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Sat Jun 12, 2021, 02:25 PM

Implausible Deniability

"Democracy itself is in peril, here at home and around the world."
-- President Joe Biden


It is often said that you cannot have democracy without fair elections, nor can you have fair elections without democracy. At a time when the Biden administration and the Democrats in the house and Senate are attempting to both repair the damage the Trump cult has done to the institutions of the federal government, while dealing with numerous other current issues such as voting rights, it is essential that citizens have a solid understanding of how "government" works.

The more accurately citizens are informed, the better the chances the government will function properly. The less informed citizens are, the chance of good government decreases. And the more misinformed citizens are, the more likely it is that democracy will cease to exist. "Information" comes from a number of sources, ranging from formal education to the free press mentioned in Amendment 1 of the Bill of Rights.

Let's briefly consider three types of information. There is accurate information, which consists of facts. There is misinformation, the type that Mark Twain spoke of when he said that the problem today is not one of ignorance, but of people knowing so darned much that just wasn't so. And there is disinformation, the purposeful lies told to an unsuspecting public, such as we see coming from the Trump cult when they claim Donald won the 2020 election, or that the January 6 insurrectionists were mere tourists.

In the context of today's complex, high-tech society, the public has constant exposure to all three of these. The more accurate information an individual has, the more they can compare -- and contrast -- with misinformation and disinformation. Hence, the more they can understand.

Let's consider one example, that of the DoJ's current position regarding a civil trial involving E. Jean Carroll and Donald Trump. If one has a full understanding of Paula Jones' civil case against President Bill Clinton, one can both compare and contrast the two. That provides the necessary foundation for understanding that, while one can disagree with Merrick Garland's position, that there are both potential benefits and problems with it -- just as there are for the opposite position. Many times, it isn't a black and white situation, but rather, it is in a gray area.

Now let's consider another extremely serious issue -- the DoJ's spting on journalists and Democrats in Congress. The closest example of an administration spting on "enemies" was found in the Nixon administration. I had posted a lengthy response on the similarities to the Watergate era two days ago (see link below), and was pleased to see similar comparisons being made on MSNBC yesterday. Nixon set a standard for corruption that my generation has compared and contrasted other White House scandals to ever since.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=15515115

As Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. documented in his 1973 classic, every president up until that time had sought to expand presidential power, almost exclusively on "national security" -- both real and imagined. Jimmy Carter was the only president since who completed a full term without such an attempt at expanding executive power. Thus, we should recognize that such attempts are as likely to happen under good presidents as with bad ones. The contrast is thus between sincere and corrupt motivation -- which, to quote the Hurricane, is the difference between sugar and shit (also 1973).

Corrupt presidents generally start with attempts to expand their power by having their administration engage in activities in that gray area between clearly legal and illegal. As the corrupt begin to experience pressures, those activities migrate from gray to the clearly illegal. In the modern age, this has obviously involved the spying upon and aggressive attempts to destroy their political enemies. This was true in the wide range of crimes known as Watergate, in the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney's infamous "black op" known as the Plame scandal, and in the Trump administration's spying on journalists and politicans they have identified as "enemies."

During the investigations of the enormous series of criminal activities of the Reagan-Bush administration known as the "Iran-Contra scandal," the American public became familiar with the concept of "plausible deniability." This concept had been available to presidents before, and has long been a staple of intelligence agency operations. VP Bush brought it to a new level. We have been subjected to the Trump administration's "implausibe deniability," thanks to William Barr (who had helped cover-up criminality in Iran-Contra investigations).

Now, let us take a look at the man that is currently in charge of the Department of Justice, including both cleaning house and prosecuting those who violated the law. That, of course, is Merrick Garland. Most know that President Obama had nominated Garland to the US Supreme Court, only to have a serious nomination stiffled by republicans. Among his solid qualifications, Garland had served in a senior position in the DoJ from 1993 to 1995. The highlight, at least in my opinion, when he supervised the prosecution in the Oklahoma City bombing case, where rabid right-wing-nuts conspired to attack the federal government.

