How to Avoid a Trump Repetition

Talk about counting your chickens before they are hatched, but I think now is the time to start thinking abut the institutional changes that we can make that will prevent a repetition.

Establishing the validity of truth versus lies.  When the US Supreme Court liberalized libel law to project the media, little did it, or anyone understand that it was legalizing massive and uncorrected falsity.  We have to create some kind of procedural mechanism for the establishment of falsity.  My own thought is that it should be possible to bring a court action against the lie itself, in such a way that it is not about money, but about establishing truth.  Just think if such a mechanism existed to conclusively rebut the peddlers of the birther poison.  At a minimum it would give the fact checkers a common direction, and  finding to which debate opponents could appeal.

Wee tend to get deeply discouraged that around 40% of voters say they approve of Trump.  But remember that only a third of those say that his policies are what matters most.  The rest like the “personality”, whatever that means.

Remember, they met that personality on TV, and much of his early success was simply name recognition.  Remember how Mike Dukakis parlayed a very different TV program, “The Advocates” to a national nomination.

At one level, therefore, the TV networks just have to be much more careful about who they build up.  (How do you think the person who at NBC who accepted Trump’s pitch feels these days?)

Which leaves Fox!

There are many ways to constrain this aberration, with libel law changes being one, but always lurking in the background is the old fairness doctrine.  A way should be found to resurrect this, such as by limiting the exception when the number of meaningfully different outlets falls below a certain level.  Alternatively, controlling Fox through advertisers might become a long term project.

 

 

 

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Using The Hatch Act to Muzzle Unpaid Feds Violates First Amendment

Here is a thought. Surely limiting federal employees from political activity while refusing to pay them violates the constitution.

Regardless of that, congress has the power to amend the Hatch Act so that nonpayment constitutes a waiver.

Better than the Trump Lies Drinking Game

There has been a lot of online fun about the Trump Lies Drinking Game for today’s Oval Offiice joke session.

Here is a more constructive alternative, or perhaps addition.

Everyone in the group pledges on ActBlue, to donate, say, $5 to the Democrats, every time Trump lies in a major speech.

If this were, say 5 million people, can you imagine the negative incentive for the Republicans and their continued lies.

 

 

 

When Does the Trump Game End?

I can claim no special knowledge about how the Trump game ends.  But I do have a theory about when.

Its simple.  We run up against the debt ceiling somewhere between August and October.

I refuse to believe that the real banking and economic powers — worldwide– are willing to trust Trump, the way he is now, with that negotiation.  It would make the  shutdown seem like kindergarten play.

Of course, if my theory is wrong, then we are in for a terrible ride.

 

You Can Figure Out Who has “Caused” a Shutdown

There has been a lot of blather about who “caused” the shutdown, a different question as to whether it is worth it.

Actually, the analysis s very simple.  When one party tries to change the status quo, and is willing to disrupt a larger system to obtain that end, that party is “causing” the crisis.  Trump wants one change in the status quo, hos wall, and is willing to disrupt a big chunk of government.  Even without his having taken ownership, to say that he is not the cause is simply ridiculous.   If the Dems were to try to change immigration policy by a shutdown, they would be causing a shutdown.  If they were using it to restore the prior status quo of a unilaterally changed policy, they would not.

Now whether it is “worth it,” depends on a balancing of harms, but there us a strong presumption against the legitimacy of using disruption to achieve narrow aims.