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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

SPECULATION IS FREE

All right, speculation is free, so I will speculate. Atty. Gen. Garland has ordered the FBI to obtain a court ordered warrant for a search of Mar-a Lago.  This is the very first time that the home or possessions of an ex-president have been searched in this way. It is reported that what was being searched for was government documents illegally brought by Trump to his home.  This is, no matter what anybody says, a relatively minor infraction of the law. It is inconceivable that Garland would take so dramatic a step in order to pursue Trump for so minor a misdeed. So what on earth is going on?

 

I have heard television commentators speculate that in these documents might be something as secret as the nuclear codes. But I assume they have long since been changed several times and although it would certainly be unconscionable for Trump to bring these to his Florida playground, that cannot be why the feds searched his home now.

 

What occurred to me immediately was that the FBI had picked up evidence that Trump is offering to sell US secrets to foreign governments. Despite his bragging, Trump is, I am convinced, perpetually short of cash and hence constantly on the look for relatively small-scale grafts to line his pockets. Is there something in those papers that would be worth a great deal of money to foreign governments now? I do not know, I cannot even guess, but it strikes me as likely that what Garland is after is something along these lines. Otherwise, why break with two centuries of tradition and uncountable norms of government behavior?

 

I have to say, I am feeling more and more cheerful about the next couple of months.

125 comments:

Ed said...

I too suspected that Trump was looking for non-military classified material, to use as leverage for favorable business deals over seas. But why, when after Trump signed off on a massive military arms deal for Saudi Arabia, a few months later MBS "loans" Jared $2 billion dollars? Jared is Trump's backstop should events drive him bankrupt.

Still, the silver lining in this raid is that if a prosecution results in a conviction or plea deal, even with no jail or small fine, a real consequence under the relevant statutes is his being barred from holding any political office in the future.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Is that true? Debs ran for president while being in jail. I have always thought even actually being in jail did not disqualify you for running. Have the laws been changed since then?

TheDudeDiogenes said...

Could it possibly be something revealed by Alex Jones' cell phone contents?

Unknown said...

Conviction re document mishandling or theft will not bar Trump from the presidency because the Presidency is not "an office under the United States".

Ed said...

It's not guaranteed, but the possibility exists. There are nuances to the relevant laws that would need judicial review.

Specifically, the law in question — Section 2071 of Title 18 of the United States Code — makes it a crime if someone who has custody of government documents or records “willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies or destroys” them.

If convicted, defendants can be fined or sentenced to prison for up to three years. In addition, the statute says, if they are currently in a federal office, they “shall forfeit” that office, and they shall “be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.”

On its face, then, if Mr. Trump were to be charged and convicted of removing, concealing or destroying government records under that law, he would seem to be ineligible to become president again.

Marc Susselman said...

Ed,

Not true. A felony conviction is not a bar to running for President:

“A felony record is more of a political burden than a legal one – the only major negative effect of having a record is that it may be used by your opposition. Alternatively, if your charges were bogus, it may end up galvanizing your base.
Historically there have been several people who have run for President with no legal issues:
• 1920– Socialist Party Leader Eugene V. Debs ran while in an Atlanta federal penitentiary for charges he gained advocating dodging the draft. He received 913,664 votes (3.4%)
• 1992– Lyndon LaRouche, a perennial presidential candidate became the second person to run for office from a prison cell. He garnered 22,863 votes (less than 0.1%) in his third of nine presidential runs.
• 2012 – Keith Judd, another perennial presidential candidate, received 41% of the primary vote in West Virginia vs. an incumbent Barack Obama.”

Although we all agree that Trump is by no means an intellectual, and not particularly smart, he is quite shrewd. It would take a high order of stupidity for a former President to attempt to sell state secrets s/he acquired while in office in order to raise cash. The CIA would undoubtedly pick up on the plot, resulting in an indictment. As stupid as he is, I do not believe Trump is that stupid. Rather, I think the FBI was searching for documents which violate the National Archives Act, and/or, for evidence related to Trump’s involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection, e.g., evidence that Trump had communicated with the Proud Boys or Oath Keepers prior to Jan. 6. In any event, it appears that Merrick Garland has Trump in his cross-hairs.

LFC said...

Garland is probably still in the process of trying to determine whether to seek an indictment of Trump, either for Jan. 6 or something else. The FBI raid is part of the investigative process, though the Justice Dept would have needed to convince a judge to issue a search warrant (I forget, frankly, what the exact legal standard for that is).

Anyway, the fact of the FBI raid suggests only that the Justice Dept is investigating Trump, something which was already known since Garland had said as much publicly, or at least strongly hinted at it in saying that the Justice Dept was following where the evidence would lead and that no one is above the law.

Since Garland had already said these things publicly, and probably more than once, the fact of the FBI raid itself does not really provide much more information than we already had. It does not suggest that Trump is "in Garland's cross-hairs" any more than before, since, to repeat, it was already known that the Justice Dept was looking into Trump's role.

Also, the OP's suggestion that the crime of taking govt documents improperly to a private residence is too minor to lead to an FBI raid probably underestimates the extent to which Garland is feeling under some pressure to dot all i's and cross all t's rather than let Trump walk on an even a relatively minor offense. Once he's got evidence that the Archives Act has been violated, he can then put that into the mix, so to speak, when deciding whether to indict Trump and for what.

The above is my admittedly non-expert, non-plugged-into-the-relevant-gossip-circles take. It's important to remember that prosecutors have a ton of discretion re whether or not to bring charges vs anyone. If Y is murdered and there is substantial evidence pointing to X as the likely killer, a state-level prosecutor pretty much has to indict X. But here what's in question is quite different, and there is much more discretion.

Marc Susselman said...

LFC,

Of course neither I, nor you, nor Prof. Wolff, nor Pres. Biden, nor Jake Tapper, nor ….knows what is in Merrick Garland’s mind regarding indicting Trump, but the standard for obtaining a search warrant is sufficient evidence to demonstrate to a federal judge that a crime has been, or is being, committed. The fact that a judge found that there was sufficient probable cause to issue the warrant is indicative of the seriousness with which the DOJ is viewing this matter. This is not just one more repetition of Merrick Garland’s prior assertions that no one is above the law and he will go where the evidence leads. He had already concluded that the evidence he had was sufficient to satisfy the probable cause standard and justify issuance of a search warrant by a federal judge.

Ed said...

Marc,

Yes, a felony conviction itself does not preclude someone from running for or holding political office. What is relevant is the statute one is convicted of and the proscribed remedies specified in the statute(s).

LFC said...

Marc,
point taken.

Marc Susselman said...

Ed,

The statutes you cited to, Title 18, identify the offenses a federal prosecutor can indict someone for, and the range of penalties which a judge or jury could impose in the event of a conviction. None of those penalties precludes a convicted defendant from running for public office, whether it be dog catcher or President of the United States. The only repercussions of such a conviction would depend on the State in which the convicted defendant was incarcerated. Some states preclude a felon from voting. So, if Trump were convicted and incarcerated in such a State, he could still run for President, but would be precluded from voting, either for himself or his opponent. Strange that a felon could be denied the right to vote, but not the right to run for public office? There a lot of anomalies in the legal system. Moreover, I suspect the thinking was – who would vote for a convicted felon? That was before Trump turned the rules and conventional thinking on their head. I guess the relevant question is, if Trump were indicted and convicted, and sentenced to 10 yrs. imprisonment, let's say, ran for President and won, how would he perform his Executive duties from prion? Or would he be entitled to pardon himself? Let's hope and pray that we never have to answer that question.

s. wallerstein said...

A question for legal experts.

Since a majority of the Supreme Court is pro-Trump, if Trump were to be sentenced to jail,
couldn't the Supreme Court invent some legal loop-hole (which they are very good at doing) to keep him out of prison?

LFC said...

Marc,
Upthread there is some discussion of one of the statutes in question disqualifying someone convicted of the offense from holding "any office under the United States" (whatever that means).

Marc Susselman said...

s. wallerstein,

I cannot say that I am a legal expert, but I have practiced law for now 44 years, and feel qualified to address your question.

Were Trump to be indicted, tried and convicted, depending on what occurred at the trial, there could be a wide range of bases for reversal which he would raise on appeal, which would first go to the Circuit Court of Appeals in the Circuit in which he was tried (unless he requested expedited appeal to the S. Ct., which they might grant).

Most of the bases would deal with challenges to the evidence which was admitted at the trial, i.e., lack of relevance; hearsay; more prejudicial than probative. The main focus of the prosecution would be to prove that Trump instigated and/or encouraged the insurrection, which the prosecution would seek to prove by his actions and/or statements he made to others. Any statement which Trump made whish is supported by evidence would be admissible, because it would not constitute hearsay under the Federal Rules of Evidence.

Would Trump take the stand? In all likelihood, his attorneys would strongly recommend that he not take the stand, since the prosecution would have the burden of proving his state of mind beyond a reasonable doubt, Given Trump’s ego, he would likely reject his attorneys’ advice and insist on taking the stand. That would tend to work in the prosecution's favor. (And, by the way, as I learned during my 1st year of law school, what constitutes reasonable doubt in law is not what Descartes or Hume would consider reasonable doubt.)

I think it unlikely that there would be any questions of law which the S. Ct. would regard as sufficient to reverse a conviction, e.g., there is no question that a former President can be indicted and convicted for committing a crime while in office.

The wild card, as discussed in prior threads, would be whether the DOJ could seat a jury which did not have a single Trump supporter who would sabotage the trial by refusing to vote “guilty,” thereby resulting in a hung jury.