Did "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" come out from those prosecutions? Perhaps it is important to know that "the truth" comes out in the context of the rules of the judicial system. And there is a range of imperfections in that system, that include everything from a police officer shooting a man for being black, to a USSC decision that selects a president, or rules that corporations are people.

I enjoyed reading an OP/thread about the entities that provided the records of journalists and Democrats (and others), that included questions about why the entities did not fight the subpoenas? An accurately informed community member explained the differences between a DoJ subpoena and a grand jury subpoena. Again, we see the benefit of being familiar with government, specifically the power of grand juries. For it seems very likely that the DoJ is now making use of more than one grand jury. Thought they move slowly, it is safe to say that in a relatively short time, we will be exposed to accurate information, misinformation, and disinformation regarding what they determine.

Peace,
H2O Man

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Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply Implausible Deniability (Original post)
H2O Man Jun 12 OP
Saoirse9 Jun 12 #1
H2O Man Jun 12 #3
Saoirse9 Jun 12 #5
H2O Man Jun 12 #8
Saoirse9 Jun 12 #9
H2O Man Jun 12 #12
Saoirse9 Jun 12 #15
bigtree Jun 12 #2
H2O Man Jun 12 #4
Saoirse9 Jun 12 #6
H2O Man Jun 12 #10
malaise Jun 12 #7
H2O Man Jun 12 #11
malaise Jun 12 #13
H2O Man Jun 12 #14
malaise Jun 12 #16

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Jun 12, 2021, 03:08 PM

1. Lots of food for thought here

But since my mind is much more simple than yours, I want to specifically ask what the hell went on with the E. Jean Carroll case. Or what you *think* is going on.

Because that is just fucked up, at least to a person uneducated in the ways of DOJ. I should be an expert with family in that field but whatever they know if anything, they ain't talking.

If explaining E. Jean doesn't prove too taxing and you've some time left over (because I missed the thread) please explain the difference between a DOJ subpoena and a grand jury subpoena.

I'm confused. I do read conflicting points of view and I would like to simply trust Garland to do the right thing but as you know we've been desperately disappointed in the past. Trying not to get my hopes up.

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Response to Saoirse9 (Reply #1)

Sat Jun 12, 2021, 04:38 PM

3. I'll try to answer that .....

Ms. Carroll published a book in 2019, in which she wrote that years ago, Trump had raped her. This was one of numerous examples of women saying that Trump had sexually harassed and/or assaulted them. Trump opted to deny the charge by saying that Ms. Carroll was not his type, and further insulting her. She filed a civil case against him for defamation.

Under William Barr, the DoJ filed in the federal court, stating that they were going to represent Trump on the charges, claiming the issue was less of who was telling the truth, than that Trump was president at the time. This, of course, is distinct from Paula Jone's case against Clinton for behaviors she claimed he engaged in before he was president. Still, many did not believe that Barr was acting in good faith -- in other words, regardless of if the DoJ has just cause to try to protect the institution of the presidency, Barr was motivated by less than honorable intentions.

Importantly, last October, a federal judge ruled against the DoJ's attempt to represent Trump in the civil case. Soon after that, Trump appealed this decision. I suspect we all would agree that this -- like everything Trump does -- is underlined with a corrupt intent. However, the appeal is currently in the 2nd US Court of Appeals in New York.

The DoJ had to decide to either follow through, in an attempt to create a standard aimed at protecting the institution of the presidency, or to drop the attempt to represent Trump. It is essential to understand that both options have both good and bad potentials. The bad potential is not limited to Trump being a shithead, but is actually more about civil suits against other presidents. Thus, on Monday, the DoJ filed papers stating that they were still intent upon being involved in the case.

This has upset many people. There are, without question, intelligent and sincere people -- including former federal prosecutors -- who disagree with the DoJ's position. I think that they have valid reasons. There are many others, including Joyce Vance, who have pointed out the potential good and bad in either of the DoJ's options, a concept I think is essential. And, among social-political internet sites, one can find accurate information, lots of misinformation, and a growing amount of disinformation that intends to confuse and divide Democrats.

At this point, there may be more reason to think the Court of Appeals will uphold the previous ruling. But maybe not -- I'm not attempting to pretend I could more than speculate. However, if they do uphold that previous decision, there is potential future benefit from the DoJ's current filing.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 12, 2021, 05:35 PM

5. This does help me to understand

Thank you! I feel a little less uncertain about Garland.

