Thursday, October 31, 2019

"It's gold, Jerry! Gold!"

The ratings will be through the roof!  People will be glued to their TV sets!  Women will faint, strong men will cry!  Generals with tears in their eyes will tell Trump it's the greatest event they've ever witnessed!  Police officers in Chicago will tell him they've rededicated themselves to cleaning up the city after hearing him read, and will declare they can do it single-handedly!

It'll be the single most watched TV program in the history of the universe!  It'll go global!  The entire planet will tune in!  Suck it, Neil Armstrong!  Your moon landing was nothing compared to this!

(Can you tell I really want him to do it?)


Don't Let the Doorknob Hit Ya....

Nobody cares, and everybody thinks you think this means SDNY and New York State will have to extradite you from Florida.  That's not as tough as you might imagine.
Here's a clue:  money doesn't really buy you respect.  Especially in this enlightened age.
But not the people of San Francisco?  Or Baltimore? Or Chicago?  El Paso, maybe?  Any of the cities your campaign stuck with bills for your ego-fetes you call rallies?

Why does a 70 year old man whine on the internet and expect to be respected for it?

There's always an electoral explanation.


So it's either "regime cleavage," a condition in which:

Instead of seeking office to change the laws to obtain preferred policies, politicians who oppose the democratic order ignore the laws when necessary to achieve their political goals, and their supporters stand by or even endorse those means to their desired ends. 

Which exists today because:

Today, when Trump refuses to comply with the House impeachment inquiry, he makes plain his indifference to the Constitution and to the separation of powers. When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell argues that impeachment overturns an election result, he is doing the same. In the minds of Trump, his allies and, increasingly, his supporters, it’s not just Democrats but American democracy that is the obstacle.

Or maybe it's something else:

A majority of Americans say President Donald Trump has little to no respect for America’s democratic institutions and traditions, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The issue strikes at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry into Trump, which is focused in part on whether he used his office to seek a foreign government’s help for personal political gain. Sixty-one percent of Americans, including 26% of Republicans, say Trump lacks respect for democratic norms. Similar shares of Republicans are also critical of the president’s honesty and his discipline.

Yet the majority of Republicans — 85% — are supportive of Trump’s job in office. Overall, 42% of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the job, in line with where he has been throughout his tenure. Just 7% of Democrats have a positive view of Trump as president.

Trump’s job approval rating and other markers in the survey underscore the deeply divisive nature of his presidency, with Republicans largely favoring his actions and Democrats overwhelmingly disapproving. As Trump eyes his reelection campaign, it suggests his path to victory will hinge on rallying higher turnout among his core supporters as opposed to persuading new voters to back his bid for a second term.

But this analysis rests on Stalin's question:  how many supporters does Trump have?  If they all turned out in 2016, and the Democrats can turn out their base in 2020 (as they did in 2018), who wins?  Trump's national approval rating is holding fairly steady, but we don't elect Presidents by national ballot, we do it by states.  His approval rating in the states is what matters, and in many states where it counts, he's down or sinking.  42% nationally is where Trump has been since two months into his term.  He's gone down below that, a little above it, but he's never improved on it.  Is he steady and true?  Or is he just treading water?  85% of Republicans may approve of Trump, but how many voters in which states is that?  Enough to carry the electoral college again?  Probably not.

Newt Gingrich didn't show much respect for democratic institutions or traditions, either.  It's the primary reason he forced an impeachment of Bill Clinton.  Clinton survived and Gingrich was driven from office.  But he came in thumbing his nose at House traditions and setting himself up to be King when he took the Speaker's office.  He did a great deal more damage than his tenure in Congress, though, because he turned the GOP into what it is today.  The odds of a third party rising out of the carcass of the current GOP seem fairly strong, as many conservative (arch-conservative by '70's standards) GOP voices are decrying Trump and his Congressional support more loudly every day.

Are we seeing a regime change?  Or the collapse of the Whigs, which lead to the formation of the Republican party almost 150 years ago?

Maybe it's about time.

