Can the Dems Capitalize on the Texas Insurrection?

Following up the last post — at Popular Information, Judd Legum points to The Second Insurrection.

Texas is continuing to interfere with the federal government’s access to Shelby Park, in clear violation of the Constitution and federal law. On January 23, the Department of Homeland Security wrote a letter to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), demanding “the ability to access the border in the Shelby Park area that is currently obstructed by Texas.” In a January 26 response, Paxton rejected the Department of Homeland Security’s request and informed the federal government that Texas will continue “to protect its southern border against every effort by the Biden Administration to undermine the State’s constitutional right of self-defense.” 

The conflict that Texas is creating with the federal government will almost certainly end up back at the Supreme Court. And Texas is inviting a constitutional crisis by signaling that it is prepared to ignore the Supreme Court if it does not get its way. 

Do read the whole thing; it’s very informative. But this does look more and more to me like another insurrection. The Meatballs for God convoy is scheduled to arrive at Eagle Pass on February 3, and then it’s all going to get a lot more dangerous. Depending on how many Meatballs there are, I really do think Biden should federalize the Guard to keep the peace and to keep the Meatballs from killing anybody.

At Politico, see Can Dems Flip the Border Script? I was thinking this yesterday also. The Republicans may be handing the Dems an issue on which Biden is vulnerable. The Dems need to be coordinated and assertive to capitalize on this.

For months now, polls have shown voters putting the migrant crisis at the southern border among their top concerns — and blaming Democrats for the mess.

Could that be about to change?

With bipartisan legislation hanging in the balance and the Homeland Security secretary on the verge of impeachment, Democrats are readying to play offense on border politics, for once. They are undertaking a campaign to upend public opinion in the coming weeks by casting Republicans as being more interested in theatrics than solutions.

They’ve got a lot of material to work with: Trump and his allies are pressuring Republicans to abandon any border deal the Senate might reach — with some openly admitting that they don’t want to hand Biden a win before November.

As top Senate negotiator JAMES LANKFORD (R-Okla.) put it yesterday on “Fox News Sunday,” after months of pushing for border security, “it’s interesting … when we’re finally getting to the end, [Republicans are] like, ‘Oh, just kidding, I actually don’t want a change in law because of presidential election year.’”

That’s just one of the sound bites that Democratic admakers have been collecting in recent weeks as an insurance policy of sorts if Republicans end up tanking the still-to-be-unveiled Senate border deal.

“There’s a real opportunity here, where Dems around the country can raise their hand and be like: ‘It turns out they were bluffing. They weren’t serious. It was a sound bite for them,’” one plugged-in Democratic campaign operative told Playbook last night. “They’ve been talking about it, highlighting it and freaking everyone out — then when there’s a bipartisan deal, with a lot of Dem compromises in it, they went running for the hills.”

Update: See also The Border Is Now Becoming a GOP Crisis.

Update: Greg Sargent, GOP Senator Reveals the Sick Truth About the Trump-MAGA Border Scam

In other news: Barbara Jones is a retired federal judge who was appointed by Judge Arthur Engoron to keep an eye on Trump’s New York assets during the fraud trial brought by NY AG Letitia James. Basically, she’s making sure Trump doesn’t try to transfer anything out of state to keep it out of the reach of the court.

On Friday Jones informed the court that the Trump financial information provided to her is a mess. It’s incomplete, inconsistent, riddled with errors. Among other things, a $48 million loan Trump has been claiming as a liability on his taxes apprently never existed. Tax evasion, anyone?

Today’s headline at Daily Beast: Trumps Throw Tantrum Over Court Monitor’s Financial Bombshell.

Now that the retired federal judge babysitting the Trump Organization has uncovered potential tax fraud at the company, the Trumps responded over the weekend by tasking their own accountant as a monitor that monitors the court monitor.

In an indignant court filing Monday morning, a lawyer for the Trumps for the first time launched an all-out attack on Judge Barbara S. Jones—calling her latest report on the family company an absolute lie, a cheap attempt to justify her government-mandated job, and a last-minute ploy to bolster the New York Attorney General’s bank fraud case that just wrapped up.

All they would have had to have done is cough up some records to verify that this $48 million loan was real. I take it they can’t.

AG James is asking for a $370 million fine. The decision could come as early as this week.

Stuff to Read: David French, When the Right Ignores Its Sex Scandals. No paywall.

32 thoughts on “Can the Dems Capitalize on the Texas Insurrection?

  1. I'm sure those orders from God came etched in stone by flames as is God's custom.  They will be on the ark on the lead flatbed truck for all to witness. I assume.   Wow, so much for that non-interventionist God, the Old Testament one is back.  I can't wait until he turns the whole convoy into a pillar of salt.  

