We're Lost in This Masquerade

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Like me, George Will is no Trump fan. Both of us think that Trying to disqualify Trump is lawlessness masquerading as legality.

Mae West (1893-1980), a salty actress, once played a character who said that when facing a choice between two evils, she opted for the one she hadn’t tried before. A 2024 presidential choice between today’s incumbent and his immediate predecessor would preclude West’s cheerful strategy: Both have been tried, and together have produced a whopping bipartisan majority eager to see the last of them. This partly explains the spreading flirtation with the idea that the 14th Amendment bars Donald Trump from seeking the presidency.

Many advocates of this idea are academics eager to infect presidential politics with the cancel culture of their campuses: Do not refute your adversaries, ban them. Less nakedly partisan people might think that using the 14th Amendment to remove Trump would thereby prompt President Biden to totter off into the sunset. But recourse to the amendment would be lawlessness masquerading as legality. And there already is a surfeit of illegality.

I should add one important difference between GFW and I: he doesn't quote me.

I should also note that the 14th Amendment argument seems to have failed locally: [New Hampshire Secretary of State David] Scanlan says no legal basis to keep Trump off New Hampshire ballot.

Also of note:

  • Lina don't care. Ethan Yang and Ryan Yonk take to Reason to give another example of the general rule: "There's nothing wrong with        that government can't make worse." They fill in that blank with "Google": The DOJ’s Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google Is a Loser for Consumers.

    For decades the consumer welfare standard has been the primary basis on which antitrust enforcement decisions are made. That standard asks about the effect actions and market dominance have on actual consumers. Despite this long tradition, the Biden administration is bringing its first major tech antitrust case in U.S. v. Google and their approach will deemphasize the consumer welfare standard.

    The lawsuit involving Google and the Department of Justice (DOJ) along with a number of State Attorneys General started oral arguments on September 12. The DOJ alleged that the tech giant is monopolizing the market by contracting with Apple to become the default search engine for the iOS platform. The DOJ claims that Google and Apple will harm consumers with the possibility they could exploit their dominant positions.

    It doesn't seem that long ago that Your Federal Government was (equally pointlessly) suing Microsoft. This time, they're trying to put their thumbs on the scale to benefit Microsoft. Life is funny.

  • This will be news only to people who believed Biden. Americans for Tax Reform notes the latest memory-hole operation: IRS Unable to Keep Biden's $400,000 Audit Pledge, Says Inspector General.

    The official IRS watchdog has found the IRS is unable to fulfill President Biden’s pledge not to increase audits on households or small businesses making less than $400,000 per year.

    There is no way to identify the complete population of taxpayers that meet the criterion of $400,000 or more specified by the current Treasury Secretary,” said the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) in a new report.

    “Biden’s $400,000 audit promise is not credible, as taxpayers suspected all along,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. The Biden administration made the promise as it was desperate to impose a dramatic increase in the size and power of the IRS.

    Note that "promise" was only slightly over a year old. Back then, Pun Salad linked to a prescient article by Katherine Mangu-Ward: $80 Billion in New Funding Won't Fix the IRS. And commented (also presciently): "You will not be mollified to learn that, once the promises of the "Inflation Reduction Act" are shown to have been bogus, the perpetrators of that lie will not be punished, and the IRS will keep the (more than) $80 billion it grabbed out of your tax-paying pocket."

  • Take a load off Fani. Andrew C. McCarthy analyzes Fani Willis’s Monstrous Trump Case and it is not pretty.

    Oh, about those 161 “overt acts” in furtherance of a RICO conspiracy that Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis trumpeted in the first few dozen pages of her mammoth indictment of Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants. Never mind. Turns out, according to Willis, that those 161 acts don’t really define the sprawling conspiracy to — well, to do something. They just give you some flavor.

    The prosecutor now says she need not prove any of them. That was Willis’s position in contesting the attempt by Trump’s co-defendant and former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, to remove the prosecution to federal court. The district attorney insists that, instead of proving what she’s ramblingly pleaded in the first 60 pages of the indictment, she can just prove other acts, even if they’re not in the indictment. By the DA’s lights, whatever she decides to prove just needs to be somehow connected to what she frames as a conspiracy to reverse the result of the 2020 presidential election — notwithstanding that it is not a crime to try to reverse the result of an election.

    So how are Trump, Meadows, and the other 17 defendants supposed to know what they are alleged to have done to make themselves guilty of racketeering? Well, what’s there to know? In Willis World, to be guilty, they don’t need to have done anything! According to the DA, as long as any defendant was “associated” with the group that is alleged to have conspired, that defendant is guilty — and is looking at a sentence of up to 20 years’ imprisonment, with a minimum of five years in the slammer.

    Have I mentioned today that I think Trump is awful? Ah, yes I did, up there in the first item.

    For the record, the classified documents at Mar-a-Lago stuff seems way more solid.

    (And yes, I stole that headline from Power Line.)

Last Modified 2024-01-11 4:46 AM EDT