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Culture War Roundup for the week of December 11, 2023

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I saw the following exchange between Megyn Kelly and Tucker Carlson, and it made me angry. So instead of getting over it and going and doing normal things like a well adjusted adult, I decided to complain about it on the internet.

MEGYN KELLY: This is one of the reasons why I said if this judge [Chutkan] in DC… because we assume Trump's gonna get convicted in that case, I mean, the smart bet would be this DC jury convicts him because they hate them politically. 92% voted for Joe Biden. And she hates him. If she puts him in jail, pending appeal before the election, the country's going to burn. And then all this blowback, ‘Oh my god. She's calling for violence.’ I'm not calling for violence. But there is no way that Trump base is not going to be beside itself with anger at that level of deprivation of being able to simply vote for the candidate of choice. That's what's being taken away here.

TUCKER CARLSON: Speaking of violence, that's what you're gonna get. And speaking as someone who detests violence… If you leave people no alternative, then what do you think is going to happen? The whole point of electoral democracy is that it's a pressure relief valve that takes people who are very frustrated with the way things are going and gives them a way to express themselves, have their desires heard, and ultimately, their will done to be represented in a peaceful way. And if you take that away, if you have staged an unfair election, which 2020 was, if you suppress information that voters need to make an informed decision, you're rigging the election, and they did that.

So if you keep doing that, and people are like, ‘Wait, I have no economic power, you've devalued my currency, so it's like $11 for a dozen eggs, and my vote doesn't matter anymore. Well, then what do I have? Like what power do I have?’ And you're gonna get violence if you keep the shit up. And that's just the truth. And I am very upset about that, I don't want that to happen, I think the counter violence will be much more extreme than the violence. But any rational person can see what's coming. So they have to stop this.

The charges against Trump are not real. They're not even for serious crimes. I was told Trump was like a murderer and had killed a bunch of people in New Jersey or something. He didn't even cheat on his taxes. And they're treating him like a felon at the same time. Like they protect Epstein until they have to murder him in his cell. It's insane and it's all on public display. Everybody knows what's going on. So I do think the people in charge the people were pulling the strings on Tanya Chutkan in or whatever these ridiculous front people they hire. Those people need to really think this through a little bit. You're about to wreck the country. Don't do this, please.

First of all, I'm at least glad to see that reality is starting to set in. Trump is going to get his nonsense "absolute immunity" claim promptly rejected 9-0 by the Supreme Court. He's going to go on trial on March 4, he's going to get convicted, and he's going to go to prison. This has all been obvious for some time, and people do need to come to grips with it instead of telling themselves "it can't happen, so it won't".

But there is a stark mismatch here between the acceptance on one hand that the jury will convict Trump but the insistence on the other hand that "the charges aren't real". DC is an overwhelmingly democratic voting jurisdiction, but you would need to be cynical indeed to think there is no chance that even one Democrat juror would refuse to imprison a political opponent on obviously baseless charges. But of course, the charges are not nearly so baseless as Carlson suggests.

No, the reason that Kelly and Carlson know that Trump is going down is not because they think there is not one honest soul to be found in DC. They can have confidence Trump will lose this case because both his conduct and the law have little mystery about them. On the facts, there's little if any dispute about the actions that Trump took. On the law we have seen similar charges applied to many January 6 defendants, and it has not gone well for them. If Trump is to get similar treatment for similar conduct, he must be convicted.

Carlson and Kelly know that he's guilty and yet they pretend otherwise. Carlson rants about how outrageous it is to render people's votes meaningless, and yet when Trump is charged for conspiring to do exactly that he flatly states it's "not even a real crime". I emphasize that his contention here isn't even that Trump didn't do the awful thing he's accused of - he's saying that the things he's accused of aren't awful. This lays bare how empty and fake Carlson's feigned defence of democracy is. You can believe that it's outrageous to deprive people of their democratic rights or you can believe that conspiring to deprive people of their democratic rights isn't a "real crime", but it's incoherent to claim both.

But worst of all is the "warning" of violence. Carlson tells us that the man who incited a riot must not be punished or else we'll get more riots. This is the logic of terrorism. Give us what we want or there will be blood. Sure, he phrases it as a prediction rather than a threat and says he detests violence... but he knows full well that many of the people who might actually commit it could well be listening to him, and he knows he is fanning the flames of their resentment and putting the thought of violence in their heads. This would be irresponsible even if Carlson were sincere, but the fact that he's obviously being cynical makes it worse. This is a man who passionately hates Trump and couldn't wait for him to get kicked out of the White House - and yet here he is inventing excuses for him, pre-emptively trying to discredit the verdict he knows is coming, sanewashing Trump's "rigged election" claims, stoking anger, and telling people that violence is the inevitable response if Trump gets locked up. All, one presumes, so he can maintain his position in the GOP media ecosystem. What a worm.

Smith and Chuktan will obviously not allow themselves to be swayed by threats of violence, so we will unfortunately get to see if the dark talk turns into action. I for one hope Trump's most volatile supporters will at least recognize the truth that Carlson acknowledges - it will go extremely badly for anyone who takes it upon themselves to shed blood.

  • -20

He's going to go on trial on March 4, he's going to get convicted, and he's going to go to prison.

This reminds me of another person who confidently prognosticated, back in the day, that Trump would be in jail within a matter of weeks. It didn't happen.

More seriously, the tit-for-tat has set in. I see the House of Representatives have voted to proceed with impeachment inquiry against Biden. And it was all done on party lines: Republicans voting 'yes', Democrats voting 'no'.

So the lesson about using the system to get the political opponents has been learned, and the other side is deciding to play now.

Is there something serious there for Biden to answer? Who can tell, now? It's all been reduced to partisan weaponry. Before anyone starts gloating over "Trump is going to jail!", they should look at this. What's to stop multiple attempts to 'get' Biden, including persuading some state attorney to grandstand about taking a prosecution? The playbook has been set out as to how to do it.

This reminds me of another person who confidently prognosticated, back in the day, that Trump would be in jail within a matter of weeks. It didn't happen.

I also remember that person. And you may recall that at that time I did not make those sorts of silly predictions. Judge me on my own words rather than Impassionata's, if you don't mind.

The situation is different now. We don't merely have an investigation. We have 91 felony charges. We have a trial date. We have clear and compelling evidence that he did exactly what he's alleged to have done. He's been repeatedly sanctioned for breaching bail conditions. We've already seen courts in civil cases find that he committed sexual assault, fraud, and insurrection. He's defending himself with the nonsense argument that he is absolutely immune from criminal prosecution for any crime he committed as President. SCOTUS is not stalling for him. Four of his co-conspirators have already plead guilty. The walls actually are closing in.

