Tag Archives: impeachment

Witnesses For the Defense

The impeachment is coming. The Democrats are going to call a number of witnesses who claim that Mr Trump, Giuliani and others were involved in the extortion attempt of Ukraine.

According to the rules of the hearings the Republicans will be able to call their own witnesses. Witnesses for the defense. Witnesses who can describe, under oath, how Mr Trump and Giuliani dd nothing wrong.

So, let’s see who the Republicans call to defend Trump.

My suggestions are pretty straightforward. Let those who are accused defend themselves. Let the witnesses for the defense testify under oath.

My list:

Rudy Giuliani. He can testify that he never attempted to influence Ukrainian policy at the behest of Donald Trump.

Mick Mulvaney. He can testify that he never put a hold on military aid. He can also explain his statement to the press that the administration does “quid pro quo” regularly. And we should “get over it”.

Lev Parnas. He claims to be working on Trump’s legal team. He can explain how his company, with no income, was able to pay Rudy Giuliani, his boss, about $500,000. His ability to make money appear from nowhere might be valuable in our attempts to balance the budget.

Mike Pompeo. He can testify as to what was on the phone call. He can also testify that he has the right to tell his employees to defy Congressional subpoenas. He can explain how he has the right to defy the law.

And finally…We would all like to hear from…..

Donald Trump. this poor man has been vilified by the Lugenpresse. He has been castigated by the Deep State. All those terrible accusations and he has no way to defend himself. Until now.

Under oath. In public testimony. Mr Trump DESERVES his day in court. Doesn’t he deserve the chance to set the record straight? To explain that he did nothing wrong? To show America that he is being persecuted and prosecuted?

So, Republicans. This is your chance to get at the truth. Call your witnesses.

Giuliani. Mulvaney. Parnas. Pompeo. Trump.

Let these men defend their good names.

Witnesses for the defense.

 

 

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No Quid Pro Quo

No quid pro quo. So goes the latest talking point in the pretzel logic of the GOP. Let’s start at the beginning.

First, Trump did nothing wrong. Some crazy whistleblower without any first hand knowledge of the phone call to Zelensky reported it.

Hearsay. The whistleblower never heard the call, so he or she could not know what was on the call. So, nothing to see here.

Then we learned that the Inspector General looked at the case. He did some investigating, as he is supposed to. And he found that there was some substance to the whistleblower complaint.

But Mr Trump did nothing wrong, so he released the perfect transcript of the call. Well, not exactly the transcript, but a partial transcript with some parts missing. But it was perfect. See. Just another plot by the Dems to get Trump.

Then we read the partial transcript and OOPS. In it Mr Trump is clearly asking for a “favor” from Zelensky. The “favor”, it turns out , is to investigate “corruption” And he specifically mentions the Bidens.

No problem, says the Trump supporters. He never specifically tied any conditions to this request. Just asking and not getting what you want is not a crime. Trump never did anything to coerce the Ukraine.

Next, we learn that there was a months long attempt by Giuliani to get Zelensky to investigate the Bidens. And Sondland was involved. And Pence was involved. And Pompeo was involved. And Perry. And Volker.  And Lev. And Igor. An entire parallel universe trying their hardest to get the Ukrainians to make up stuff about the Bidens. IF they wanted the military aid they deserved.

But then… it is learned that the military aid to the Ukraine was put on hold. Ukraine, in the middle of a border war with Putin. Ukraine, which badly needs military help and Congress voted to help. And the Pentagon is ready to deliver. Then a hold is placed on the aid. By the White House. No one knows why. But, no problem. As Kelly Anne Conway says: Just a coincidence!

So, no quid pro quo.

Now quid pro quo usually means that I will give you something and then you give me something. These “somethings” have value. And they are “somethings” I would not normally get. “Somethings” I may not even deserve.

So, does Ukraine get “something” they did not deserve? Nope. Eventually, after the whistleblower complaint became public, Mr Trump released the military aid. But this was aid they DESERVED. It was not a “quid pro quo” because it already supposed to go to the Ukraine.

Trump did not offer the Ukraine anything new of value. They already had a right, under the law, to the military aid.  Did I mention they were fighting Putin? So any weapons Trump sent to the Ukraine might be used to kill Russian soldiers or  lackeys. Putin was not happy.

