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      There’s been a vast amount of foolishness in the discussion of this. Labour lost for two main reasons: Their base was split by Brexit, and in a real way, no “positioning” could avoid this. There was a vast propaganda campaign against Corbyn in particular and Labour in general. What urban liberals don’t seem to understand […]
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Answers to your impeachment process questions.

1.) How do we respond to Republicans’ accusations that Democrats want to “undo results of the 2016 election”?

Answer: As far as we know, there is no process to undo the results of the 2016 election. We don’t know for certain what the actual result was but that’s for another Q&A session. So, we don’t have to take this bait.

However, if the president is suspected of abusing his office by means of high crimes, misdemeanors and bribery, the Constitution allows for impeachment. If a president is convicted in the Senate, he can be removed from office. Happily, this country has never gotten this far before. All previous presidents resigned before a conviction or were not convicted. They did this to preserve their dignity, to not prolong the national ordeal, and to protect their party. After all, if it’s OBVIOUS after the inquiry and trial that the president has committed an impeachable offense, the failure of his party to hold him accountable will look like a cynical political move and demonstrate that the party in question is ok with its leader committing impeachable offenses and/or crimes in order to manipulate elections.

That looks baaaaaad in an election year.

2.) Isn’t the Democrats’ proposed process unfair to Republicans, Trump, and his lawyers?

Answer: In what way? Just because the Republicans say so? Their side’s ranking members will have the same amount of time to question witnesses. They will be able to call witnesses with the House Intel Committee chairman’s agreement. Presumably, this is to prevent Trump’s lawyers from calling a witness who will be a deliberate distraction by using the Chewbacca Defense.

Those of us who were old enough to remember the Watergate Hearings will also recall that there was a lot more seriousness and solemnity about the process than we can expect these days. Someone has to draw the line to prevent it from devolving into a absurdist carnival. If you don’t want your witness rejected, don’t propose one that’s going to derail the hearing in a way that “does not make sense”.

Trump’s lawyers will be treated equally and fairly as long as they cooperate with subpoenas for testimony and documents. Stonewalling is not going to be tolerated. If stonewalling is all Trump’s lawyers have in his defense, that should be duly noted. Stonewalling is used to run out the clock and raise obstacles. It serves no other purpose. No one wants this process to go on indefinitely. Congress has other things to do.

So, no pointless time wasting obstruction will be tolerated. Otherwise, Trump’s lawyers will be treated like any other defendent’s lawyers.

Historians have noted that Pelosi’s process is much more generous to the Trump side than previous impeachment processes have been. She really has no reason to make this unreasonably biased. Viewers will be paying attention. Besides, as many prosecutors will tell you, they never ask a question they don’t know the answer to. I suspect that in drafting this process Pelosi and the House Democrats they already have the evidence they need. There’s no need to be unreasonably biased because the truth is going to come out anyway. Trump’s side might as well put their best foot forward at this point because the confidence level coming from Schiff, Nadler and Pelosi is pretty telling.

3.) Won’t this impeachment inquiry tear this country apart?

Answer: It’s already torn apart. It didn’t have to be but it looks like Republicans are determined to overlook absolutely anything Trump does. They claim he can’t be indicted. They claim he can’t even be investigated or stopped, not even if he were shooting people on 5th Avenue.

There’s a theory that Republicans are acting this way because they have their minoritarian populist base convinced that it represents the only true Americans. So anything that is in defense of Trump is justified because he represents true America.

Really? Is that the hill you want to die on? Because Trump looks nothing like the true American role models I grew up with.

Anyway, this minority of Americans for Trump are vastly outnumbered by the people who voted for his opponent in 2016 as well as the Americans who did NOT vote in 2016 because they could not imagine Trump winning in the first place.

The idea that there is a more virtuous, blessed set of citizens who have a strong man on their side to suppress the unbelievers is a characteristic that is almost universal among cults and groups that practice undue influence on their targets.

“You’re better than they are. You’re more {{fill in the blank}}.” It’s an influence technique, like “love bombing”. Obama used it to great success when he captured his voters by calling them the “creative class”. They were younger, more intelligent, more gifted, beautiful and cool. Hillary’s voters were older, lower class women, post menopausal, barely literate high school graduates. Oh, yeah, we’ve seen this play before.

Anyway, that’s the way we’ve been divided. The globalist, careless, immigrant, elitist, non-Americans vs the virtuous, flag waving, 2nd amendment defenders of truth, justice and the American Way.

Except that Trump people seem to think that laws apply to everyone but their guy in the White House. And the Constitution says this isn’t true.

Whatever.

Real Americans don’t let politicians get away with manipulating upcoming elections with the aid of hostile foreign governments. True American politicians don’t need the aid of a foreign government to win an election.

Go ahead, try to argue against that.

I’ll wait.

Tweets and threads worth reading

First up, Jeff Flake is sickened by the attacks on Colonel Vindman who gave a deposition in front of the House Intel Committee yesterday. But republicans have a reputation for this sort of thing.