To top it off, there's no one on Trump's side who seems to be able to offer a credible legal argument for his innocence. What we get, both from pro-Trump commentators and from Trump's own legal team, are accusations of political bias and election interference. That stuff can rile up the base but it doesn't win trials.

Even today, the truth still matters sometimes. Trump was never going to be jailed on the timeframes Impassionata suggested even if he was obviously guilty, but the reason why he wasn't jailed at all is because Trump didn't actually collude with Russia. However Trump did actually try to overturn the 2020 election. He did it openly, he did it shamelessly, and you saw it with your own two eyes.

Yes, there's a lot of noise and rancour. But underneath it there is also reality. And the reality is about as bleak for Trump as it is for George Santos and Bob Menendez.

  • -19

My Vibe-Analysis based opinion: if he's going to jail, he's going only if he loses the election. Jailing him before the election is suicidal, to my knowledge it doesn't actually prevent him from running, and it would actually increase his chances of winning. Convicting someone, only to lose to them would be a massive humiliation to the establishment, and I don't know if they want to roll the dice on that one.

Jailing him after he wins might work, but would also lower the legitimacy of the establishment, and might backfire, if Trump picks some lunatic for VP.

The only way this works is if you let Trump supporters hype themselves up for the campaign, beat them in an obviously fair election, and then jail the guy when everybody's deflated post-defeat.

Jailing him before the election is suicidal,

How so? I'm not so sure about it increasing Trump's chances of winning — I'm from Alaska; I remember what happened with Ted Stevens, and that was a much more egregious case of patent railroading.

And, indeed having him win from in jail would indeed be a problem for the establishment, but what then comes to my mind is the case of Tsar Nicholas II.

How so? I'm not so sure about it increasing Trump's chances of winning — I'm from Alaska; I remember what happened with Ted Stevens, and that was a much more egregious case of patent railroading.

Never heard of the dude, but the reason the reaction to Trump's conviction might be worse than Steven's case, is because the knives were out for Trump for 8 years straight, to an absurd degree. It got so bad, that for all I know they got an actual case against him now, and I still think the proper response would be to vote for him, in retaliation for the circus show we've been put through.

And, indeed having him win from in jail would indeed be a problem for the establishment, but what then comes to my mind is the case of Tsar Nicholas II.

I don't want to come off as callous, but they can kill him for all I care. The more officially, the better.

the problem is if they do kill trump then you can't vote for him. you will probably just end up accidentally voting for an establishment candidate in the end even if you try your best not to.

I don't know if that matters much. It's not like my hopes are that Trump wins and manages to fix anything, the point is to convince people that the establishment is illegitimate, and we need to build alternatives.

convince people that the establishment is illegitimate

Why? What is "legitimacy," anyway? The difference between "Don Corleone" and "King Vito I" isn't that one has "legitimacy" and the other doesn't, it's whether or not there's a bigger, stronger "stationary bandit." Whatever group can most credibly tell you "follow this rule or I hurt you" is the government (and that's what "government" simply is).

I wish I could remember where I encountered the argument that Westerners deeply misunderstand the "Mandate of Heaven," mistaking it for a Chinese "divine right of kings" when it's really a much more materialist concept. That what it really means is that "legitimacy" follows from — is a product of — the de facto exercise of imperial power. Whoever most performs the functions of government (however badly) is the government (until someone else is actually doing it better).

and we need to build alternatives.

…but what makes you think this is possible? Both in terms of the forces in opposition, and the qualities of the people in question?

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Never heard of the dude, but the reason the reaction to Trump's conviction might be worse than Steven's case, is because the knives were out for Trump for 8 years straight, to an absurd degree.

It's a story; the full investigation report is a wordy read, but it's hard to overemphasize how fucked up that case was. Looking at blogosphere discussions of the incident from before (2008) and after (mid-2009) the real revelations give a good look at the extent that early FBI leaks had managed to poison much of conservatives (even media-skeptical-by-those-times) against him, until the other shoe dropped.

My Vibe-Analysis based opinion: if he's going to jail, he's going only if he loses the election. Jailing him before the election is suicidal, to my knowledge it doesn't actually prevent him from running, and it would actually increase his chances of winning. Convicting someone, only to lose to them would be a massive humiliation to the establishment, and I don't know if they want to roll the dice on that one.

You might be right about the political implications, but despite Trumps rhetoric, it isn't Biden driving this train. The people who are driving the train seem very set on that March 4 trial date. If that ends up tanking Biden's numbers, Smith and Chuktan will shrug.

There is a semi realistic scenario where he gets convicted before the election but allowed to go free on bond pending sentencing, with the sentencing date set after the election. So if he wins he pardons himself and if he loses he gets locked up. I don't think it will happen, my bet is he gets remanded in custody, but it's not impossible.

it isn't Biden driving this train

I think you're drastically overestimating the integrity of these people. Maybe you're right, but it would be perfectly on-brand for the Dems to think that this is the cleanest way to ensure victory.

It's not really about integrity, I think Biden is corrupt as heck. It's more that working inside politics has led me to model these situations as having many more moving parts and actors with agency than outside observers might assume.

I do think that the Democratic political establishment pressured the DoJ to go after Trump, but it was done publicly through the Jan 6 committee rather than surreptitiously through a private conversation from Biden. I think a lot of people just kind of assume that all the different parts of the establishment work together a lot more closely and seamlessly than they actually do.

I think a lot of people just kind of assume that all the different parts of the establishment work together a lot more closely and seamlessly than they actually do.

Maybe. I used to believe that too, but I think we'd see a lot more friction, on a lot more happenings of the past couple years, if they didn't.

free on bond pending sentencing

Or pending appeal. This case is messy enough that as long as Trump keeps paying his lawyers he can tie it up in the appeals courts until the only sentence that makes sense is house arrest in his nursing home.

Jailing him after he takes office doesn't work at all, since jailing him doesn't make him not President. He can pardon himself for Federal crimes and refuse to answer for State crimes (at least until and unless the Supreme Court rules against him on that point, which doesn't seem likely). Jailing him on state crimes as President-Elect might work but is even more likely to lead to violence.

The problem with me believing yet another "Trump going to prison, for sure this time!" declaration, no matter who makes it, is all the wolves that have been cried as definitely in the sheepfold this time round, and yet he's still out there stumping on the campaign trail.

So what makes this time different? Maybe it is, but after all the grand declarations of treason and fascism, "he cheated on a bank loan" is rather a come-down. Particularly as it's not even the banks taking this case. What was all that about victimless crimes I see online?

I'm not trying to present him as some kind of hero of the people or as anything other than what he is, but the amount of effort poured into "he must be guilty of something we can get him on!" has been ridiculous. It's pure vengefulness and not a crusade for great justice.