Five Thirty Eight today reports 48% approval for impeachment of Trump.   To put that in context with Nixon's resignation, opposition to impeachment, and support for it, crossed each other sometime in early spring of 1974.  Public hearings were underway, the depositions and fact gathering had been done, and witnesses were testifying (against those depositions, to keep them honest) in public hearings.  Support for impeachment rose sharply in July after the Supreme Court ruled Nixon had to release the White House tapes.  (I was working in a bookstore at the time; I remember the paperback copies piled on tables.  I had one myself for years, though like most people, I never read it.)  Nixon resigned in August.

Trump is fighting a losing battle against law and order.  He has been a civics lesson in who we DON'T want to have as a national leader, and he may have woken us all to who represents us, and how well they do that.  We won't sweep out the Devin Nunez' and the Louie Gohmerts, but we may marginalize them completely.  We may soon have, briefly, three parties:  the Democrats, what's left of the GOP, and the new party that takes up a more conservative bent than AOC and Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, but is more ready to make common cause for the sake of the nation, rather than throw bombs and defy subpoenas, for the sake of power itself.

I really don't think the latter form of governance is all that appealing to the majority of the electorate. It usually takes something extraordinary to stir them into awareness; but Trump seems to be that something.

Bannon's Emergence from the Crypt on Hallowe'en Night

This is why the GOP is not A) leaking statements from witnesses being deposed; and B) still talking only about process:

“To me this is a policy difference,” said Bannon. “I think when you look at President Trump, I haven’t seen anything in the transcript. I haven’t seen anything in the drive. I looked to Mike Pompeo’s speech today. I haven’t seen anything that he has done that is wrong or inappropriate.”

“In general, is it okay for a president, any president to ask a foreign leader of a country fighting a war against our adversaries in need of aid to do a political favor and investigate his political opponent and hold aid over it?” countered Cooper.

“This is where your premise is wrong,” said Bannon. “Number one, one of the things that started this was ‘Secret Empires,’ the book that Peter Schweizer did. This is where Biden and Mitch McConnell and others talked about where they get their money from. And Biden — hold on, and China and Ukraine, and the issues were when he was vice president. I don’t buy the assumption — see you have this premise that it’s about a political opponent. What they’re investigating is the corruption—”

“Oh, come on, give me a break. You know very well that that is bull,” said Cooper. “How can you say — if you’re concerned about corruption — you’re concerned about corruption in Ukraine, I’ve been there. There is a lot of corruption. The only example of corruption in the Ukraine the president can say is Joe Biden, the guy he happens to be running against?”

“No, no,” said Bannon.

“And he talked about the conspiracy theory. The CrowdStrike and the server being in Ukraine,” said Cooper.

“What Pompeo talked about today that nothing that the president has done is outside—”

“But you haven’t addressed what I just said which is he’s talking about a conspiracy theory and Joe Biden,” said Cooper.

“Ernst & Young says Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in world,” said Bannon. “No earthly idea, and that’s what this process is about.”

“We do have a lot of earthy idea about who is corrupting Ukraine,” shot back Cooper. “Because we have diplomats working on it because that’s been U.S. policy. And the president cannot name any other Ukrainian official who’s corrupt who he wants investigated? The only one he can name is Joe Biden?”

“That’s why this process starting now,” said Bannon. “Now we’re going to have an impeachment process. You’re going to have an impeachment process and not going to have a star chamber.”

“That doesn’t make sense,” said Cooper.
Proof positive Anderson Cooper is part of the Deep State.  Or is it the cult that's out to get Trump via impeachment?  Can't tell your conspiracy theories without a scorecard!

And Peter Schweizer?  Peter Schweizer?  Oh, yeah:  Peter Schweizer:

Let’s remind ourselves of Schweizer’s most recent history. He co-founded the Government Accountability Institute with Steve Bannon and financing from Robert Mercer. His last book, Clinton Cash, was weaponized (with a huge assist from the New York Times) to lay the foundation for Trump’s “crooked Hillary” meme and the media’s obsession with the Clinton Foundation.

On the cover of Schweizers latest book, Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends, we see the faces of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Mitch McConnell and Jared Kushner. During a recent interview with Sean Hannity, Schweizer claims that the inclusion of Kushner was more of a warning than an allegation of corruption. But it is worth noting that Schweitzer’s partner, Steve Bannon, has been pretty open about the fact that he considers the president’s son-in-law to be an enemy, along with Majority Leader McConnell.

