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    • War Crime Apologia
      One is not required to bomb hospitals, to torture, or to engage in mass killing of civilians when one is a chief of state. “My favorite war criminal did less war crimes than your war criminal,” is not a defense. That people feel the need to defend those who do such things when in power […]
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The panic before the storm

Republicans seem to be in full blown panic mode over the upcoming impeachment hearings. It appears that the Democrats have been taking notes about how Republicans act in their natural habitat and have adapted accordingly.

For example, the schedule for the impeachment inquiry and subsequent vote has been compressed. This gives Republicans less time to cover their asses and drag things out. Extending time has been one of their most valuable weapons. They’ve used it before with Iran Contra and the Valerie Plame-Scooter Libby affair. Extending the time frame gives them an opportunity to confuse the public by misdirection. It’s much harder to obfuscate when the explanation is so simple and attention is focused in a couple of weeks instead of months and months. The phone calls happened in July, we discovered them in September, the inquiry gathered facts outside of public scrutiny, which gives Republicans fewer opportunities to twist the testimony, and the vote will come before Christmas, which gives everyone time to think it over during Christmas break.

The timeframe is relentless and short. It’s causing some Republicans to do and say silly things.

Lindsay Graham now says that the impeachment isn’t legit unless we hear from the whistleblower. But the whistleblower was only one of a cast of dozens apparently who all saw the crime from different angles. (Bribery is a crime by the way AND it also happens to be an impeachable offense.) All these witnesses corroborate what the whistleblower reported to the CIA IG. Some of their testimony is primary source so the hearsay defense doesn’t apply. There are notes, text messages and meetings with third parties. The whistleblower provided more of a summary of what happened. The public testimony will lay things out on almost a minute to minute basis told by the people who were actually there.

Notice who is testifying. The people who are giving depositions are the ones who have nothing to lose but their careers right now. Except for Gordon Sondlund, none of them have done anything wrong. They aren’t going to jail. They aren’t being impeached.

The ones who are defying subpoenas are the people who will either need to tell about their actions in an unsavory bribery scheme or declare their 5th amendment rights to prevent self-incrimination. Declaring the fifth is never a good look. Did you notice that no one has been offered immunity?

In any case, the lineup is striking. Not one of those who have been implicated in this scheme are testifying when the overwhelming evidence is against them. Not one will defend themselves or others. It’s like one gigantic taking the fifth.

There are a couple of court hearings pending that were filed to compel those who have been subpoenaed to testify. One was filed against Charles Kupperman, one of former NSC advisor John Bolton’s deputies. Bolton himself says that he will abide by this court decision. If Kupperman has to testify, so will he. That was the default “let’s drag this out, add extraneous details and confuse the public” strategy I mentioned before.

But now, Mick Mulvaney, who has already admitted publicly that bribery happened, has joined the Kupperman lawsuit. That puts pressure on Bolton to either voluntarily testify or tie his fortunes to the rest of Trump’s henchmen. Bolton is no fan of Mulvaney. Bolton knows where bodies are buried. But he thought he could separate himself from Trump et al and at the same time poke a Democratic House committee in the eye. Looks like he can’t do both. He’s going to have to choose.

Meanwhile, AG Barr is meeting with Lindsey Graham to construct talking points of the public testimony before it even starts. Yes, that’s right, if you’re getting your news from Fox or your favorite right wing radio show host, you are going to be subjected to a bunch of misleading “alternate facts”, whatever that means. Your brain will be lead down conspiracy theory mazes with hidden Chewbaccas at every dead end, while the characters of some truly stellar public servants will be smeared with irrelevant details from their personal lives. This is the way the right wing works. It swift boats, it mocks parents of a dead Iraqi war veteran, it shamelessly calls women sluts. We can expect more of the same. I mean, YOU can expect more of the same, the rest of us will be focusing on the testimony.