I think you should probably take note of the fact that even pro-Trump voices like Tucker Carlson and Megyn Kelly are now conceding that he will be convicted. They may not like Trump personally but they are not people who have hysterically accused Trump of every crime under the sun.

I also don't think it's much of a defence to point out that he was accused of more than just fraud, seeing as he is being prosecuted for more than just fraud. Yes, people who claimed he would be convicted of treason were being over-excitable - the Department of Justice likes to only bring cases that are slam dunks (thus their 99.6% conviction rate). But the charges he is actually facing are still very serious. His own justice department locked someone up for 9 years under some of the same Espionage Act offences he's been charged with in the documents case.

  • -15

They're conceding he'll be convicted because his enemies have the timing down perfectly to meet their goals.

I mean, c'mon. It took 3 years for them to put this case together... exactly? Every hearing and trial date syncopates perfectly with the election media cycle to maximize the damage? He'll be put in jail at the perfect time for the Republicans to have to scramble behind a new candidate or make some other impossible choice?

They're confident this time is different because after 8 years of practice with this bullshit they've exhausted enough of his resources and political capital that they stand a strong chance of killing him. The guy's hawking pieces of his suit for christ's sake.

I suppose at the end of the day this is the fault of idiot boomers and marines for not picking someone other than a narcissistic piece of shit this go-round. Biden should have lost easily, but I guess we're all going to do this the hard way.

I suppose at the end of the day this is the fault of idiot boomers and marines for not picking someone other than a narcissistic piece of shit this go-round. Biden should have lost easily, but I guess we're all going to do this the hard way.

Like who, though? The current bunch of prospective candidates isn't exactly filling me with joyous expectation; out of all of them, Nikki Haley is about the only one I find tolerable, and she has a snowball in hell's chance of getting anywhere.

Remember Mitt "Mormon Theocrat Going to Implement the Handmaid's Tale in Reality" Romney? Now he may be patted on the head as a true patriot and statesman due to criticising Trump, but when he was running for the job, he was painted as Literally Hitler.

When every single nominee you got is going to be pilloried as Literally Hitler, unless they're so obviously hopeless they don't stand a chance, what do you go? Who do you go with? I never in a million years imagined Trump had a chance to win, but the amount of seething and screaming about him ever since the results of the election are demonstrating something. I'm not entirely sure what, but it involves "stop playing the gentlemanly loser game".

Nikki Haley, who would make you use your real name on the Internet? With Republicans like herm who needs Democrats?

That's silly, but it's not out of line with current thinking around hate speech, etc. Besides, nothing will ever be as monumentally stupid, to me, as po-facedly calling your censorship department "Anti-Evil Operations".

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When every single nominee you got is going to be pilloried as Literally Hitler, unless they're so obviously hopeless they don't stand a chance, what do you go? Who do you go with?

I've seen some argue that the answer to this is "someone who actually is Literally Hitler?" In the tale of the boy who cried "wolf," eventually a wolf arrived.

Of course, there appears to be a dearth of notable would-be wolves.

In any case, given the nature of our system, the parties, and the available candidates, I simply don't see how you "stop playing the gentlemanly loser game" without, at a minimum, abandoning electoral politics altogether.

Being fair, most of his actual defense is not going to be shown to the public, because it would be counterproductive to the job of mounting a defense, telling the public the defense’s position and strategy also tells the prosecutors and thus they can prepare to counter the theory.

They can’t ‘get’ Biden unless they get 67 seats in the Senate.

But the precedent has been set and is being followed, that's the rub. And there's always the courts, as we see here. Maybe Joe can't be impeached, but thanks to Hunter, he sure can be dragged through the courts on tax charges, bank charges, money charges, whatever else.

Maybe Tara Reade will find a sympathetic prosecutor to special-case this one time extend the statute of limitations for her, as E. Jean Carroll got, so that Trump could finally be "we told you he's a convicted sex offender!"

Tara Reade

She has defected to Russia. This sharply increases my estimation of her always having been a Russian asset. I realize how absolutely bizarre that claim sounds in light of ridiculous Russia conspiracies about election-related mind control, but here we are.

It seem weird to me to use "defected" after the fall of the Soviet Union. If I decide to move to Dubai (or Tokyo or Vancouver) and renounce my US citizenship is that "defecting"? It seems like the only time the word is used is in reference to moving to Russia. Do people defect to Iran?

People defect to North Korea, that happens occasionally.

It seems to me that if she gets a Russian state pension or equivalent, she defected, otherwise she just moved for whatever reason, possibly because she’s a traumatized mentally ill woman.

I've only heard the word "defected" when referring to soldiers, spies or government officials.

I can agree with that.

God alone knows, that's the kind of circus we've got going on now. But at the time, why shouldn't her allegations be every bit as credible as Blasey-Ford or, if you prefer, Julie Swetnick? Instead of going "yeah that one is nuts, let's stick with the Blasey-Ford story as at least plausible", they solemnly said "Oh dear, the FBI should investigate!"

When they're holding their hands up in horror about "high school drug rape gang" then I think the backpedalling on Reade was hypocritical, to say the least.

Assuming every Senate seat is filled, present, and voting, conviction and expulsion requires 67 votes, not 60. I don't think either party can get to 67 without either a reasonable fraction of bipartisan support or a truly enormous political upheaval (60 is difficult, but possible). In Biden's case specifically, the only way he gets expelled is if a big chunk of Democratic leadership decides to remove him; even in that case, I strongly believe they would engineer his resignation instead.

Yes, confused it with the filibuster/cloture threshold. The Democrats came closest to 60 in 1992 and 2008 I think with 58.

The Democrats got to 60 in 2008; it was part of the drama surrounding Obamacare. The first draft got 60 votes in the Senate on a vote of cloture, with Ted Kennedy supplying the 60th vote on his deathbed. A special election was held to fill Kennedy's seat after he died--not the usual process for filling a Senate vacancy, but the result of a cascade of political maneuvers and especially large amounts of irony--and Massachusetts elected Scott Brown, a Republican (!), who explicitly ran on a platform of blocking Obamacare. This caused great consternation in DC, and quite a lot of emergency brainstorming as to how to get the final package passed. The details are fascinating, if you like political/procedural trainwrecks.

Note, though, that the Democrats only got to 60 following two successive wave elections in their favor (2006 and 2008; GWB was extremely unpopular towards the end of his presidency). In the modern day, it's hard to get to 60. The Republican party should have a marginal advantage in the Senate, based on state-by-state political tilt, but they have routinely underperformed across the last several cycles.

not the usual process for filling a Senate vacancy,

Says who? Ted Kennedy was origunally elected un a special election after JFK vacated the seat to become president. And if there were supposedly shenanigans, why not just leave the interim appointee in place (former DNC chair Paul Kirk)?