The attacks on Biden and Kerry are apparently based on Schweizer’s assertion that, while in their roles as Vice President and Secretary of State, they went easy on China and their sons benefited in their business dealings as a result. Once again, he’s playing the “merchant of doubt” with no actual evidence of corruption. All he has is a factless assertion that these two politicians gave China a break and that their sons were rewarded.

Well, that's where the whole "China and Biden" story keeps coming from.  And gee, he's connected at the hip to Steve Bannon, and taking money from Robert Mercer, who never met a right-wing crackpot he didn't want to throw money at.  Yeah, Schweizer is clearly an independent source of information, separate and apart from Steve Bannon.

Hell, now I understand where Trump gets his craziest ideas.  And the worst part is, Bannon still thinks this is a defense.  He makes Trump look rational.  As Nancy LeTourneau said of Schweizer:  "His claims are so absurd that perhaps people are finally beginning to see him for the propagandist he’s always been."

I think that can be said for most of the House GOP and Administration, at this point.  At least the parts of the Administration who aren't testifying against Trump.

(BTW, does Bannon want to address this?

But Trump Said!

On the other hand, we betrayed the Kurds! America first! Mission Accomplished!

Other Tweets I Have No Particular Place For

but which should be widely appreciated:

And it must be pointed out the only people likely to know what "Gulag" or "Soviet-style" means, are retired viewers of FoxNews; a diminishing demographic, especially as Millennials turn to the voting booth (see., e., 2018).
And there was a tweet I read this morning and can't find now, about the dog that didn't bark.  Viz:  if Republicans want to leak information from the depositions taken in the SCIF, as they complain Democrats are doing, they are free to do so.

But they don't. Why not, pray tell?

Three guesses, the first two don't count.

So they continue to complain about process.  Trump hasn't left them anything else to say, after all.


In Unrelated News: Why I Don't Eat at State Fairs Anymore

"Fried Mac 'n' Cheese balls"?  "Fried Avocado dippers"?  I don't even want to think about "Hot Beef Sundaes."

And I just finished a Whataburger meal, which is not that unusual for me.  But this stuff?  Ugh!

"... a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham"

I was wondering if they got this language in:

The House Resolution incorporates by reference procedures adopted by the Judiciary Committee that will be entered into the Congressional Record. Those procedures are contained in an accompanying document, which has this key language:

“Should the President unlawfully refuse to make witnesses available for testimony to, or to produce documents requested by, the investigative committees . . . in furtherance of the investigations described in the first section of [this resolution], the chair shall have the discretion to impose appropriate remedies, including by denying specific requests by the President or his counsel under these procedures to call or question witnesses."

I will be impolitic and call that the "Fuck you, buddy" clause.  There is a real genius here:  "You wanna complain about 'process'?  I'll give you process, motherfucker!"

Trump wants to talk about substance, but all the White House did this morning is issue a statement complaining about:  process.  Even the NRCC wanted to complain the process is a travesty, while complaining one Democratic representative wasn't taking the "travesty" seriously enough:
I mean, when that's the best defense you've got....

This fight is being waged entirely on Pelosi's terms.  Trump is in her wheelhouse, and he's not getting out anytime soon.

Why Impeachment is a Political Process: Lesson #3

"It's only words"

And words are all they have/to take this impeachment away....

BREAKING NEWS! Daughter of Pot Calls Kettle "Black"

In other news: Trump deafness proven to be genetic:

Better Safe Than Sorry?

I used to teach an essay about process analysis.  It involved an explanation of the reproductive cycle of a pepsid wasp (I'm sure if I searched my blog for that species I'd find I'd mentioned this before).  The wasp reproduces by paralyzing and burying a specific species of tarantula and laying eggs in it.

The curious part of this process is that the wasp examines the tarantula to be sure it's found the right species, then goes off to dig a hole big enough to bury the tarantula.  Without shovels or machinery, you can imagine this is not a rapid process for the wasp, which is far smaller than the tarantula.  What's curious is that after the first examination, and while the grave is being dug, the tarantula tends to stay put, almost as if waiting for death.