LFC said...

s.w.
There are limits to what the Sup Ct can invent, but I'm not sure. The majority of the Sup Ct is right wing but not necessarily "pro-Trump." (The most "pro-Trump" Justice is arguably Thomas, and he of course isn't one of the three Trump appointees.)

aaall said...

Ed, I don't believe that the president is an "officer of the United States" under a fair reading of Article II of the Constitution.

BTW, is the "removal" section of 18 USC 2072 possibly unconstitutional?

Also, impeachment is specifically excluded from the president's pardon power.

It's interesting that some of the folks who wanted to "lock her up" for having a few items on her emails that were subsequently classified "confidential" (lowest, way overdone level) seem to have no problem with Trump illegally removing documents actually stamped "top secret" which is the highest level.

I'm sure that in a few decades or so some researcher will find copies of some of these documents in FSB and GRU files which will then be tied to the untimely deaths of folks suspected of being CIA, etc. sources.

Given the need for freshness in probable cause, one has to wonder if an SS officer seeing more then intended or a mole dropped a dime.

LFC said...

If Trump were prosecuted and convicted in federal district court and then appealed on grounds, say, that the trial judge improperly admitted certain evidence, and then the appeals court affirmed, the Sup Ct, at least in theory, could reverse saying that both lower courts incorrectly interpreted/applied the Fed Rules of Evidence. I agree w Marc that that's v unlikely to happen, but it's not completely impossible.

aaall said...

Marc, the Manafort trial had at least one Trump supporter who found the evidence convincing and voted for conviction. Most Trump support is a mile wide and an inch deep. Kayfabe can shatter.

Marc Susselman said...

LFC,

Unknown and Ed were referring to 18 U.S.C. § 2071, which states:

“(a)
Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
(b)
Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term “office” does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.”

I do not know on what basis Unknown asserts that the Presidency is not an “office under the United States.” I have done a quick legalsearch and have not found any case which precludes the Presidency from being included in that category. If the FBI finds any papers or documents at Mar Largo which Trump removed from the White House, he could be indicted under this statute and, if convicted, arguably be barred from running for President again. As a former Chief of the Armed Forces, I do not believe that would qualify him as a “retired officer of the Armed Forces,” and therefore not barred. But I would not be surprised if his lawyers did raise that argument, an issue which likely could go to the S. Ct.

Anonymous said...

lol @ all the sad Trump derangement syndrome on display here.

This is just another act of desperation by our current incompetent regime, a pathetic attempt to avoid the almost inevitable decisive defeat that is heading their way.

Marc Susselman said...

I just found this article, https://reason.com/volokh/2022/08/08/no-18-u-s-c-%C2%A7-2071-cannot-disqualify-trump-from-the-presidency/


No, 18 U.S.C. § 2071 Cannot Disqualify Trump From The Presidency

That statute disqualifies a person from "holding any office under the United States.”

According to reports, the FBI searched Mar-A-Lago as part of an investigation about the handling of classified documents. Will this be the action that finally stops Trump? Several progressive commentators gleefully pointed to 18 U.S.C. § 2071. It provides:

Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term "office" does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.

If Trump is convicted of violating this statute, can he be disqualified from the presidency? No. And my colleague Seth Barrett Tillman wrote about this precise issue in 2015. At the time, conservative commentators, including former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, argued that Hillary Clinton could be disqualified from the presidency due to the storage of classified materials on her private email server. Seth explained that Mukasey's argument does not work.

Under Powell v. McCormack and U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton, Congress and the states cannot "add to the express textual qualifications for House and Senate seats in Article I." And that reasoning, Seth concluded, would seem to apply to the qualifications for the presidency in Article II. Several courts in the Seventh Circuit, and elsewhere, reached that same conclusion.
(Continued)

Marc Susselman said...

On this blog, Mukasey later admitted that Tillman was correct, and he was wrong:

[O]n reflection . . . Professor Tillman's [analysis] is spot on, and mine was mistaken. . . . The disqualification provision in Section 2071 may be a measure of how seriously Congress took the violation in question, and how seriously we should take it, but that's all it is.

Tonight, Charlie Savage of the New York Times recounted this history in an article on the Trump search.

Some Republicans were briefly entranced with whether the law could keep Mrs. Clinton out of the White House, including Michael Mukasey, a former attorney general in the administration of George W. Bush. So was at least one conservative think tank.

But in considering that situation, several legal scholars — including Seth B. Tillman of Maynouth University in Ireland and Eugene Volokh of the University of California, Los Angeles — noted that the Constitution sets eligibility criteria for who can be president, and argued that Supreme Court rulings suggest Congress cannot alter it. The Constitution allows Congress to disqualify people from holding office in impeachment proceedings, but grants no such power for ordinary criminal law.


Mr. Volokh later reported on his blog that Mr. Mukasey — who is also a former federal judge — wrote that "upon reflection," Mr. Mukasey had been mistaken and Mr. Tillman's analysis was "spot on." (Mrs. Clinton was never charged with any crime related to her use of the server.)

Once again, Tillman rebuts an argument that conservatives favored as a way to get Clinton, that liberals now favor as a way to get Trump. There is nothing new under the sun.

Back in 2015, Seth did not have to make the argument that the Presidency is not an "office under the United States" for purposes of Section 2071. But Seth and I did consider another statute, 18 U.S.C. § 2383, which also disqualifies a person from "holding any office under the United States." In an article published shortly after the inauguration, we addressed what happens if the Biden administration prosecutes and convicts Trump of insurrection. That article is suddenly relevant to our present moment.

Tony Couture said...

What "secrets" could Trump be holding that a) could protect him politically; b) could make him money if used for "legit" business deals in future; c) could make him money by selling to Russians or other foreign governments/actors; d) could reveal him committing crimes in his presidency and covering them up by document destruction; e) could be useful for political attacks by Trump on his enemies in a future election or conflict (Hilary Clinton's emails, Joe Biden's emails, Hunter Biden's lap top data, or other scandal materials); f) could compromise national security or secret space programs or aliens reports or other intelligence programs which the far right want to know about? There are many possible fish in this fishing expedition for hard evidence of Trump's wrong-doing.

It is even possible that they will find enough material to blackmail Trump into agreeing not to run in the 2024 Presidential campaign. If Trump is very interested in conspiracy theories and asked government researchers for special reports, he may have considered them as privileged or reporting to him and now his data, not public records (claiming public records are his private property and subject to his will/disposable seems to be the core moral principle that Trump has long violated). What happened to the Presidential Library for Trump (was it going to be in Florida?) and the public records of his administration which are supposed to be archived for future researchers?

The other odd thing here is that multiple writers and Trump witnesses have claimed that Trump never read any government reports or briefings, but demanded an oral report from his officials instead of him reading documents. So Trump was never a text pack-rat who would keep all his government briefing papers, and whatever records FBI are looking for are likely handwritten notes, emails, or other text messages and cell phones (personal communications of Trump, maybe some with foreign leaders also). His business plans and management of his businesses while President through his sons might mean there were personal matters mixed in with his Presidential archives that Trump wanted to shield from scrutiny by the public record archivists.

I wonder if Trump ever used a lap top for corrupt business purposes or whether he would delegate these tasks to underlings like Michael Cohen (who might know better than most people what Trump was hiding in Mar-a-lago basement). We will probably never know what they find in their search due to a deal between highly paid lawyers protecting Trump's legacy and name. Trump would make the deal of his life to suppress extremely embarrassing information or criminal business actions desperately taken when he did not win his second term and was so angry that he stole information so that he could make more money in the future. American justice system and the American political culture are engaged in an information war for the political truth of the Trump Presidency and January 6 attempted seditious activities by Trump. There could be communications between Trump and generals or military persons who supported him going for a coup. Just as mad cap journalist Alex Jones was forced by a Texas judge to recognize the truth that Sandy Hook school massacre was not faked or a false flag, it would be poetic justice to have a U.S. judge force Donald Trump, while sworn to tell the truth in court, recognize the truth that he lost the election to Biden and behaved criminally in not wanting to recognized as the true loser.

s. wallerstein said...

Marc,

Thanks for the legal background information.

Anonymous said...

I’m with that other anonymous at 3:31 pm. There is a tendency to focus on some of the derangements set in motion by that former deranged President, but there’s very little tendency to contemplate the derangements, mental and political, he’s set loose among his opponents. (Note this isn’t a moral equivalence point. It’s simply to suggest it might be worth considering how a large segment of the population can’t get the Trump contagion out of their minds. No wonder so many Republican politicians are playing on that.)

LFC said...

Anonymous @ 7:58

The reason so many people can't get "the Trump contagion out of their minds" (in your words) is that he epitomizes an authoritarian tendency that has taken over a significant portion of the Republican party, and that as long as that tendency remains strong, as long as he and his supporters persist in their falsehood that the election of 2020 was stolen from him, as long as people who believe that are doing well in primaries and threatening to occupy key offices in swing states, the danger remains. The danger, specifically, is that he will run again in 2024 and attempt to occupy the White House irrespective of the actual outcome of the election, and that he might be able to succeed, esp if the Electoral Count Act is not reformed before then. That's why "the Trump contagion" remains a contagion.

It may be difficult for someone who views the U.S. from abroad to grasp fully the extent to which a kind of psychosis (the word is probably not too strong) has seized a portion of the Republican party. No other President has lost an election and then insisted, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, that the election was fraudulent. Trump simply re-defined "fraud" as "anything that results in my defeat."