Says me, on the basis of a vast amount of American political history, and the knowledge of what happened in Massachusetts in the 2000s. The usual process for filling a Senate vacancy is the appointment of a replacement by the Governor, and that appointment lasts until the next even-year November election. This is the well-known procedure in most states, both now and for the past several decades at a minimum. There are exceptions; they are unusual.

In 2004, Massachusetts had a Republican Governor (Mitt Romney, as it happens) and a Democrat supermajority in the state legislature (an odd combination, but not unheard of in Massachusetts). Anticipating the vacancy of John Kerry's Senate seat if he won election to the Presidency that year, the legislature amended the procedures for filling a Senate vacancy over Romney's veto, stripping him of his appointment power, and calling for a special election to fill the vacancy temporarily. As far as I'm aware, the legislature definitely had the power to do exactly that, but it was also an obvious political power play, and calling such "(legal) shenanigans" is defensible.

This power play did not pan out as expected. First, Kerry lost the Presidential election in 2004, so no Senate vacancy was had. Second, Romney was succeeded by a Democrat, Deval Patrick, in the 2006 gubernatorial election. Third, Ted Kennedy provided the next vacancy by dying in office in 2009. Shortly before his death, Kennedy persuaded the Massachusetts legislature to re-empower the Governor to appoint a temporary replacement pending the results of the special election. While Patrick could (and did) appoint a Democrat to replace Kennedy, the people of Massachusetts picked a Republican, Scott Brown, in the special election. Brown's election dropped the Democrats' Senate majority from 60 to 59, triggering the next round of drama in DC.

Had Massachusetts followed the "usual process" in filling the Kennedy vacancy, Patrick's nominee would have continued in office for several more months until the next general election in 2010, maintaining the Democrats' 60-vote Senate majority for that period. That this did not occur was the ironic result of political gamesmanship on the part of the Massachusetts state legislature.

calling such "(legal) shenanigans" is defensible.

But the shenanigans were in 2004; you seemed to imply that they were in 2010, in response to Kennedy's death.

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So the lesson about using the system to get the political opponents has been learned, and the other side is deciding to play now.

I say normalize the office of People's Opposition to the President. If we're going to get a special prosecutor every damned time anyway and continual allegations of wrongdoing, you might as well. Seriously, from Nixon on, we are now at four out of nine Presidents with allegations of serious malfeasance that are treated seriously by at least one faction in Congress, plus additional Presidents treated as "illegitimate" along at least some lines. If the POP had existed, we presumably would have had major inquiries conducted on the extent of Reagan's involvement in various CIA schemes and Bush's approach to Iraqi intelligence. If this is just the way things are done now, let's formalize it instead of pretending that each new President is uniquely bad in some materially important way.

the extent of Reagan's involvement in various CIA schemes

I was and remain of the opinion that with Contragate, Oliver North should have been shot as a traitor to the uniform.

And I'm a conservative, so that's my view on doing things that are indeed a threat to democracy.

The Trump trials are so stupid by comparison that I have to think they're vengeful partisanship. And now the Republicans are playing the same with Joe Biden. Well, thanks guys who spent four years trying to find any stick to beat the dog with when it came to Trump, instead of letting him fade back into has-been obscurity, I'm sure the nation is the better for it!

I was and remain of the opinion that with Contragate, Oliver North should have been shot as a traitor to the uniform.

And I'm a conservative, so that's my view on doing things that are indeed a threat to democracy.

More libertarian than conservative here, but I'm with you on this one.

I still find the response of Our Nation's Leaders to Iran-Contra to be intensely surreal. The Republicans IIRC thought everything was just fine, and the Democrats were mostly upset about Ollie funneling the proceeds from the arms sales to the Nicaraguan Contras, and nobody seemed to much care that US military officers had been selling US military hardware out the back door to an enemy nation.

I agree, parliamentary systems are good.

Is there something serious there for Biden to answer?

Biden refused to collect interest on student loans for nearly three years, and tried to outright cancel them before the Supreme Court told him to cut it out, and then he immediately got to work on trying to do it again.

In a sane world, the President unilaterally misappropriating hundreds of billions of dollars to pay off his base would be clear grounds for impeachment and prosecution, but we don't live in that world, so I guess they're going to try to tie him to his son's shenanigans.

Interesting comment, and your opinion is very firmly stated. I'm not American and I only have a passing familiarity with US political shenanigans, so I'd be very interested to hear why you are so certain Trump committed an "awful" crime and is going to jail. Are we talking about Jan 6th here? My impression is that nothing he did was worse than the what the Democrats did in 2016 and during BLM (including disputing the election, calls to violence, riots and the storming of the White House during BLM), and that prosecuting political opponents is another step the US is taking toward being a failed state. But I'd be very interested to hear you lay out why this impression is wrong.

Yes, the federal Jan 6 case scheduled to start on March 4 is the one I'm talking about. I think he's completely screwed in the Georgia case and the documents case too, but they're more logistically complicated and are unlikely to go to trial before the election.

I think he went way, way beyond "disputing" the election. He actively tried to stay in power despite losing the vote and despite the courts rejecting his false claims of fraud. He had no legal avenues remaining to stay in power, and he tried to use illegal ones.

Jan 6 was effectively a failed coup. It was an egregious attack on American democracy. Heinous crimes like that should not be tolerated simply because they are committed by political opponents.

  • -26

If Jan 6 was a coup then where are the weapons? That is the huge issue for anyone describing it as a coup.

So they were planning for a massively bloody revolution... and left their guns in Virginia?

Yes. It was not a good coup attempt.

  • -10

Neither is sitting home on the couch bitching -- what makes this a coup attempt and not that?

The part where they attempted to prevent the democratically elected President-elect from assuming power.

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A 50 page document without a citation for what you think disagrees is a bit bad faith. No one is reading for an hour to respond to figure out what you mean.

You asked where the guns were. I linked you to a high profile Jan 6 case involving a lot of guns.

And you can’t give me a summary or copy paste the key point?

Like if every time I replied to a message board post I got a 50 page doc to review well nothing would get accomplished.

"The Oathkeeper people bought various expensive AR-15s both before and after Jan 6, also they had a lot of ammo -- all of which they left in Virginia and went to the Capitol more or less unarmed" would be a precis of the relevant parts.

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You asked where the guns were. I linked you to a high profile Jan 6 case involving a lot of guns.

...At the protest? Or is this the sort of thing where my last traffic stop involved a lot of guns, if by that you mean that I had a traffic stop, and my guns were home?

It's the sort of thing where you rob a bank with a gun in your pocket with the full intention of shooting people if you don't get the money, but they just give you the money and you never pull the gun.