It isn't waiting, of course; it just doesn't perceive the threat, because that doesn't come until the wasp looks for a break in the chitinous exo-skeleton where it can insert a stinger and paralyze the tarantula.  What the tarantula perceives is that is it is safe where it is.  Beyond the reach of its senses is the unknown, and there could very well be danger.  The safest bet is "better safe than sorry," and venturing beyond the space it is standing in may lead it quickly into danger.

(By way of illustration, in my youth I was visiting my cousin and we were crossing an open field.  We stopped at a barbed wire fence to step through.  I put a foot through the fence, and looked down to see a tarantula resting a tentative leg on the toe of my sandal.  My reaction flipped the tarantula a foot or more away, and my cousin grabbed a pipe and dropped it on the unfortunate.  I came to the spider, but he didn't know what was coming until it was too late.  Most animals in the wild don't have much better sense of the future than that.)

So do the people defending Trump have no better sense of the future?  Some, like Gaetz and Jordan and Nunes, are riding the horses they rode in on.  What choice do they have?  Others, like Cornyn or McConnell, don't seem to know whether to shit or go blind.  Politics, after all, can turn on a dime, and the forces that put them in office may still keep them there if they are careful enough.

But is this a sea change?  Or merely a shift in the winds for a moment?  I think it is the former, but it doesn't really surprise me if they think it is the latter.  Time will tell which of us is right.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Impeachment Is Not A Criminal Proceeding

But this is what prosecutors look for: evidence of awareness of guilt. It isn't proof of a crime; but it's why the cover-up is worse than the crime. Because the cover-up shows they knew there was a crime.

He Can't Express His Opinion In Public

...because he can't hear what he's saying.

Must be an inherited condition; like his money.

Another Argument

Why can't the 5th and 14th Amendments (which provide for due process) apply to impeachment? For the simple reason such application would be sauce for the gander, too.

The Constitution requires the Senate sit as jury over the trial. Individual Senators cannot be excluded in order to assure a fair trial, which is also a requirement of due process. Due process is like pregnancy: it's all or nothing.

It can't apply in the Senate trial, which means it can't apply to the House impeachment proceedings, either.

(It's not exactly a legal argument, but: QED.)

As I Was Saying

The "due process" offer in the House vote on impeachment is not required, but it is a poison pill: cooperate, and you get more than Nixon or Clinton got. Refuse, and not only does the obstruction count against you, but you lose this offer.

Trump understands deals, right?

This isn't giving the White House anything. This is reminding Trump who controls this process .

Of Course He Does

He tweeted this, didn't he?
Every time you this he's hit bottom, he proves there isn't one.

By way of explanation

None of those alleged accomplishments constitute grounds for impeachment.

When I posted that, I had in mind that I'd already posted this.

If this blog was an economic enterprise, it would be sorely in need of an editor by now.

One of these things

One of the more striking aspects of the book is the way in which Trump Jr portrays himself as a victim of liberal political correctness. “I’m essentially not allowed to have an opinion any more, let alone express that opinion in public,” he writes.
(Yeah, I know; in a 294 page book that is being reviewed in even British newspapers, described as:

But a more accurate description of the book, a copy of which has been obtained ahead of publication by the Guardian, might be that it reveals its author to be every bit as devoted to partisan trolling, childish insults and grudge-holding as his father in the Oval Office. Even the title, Triggered, is designed to make the veins on the foreheads of liberals pulsate.

Poor baby; can't say a word in public anymore.)

Let Us Now Complain About Legal Niceties

...that an impeachment is not just a legal process, but a political one as well.
Quid pro quo, in law, is not the same thing as it is in the news narrative.  But just as motive is meaningless in a criminal trial, it means everything in the story we tell about the crime. So the omissions in the transcript may not have meaning under the law, but they mean a great deal to the general public. What constitutes evidence of guilt, or concealment, in law, can be very different in the public eye.

