Thursday, August 24, 2023

Pleading The 14th

14th Amendment

Section 3.

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.


Remember when Republicans would praise the Constitution? Well, mostly the Militia Amendment and the parts that gave them an edge over democracy in the Electoral College and undemocratic Senate. All those Constitutional powers for taxes, regulation of commerce and providing for the general welfare are just “Marxism”.


Remember when pompous Republicans would self-righteously boast they were the “Law and order Party”? Apparently, law and order to them is allowing police to pin Black men with a knee to the neck, or shooting them in the back because they “felt threatened”.


Gone are the days.


Now the radical Right Party of Trump are good with their Dear Leader’s desire to eliminate the Constitution and any law enforcement agencies that get in the way of their messiah’s megalomania. When the law seeks accountability for attempted theft of an election and the theft of nuclear and military secrets, then it’s “weaponization of the justice system”. Yes, the patented neo-Nazi/white nationalist “victim card”. After years of “cruel oppression” under Blacks, “Globalists” (Jews), Muslims, Mexicans, journalists and educators, the delicate white snowflakes are melting down over the rule of law itself.


Of course, they have no problem with Trump telling his Department of Justice to interfere with an election on his behalf ordering them to, “Just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican Congressmen”. Former Assistant Attorney General and criminal defendant Jeffry Clark proceeded to do just that before several true law and order DOJ officials said they would resign en mass if that happened.


And of course, these “Constitutional conservatives” have no problem with their Tangerine Tyrant insisting his Big Lie claim of a stolen election “allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution”.


As we’ve suspected all along, Republicans want “law and order for me and not for thee”. Yeah, that’s exactly how we get a dictatorship and police state. And that is what they really want. This is why they follow the fascist playbook to seize minority rule, even by force.


Many of them stormed our Capitol to overturn our democracy by violent insurrection for Trump’s Big Lie. (Historic parallels: Both Hitler and Trump are famous for scapegoating minorities, a Big Lie, AND an insurrectionist Putsch.)


Another favorite lie from the American radical Right is, “Hitler was a socialist! It’s in the party name!” Right…and North Korea is a “democratic republic”. Every honest and sane person knows Nazis are fascists.


I’ll submit Hitler’s own words for the historical record.


After the allied invasion of Italy, Mussolini was deposed and jailed. Hitler needed to send in his SS “fire brigade” to Italy. There were no socialists or Marxists among them. They were loyal Nazis sworn by oath to the Fuhrer.


From Hitler Directs His War” by Felix Gilbert (1950, New York) pp.55ff.

“I have to take politically reliable units. I can only accomplish something with elite formations that are politically close to fascism.”


To quote the beloved anti-Nazi American patriot Stan Lee, “‘Nuff said”.


There are more of Hitler's slogans and polices that would draw cheers from the MAGA crowd, including their classic “Commie card” for the opposition and demonization of journalism, the arts and education by “culture war”.


"We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit. We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theatre, and in the press-in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during recent years."

Hitler (a Radio Broadcast July 22, 1933; from My New Order, cited in The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1. pp. 871-872, Oxford University Press,London, 1942)


“The German state is gravely attacked by Marxism."


"The Marxists will march with democracy until they succeed in indirectly obtaining for their criminal aims the support of even the national intellectual world, destined by them for extinction."


Note the conflation of Marxism and democracy and contempt for intellectuals. Today’s neo-Nazis howl about “Marxist CRT” as they dictate or shut down studies of African American history.


Republicans and Nazis share the same disdain for women’s reproductive freedom and desire to keep women in their place as unwilling breeders.


On October 10, 1936, Heinrich Himmler created the Reich Central Office for Combating Homosexuality and Abortion, or Special Office (II S), a sub-department of Executive Department II of the Gestapo.


It’s quite clear neither Hitler nor Trump would respect the law when it stood between them and power.


Following the footsteps of Hitler’s 1923 Putsch, Trump launched his violent insurrection on January 6, 2021. We all saw it. We all saw how he waited for hours in hopes they would succeed in overturning the election. Then we saw him PRAISE his mob of thugs saying, “We love you. You’re very special”.


