3 thoughts on “A day of hope

  1. I tend to agree with Nietzsche on hope: rather than being a closing exception to the evils coming out of Pandora’s box, it was the final evil that compounded all the rest by tricking mankind into continuing under those others (and see also Hamlet’s soliloquy).

  2. The disastrous first presidency of Donald Trump is over. There is no guarantee yet that there will not be a disastrous second presidency of Donald Trump. Trump attempted what is known as a self coup, autocoup or autogolpe. These are in many ways more dangerous and insidious. On Real-World Economics Review , A.J. Sutter puts it well. (Note: U = Usurper, I = Incumbent.)

    “When there is danger of a coup in the strict sense (U≠I), the usurpers to guard against are persons who lack any legitimacy. On the contrary, in a self-coup (U=I), the usurper initially has some legitimacy, and therefore the danger may be more difficult to recognize. For example, the incumbent can cloak himself in the mantle of being a democratically elected leader throughout the planning phase of his autogolpe.

    In the present case, the reason why Republican leaders are able to continue to express support for the 45th President is they can invoke, albeit via convoluted and misleading reasoning, the idea of protecting the Constitution. Many of those who stormed the Capitol used similar reasoning and claims. While I admit I can’t be sure such rhetoric was never invoked in the case of any coup strictu sensu, it would be prima facie much less plausible.

    Another piece of evidence in that regard is that coups strictu sensu are often followed by new constitutions, whereas in the case of self-coups the original constitution often stays in place.

    Notwithstanding references … to the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch (like the events of 6 Jan., a failure), what actually brought the Nazis to power was a self-coup 10 years later. They succeeded after Hitler had been appointed German chancellor pursuant to the Weimar Constitution and Nazis had been elected to many seats in the Reichstag. The Ermächtigungsgesetz.(Enabling Act) of 1933 didn’t repeal or replace the Weimar Constitution, it invoked it. Although it permitted the regime to enact laws that deviated from the Constitution, actually most provisions — including the provisions guaranteeing freedom of religion (arts. 135-141) — remained in effect through the period of Nazi control. The lack of necessity to change the Constitution in order to effect a self-coup was also pointed out by Deputy Prime Minister Aso of Japan, in 2013.

    This isn’t a universal rule, just a tendency: after the election of Mohammed Morsi as President of Egypt, he did attempt to change the constitution; however, he was quickly deposed from power. Vargas of Brazil also proposed a new constitution very shortly after his self-coup in 1937 — though the speed with which he did so suggested that he had long been planning the self-coup itself.

    The situation in Hungary is intermediate: the 2011 Constitution was drafted in a process that had the outward appearance of involving all political parties, not just the ruling party Fidesz. But it illustrates how self-coups can cloak themselves in claims of legitimacy: despite anti-minority provisions, the institutionalization of the Fidesz ideology and the removal of checks and balances on the government (cemented in revisions in 2013), the constitution was claimed to be the “completion” of the country’s transition to democracy.

    The point is that there are significant political differences between a coup by external usurpers and a self-coup. One is practical, in that the latter is much more difficult to guard against. Another is moral: a self-coup is a betrayal by those in whom the electorate had placed their trust, and so is in a significant sense much worse than a regular coup. Instisting on calling the events of 01/06 an attempted “coup” instead of acknowledging it as an attempted self-coup actually minimizes the gravity and threat of what occurred.” – A.J. Sutter.

    I lost a blog argument with A.J. Sutter on that thread and he really schooled me. His arguments above are worth attention. My view now is that the dangers posed by Donald Trump and his 73.5 million dangerous and deluded supporters are not over by a long shot. Trump still wraps himself in.his autogolpe cloak of false legitimacy. It is vital that the Democrats pursue Trump’s impeachment and succeed. It IS constitutionally possible as below.

    The Constitutional Case for the Impeachability of Former Federal Officials: An Analysis of the Law, History, and Practice of Late Impeachment, Texas Review of Law and Politics, Vol. 6. 68 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2001 – Brian C. Kalt, Michigan State University College of Law.


    This article considers the constitutional case for the impeachability of federal officers after they have left office. As a practical matter, while it may rarely be worthwhile to pursue a late impeachment (as with regular impeachment), this does not change the fact that it can be done, or that certain facts may make it desirable. The article principally argues that: (1) Late impeachment was practiced in England and, unlike other aspects of English impeachment, was never explicitly ruled out in America. Indeed, some state constitutions made late impeachability explicit, or even required. (2) Structurally, impeachment is designed not just to remove but to deter, and this effect would be severely undermined if it faded away near the end of a term. Convicted impeachees can be disqualified from future federal office, an important punishment that should not be automatically mooted if the officer resigns or the president removes him. (3) The precedents are mixed, but the Senate has approved late impeachment. Senate opponents of late impeachment have not prevented late trials, and they cannot alter the formal declaration of a majority of the Senate in one case that officers can indeed be impeached after they have left office.”

    If the Democrats do not pursue and successfully impeach Trump, then the US stands in great danger from Trump in 2024. If Trump wins that election he will certainly perform an autocoup and install himself and then his family for life. His model is the North Korean dynasty. There are those who would say it will divide America if Trump is impeached. However, America is already divided and it will stand far worse if Trump is not successfully impeached. Trump is a fascist. His supporters are fascists. Appeasement of fascists and tyrants NEVER works. Trump has to be impeached and arraigned for insurrection. Anything less than that will not save the USA. Even that may not save the USA. It is in such a dreadfully parlous state.

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