845 Comments

The list could’ve been shortened to just one item, #1 - The Dems need to become the literal embodiment of The Giving Tree and just shut up about their needs and let the GOP continue with their desires cause we’re feckless cucks.

We have been basically there a long while with this one item.

I’m a Dem and it literally feels like this anyways. I’m part jest and part mean it sadly.

I get so angry about the nicey nice behavior of the Dems. One can be honorable and still not a doormat. Why haven’t the Dems learned this yet?!

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875 comments? There's not enough time in the day to make one's way through that. Wow!

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Just a great editorial. It actually reminds to fret a littlle less.

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Nyts leads with "bidens steady hand brings inflation under control". Not. Should be 2.6% is a great result.

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In keeping with the thesis of the piece: If The Boss doesn't win this contest, it was rigged.

(I kid. Kinda.)

Merry/Happy everybody!

-cg

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Somehow JVL succinctly summarized this complex situation all in one place. I loved this piece. I especially liked list of things everyone else must do to deter Americans from voting for Trump. I never thought of it this way. Not only are we told at each turn that the existing processes to stop him are not acceptable but that everyone else must change their goals to respond to him. Somehow this small, petty, narcissistic and ignorant conman got a whole country to constantly think of how to stop him or enable him. It’s a con trick for the ages.

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Dec 22, 2023·edited Dec 22, 2023

I understand where you came up with your list that requires Democrats to fix the mess Republicans have made. That has actually been the situation for many years now - the GOP gets into governing power and runs up the debt by applying debunked trickle-down economic theory to transfer wealth from middle class taxpayers to the wealthy, then the Democrats have to fix the mess left behind and never have the opportunity to work on their own agenda. There is a lag time for economic effects so Republicans benefit by what Democrats have done and Democrats get blamed for what Republicans actually did. So my question is, why was that your list, when you could have placed the blame and responsibility where it belongs, in the first place?

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Dec 22, 2023·edited Dec 22, 2023

A close friend who was a partner at a major NY law firm and a liberal Democrat came to a distressing conclusion when he reviewed the State of Colorado's decision. He says that Colorado decision should be and will be overturned by SCOTUS. He found the dissent by Judge Samour (starting on page 144 of the decision in a PDF released by the court) persuasively argues that the law is not "self-executing, "

that disqualification requires that Trump be formally charged and found guilty of insurrection after been afforded due process. Trump currently faces 91 counts for his criminal actions, but none of them are for insurrection. Furthermore, Samour points out that the 14th Amendment was designed to prevent further insurrection by States of the former Confederacy. The big takeaway was the Amendment was designed to take away jurisdiction on these matters from the former Confederate States. rather than afford them greater jurisdiction. That for purposes of enforcing this law, Congress, rather than a State, is obligated to define what insurrection means, the DOJ must charge Trump for insurrection as defined by Congress, and that Trump must be found guilty of insurrection after being afforded due process.

Given this it is likely that the Court will find in Trump's favor. If so, I hope the decision will be unanimous to short-circuit right-wing claims of a Democratic conspiracy to deprive Trump supporters of their right. (Likewise, if the Court finds that a President is subject to prosecution for crimes committed while in office, that decision is unanimous to short-circuit claims of anti-Trump bias).

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the law is self-executing because it requires an act of Congress to inoculate sworn office-holders who have engaged in or aided an insurrection, from being barred from running for office. You can't have to reverse something if it hasn't been put in place in the first place.

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Dec 22, 2023·edited Dec 22, 2023

Samor's argument is this:

Congress, having declared war against the Confederacy, had explicitly and unambiguously defined service in the Confederacy as engagement in insurrection. Under that Congressionally definition, Confederates who had previously served as US Government officials met the criteria for restriction from office in the re-unified United States.

Determining whether or not someone has "engaged in insurrection" is ambiguous outside of that context, requiring further adjudication and the extension of due process to the accused. Trump has not been formally charged with insurrection and afforded due process to defend himself against the charge.

So, as a matter of logic/law, Trump cannot be barred from public office at this point. However, the 14th Amendment would bar Trump from public office if he were to be charged and convicted of insurrection. But recall, Jack Smith has not formally charged Trump with "insurrection."

The SCOTUS will overturn the Colorado decision, and, as matter of pure law, would be right to do so. This is, as a practical matter, terrible -- but as a matter of the rule of law, pretty clear.

The Colorado decision will be overturned. Trump will claim this exercise as an example of "Democrat unfairness." That claim will seem very credible if the Supreme Court votes on party-lines. It would be harder to attack Democrats if the decision to overturn is 9-0.

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founding

I'm not sure the US Congress ever declared war. The Confederacy did. Lincoln proclaimed them to be in rebellion. And Congress pass laws in support of the struggle. But I can't find anywhere a declaration, and it seems to me Lincoln would not have wanted that anyway, since his position was the Confederate States were in rebellion, but still part of the United State

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After the Civil War, by definition

Being a former Confederate == having engaged in insurrection

The 14th Amendment holds:

If (having engaged in insurrection) then disqualified from office

Substituting the definition turns the expression into:

if (a former Confederate) then disqualified from office.

