My esteemed pal David Durst:

Clarification needed on the right-wing media nonsense claiming that Biden’s having cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline is why gas prices are so high.

The pipeline would have brought in less than 0.5% of our oil consumption. Moreso, it was going to transport oil sands similar to the shale that we already have an excess of.

Two-thirds of the oil that would have come thru the pipeline would have been loaded onto super-tankers in the Gulf and shipped overseas to be refined and sold elsewhere because we don’t have the capacity to refine that low grade oil in large quantities and we already have an excess of that grade from fracking here at home.

It makes for a great Fox News sound bite but anyone who understands the complexities of the oil business knows it’s a nonsensical argument designed to influence folks who have limited knowledge about the oil markets.

My esteemed pal Trey Beck:

Here’s a novel path to keeping those involved with the January 6 attacks on the Capitol out of politics forever.

It’s a project that seeks to bar Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), potentially other U.S. House members, and ultimately Donald Trump from office under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, the “Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause.”

In discussing this with legal experts, including those closest to this action, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say this campaign might be the single most important lever that could be pulled to keep Trump from ever reentering the Oval Office. The main thing this effort needs is money and political will.

Some history:

The 14th Amendment was passed by Congress the year after Appomattox to do some heavy lifting. It grants “equal protection of the laws” to all citizens, including then former slaves. . . . And for our immediate purposes it prohibits any insurrectionist – whether by active participation or providing “aid or comfort” – who has previously pledged an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution from subsequently holding political, military, or civil government office, whether federal, state, or local. It was ratified by the states in 1868.

(If you’re wondering how Congress got former Confederate states to assent to the Fourteenth:  they had to, as a condition of regaining their Congressional delegations.)

Flash forward to 2022. Madison Cawthorn — the initial target of the 14point3 campaign given the obviousness of his Jan. 6 nexus and the ease with which a North Carolina voter can bring a qualification challenge — has won a surprising, but I am hopeful short lived, victory in federal court.

Cawthorn’s lawyers have taken the position that, independent of their other technical (and weak) challenges to North Carolina’s election laws, the Constitution’s Disqualification Clause itself is null and void because of the Amnesty Act of 1872, by which Congress provided a blanket amnesty to about 150,000 Confederates. This is a breathtaking position.

First, it seems nutty as both a legal and historical matter. The Fourteenth Amendment was duly ratified, and can only be repealed by the same onerous constitutional amendment process. Congress cannot unilaterally undo an amendment.

Moreover, the 1872 amnesty was passed per the procedure prescribed in the Fourteenth Amendment, where exceptions to the Disqualification Clause can be made, for individuals or groups, by vote of two-thirds of the House and Senate.

Lastly, the historical record makes clear the Amnesty Act very clearly applied retroactively, to Confederates, and, importantly, only to some of them, so not to, say, former officers of the Confederate States of America. So, for many years after 1872, previously barred persons remained barred.

Cawthorn’s argument ignores the overwhelming historical evidence that the Congress of 1866 that first passed what became the Fourteenth Amendment had a preoccupation with reducing the chance of another rebellion, hence the operation of the text with both retroactive and prospective effect:  “No person shall be [an officeholder] who, having previously taken an oath . . . to support the Constitution . . . shall have engaged in insurrection . . . .”

Second, there’s just the stench of the association here. Here we sit in 2022 with a sitting member of Congress trying to preserve his political career by invoking a 150-year-old clemency for Confederates that many historians argue was fatal to the Reconstruction, as thousands of unrepentant Old South revanchists reentered government and set to work disenfranchising and terrorizing Black people for the next, well, 150 years.

Despite the tendentious and illogical arguments Cawthorn has made, on Friday a federal judge, who happens to be a Trump appointee, agreed with Cawthorn’s 1872 position and granted Cawthorn a preliminary injunction forcing the NC State Board of Elections to pause its challenge process. This is a setback, but it is possibly addressable on appeal.

In the meantime, it’s important to understand this ruling has no binding precedent implications for other jurisdictions, such as Colorado or Arizona, where known Jan. 6 accomplices like Lauren Boebert or Paul Gosar could be pursued. I’d encourage those interested in maximizing our chances of success with insurrectionist House members and Trump himself to please consider giving to Free Speech for the People.


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