By the way, YES, we want Trump gone. But It’s too late to overturn the election so we will remove him using the Constitution with the gifts of his own misdeeds against him. And he can take the whole corrupt Republican Party with him. Bipartisanship is impossible at this point in time. They’ve proven it time and again. It’s not a coup. It’s the Constitution. Trump and his aides didn’t have to commit impeachable offenses. They chose to do it because they thought (still think) that AG Barr will cover their asses. They simply can’t help themselves.

This is where we were headed back in the summer of 2016. It’s just that we figured it out and you guys let your emotions be manipulated. They will appeal to your tendency to respect and not question authority figures to get away with it. And YES, it will eventually affect you. A country can’t go down this road without the public eventually suffering some pretty severe consequences.

Anyway, someone noticed yesterday that Trump tweets a lot when he’s nervous about something. Yesterday, he had tweeted 84 times in a 24 hour period. The only time he did more than that was when Robert Mueller publicly disagreed with AG Barr’s summary of his report. You know, the one where Barr loosely interpreted it to say that there’s nothing to see here? Yeah, Mueller said he didn’t say that. There was plenty to see there. Trump tweeted like crazy on 5/1/19 when that happened. Yesterday, the number of his tweets nearly surpassed that of Mueller’s disagreement.

I can’t wait to see what they’re up to by tomorrow. Commence meltdown mode.

This isn’t going to be pretty. But if we’re lucky, it will be brief.


One more thing: If our country wants to rehabilitate its reputation and regain its pre-eminence in the world as fighting against tyranny and injustice, then impeachment of Trump and his removal from office is the best thing that we Americans can do. It will reassure the rest of the world that we do live by the rule of law and we can enforce that law.

If we don’t, we’ll be no better than a country ruled by a dictator and our fortunes globally will be tied to him.

8 Responses

  1. The thing that irks me is this whole ‘We will release a transcript of a Second Call’ nonsense. Even the Guardian fell for this one yesterday… none of the major media (at least what I have seen) points out that this ‘Second Call’ was actually the first call (several weeks prior to the offensive call) and was to congratulate Zelensky on his election. It’s hard to blame the GOP for thinking the public is stupid, when they can so easily pull the wool over the eyes of the media.

    Someone please tell this to Biden and other centrists who think this is possible:

    Bipartisanship is impossible at this point in time

    • Biden still thinks it’s 1991. Russia and the Drump team have staged a coup on our government. There’s no doing business with a bunch sycophantic voyeurs.

  2. They are posting pictures of the whistleblower and threatening them. They are such primal, herd mentality lowlives. It’s like we are back in the dark ages. Truly terrifying times for our country.

    • Then it’s time for our side to acknowledge his name so that we can come to his aid.
      The cat is already out of the bag.
      After this point, we could be guilty of defending the wrong principle.

  3. Very well written and impassioned essay, RD.

    I am not as optimistic about this, because I don’t think there is any chance whatsoever that Republican Senators will remove Trump. Republicans just want to stall, obfuscate, mislead, to get through the next few weeks, and then he will be acquitted in the Senate, and the media will show him bellowing about how he was exonerated. The actual facts here do not matter a bit to Republicans, who have really become like the mafia protecting each other. For them to do something different now is apparently more frightening to them than just stonewalling the whole thing. I guess they do not have enough windfalls or religious fanatic judges appointed yet, and want more of those drugs. Or they all took money from Russia, and thus if Trump goes, they go, too. Once the impeachment vote is taken, they expect that most of this will go away, like all the other things which have faded from the consciousness of too many people.

    My best hope is that the media does a good job covering this, and the testimony is compelling to the voters, because that’s really all that matters now. We must have enough voters who simply will not vote for Trump next year. Republicans will do everything they can to get voters to look past all of it, and focus on whatever they try to direct them toward: “Socialism,” the deliberately inflated stock market, a deal with China. As much as Bloomberg is unappealing to some, I would not mind once having a candidate who could outspend the Republicans all over the country, so we wouldn’t have to hear, “Republicans will be spending three billion dollars on ads in swing states, while Democrats are desperately trying to raise a third of that.” We have seen the power of this corrupt money on campaign ads, social media, and who knows where else. Republicans believe that if they spend enough money, they can dupe the voters into anything; then the people they elect give them more tax breaks and deals, so that they have even more to spend in the next elections. The Electoral College is their backstop.

