The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Tag: US Politics

Trump Has Been A Fraudster All His Career, So What’s Changed?

Trump was found guilty in a very interesting suit.

Judge Arthur Engoron, ruling in a civil lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, found that Trump and his company deceived banks, insurers and others by massively overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth on paperwork used in making deals and securing loans.

Engoron ordered that some of Trump’s business licenses be rescinded as punishment, making it difficult or impossible for them to do business in New York, and said he would continue to have an independent monitor oversee Trump Organization operations.

There are a few interesting things about this case.

  1. It’s was brought by the New York Attorney General, not any of the people Trump defrauded.
  2. It was a civil and not criminal case. The Attorney General first considered criminal charges, but then decided on a civil case. Guilt is found in civil cases on the “preponderance of evidence”, where criminal cases are decides on “reasonable doubt.” Guilt is a lot easier to find in civil cases.
  3. Everyone has known, for decades, that Trump was a fraudster and pulling various shenanigans. He wasn’t charged. Why? Because the sort of fraud he committed is endemic in the real estate industry: it is normal. So while it’s against the law, it isn’t usually enforced.
  4. This means Trump is being charged for something most real-estate developers are being allowed to slide on.
  5. The end effect here is to remove Trump’s control of a big chunk of his own empire, thus reducing his power and ability to fund his own campaign. (That isn’t likely to matter, he will be able to fund it with donations, unlike the first time.)

Obviously what has changed is that Democrats, and the cases are being brought by Democrats, don’t want him to be president again. This isn’t necessarily unreasonable: he did try and launch a coup, after all.

But as I’ve written before, it’s a change in elite consensus. This sort of thing used to be done rarely, and not at the Presidential level. It’s going to lead to a situation where both parties go after the other party’s leaders in jurisdictions they control.

In a sense, this is bipartisan. Republicans are using this mostly to challenge laws they hate, like those allowing abortion or trans-therapy. They do it in a jurisdiction they control, then count on the Supreme Court (under Republican control) backing them up in the end. Most, but not all of the time, the Supreme Court does.

Which leads to the question, what happens when all of these cases against Trump make it to the Supremes? All the Republicans aren’t Trumpists, some aren’t fans.

But a judicial hit policy is dangerous when you don’t control the supreme court.

Something to think about.

And, overall, this indicates a new era in American politics: the gloves are coming off, even more, on both sides and previous elite norms are changing.

This makes some sense when you consider that the US, in certain terms, is in decline. In the old days, there was plenty for everyone. But with the US is relative decline (and arguably absolute decline), and with elites having taken so much from the poor and middle class that there’s little more to loot, any further gains must come from each other.

Welcome to decline.

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Democratic Congress Members Want What Republicans Want

So, here we have it:

On Hugh Hewitt’s show, McConnell says it’s “highly unlikely” he’d allow Biden to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in 2024, if he’s majority leader. He also doesn’t commit to allowing a vote on a nominee if a seat opens up in 2023. “Well, we’d have to wait and see what happens.”

This is the new normal. Republicans get all of their Supreme Court slots and stop any Democratic slots they can. We should note that McConnell was also keeping most appellate seats open, which is why Trump was able to appoint so many.

Republicans will do virtually anything to win. They will change voting laws. They will put one voting machine in a poor or minority district of a million people. They will forbid voting by mail and then try not to count the votes.

Democrats, with rare exceptions, do not fight back. When they get in power, they do the minimum.

I hear the cries, “But Biden has only 50 people in the Senate!”

Yes, just like Obama had only 60 and somehow couldn’t pass anything, “because Republicans.” There’s always a designated villain, a kabuki vote: These days it is Manchin, with Sinema as backup. But if they weren’t taking the heat, others would step up. Senate Dems are okay with not passing anything on 50 votes, even if they could. They don’t want to.

Biden had a good economic plan, but it has been watered down to basic worthlessness, and certainly won’t do much for the environment.

The test for Biden’s sincerity is simple: The President has vast executive power. Is the President using it? Biden has vast power to forbid fracking; he didn’t. He has allowed vast increases in oil pumping. He could cancel or reduce student loans on his say-so. He has not.

Louis DeJoy deliberately sandbagged the Post Office as part of an attempt to steal the election. He is elected by the post-office board, yes, but Biden can fire him for cause. He hasn’t done so, just as in 2009, Obama could have fired every member of the Federal Reserve except the chairman (who has only one vote anyway.)

Republicans do things Democrats want: They cut taxes for rich people like Nancy Pelosi and most Senators and their families, for example. They bomb brown people. The hurt poor people.

The Democrats who are in power like all these things. They tell you they don’t, then when they have power, they reverse hardly any of it, and indeed, add to the pile of evil.

Anyway: The Republicans already have six seats on the Supreme Court. They’re going to keep them, and may wind up with seven. The appellate courts will continue to trend heavily Republican, and with people appointed by Trump and his successor — radical right-wingers.

The reason I bring this up is to emphasize, again, that while it is possible for the US to turn-around from its current path, the signs are not good. The main chance will come when people like Pelosi resign, too feeble and old to cling to power. But given how hard they are clinging to power and that they will choose the worst people to succeed them if possible, that chance seems dim.

Take this into account as you make your plans. This is as true for non-Americans as it is for Americans, as the US is still the hegemonic power.

And if you are left-wing, remember that multiple states are making it legal to run over protesters. The right-wing wants to kill you. To kill you. To kill you.

Understand that in your bones. They want you dead.

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