  2. Can a commoner, like me, go to Shelby Park and help, the US?  Say, pull up barbed wire, save drowning children, etc. and so on?  I could also post signs with Biblical quotes saying how us humans are supposed to treat others.

    • Leviticus 19:34 [But] the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I [am] the LORD your God.

  3. Totally Off Topic, and I'm surprised that there aren't already several on-topic comments: Because the District Court ruling on Colorado's disqualification case seems imminent, I am wondering why the commentary never mentions the phrase "…or given aid or comfort…". Is this because the Colorado Supreme Court didn't use this clause in their ruling?  To me the whole "be there it will be wild…" stuff is *clearly* aid to the series of events where I think some of the perpetrators have been convicted of seditious conspiracy. What gives?

      • Thx, Maha. Yeah, I'm with you in not pinning hopes on it. I'll read the article you linked.

        But still, I have concerns about the implications if SCOTUS doesn't address the "aid or comfort" text. I'm less concerned about this year's election than I am about the SCOTUS decision's meaning for the rule of law in our country. If they overrule Colorado's judicial branch, they better have a darn good rationale. If they do it, I suspect it will be on arcane procedural considerations. That would do nothing for protecting us against a near future insurrection engineered by a rogue executive branch. 

        If they overrule the disqualification on the basis that CO's finding that he participated in an insurrection is invalid due to him not being criminally convicted of an insurrection, without mentioning at all the "aid or comfort" phrase, then they are giving all government officials permission to aid insurrections, sedition and/or conspiracy to defraud the government.

        What I wonder is if SCOTUS dodges clarifying the aid/comfort question, would it be because the CO courts never mentioned it? Could it be brought into the SCOTUS process by an amicus brief? (IANAL)  The Constitution gives the Article III branch the sole authority and responsibility to make judicial decisions, not the voters. If SCOTUS punts this saying they don't want to prejudice an election, then a 25 year old can run for president if he/she "claims" to be 38 and no court has addressed the question of truth of the person's age. IOW if SCOTUS makes their ruling based on political considerations, kiss the rule of law goodbye. Brazil disqualifies their former guy and the country didn't descend into civil war, so what's the problem?  

  4. Lankford's admission that his party is playing a game with the border, was the best thing I read from the weekend. With Trump proudly admitting as much, and with Biden laying out how soon the whole thing could be resolved – the momentum is absolutely favoring the Democrats.

    A couple other data points: I believe Greg Abbott is running for re-election this year. More political stunt work to get out the mean and nasty vote. The section of border that's the focus of all this is only about 2.5 miles in length. It's not at all like an invasion through an unsecured border.

    • Haven't seen Lankford labeled a RINO yet, maybe I just missed it, or maybe some people are realizing its being unreasonably overused to the point of being comical.

  5.  I'm wondering whether the same requirement for posting a bond to appeal the verdict in the New York civil fraud trial applies as it does in the E Jean Carrol verdict. I'm also wondering whether the there will be a breakdown of assigned responsibility and penalty of each individual named in the judgement. For example: will Wiesselberg be on the hook just for his monetary portion of the fraud penalty ( severence pay) or will all penalties be charged to the Trump organization as a whole? I'd sure hate for Donny to have to shoulder the full penalty when it would be so much nicer to have each of the individual participating criminals to bear their fair share of the penalty. Uday and Qusay perhaps?

    • I'm wondering whether the same requirement for posting a bond to appeal the verdict in the New York civil fraud trial applies as it does in the E Jean Carrol verdict.  

      I assume it would. They're both civil cases and both in New York. 

      • Here's a little nugget of joy….. Seems the only financial institutions capable of handling a bond the size Trump will need are registered in New York. No wonder why Trump is so uptight.


        Within days, a Manhattan judge will issue a verdict in the New York attorney general's nearly five-year effort to hold Trump accountable for business fraud at the Trump Organization.

        The judge has already ruled that Trump exaggerated his net worth by $2 billion or more a year in a decade's worth of annual financial statements he issued to banks.

        Among the penalties the attorney general is hoping for in the upcoming verdict are $370 million in penalties, and a five-year ban on Trump applying for loans from any New York-registered financial institution.

        A costly AG verdict and a ban on borrowing would limit Trump's options when it comes to setting aside Carroll's damages. He may have to rely on the cash he has on hand to cover both massive verdicts — or even start selling assets.

