A letter which doesn't make sense!


Katyal got there first: There sometimes seems to be a rule at the New York Times. There sometimes seems to be a rule that the letters can't make any sense.

Sometimes, the letters do make sense. This morning, this snarky epistle didn't, despite its opening line:

To the Editor:

Let me get this straight.

The lies about the election being stolen plus his words that incited his followers to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6 have been publicly broadcast and quoted in print, and even many Republican members of Congress initially acknowledged that the former president bears some responsibility for the riot. But since according to decades-old policy a sitting president cannot be indicted, Donald Trump has faced no legal consequences for his role in the riot.

And now for the coming impeachment trial, his defense team is arguing that it is unconstitutional to impeach a former president, a position that many Senate Republicans are rushing to support as a way to let Mr. Trump escape any form of responsibility for what many would claim was domestic terrorism.

So it’s looking as if Donald Trump may get away scot-free. All this from the party of law and order?

"Let me get this straight," the writer says as he starts.

After that, he doesn't get it straight. In the end, his presentation doesn't make sense.

In fact, Trump's defense team seems to be arguing that it's unconstitutional to proceed with an impeachment trial after the president has left office. Many Senate Republicans are supporting this claim.

Of course, that wouldn't constitute "a way to let Mr. Trump escape any form of responsibility" for "his role in the riot." Duh! If the commander actually committed a crime with respect to the riot, he can be prosecuted for his conduct now that he's left office. 

Despite its cheeky opening sentence, this letter doesn't make sense. We mention this only because we saw the exalted Neal Katyal offer a variant of this logical groaner first.

He did so on Monday night, ten minutes into Brian Williams' TV program. Thanks to the magic of On Demand, we just watched his presentation again. (The tape will disappear from our system as of midnight tonight.)

MSNBC seems to have returned to producing transcripts in some manner and to some degree. That said, we can't find a central location for its transcripts, and we can't find a transcript for Monday night's Williams show. 

Also, we aren't willing to spend the next half hour transcribing what Katyal said. Know this, though:  

What he said was manifest bullshit. Of course, this is how "cable news" currently works here in the streets of Our Town.

If Trump committed a crime with respect to the January 6 riot, he can be prosecuted for it. In the language of this morning's letter, he can "face [the appropriate] legal consequences for his role in the riot."

Given that obvious fact, the letter in this morning's Times doesn't make any sense. In fairness, neither did Katyal's clown-car performance on Monday night, which Brian and the others all loved.

This is the way it now works in Our Town, and we shouldn't pretend that it doesn't. At present, this is who and what we are here in the streets of Our Town.  

A Crazy Train runs through their towns. Clown cars are clogging ours.


  1. "In fact, Trump's defense team seems to be arguing that it's unconstitutional to proceed with an impeachment trial after the president has left office. "

    So, the letter writer left out the word "trial" and allowed the word "impeachment" to refer to the whole process, not solely the conviction, and Somerby thinks that constitutes not making sense. Such a sentence is only nonsensical to the excessively literal. This excessive literalness interferes with normal communication and is a handicap to any person who wishes to converse with others. It may even be the reason why Somerby remains unmarried today, since the ability to communicate is fundamental to maintaining a relationship with anyone.

    Then Somerby asserts: "he can be prosecuted for his conduct now that he's left office." This is little comfort since the acts in question occurred while Trump was still president. Being prosecuted for his conduct after leaving office clearly refers to acts committed after leaving the presidency. It doesn't mean that whatever bad things were done in office can now be prosecuted, at least not the way Somerby has phrased it.

    Somerby gives no legal reference, cites no source, for his belief that the president can be prosecuted after leaving office for acts committed while president. He just claims that everyone knows this and that the letter writer is confused. I'd like to see some authority for the assertion that Somerby has made.

    The letter writer is asking whether Trump will be held accountable. Somerby says yes, but offers no support for his claim. That makes him no different and no better than the letter writer, who at least doesn't say anything but instead asks questions -- can Trump be held accountable if he cannot be indicted while in office and cannot be impeached (and convicted) after leaving office? How?

    Somerby keeps referring to an "obvious fact" for which he offers no evidence. Maybe he's lazy, or maybe he doesn't know how to look this up, but he cannot say it is obvious when this particular letter writer didn't see it, and neither do I.

