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Illegality Does Not Mean Impossibility, and Seeking Consolation About Trump From Legal Experts Is Stupid

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/12/24/illegality-does-not-mean-impossibility-and-seeking-consolation-about-trump-legal

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And if the exploitocracy, having assessed the self interested math, is okay with it, then the corpress will normalize even this, if their fetid form holds.


Clearly Michael Flynn’s call for martial law and the overthrow of the election results in four states is incitement to sedition. This occurred after he was pardoned by Trump. This is a new crime for which he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.


A coup is not impossible because it is illegal; it is impossible when it cannot muster support.

More specifically, any coup d’etat requires support or neutralization of the executive, control over the military, and the favor or neutralization of the media, if only for a minute. In the US in 2020, “the military” surely must include the CIA, NSA, and associates who stay poorly advertised, and media has become more nebulous. Trump is isolated from much of his military and most of the media. And he does not particularly have control of the executive.

Isaac’s slant here is absurd not because martial law is not, but because Trump cannot pull it off and has no inclination to put himself on the line for principle, even mistaken principle.


Even if we dodge a bullet (or many) between now and January 20, we need to be hounding our congresscritters to apply lessons learned, as in those "checks and balances’ we heard about in high school civics class are mostly bogus, AND prosecuting GOP operatives to end their half century crime spree, concurrent creating meaningful checks and balances AND reducing the executive branch’s power need to be the highest priorities starting January 21.


"It is really important, now more than ever, that citizens who care about democracy pay careful attention to everything that is going on, and that we take nothing for granted about the continued functioning of constitutional democracy."

  • Jeffrey C. Isaac

Another valuable heads up by Jeff Isaac - many thanks !

In effect, this is the broad application of the precautionary principle, a high sounding term which Winston Churchill would probably not use because of its elitist associations.

But the principle itself is absolutely sound, and I wish I could think of a better name for it.

Trump has a base 74 million strong; he has any number of GOP members of congress on side; attorneys general; and the corporate world can and does live easily with authoritarian regimes.

Then there is Trump himself - a master of spin, and unhinged from scruples, morals, and any checks at all on his psychotic ego.

Isaac says specifically even he thinks the chances for a coup are small - but NOT zero, and I agree.

This is the first of the twelve days of Christmas, and many Trump zealots pretend to fundamentalist Christianity. I am unsure what a master of spin like Trump will make of this season, ending January 5.

That is actually the point of this Isaac article - we wait to see what this dependably unpredictable psychotic will do between now and Jan 20 - or even on Jan 20 itself.

Right now Trump is at Mar a Lago - in Florida, his true base - where he thinks and plots. Typically, he isn’t even allowed to stay there for more than a short period of time - a law he is unconcerned with.

But past even all of this - what is of even more concern is the current trajectory of the United States of America, which has been spiraling down since November 22, 1963.

Where is the red line, I wonder - or the surface of the planet ?

Where is the pilot ???

Merry Christmas ~

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No time to entertain the latest long-winded iteration of your Trump malady, Isaac.

Thing is, I’m using my valuable time working with progressive groups for a millionaire tax in NY.

Maybe in three-and-a-half weeks you’ll heave a sigh and think about a progressive issue you can’t waste your time with now - M4A, racial justice, Green initiatives…the faintest hint of criticism of the President elect’s Cabinet picks…

…on the other hand, more likely, you’ll commence work on a new six hundred page book on how, well, no, it didn’t actually happen here - but it COULD have, and if it didn’t, well that was only because clearsighted souls like you raised the alarm…

…and how the only way to keep it from happening here in four more years is for progressives to shut up about their piddling M4A and Green stuff, and buy your book and vote for lawmakers who shut up about that stuff too.

Progressive must mobilize low income and working electorates around issues they clearly care about - healthcare, e.g. - and push lawmakers to support those issues.

It’s Democratic Party failure to support progressive and popular demands that leaves voters at home or responding to the bogus economic populism of a Trump that endangers democracy.

“Isaac’s slant here is absurd”

It’s worse than absurd. It’s an extension of the Democratic Party demand that progressives unconditionally vote for Democrats - even now, after the election, as Biden makes Cabinet picks, ‘can’t waste precious progressive energy mobilizing around issues, must stop the imminent Trump coup.’

And after Jan 20? Watch as that line mutates into a permanent warning and demand that progressives support any Democratic candidate, free of any demands:

because ‘do you realize how close we came?’ and, therefore, ‘we can never ever risk a Republican candidate getting elected now.’

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Hubris. Arrogance. Indoctrination. Divorced from reality. “Conventional Wisdom” is for the most part a proven fallacy.

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(Mostly) agree–but you forgot three big ones (in order of importance):

  1. ABOLISH the “Electoral College.” We don’t use it in ANY other elections, nor do ANY other countries, TMK.

  2. Have ONLY Publically-funded elections.

  3. Enact TERM LIMITS on The Supremes. The 18 yr. limit currently being touted seems plenty long, to me.

  4. M4A–PERIOD.

  5. A LIVING wage–aka, at least $15./hr. If small businesses (like some I know, who say they can’t afford it) actually can’t afford it, then SUBSIDIZE them, so they can afford it.
    How to pay for it?
    a) CUT the White and “Black” military budgets by 50%–OVERNIGHT.
    b) Enact a 1-cent tax on EVERY stock trade on the major exchanges (including the “e-trade” types). I believe this was Bernie’s idea, but he called for 1/2-a-penny-per-trade. Bernie’s ideas are good–especially WHEN DOUBLED in intensity. (Yes, I am to the LEFT of Bernie.)

Jeffrey Issac IS a Progressive. Change my mind.

The horse has already left the barn. Whoever hacked into the grid can shut it down. Like Clint said, “You gonna draw them guns or whistle Dixie?”

“Trump is a uniquely dangerous and despotic individual with a real political base of support. The peaceful transfer of power through democratic means is not a law of nature. It is indeed a historical rarity.” -These truths have been overlooked or minimized to an alarming degree. Mr. Isaac’s assessment of the situation is spot-on.

“…his erratic behavior and detachment from his duties have even some of his most loyal aides deeply concerned.”
He is clearly lost in the calculating and contemplating of his chances of “getting away with it”. The odds of him ‘going for it’ are significant, the odds of him ‘getting away with it’ are anyone’s guess.

“Issac IS a Progressive. Change my mind.”

“Change” your “mind”? Nah - 'less you can support that assertion, it has no power to persuade, and can be simply ignored.

In an article published on Informed Comment on December 7, I reached a supported conclusion that the uniformed military leadership, with legal support from their Judge Advocate officers, would refuse to obey an order to implement martial law for the purpose of overturning the election results, because an order to do so would be an unlawful order. I hope that will cause all to rest a little easier.