Anyone who has followed the Jan. 6 committee hearings will be aware of the disgusting fashion in which Trump whipped an armed mob into a frenzy and then sat back for hours and did nothing while it attacked the Capitol and caused deaths. That's both an impeachable act (for which he was impeached, though not convicted) and a criminal act. Clearly "the Trump contagion" will persist as long as he remains an active player in the political arena with a significant following.

s. wallerstein said...

Anonymous,

Do you live in the U.S.?

I don't myself and at first I considered the reaction of most U.S. progressives to Trump to be exaggerated and obsessive, almost a form of entertainment for them (we all love gangster movies, don't we?), but when I put myself in their shoes, I can understand their reaction to a president who mocks all the traditional ideals of U.S. democracy, even though, as we all know, those ideals are often not practiced, but at least they were generally, until Trump, held sacred.

Walk in a mile in Professor Wolff's shoes, as the song goes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-NgDbK9N6g

LFC said...

Postscript to my comment @ 8:34

Trump is psychologically incapable of admitting defeat. Someone like that cannot operate in an (imperfect) electoral democracy without wreaking havoc.

LFC said...

P.p.s.
On substance, for every defensible policy Trump pushed as President, there was a catastrophic one that overbalanced it. His immigration policy was inhumane and blatantly violated international law ("remain in Mexico", child separation); most of his Mideast policy was a disaster; and he wrecked the Sup Ct (and much of the fed judiciary) for at least a generation. And that's just for starters (throw in environment, tax cuts for the wealthy etc.).

Marc Susselman said...

s. wallerstein,

Thank you for the clip of Elvis, a White boy from Tupelo, Mississippi, singing the Gospel and condemning racism.

I agree with all of LFC’s comments, supra.

s. wallerstein said...

Marc,

It's interesting that Elvis, as you say, a white boy from Mississippi, could record Walk a Mile in my Shoes and In the Ghetto in the late 60's or early 70's.

That indicates how far anti-racist attitudes had extended in that period. Elvis's public
(look at any video) was still white middle-American (and non-hippie), a public that today would probably not accept such anti-racism from one of their favorite artists. Things seems to have gone backward.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8ZVW_lpndc

Marc Susselman said...

From today's New York Times:

“I don’t think you get a judge to sign off on a search warrant for an ex-president’s house lightly,” Charlie Savage, a Times reporter who has been covering legal issues since the George W. Bush administration. “I think the world looks pretty different today than it did 48 hours ago.” (It’s even possible that Trump could be prosecuted over classified documents alone, although that might not keep him from holding office again.)"

Marc Susselman said...

s. wallerstein,

Another great clip, of Elvis singing “In The Ghetto,” with an African-American chorus. His decision to record and sing that song at public concerts took a lot of courage, risking alienating the White, middle-class audience which had crowned him the King of Rock and Roll. The song encapsulates the institutional racism that has been written about on this blog. Out of curiosity, I Googled the song to see who wrote it, assuming it would be an African-American. No, it was written by Mac Davis, a white country singer and song writer, deceased in 2020. Some times people can surprise you. And yes, it does seem like we are moving backwards.

Marc Susselman said...

Post-script:

On PBS last night there was an interview with novelist Mohsin Hamid, whose recent novel “The Last White Man” was just published. The novel is an adaptation of Kafka’s “Metamorphosis,” with a White man going to sleep and waking up Black. The author commented that race is an artificial construct that has no objective basis. It is rather mundane, perhaps, to observe that differences in human skin color are just the result of differences in the amount of melatonin in our skin; beneath the skin, we all share the same DNA, the same organs, the same anatomy.

Which brings me to a question which may be regarded as silly, and perhaps ignorant. Without hearing them speak, can one tell the difference between an Italian, a Frenchman/woman, a Pole, a Hungarian, a Brit? I ask this question because yesterday there was an election in Kenya. The two candidates were from different tribes in Kenya. One candidate was from the Kikuyu tribe, which has dominated Kenyan politics since Jomo Kenyatta led the Mau Mau in a rebellion which expelled the British. The other candidate was from, I believe, the Luo tribe. The Kenyan public appears to be able to differentiate that the candidates come from different tribes, without hearing them speak. To me, for all intents and purposes, they both looked alike, Black Africans, no different than Poles from Hungarians, from Frenchmen/women. Are there physiognomic differences that Kenyans can see that I cannot?

s. wallerstein said...

Marc,

I've listened to Walk a Mile in My Stones about 10 times since last night and the line,
"I may be common people, but I'm your brother" especially gets to me.

I believe that we should add "walk a mile in my shoes" to the list of what everybody should learn in kindergarten that we discussed previously.

Marc Susselman said...

s. wallerstien,

Good idea.

Ed said...

Today from Politico:

"Former President Donald Trump declined to answer questions on Wednesday during a deposition with the office of New York Attorney General Tish James, asserting his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Trump, who has long accused James of conducting a politically motivated probe into his family’s real estate business, said in a statement Wednesday that he had “absolutely no choice” but to take the Fifth during his under-oath interview with the attorney general’s office."

"absolutely no choice" - lol

Marc Susselman said...

I am sure that if we dug deep enough, we could find a statement by Trump asserting that anyone who would plead the 5th is a coward and has something to hide.

David Zimmerman said...

We would not have to dig very deeply.

aaall said...


“You see the mob takes the Fifth,” he said. “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”

Another time, he said, “Fifth Amendment. Fifth Amendment. Fifth Amendment. Horrible.”

During a presidential debate, he said,

" When you have your staff taking the Fifth Amendment, taking the Fifth, so they’re not prosecuted, when you have the man that set up the illegal server taking the Fifth, I think it’s disgraceful."

aaall said...

"...for every defensible policy Trump pushed..."

While parity is clearly not the case, is there even one that rises to the level of the negative ones?

Marc Susselman said...

Prof. Wolff,

We all hope that you, and your wife, live many more years to come. But we especially wish that you will live long enough for your wish to come true, that you get to see Donald Trump being hailed into federal court, sitting in the defendant’s seat, preferably in an orange jump suit.

aaall said...

s.w., back in the day the economy allowed for a certain amount of idealism on race - a few decades of neo-liberalism would fix that. In 1969 there were still a number of liberal to moderate Republicans and the Southern Strategy was a work in progress. It would be a decade before Gingrich entered the House and two before the fairness doctrine was ended.

charles L. said...

I listened to Elvis," Walk a mile in my shoes". Now consider walking a mile in an extreme racist misogynist, in short opposes everything one holds valuable, dealing with climate change with serious measures, reducing carbon emissions, with health care as a human right, as providing the basic of human needs to reproduce their lives, housing, good public transportation. Would you even try or would you at the start conclude, even with doubts that it's not possible? If you think it's possible to attempt to cross over the bridge to see what its like, what justification could you give to explain your actions?

s. wallerstein said...

Charles L.

For sure.

I don't live in the U.S. and don't have to deal with Trumpists, but I live in Chile where I do have to deal with a right that is racist, supports class privileges, backed Pinochet and is not in favor of healthcare as a human right, although in general they do not deny climate change.

There are two options: destroy one another or try to see the world from their point of view and negotiate the differences through convincing them of certain points and pressuring them politically, without violence, through the vote. You can't convince anybody of anything unless you put yourself in their shoes first. You can't win votes unless you walk a mile in people's shoes either.

I'm almost a pacifist. I live in a country which political polarization (among other factors) led a bloody rightwing coup in 1973. However, we can all point to cases where it was the left, not the right, that eliminated the other side through violence and human rights abuses: the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, etc.

So, yes, I try to walk a mile in everyone's shoes. This is a philosophy blog, not a training camp for leftist militia.

LFC said...

From Wash. Post:

"With cases of monkeypox surging around the world, it’s not a good time to be a monkey.

The primates have, in recent days, been physically attacked — and even killed — by poisoning and stoning attacks in Brazil, according to local media reports that cite police officials.

In the last week, at least 10 animals of the marmoset and capuchin types were found displaying signs of intoxication or aggression, leading to fears that they had been poisoned, according to Brazilian news site G1. Seven of the monkeys died, while the others are under observation at a zoo in São José do Rio Preto, a municipality in the state of São Paulo.

The assaults have led to the World Health Organization — which declared monkeypox a global health emergency last month — issuing a reminder that despite the virus’s name, monkeys should not be blamed for its transmission."

This is just sad. And while there may be sociological (or quasi-sociological) explanations, there's no excuse for poisoning animals.

Marc Susselman said...

Let's pray that they don't discover yet another pox virus, and name it Philosophers' Pox, or worse, Attorneys' Pox.

LFC said...

Lol

aaall said...

Something to hope for via TPM:

"I’m not saying I expect to see a new Democratic senator from North Carolina. But the Democrats’ Senate map is expanding. There have been four polls of the North Carolina Senate race since mid-June (Budd v. Beasley), three of them GOP-funded. Their margins for Democrat Cheri Beasley have been, in order, Beasley – 5, Beasley -3, Beasley +2, Beasley +4. That’s a pretty nice trend for Beasley."

Eric said...

There are two options: destroy one another or try to see the world from their point of view and negotiate the differences through convincing them of certain points and pressuring them politically, without violence, through the vote.

Those are not the only options.

(Btw, "is racist, supports class privileges, ... and is not in favor of healthcare as a human right" also applies to most elected Democrats in the US.)

Marc Susselman said...

I have an off topic question for the musicologists who read this blog.