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The basic idea with all of this is to make everything (that Jan 6 was an insurrection and a coup attempt, that Trump incited it, that Trump's words were not protected by the First Amendment, and that Trump is barred from the ballot as a result) common knowledge by repeating it over and over in the media as if it is a true fact, and then not giving any of it a rigorous examination in court, instead relying on the fact that it's all obvious already. Unfortunately much of the right has decided to go along with this, so it will probably work.

The first amendment bit is likely irrelevant. That said, showing that it's an insurrection is still probably a fairly steep bar.

Of course, Trump did try to cheat his way to staying in office (assuming he didn't actually believe the fraud claims, I don't know), but that's not any of the things the 14th amendment bars from office for, as best I read it.

The first amendment bit is likely irrelevant.

If his words are at issue, the First Amendment cannot be irrelevant.

That said, showing that it's an insurrection is still probably a fairly steep bar.

It's just assumed as the default now, with a very high bar required to overcome it. This is entirely backwards but is the power of the left's control of the institutions.

If his words are at issue, the First Amendment cannot be irrelevant.

My own inclination is to think that Baude and Paulsen were basically right on the legal analysis, but not on its applicability to Jan. 6.

They argue for a view intermediate between saying it's limited by the 1st amendment, or that it supersedes it, saying that you should interpret it narrowly in order to understand it in the extent possible, consistent with the first amendment, but if they conflict, then the 14th amendment should be the one you follow.

So you're right, it's not irrelevant, but it's probably possible for someone to do things that would both be protected speech under the first amendment and sufficient from the 14th amendment to exclude from office.

It's just assumed as the default now, with a very high bar required to overcome it. This is entirely backwards but is the power of the left's control of the institutions.

Yes, unfortunately.

The federal case against Trump seems to boil down to if you challenge an election then you have to be correct or you are going to jail. That doesn't seem to be a good precedent to set. He is being prosecuted for things that are entirely legal and people have done before in the past and have not been prosecuted for.

Wait, who's the other president who tried to get their VP to reject legitimate election results?

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... Were you not awake for 2016 or 2000?

Apparently not if I missed Obama trying to prevent the transfer of power to Trump after the election! Can you give me any more details about it?

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I seem to recall this big controversy about the crossfire hurricane thing.

And you know that SCOTUS case in 2000.

Tell me more about crossfire hurricane. What did they do to keep Obama in the White House and prevent Trump becoming president?

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There is a big difference between using recount laws for the purpose for which they were intended (even if those recount laws later turn out to be unconstitutional) and filing lies with the court. Neither Bush nor Gore was ever accused of filing briefs containing false factual claims - the key facts of Bush v Gore (that recounting punch card ballots accurately was sufficiently difficult that there wasn't time for an accurate statewide recount before the electoral College deadline, and that the margin of error of the original count exceeded Bush's margin of victory) were never disputed.

Trump's State court challenges to the 2020 election are criminal if and only if they were based on knowingly false factual claims. Both the Federal and Georgia indictments promise to bring evidence that they were.

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They did extra legal things to harm the Trumps administration ability to do anything. General Flynn having to answer Logan Act violation issues is a big deal to me since no one has ever been prosecuted under the Logan Act so the fbi attacking him for it was extremely extra-legal.

I don't think that is a fair characterization of what people wanted the Pence to do. The problem was after certification occurred even if the fraud was found it would be unlikely that the courts would allow the final result as certified to be overturned. The idea was to send the contested results back to the states so the irregularities could be properly investigated before certification.

The most similar election was in 1876. It didn't involve the VP rejecting certification himself and infact there was controversy over who had the power to count the votes during certification but there are very strong parallels and no-one was prosecuted for what happened: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1876_United_States_presidential_election

Tbf 76 wasn't handled by our current laws because those laws were designed in response to 76. From Goodyear's "President Garfield":

In 1887 President Glover Cleveland would sign the Electoral Count Act into law, expressly to ensure the fiasco of a decade prior could never repeat. Hereafter Congress would have to be in session at one o'clock on the afternoon of January 6 following every Presidential election to formalize the results; representatives and senators would have limited authority to challenge certificates submitted by the states; the Vice President would serve as presiding officer but, likewise, not have the power to invalidate election returns.

The Compromise of 77 narrative is also somewhat contrived. Grant had already decided it was time to withdraw troops from the South and Hayes agreed that he would follow him in this policy; they made their decision well in advance of the general election (Garfield approved as well). Likewise, the Democrats at the Wormely meeting who offered to end the Democratic fillibuster were rebuffed because they had no power over their party to actually make this happen, and indeed the fillibuster continued after the meeting, suggesting no deal was made. It wasn't really a meaningful offer anyway - the vote count had already begun and the results were certain, the only issue was how long it would take the fillibuster to end.

That’s insane. One of those bits of history that gets glossed over in high school, and summed up as “this Rutherford guy ended Reconstruction.”

Worth noting that after the debacle, Congress specifically clarified the situation via law. The Eastman strategy tried to get around this by appealing to Jefferson’s precedent. I don’t know how that was supposed to make the ECA unconstitutional, but I guess that’s why I’m not a partisan law professor.

There are other ways to challenge an election that don't involve threatening violence, like what Gore did vs Bush. That's fine.

As far as I'm aware Trump is not being prosecuted for threats of violence because he never threatened violence. The federal indictment seems to be around what is being referred to as the 'fake electors' plot and trying to get Pence to reject certification. But if you look at historical challenges to election results the parties who have challenged the results have used similar 'fake electors'.

Interesting, I thought the case against him was based on the whole "inciting his supporters to go shit up the capitol" thing.

the situation is weird because the allegations are part of the text of the indictment but Trump is not actually being charged for incitement or anything else in regards to the Jan 6th riot. his lawyers tried to get that part of the indictment removed because they believed it was irrelevant and potentially prejudicial to a jury but the judge did not agree and let the text stand as-is. here is the text of his motion: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/24078250-motion-to-strike-inflammatory-allegations

The indictment includes repeated references to the actions of independent actors at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. See: ... The indictment does not charge President Trump with responsibility for any of these actions.

And here is the judges opinion for reference: https://storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.dcd.258148/gov.uscourts.dcd.258148.158.0_1.pdf

An uncharitable reading as to why this text was included in the indictment could be so that third parties reporting on the indictment could muddle things for their audience and give the impression that Trump was being charged for the Jan 6th riots. I believe a similar thing may have happened with the statement by former intelligence officials about the Hunter Biden laptop. If you read the statement on the hunter biden laptop it doesn't actually say anything useful but other people could then portray the statement as saying something meaningful. The way the media works is kind of similar to chinese whispers but if you are aware of this then its possible to manipulate it for your benefit.

January 6 was the culmination of a successful color revolution which had been underway since May of the year prior.

Prosecuting Caesar always struck me as a bad idea. Perhaps an ideal, extremely robust democracy could get away with it. At present, I don't think the US is it.

