Category Archives: opinion

Why Donald Trump is Likely to be Impeached

The impeachment process is primarily a political one. That is why Richard Nixon resigned before he was impeached (he was politically finished) and why Bill Clinton survived an impeachment trail (he had pretty good political support despite the impeachment, so Democratic Senators refused to convict).

So far, Donald Trump’s various scandals and even the Mueller report have not had a huge impact on his poll data. He has low support, but he still has had some support. But new data shows that in light of the recent Ukraine scandal, support for impeachment is growing among democrats (no surprise there), independents and republicans

That is very bad news for Trump.

It is made worse by the fact that Republicans face some very tough Congressional challenges coming up. There is a good chance that they will lose control of the Senate. The temptation for Republican Senators to dump Trump to save their hides will grow if Trump is impeached in the House.

Given (1) the severity of the illegal act, damaging the national interests rather than just  evidencing personal moral and ethical problems, (2) the blatant way it was done and re-done, and (3) the widespread attempts to cover it all up, the pressure to vote for impeachment in the House is pretty strong. Keep in mind that Trump is impeached by simple majority vote in the House, and dems have a majority there. So is the vote now likely? Yes. Is it likely to succeed? Yes.

As I wrote above, it is less clear what will happen in the Senate.  In order to convict on an impeachment, the impeachment articles much pass by a two thirds senate vote (67?). And in the senate, the Republicans have a slim majority. So conviction would require around 20 Republicans to break with their party and vote to convict. Will they? Who knows. Some might.

But even if Trump is acquitted, the vote in the senate comes after an impeachment trial. And Mitch McConnell has said that the trial cannot be blocked. It is going to happen. That trial is likely to impact Trump’s popularity as well as the popularity of the senators who are on stage. What about Trump facilitator, Mitch McConnell? Outspoken Trump man, Lindsey Graham?  McConnell’s seat was usually safe, but may not be this race. Graham’s seat is still rated as safe. But who knows what will happen?

This will make the next half year a very interesting time for Washington politics.

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Khashoggi, Mon Amor!

The dude was a reformer. A journalist. He was murdered.

So what? Dudes get murdered all the time! That was, in essence, the reaction of President Donald Trump. “The world is a dangerous place,”

And Trump is right. The world is indeed a dangerous place these days. And the story of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi shows us why it is so dangerous to certain people.

Here is what you need to know: The Saudi Crown Prince very likely ordered the murder of Khashoggi. Why? To help consolidate his power? We know that the Saudis lied about it, trying to cover up their involvement. At first they denied that Khashoggi was dead. Then they denied that they had killed him. Finally they admitted that he was murdered in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, but by rogue agents.

Do you believe that?

Donald Trump  believes it. Why? Does it have anything to do with Jared Kushner’s close ties to the crown prince? Does it have anything to do with Saudi money?

What we know is that as long as Trump is president, the US will enable the Saudis to continue acting as they do. As Trump said. Just accept it., The world is a dangerous place.

If we accept that, what does it say about us?

As an aside, this is not just about Trump and his gullible son in law, Mr. Kushner. If you read the article, you find out that the Saudis have been pouring money into tech investment funds and had become a major player in Silicon Valley. Uber and WeWork are two of their recipients.  The impact? I will not make any grand claims here. I would just point out that the former CEO of WeWork is a close friend of Jared Kushner, and the WeWork attempted IPO exposed the fraud that he and his board were attempting to pull off on investors.

 

The Impeachment Issue is as Simple as Pie. Mud Pie

Vox spells it out

President Trump has turned American foreign policy into an extortion racket, abusing his powers to goad foreign leaders into persecuting his domestic rivals and improve his political standing. The proof for this in the case of Ukraine is irrefutable. The other news stories are supporting evidence that Trump has systematically twisted US foreign policy into a tool for furthering his 2020 reelection bid.

The Big News of the Day: Mitch McConnell is Distancing Himself from Donald Trump

We are going down the impeachment path now. What does that look like?

The first point is that a lot of muck will come out in the House impeachment hearings. That is really bad news for Trump and Republicans as election season starts warming up-

The second point is that Mitch McConnell has ALREADY signaled that if the House impeaches, he will schedule a trial. Translation — he will not be Trump’s bag man on this one. My guess is that Mitch is worried about his own re-election prospects.

Bad news for Trump. Ari Melber lays this all out very well in the video below. Check it out. As with Lawrence O’Donnell, you will appreciate the clarity,.

Donald Trump and Treasonland

Very trenchant bit by Lawrence O’Donnell, setting the record straight why Donald Trump’s solicitation of foreign help to investigate Joe Biden’s son violates the law and why there is no treason involved. Lawrence also brings out how other Trump officials (Pompeo and Barr in particular) are now on the hot seat. Check it out. You will welcome the clarity.