Tonight on my local PBS station it featured a performance by a quartet from the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra, playing Dvorak’s American Quartet. As I was watching and listening to the performance, something struck me – each of the performers had a copy of the score on a music stand in front of them. Today, with the availability of photo-copying technology, providing several scores to each member of the quartet would not be difficult. But what about before such technology existed, where scores had to be reproduced by hand. In the movie “Copying Beethoven,” Beethoven, played by Ed Harris, hired a female assistant to reproduce his scores. But how could this have been done for all of the performers in an orchestra? The score for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, for example, must encompass several pages of score, a copy of which would have to have been reproduced for each member of the Vienna Philharmonic prior to the symphony’s debut performance (conducted by a dead Beethoven). In addition to the instrumental scores, copies of the choral sections also had to be reproduced. Initially, there would have been only one original copy of the score, in Beethoven’s own writing, from which the copies would be reproduced. Reproducing a major musical score, moreover, requires a special talent, knowledge of how to write the various notes on the musical staff. This would also have been the case for all of the major symphonic scores by Brahms, Dvorak, Liszt, etc.

So, my question is, were there special studios which employed personnel for just this purpose, reproducing long musical scores by hand, for each member of the orchestra, to be ready and available prior to the work’s premiere, and what did they work from if the composer would not allow the original score to leave his possession?

Anonymous said...

Re Marc’s Postscript at 8:19 pm: People used to—and perhaps they still do say—that the people of Northern ireland all looked pretty much alike, yet those living there seemed to have no difficulty deiding which side they were associated with. Perhaps, however, both there and in Kenya, what we’re encountering is perception assisted by quite intimate local knowledge which would be something outsiders wouldn’t have available to them. From growing up in Britain, I had no dificulty distinguishing fellow working class people from the rest of the people around me, although in those days we all looked the same in terms of physical appearances. (Actually, that may not be quite true. A study done in the 1950s, I think it was, found that working class Scots were on average 6 inches shorter than the upper classes, this, it was conjectured, the consequence of the miseries imposed by industrial working class life—something that concerned Adam Smith back in the 18th C.)

Anent s. wallerstein’s query at 8:39 pm: I do live in the US. Have done so since the early 1960s. My previous remark was intended to convey my perception that too many “good Democrats” among my friends and acquaintances seemed to be stuck in a political rut and weren’t willing or able to try to think either tactically or strategically about their politics.

Anent the Fifth, it’s been of service to those on the right—i.e., the correct—side of history too. So we shouldn’t disparage it just because others sek its protections too.

Marc Susselman said...

Well, that would have been a real miracle, a dead Beethoven conducting the 9th Symphony!

Should have read "deaf Beethoven."

Marc Susselman said...

Anonymous,

You are absolutely correct about the significance of the 5th Amendment, which precludes requiring that a criminal defendant be a witness against him/herself. It is one of the stellar features of the U.S. Constitution, which eliminated the practice of torturing an accused criminal to provide evidence against him/herself. (Only an American citizen can claim this right. Consequently those imprisoned at Guantanamo could not oppose torture on the basis of the 5th Amendment, although, of course, such methods are inhumane and violate international law.)

The mocking of Trump’s invocation of the 5th – which he has every right to do – derives only from his past comments in which he derided others who had invoked the 5th, people whom he had labeled as cowards. If one mocks the use of a constitutional right by others, one should be man enough not to invoke that right to protect oneself. But, as we have all learned, Trump is not much of a man.

LFC said...

Marc,

I don't know exactly when musical scores started to be printed rather than copied by hand (easy enough to look up, but I'm lazy).

There were specialists in copying musical scores by hand, I'm pretty sure. Sometimes the composer likely had made an additional copy him or herself, so wouldn't have to part with the only original.

In the case of the string quartet you saw on TV tonight, what each player had on the music stand was not the complete score of the quartet (i.e., all four parts), but only his or her part (the violist has the viola part, the cellist the cello part, etc). Of course it works the same way with an orchestral work. The players have only their own parts on the stand in front of them. Only the conductor has the full score.

Occasionally in a chamber music setting I suppose the players might choose for whatever reason to have the full scores (not just their own parts) in front of them, though that is a lot more cumbersome. (They would have a full score available for consultation during rehearsals if nec.)

LFC said...

p.s. on the right not to incriminate oneself: doesn't it predate the U.S. Const. in some common law (or other) traditions?

Marc Susselman said...

LFC,

Actually, at common law there was no right against self-incrimination. The opposite was true. In Adamson v. California, 332 U.S. 46 (1947), the S. Ct. held that a criminal defendant’s failure to testify could not be alluded to by the prosecution as a basis for a jury voting to convict. Concurring in the decision, Justice Frankfurter wrote: “For historical reasons a limited immunity from the common duty to testify was written into the Federal Bill of Rights, and I am prepared to agree that, as part of that immunity, comments on the failure of an accused to take the witness stand is forbidden in federal prosecutions.” At common law, an accused, who generally did not have an attorney to represent him/her, was expected to testify in his/her defense. Failure to do so entailed an adverse inference of guilt.

A thorough historical analysis of the origins of the right not to incriminate oneself can be found at the below link, a Law Review article in the U. of Michigan Law Review, authored by Yale law professor John Langbein. He concludes the essay stating that the right against self-incrimination did not emerge until the late 18th century, which coincides with the passage of the Bill of Rights.

https://law.yale.edu/sites/default/files/documents/pdf/Faculty/Langbein_Privilege_Against_Self_Incrimination.pdf

Those who are familiar with the play, “A Man For All Seasons,” will recall that Thomas More was refusing to publicly approve of the Succession to the Crown Act of 1534, which required all individuals in England to take an oath recognizing Anne Boleyn as the legitimate wife of King Henry VIII, and their children as the legitimate heirs to the throne, despite the fact that the Papacy would not recognize his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. There is a scene during the play/movie when More’s friend, the Duke of Norfolk, and his wife, argue with More, stating that his silence constitutes denial of the legitimacy of the Act. More, himself a lawyer, rejects this argument, stating that under the law his silence must be interpreted as approval. However, at the trial at the end of the play, Richie Rich, a protégé of More, testifies that More had told him that the Act was invalid, and that Henry could not claim to be divorced, in contradiction to the Papacy. At that point, More realizes that all is lost, and he denies having told Rich this, but then proceeds to declare his opposition to the Act. He is found guilty and beheaded.

Marc Susselman said...

LFC,

Thank you for your explanation of how symphonic musical scores were reproduced before we had copy machines. Your point that each individual musician would only receive the portion of the score which applied to the musician’s instrument explains why a conductor is needed to coordinate all of the musicians, since the musician for any one instrument would not see the musical portions of his/her colleagues, and therefore the conductor is needed to point to each musician, giving the cue for them to play their particular musical portion. (Which makes it all the more amazing that Beethoven, who could not hear the musicians, conducted the premiere of the 9th Symphony, to a standing ovation.)

LFC said...

Marc,
Thanks, esp for the first two paragraphs.

(I think the More example is maybe slightly off the point but it's too late here to go into that now.)

Btw, on the musical scores pt, I meant to add that there's no need for photocopying, unless the composition is so new that a music publishing house has not yet published it, or perhaps if it's by a composer so obscure or young that he/she hasn't been able to get it published. But in the case of the Dvorak quartet, for instance, no need for photocopying.

LFC said...

P.s. I played an instrument seriously from when I was a kid through college. So I played in quite a lot of orchestral and chamber music settings. I'm having a hard time thinking of any occasion on which a copy machine was necessary, though there might have been one or two such instances.

Yes, a conductor is generally needed to coordinate things, though not always. Depends partly on the size of the orchestra and what it's playing. For ex, a professional orchestra playing a standard piece that they've played multiple times, like Beethoven's 5th, doesn't absolutely need a conductor to get through the piece, just needs a few signals from the concertmaster at crucial moments, e.g. the opening bars. The "value added" of the conductor is not so much in cuing the musicians, at least not if it's a standard piece they know well, but in the interpretation, which mostly gets done in rehearsal. Ok signing off for the night.

Marc Susselman said...

LFC,

You are right, the Thomas More example is not exactly on point. When he refused to take the oath, his silence outside of court, under the common law, could not be interpreted as denial of the legitimacy of the Right to Succession Act. When he was hailed into court, had Richie Rich not testified against him, to the question, “Sir Thomas More, do you deny the legitimacy of the Right to Succession Act?” his continued silence and refusal to incriminate himself arguably would still not be deemed an admission of guilt, since he was not be charged with an affirmative act (“Sir Thomas More, did you steal the King’s royal seal?”), but with a failure/refusal to act. His silence with regard to the failure to act under the common law would still constitute agreement, not denial. However, once Richie Rich testified against him, More realized that Rich’s testimony by itself would result in his conviction, if he said nothing. Having taken an oath, before God, to tell the truth, and being a devout Catholic, he had nothing to lose by incriminating himself, and he openly admitted that he believed the Right to Succession Act was not valid.

Marc Susselman said...

P.P.S.

Thomas More was not quite the saint he is portrayed as in “A Man For All Seasons” and for which he was canonized. Before Henry VIII took the throne, and the Church of England was established, he was actively involved in persecuting Lutherans in England, and supported their being burned at the stake for challenging the supremacy of the Papacy.

Marc Susselman said...

Scoundrel Time



https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2022/08/11/george-conway-lindsey-graham-gop-trump-fbi-ac360-intv-vpx.cnn

Christopher J. Mulvaney, Ph.D. said...