  2. Yeah. Personally, we don't mind watching the latest 'impeachment' clown-show.

    Bot (alas!) those who orchestrated this (most likely) fraudulent election will get away scot-free.

    Oh well. I guess that's what they call "stolen fair and square"...

    1. ma0 ma0 * ,!, ,!,

    2. LOL.
      Trump lost the election because he tried to gaslight a viral pandemic, like it was some common Mao Cheng Ji cheering along Trump's HUGE tax breaks for the Establishment while pretending that his bigotry is really economic anxiousness.

  3. All those remarks about crazy Klown cars are gratuitous and don't help advance understanding at all. They aren't even entertaining -- mostly annoying. Is this necessary? Does it help anyone understand anything better to throw in that kind of stuff, demeaning those Somerby disagrees with and stigmatizing the mentally ill and Clowns both?

    1. You make the case quite convincingly: only a complete moron would feel what you feel about what Bob writes and still continue to read it, day, after day, after day, after day....

    2. The same could be said of Somerby and Rachel Maddow.

  4. "If Trump committed a crime with respect to the January 6 riot"

    Here again Somerby reveals himself to be no liberal. We have no doubt about Trump's crimes, but Somerby uses the word "if". I would think that Trump's crimes are the obvious part of this whole situation.

  5. “MSNBC seems to have returned to producing transcripts in some manner and to some degree. That said, we can't find a central location for its transcripts, and we can't find a transcript for Monday night's Williams show.”

    This is really why I continue reading TDH, to keep up to date on the ongoing saga of The Transcripts.

    It’s almost as if MSNBC were doing this just to fuck with Somerby, right?

  6. Yes. The Republicans are right, as usual.

    If a bank manager who has been indicted for embezzling funds resigns before the trial is held, the normal response from the prosecutor would be “Welp, no sense in prosecuting him now. He can’t embezzle from that bank anymore. Go and sin no more. Selah.”

    Of course, Somerby conveniently forgets the second clause of impeachment:

    “Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States”, which would render ridiculous the idea that this impeachment is unconstitutional, since barring the impeached president from holding office again is a legitimate goal.


  7. “In fact, Trump's defense team seems to be arguing that it's unconstitutional to proceed with an impeachment trial after the president has left office. “

    Oh really? Here’s what Trump’s legal team said in their filing:

    “Answer 1:
    Admitted in part, denied in part as not relevant to any matter properly before the Senate. It is admitted that the Constitutional provision at Averment 1 is accurately reproduced. It is denied that the quoted provision currently applies to the 45th President of the United States since he is no longer “President.” The constitutional provision requires that a person actually hold office to be impeached.

    (Emphasis mine.)

    They are merely echoing the words of the Solon Rand Paul:
    "If the accused is no longer president, where is the constitutional power to impeach him? Private citizens don't get impeached. Impeachment is for removal from office, and the accused here has already left office,"

    The imprecise language is aimed at the rubes. The Constitution speaks of judgment in cases of impeachment.

  8. “If the commander actually committed a crime with respect to the riot, he can be prosecuted for his conduct now that he's left office. “

    I see. The letter writer accuses the Republicans, the self-proclaimed party of law and order, of letting Trump get away with it, which is what they are doing.

    In fact, if Trump really did commit a grave crime, wouldn’t you expect they might want to convict him, in the name of law and order and all? There is precedent for holding an impeachment trial after the person has left office. (See Belknap, William) Surely, they would at least vote to censure him. Nope. If they are hiding behind the “constitutionality” question to “acquit” Trump, then that is a ruse to escape rendering judgment, just as they argued the last time that there shouldn’t even be a trial because the election was going to occur in the fall.

    Surely, the GOP would support bringing private citizen Trump to justice by prosecuting him for a crime that defiled the US Capitol and almost got them killed? Nope. They are paying homage to him at Mar-a-Lago.

    Some party of law and order. Weasels.

    Make the Democrats pay the price for holding Trump accountable.

  9. Yes, in theory Mr. Trump could be tried in a court just like anyone else. But where would he likely face a jury that would convict him? It’s not possible to keep republicans out of juries and only one needs to be inclined to let him off for him to walk. No one has been willing to prosecute him in the past, why would anyone now try and risk being killed especially knowing at least one juror will certainly be of the 10’s of millions that voted for him. That one juror will mark everyone for death.

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