  6. At one level in my brain, I see the politics of highly-staged gamesmanship. If Biden overreacts, the GOP has a Ruby Ridge debacle to exploit if federal cops shoot anybody from Texas regardless of the circumstances. If Biden leaves it to the courts to resolve, there's still the issue of enforcing the USSC decision by force. That's the picture the Confederates want. IMO, most of the participants see this as a political game to make Biden look bad because there's not enough lipstick in the US for the pig Trump is.

    At a different and much more devious level, I'm concerned that the ploy is part of destabilizing the government for a coup. Not necessarily a coup for Trump – the Koch machine is supporting Nikki at the moment. But in a devious part of my brain, I think a faction of the top tenth of the top percent fear democracy to their bones. They are watching the judicial system strip Trump of (soon to be) hundreds of millions of dollars. The deciders are mere peasants. Others are certain to follow. The rabble is mostly split with some progressives aware of how the aristocrats have gamed the system to transfer wealth from the middle to the top.

    But the other half, the Confederates are mad as hell at the liberals. If their anger is ever turned against the real source of their misery, the wealth of the very, very, rich could be confiscated by Congress much more swiftly than their schemes allowed the very rich to pick the pockets of the middle class. The whole scheme depends on keeping the voting majority divided and stupid. It could all come apart so easily with a free press. 

    Again,, only in my imagination, I think the aristocracy is itself divided. Some fear the chaos of toppling the entire government. There's no certainty that they could control the outcome, keep all their wealth, AND put it legally out of reach of the new regime. For the moment, the instability suits them all but I'm watching for indications that the scheme is intended to do more than muddy up Biden.

    I'd love to see articles about how the French Revolution wiped out much of the French aristocracy. "A tisket, a tasket, a head is in the basket !" The most violent factions of the ignorant mob that Limbaugh and Fox cultivated only know they are resentful and angry. If there's a total collapse, who will protect the rich neighborhoods? Fomenting anarchy is a dangerous game, but I think a few crackpots at the very top think they could win. 

    If I was in Congress, I'd draw up a Constitutional Amendment to allow Texas to secede. But the US would work out the fine print later but basically if a bare majority of Texans approved, we'd let 'em go. The US would ask for nothing from Texas and pay them exactly the same. Texas would not pay taxes to DC but they'd have to figure out how to replace the federal systems they hold in such contempt.  

    • This is a good reply. Scary, but right on target. Prepare yourselves for an "interesting" 2024.

    • Doug:  Yes, yes, yes!!

      But I do wonder about the French Revolution stuff.  I don't have any data in hand, but I think a significant % of the magats are in the aristocracy or at least in the "greed" faction of that coalition.  I have a friend who has noted a hefty percentage of TFG stickers on trucks in the expensive country club parking lots.

    • Any law that says a state may secede on its own would provoke a lot of very bad things. Most alarmingly, military consequences.

      No state has any right to unilaterally secede. That's the major reason Lincoln fought the Civil War, to preserve the Union.    

  7. Back to the 14th amendment stuff. Today, an Illinois election board ruling puts more fuel on the fire.  They concluded TFG meets criteria for disqualification but claimed lack of jurisdiction to implement that. (reasonable).  So I have reached the conclusion that SCOTUS is backed into a corner…they are going to HAVE to reveal who they are. If they boot it down to the lower courts, avoiding getting stained with something that look political, they will have implicitly done something that has political ramifications.  And if they agree to take it on, they will make a ruling that has political ramifications. They don't want to be there but they can't avoid it.  And it's not the fault of Dems or reasonable Repubs. It' cuz of TFG. Period. His actions have forced a reckoning.

    If they try to do something that has no political ramifications, there is no such thing on this matter. So their real choice is this: Do they make a ruling that is based on the facts and the law even if it ticks off TFG, or do they cower, which means that they accede to one man's power over their entire Article III branch. If they knuckle under now, will they ever be able to stand up for their own constitutional power?

    Subordinating the judicial branch to the executive is part and parcel of the would-be autocrat's playbook. SCOTUS better understand the reality of where we stand. 

    SCOTUS needs to make it clear that it is up to the judicial branch to determine if the 14th applies, not up to voters. And they do not run trials (neither civil nor criminal).  So they have to uphold or overturn the rulings of lower courts. And they need to do that with a rationale (the "opinion") that doesn't set a precedent for scoundrels playing any present or future SCOTUS like a bunch of patsies.

    Today, I am not sure whether the R party sees the writing on the wall and maybe just wants SCOTUS to do the dirty work for them. I'm not predicting.  I'm just feeling some unusual warps in the fabric of reality. Biden vs Haley might be better for them in many ways even if she loses this time around.