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This thread by Vanita Gupta reports on one of Trump’s latest judicial nominees. The ABA says he’s “not qualified”. And that’s the *good* part of his job references:

*************************

Seth Abramson says that Katie Hill, Representative of California’s 25th district and who was compelled to resign due to revenge porn posted online by her ex-husband, may have been targeted by associates of George Papadopolous. There seem to be some similarities to what was done to Jeff Bezos earlier this year.

Hill has an ethics issue in that she’s seeing one of her staffers. (Hello, can we say Newt Gingrich??) That’s separate from the 700 personal pics of her that the extortionists claim to have in their possession.

Can we just say here that it’s perfectly ok for a woman to have an active sex life and to take pics if she wants to? It’s ok. Maybe not 700 pics ok. That might be excessive but, you know, {{high five, Katie!}}. You apparently have a better body image than the rest of us.

They’re going to have to face it they’re addicted to Trump

The House Democrats have decided on a public process for impeachment of Trump that begins with a vote. That vote will be the first one where all members of the House, Democrats and Republicans will be required to put their votes where their mouths are.

Per usual, the Republicans are overcome with hysteria.

Last week, they were bereft because the process was carried out in “secret”. Yes, those skulldugerous Democrats were hiding out in a secret room in the basement torturing witnesses without the Republicans having any idea what was going on. Except, the committees that took the depositions were chock full of Republicans, some of whom actually bothered to show up for those sessions.

Now the Republicans are throwing themselves against the walls and whining that the depositions are invalid because they were held in secret. Not a problem, Adam Schiff says. We’ll just have them repeat their testimony in public.

That’s not good enough for Republicans because they say Democrats have been leaking the testimony and making the president look bad.

I was almost falling for this (no I wasn’t) until I remembered that the Republicans who attended those hearings in the SCIF had plenty of opportunities to leak testimony that exonerated the President’s actions and what did we hear from them? {{crickets}}.

Nothing about this process has been improper. The hearings were done in the SCIF to protect information that might have affected national security. Grand juries are conducted behind closed doors until the jury feels it has enough information to issue indictments.

This is where we are. Schiff has all the data he needs. He’s getting some additional witnesses today but he didn’t need the whistleblower after all. There were plenty of officials who volunteered to tell all they knew.

Now it’s time for the rest of us to hear it. So Republicans have to wail and gnash their teeth and tear their garments in anguish and grief hoping the noise will be a distraction.

What are they so afraid of? Are they terrified that the truth will show that they’ve clung to Trump for far too long? Are they afraid they can’t give him up because someone even crazier in their districts might challenge them? Are they worried that Trump is where the money is and they will lose without it?

This is a strange addiction. Trump isn’t really a movement conservative. He’s a self interested wannabe crime lord. There’s not a principle he won’t abandoned to ensure that his base admires him. His crap administration’s bad policies are going to catch up with all of us soon. Do Republicans really want to be chained to him when that happens?

What would happen if they let Trump defend himself?

What’s the worst that could happen?

******************

Addendum: Twitter is noisy with clips from Laura Ingraham on Fox and Sean Duffy on CNN speculating that Colonel Alexander Vindman, who is testifying today, could be a double agent since he is a naturalized citizen who was born in Ukraine and immigrated here when he was 3.

Ok. Let’s go with that for a second.

If Vindman being a double agent were even remotely possible, how is it that he has the security clearance he has and why is he working in the White House?

Are we saying that the White House security clearance process is so lax that we could have an asset working for a foreign government getting complete access to all of our foreign policy initiatives and secrets? Is that what you’re saying, Laura and Sean?

Just curious as to why he wasn’t dismissed a long time ago and tried for espionage.

Not that it hasn’t crossed Trump’s mind recently…

I think we know the answer to that question.

For what it’s worth, Joe…

Maybe it’s not “American” to boo the president but it’s exactly what decent human beings ought to do in order to show that they do not approve of what their “president” is doing.

What did you expect? That they would cheer the malignant moron who is our face to the rest of the world?

Stay silent?

Don’t you think he should be aware that he is ubiquitously loathed and not universally loved?

Those baseball fans didn’t conspire to boo him. They came to see a game not to make a political statement. That stadium wasn’t occupied only by Never Trumpers and Democrats. The Boo was a spontaneous and concerted act of righteous indignation by complete strangers. That makes it even more powerful.

Think about it, Joe. Voters have been told to sit on it and STFU since Election Day 2016. Give him a chance. Don’t be negative. Sure, we’ve had some protests, mostly women’s marches. But for the most part, the only way we’ve been able to express our displeasure and distance ourselves from him and his awful policies is to give Democrats the House in 2018.

Otherwise, our hands have been tied while he screwed the blue states with his tax reform, ran over anyone not a white guy, and royally effed our foreign policy.

Impeachment looked pretty reasonable before the Mueller report came out but it was allowed to fizzle. Then came all the recent Ukraine stuff. That looked more promising but it took Nancy Pelosi forever to get onboard. The reluctance of the opposition (not just Democrats) to do anything has been inexplicable and frustrating. Until very recently, it looked like we were going to have to wait more than a year to rein him in.