Let’s assume he is guilty, and let’s also assume that 30-40% of the country doesn’t believe he is (apparently 85% of republicans don’t think he should be prosecuted). Shouldn’t a hypothetical, nationally representative jury, nullify the charges?

I too am annoyed by loose threats of terrorism, such as ‘if you don’t give young men sex/poor people money/if you police black people/etc, they will rise up’, but Carlson’s prediction of violence is justified here. If the ballot box and the jury box fail (edit: I forgot, perhaps the most egregious of all, also denied the soapbox when democrats cheered when he was kicked off twitter), what box do they have left? They are, ultimately, a large faction of armed men (like the democrats). Their power to inflict violence should be respected (and democracy, at heart, very much respects it). Their opponents do not have to accede to their every demand, but they should definitely refrain from putting their leader in prison. It constitutes a direct challenge to the war-making potential on which their political power rests, and as such invites the battle democracy is supposed to avoid.

I agree with this. It’s both a strategic mistake and a grave political failure to use the courts to target Trump now.

It’s both a strategic mistake and a grave political failure to use the courts to target Trump now.

Unless it works. If it's crazy and it works, it's not crazy.

How can it work? It’s clear a conviction wouldn’t remove him from the ballot, so electorally it wouldn’t work, and any loss from being arrested and being unable to campaign would likely be made up by the zealotry of his supporters and any number of GOP politicians (including the VP pick) being invited to campaign on his behalf.

It’s clear a conviction wouldn’t remove him from the ballot

How is that clear? The recently rejected suits were about a pre-conviction determination.

I’m going by the New York Times from last month:

The Constitution sets very few eligibility requirements for presidents. They must be at least 35 years old, be “natural born” citizens and have lived in the United States for at least 14 years.

There are no limitations based on character or criminal record. While some states prohibit felons from running for state and local office, these laws do not apply to federal offices.

The Republican and Democratic Parties have guaranteed spots on general-election ballots in every state, and the parties tell election officials whose name to put in their spot. States could, in theory, try to keep Mr. Trump off the ballot by passing legislation requiring a clean criminal record, but this would be on legally shaky ground.

“We let states set the time, place and manner” of elections, said Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School who specializes in election law, “but I think the best reading of our Constitution is you don’t let the state add new substantive requirements.”

Is the New York Times wrong?

The Republican and Democratic Parties have guaranteed spots on general-election ballots in every state, and the parties tell election officials whose name to put in their spot.

And one or more states doesn't bother "passing legislation requiring a clean criminal record… on legally shaky ground," but just says "Trump's been convicted, so we're not putting him on the ballot; the Republican party can either submit a different name to go in their 'guaranteed spot' or else we leave it blank"? Sure, a court will probably rule that this is illegal and unconstitutional… eventually.(And who enforces that ruling, anyway?) But if you time it right, you can probably have that decision only come after the election, and then what? (Or, failing that, come well after ballots are printed and too close to election day to print new ones.)

The electors can elect whomever they want though, right -- so just throw a placeholder in there, mobilize the base (have rallys with him & Trump, etc to make the situation clear) and then the (Republican) electors throw their votes to Trump.

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I'm not sure. The rule that states may not add additional qualifiers for federal office has some loopholes but some well-established precedent.

However, there's also been serious sets of legal challenges and a well-promoted campaign to argue that the 14th Amendment automatically disqualifies from the ballot anyone who 'participated in insurrection', by a vague and broad definition that includes whatever they think Trump has done.

I'd argue that they're wrong to do so, but I'm not sure what I think matters.

The 14th Amendment is rather quiet about how it's insurrection rule is to be enforced: it's not clear who actually gets the power to decide "insurrection" occurred. The federal courts? The states? Local officials setting up ballots?

Some of those options are better than others, but if you choose poorly I think you'll find "was overruled once by SCOTUS" to be grounds for finding "insurrection against the Constitution" in any case where unfriendly partisan officials are empowered to so decide. Obviously Obama's fake "recess appointments" in Noel Canning were a deliberate attempt (from a famed Constitutional Scholar!) to subvert the Constitution if you let Ken Paxton decide.

To be fair, it's not clear how the Constitution's eligibility rules would be enforced generally if someone nominated, say, a child who was obviously under 35. Birtherism runs a bit more into the Full Faith and Credit Clause, though.

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No, but that is a different set of criteria than who will appear on the ballot. For example, there's nothing in those requirements about having to get a certain number of verified signatures of support, which is a near-universal ballot access requirement. The suspicion is that a conviction will be used to prevent Trump from being on the ballot in at least some states despite him being eligible to be President if he was elected anyways.

Sure, but if those states are California, New York, Vermont, and hawaii, that disqualification is irrelevant.

Is the New York Times wrong?

Dismayingly frequently.

Not about this, I believe, but since the history of the NYT being bafflingly brazenly wrong about things extends from over 90 years ago to under 2 days ago, it still feels weird to cite them as an authoritative source.

Of course, I certainly didn’t mean to imply they’re always right. But they don’t seem to be wrong about this.

Is the New York Times wrong?

Ah, yes: the newspaper that had its baby journalists twittering about being in an unsafe space for BIPOC people because of an opinion piece published by the paper.

They considered that piece a "call for state violence", so I guess the same attitudes are behind "January 6th was an insurrection".

It was a while ago, but there literally was a guy who ran for president from prison.

Debbs against Wilson.

Yup, keep trying to remember him by his convict number, and keep falling flat on my face.

This doesn't make any sense to me. There are two important groups of people here. People who would vote for Trump if he isn't convicted but wouldn't vote for him if he is convicted and people who wouldn't vote for him if he wasn't convicted but would vote for him if he was convicted. Is it your contention the second group is larger than the first? This strikes me as wildly implausible.

I think there are quite a few Republicans who find Trump personally distasteful and would not normally vote for him who would feel compelled to send a message to the Democratic establishment that imprisoning their candidates is not an acceptable political tactic, actually -- and the set of "people who will definitely vote for Trump but respect the decisions of a DC court as to his morality" seems really, really small?

and the set of "people who will definitely vote for Trump but respect the decisions of a DC court as to his morality" seems really, really small?

Why is agreeing with a DC court as to his morality the relevant criteria? How about "the set of people who wouldn't vote for a convicted felon?" I bet that's a much larger set!

How about "the set of people who wouldn't vote for a convicted felon?"

That's true, but what if you think the conviction was unjust? Put him in to get him out was a slogan for an Irish by-election canvassing votes for a political prisoner in 1917.

Why is agreeing with a DC court as to his morality the relevant criteria? How about "the set of people who wouldn't vote for a convicted felon?" I bet that's a much larger set!

"Wouldn't vote for someone you already support but was convicted by a kangaroo court full of people that you hate" seems pretty small.