Discrepancies minimal to a criminal investigator may mean a great deal to the jury, which in this case will be not the U.S. Senate but the voters.  The court may not need a motive for the crime, but the jury needs a story, and motive is what drives the narrative to its climax.  Leaving words out of a "transcript" that wasn't a transcript (it says so on the memorandum released by the White House) is not necessarily evidence of criminal intent; but it is damning evidence of clumsy concealment, which is what most of this story is being understood as.  The more Trump insists the phone call was "perfect" and that the transcript doesn't say anything about "quid pro quo" because it's not a transcript but he insists it is the complete record of the call, the more the public thinks he's hiding something.

Here's another example, ripped, as they used to say, from today's headlines:

On Tuesday night the House Judiciary Committee released a set of impeachment protocols to go along with the broader resolution that the House will likely vote on this week, outlining the public phase of its impeachment inquiry.

The new impeachment protocols offer the President the due process rights that Republicans complain have been absent in the inquiry, but they come with a twist.

A provision in the package says that if the President “unlawfully” refuses “to make witnesses available for testimony to, or to produce documents requested by” the committees currently leading the impeachment probe, the House Judiciary Committee chairman will have the right to deny the due process procedures outlined in the procedures.

This prompted a response from one commenter at TPM:

The problem with the article – OK, one problem with the article – is that you can’t use the term “due process” and then talk about denying people “due process.” That’s not what “due” means.

"Due" is not what "due process" means, either.  You can deny due process, but only if the courts say it was not a denial of due process.  Which seems like a terribly lawyerly distinction, but it's the correct one.  "Due Process" is defined by the courts, not by onlookers; and there's the linchpin:  impeachment is not a process of the courts.

Despite the lengthy letter from the White House Counsel a few weeks back (!; it seems much longer), there is no case in which the courts have found that a President must be allowed due process in impeachment proceedings.  The House gets to set its rules on how an impeachment is conducted, and the Supreme Court does not review House's authority to set its own rules (co-equal branches of government doctrine).  Impeachment does not have to include due process in large part because it is not a criminal proceeding (that kind of proceeding is reserved to the courts).  Due process is guaranteed by the 5th and 14th Amendments, but the concept applies to courts of law; not to impeachment proceedings under Art. II of the Constitution.

So while the House may label it's proceedings "due process," that doesn't open the door to the Court reviewing the proper standard of due process which must be allowed.  It doesn't even require the House align its rules with the court rulings on what constitutes due process. So the House is perfectly within its Constitutional authority to establish rules for impeachment that are conditional on the cooperation of the President.  They can call it "due process," or marzipan, if they want.

The Senate isn't bound by the 5th and 14th Amendments, either.  Indeed, just how much authority the Chief Justice has in presiding over the trial is really up to the Senate.  The Constitution is silent on the matter, and the Chief Justice can't bring a case to the Supreme Court challenging the Senate's rules for an impeachment trial (there is, a) the question of standing, b) the question of conflict of interest; and c) the co-equal branches doctrine.  Three strikes, yer out!).

You may notice "unlawfully" is carrying quite a burden in the proposed rules.  It will mean one thing to the Democrats, another to Republicans or the White House.  That is, however, a trap the White House can't evade.  They can't go to court to argue about what the term means, and they can't use their argument to stave off impeachment.  Whatever they do, it will force them to continue to complain about process.

And the rule stands:  if you're complaining about the rules, you aren't winning the game.   If the Nationals last night had won Game 6 without two more runs after the controversial call, the game would be forever marred by the asterisk.  If they had somehow lost, that call would become the "turning point," and Nationals fans would forever complain about the "process."  And be labeled sore losers, for doing so.

Even if you win the outcome, arguing about the rules is not the same as winning.

Somebody's Gonna Have To Explain It To Me

Even more interesting:  Trump is a draft dodger who claimed fake bone spurs to evade the draft.

Vindman is an immigrant who became a naturalized citizen and a combat veteran who still serves in the military.

How is recognizing the latter putting Vindman "on a pedestal" to the "rejection" of a draft-dodger who essentially bought his way out of danger?

Are we supposed to take these arguments serious because "FoxNews"?  Me, I prefer to take the arguments of AOC seriously, but nobody seems to think it reasonable or practical to do that.

In this context, I just don't understand why not.