On January 6, 2021, Republican Senator Mitt Romney said, "What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the president of the United States."


Also on January 6, 2021, Mitch McConnell said, “We’re debating a step that has never been taken in American history, whether Congress should overrule the voters and overturn a presidential election...

Self-government, my colleagues, requires a shared commitment to the truth, and a shared respect for the ground rules of our system. We cannot keep drifting apart into two separate tribes with a separate set of facts and separate reality, with nothing in common except our hostility towards each other and mistrust for the few national institutions that we all still share....The United States Senate has a higher calling than an endless spiral of partisan vengeance. It would be unfair and wrong to disenfranchise the voters and overrule courts and the states in this extraordinarily thin basis.”


(How long until he forgets that part about “a separate set of facts and separate reality”?)


On January 12, 2021, ten Republicans join all House Democrats to impeach Trump for "incitement of insurrection" by a vote of 232 to 197.


Trump’s boot-licker Kevin McCarthy was moved to admit the facts on January 13, 2021. "President Trump bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have IMMEDIATELY denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump to accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure President-elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term.”


On February 13, 2021 the Senate voted 57–43 with 7 Republicans to convict Trump of inciting insurrection.


On June 23, 2023, Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that he supported an effort to hold a vote "expunging" both impeachments of Trump. This is not a thing, but they really do try to expunge facts and history.


During the first Republican presidential debate on August 23, 2023, all but Chris Christie and Asa Hutchinson raised their hands in support of reelecting Donald Trump, even if he is convicted of crimes.


Here a Putsch, there a Putsch. “Law and order”, Republican style. “Law and order”, Nazi style.


Our Constitution is all that stands between freedom and tyranny, and between democracy and dictatorship. Trump IS an enemy of democracy and domestic enemy of our Constitution.


Let’s recall Section 3 of the 14th Amendment: “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”


The consensus of Congress and the country is Trump “engaged in insurrection”. He gave “aid or comfort” to his thugs by praising them after they terrorized Congress and beat police officers bloody in their violent attempt to overturn the 2020 election. He defended them and said he would pardon them.

 Professor Laurance Tribe and former conservative judge Michael Luttig wrote in the Atlantic: "The disqualification clause operates independently of any such criminal proceedings, also indeed, independently of any impeachment proceedings and of congressional legislation".

Two members of the very conservative Federalist Society released a law review article making the argument that this section disqualifies Trump from all federal offices.

Law professors William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen wrote for the University of Pennsylvania Law Review:

“In our view, on the basis of the public record, former President Donald J. Trump is constitutionally disqualified from again being President (or holding any other covered office) because of his role in the attempted overthrow of the 2020 election and the events leading to the January 6 attack. The case for disqualification is strong.”



Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment forbids holding office by former office holders who then participate in insurrection or rebellion. Because of a range of misperceptions and mistaken assumptions, Section Three’s full legal consequences have not been appreciated or enforced. This article corrects those mistakes by setting forth the full sweep and force of Section Three.


First, Section Three remains an enforceable part of the Constitution, not limited to the Civil War, and not effectively repealed by nineteenth century amnesty legislation. Second, Section Three is self-executing, operating as an immediate disqualification from office, without the need for additional action by Congress. It can and should be enforced by every official, state or federal, who judges qualifications. Third, to the extent of any conflict with prior constitutional rules, Section Three repeals, supersedes, or simply satisfies them. This includes the rules against bills of attainder or ex post facto laws, the Due Process Clause, and even the free speech principles of the First Amendment. Fourth, Section Three covers a broad range of conduct against the authority of the constitutional order, including many instances of indirect participation or support as “aid or comfort.” It covers a broad range of former offices, including the Presidency. And in particular, it disqualifies former President Donald Trump, and potentially many others, because of their participation in the attempted overthrow of the 2020 presidential election.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Opinions: Belief v Fact


Opinions. Everyone has them, from religion and politics to sports and the weather.

Some opinions impact society more than others. These would be the former type of opinions.

Terms like Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative, progressive/regressive, etc. denote the framing, spectrum, and dynamics of politics.