I suspect these people are outnumbered by Republicans who find Trump distasteful but would vote for him on the grounds he's a Republican -- except that they're happy to have the excuse not to because voting for a convicted felon is just beyond the pale.

Campaigning is about rallying the troops. My contention is that the effect of a Trump conviction wouldn’t substantially reduce the number of would-be Trump voters, but would energize his base tremendously.

Ok, but how does energizing his base going to translate into more votes? Were a bunch of people who make up his base also not going to vote for him until he got convicted?

Yes, all candidates have a portion of the base who is insufficiently motivated to get to the polls but can be convinced to do so.

I don’t think that true blue resistance warriors would vote Trump because he’s convicted, but there’s a certain kind of lower class conspiracy theorist which to be honest mostly doesn’t vote which might decide that him being convicted is a reason to support him.

I don't think either group is all that clearly outlined, because the world in which Trump is Nominated+Convicted is a different world in more ways than just Trump's location.

Other important groups of people:

-- People who will commit or attempt terroristic violence after Trump is imprisoned.

-- People who won't vote for Trump after the above have committed their terroristic violence on principle. Cops and cop fans, mainly, are likely to fall into this category. While Cops are typically very red tribe, after a MAGA mad hatter kills a cop in cold blood, they will flip.

-- People who won't vote at all if Trump is in prison because they will lose faith in the system.

And the thing is, that upside doesn't just carry across the Presidential race, it carries all the way down ballot in all likelihood, as GOPers will be forced to bend the knee from Senate to City Council.

Is it your contention the second group is larger than the first?

If there are people who feel that an important principle is being violated, they may well vote for Trump in that case as a protest vote. Sometimes you have to go with who you got, even if they're not the perfect subject for a case.

If Trump loses either because or despite being imprisoned, the Democrats have successfully shown they're the strong ones and the opposition gets out of line they don't just fade into obscurity, they go to prison.

It’s clear a conviction wouldn’t remove him from the ballot

Why not? If some set of states indeed use it as an excuse to remove him from the ballot, "allowed" or not, what recourse is available? Particularly if it gets dragged out in the courts until after the election is held? (Again, I look at Ted Stevens.)

Look, occasionally prosecuting former politicians for obvious misdeeds is a thing that happens in healthy democracies. But this is a government attempting to imprison their head of state’s opponent in an upcoming election when he’s(the opponent) ahead in the polls.

I don’t think it’ll start a civil war- for that matter I don’t think trump will go to prison, the secret service won’t allow it- but I can’t predict how this will fall out. It’s definitely not a sign of a healthy democracy and ‘well what if he was secretly osama bin laden’ hypotheticals are irrelevant and stupid- like pornography, I know it when I see it and well, this is definitely a clearer move towards autocracy than anything trump did.

Problem is, if he were behind in the polls, he’d say the same thing. I suspect he’d still say it if he wasn’t running. It’s a bad look, a third of the country would be furious, and the bastard knows it. He’s going to claim complete immunity for everything until the day he dies, because “witch hunt!” is apparently an effective rallying cry.

Regardless of how I feel about his actual decisions, that’s kind of infuriating.

His claims wouldn't resonate without plenty of people believing him. He's been unfairly persecuted by Democrats since election night 2016. The Democrats have overwhelmed their hands, and if you're upset that nothing ever sticks, you should blame the boys who cried wolf one too many times.

Well yes, trump isn’t a saint. I just think attempting to imprison the front runner in an upcoming election is rather worse for democracy than trump’s antics.

Shouldn’t a hypothetical, nationally representative jury, nullify the charges?

Well, no, because a jury actually hears all the evidence and arguments, a process which most of the voting public will never bother with. They're supposed to come to the correct conclusions after getting all that evidence, not the nationally representative one, and it's no surprise if those two happen to diverge (or don't).

If the ballot box and the jury box fail (edit: I forgot, perhaps the most egregious of all, also denied the soapbox when democrats cheered when he was kicked off twitter), what box do they have left?

'They' Control the Supreme Court and the House and most state Senates where actual things that affect people's daily lives get passed. 'They' have had huge wins in the past decade across all kinds of political domains, including the abortion victory 'they' claimed to care so much about or decades.

And if they want to nominate a non-criminal, they have every chance of electing them President.

The ballot box has not 'failed' anyone, and most people are enough aware of this that they're not going to risk their lives and livelihoods over the rhetoric to the contrary (even if they repeat it themselves!).

I too am annoyed by loose threats of terrorism, such as ‘if you don’t give young men sex/poor people money/if you police black people/etc, they will rise up’,

Of these, only black people have actually done anything about it in recent memory, because the actual material conditions of their lives are bad enough that it's worth the risk. The expected value of rioting to disrupt the system and maybe loot a TV, against the risk of being killed or injured in the streets or arrested, was actually positive-EV for enough poor black people in some urban areas to get them out of their houses.

That's just not true in this case, the average Trump voter will not be materially hurt by another 4 years of Biden in a way where risking violence in the streets is positive-EV for their individual life, and very few people will ever do it just for ideology.

Well, no, because a jury actually hears all the evidence and arguments, a process which most of the voting public will never bother with.

Let's have his trials in republican strongholds, then. I'm serious, this would make a conviction ten times as legitimate and vastly reduce my objections.

'They' Control the Supreme Court and the House and most state Senates where actual things that affect people's daily lives get passed. 'They' have had huge wins in the past decade across all kinds of political domains, including the abortion victory 'they' claimed to care so much about or decades.

If they are so powerful, why would you risk antagonizing them by repeatedly going after their leader? All the more reason to maintain the fragile peace of democracy.

Of these, only black people have actually done anything about it in recent memory, because the actual material conditions of their lives are bad enough that it's worth the risk.

There is no clear relationship between oppression and propension to riot. Slaves rarely revolted. Perhaps the tulsa race riot proves that whites were oppressed. Or Kristallnacht tells us something about the material conditions aryans were forced to live in.

People riot because they can get something out of it, because they can get away with it, and often, for the hell of it.

Let's have his trials in republican strongholds, then. I'm serious, this would make a conviction ten times as legitimate and vastly reduce my objections.

You'll get that in the documents case at least (assuming it occurs). And that's probably the one that's going to result in the longest sentence.

In May 2020 there was a real chance my mother was going to die alone in a hospital room because of fascist policies enacted to stop transmission of an illness that doesn't kill people. Day after week after month after year I still see people entirely seriously using the term fascist to refer to those most opposed to pound-for-pound the worst lie in the history of this country. Of course I know they don't truly understand what fascism is, if they understood it, they could recognize it; if they recognized it, they would realize everybody screaming fascist over the last 10 years are those most inclined to supporting and perpetrating fascism. I know it just means to them "this thing is viewed by my ingroup as bad, and with this term I am signaling to my ingroup that I am one of them." It's galling, at times I've felt the temptation of a rage and frenzy, but I'm pretty good at keeping a cool head and I know when it comes down to it the people saying these things are deeply unserious.