LFC,
Pardon my curiosity but which instrument did/do you play. I think one of the major influences that playing an instrument has is precisely the ability to see things as complex interrelated structures over time. Precisely the problem of reading conductors scores.

Tony Couture said...

As Donald Trump distracts the world bored with a lengthening war in Ukraine, it is sobering to consider the testimony of Volodymyr Yermolenko via a Times Radio interview August 10, 2022, about Russian nuclear terrorism at the largest nuclear power plant in Europe (Zaporizhian) in south east occupied Ukraine territory.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xiQ_5P0vgk&ab_channel=TimesRadio

The Russian threat or plan is to appropriate the electricity plant, divert its production from Ukraine and if that is blocked, to blow the plant up and turn the area into a desert where no one can live due to radiation.

A useful source of Ukraine war information is available on a YouTube channel called The Enforcer, an American male podcaster about 20 years old who has created a daily podcast using social media posts and other open source intelligence. Here is a link to the Day 168 podcast report from August 9, 2022:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qm3_2TeAFOA&ab_channel=TheEnforcer

The Enforcer has about 92,000 subscribers, and does fundraising for Ukraine war effort and interviews with local Ukrainian army press officers such as "Operator Starsky" who has his own YouTube channel. After over 168 days of war, I cannot watch a nightly podcast of horrifying news any more, so I watch less now but try to keep up to date.

War blurs the line between facts and fiction more than any other human practice, as each side holds fast to the line that they are winning and will never give up, even if the whole world be destroyed.

Russia is proving to be a regressive, rogue state incapable of respecting any international laws or laws of war and human rights. The necessity of escalation of this war to prevent further Russian nuclear blackmail means that the US and allies will be dragged further and further into the conflict. There are 27 "hot zones" or ongoing armed conflicts according to pro-Western think tank Council on Foreign Relations:

https://www.cfr.org/global-conflict-tracker

Notice on their map that there are no dots in the USA at this time. A civil war over Trump's crimes and lies is much more probable in America when the rest of the world is fighting so much and America itself is the center of weapons industries and false consciousness networks of the capitalist kind. Will the next Pearl Harbor event be a large nuclear power plant being blown up accidentally or as a military tactic/false flag (Russia blames Ukraine attack for accident) over night spreading fallout across the world and creating more refugees?

LFC said...

Christopher M.,
I know you were/are a musician yourself, bc I recall some of your comments on that.

I played the flute. Actually started with recorder, then took up flute when I was around seven or eight, played through my early 20s and a bit beyond that. I haven't played at all in quite a long time, and my old Haynes flute is on pretty much permanent loan to a close relative, much younger than me, who uses it as a backup instrument to his own Powell flute. (Haynes and Powell are top-of-the-line flutes.) That's more than you or anyone else needs to know about flutes, but whatever.

Eric said...

each individual musician would only receive the portion of the score which applied to the musician’s instrument explains why a conductor is needed to coordinate all of the musicians, since the musician for any one instrument would not see the musical portions of his/her colleagues

Not quite true. At least, not with sheet music for the past century.
I haven't played in ensembles but I have read many orchestral scores and occasionally follow along with the score when listening to recordings.

As LFC says, strictly speaking, at least in theory, once the performers have rehearsed the piece the conductor isn't really needed for timekeeping during a performance except at certain key points, like at the beginning. Even in sheet music that just shows the individual instrument's part, every measure of the piece from the beginning to end is shown. If an instrument is silent for a measure, or part of a measure, that is specifically indicated. So a performer who is following along from the beginning can see when it's necesary to play their part, even without a cue from the conductor. Of course, as a practical matter, it's easier to have the conductor remind you, especially if you don't know the piece backwards and if your instrument is quiet for long stretches, like the triangle, which doesn't start playing in Beethoven's 9th symph until after the 300th measure of the first movement. The conductor's much more important role is in interpretation, similar to the director's role in a play or film.

Contrast these two score parts below from Beethoven's 9th second movement. The first is just for a clarinet. The second is for the whole orchestra.

https://vmirror.imslp.org/files/imglnks/usimg/a/a4/IMSLP85215-PMLP01607-Beethoven.Sym9.II.Cl1-Bflat.pdf

https://vmirror.imslp.org/files/imglnks/usimg/f/f1/IMSLP61851-PMLP01607-Beethoven_Breitkopf_Serie_1_Band_3_B_9_2.pdf

At the beginning of each line there is a number which shows which measure from the beginning of the movement that that line begins with. Where the clarinet is quiet, there are indications of notes being played by other instruments (in the first line these are marked Archi, Timp, Viol.I) printed with smaller, finer symbols, but mostly what you see on the sheet is just the clarinet's notes.

Both score sheets show that the clarinet is quiet for the first five measures, comes in at the sixth, then is quiet again until the 13th.


Btw, if you're curious, you can see what some of the handwritten sketches for the piece looked like before being finalized and sent off to the printer
https://vmirror.imslp.org/files/imglnks/usimg/a/a4/IMSLP513711-PMLP01607-Fragmente_und_Skizzen_D-B_Mus.ms.autogr._Beethoven,_L._v.,_Artaria_204.pdf

Eric said...

I just spent a ridiculous amount of time typing that out and posting it with weblinks, only to discover that Blogger erased it. Total waste of time.

LFC said...

Agree with Eric that one of the conductor's main jobs/roles is interpretation of the piece, which has a number of different aspects or facets. If a conductor is also an ensemble's music director, then programming is a large part of the job, and the music director will also likely be involved to some extent in publicity and so on, esp perhaps if it's a regional orchestra and not one of the major ones. Outreach to the public, e.g. via school programs, pre-concert talks and so on, will also probably be part of the job.

Then there are some other roles, one of which arguably is to help communicate the music to the audience during the performance -- that's tricky, though, because if the conductor draws too much attention to him/herself, it runs the risk of overshadowing the music. It's probably sometimes possible to tell whether a conductor's grand gestures are genuine in the sense that he/she has "lost" herself or himself in the music, and if the histrionics are genuine in that sense, they're probably ok. But it's a fine line. (It's been a while since I've seen a conductor at work, either in person or via a screen.)

I also have decades-old (from playing days) memories of different styles conductors use in rehearsal, though the number of professional conductors I played under was small (encountered in summer sessions or music camp, generally), since I did not become a professional musician or go to a conservatory. Still, it was enough to give some sense of different styles. On one occasion as a player I witnessed a conductor during rehearsal (a professional musician, though better known as a quite distinguished instrumentalist than a conductor) get so angry that the baton flew out of his hand and struck the music stand of the player he was pissed off at. I think he deliberately threw the baton. Very unusual (not to mention dangerous), but it happened so many years ago that my memory of the event is hazy.

s. wallerstein said...

There are conductors with an ego the size of Richard Wagner multiplied by Hugo Chavez.

I was briefly married to a musician (viola) from a family of musicians. Her mother was an orchestra violinist and her father had been one of the top Chilean conductors until Pinochet fired him for leftist.

They impressed me incredibly when I first met them, but with time their cultural snobbery, except the mother-violinist who was Italian and ok, just got to be too much for even my cultural snobbery.

The father, the conductor, would have been capable of throwing a baton with a poisoned dart at the end of it at anyone who played out of tune or questioned his genius or sexual magnetism or membership in the race of ubermensch.

In any case, one lesson I learned was never lend money or books or your sleeping bag to musicians.

Marc Susselman said...

Eric, LFC,

Well I guess that answers my initial question regarding how was it possible to hand-write enough copies of a symphonic score to provide a copy to each member of the orchestra. The copies were not hand-written, like the original, they were printed on a printing press from a hand-written copy. Duh.

Marc Susselman said...

I have another perhaps dumb question regarding symphony orchestras and music scores. I have watched pianists performing piano concertos, and, if the pianist has not memorized the entire concerto, a page turner stands by to turn the pages as the pianist is performing. I have not seen page turners standing next to the members of an orchestra performing this function for them. If a violinist, for example, is playing a section of a score which continues onto the next page which is not adjacent to the violinist’s immediate section, how does the violinist accomplish this, since playing a violin requires two hands? (I could ask my daughter, who played violin in both her high school and college orchestras, but I am wary of revealing to her how dumb her father is.)

Christopher J. Mulvaney, Ph.D. said...

LFC,
I'm still playing gigs. It's fun. Do you think that in retrospect playing music had a positive effect on your education and career choices?

Tony Couture
Take a look at ACLED (armed conflict location event data) website re: political violence in U.S.

LFC said...

Two quick answers to separate questions.

1) Marc's question: "If a violinist, for example, is playing a section of a score which continues onto the next page which is not adjacent to the violinist’s immediate section, how does the violinist accomplish this, since playing a violin requires two hands?"

In an orchestra, typically two violinists (or cellists etc.) will be sharing a music stand, and one of them will keep playing while the other quickly turns the page.

More difficult is what does a wind instrumentalist (who often or usu. is not sharing a stand w someone) do? Answer is that the problem just doesn't arise very often, I don't think, bc of the way the parts are printed. If it shd arise someone can usu. lean over from the next stand and turn the page. Another solution, which I think I might have done once or twice, is to hand-copy out the rest of the phrase and attach it to the printed page. Then once you've finished playing the phrase in question, you can turn the page. It's usually actually all pretty easy logistically: harder to describe in writing than to do it.


Christopher M.: "Do you think that in retrospect playing music had a positive effect on your education and career choices?"

On balance I'm glad I did it, because it was sometimes a source of enjoyment and satisfaction, but I don't think it had much of an effect on my career choices. The relationship it had to my education is a more complicated question for me, and I'd have to come back and answer it later.

