been charged with it.

I'm going to skip the part where you answer. The only way Trump and his allies "defrauded the state" in the case at hand is if they falsely claimed that they had the right to voter data.

I am once again begging you to read the actual statute.

They are guilty of conspiracy to defraud the state if they agree to steal something and commit an overt act in the furtherance of the conspiracy. It's got nothing to do with what they claim or don't claim.

The first person to use the word fraud (without de-) was you. You stated that you didn’t think deception was an element. I commented that fraud would seem to always involve deception. That’s why it’s relevant.

I’ll ask you once again to consider the method by which Trump stole the relevant voter data. It involved lying. A lot. Do you think Trump would have been charged with theft if his claims about the election had been true? The indictment sure makes it seem like the fact he was lying is relevant.

Also, stepping back for a second, there are so many counts in the indictment related to forgery, false documents, and false statements, I don’t know how you managed to start a debate over the one count that (arguably, in your opinion) doesn’t involve deception.

More comments

I guess if they tried to hack the polls or something.

How are they not fake? Article II Section 1 Clause 2 of the US Constitution:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

Now let’s see the manner the Georgia Legislature has directed electors be appointed. Georgia Code Title 21. Elections § 21-2-499. I won’t quote it here, but the Georgia Secretary of State counts the votes, and the governor certifies the electors for the candidate who got the most votes. The governor certified Joe Biden’s electors on November 20th.

When the Trump electors got together on December 14 and stated, “WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, being the duly elected and qualified Electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America from the State of Georgia, do hereby certify the following:” they LIED. They were not the duly elected and qualified electors. It was public knowledge that the duly elected and qualified electors had been chosen on November 20. Despite this, they mailed the “certification” to the US Government. They also identified the “certification” as being mailed per 3 USC 11, which pertains specifically to presidential elector certificates.

I’m really at a loss here. Do you have some metaphysical objection to the entire concept of “fake electors”? If Donald Trump personally spent the entire early voting period in Georgia driving around to various polling locations and voting in the name of dead people still on the rolls would you concede that he committed fraud to steal the election, or would you say he was just using all of his options to contest what he sees as an unfair process?

the Georgia Secretary of State counts the votes, and the governor certifies the electors for the candidate who got the most votes. The governor certified Joe Biden’s electors on November 20th.

Interesting that these people didn't commit a crime for certifying an election when the number of illegally cast votes was known to exceed the margin of victory.

they LIED. They were not the duly elected and qualified electors. It was public knowledge that the duly elected and qualified electors had been chosen on November 20.

You understand that lying involves more than just uttering a false statement, right? Merriam Webster says: "to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive". No intent to deceive, therefore not a lie. As to your question "How are they not fake?" Same answer. No intent to deceive.

I think lying is probably the wrong word, as is fake. The people signing this document as far as I can tell we’re, at worst, an alternative slate of electors choosing to take this action because they believe the Georgia election was fraudulent in a way that falsely handed the win to Biden. The reason I object to the terms “lying” and “fake”, is that they assume the conclusion— they assume there was no fraud and thus anyone doing anything on the assumption of that fraud is lying. Keep in mind, Trumps claims never got any sort of hearing, most being summarily dismissed on standings issues. In other words, these guys are trying to rectify a situation where they believe the wrong results were certified and thus it might be dishonest, but I don’t see it as fake and they aren’t necessarily lying.

Isn't a really trivial analogy here a sovereign citizen making a false statement to a court about some procedural matter that he believes to be true due to his tortured interpretations of the law but is, as a matter of words and objets as the court would understand, false? Like (meh example) claiming they're a law enforcement officer when they aren't because they were deputized by themselves as a citizen or something.

I think they are lying because even if there was fraud - which there wasn't - that still wouldn't make them the 'duly elected and qualified' electors, because the process for choosing those is clearly set out and they did not satisfy it. They weren't just saying we ought to be the electors, which would be fine and expected from someone who believed there was fraud, but that they were the electors, which is simply false from any perspective - or at least that's how I understand it.

Just going to post the usual "it's never rico" article here https://www.popehat.com/2016/06/14/lawsplainer-its-not-rico-dammit/

As far as I can tell, unless the defendant is literally the mafia, rico charges always get laughed out of court. Seems like these are the weakest of all the Trumped up charges so far.