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Category: Politics

Cuff Him
I had given up any hope that Donald Trump would ever face justice. To be more precise, I had decided that allowing myself to hope for that, in this context, would only come back to bite me in the long run.

I reasoned that the ex-President had evolved such a well-practiced system of avoiding accountability that he was effectively beyond the law. The technique of endlessly lying, while saying the quiet part out loud, had somehow combined to seal him off from any consequences for his actions. To hope for anything different would only lead me deeper into disillusionment.

Recent developments, however, have caused me to reconsider my position. The hearings of the January 6 Committee have opened me to a new possibility. What is different now is that I no longer burn for revenge — any more than I burn for revenge against COVID-19.

Seeing Trump suffer for his wrongdoing is no longer the point. Self defense (and along with it, the defense of our system of laws) is what I would like to focus on. I now say vaccinate the public with the truth — all of it — and try to weaken this repellent virus in any way we can.

And that means prosecuting him to the fullest extent of the law.

To do that, we will have to prove actual criminal intent. Did Trump know that what he was doing was wrong? That’s the hard part, because he will contend that he honestly believed there was election fraud and that what he wanted Mike Pence to do would have been legal.

Let’s start there. We know now that if he really did believe those things, he was wrong. And when his own trained investigators and legal experts told him he was wrong, he consistently refused to listen. Didn’t want to hear it; wasn’t curious about their exhaustive research; hadn’t a single question about their reasoning. An innocent man would have been all ears. His lack of interest in learning the truth about his claims, then, is evidence of his criminal intent.

Furthermore, rather than report the findings of his staff, he concealed them. In fact, he continued to claim the truth of his debunked claims — to the world and to his obedient followers. And he still does even now. So not only was he not curious about the truth, but the truth was irrelevant to him. This is also evidence of intent.

in other words, he was being willfully, aggressively ignorant. He purposely ignored the message that his experts and advisors delivered, and chose instead to look for for new messengers, no matter how dubious or corrupt they might be. This search for justification — as opposed to actual proof — of his “beliefs” demonstrates that his main concern was not, “Are my beliefs true?”, but rather, “Can I get away with it?” More evidence of bad faith — and of intent.

Willful ignorance is not the same as plain old clueless ignorance, of course. Like children, the truly clueless are not capable of forming the criminal intent required for these crimes. Those who consciously avoid the truth, however, should make us wonder, Why would he work so hard to cultivate the appearance of cluelessness? The only reasonable inference: he knew what he was doing and saying was wrong.

Still, it is quite possible that a prosecution of Donald Trump for the crimes he has committed would not result in a conviction. He has deluded enough citizens into believing the Big Lie that it might be impossible to find a jury of 12 people that would convict him — of anything, no matter what the evidence.

We should try, though. Not in order to punish him, not even to see justice done, but rather in self defense and in defense of our system of government. Let him claim ignorance or stupidity or temporary insanity or even honest belief. Those claims will not stand against the mountain of evidence to the contrary.

And if he gets off, so be it. If a single MAGA juror manages to thwart justice, the full truth will still be there for anyone who is open to it. Trump will be weakened, wounded. He will not be president again. He won’t be in jail, but the virus will be contained.
Courting Danger
I agree completely with Mitch McConnell. He is alarmed by the recent arrest of a disturbed young man near the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The man, who was armed with a pistol, a knife, a screwdriver, and a nail punch, admitted to police that he was there to kill Mr. Kavanaugh.

Mitch would like to address this threat with some legislative action to beef up police protection for Kavanaugh and the other justices. I agree that these officials — so vital to the preservation of the rule of law in this country — should be kept safe. But let’s not overreact. Instead, let’s ask ourselves if such a law would have done anything to prevent this attempted assassination from happening.

The answer is no. The would-be killer would still harbor violent fantasies about the justice. Furthermore, such a response to this danger would only penalize law-abiding citizens by subjecting them to possible arrest for carrying weapons to lawfully defend themselves. You know — from hyper-violent BLM protesters that might be in the area. We would all be less safe if that were to happen.

Wouldn’t it be better to expand on Sen. Ted Cruz’s idea of eliminating superfluous doors from school buildings by making sure there is only one door in and out of the Justice’s house? A fully locked door? Or, why not follow Steve Scalise’s idea of stopping the killing by bringing back school prayer? We should insist on more prayer in the Kavanaugh household! God will surely take care of the rest.