Marc Susselman said...

Current speculation that the documents which the FBI was seeking to recover from Mar-a-Lago were top secret documents related to nuclear defense supports Prof. Wolff’s theory that Trump may have intended to trade those secrets (to Putin?) to raise money. Regardless his motive, if it turns out that he pilfered top secret nuclear defense documents, he will likely be indicted. Sandy Berger, Clinton’s National Security adviser, was prosecuted in 2005 for having purloined classified documents from the National Archive.

David Palmeter said...


Gen. David Petraeus, who was also CIA Director, was prosecuted for taking classified documents as well.

Ironically, that violation was upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony by legislation signed by then President Trump.

As the saying goes, "Lock him up! Lock him up!"

s. wallerstein said...

Trump has been out of office for over a year and a half and so if he was going to sell nuclear secrets to Putin, he's sold them by now because that kind of information goes stale fast.

Now if I'm going to sell nuclear secrets, after doing that I don't store them in my basement. I burn them and bury the ashes far from my property. I don't see Trump as as stupid as some other commenters in this blog do.

As for locking him up, that seems irrelevant and probably will make a martyr of him. The important thing is that he never holds public office again.

Marc Susselman said...

https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2022/08/12/gop-anthony-sabatini-defund-the-fbi-drew-griffin-vpx-sot-ac360.cnn

It’s as if a segment of the U.S. population has gone totally berserk. Reading the tweets and threats against the FBI and Merrick Garland are truly scary. This is totally unprecedented in this country. The law and order Republicans have gone off the deep end. The demagogic cult that has grown up around Trump is mind-boggling. Even Nixon would not have tolerated such insanity. Sociologists will be analyzing these events for years to come – assuming we survive this breakdown in civil order.

Howard said...

Dear Marc

Sociologists have already analyzed the Trump supporters going off the deep end. It has happened elsewhere in different ways
There are structural causes such as the internet and the decline of the middle class and the Republican little by little assault on our institutions.
But for me the most decisive factors are Trump's very very low but powerful charisma- they're sold on the man like he was a Professional wrestling champ- and a decent theory of mind for them- they sense there is something wrong with America and Trump echoed and amplified this feeling- he shouted "USA! USA!" as in the 1980 Olympic hockey championship- add to this their distrust of elites and their desire for agency- all reality is socially constructed -I'm talking psychologically- they sense there's something wrong and who are you to tell them you know better than FOX? They already bought the used car from Trump-
all is not lost, but we're in for a ride
When they say MAGA they're saying USA USA! It is a religious belief and like religions it supersedes reality.
They are in a sense stupid and Trump's fools (including some very intelligent friends of mine) but this is their reality and increasingly ours

Howard said...

Marc a little more

People decide what reality is by acting like their reality is true- Durkheim and Goffman talk about this odd fact

aaall said...

The value isn't necessarily in the information itself but in the ability to reverse engineer that information and detect sources. That ages better. Possibly some of those sources have started drying up, hence urgency.

One often hears about the quantity of firearms in the hands of the MAGATS but the quality of their owners may be more important. Based on the actions of the guy in Ohio (nail gun will defeat bulletproof glass - really!) perhaps we have less to worry about.

james wilson said...

Since Geuss's most recent book has been mentioned on this blog and since RPW is mentioned in this review, I thought it worth drawing attnetion to it:

https://newleftreview.org/sidecar/posts/anti-liberal

s. wallerstein said...

James Wilson, Thanks.

Worth reading. Here's one passage I found insightful.

If Geuss were less suspicious of what he calls ‘world views’, he might acknowledge that one at least of them offers a more dialectical assessment of liberalism than he is willing to countenance. Marx’s attitude to the creed is a supreme example of the virtue of granting your antagonist all you can, which in his case means recognising that autonomy, self-realisation, a hostility to autocracy and the like are part of the substance of socialism rather than an alternative to it. Had Geuss approached his subject historically as well as philosophically, grasping the revolutionary élan of liberalism in the Europe of the ancien regimes, he might have come to see that there is more to it than the prejudices of Rawls.

LFC said...

Speaking of "autonomy" and "self-realisation," here's a little quiz. Who wrote "the self is realized in the activities of many selves"? Don't cheat and look it up!

Marc Susselman said...

Guessing: Freud

John Rapko said...

I read Eagleton's piece on Geuss's book yesterday. At least in my limited Facebook circles, it seems to have aroused a great deal of interest and comment, particularly on the left-economist Doug Henwood's page. I was a little perturbed by the last couple of paragraphs, including the bit that s. wallerstein quotes, so I tried to correct (what seems to me to be) Eagleton's mis-step with the following comment: Although Geuss does in this book treat Rawls's philosophy as the outstanding contemporary liberal philosophy, he does elsewhere (in History and Illusion in Politics) give the historical approach to liberalism that Eagleton calls for, though again with no concern for its alleged 'revolutionary elan'. Like Alasdair MacIntyre, Geuss makes it clear that he was never tempted by liberalism. Both MacIntyre and Geuss consider the tradition of liberalism to center on the fiction of an ideally individual subject, self-transparent, the bearer of free will, tied nonetheless to the 'free market', and appropriately protected by a neutral political framework protecting rights and property; and both think that liberalism in practice impoverishes human life in missing the point (stressed by Augustine and Kierkegaard) that major aspects of human life are only accessible with prior belief or participation in some particular way of living. Geuss tends to stress the philosophical absurdity of the founding liberal conception, while MacIntyre stresses the way in which liberalism in practice erodes valuable non-liberal communities and forms of life (MacIntyre does note that a non-individualist liberal philosophy is a possibility (T. H. Green), but one that is under great internal strain). Perhaps both MacIntyre and Geuss might grant in a highly qualified way that liberal ideologies played an important role in the battle against absolutism, but their concern is with the liberal tradition in political philosophy, and its malign character as a central ideology in modern times.--The philosopher Hans Sluga told me a couple of days ago that he's writing a review of Geuss's book, which should appear soon and will surely be of great interest. Again, if anyone's interested, here's my own take on the book: https://www.academia.edu/82537483/Book_Review_Raymond_Geuss_Not_Thinking_like_a_Liberal_2022_

LFC said...

A good guess, Marc, but it's not Freud. "Many selves" in this context, in case it's not clear, means "many individuals," not "many selves within the same person."

I'll see if anyone else wants to play (unlikely I suppose), then will give answer in a hour or two.

s. wallerstein said...

John Rapko,

You don't think that someone like Chomsky is basically a liberal, not a liberal in the sense that Hillary Clinton is a liberal, but one in the sense that Geuss criticizes, but with, instead of the free market, free associations of producers and workers in general?

james wilson said...

Thanks for the reference to your review, J. R. I particularly liked your closing sentence. And thanks for your advisory, that Sluga's review is forthcoming. I suppose it'll be on his website?

LFC said...

Answer: The quoted phrase is from Rawls, _A Theory of Justice_ (orig. ed., 1971), p. 565.

RobertD said...

"With cases of monkeypox surging around the world, it’s not a good time to be a monkey.

The primates have, in recent days, been physically attacked — and even killed — by poisoning and stoning attacks in Brazil, according to local media reports that cite police officials."

It is indeed sad, and an illustration of the power of ignorance as, according to Vincent Racaniello on TWiV ('This week in virology') Monkeypox is a disease of rodents, and its name is a misnomer.


John Rapko said...

james wilson--Hans told me that his review of the Geuss book is supposed to appear in mid-September in a UK journal (I hadn't heard of it--maybe 'Society'?). He's been putting some reviews on his blog, so maybe he'll also put it there.

LFC said...

From John R.'s review:

"Senje’s sermons emphasized 'the inherent complexity of human life, the difficulty of judgment, the unsurveyability of choices, and the obscurity of eventual outcomes.' (p. 74) These sermons combined with Krigler’s explicit teachings on the variety of holy lives of the Saints to show that liberalism had no monopoly on the appreciation of the plurality
of worthwhile human lives."

I don't really get this. An appreciation of the inherent complexity of human life, the difficulty of judgment, and the obscurity of eventual outcomes is not incompatible with liberalism. If life were simple rather than complicated and judgment were easy rather than difficult, there would be little or no need for "free discussion" or Habermas's "unconstrained [or is it undistorted?] communication," for instance.

Michael said...

^I read that excerpt as saying: Liberalism appreciates the plurality of worthwhile human lives; but so does the tradition represented by Senje. This appreciation, though characteristic of liberalism, is not exclusive to it.

I'm reading and enjoying the review right now - fine work, John!

LFC said...

You're right, Michael. I was reading too quickly (or too carelessly).

John Rapko said...