ON Top of Everything Else, We Find Out that Trump has Bad Judgment

The Donald made his alleged cleverness the focal point of his campaign. The core pitch was “how could you not vote for me! I am smarter than anyone else!” In support of that argument, he said “I am, after all a billionaire.”

I don’t know how many voters went for that. But I do kn ow that it is nonsense. Trump only got into the business world through the graces of his rich daddy, and he showed bad judgment during that career  – being baled out by his rich daddy and then later on by unknown financial players — who may have been Russian.  His so called business career was a con job.

And now in the whistle blower scandal, we see close up how bad his judgment is.  Trump was getting bizzarro land ideas form Rudy that Ukraine — not Russia — was responsible for the 2016 election interference. Any normal human would check out Rudy’s ideas before latching onto them. After all, they came from Rudy.  And accepting these ideas would have severe national security implications.

Instead of doing that, Trump rejected advice given to him by intelligence experts. They repeatedly tried to tell him that Rudy was full of BS. They repeatedly tried to explain that Rudy’s ideas were debunked. And BTW, Trump had the evidence from Mueller of Russians who were actively interfering in the election.

Put yourself in Trump’s position. On the one side is Rudy Guiliani – a  known nut job. On the other side are national security experts and documentation. Which would you listen to? Or would you at least test whether the evidence supports either-

Trump  went ahead and acted on Rudy’s fantasy land project in a way that endangered US national security interests. When the story broke, he tried to cover it up and pretend nothing had happened.

And here we are.

The Peterloo Massacre, Duke of Wellington, and Donald Trump

Many things are forgotten. Lost in the mists of passing time.  And in some ways, that is needed. We cannot spend our whole lives immersed in past tragedies. At the same time, there is instruction too in the things that went wrong in past times. Especially when they went very wrong indeed.

Such as the Peterloo Massacre.

Have you heard of it? Probably not.  After all, it took place in 1819.

I will not tell the full story here.  The Guardian  — a newspaper that was founded in reaction to the event —  tells that story rather well.

There is something odd about the event and that time in general. The story does not fit so easily into our image of Britain as a great bastion of freedom. I do not say this to demean Britain. Instead, I mention it to remind us all of how different those days were.

We tend to remember that Wellington’s (and Blucher’s) final victory over Napoleon at Waterloo was a triumph for the ages. We tend to forget that after the Napoleonic wars, there was a prolonged period of deep economic hardship. BTW; that is why there is no huge triumphant memorial to Waterloo – other than a bridge over the Thames. There was unrest. Protests. And the authorities did not know how to cope. For better or worse, they had resisted revolutions abroad, and they were unused to common folk at home making demands for fair treatment. That was made worse when they were supported by some in the middle classes. The authorities felt threatened.  They reacted. And of course, they over-reacted.

The Peterloo Massacre happened in that climate of protest and fear. It was stupid and it was dreadful. Not least because it went unpunished.

A bit later, the great Wellington himself tried to stop reforms that would give more voting power to the people. He did not understand that the tide of history was moving away from unfettered exercise of the authority of the privileged few towards authority conveyed by representation. He mistook protest for treason.

As an aside, one suspects that for all his intelligence, Wellington did not think that the revolution that took place in the American colonies and that created a republican form of government, represented a sea change in attitudes towards authority. That the demand for representation would resonate more than the hurrahs one heard on the battlefield after Napoleon, the evil foe, was vanquished.

And what do we learn from this? One idea emerges rather clearly. Wellington’s unquestioned greatness was not — as Hemingway put it — a “moveable feast”. It was greatness of a certain type that, as our history books tell us, was needed to defeat the crafty Napoleon. When the times demanded a different sort of greatness, the authorities, including the great Wellington, had difficulty understanding what was happening, let alone what was needed. They perceived threats when there was opportunity.

No doubt Donald Trump would have sided with Wellington in resisting reform. The weird thing is that Trump leads a country that violently rejected just that sort of unfettered authority.  Trump seems unable to comprehend that his rather casual demands to be treated like a monarch are a deep insult to those who resisted monarchy, and founded the country that made his father wealthy and him president.

A quick follow: The above image is by George Cruikshank. Cruikshank was a fascinating figure who deserves a post or two or three. I will just point out here that he was one of the most important caricateurists of his day, and his independent spirit is a great inspiration to me. That era produced a few other great caricateurists. Hogarth and Gillray (who both came before George) are among the greatest. George’s father, Isaac Cruikshank, was no slouch either.