Telling Scary Stories in the Dark

Actually, it's hard to take it seriously:

A dark assumption seems baked into Donald Trump’s effort to strong-arm foreign leaders into unearthing dirt on Joe Biden: that Trump’s reelection victory is in the nation’s interests, because he and the nation are one and the same.

More reasonably, he's a narcissist: so he and the entire world are one.  It's sort of like the psychiatrist (was that in Douglas Adams somewhere?) who built an asylum by building a very small room, but he declared the world outside the room the asylum, the world inside the room to be the world, because in his assessment everyone was crazy (except him?).  Trump seems to really think he's the only person in the world who matters?  L'etat, c'est moi?  No:  Le monde, c'est moi.  It seems that, to Trump, he and the world are coterminous.  Or, if he is capable of some reason, he's afraid of losing the protection of the Presidency, afraid of what legal peril awaits him when the OLC decision no longer shields him from prosecution.  Occam's Razor, if you will.  Trump's "dark assumption" is not quite so grandiose or powerful as that of a comic-book villain bent on taking over the world.

When that is a president’s mind-set, schemes that might seem unsavory and possibly impeachable become necessary acts of national service. Legitimate investigations into his behavior become plots against the state. An impeachment inquiry isn’t so much a constitutional process for determining whether a president violated the oath of office as a coup—a crime against country.

Or just violations of his sense of self, his insistence that he is right, and the whole world wrong.  Sort of a Romantic hero turned inside out, and with no redeeming moral virtues.

As Trump tries to preserve his presidency, he’s talking in just these grandiose terms, erasing the distinction between country and self, and grooming his base to see things the same way. That sort of thinking could ultimately portend a crisis, if Trump’s actions in the months ahead mirror his rhetoric. If Trump thinks of himself as the state, would he leave office were the Senate to convict him in an impeachment trial, or were he to lose the 2020 election? Or would he count on an embittered electoral coalition to rise up and repudiate the verdict?

The same electoral coalition that's abandoning him now?  Trump may think an army of supporters would march on Washington and surround the White House and protect his claim to the office with their bodies, but reality would have a rather different say.  There are Marines and Secret Service agents in the White House.  Their loyalty is to their oaths and the Constitution, not the President-Who-Was-Not-Re-Elected.  It might be a "constitutional crisis" in the headlines (which is where they all seem to occur; when things get really dicey, suddenly it's no longer a "crisis" that the POTUS was selling the national honor for a mess of pottage), but what would keep the Secret Service and a few Marine guards from escorting Trump outside the gates like a fired employee whose desk is cleaned out by security?  The angry mob is not going to storm through the gates of the White House and establish a Trump monarchy; not even in Trump's wildest dreams.

Trump is a bad actor, of that there is no doubt (and I refer to his actions, not to any ability to pretend to be a character in a play).  He's undoubtedly the worst President in American history (Millard Fillmore is redeemed!).  But this kind of fearful speculation is as pointless as the armchair psychoanalysis of Trump that is all the rage in certain quarters.  That narrative might well support a 25th Amendment remedy, but the problem with the 25th Amendment is that it requires the approval of the sycophantic Cabinet Trump has put in place (the few ratified Secretaries the nation still has), and all it does is put Pence in power until Trump is deemed fit to return as POTUS.  It may be a useful story for driving down Trump's approval ratings, but the impeachment inquiry seems to be far more successful at that than anything else has been.

It’s possible, of course, that Trump’s rhetoric is just that—rhetoric. But what’s clear is that he’s been laying the groundwork for his base to be angry whenever it is that he leaves office. By signaling to his core supporters that his ouster would be a grievous injustice they shouldn’t tolerate, Trump is upending the basic premise that the president is a temporary custodian of the office and subject to laws and oversight. In a recent tweet, he quoted one of his prominent evangelical backers in saying his removal through impeachment would create an irreconcilable split reminiscent of the Civil War. He’s said that two years of his presidency were “stolen” from him by Mueller’s Russia investigation. His ex-lawyer and onetime confidant, Michael Cohen, warned at a congressional hearing in February that he worried that if Trump were to lose the 2020 election, he wouldn’t permit a “peaceful transition of power.”

