Noboby Has “Absolute Immunity”

The former Tangerine in Chief has been convinced (or always believed) that the president cannot be held to the very laws upheld and enforced by the executive branch he led.

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” —U.S. Presidential Oath of Office

His attorney John D. Sauer argued in court that unless the president is impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives and convicted by the U.S. Senate, a president cannot be held liable for any crimes committed while in office. By this argument, Sauer tacitly confirmed to U.S. Appellate Judge Florence Y. Pan that his client (and in effect any president) has the right to command the military to murder political opponents. He went even further.

“Sauer said the Justice Department could only charge the president for giving such an order if the Senate votes to convict him first. Pan also asked him whether a president could sell pardons or nuclear secrets without being prosecuted. Sauer responded similarly.” “Four key takeaways from Trump’s presidential immunity hearing”, Washington Post, Jan. 9, 2024

This cannot hold. This appeal must be struck down and hopefully upheld by the Supreme Court (though sooner is better than later with the election clock running).

The 10 Rules of Being Human

The 10 Rules of Being Human:

A few decades ago, Chérie Carter-Scott devised a list of 10 Rules for Being Human, which was published in her 1998 book If Life Is a Game, These Are the Rules. These rules are often presented on social media as being “handed down from ancient Sanskrit” but their more recent origin shouldn’t keep us from learning what we can from them.

This is a good set of rules that’s worth checking out. I’m a particular fan of the fifth rule: “Learning does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.”

Words Mean Things

During this decade of political bluster, hyperbole, and misinformation, it is important to remember the wise words of George Orwell. His article Politics and the English Language is just as important today, perhaps more so, than when it was published in 1946.

Despite the title, this essay is not limited to politics. It extends to journalists, scientists, and all who write to share information. Writers should beware the traps laid by lazy language.

A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. —George Orwell

Orwell shared six rules for writers. I quote the second rule so often I sometimes sound like a linguistic parrot. For those who already know the basic rules of usage and grammar, these six rules will help all writers hone their skills

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

At just over 5,000 words it can be a quick read; however, I encourage readers to take their time with it to fully digest its guidance and meaning. To close, just enjoy two of my favorite sentences: the first lyrical, the latter functional.

A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outlines and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.

Choose your words carefully and share the truth with clarity and grace.

Think Before You Choose Your Candidate

Your candidate should be a person you trust to represent your values and will seek to fulfill your needs whether you are a CEO, a small business owner, or a blue-collar worker.

These are just three questions I consider before choosing a candidate for any elected office.

  1. Will they ensure access to high-quality affordable health insurance for all (regardless of employment)?
  2. Will they guarantee a high-quality affordable (if not free) public education for me, my children, and my grandchildren? To clarify, I’m talking about prekindergarten through college education.
  3. Will they provide protection when I need it (and leave me alone when I don’t)?

Preemptive note about socialism. Every American benefits from aspects of socialism in the roads we drive on and the fire and police protection we enjoy. Everyone contributes and everyone benefits, so don’t start shouting about the evils of socialism before you think.

One More Thing to Consider

From an interview titled “I will always be on the side of the libraries”: A Conversation with Neil Gaiman.

Question to Neil Gaiman: You’re an author of many books that have been challenged and banned throughout the years. What does it feel like to experience that?

Gaiman’s Answer (in part): As far as I’m concerned, if you really can’t figure out which political party or which politician to vote for, just ask if they’re on the side of libraries. Are they voting to fund their libraries? Are they voting to keep them free? Then vote for those guys. They’re probably the good guys. And by the same token, the book burners, the book banners, they’re probably the bad guys. It’s a good way to bet.

The Sweep and Force of Section Three by William Baude, Michael Stokes Paulsen :: SSRN

I want to promulgate this paper written by members of the Federalist Society.

The Sweep and Force of Section Three by William Baude, Michael Stokes Paulsen :: SSRN:

Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment forbids holding office by former office holders who then participate in insurrection or rebellion. Because of a range of misperceptions and mistaken assumptions, Section Three’s full legal consequences have not been appreciated or enforced. This article corrects those mistakes by setting forth the full sweep and force of Section Three.

First, Section Three remains an enforceable part of the Constitution, not limited to the Civil War, and not effectively repealed by nineteenth century amnesty legislation. Second, Section Three is self-executing, operating as an immediate disqualification from office, without the need for additional action by Congress. It can and should be enforced by every official, state or federal, who judges qualifications. Third, to the extent of any conflict with prior constitutional rules, Section Three repeals, supersedes, or simply satisfies them. This includes the rules against bills of attainder or ex post facto laws, the Due Process Clause, and even the free speech principles of the First Amendment. Fourth, Section Three covers a broad range of conduct against the authority of the constitutional order, including many instances of indirect participation or support as “aid or comfort.” It covers a broad range of former offices, including the Presidency. And in particular, it disqualifies former President Donald Trump, and potentially many others, because of their participation in the attempted overthrow of the 2020 presidential election.

Hit the link to download the entire paper.