LFC--I'm a bit puzzled by your comment, as the quote says that "liberalism has no monopoly" on appreciating these things, and not that liberalism is incapable of understanding or appreciating these things. With regard to the counter-point about Habermas, along with repeating what I said in response to Eagleton's review, I would draw your attention to Geuss's claim that the liberal tradition presupposes the fiction of free-willed, self-clairvoyant, and ontologically asocial individual. Habermas claims that any attempted communicative presupposes (a) the goal of consensus, and (b) that such consensus would under ideal conditions be arrived at through the unconstrained and unlimited communication among individuals. Geuss denies both (a) (see the reference to Dewey's theory of communication in the piece on Habermas's 90th birthday) and (b) (elsewhere Geuss simply dismisses Habermas's seeming conflation of 'understanding through communication' with 'agreement arrived at through communication'). Another way into Geuss's criticism would be to note that liberal philosophy conceptualizes the individual as a being possessing desires, and tends to treat desires (that is, the desires of the the fictive liberal individual) as simply given and prima facie legitimate. Geuss treats this as dogmatic and a conceptual simplification, and instead considers desires as only one among a larger class of motivations, including interests and needs, and none of which are ordinarily prima facie clear. Correlatively, the anti-liberal MacIntyre in his most recent book, Ethics in the Conflicts of Modernity, is particularly vivid on the complexity, obscurity, and transformability of desires; reflecting on a desire raises the question of how the desire came about, what sort of good its satisfaction involves, how it's ranked among one's other desires, and how to understand the relevantly invoked good. The liberal conception of desiring individuals with a right to their private sphere and protected by a neutral political framework fades away. Or, in a slogan: despite Habermas's early encounter with psychoanalysis in Knowledge and Human Interests, nothing of the psychoanalytic conception colors Habermas's communicants.

John Rapko said...

LFC--Oops! I posted the previous comment without seeing that the puzzle had already been solved. I hope that what I wrote above nonetheless adds something.

s. wallerstein said...

Isn't Geuss making a strawman out of liberalism?

What liberal would claim that all desires are "legitimate" or "good"? There are child molestors, serial killers and religious fanatics like the guy who stabbed Rushdie yesterday and no one in their right mind, liberal or not, would consider their desires as worthy of being protected by a political framework.

Where do we draw the line? Is the desire to smoke a pack a day of cigarettes "legitimate"? Is the desire to binge eat junk food until my arteries explode "legitimate"? Is the desire to make America great again "legitimate"?

I have no idea, but having no idea, I tend to be a bit of a liberal.

LFC said...

J.R.
Without dismissing these (Geuss and MacIntyre) criticisms completely, I don't find some of them very convincing.

The idea that liberalism presupposes an "ontologically asocial" individual is questionable. Selves in liberal theory might lack certain "constitutive" commitments that define who they are (their "identities"), but that doesn't mean they're "ontologically asocial." If selves didn't exist in societies, most of the standard questions that liberal theorists write about wouldn't even arise. Rousseau's "savage man" is "ontologically asocial," but once he leaves the state of nature, not.

John Rapko said...

s. wallerstein and LFC,
As I just found myself thinking about the horrors of liberalism while trying to write about sculpture, I'd like to retire from the blog role of defending every word from Geuss's pen after a quick response. 1. On the Desires of Liberals: a highly typical part of liberal philosophy is drawing a strong line, protected by taboos and enforced by police, between the private sphere and the public sphere. Liberals typically treat any unacted-upon desire, however rebarbative, as part of the private sphere. So while the liberal may disapprove of the (private) desires of individuals, liberalism offers no guidance for reflecting upon such desires, and further has nothing to say about acted-upon desires insofar as the resultant actions are legal. For the liberal it's either 'Hey, that's just my opinion' or 'Call the police!' 2. On the Loneliness of the Ontologically Asocial: The sense in which the liberal individual is 'ontologically asocial' can perhaps be brought out by analogy with Freud. One way of thinking about Freud's achievement is to say that Freud took seriously the fact that all human beings start out as helpless infants, grow (with exceptions) through stages, and are marked throughout life by these archaic conditions. So one could say that the pre-Freudian individual is 'ontologically without childhood'. It's not that individuals so conceived never were children; it's rather that having been a child is not before Freud treated as a mark of adulthood. So with the liberal individual: presumably 'man' in a 'state of nature' was suckled, nurtured, and socialized, but Hobbes and Rousseau did not treat those facts as ineliminably formative or constitutive of 'man'.

Marc Susselman said...

Take a deep breath:

https://www.cnn.com/videos/media/2022/08/13/jordan-klepper-conspiracy-theories-maga-crowd-wisconsin-acostanr-vpx.cnn

https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2022/08/14/phoenix-fbi-trump-supporters-armed-mar-a-lago-search-vpx.cnn

s. wallerstein said...

After reading John Rapko's remarks above, I was curious about Freud's political views, so I googled "Freud political views" and came up with this interesting essay.

https://newrepublic.com/article/165265/freud-miseries-politics-samuel-moyn-civilizations-discontents-review

LFC said...

In recent years I read Rousseau's _Discourse on Inequality_, which I hadn't read before. R's "savage" in the fictive state of nature is pictured as solitary, driven solely by the desire to satisfy physical needs, with no curiosity and no sense of the future.

This "savage" is not the same as the "liberal individual." The latter, according to critics, is "unencumbered" (Sandel's word) by "constitutive" attachments e.g. to a particular family, community or nation-state, attachments that are (allegedly) so deep that they cannot be abstracted away from in a picture of a rational chooser or decider on principles of justice (or anything else). The phrase "ontologically asocial" suggests, misleadingly, that Rousseau's savage, living in a solitary way and with no sense of the future, is basically the same as Rawls's chooser behind the veil of ignorance.

That is obviously wrong. Rousseau's savage has no "sense of justice" (as Rawls uses the phrase) and no sense of the future. The individual in "the original position," by contrast, must have a sense of the future because what she's doing is choosing principles to govern her future associations with others, or more precisely to govern the character of "the basic structure" of the society in which she will live and in which her associations will occur. "Unencumbered" might be a defensible label to attach to this person, but "ontologically asocial," imo, is not.

Marc Susselman said...

This is the manifesto of traditional liberalism. Is it really so bad, so devoid of sophisticated philosophical values?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2JR3FmvVAw

Marc Susselman said...

If you have been watching the news shows this morning, e.g., Meet The Press, Face The Nation, the news regarding the reaction to the search of Mar-a-Lago executed by the FBI is very disturbing. There is deep, serious concern regarding what will happen if Trump is nominated by the Republican for the Presidency in 2024, and if, at the same time, he has either been indicted, is being tried, or has been convicted. The concern appears to be legitimate that a civil war could break out.

Which led me to the following question: How does gun ownership in the U.S. compare between Democrats vs. Republicans. The answer, perhaps predictably, is that Democrats are seriously outgunned, by as much as 7,800,000 weapons.

First, I looked at a 2017 Pew Research Center survey, link below, which indicates that 41% of Republican households report presence of one or more guns in the household, vs. 16% of Democrat households.

arch.org/social-trends/2017/06/22/the-demographics-of-gun-ownership/


I found more specific and more current statistics at a 2021 survey, linked below. This survey divided the data between two parameters: percentage of members of each party which own at least one gun, and percentage of households which identify with either party in which there is at least one gun. For Republicans, the first percentage was 50%; the second percentage was 61%. For Democrats, the two percentages were 21% and 31%.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/249775/percentage-of-population-in-the-us-owning-a-gun-by-party-affiliation/

I nest went to Wikipedia to find out how many voters in our country identify as Democrat vs. Republican. The article, linked below, indicated that not every state requires that its voters register with one party or the other. Based on data from December 1, 2021, of those states in which registered voters do identify their parey affiliation, applying the above gun ownership percentages to that data, yields the following.

Democrats: 48,019,985

own at least 1 gun: 10,084,196 gun in household: 14,886,195


Republican: 35,732,180

own at least 1 gun: 17,866,050 gun in household: 21,796,629

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_party_strength_in_U.S._states#Current_party_strength

This data is not exact, and we cannot assume that every Republican is a Trump supporter, or even if a Trump supporter, would join a civil war on Trump’s side, but it nonetheless indicates, that if there is a civil war between Republican/Trump supporters and Democrats, Democrats would be seriously out-gunned. In that event, the only thing which could save our democracy would be if the military sided with the Democrats. Based on reports of the presence of white supremacists and Trump supporters in the military, there is no guarantee that this would occur.

Is this a call for Democrats to start arming themselves? I myself have no intention of purchasing a weapon. But the 2nd Amendment applies equally to Democrats and Republicans.

Marc Susselman said...

Post-script:

The above analysis does not factor in gun ownership among Independent voters, for which there is also data in the above links. This factor is an unknown, since we do not know what percentage of Independent voters would side with one side vs. the other in a potential civil war.

s. wallerstein said...

Marc,

What is the racial composition of the U.S. military?

I have the impression that the U.S. military has a high percentage of non-whites, who would be unlikely to back a white supremacist government of course.

Anonymous said...

Surely, Marc, the possession of guns would only be a short-term factor should hostilities break out? Wouldn't it be those parts of the country which could organize and supply mass organized violence for the longer term which would have the advantage? (Wasn't this what proved decisive in the American Civil War?) In which case, wouldn't it be more meaningful to consider how the US might split? I guess, too, one would have to consider access, both transport routes and political, to international trade?

aaall said...

Marc, there's more to it then the number of firearms (one can only fire one at a time). Also (and as the Russians are currently learning) logistics is just about everything. Just how do all those armed folks in northern Idaho or the upper peninsula get to anywhere else with the ability to mount a sustained engagement? Then there is the doofus factor:

https://qph.cf2.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-e2db52183242eeeb366cba34f2f85092-pjlq

As I previously pointed out: Nail gun + bulletproof glass = dummy. Recall the scene at the entrance to the speaker's Lobby on Jan. 6. Everyone was all angry and gung ho on smashing the doors and killing them some legislators until one of them tried to go through a broken window and got herself shot. That one shot effected an instant attitude adjustment on the crowd (check out the video).

Mile wide/inch deep.

Also, Black gun clubs are an increasing thing and Black women are the fastest growing group of gun owners.

Marc Susselman said...