Well, maybe; then again, one widely accepted theory is that the march to the Right of the GOP began with the defeat of Goldwater, and the certainty in those who backed him that they were entitled to run Washington as they saw fit.  Nixon was a raving liberal compared to Goldwater, but they got their wish with Reagan, and then Gingrich taking on Clinton, who was never seen (by them) as any more legitimate than Trump said Obama was.  Trump has not swooped down in the planet from a flying saucer and replaced reliable American voters with pod people; he is the end, the goal, the telos, of a process that began more than 50 years ago.  It may be, rather than the apotheosis of that process, he is the first real nail in its coffin.

It makes more sense than being afraid, very afraid, of a man who publicly labels himself "a very stable genius" and uses the English language as if he lost touch with it sometime in the 3rd grade, and declares himself more knowledgeable than the rest of the world combined.  That's the lunatic declaring the rest of the world crazy, and he the only sane one.  There's really not as much challenge in dealing with such a person as we can make it out to be.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

I Love The Smell of Scorched Fool

Now will CNN let go of him?

Paging Mr. Kushner

About those "accomplishments"...

Serious Pundits Get Fits of Vapors!

Heavens above, where is my fainting couch?

Meanwhile, really serious people want to know:  can we stop worrying about Trump's "base" now?

Following The Bouncing Ball

Yeah, Duffy, stick with that.  That'll pull your foot out of your mouth.
Much as I appreciate the sentiment, that's not gonna happen, either.


It's not like Trump & Co. are body-snatchers who stealthily replaced the GOP. Charlie Pierce called it the prion disease that infected the GOP under Reagan. Personally I favor the origins in Goldwater's loss to LBJ.

Either way, Trump is not the infection. He's just the logical end of a road they started down a long time ago. The scary part is: it's likely they jettison Trump, in impeachment or next November, and go on as they have, but worse. Nixon was a Bernie Bro compared to Reagan, and that was only a 6 year gap.

Dear GOP

Please follow your party leader's lead and focus on his facts, not process! What do you have (left) to lose?

(Trump is not bound by consistency. He has retweeted 21 GOP tweets about process in the last 24 hours. Still, do what he says, not what he does.)

"Morning Joe" Finds Something

that disturbs him more than people booing in a ballpark:

“There’s so much disgusting things going on, but last night you actually — it was unbelievable,” said the “Morning Joe” host. “You had people on Fox News attacking an Iraqi War hero, an Iraqi War hero who has committed 25 years of his life, I think it is, to public service to the United States of America. An infantry officer, he was injured by an IED, got a Purple Heart, continued serving America, and because he came forward and because he’s going to come forward (Tuesday) and simply tell the truth, you actually had a panel on Fox News and a Fox News host attacking an American hero.”

Fox News host Laura Ingraham broadcast a segment suggesting the Ukraine-born Vindman was a double agent, and guest John Yoo — a former Bush administration staffer who authored the infamous “Torture Memos” — accused the NSC expert of “espionage.”
It had to be John Yoo, didn't it?  Hasn't he disgraced himself and the school he teaches for, enough?

“Oh my god,” Scarborough said. “The idiocy change. First of all, to our gentle viewers from Fox News — Albert Einstein emigrated from Germany and helped the United States of America win World War II. Another thing, unlike Germany during World War II, Ukraine is a democratic ally, and what helps Ukraine helps the United States of America.”

“But it is breathtaking,” he added, “it is astounding that an Iraqi War veteran, a hero, a man who got injured, got a Purple Heart and continued to fight for this country and work for this country after his service in Iraq, is now being accused of espionage by John Yoo and Fox News hosts.”
Not really astounding, no.  It's par for the course for FoxNews and various Trump "supporters."  I'm just surprised Matt Gaetz didn't get to it first (he's probably jealous).  Still, it's not people chanting "lock him up!" during a baseball game, (which is, frankly, astounding; in a good way), so maybe the national conversation has moved on?

Dear Republicans...

You will have the thanks of a grateful nation.  Believe me!

Pay no attention to him!  He's a lawyer!  What does he know?

Monday, October 28, 2019

Who Saw This Coming?

Oh Please Please...

...let the man who thinks the transcript of the phone call he released is fake and was leaked and was falsified by Adam Schiff AND was "perfect;" decide what the facts of the defense are. What could go wrong?

