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Thread: Lock Him Up?

  1. #1
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    Lock Him Up?

    Lock Him Up?

    For the Republic to survive Trump’s presidency, he must be tried for his crimes. Even if that sparks a constitutional crisis of its own.



    In the end, the most salient fact about Donald Trump may simply be that he is a crook. He has been defying the law since at least the early 1970s, when he battled the Department of Justice over his flagrant refusal to allow Black tenants into his father’s buildings. He has surrounded himself with mafiosi, money launderers, and assorted lowlifes. His former attorney, national security adviser, and adviser, and two of his campaign managers, have been arrested on or convicted of an array of federal crimes ranging from tax fraud to perjury to threatening witnesses. He employs the lingo of the underworld: People who cooperate with law enforcement are “flippers” and “rats”; investigators pursuing his misconduct are “dirty cops.” To him, the distinction between legal and illegal activity is merely an artificial construct enforced by sanctimonious hypocrites.

    And although President Trump’s opponents have been warning Americans what will happen to their 230-year-old constitutional government if our gangster president gets another four years in office, the truth is much of the damage has already been done. An electoral defeat in November is, of course, necessary. But Trump has set off a profound crisis of democratic legitimacy that even a resounding Joe Biden victory may not completely resolve. It may not take a fully developed fascist movement to bring down the Republic. All that may be required is one well-placed criminal.

    The prospect of an electorally defeated Trump, though glorious, would immediately set off a conflict between two fundamental democratic values: the rule of law and mutual toleration. The rule of law is a banal yet utterly foundational concept that the law is a set of rights and obligations, established in advance, that apply equally to everybody. It is an ideal rather than a lived reality. Black America, to take one obvious example, has never experienced equal treatment from institutions like the police and the courts. But this serves only to illustrate its essential value. The civil-rights movement has consisted in large part of fighting to extend the protection of the rule of law to Black people.

    The experience of Black racial oppression shows that the absence of the rule of law is a pervasive, terrifying insecurity. A society without the rule of law is one in which the strong prey upon the weak. The small-scale version is a town where you need the local warlord or mafia boss to solve any problem or dispute; the nation-state version is Vladimir Putin’s Russia, where the mafia is the government and bribery is endemic.

    Mutual toleration means that political opponents must accept the legitimacy and legality of their opponents. If elected leaders can send their opponents to prison and otherwise discredit them, then leaders are afraid to relinquish power lest they be imprisoned themselves. The criminalization of politics is a kind of toxin that breaks down the cooperation required to sustain a democracy. This, along with the misogyny, was what made Trump’s embrace of “Lock her up!” so terrifying in 2016. He was already using the threat of imprisoning opponents as a political-campaign tool.

    If the government is run by lawbreakers, though, the state faces a dilemma: Either the principle of equal treatment under the law or the tradition of a peaceful transition of power will be sacrificed. It’s hard to imagine any outcome under which the rule of law survives Trump unscathed.

    One of the most corrosive effects of Trumpism upon the political culture has been to detach the law from any behavioral definition and to attach it to political identity. As Trump likes to say, “The other side is where there are crimes.” He has trained his supporters to understand this statement as a syllogism: If Trump’s opponents are doing something, it’s a crime; if Trump and his allies are doing it, it isn’t. The chants, which applied enough pressure to force James Comey to announce a reinvestigation of Hillary Clinton in October 2016, simply to protect the FBI from being delegitimized by Republicans after an expected Clinton victory, showed how the field had been sown for Trump even before he took office.
    “It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one's life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than 'Try to be a little kinder.'”

    ~ Aldous Huxley

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    Legal scholar and Social Democrat Ernst Fraenkel fled Germany in 1938 and three years later published The Dual State: A Contribution to the Theory of Dictatorship. The “dual state” describes the way in which Nazi Germany continued to operate under the formal, democratic legal apparatus that had predated Hitler, while running a parallel state that violated its own laws. Legal impunity for the ruling party is the key pillar in a system that can destroy the rule of law even while retaining laws, judges, and other formal trappings of a working system.

    Trump hasn’t created a dual state, but he has laid the groundwork for it, not only in his rhetorical provocations but also as a kind of legal manifesto. In a series of letters, Trump’s lawyers have argued that he enjoys almost complete immunity from investigation by law enforcement or Congress. “The President not only has unfettered statutory and Constitutional authority to terminate the FBI Director, he also has Constitutional authority to direct the Justice Department to open or close an investigation, and, of course, the power to pardon any person before, during, or after an investigation and/or conviction,” they wrote in 2017. Last year, the president and his lawyers described impeachment as “illegal,” “unconstitutional efforts to overturn the democratic process,” and “no more legitimate than the Executive Branch charging members of Congress with crimes for the lawful exercise of legislative power.” One of his lawyers, Alan Dershowitz, wrote that Trump could not be impeached even if he handed over Alaska to Russia.

    Trump’s incredible claim to be both the sole arbiter of the law and beyond its reach was on vivid display at his nominating convention, a festival of televised lawbreaking. The Hatch Act, passed in 1939, prohibits using government property to promote any candidate for office. It has been observed continuously, often in exacting detail. Political scientist Matt Glassman recalled working as a staffer at the lowly Congressional Research Service, where he had to remove old political memorabilia, like a 1960 Kennedy poster and an 1884 Blaine-Logan handkerchief, lest those items be mistaken by passersby as endorsements for a living candidate.

    Trump has smashed the Hatch Act to bits, to the point where he turned the White House into a stage for his party convention. It isn’t that he was simply willing to pay the price of breaking the law in order to get the best backdrop. Trump’s aides told the New York Times he “enjoyed the frustration and anger he caused by holding a political event on the South Lawn of the White House, shattering conventional norms and raising questions about ethics-law violations,” and “relished the fact that no one could do anything to stop him.” Unashamed legal impunity was itself the message.

    A democracy is not only a collection of laws, and norms of behavior by political elites. It is a set of beliefs by the people. The conviction that crime pays, and that the law is a weapon of the powerful, is a poison endemic to states that have struggled to establish or to maintain democracies. If the post-election period descends into a political crisis, having all the relevant prosecutors promise immunity for Trump would be the most tempting escape valve. Yet the price of escaping the November crisis, and simply moving past Trump’s criminality by allowing him to ease off to Mar-a-Lago, is simply too high for our country to bear.
    “It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one's life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than 'Try to be a little kinder.'”

    ~ Aldous Huxley

  3. #3
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    His argument is persuasive. But I am still on this side of the fence.
    “It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one's life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than 'Try to be a little kinder.'”

    ~ Aldous Huxley

  4. #4
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    Trump was tried. He was acquitted.
    "What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer."

    link

    Time will tell.

  5. Likes daveman liked this post
  6. #5
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    "For the Republic to survive Trump’s presidency, he must be tried for his crimes."

    drama queen 2.jpg
    “I do not aim with my hand; he who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
    I aim with my eye.

    "I do not shoot with my hand; he who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
    I shoot with my mind.

    "I do not kill with my gun; he who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father.
    I kill with my heart.”

    The Gunslinger Creed, Stephen King, The Dark Tower

  7. #6
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    Billy, the shit you believe is incredible.

    Mark
    Race Card: A tool of the intellectually weak and lazy when they cannot counter a logical argument or factual data.

    "Liberals have to stop insisting that the world is what they want it to be instead of the way it is." - Bill Maher

    Political correctness is ideological fascism. It’s the antithesis of freedom. Dr. Piper

    Gender is not a "Social Construct", it is an outgrowth of biological reality.

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