We could even address the roots of the problem — uncontrollable murderous rage. Why can’t the greatest nation on earth provide full mental health services for all of its citizens? It can, of course — as long as they can afford it.

Better yet, let’s arm the Supreme Court Justices themselves! To the teeth, I say! The only thing that stops a homicidal maniac with a gun is a drunken frat boy jurist with a gun. If Brett had been packing heat (I recommend an AR-15 fully converted to automatic) it would never have even occurred to this guy to take him out.

These are simple, commonsense solutions. That is exactly what we need to keep such a hypothetical tragedy from ever happening again…while preserving our precious freedom to blow each other to kingdom come
When Horror Becomes Commonplace
The first thing that comes to mind is repealing the Second Amendment. It is, after all, among the most archaic parts of the Constitution. There are no well regulated militias anymore, and weapons technology has moved far beyond the ball and musket.

So, if wanted to stop the slaughter of children and other innocents, eliminating the right to bear arms would do the trick. If there were no guns, obviously, there would be no gun violence.

What’s more, elevating the ownership of killing machines to the same level with such rights as speech, press, assembly, and religion seems wrong. Those freedoms are fundamental to our humanity and our individual roles in self-governance. They are ends in themselves. Guns, at best, are merely one possible means to those ends.

That said, there is no need to fiddle with the Constitution to stop the killing. All we need is better Supreme Court justices — enough of them to overrule District of Columbia vs. Heller. That’s the 5-4 Supreme Court decision that held, essentially, that the right to bear arms is indeed a sacred Constitutional right on a par with those other rights.

The decision was written by Antonin Scalia, author of the now-respected (though thoroughly nutty) concept of originalism as a guide to interpreting the Constitution. We won’t get into that right here, but suffice it to say it’s just another rationale for coming up with the result you had already decided on.

That doesn’t make originalism any more or less lame than any other rationale, but if its consequence is an endless parade of gun violence, then it’s time to change our legal changing the Court. Even by packing it, if need be, to get a sufficient number of judges who care about this problem in the same way most people do.

Keep the Second Amendment, then, but reverse Heller and all the poisoned decisions that have flown from it. Get our priorities straight. Allow the Constitution to do what it was meant to do — protect us. Demote the right to bear arms to a privilege.

Let the new justices use any rationale they like. As long as they do the right thing — and we stop sacrificing innocents on the altar of this false god.
It's Not a Plot
I’ve been working on a screenplay for a while now. The plot is pretty wild, but it’s been a bit of a challenge to actually write the thing.

It’s all about this monstrous global conspiracy, see, and these elites and mysterious, dark forces that are bent on wreaking havoc on us and our way of life. My hero is a someone a lot like you and me. He’s got a job, and a family, and things are pretty scary for him right now. His dialogue has been easy to write. He’s just a regular guy trying to keep the fear at bay. He’ll believe anything as long as it kills the fear. He’d be a cinch for any actor to play, I think.

The role of the the bad guys, on the other hand, might be a little harder to get into. Here’s this super-powerful, immensely rich corporate head (or something like that). He absolutely hates me and you. And he especially hates my hero and wants to destroy America and everything we holds dear. But why?

I can imagine Josh Brolin, for instance, asking me, “Tim, what’s my motivation here?” I’m not sure I’d have a ready answer, but he persists: “Why do I even care about a bunch of non-entities, much less hate them and want to destroy their lives?”

It’s a good question. In fact, that’s the conceptual puzzle that’s got me hung up with the writing. Isn’t the whole point that the elites don’t care about us? Wouldn’t it be better for them to just let us go on as we are…earning low pay, stimulating the economy with our mindless consumption, not getting in their way? It would be stupid to destroy our pathetic little world, right? We pose no threat at all to such people.

Furthermore (Josh might ask) why would they want to replace us with a bunch of poor immigrants? Immigrants wouldn’t have nearly as much money to be siphoned away by the all-powerful. I know that my answers to these questions wouldn’t have to make sense for my conspiracy to work in real life, but what about on the big screen? Not only would a plot like that never fly in Hollywood, it would cause me to lose face in front of Josh Brolin (and Walton Goggins, who is also being considered for the role).

After all, I have my reputation as a storyteller to think of here. And my pride. So the story has to make some kind of sense. Tucker Carlson (the lucky stiff) doesn’t have these kinds of problems.
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Yes, voting matters. Polls do not.
~ H, Santa Cruz