You provide no substance here; the story of Carlson's supposed texts is old and baseless. Dominion sliced apart internal communications and arranged them to falsely portray things like Carlson hating Trump. His frustration has been known and as a non-federal-voter with limited subject interaction with Trump supporters, my impression has been they too view him as not delivering much on what they had hoped. If he's actually grifting, well his latest grift is getting Alex Jones back on Twitter and being Melania's pick for VP so I imagine Trump might be wondering if he could get any more Tucker-tier grifters on his side. On the prosecution, Carlson voicing concerns is easily explained; he believes the system is sufficiently corrupt to baselessly convict. I'm sure /pol/ is full of the blackpilled who would describe moral certainty of Trump's innocence and equally of his inevitable conviction. Nybbler might have even said it here already. Thinking that means any of them believe he's guilty is kafka shit.

But that's not what I'm here for, this is: is the American government bursting at the seams with depraved criminals? You can answer wrongly, but it's yes.

I have a postulate I put here a while back detailing my view on election fraud, most briefly it's "If possible, certain." The basis is that depravity. I saw someone here last week thinking apropos "They would [defraud voters] if they could" a suitable response is nevertheless "Sure, where's the evidence?" But no, you don't understand, if you truly understand how they are criminals who will take whatever they can the only rational consequent is "Can they prove they didn't?" And so likewise with the prosecution of Trump when you truly understand the overwhelming criminality present within the American government it's not the midwit's pattern-match of "whataboutism" it's the necessary consequent of "Can everyone involved prove their allegiance to justice?" Nope, they can't. So what do you go to, "He's a unique threat to the constitution"? Government organizations and taxpayer dollars censored speech, 1A out. The left is quite clear on guns, 2A out. NSA soldiers spying on homes and American citizen communications, 3A and 4A out. Or to cut to the quick, believing people who don't pay taxes should get to vote, that's the foundational ethos of the country out. The law doesn't matter to these people and the constitution doesn't matter to these people. (And please, I speak not the map but the territory.) What remains?

Trump won't be convicted. If and when this reaches the supreme court they'll rule 8-1 on what could be the utterly flimsiest of procedural issues that won't otherwise be immediately applicable as precedent for however many thousands of cases. The 8 members of actual merit will understand this is all politics, and so those 8 members of actual merit, appreciating their places in history and/as the only people with real power and real principle in 21st century America, will decline from participating in fuckery befitting the Roman senate.

So, if you too understand this truly, that this is entirely politically motivated, then you won't waste my time with the unserious person's poor gotchas or crimestop pattern-matches. Trump could have broken the law, probably even, so arcane is much of American law, but the law doesn't matter to those prosecuting him so why waste everybody's time here talking like it does? Trump does however represent a threat to their particular order, and that finally brings us to the only thing worth discussing in this entire affair: of Trump or those on the side of his prosecution, who deserves power?


My mother survived, and a politician I campaigned for as a bright-eyed youth got my dad in the hospital room. I'll back him forever for that just as I will never forget those who made it so I had to make that call.

fascist policies enacted to stop transmission of an illness that doesn't kill people

Lockdowns aren't on the pareto frontier of policy options for even diseases significantly deadlier than covid imo, just because rapid development and distribution of technological solutions is possible, but ... covid killed one million people in the united states. Yes, mostly old people, but we're talking about protecting old people here. No reason to pretend otherwise.

You provide no substance here; the story of Carlson's supposed texts is old and baseless. Dominion sliced apart internal communications and arranged them to falsely portray things like Carlson hating Trump

The texts were:

“We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait,” he texted an unidentified person.

“I hate him passionately. ... I can’t handle much more of this,” he added.

“We’re all pretending we’ve got a lot to show for it, because admitting what a disaster it’s been is too tough to digest,” he wrote in another text message, referring to the “last four years.” “But come on. There isn’t really an upside to Trump.”

Even for this, I agree it's possible he was just really mad at Trump and is usually pro-trump even in private, and that was his defense. People say a lot of things, in a lot of contexts, and cherrypicking can do almost anything. But ... on the balance, those are very strong statements. What makes you call it baseless?

But no, you don't understand, if you truly understand how they are criminals who will take whatever they can the only rational consequent is "Can they prove they didn't?"

... are they? I know some people in the Democrat Establishment. Mostly, they follow the law and the rules and try to do what's right. I don't think this is good evidence against election fraud, but it is strong evidence against them being moral mutants who hate truth and all that is good. Are my enemies innately evil?

Lockdowns aren't on the pareto frontier of policy options for even diseases significantly deadlier than covid imo, just because rapid development and distribution of technological solutions is possible, but ... covid killed one million people in the united states. Yes, mostly old people, but we're talking about protecting old people here. No reason to pretend otherwise.

Speaking of government policy, I wonder how many lives were lost because we couldn't conduct challenge trials on COVID? It was almost the ideal case - a disease with a rapidly-developed, experimental new vaccine and a large cohort of people (anyone under 40) for which it wasn't threatening. If we were a serious society - genuinely trying to optimize lives saved, rather than performatively closing churches and masking toddlers - I wonder how early we could have rolled out RNA vaccines for the elderly?

Yeah, I absolutely agree with that. We could've also done challenge trials on masks, different types of masks, different ways of instructing people how to use masks, ultraviolet sterilization, etc. And probably at least half of covid deaths could've been prevented with the level competence that's present in the best SV companies.

Rather more than half, given that 1st-world Asian countries did in fact prevent 80-90% of the deaths relative to a US baseline, and "the best SV companies" are presumably claiming to be more competent than Taiwanese bureaucrats (are they? Good question, and I don't know the answer). In terms of the combined cost of COVID mortality and morbidity and of unnecessary and ineffective preventative measures, the US was shockingly bad (and the UK was almost as bad - the only thing we got right was the vaccine rollout).

Preventing 1/2 the US deaths isn't the level of competence of the best SV companies, it's the level of competence of a slightly-above-average first world government bureaucracy.

Fair. Sometimes I make claims much weaker than my actual beliefs if they're enough to prove my point. I'm pretty sure a 'competent country' could have prevented 90%+ of covid deaths with no behavioral changes whatsoever other than minor things like masks, better ventilation, uv sterilization, and vaccines. But those asian countries still had significant behavioral changes that I'm arguing are unnecessary, even if less than here." And the standard for competence is somewhat high

There is a mountain of evidence masks did nothing.

Also Sweden looks great as well.

Maybe the solution to doing well with covid is “don’t have a bunch of fat old people”