To answer s. wallerstein’s question, in 2019, the White males constituted 69.8% of the U.S. military, vs. 16.94% Black males.

Anonymous, aaall,

A week or two ago, I would have thought that the possibility of a civil war in this country was minimal to nill. Seeing the reaction to the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, however, has changed my perspective. If the two circumstances I noted above occur – Trump is elected and being prosecuted, or has been convicted, I frankly think that armed rebellion is no longer unlikely There are, of course, a range of factors which would be determinative in a civil war between conservative Republicans and Democrats, but the number of weapons that each side already has available at the beginning of the unrest would be a significant factor. And I would not count the right wing Republicans out based on purported intelligence differences – the best marksman I saw when I was in the Army Reserve were from the South. (Sgt. York was from Tennessee, and Audie Murphy was from Texas). I do not believe that the technological advantages that the North had over the South in the Civil War would necessarily be duplicated in a contemporary conflict. Regardless the outcome, it would prove to be very bloody, and the United States would never be the same again.

Marc Susselman said...

Post-script:

The link to my source of data regarding the racial composition of the U.S. military is below.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/214869/share-of-active-duty-enlisted-women-and-men-in-the-us-military/

s. wallerstein said...

Marc,

Thanks.

Of course the country could divide in two without armed conflict or with a minimum, that is,
Czechoslovakia rather than Yugoslavia. We don't want or need you and you don't want or need us. Good-bye.

LFC said...

While I don't think either one is very likely, I think a relatively peaceful separation is more likely than a civil war. However, there would be problems with which part gets to keep the name U.S., which part becomes responsible for the current U.S.'s alliance and other intl commitments, etc etc. The U.S. has about 700 or more overseas mil. bases -- which part gets them? The U.S. has a permanent seat on the UN Security Council -- is another permanent seat created for the rump part? What happens to the military itself? What happens to the federal govt agencies? It's not like you can just agree to separate and have it be as easy as slicing a cake.

More to the point, Republicans who are Trumpists can have Trumpism without Trump by nominating someone like Ron DeSantis. They don't need the headache of Trump, and the number of people who are committed to "Trump or no-one" may not be as large as people think.

aaall said...

s.w., what do the folks in very Democratic places like Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Tucson, Indian Country, etc. do? Republican America is like a vast sparsely populated desert/steppe with randomly dispersed dense Democratic oases. Or, California is a heavily democratic state with a number of very conservative counties (my coastal CD is D +22, the district east to Nevada is R +11). Some folks in inland northern California and eastern Oregon want to form a separate state (see Jefferson). I was roaming around central Nevada a few years ago and took a narrow byway to a small (pop. ~ 120) mining town. The county (huge) is very Republican but almost all the residences in this remote town had Obama signs in front. While Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico would make a fine nation, The interior states become land locked and would lose the subsidies they currently get from the blue states. Way complicated with no easy solution.

Marc, there's a tradition of firearm ownership in the South and West with lots of open spaces. Those folks you served with had likely been shooting at targets and non-human animals since childhood. That doesn't necessarily translate into a willingness to engage in murder and treason. Oklahoma City didn't lead to lots of copy cats. There will likely be isolated incidents but not much beyond that.

Again, we have logistics. The South lost the hot war because of logistics (the following cold war is another matter). As for advantages, what happens when there's an exodus of knowledge workers from Red states? There are a lot of small (ish) groups but nothing solid to tie them together. Take a close look at the pic I linked.

Also, that with a political breakup the dollar becomes like the Euro unless both entities form their own currencies. Want to be in the markets when that happens?

LFC said...

aaall,

I agree with many of your points here. However, the picture you linked is of a somewhat obese guy in fatigues with a gun. That picture, standing alone, is not really evidence of anything, much as you might want it or suppose it to be.

s. wallerstein said...

aaall,

Your point about the market is important. Also businesses which operate all over the country, like Walmart and Amazon, have no interest in seeing a divorce and might exert pressure to avoid it.

You could imagine a deal: Trump agrees not to run for president in 2024 in return for a pardon and the Democrats agree to close their eyes to whole lot of ugly doings in red states and everybody goes back to business as usual.

aaall said...

LFC, I couldn't resist as the totally out of shape, kitted out in typical militia gear with a riot gun, sidearm with multiple magazines, and camo dude is admittedly extreme but still tells a story. There was an extended piece on militias on the TV awhile back and one of the guys was some schlub who got all teary carrying on about his "brothers" and being part of something, etc. (wandering around the southern Arizona desert at night playing soldier is a good way to get bit by something poisonous). Some of these folks are organized and dangerous, most seem to be somewhat lost souls who simply lack the necessities. Nail-gun dude was the latest and he actually had military experience as did the unarmed woman playing stupid at the Capitol.

Also, I was trying to reassure Marc that sheer numbers aren't the full story. Quality/quantity - etc.

aaall said...

"...everybody goes back to business as usual."

If Trump doesn't get the nomination for whatever reason, DeSantis is the likely nominee (at this point, at least). That is sort of frying pan/fire. Going from an inept, somewhat stupid authoritarian to an intelligent, capable authoritarian is not an improvement. DeSantis is far more dangerous then Trump. He was willing to kill people over covid if he could spin it to his advantage. Currently he appears to be using monkeypox to stir up an anti LGBTQ pogrom.

Marc Susselman said...

s. wallerstein, LFC, aaall,

Thank you for your words of comfort. Two weeks ago I would have agreed with you that what I wrote above were the words of an individual who has lost touch with reality. However, what I saw today on the news programs was startling. When a retired Navy Seal attacks an FBI office with a nail-gun, seeking to harm FBI employees; when a dozen or so armed individuals stand outside an FBI office in Phoenix; when Republican politicians are offering hare-brained theories that the FBI may have planted top-secret documents in the boxes which were removed from Mar-a-Lago, something different and unprecedented is going on in our country. I hope you are all correct, that my concerns about a potential civil war are overblown. Time will tell.

Marc Susselman said...

Take a look at the latest documentary produced by the Trump organization:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Y6GeqiOIug


aaall said...

Marc, my point with the nail gun and why it amuses me it is that using one against bulletproof glass is stupid. He then went on to commit suicide by cop.
He was in the submarine part of the Navy and only served five years according to the sources I saw so no SEAL and no retired. Just another lost soul. Arizona is open carry so real problem, still stupid to parade around.

There is always a chance that some wacky sheriff in the West will take the "constitutional sheriff" BS seriously and do himself some rebelling but still NBD (a few decades ago the sheriff of Catron County, New Mexico went rouge as part of the sagebrush rebellion).

Arnold died in England. Trump has a golf course in Indonesia which country doesn't have an extradition treaty with the US so maybe. The only real danger to the republic is due to our flawed and failing Constitution and the willingness of the Republican Party to exploit those flaws.

aaall said...

Oops, s/b rogue

s. wallerstein said...

The U.S. is divided roughly half and half into two antagonistic cultures. There seems to be three possibilities.

1. Civil war.

2. The country breaks up peacefully.

3. The two sides reach some kind of live and let live agreement, maybe a tacit agreement, maybe a verbal one. I know some here believe that Republicans are inherently evil and aggressive and that there is no live and let live with them, but as I pointed out above, markets work miracles. That is, the pressure of big business to reach an agreement and avoid a civil war/breakup might well trump the innate evil of Republicans.
One facet of the agreement, I believe, would be to remove Donald Trump from the political realm, to pardon him with the agreement that he not run for office again. Politics as usual would go on, the Republicans will try to keep minority voters from voting in states which they control, but peace at times requires that one closes one's eyes to certain sins, just as a successful and peaceful marriage does.

Let's take Chile. In 1973 the right took control of a polarized country with a military coup. In 1990 we returned to democracy, partially due to the pressures of markets. In 2019 the other half of Chile (those screwed by Pinochet and neoliberalism) rebelled,
protested, looted, burned and trashed the subway system (the symbol of "progress") and
at one point it appeared that either rightwing president Piñera would have to resign and call new elections or the military would intervene again. Political forces, on the right and the left, got together and reached an agreement to hold a plebiscite a new constitution to replace the 1980 constitution written by the dictatorship.

As you can imagine, the more radical left considered that to be a sell-out as did the more radical right. The constitution was written by a convention composed of elected delegates and on September 4, we'll vote on it.

The point is that political cultures which hate, fear and distrust each other can reach agreements to preserve the peace, but peace is always fragile and neither side will ever
"WIN," as they dream of doing, except for short periods.

Marc Susselman said...

s. wallerstein,

Thank you for your thoughtful analysis. Under ordinary circumstances, I would agree that option 3 is the most likely outcome. But these are not ordinary circumstances, because Donald Trump is incapable of compromise. Yesterday he was seen pumping his fist in the air, rallying his troops. He will not agree to the compromise you propose in option 3. And if he does not agree, nor will his minions, who are armed and determined to see him elected President in 2024. Even if the Republican Party does not nominate him in 2024, Trump will run as an independent. And if he loses the election, he will again claim fraud and insist that he was the legitimate winner – and his supporters, of whom there are hundreds of thousands, will support him and resort to violence. Will the military suppress this revolt? Frankly, I do not know. The country will not break apart, with Trump and his supporters governing Arizona, Idaho, Montana, … Unless Trump dies a natural death, as histrionic and hysterical as this may sound, I foresee a lot of violence and, unfortunately, the most likely outcome is option 1 – civil war.

Marc Susselman said...

This is what is fueling Trump’s supporters:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BGSPPPWN4ohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BGSPPPWN4o


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehlHN0A6FxI