So, there was no quid pro quo. The GOP is correct.

What we are seeing is a perfect phone call and a perfect set up. For extortion. Trump tried to EXTORT the government of Ukraine by withholding much needed military aid. Aid they had a right to . To force them to publicly state they were investigating the Bidens. Now, Ukraine did not need to investigate the Bidens, which would be a waste of time. No. Just announce, on TV, that you are investigating the Bidens.

Just give Mr Trump a political TV ad so he can call the Bidens crooks. Don’t worry about finding anything, the announcement is enough.Then Fox “news” can spend every day talking about the criminal Bidens. Every hour. Every minute.

Do it OR ELSE. OR ELSE you don’t get your military aid. You don’t get the photo op with the US president. Do it OR ELSE you will lose even more countrymen to the Putin invasion. 13,000 casualties already.

That is not a quid pro quo. It is extortion.

Extortion: the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.

So we now have the entire Republican party standing behind a man who has used extortion on an ally who is trying to survive the attacks by Putin. The GOP saying it seems ok to them. Extort an ally? Is that wrong? Is that an impeachable offense? Undermining the 2020 election? Is that wrong?

The stench of the GOP grows daily. Extortion is not a problem. What next? Perhaps an open murder on 5th Avenue?

 

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Time For the 25th

Section 4 of the 25th Amendment is clear:

…Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office….

The key phrase, of course, is that the president is no longer able to discharge his duties.

This allows the president’s cabinet to relieve him of his duties, temporarily, until such time as they agree he is once again able to function.

I have read arguments on both sides of the issue. Some experts claim that the 25th Amendment would not apply to Trump, others say it would.

Initially the Amendment (which also includes the method of selecting a vice president) was designed as a short term solution to a temporarily disabled POTUS. For example, he has an operation . Or he is very sick and cannot function for awhile. It allowed a legal way for the Vice President to take over, temporarily.  It was not intended to be a method for permanently removing a POTUS from office.

But, on the other hand, the WORDs are clear. If a POTUS is unable to be a POTUS. It does not give any guidelines for making that decision. It is left solely with the Vice President and the majority of the cabinet. It does not stipulate mental or physical disorder. It does ask “why”? It allows the cabinet to define what the word “unable” means.

So, the 25th Amendment, no matter what the intent, is a viable solution to the Trump problem.  It allows the GOP to remove him from office without going through an impeachment process. It is a more painless way to take power from an obviously unfit human being. Of course, since his cabinet is composed of a cadre of sycophants any attempt to use the 25th would probably fail. Their lips are firmly attached to Donald’s hindquarters, like zebra mussels on an intake valve. (Ironically zebra mussels originated from Russia and the Ukraine)

Unless. Unless Trump continues to act nuttier and nuttier every day. If he were to call for a whistleblower to be treated as a spy. Or if he were to call for a member of Congress to be tried for treason . Or if he were to publicly ask another nation to investigate his domestic opponents. Or if he were to start using vulgarities in public. Or if he tweeted that a Civil War might erupt unless his crimes are allowed to stand. Unless. Unless. Unless.

Of course the 25th will not be used. But it should be. If ever there was a POTUS who is  “unable to discharge the powers and duties” of the presidency it is Donald Trump. He has demonstrated that on a regular basis. From day one.

 

https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-25th-amendment-really

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/10/25th-amendment-trump-216267

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/joe-walsh-trump-25th-amendment_n_5d62990fe4b0b59d25763b59

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/joe-lockhart-america-is-in-25th-amendment-territory

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Filed under government, impeachment, Politics, POTUS, Trump, United States

The Hopeless Sixty Per Cent

A new poll came out from Monmouth University this week.  It reported that 40% of Republicans believe that Mr Trump , in his call to the President of the Ukraine, asked for help in finding dirt on Biden. That means that 60% of Republicans do not believe that Trump asked about Biden. 60%

OK.

This is from the WHITE HOUSE release of the transcript of the call:

“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Trump said. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”

So, the White House says that Trump referred to Biden in the call. And asked for an investigation.

The Whistleblower, supported by the Inspector General, was concerned that Trump was making a deal to help himself in 2020 by pressuring the Ukraine to “investigate” the Bidens.