    They are betting that if they throw up enough misdirection and venom, they can keep it as an “us against them” narrative, which is what most of our national discourse has devolved to. All this about “another call, Trump may release it,” is such a patent smokescreen. “They want the transcript of that call, I might release it, I will see,” is a con man’s spiel, and the media does not see it. The “whistleblower” is essentially irrelevant,since a dozen people have verified all of it, but again they will play the game of misdirection, trying to divert attention. Just like with “collusion,” which was never a legal term, and yet drew everyone’s focus. “Is there collusion?” “Is there a quid pro quo?” “Where is the whistleblower, what does he/she say?” “What about the ‘second’ phone call,’ that is what will decide the whole game.” They pull this over and over; and every time, the media takes the bait, deliberately or ineptly. Republicans consult every day to direct these gameplans. One would think that at some point, people would stop falling for them, then we might have a chance to get our country back.

    • That second call is most likely a perfect call… how can you go wrong congratulating someone on their victory… although with tRump I guess anything is possible.

      I am not as pessimistic as you are regarding conviction in the Senate. I think we really need to wait to see how the House Republicans act during the open hearings. IF they act the way it is looking (i.e. like total asses) AND the Senate fails to convict, then I would expect the Democrats would take the Senate, House, and the Presidency and as long as Biden isn’t the president we will likely get some things done. IF the Senate doesn’t convict and we lose any of those three, then I think it’s time to start thinking about leaving because all will be lost. The only upside I see to having all three with Biden as president is that he may finally understand that there is no such thing as a republican that plays nice anymore.

  4. Nikki Haley is apparently going on TV everywhere, staunchly defending Trump, saying he is a truthful president, that he is tougher on Russia than any President, that since the aid eventually got to Ukraine (this was of course only because the whole plot was coming out), there is nothing impeachable. This is a woman who many, including the so-called “Never Trumpers” and much of the media were agog over, as the great hope of the Republican Party. Apparently anyone who is Far Right but not a barbarian like Trump, is just what they want. Apparently Condoleeza Rice, another invented savior of the party, is also saying that what Trump did was not impeachable.

    This is the Republicans. I don’t know how they all got this way. You would think that Rice would say nothing. But of course she was part of the Bush corruption. This has been “evolving” for a long time. Bush and his cabinet lied us into a war, outed a CIA agent for revenge against her husband. And still most of the Brian Williams and Andrea Mitchell type media seem to pine for those days. That was just the start. How can any rational person argue that what Trump clearly did, and was doing, probably with other countries as well, “does not rise to the level of impeachment”? What would? Oh, yes, denying an affair, that would do it. The media, for whatever motives, accepts this all as a reasonable difference of opinion. “Democrats say that Trump should be impeached for extorting foreign leaders to do things for him, under the obvious threat of holding up foreign aid until they do them. But Republicans argue, this is not impeachable. Let’s discuss! After that, let’s discuss climate change: Republicans argue that it is not happening.” As long as there are the Republicans to deny reality, and always put their own power ahead of any moral virtue, we’ve got two sides, apparently.

    In Kentucky, we see that a network of bots put out completely fake information on Twitter during the election, saying that ballots for the Republican were being destroyed. There is this show “Black Mirror” which I have seen a couple of episodes of; seems to be a grave warning about what “technology” is doing to the human race. Humans developed the capacity to use empirical evidence to determine reality. But now that seems to be disappearing, as the American President can say anything he wants, and his acolytes are determined to make that warped version of reality as viable as any other. Do you think we are far from revisiting “the earth is flat; all the stars circle the earth?” What the media doesn’t seem to want to understand, is that unless they stand up for truth and reality, no one will care to watch any of what they have to say, since cartoon shows would be as informative.

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