The problem we have now is that we have not formal federal court rulling based on Congressional law that Trump engaged in insurrection.

So to follow the process, to ban Trump from ballots requires charging and convicting him of insurrection first.

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The logic of that last bit didn't survive Lincoln or the war. In the end, the seceded states were held to require "readmission" before they could participate in US elections. Of the seceded states, only Tennessee got its 1866 delegation seated at the beginning of the 40th Congress, and three states were still outside at the time of the 1868 presidential election.

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founding

Agreed. I don't think it's good to disqualify him either, btw. We need to beat him/it at the ballot. But all of this (and the Civil War) just shows how everything gets screwed up when people start play outside the lines and too many people let them. Some of this stuff did, and more could have been faced with Nixon but for members of his own party stepping up and he, ultimately, stepping down

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founding
Dec 22, 2023·edited Dec 22, 2023

Sorry, JVL, we hates Christmas music (Bach excepted).

Never get your teeth cleaned between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day... unless you enjoy earworms.

Never had a dentist ask if I preferred Bach in the background to "Frosty the Red Nosed Burl Ives Sings about Snowflakes roasting by an open fire".

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founding
Dec 21, 2023·edited Dec 21, 2023

JVL is always right, save in the rare instances where he is wrong, and even then generally only in usually inessential details. In this his headline is correct, but one statement -- the political results are unknowable -- is wrong. Trump wins, the Republic loses, and we know the political result which is that Trump wins.

As to the Republic losing, it and we will lose anyway, even in the counterfactual of the Colorado decision never having been made. To quote Gollum, America is like the ring of power -- it is more and more now yearning to return to Sauron, except for the hobbits complacently drinking ale and telling each other that it doesn't matter what happens that is none of their concern-- that if they just stay out of trouble, trouble won't come to them.

I now have Trump with 312 electoral votes and Virginia a tossup -- the midwest is gone, except for Illinois, and possibly Minnesota on a knife's edge. AZ, GA, and Nevada are solid pink. My state (MI) won't even be close, Trump if it were to vote today, would take it by 200K votes. This is much worse than I had him last September, when I saw a chance he might just fall short. And the arc of history continues to bend Trumpward.

Attend to the recent podcast on the Lincoln project with Trigve Olsen. He points out what even JVL has not got to --yet-- that the consequences are not only for democracy, that all authoritarian regimes are about not only power but also using power to loot and pillage. If you have assets, if you have a business, you are a target. First a target, then a resource, and in the end, a serf.

After the new boss consolidates his control of the media, courts, law enforcement, and tax agencies, he and all the jackals and carrion eaters who follow in his train and devour his leavings will start coming after your property. All of us will find we have unwelcome co-owners and partners in our financial lives. It starts with the big fish, but eventually the corruption spreads to the point where you will be held up on the highway going to the grocery store and the gentleman in the police uniform will require some considerations... because he (or she), in order to feed his or her family, is on the hook to his or her supervisors or managers, who are on the hook to their higher ups, all of whom all the way up the chain will be taking from below and paying up above, all the way to the top.

I could possibly come to terms spiritually and emotionally with a tyranny of virtue, where the system, cruel and implacable, was nonetheless clean. But history records few if any instances of such systems, and if and when it records those, history is almost certainly lying.

By the way -- all of us who read the Bulwark -- and worse, the fools like me who actually paid them money -- this is on our Permanent Record. "{They)" -- when they get around to it -- (will) know who we are.

Don't expect mercy. They will have to start on the media, the police, the DOJ, the IRS, the courts, and so on. Our only hope is that by the time they get around to us, we'll have passed on. I'm only 68. My kids are half my age.

Merry Christmas and to all a good night!

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I am exhausted by the gqp constant sturm & drang . The 14th ammendment , sec 3 could have been written especially for dump . If not , then he really is above the law...

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founding
Dec 22, 2023·edited Dec 22, 2023

What is law but the wind carrying the sound of the song in the heart of the people?

When the song of the heart of the people is just the successive rarefactions and compressions caused by gastro-entestinal gas emissions, that's the law in its music and its redolence.

The voice of the law depends upon whether it originates in the windpipe or the colon.

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I have been debating the merits of the Colorado decision and have decided that ruling is overall good if for no other reason than it has created more national discussion on trump's actions January 6th. Legal process and interpretations aside, people who have a valid argument that trump aided an insurrection should be heard just as much and as forcefully as those who have supported trump trying to steal the election. We have a right and a duty to defend our democracy as much as those who seek to destroy it.

