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The Big Answer


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Trumped Up: How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy

a book by Alan Dershowitz

(our site's book review)

There Are Increasing Demands to Criminalize Political Differences

The Amazon blurb says that In our current age of hyper-partisan politics, nearly everyone takes sides. This is especially true with regard to the Trump presidency. It has become difficult to have a reasonable discussion about the most controversial president in our recent history. For Trump zealots, their president has not only committed no crimes, he has done nothing wrong. For anti-Trump zealots, nothing Trump has done—even in foreign policy—is good. Everything he has done is wrong, and since it is wrong, it must necessarily be criminal. This deeply undemocratic fallacy—that political sins must be investigated and prosecuted as criminal—is an exceedingly dangerous trend.

Hardening positions on both sides has been manifested by increasing demands to criminalize political differences. Both sides scream “lock ‘em up” instead of making substantive criticisms of opposing views.

The real fear, as Alan Dershowitz argues, in this compelling collection, is that we have weakened our national commitment to civil liberties as the Left becomes ever more intolerant and the Right slips into authoritarian rhetoric. The vibrant center is weakening, with traditional liberalism and conservatism becoming further apart, not just in approach, but in their respect for Constitutional norms that have served us well for more than two centuries. Also by Alan Dershowitz: The Abuse Excuse: And Other Cop-outs, Sob Stories, and Evasions of Responsibility.


Unless We Refocus on What Unites Us Rather Than on What Divides Us, America Might Not Survive

While Donald Trump is not the only cause of this profound division, his election drew it to the surface and made it the dominant paradigm of political debate. Unless we as a nation begin to focus again on what unites us rather than on what divides us, America might not survive the next decade. (Note: If there turns out to be no respite from the myriad divisive forces in the U.S., and the polarization proceeds apace, as a last ditch effort we might try devolution. Given the rotten state of affairs just summarized, how can devolution and/or decentralization be far behind? If all the liberals lived together in the blue states [and told the Bubbas: "get out of here you Bubba-flavored bastards!"], and all the conservatives lived together in the red states [and told the bleeding-hearts: get out of here, you PC, bleeding-heart eggheads!] then we'd obviously need to create three countries: East Liberal-land in the east, West Liberal-land in the west, and Bubba-land in the heartland:)

U.S. Devolved Into Three Countries
U.S. Devolved Into Three Countries

"There are great legal minds; there are those who can also communicate well on television; then there is Dershowitz. The professor is uniquely capable of arguing a position, while putting a premium on legal and ethical legitimacy, not its popularity. Bravo, Dershowitz!" – Chris Cuomo, anchor and reporter, CNN

"This collection shows Alan Dershowitz at his best—passionate, fearless, and occasionally very wrong." – Jeffrey Toobin, bestselling author of The Nine, Too Close to Call, A Vast Conspiracy, and The Run of His Life.

"Alan Dershowitz doesn’t twist the Constitution to fit an agenda. He tells you what it REALLY means. That’s why he has always been my go-to guy on the law and the Constitution." – Greta Van Susteren, former anchor at CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC

The Constitution
The Constitution

"This book will reinforce Alan Dershowitz’s well-earned reputation as a brilliant legal analyst who, although often swimming against the established current, is usually right. Dershowitz substitutes his trenchant legal analysis for the wishful thinking and self-aggrandizing moral superiority that is presented by many in the academy and media, as well as Trump’s political opponents. Dershowitz’s arguments should cause all rational citizens to take a deep breath and recognize, as Dershowitz demonstrates, that Trump may be many things, but, under current law and the known evidence, the President is not a criminal. His analysis seems flawless to me." – Harvey A. Silverglate, Criminal and civil liberties lawyer, author of Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent

Dershowitz is uniquely capable of arguing a position, while putting a premium on legal and ethical legitimacy, not its popularity
Dershowitz is uniquely capable of arguing a position, while putting a premium on legal and ethical legitimacy, not its popularity

Show Me the Man and I’ll Find You the Crime —KGB

As Dershowitz says, “The idea of trying to create crimes just because we disagree with [Trump] politically, and target him, really endangers democracy. It reminds me of what Lavrentiy Beria, the head of the KGB, said to Stalin. He said, ‘show me the man and I’ll find you the crime...’ My point is that we should not stretch existing criminal laws to fit political opponents with whose actions we disagree.." I.e., do we really need to imitate KGB oppression in order to express political beliefs and suppress political beliefs? Democracy doesn't need this. Why does 21st century U.S. feel it needs such a thing?