Opinions within these frames can be based on experience, ideas, parental/cultural conditioning, peers, prejudice, judgement of what is just and fair, and which is better for the poor, rich, or general population.

Some extreme opinions say, “Taxes, welfare, and regulations are theft of my hard-earned money”. Other opinions say, “Eat the rich”. These are examples of opinions based on emotion.

A reasoned, evidence-based opinion would be, “Taxes, regulation of commerce and provision for the general welfare are in our Constitutional foundation of law”.

A reasoned, evidence-based opinion would be, “Eating the rich is cannibalistic and absurd”.

Everyone’s opinion is susceptible to being influenced by emotions. Not all of us can, or care to, examine how our opinions are influenced.

People engulfed in emotion-based opinions don’t want to hear, let alone understand, other opinions.  Generally, those who base opinions on reason and evidence are open to hearing other opinions. They also understand once an individual’s opinion is based solely on emotional reaction and disregard of evidence, there’s no more basis for rational discourse. Then it’s simply a clash between reason and emotion.

Some of us can notice this clash within.

I understand my opinion of Trump and his fanatic supporters is partially formed by my revulsion to their hate, lies, and racism. I know they hate me. They say so, and it’s difficult to not have an emotional response to that.

But I also have a rational, fact-based response that tells me not to reciprocate their hate. I understand hate is double edged and can consume the hater. I cling to a mostly futile hope that some of them will eventually see how they are manipulated. I have a friend who voted for Trump twice, but now says he will do whatever he can to keep him out of the White House.

A majority of those who base opinions largely on emotional responses also hold opinions that conform to the words of religious and political leaders they revere and trust. Their opinions will echo the religious dogma or the propagandists who work for their leader.

Now we enter the closed mentality where rigid conformity of opinion is mandatory in the bubble. No one dares question the Leader. This results in a cult when the words and actions of the Leader are infallibly honest and good, and all who disagree are malevolent forces of evil.

As evidence by Trump’s 1/6/21 coup, the fanatic true believer can be willing to kill and die in devotion to their Leader.

Let’s admit that opinions founded simply on one’s faith and fealty to the infallible words of the Leader is fanatic political indoctrination.

Let’s define these terms before further discussion.


Fanatic: a person exhibiting excessive enthusiasm and intense uncritical devotion toward some controversial matter (as in religion or politics), marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion


Indoctrinate: to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle

Cambridge Dictionary:

Indoctrination: the process of repeating an idea or belief to someone until they accept it without criticism or question: As religious/political/ideological indoctrination

Chances are, those whose opinions are emotion-based will object to these definitions. They don’t FEEL they are indoctrinated fanatics. After all they hold a sense of moral certainty because they see themselves as good people who cannot do bad or think falsely. They could never be duped by a greedy church leader or narcissistic political conman. This is the nature of emotionally grounded religious beliefs and political ideology throughout the spectrums.

Emotionally grounded belief systems often tend to reject scientific consensus, evidence of facts, dissent, and reason itself.

Look at Florida. The authoritarian governor wants to whitewash slavery, ban references to LGBTQ issues, and even “slit throats” of people who disagree if allowed to gain more power. All of this is authoritarian emotional manipulation. We can’t have history lessons that make children “uncomfortable” or “feel guilty.”

Authoritarian leaders must appeal to the fight/flight emotional response center of the brain. They will always tell their followers who to blame and who to hate. The authoritarian former president will tell his fanatic followers he “made America great”, but now it is in ruins because he lost an election that was “stolen”. He will instill anger and rage as responses to the people the leader declares as threats to them. The Holocaust is history’s lesson on how this can result in the most cruelty and brutality humans can inflict.

These emotionally manipulative tactics are projected at their targets of political indoctrination. Fanatic true believers cannot imagine for a moment that their Leader is dishonest.

Let’s compare the difference between rational and belief-based opinion.

Religious beliefs can be built on negative emotional responses. Muslim fanatics believe in killing infidels. Christian fanatics believe they should have power to dictate our education, and deny all women the right to reproductive freedom, even contraception.