Meanwhile, he goes to his rallies with his sycophantic supporters, avoids any destination or route where he may encounter protests, and has his minions arrange hospital visits with only sympathetic patients and healthcare workers. Sympathy for Trump, that is.

To remain silent implies acquiescence. To boo indicates disapproval. And it’s more than time enough that he heard it.

That goes for the rest of his party too.

He’s not a god. He might not even be president. And the office itself lost its right to respectability when the electoral college indifferently voted him in despite his lack of tax returns, his crude behavior and his reputation for corruption.

We haven’t had a president since January 2017. The office is still there but it’s being terrorized and held hostage by Trump.

Booing was too good for him.

Blood Oil

Here is Trump telling us how he intends to deal with Syrian oil:

I don’t take a bus to work every morning to cut down on my carbon footprint only so some right wing MAGA head can afford to fill his Hummer. Remember how everybody and their brother bought a Hummer after we invaded Iraq in 2003? Like we were going to encounter small arms fire and IEDs on route 206 in Bedminster, NJ?

I think we now have the reason why Trump joined with Turkey and Russia to screw the Kurds and destabilize the region. It was for the oil.

But lest those of you out there reading this think that this is a good thing because we will be awash in petroleum and the price will come down, think again. Oil prices globally are controlled by a cartel. You don’t buy Park Place in Monopoly to keep the rent low. No, you lure people in with a low starting price and then when they can’t get out of it without ruining their quality of life, you jack up the price and “drink their milkshake”.

To paraphrase Elizabeth Bennet to her recklessly stupid sister Lydia, “I thank you for my share of the favour,but I do not particularly like your way of getting oil.”

I’d much rather spend my precious tax dollars developing new technology to harness sustainable energy sources. It could be an enterprise as big and productive the moon landing and much more beneficial to mankind.

But, no. We’ve got the Big Orange who never sees foreign policy without an eye to making himself money.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

No matter how you slice it…

… the Big Orange and his Einstein Visa wife were booed at the fifth game of the World Series.

It didn’t matter where you were standing, it sounded just like a boo.

Sort of like a Trump rally on Opposite Day.

Is that any way for thousands of human scum to treat the guy who just took credit for killing a terrorist? (It was the Iraqi’s working with our intelligence services and special forces)

It’s hillarious how they stood up looking like they expected thunderous cheering. The expressions on their faces when the negative nabobs of Nationals fans started booing them is priceless. Understandable when you stop to think about how many times in the past three years that Trump has managed to avoid hearing what the public really thinks of him. He’s been carefully insulated from the truth by his lackeys who whisk him to private destinations by helicopter or set up Potemkin hospital visits so he never has to meet a critic.

He looked bitterly disappointed. That’s it, he’s going to get the names of every last one of those whistlebooers. They’re probably all Never Trumper liberal Democrats. Where’s that facial recognition stuff?

Even funnier when you realize that many, many fans were recording that and there will be no shortage of videos from every section.

Add-On: This looks like money well spent:

Riiiiight, Obama did it.

The “Justice Department” has opened a criminal investigation into the investigation of the 2016 elections and Trump’s ties to Russia.

Yes, our “Justice Department” is diving right into the right wing conspiracy theory that Obama started it all and spied on Trump. You’d think they’d let it go since they already ruined the Mueller report (and then the very next day tried to extort Ukraine to get dirt on Biden.) But that’s not how the big orange works. He doubles down, he goes after his enemies, he menaces government employees.

He calls the rest of us scum for being insufficiently deferential to him.

I was no fan of Obama. I didn’t like the way he ran his 2008 primary campaign. In it we can see the seed of what became targeting of certain demographics, weaponizing the word “racist” and getting Wall Street to foot the bill in exchange for leniency when he took office. He was compromised in many ways.

But I can’t in a million years see Obama taking a hands on approach to starting a spying operation on Trump. That wasn’t Obama’s style. For one thing, it would require him to take a stand and he wasn’t the kind of guy who wanted to upset his backers. More likely, he listened to the initial intelligence reports and tepidly approved of the agencies keeping him informed. He wasn’t a mastermind directing a covert operation on Chez Trump.

The agencies themselves used to have departments that worked on counterintelligence. That was their jobs. Those jobs preceded Obama. We need to have people in those positions so we can ascertain what hostile nations are up to. Those departments are in tatters now. This is a very dangerous situation for our country for many reasons. I leave the numeration of these reasons as an exercise for the reader.

The timing of this criminal investigation couldn’t be more significant. Adam Schiff says he doesn’t even need the whistleblower’s testimony anymore, which suggests that he has collected more than enough information in his depositions so far to impeach 10 Trumps. So, what better time to roll out a giant time and money sucking distraction for the deluded Fox News viewers.

We’re headed down a rabbit hole here and you have to ask yourself, if Obama acted like Trump, like some kind of unaccountable mafia don with an enemies list and an AG like Barr, how long would it have taken Matt Gaetz and Lindsay Graham to impeach his ass? Damn right. He wouldn’t have lasted a year. And they would be right to do it.

But because Trump is a “Republican”, whatever that means these days, he can get away with murder of our country and anyone on 5th Avenue who gets in his way.

It’s time to get mad.