    • Seems to me that the Supreme Court has the opportunity to dispel the notion that they are beholding to Trump and are in his back pocket. If Roberts wants to clean up the image of the Supreme Court and show the American people that they are being honest brokers by being true to the Constitution they should just say that Trump engaged in an insurrection and is not eligible to hold any office in the United States. Problem solved, and Trump will have no recourse. He can howl all he wants about being done wrong, but it will be to no avail.

  8. No inside information and no one I've read has speculated to this effect but…

    Did Team Biden anticipate that the House and Trump would kill a fairly generous border bill? The provisions of this bill would have required a lockdown when things get out of hand. The bill would have placed more stringent standards on granting refugee status. Biden offered a LOT in exchange for support for Ukraine – some say too much. But if Team Biden anticipated that Trump would successfully quash the deal, Biden could offer anything without risk of having to pay up. What Biden gained (if this is true) is a huge campaign point. We wanted to solve the border problem – we gave you everything you wanted except the gas chambers. YOU turned it down.

    IMO, Team Biden might have confidently KNOWN Trump would oppose if Trump is (per my opinion) under Putin's thumb. No matter what is in the deal, if it includes aid to Ukraine, Putin is opposed. Right on schedule, even with the damage it may do to Trump's campaign, Trump is opposed. Were instructions from the Kremlin sent to Trump? I have no idea – but Biden might know.

    Re SCOTUS: The questions on the 8th will be very interesting, possibly giving a clue who leans which way. The USSC can not invalidate the 14th. The only way for the USSC to toss the ball back to Congress would be to uphold the repeated rulings of the lower courts and uphold the CO decision unless/until 2/3 of Congress removes the disqualification of Donald Trump. It's possible that the court would limit the disqualification to CO or make the disqualification national with the understanding that Congress does remove the disqualification nationally if they act. (This would be Congress pretending that reaching the 2/3 threshold is possible. But it would be entirely consistent with the US Constitution.)

    I agree with Wary Tale in the previous comment that the USSC would prefer if this goes away without their decision. Because if they decide, half the country will be furious. The best outcome is if Trump is not the GOP nominee. (Short of a heart attack, that ain't happening.) If the court delays long enough, Trump might win the election and then they'd have to decide he's disqualified to preserve their own existence. Because (I think) five justices know Trump will ignore any decision by the USSC that isn't a rubber stamp of Trump policies. The enforcement arm of the USSC is the DOJ which Trump will corrupt and politicize immediately. 

    To spell it out: Trump orders the military to set up "reservations" for deportees who are rounded up by the hundreds of thousands with no due process. Lower courts all strike down the legality until it goes to the USSC which orders the purge to cease. Trump orders everyone to ignore the direction of the USSC. The military continues – DOJ fires anyone who tries to follow the law. USSC appeals to Congress to impeach Trump. The House (under Democratic leadership) complies. The Senate ignores the impeachment and the Constitution. End of the Republic.

    The USSC has to decide Trump's  14th Amendment status before he takes the Oath of Office. If they wait until after the election, there's a month window to pull the rug out from under Trump and swear in Trump's VP pick instead. The question would be whether he/she could pull off what Trump and his nutjobs had planned without Trump's mojo. (I think it would fall apart.) But MAGA would riot. The SOONER the court pulls Trump's eligibility, the less blood will be spilled. If they do it now, the GOP could regroup and put up a different candidate. 

    I still think the USSC may try to construct a decision that leaves Trump on the ballot until/unless he's convicted of felonies related to insurrection. AND specify that absent any compelling reason for delay, the J6 trial should proceed so the guilt or innocence may be established before the election. In other words, let a jury decide the 14th based on whether Jack Smith has a case. This solution might be very appealing to the USSC because the trial process, relative to the Constitution is their life's work. No court, guided by the rules of evidence, has presented the evidence to an impartial panel of jurors. That verdict becomes something Divine, something handed down by God (the American jury.) In the minds of the Justices, letting a jury decide Trump's fae absolves them of blame. (MAGA will disagree.) But any other decision leaves the justices on the hook entirely.

    • Hey Doug, yeah interesting analysis.  Games it out pretty far. 

      Here's the definition of insurrection from my Random House Unabridged Dictionary, which sits on a lovely dictionary stand in my living room:

      "n. 1. the act or an instance of rising in arms or open rebellion against civil authority or an established government. 2. any act or instance of revolt or open resistance to established authority."

      Seems to me like definition 2 makes it a slam dunk no-brainer.  We have an insurgency in our country. For those politically savvy folk who say it would be better to beat TFG at the ballot, I understand the appeal of that. Loser loser loser. But… if he's allowed to run and he loses, what will the insurgents do? Very hard to predict and could be very bad. They won't see him as a loser but as a victim. And what will they then do? Is that really any better than disqualifying him?  By that, I mean, what is the least of the bad options for our society to deal with this insurgency? I don't have an answer for that.