From the Whistleblower complaint:

“…Multiple White House officials with direct knowledge of the call informed me that, after an initial exchange of pleasantries, the President used the remainder of the call to advance his personal interests. Namely, he sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the President’s 2020 reelection bid. According to the White House officials who had direct knowledge of the call, the President pressured Mr. Zelenskyy to, inter alia:

  • initiate or continue an investigation2 into the activities of former Vice President Joseph Biden and his son, Hunter Biden;….”

 

A number of members of Trump’s staff evidently told this to the whistleblower, which cause d him to  blow the whistle in the first place.

Various news outlets have been reporting on the story, including the exact words of the transcript.

So, everyone right up through the White House says that, yes, Trump asked the president of the Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. I mean, it is there in black and white.

Yet, despite this, 60% of Republicans do not believe that Trump said what he said. Hopeless. Hopeless. Hopeless.

 

 

 

https://www.insider.com/only-40-percent-republicans-believe-trump-asked-ukraine-investigate-biden-2019-10

https://www.businessinsider.com/read-the-transcript-of-trumps-call-with-the-ukrainian-president-2019-9?_ga=2.30507197.340565475.1570044622-1474934704.1563128398

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Why Mueller Must Go

Before the New Year Mueller must be fired.

Here is why. So far, even with all the “redacted” sections of the plea deals with Cohen , Manafort and Flynn, we see a lot of evidence. Also, various dependable news sources, the New York Times, Washington Post, McClatchy, Mother Jones and the Rolling Stone have all run plenty of stories with evidence of wrongdoing by the Trump associates.

So, the noose is tightening around Mr Trump and his family. Here are some of the strands in the noose.

1. Firing the head of the FBI who refused to drop the investigation of Flynn for criminal activities. Flynn subsequently pleaded guilty to crimes. He is now cooperating with the investigation. He knows a lot.

2. The Trump Tower NYC meeting between Putin agents and the highest levels of the Trump campaign. First, according to Trump, it never happened. Then it happened but it was about “adoptions”. Now, we know it happened and was about coordination with Russia and “dirt” on Clinton. (The “dirt” never existed).

3. Michael Cohen pleading guilty to a variety of illegal activities, including campaign finance fraud. He did this, according to his under oath plea, at the direction of Mr Trump. Mr Trump first denied any knowledge. Then said he may have known, but it was not his money. Then said it was his money but nothing was wrong with it. So, why did Cohen plead guilty to a crime that, according to Mr Trump, does not exist?

4.The connections between Jared Kushner and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia bailed out Kushner on his debt ridden building in NYC, while Kushner was working in the White House. Now, the US has a massive arms deal with the Saudis and is refusing to condemn the murder of Kashoggi, the Saudi journalist who was living in the US. Even though the CIA maintains that the Saudis killed him.

5. The hundreds of thousands of dollars spent at Trump properties by foreign governments while he is in the White House. A violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution.

6. The connections between the NRA and the Russian government, via Maria Butina, in the moving of millions of dollars in campaign funds to support the Trump campaign. The NRA spent a record $30,000,000 supporting the Trump election effort, much of it untraceable until now. Did the typical, honest member of the NRA know it was working in cahoots with the Russians? Nope.

7. The Trump organization money laundering of Russian money through their hotels , not only in the US, but in Scotland and possibly other countries. Trumps’ kid bragged about getting Russian money when US banks refused to lend money to the Trump family . (Why not? Too many bad deals where the lenders were screwed). Trump’s tax returns, which he refused to release not only before the election but even today, hold the key.

8. And, last but not least, all the other stuff Mueller has on the Trump kids and Trump organization. Information we will learn about when Mueller makes his final report.

So, Mueller must be fired. The partial, fragmentary evidence is already overwhelming. Mueller must be fired while the GOP still controls the government. Once the Democrats take over in the House of Representatives it will be too late for Trump. The truth will all come out. In detail.

Expect a 2 AM tweet sometime soon:

“Fake Mueller WICH HUNT must END. For guud of the cuntry. Mueeller must go. NO COLLISION! President found NOT GUILTY !!!! Muller…Your FIRED ! (@ real Donald Trump).”