The head of the KGB once said ‘show me the man and I’ll find you the crime'; so let's not stretch existing criminal laws for political reasons
The head of the KGB once said ‘show me the man and I’ll find you the crime'; so let's not stretch existing criminal laws for political reasons

The criminalization of politics has transformed politics into a zero-sum blood sport, in which elections can be undone by prosecution, which endangers not only civil liberties, but democracy itself.

The criminalization of politics has transformed politics into a zero-sum blood sport, in which elections can be undone by prosecution, which endangers not only civil liberties, but democracy itself
The criminalization of politics has transformed politics into a zero-sum blood sport, in which elections can be undone by prosecution, which endangers not only civil liberties, but democracy itself

Perhaps This Book Needs to Be Titled Dershowitz Kvetching about Israel

Dershowitz denigrates Sanders, who supported the much-needed resumption of Glass Steagall, a policy which is the anathema to Wall Street. Much of the book is dedicated to discussing his views on Israel and attacking those who disagree with Benjamin Netanyahu, which dilutes the book's meaning. His attacks on other Democrats are largely focused on their alleged views on Israel, while he ignores the many substantive issues that they are raising. It would be nice if Dershowitz would work out such issues with his therapist rather than laying such irrelevancies on his book buyers. The book, Trumped Up: How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy, should be about criminalization of politics, otherwise why not name it Dershowitz Kvetching about Israel?

The criminalization of politics has transformed politics into a zero-sum blood sport—here a liberal woman is hauled in for improper email server usage while the demagogue that hired these rent-a-cops sells out our democracy unchallenged
The criminalization of politics has transformed politics into a zero-sum blood sport—here a liberal woman is hauled in for improper email server usage while the demagogue that hired these rent-a-cops sells out our democracy unchallenged

Dershowitz Criticizes Robert Mueller's Investigation into Possible Collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia

Dershowitz says special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia is the wrong way to investigate the matter. He favored a thorough investigation of Russian interference in our presidential election via a nonpartisan commission appointed by Congress that would take evidence in public rather than behind closed doors. (Source: OPINION | Dershowitz: I'm not wrong about Mueller and Russia, Alan M. Dershowitz, The Hill)

Okay Vladi, you old dog, I lead or you bleed—got it? Okay Donny, whatever, dude! (Jeez—he's so bossy!)
Okay Vladi, you old dog, I lead or you bleed—got it? Okay Donny, whatever, dude! (Jeez—he's so bossy!)

Putin wants to be lead dog in a pack of cooperating authoritarian regimes. These regimes may even continue to use the word democracy for cosmetic reasons. But democracies they are not. All of which suggests the question: since Putin won the 2016 election for Trump and Trump respects strongmen and wants to be one himself, exactly what deal did Trump make with Putin if he delivered the presidency to Trump? Also: does Trump have more allegiance to Putin or to the U.S.? We've all learned since election day that 99% of Trump's allegiance is to himself and his family. (Nepotism is not a bad word to him, and customs about nepotism followed in the White House since 1776 do not even interest the orange oligarch.) But is the other 1% of Trump's allegiance going to us or to Putin?

Trump respects strongmen and wants to be one himself, since he's a narcissistic, racist, sexist, misogynistic, impulsive demagogue with Hitler's speeches in his nightstand
Trump respects strongmen and wants to be one himself, since he's a narcissistic, racist, sexist, misogynistic, impulsive demagogue with Hitler's speeches in his nightstand

The Crucial Bulwark against Autocracy Has Eroded as Opponents Threaten to Jail Each Other

"Over time, though, the country’s judicial standards and rigorous protections for the accused made the jailing of political enemies difficult, maintaining a crucial bulwark against autocracy. But that bulwark has eroded, largely because of a new approach: the use of politically neutral but overly malleable laws on obstruction of justice, corruption and conspiracy that can be used to prosecute the ethically questionable, but not necessarily criminal, activities of political rivals." (Source: When Politics Is Criminalized, Alan M. Dershowitz, NY Times)

Some critics on the left have accused Dershowitz of becoming 'President Trump’s attack dog.' He says nothing could be further from the truth.
Some critics on the left have accused Dershowitz of becoming 'President Trump’s attack dog.' He says nothing could be further from the truth.