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Response to Saoirse9 (Reply #5)

Sat Jun 12, 2021, 06:06 PM

8. Good!

I think that AG Garland is a good, honest man. I remember following the Tim McVeigh business closely, as I believed then (as I do today) that right-wing para-military freaks with explosives are a threat to our society's stability. In fact, I consider his experience with that may prove to be of great value in the months to come.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #8)

Sat Jun 12, 2021, 06:25 PM

9. I'm so jaded. Sad really

I don't expect good outcomes automatically anymore.

But I have to stop complaining! Biden is such a breath of fresh air. He was made for this moment in history. I need to remain grateful for him, at least.

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Response to Saoirse9 (Reply #9)

Sat Jun 12, 2021, 06:44 PM

12. Democracy

requires constant struggle, as Rubin often said. I am glad that Joe Biden is leading the struggle in DC.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #12)

Sat Jun 12, 2021, 07:02 PM

15. He's a GOOD man

The anti-trump if ever there was one.

The country is fortunate to have him.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Jun 12, 2021, 03:23 PM

2. you're right about informing folks about what efforts are being made

...so much of the debate becomes victim to prevailing opinion, which is almost always the worst of speculation, and advantaged as you say, by demagogues.

Besides the absolute necessity of passing HR1, the For the People Act, there's the tireless efforts of Democratic Party's longtime advocate, Marc Elias, the party's point man in court confronting these states' voting restrictions and redistricting abuses. He's the proverbial finger in the dike.


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Response to bigtree (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 12, 2021, 04:51 PM

4. Thank you!

It is curious to see that even today, we are as vulnerable to disinformation as the internet is to a virus. Not knowing the actual facts allows for emotional appeals -- almost exclusively to outrage, by no coincidence -- to become more of a threat to rational thinking. And that results in unsuspecting people to be angry that the DoJ has not fired, indicted, and convicted every bad player from the Trump era.

I know from experience both in providing documentation to really good prosecutors in a federal civil case, as well as from years on a close friend's federal appeal of a wrongful conviction in a criminal case in state court, that the system moves slowly. One might consider that good or bad. But it is the way it is.

I really appreciate your efforts to provide accurate information on the current DoJ.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 12, 2021, 05:37 PM

6. Marc Elias has been tireless

He saved my sanity when the trump loons were contesting the election.

He's one of the best.

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Response to Saoirse9 (Reply #6)

Sat Jun 12, 2021, 06:28 PM

10. He is among

the best voting rights advocates -- if not the best. At a time when one party is actively opposing voting rights, his role in preserving democracy is crucial.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Jun 12, 2021, 05:42 PM

7. Thoughtful as ever

and thanks for the link to your post on the thread about Rachel

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Response to malaise (Reply #7)

Sat Jun 12, 2021, 06:37 PM

11. Thanks!

I am willing to take responsibility for the things I post on DU, including the numerous errors and stupid things I've said over the years. But I am not so willing, when someone says that I said something I didn't say. That has been happening on some other forums on the internet -- the old, weak "so you are saying ...." tactic that insures failure in a high school debating class. So I've attempted to make my thoughts on these topics clear.

(On a boxing forum, some bitter, morally-dehydrated turd attempted to get me to "agree" that Muhammad Ali was unpatriotic because he refused military service. After a bit, I actually felt sorry for him, because his mind was not able to follow logic and reason. Facts confused him, and he sought to deny the truth regarding documented facts. I like to think that I'm somewhere around average in intelligence, but when it comes to boxing, probably above average in intelligence.)

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #11)

Sat Jun 12, 2021, 06:46 PM

13. We think alike on a number of issues

I have never had a problem saying I was wrong but I don't like when folks twist what I write to serve their agenda

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Response to malaise (Reply #13)

Sat Jun 12, 2021, 06:58 PM

14. The only greater sin

is saying rude things about Ali. Just my opinion.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #14)

Sat Jun 12, 2021, 07:10 PM

16. Yes - I hate that

I prefer facts to opinions

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