First, some big picture stuff from Eugyppius, on the possible sunset of professional politics:
I’m not sure. The political changes that the Western political order has experienced since the middle of the 20th c. have been substantial — perhaps even cataclysmic — but they’ve been entirely informal in nature.
That is, the ‘managerial’ or ‘administrative’ state, at least in its Western incarnation, emerged via the voluntary expansion of social and cultural relationships from the political establishment outwards, rather than through legal or constitutional reforms.
The external forms and orders of liberal democracy have therefore persisted, albeit in a hollowed out state. Professional politicians still have a formal role to play in this new world: They perform liberal democracy for the public, and increasingly that’s all they are — mere performers.
So perhaps the sunset has already happened, while we were paying attention to other things.
It seems to me that the primary implication of this new political style is the disempowerment of ordinary voters. They can elect different parties into parliament, but increasingly all this amounts to, is choosing which communicative strategies – which performers — are to accompany the predetermined programme.
Second, one of the last politicians with a chance to wrestle back control from the administrative state and the new ruling class is being hit with yet another banana-republic move, unprecedented in the US-UK-etc for centuries:
The Bolshevik bloc of the Democratic Party is having its fantasy prosecution of Donald Trump play out in real life in New York City. There, in state attorney general Letitia James’s civil-fraud case against the former president, the trial will begin today even though Trump was already found guilty and sentenced to corporate death last week by a robed apparat named Arthur Engoron.
What? Yeah, I know. It sounds crazy. But that’s because it is crazy — frighteningly crazy. Let me try to explain. …
The state has … used Trump’s financial records to establish that he significantly overstated the value of his assets in statements of financial condition (SFCs) that are customarily required in various business dealings (e.g., loans and insurance contracts). Characteristic of Trump, many of these embellishments are shameless — e.g., the fib that his 11,000 square-foot Trump Tower triplex was actually 30,000 square feet and valued at $327 million (at a time when the record sale of a comparably upscale dwelling in Manhattan was $88 million). Such whoppers are strewn through his SFCs, patently intended to project him as a multi-billionaire who became one of the world’s richest men though unparalleled business savvy (and never you mind the inherited wealth and all those bankruptcies).
But this was for political consumption and the burnishing of celebrity. In the league of sophisticated financial actors in which Trump plays, where corporate departments are dedicated to valuation analysis because that’s the bread-and-butter of finance, nobody took this nonsense seriously. Indeed, Trump even included a “worthless clause” in his SFCs which, in so many words, warned that they were apt to be, you know, somewhat less than perfectly accurate.
But of course the lenders did their own due diligence, made the loans, and were fully repaid:
Many of the financial institutions that did business with Trump did so for years, and knew exactly the cat they were dealing with. They made loans and indemnified Trump because they knew, based on their own expertise and experience with him, that he was quite wealthy (even if not as wealthy as he claimed) and that he would pay up.
Which he did, reliably — that’s why even elected-Democrat prosecutors wouldn’t charge him with fraud . . . there being no victims. …
A common practice, all the adults knew what was going on, no victims, but only Trump is charged. Selective enforcement, obviously.
James, an ambitious progressive authoritarian who campaigned for office on a vow to weaponize the Empire State’s legal processes against Trump, decided to package the scraps into a lengthy civil complaint. …
Tish James need not show victims or even fraudulent intent. Under the civil law, she need not prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt. And as she had good reason to expect she’d get a complacent judge in the New York State “judicial” system, where partisan lawyers, if they prove hacky enough, get to be elected partisan-hack judges in the blue state’s one-party political hegemony.
James hit the jack pot with Judge Engoron, a notorious and unabashed partisan Democrat. …
The good judge imposed the corporate death penalty: putting Trump, his adult sons, and the Trump Organization out of business, taking away their state-issued business licenses, calling for the appointment of receivers to oversee the dissolution of Trump’s business entities, and continuing to subject him to monitors.
And now, after all that, the trial begins.
Trial for what? What’s left? Well, in addition to the §65(12), James also brought six causes of action in which civil-fraud claims are based on alleged violations of criminal laws. That is, this is the criminal case that the prosecutors assessed was not strong enough to bring. James has the benefit of a civil burden of proof (preponderance of the evidence) and Engoron, rather than a jury, as the finder of fact. But she will still have to prove such criminal-law elements as fraudulent intent and materiality.
It is estimated that this trial will take more than two months — meaning it could roll right into the criminal trials on other indictments Democrats have brought against Trump, as well as the GOP primaries.
The judge is laughing? Absolutely disgusting! This commie will be overturned! pic.twitter.com/OgkzndxSXz
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) October 2, 2023
Modern politics resembles 17th century England, when politicians regularly threw each other in jail.
Western politics everywhere is going “crazy,” as the public wake up to the great realignment. The primary division is no longer left versus right, but ruling class versus the ordinary people. Like before the French revolution. It’s all about class, with identity politics, such as race, just a distraction.