      I do have a conspiracy theory inducing question about the "under someone's thumb" reference: Is Boris his handler?

      • Obviously the Random House Unabridged Dictionary has a liberal bias and should be banned from all libraries (stealing Stephen Colbert's joke "Facts have a liberal bias").

    • I believe you are on to something re: Team Biden anticipating MAGA rejection of a border bill giving them what they've been asking for.  If there is any border closing to be done, MAGA-world wants their guy to be the one doing it, as cruelly as possible.  And I believe the extreme psycho macho wing of MAGA-world salivates at the idea of bombing Mexico, the opportunity to do so is a gift they would love to hand to their guy ever since he openly toyed with the idea.  Its like having an arsenal of guns – what't the point of having the nuclear codes if you can't enjoy a little target shooting in the backyard, he was handed the biggest guns of all but had people around him voicing restraint, he would be tickled to have those guns back without the voices of restraint.

      There is a lot to be said for Biden's savvy and experience, MAGA-world is foolish enough to believe their own propaganda that he is mentally out of it.

  9. "Democrats are readying to play offense on border politics, for once. They are undertaking a campaign to upend public opinion in the coming weeks by casting Republicans as being more interested in theatrics than solutions."


    This is NOT playing offense, because it does NOT challenge the main point of Republican policy, which is to demonize others, instill fear, and inflict cruelty on innocent people.


    Playing offense would be to point out that desperate immigrants are not enemies, not invaders, not vermin, and do not deserve to be treated as guilty until proven innocent.  It would be to point out that immigrants are if anything less likely to perpetrate crime than US-born people, that they do not overtax our social services (most of which are closed to them), and that they are as productive as US-born workers or more so after five years.  When I hear a few more elected Democrats tell us: that immigrants are people with human rights; that they are fleeing intolerable economic hardship, environmental degradation, and political oppression for which our own government's policies are co-responsible; and that we actually have obligations under international law to treat migrants decently; THEN I will believe that Democrats are actually playing offense.


    It would be especially nice if President Biden had the moral fortitude of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and acted like the defender of the Constitution that he is actually obligated to be: with federal troops if necessary.  Instead, he hides behind the skirts of the Supreme Court Nine, only five of whom are willing to accept the outcome of the Civil War.  The other four would be happy to let Texas secede, again.


    I will be happy when elected Democrats realize that fighting fascism really means fighting and not just waiting for somebody else to fight.

  10. Re: that David French bit. I hardly started reading it when I went to check if Paul Pressler was ever a youth pastor, and, wouldn't you know:

    Pressler was a youth pastor at Bethel Church in Houston but was ousted in 1978 after church officials received information about "an alleged incident."

     Notice the timing on that incident, and reflect that Every Accusation Is A Confession with these people. I wonder if this guy was at least partly to blame for the Satanic Panic of the early '80s.

    Also, with respect to that incident on the Wikipedia page: I notice that the decades-long recounting of questionableness around Pressler doesn't mention it at all. Unless you count an unexplained failure to pass an FBI background check in the days of G. H. W. Bush.

  11. Once upon a time the tRUMP was a way for people to add value in a world where the perception of value could be manipulated.  As courts have ruled, the tRUMP manipulated the perception of the value of his New York real estate by using fraud.  What makes real estate valuable?  Can you name three things?  As a hint I will refer to a NYT article on the top 15 locations in the US with the most valuable real estate.  The measure used by location to rank them was price per square foot.  In all of these locations the price was near 5 grand per square foot.  So, in these locations, what area one very small bedroom would occupy, would cost you to rent for a year, would be a half of a million dollars.  Most of us, in these locations, would have to listen to people tell us that if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it.  That is easy to understand.  What is hard for us to understand is what goads people with too much money to want to be in these locations.  

    Most of us would not want to live in Trump tower or understand want to pay that kind of rent.  Most of us do understand that when the tRump overestimates the square footage of his digs there, he is altering the perception of what he is worth.  Even people with too much money will not pay for very expensive square footage that does not exist.  When he uses this imaginary square footage for collateral for a loan, well, who deducts the interest on a loan which no one seems to be able to show even exists?  Who uses the term debank, but needs to be debunked?  The tRUMP'S tower of lies is collapsing. No more does he add value he adds liability.  No one needs more of that.  




  12. That price per square foot may be a purchase price not a rent per year.  This is still huge and beyond affordability for normal people to spend.  That does not include utilities or furniture.  I'll check the article to see what they specified. 

Comments are closed.