Reason-based religious beliefs are formed from the idea that a creation must have a creator, that hatred, cruelty, and greed are destructive, that love is better than hate, kindness is better than cruelty, and sharing is better than greed. And loving your neighbor, even your enemies, feeding the poor, and caring for the sick is the rational, productive, and humane way to live in a society.

Political opinions track along the same emotion v. reason continuum.

My opinion tells me to vote for Biden again, because he’s not a threat to our elections, judiciary, and rule of law. I can disagree with him. I understand the guy doesn’t always tell the truth. Nobody does. I also have the intellectual curiosity to examine evidence regarding his statements.

One example is Hunter Biden and money from China.

During the 2020 presidential debates Biden told moderator Kristen Welker his son had earned no money through business dealings in China.

Biden’s assertions have been rebutted by Hunter himself, acknowledging in court testimony that he had been paid substantial sums related to his business in China.

Hunter is not in the administration, so this is irrelevant to my vote. We must ask when Trump’s own family members Jared and Ivanka will be under equal scrutiny, as they were part of his administration.

Just as it doesn’t occur to them that they depend on double standards, they can’t admit Trump defines reality itself for them.

Loyal Trump supporters will always hold their Leader’s words as gospel truth. He is the epitome of what makes America great. He’s defending and protecting them from all the fabricated threats from demons, monsters, and commies woven into their indoctrination.

They cannot imagine Trump can lie to them. They don’t care that every count, recount, court case, Republican governors and secretaries of state tell us Trump lost a fair election. They FEEL they are right, and the vast conspiracy of all Trump’s White House counsel, Homeland Security, Cabinet, Attorney General, DOJ, and state electors are in conspiracy against him. The “deep state” is out to get Dear Leader, and by extension, them as well.

This fearful state of delusion and paranoia is exactly what benefits Trump. They cannot imagine he commits crimes, or if so, he’s above the vast “conspiratorial, crooked, democrat/communist legal system” and “corrupt elections”.

They will never examine their beliefs because they have been imbued with the FEELING of their moral certainty and righteous anger.

And this readily feeds into a mob mentality when they are assembled by the narcissistic, hateful, and pathological liar they practically worship.

After all, a cult isn’t a cult to the cult.

And of course, this is all just my opinion.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Better Call Saul, Don


Donald Trump has been INDICTED on FOUR CRIMINAL COUNTS for his 2020 election interference.

Besides the terrorized legislators and their staff, the victims of his crimes are the police officers, the United States of America and the 81,283,361 American voters whose right to their majority vote was conspired against by Trump’s attempt to “oppress, threaten, or intimidate” their right.

Here are the laws Trump violated in his attempt to overturn our election:


Count 1: 18 U.S.C. § 371 (Conspiracy to Defraud the United States)

If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

The general conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 371, creates an offense "[i]f two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose. (emphasis added). See Project, Tenth Annual Survey of White Collar Crime, 32 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 137, 379-406 (1995)(generally discussing § 371).

The operative language is the so-called "defraud clause," that prohibits conspiracies to defraud the United States. This clause creates a separate offense from the "offense clause" in Section 371. Both offenses require the traditional elements of Section 371 conspiracy, including an illegal agreement, criminal intent, and proof of an overt act.

Hass, 216 U.S. at 479-480. In Hammerschmidt, Chief Justice Taft, defined "defraud" as follows:

To conspire to defraud the United States means primarily to cheat the Government out of property or money, but it also means to interfere with or obstruct one of its lawful governmental functions by deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest. It is not necessary that the Government shall be subjected to property or pecuniary loss by the fraud, but only that its legitimate official action and purpose shall be defeated by misrepresentation, chicane or the overreaching of those charged with carrying out the governmental intention.


Count 2: 18 U.S. C. § 1512(k) (Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding)

(k)Whoever conspires to commit any offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties as those prescribed for the offense the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.


Count 3: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1512(c)(2), 2 (Obstruction of and Attempt to Obstruct an Official Proceeding)

(c)Whoever corruptly—

(1)alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or

(2)otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.


Count 4: 18 U.S.C. § 241 (Conspiracy Against Rights)

If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or

If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—

They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.