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founding
Dec 22, 2023·edited Dec 22, 2023

It's good in the sense that if you are doomed you might as well perish with honor. Like Winston Smith. Oh, wait ---

But perishing with honor can mean dying under torture and history proceeding without any detectible consequence-- throwing yourself into the water of history and not even making a ripple on the surface for all your agony.

Cassius and Brutus die at Pharsalus. Cicero is decapitated. The first two get named in a play by Shakespeare. Cicero gets translated by generations of Latin students. Here are the names of all the others who perished trying to save the Republic:

-unknown

-unknown

-unknown,

-unknown

When they come for you remember it's not our stars, but our selves, who are responsible for the rats eating our faces off.

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I'm sorry people, I hate Trump as much as you do, but SCOTUS will reverse this. The Amendment was not intended to apply to the Presidency; that office was named in early drafts, then explicitly removed in the final version. The assumption made at the time was that since the Amendment did explicitly apply to the Presidential electors, those people, not being Confederates themselves, would not choose a Confederate President.

You can debate all this, of course; but it's easily a big enough peg for this SCOTUS to hang its reversal on.

More details: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4591838

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founding
Dec 22, 2023·edited Dec 22, 2023

Of course SCOTUS will vacate this. One justice is a straight up fascist -- to quote John Goodman in the Big Lebowski about National Socialism, say what you want about him, at least he has an ethos -- another is a straight up self-aggrandizing crook whose soul has been so long mortgaged for a mess of pottage that he doesn't even remember what honor is-- the third and fourth are mere pliable windsocks yearning for a stiff breeze so they can know which way to point -- the fifth is a deeply serious religious Catholic whose intellectual gifts and rigorous charismatic catholic training enable her to re-orient the earth's magnetic field as desired so her moral compass points in the preferred direction -- the fifth is a pleasant handwringing gentleman who just wants all the things the fascist wants but prefers to get them slowly and genteelly without fuss or drama.

The rest are irrelevant because five is enough.

And all of them understand this fundamental fact: when T takes power again, every citizen will either be on a good list, or have to spend the rest of their lives waiting for the black Ladas to show up and haul them off to their destinies.

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As I've written above, a friend who is a liberal Democrat and former partner of a top-level national law firm, has reviewed Colorado's decision and find Judge Samour's dissent to be persuasive. Given that, in my opinion, the best outcome would be a 9-0 decision to overturn Colorado as a matter of both intellectual honesty and to defang right-wing conspiratorial charges against Democrats over this episode.

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founding

Lots of reasons to expect the Supreme Court to rule basically that this clause might as well not exist. Some of them are good jurisdicial reasons that, if we still lived in a Republic of laws, would be worth pursuing. However, we have long since crossed that event horizon. The Supreme Court from now on is no more than a panel of sinecured apparatchiks whose function is merely to dress up in ceremonial costume-- actors in a historical park.

I'm 68, my kids are half that age; none of us will ever again see a day where legal reasoning actually matters.

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Unfortunately, it seems that The Constitution may in its current form be used as a suicide note for democracy.

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Trump placed his hand on his mother's Bible and said the Presidential Oath of Office at his inauguration: "“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The Constitution contains an oath of office for the president of the United States. For other officials, including members of Congress, that document specifies only that they "shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation to support this constitution.

So we all know that Trump DID NOT preserve or defend the Constitution when he tried to force votes out of Georgia and make Mike Pence stop the counting of the electoral votes. This contortion of trying to not acknowledge what everyone knows is true about Trump is maddening. The CO Court is correct. He should not be allowed to run for President. The big problem is that this should have been started when he first announced he was running for Prez. Now everyone is AFRAID to take him down

But it is a Constitutional Amendment and should be abided by.

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JVL does a great job describing how republican whinging has created a dynamic wherein Democrats must do this and must not do that or else we are "going to vote for ( fill in blank ) just to get even. Sounds an awful lot like they have a gun to our heads. Who could have guessed the biggest whingers would be the winners? Are present day republican voters all those kids who took the ball home if they did not get to make up the rules of the game?

As for the Colorado decision, I thought the 14th Amendment precluded traitors from holding office. Wouldn't it be interesting to end up with a ruling that allowed his name on the ballot but precluded him from taking office. Now that would be a crisis for our democracy.

Either way, we are heading to a heads I win tails you lose season. And we have the vast majority of republican politicians - cowards all - the thank.

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I apologize JVL for my last comment about what would make Trump stronger. I just read today an opinion on CNN where the writer says that the decision by Colorado Court is foolish because we should get the voters decide who is in a ballot. That we should allow Trump to pursue his given right to run as a president. Well, the Constitution does not bar a criminal from running for president (sadly enough) but the 14th amendment is more specific, and it is about attempted coups. Trump did that. CNN says that Colorado decision is against democracy. That is rich because all Trump has been trying to do is to kill democracy and continue what Hitler started.

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Everytime the plugs say " let the voters decide " I want to say " the voters DID decide in 2020 .

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