 

 

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Filed under Constitution, Democrat, Elections, GOP, government, liberals, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, Taxes, Trump, Trump University, United States

Words, Part 1

“In the beginning was the word…” so begins the Bible followed by both Christians and Jews.  In Hindu mythology, the word “Om or Aum” is the first sound of creation. The Qu’ran is thought to be the word of Allah by Muslims. Members of the Church of Later Day Saints believe that Joseph Smith of upstate New York was given the words of god on golden tablets.

Words are important. Of all the species still on Earth, it is homo sapiens alone that uses speech to communicate sophisticated ideas. Other animals use sounds to express fear and danger and affection and contentment. Chimps use signs and sounds. Bonobos have been taught to use symbolic language to express complete ideas. Some other primates even use sign language to communicate when hunting in groups. There is something in the DNA of primates that demands communication. We are all social animals.

Words are important.

Primates use body language and words to communicate. The key word is “communicate”. Communication does not necessarily mean that a human or other primate is interested in communicating the truth.

For example, we have evidence that when some Rhesus monkeys see food they call out to others and share it. Once in awhile, however, a monkey will keep quiet or even give a false predator warning cry to distract from the food source. They lie. They communicate something which is false. Then they sneak the food for themselves.

We depend on words. When someone lies to us it becomes very difficult to trust them again. When someone misuses words (that is lies) under oath, we consider them criminals. Even presidents. Bill Clinton was impeached by the Republican Congress for lying.

He was not impeached for having an affair. He was not impeached for any illegal financial dealings. The 4 year long investigation of Bill Clinton and his wife’s finances (Whitewater) found nothing illegal. The Starr investigation after spending mllions of dollars  found no criminal behavior based on the original mandate, which was to look at the Clinton land deals.

Both articles of impeachment against Clinton dealt not with any financial wrongdoing, but the fact that he lied about his sex life when under oath.  You may wonder why the Starr investigation was expanded into his sex life, but that is another matter. A corruption charge was never supported, but his lies about his sex life were considered important enough to expel him from the presidency. So, he was impeached for words he said.

Our current president has , according to the factchecker at the Washington Post, told over 2,000 lies and misstatements in less than his first year in office. Over 2,000 documented examples of intentional miscommunication. Since he is not under oath, none of those lies are actionable under the law. But that degree of miscommunication may be one reason why he has an approval rating below 40% in most polls.

When words are used for miscommunication then the very idea of language becomes damaged. Language is supposed to be a positive force through which we convey ideas and beliefs and emotions in an honest way. When language is exploited regularly to miscommunicate it leads to a general distrust of any communication. When words are used as weapons, rather than tools of honest communication, all language becomes suspect.

We see attacks on the press, attempting to delegitimize the one institution which is based on words. Honest words. ( I deal with this in another post a year ago: https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/lugenpresse-testing-the-waters/)

Politicians, of course, depend completely on words. When they lie by misstatements or omission to intentionally deceive people it is especially disturbing. We see them lie most often when the facts and evidence do not support their assertions. A good example is the reemergence of the supply side economics which failed miserably under Mr Bush. Tax breaks for the wealthy to boost jobs. It just does not happen, but that does not stop the lying.

My own Congressman, Tom Reed, NY 29 is especially adept at the half truth and miscommunication. He miscommunicated not only his own views (as seen by his actions) but impugns his political opponents by lying about their views as well. And he is very good at it. So he gets re-elected.

So, while “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is true on the playground, it is not true in politics. Words are the core of politics because they are used to convince others to act.

We currently live in an era where those with the most political power are determined to stay in power through miscommunication. Not by the power of their ideas.  Not by the benefits to the people derived by their actions. But by miscommunicating to such an extent that even 2,000 lies a year does not bother them.

Next time I will look at the variety and scope of the miscommunication, the misuse of words, by those currently in power.

 

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/090615-monkeys-lie-food.html

https://books.google.com/books?id=pEuVe5zT-4cC&pg=PA74&lpg=PA74&dq=rhesus+monkeys+food+lies&source=bl&ots=-A5bfEwk2c&sig=O1nv-XXYhQ78i5HQpx2hrNFXrzc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwimo8G74tzYAhWDUd8KHYalBlgQ6AEIUDAL#v=onepage&q=rhesus%20monkeys%20food%20lies&f=false

https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/articles122098.htm

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2018/01/10/president-trump-has-made-more-than-2000-false-or-misleading-claims-over-355-days/?utm_term=.dc90a42256a8

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