"Alan Dershowitz—a liberal Harvard law professor and ardent backer of Hillary Clinton—has emerged as one of the Russia probe’s most vocal critics. He’s likened the investigation to a KGB hunt, and special counsel Bob Mueller to a notoriously obsessed sailor. It’s made him a Fox News fixture, and that has left some of his counterparts in the legal world baffled and skeptical. But those close to Dershowitz say his vociferous criticism of Mueller’s investigation is the opposite of surprising—and that Mueller and Dershowitz have a history. . . . And last month on Fox & Friends, Dershowitz compared Mueller and his team to Captain Ahab from Moby Dick." (Mueller has told Dershowitz he won't abide knocking the FBI.) (Source: How Alan Dershowitz Went From Hillary Donor to Trump’s Attack Dog on Russia, Betsy Woodruff, The Daily Beast)


Dershowitz Compared Mueller and His Team to Captain Ahab from Moby Dick—They’re Determined to Get That White Whale

Last month on Fox & Friends, Dershowitz compared Mueller and his team to Captain Ahab from Moby Dick—they’re determined to get that white whale” he said.
Last month on Fox & Friends, Dershowitz compared Mueller and his team to Captain Ahab from Moby Dick—they’re determined to get that white whale

"'Lock her up!' 'Lock him up!' These are the new slogans of our political discourse, says renowned legal scholar Alan Dershowitz. When we disagree with a politician, it’s not enough for them just to be wrong — they must be criminals too. But isn’t it possible, for example, to defend President Trump’s civil liberties without defending his policies?"

'Lock her up!' This is the new slogan of our political discourse
'Lock her up!' This is the new slogan of our political discourse


'Lock him up!' This is the new slogan of our political discourse
'Lock him up!' This is the new slogan of our political discourse

As Dershowitz sees it, "We're seeing it in Israel, we're seeing it in the United States, we're seeing it in other places in the world, too. It involves turning every possible political issue into an allegation of crime. And then, using the media, using crowds, to try to pressure the prosecutor and endanger the prosecutor's independence. It's a very dangerous phenomenon. It works because even if it doesn't succeed in getting the incumbent prime minister or the president, even if it doesn't succeed in getting them out of office, it distracts them and takes them away from pursuing the goals for which they were elected. By every standard, it undercuts democracy, it endangers democratic rights and it endangers the independence of prosecutors and should be universally condemned." (Source: Top jurist: Criminalizing political differences endangers democracy, Israel Hayom)


Dershowitz Totally Nails It about the Horrors of Political Correctness on Campus

Newsmax: "What worries you the most and "keeps you up at night"?

Dershowitz: The current situation on university campuses in which voices of moderation are drowned out by censorial extremists. A significant number of university students today do not believe in the open marketplace of ideas and would censor speech that offends them or others. These are our future leaders and some of them will maintain those tyrannical views. Hopefully, most will not." [Dershowitz hits the nail on the head.] (Source: 5 Minutes With . . . Alan Dershowitz, Newsmax

See SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police (The Laws of Social Justice Book 1), Morality Wars: How Empires, the Born Again, and the Politically Correct Do Evil in the Name of Good, and Black Skin Privilege and the American Dream.

Social Justice Warrior assaults are political correctness gone insane—and are anything but correct—they're one of the ugliest forms of authoritarianism since the Inquisition
Social Justice Warrior assaults are political correctness gone insane—and are anything but correct—they're one of the ugliest forms of authoritarianism since the Inquisition; like Dershowitz says, "These are our future leaders and some of them will maintain those tyrannical views." Of such extremism demagogues are born.


The goal of the SJW police: censor everything not in agreement with them—similar to everything is fake news if it doesn't agree with Trump's ideas
The goal of the SJW police: censor everything not in agreement with them—similar to everything is fake news if it doesn't agree with Trump's ideas