I Just Don't Understand

...why it took the White House so long to come up with this argument.

"You're Fired!"

Well, you know he wants to.

Trump's Reaction To His World Series Appearance

He has to take it out on somebody.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

I Will Be Otherwise Occupied

...for the next few days.

Turns Out...

I did see this; but they didn't broadcast the crowd noise. It'll all be fine:
He'll try, anyway:

"Those to whom violence is done..."

"Do violence in return."

Read Ackerman. It's an old story. We are still creating enemies, by killing them.

Go 'stros!

This explains why I didn't see it on the TeeVee (commercial break. They showed Trump seperately). This next one explains the wisdom of the crowd.
And he brings together Atros and Nationals fans.

"What an absolute goddamn embarrassment..."

You thought that was bad?
That article is by Chris Cillizza. That's a measure of how badly Trump did. And ho-lee shit, did he do badly.

American "Friendship" now worth a pitcher of warm shit.

Hillary's E-Mails Are Still in Ukraine

Just sayin'...

One Of These Things

Yeah, just the same, except:

A) Brennan wasn't POTUS, and

B) He didn't say bin Laden "died like a dog, "whimpering and crying."

But mostly A).

One More Reason cancel the White House NYT subscription.  "...occurred largely in spite of Mr. Trump's actions."


"The First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All The Lawyers"

Gene Lyons and Joe Conason called the Whitewater investigation "The Hunting of the Snark, " and they were right. Clinton was impeached for lying about having sex with Monica Lewinsky, not for anything he allegedly did in Arkansas. But that's all Starr could find after years of investigation. Curiously, the GOP is back in power and here we are: snark hunting again.

As Rick Wilson points out, William Barr already has access to any information that would justify a criminal investigation. What he's doing instead is criminal in another sense.

Absent any reasonable suspicion of a crime, the threshold barrier to any criminal investigation, Barr is presuming his suspicions are reasonable, and proceeding to find evidence to establish even that threshold.

This will never survive an encounter with any trial judge, but Barr doesn't care. Protecting the President and the President's privileges are all that matter to Barr. And that makes Wilson right: Barr is the most dangerous man in America.

I don't think any victim of this hunt will be broken, as Wilson fears. If this ever gets to court, an incompetent appointed lawyer could stand by as the judge throws it out. The problem is the long term damage to the DOJ. Like everything Trump touches, that, too, could die.

News O' The Day


Even the headline strained her attention span?


SO Presidential!

It's Trump. Of Course It Gets Worse

Following Up on Today's Announcement

What I Missed By Not Listening to Trump's Announcement

(Ruled by despots, all.)
And Richard Engel (on MTP) is telling me what I thought, Trump revealed way too much operational information. I think it made Trump sound more like ISIS propaganda than something from the White House.
Why don't I believe him? (Even Trump's new NSA won't talk about what was seen in the Situation Room.) Meanwhile, in other news (views):

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Confirming Donald Trump Tweets From the Bathroom

(I go away for one day, and this is all that happens.)

Friday, October 25, 2019

Inquiring Minds Want...

Or what if the Mole Men were in league with the DNC?

Cornyn was on the Texas Supreme Court, he presumably understands the legal concept of "evidence." And the phrase related to investigations, reasonable suspicion.

Then again, Louie Gohmert was a state judge in Texas.

Underline that "presumably" up there.

The Tl; dr

Wittes' argument here, boiled down to the fine, is that impeachment puts the case against Trump's re-election in front of voters. Senators may stand by Trump because the risk of opposing him is still seen as greater than the duty to protect the Constitution (read Wittes' argument, it's worth it). In the end, that probably won't matter.

The cruder version of the argument is that the narrative matters. A good trial lawyer knows a story will win where facts alone will be seeds sown on stony ground. The evidence released so far is damning. The responses to it, complaining about process, are whinging. They won't stand up against the evidence presented in the House to pass Articles of Impeachment, or in the Senate when the trial us conducted (and how willing is McConnell to give Trump the kangaroo court he craves?). And if the trial re-establishes the narrative the news is already steadily reporting, then that becomes the story history tells the voters a year from now.

The play is not really to removal; the play is to next November.