A Genius for Stupid – Don and the giant impeach

November 16th 2019

OK, I’ll grant you that when you are being impeached by the House, good days are kind of few and far between. After all, the hearings are the most public performance review of all time, and it wouldn’t be happening if enough people weren’t seriously questioning your fitness for the job.

Andrew Johnson was pretty much screwed from the get-go. A Southern Democrat who opposed succession, he was Lincoln’s idea of an olive branch to the South, and Lincoln’s assassination made sure the new President, at odds with both parties at a time when partisan fury was at its highest, didn’t have a chance in hell. It’s kind of amazing—and a credit to Johnson’s political skills—that it took nearly three years for the Republicans in Congress to fabricate a case against him He was accused of firing a member of his cabinet, an action recently outlawed by the blatantly unconstitutional Tenure of Office act. Oh, the act itself wasn’t a bad idea, but Congress tried to say it meant a president could not fire members of his own cabinet. Hello, separation of powers?

Nixon was pretty much self-screwing, but until the release of the smoking gun tapes, enjoyed fairly broad popular support. Nonetheless, the laborious and painstaking process inflicted a death by a thousand paper cuts against Nixon, who slowly unraveled as the almost two-year process finally reached a point where Congress was going to vote to impeach, at which point he resigned.

Clinton probably had the worst of it, since the Republicans were intent on humiliating him and his wife for an act that many of the Republicans—including the leaders of the impeachment movement in the House—had committed themselves. One was banging his secretary and future wife #4 at the time. Another was a kiddy diddler. Another quit one day after…something…came out of his closet. Republicans were vicious and cruel, and hypocrites.

But Trump seems intent on having the worst impeachment process of all. His worst enemies aren’t the Democrats in the House, who learned from watching Republicans disgrace themselves in their damp lust to smear Clinton, but his own allies and his own mouth—or at least, his fumbling fingers when combined with a smartphone.

Take yesterday, for example. Marie Yovanovitch, former ambassador to the Ukraine and victim of a vicious smear campaign to drive her out by the Trumplings, testified in open session. The smear campaign hadn’t worked, and in fact made her a more sympathetic witness. Even the Republicans in Congress realized that they would need to treat her with deference and at least the sort of respect a junkyard dog shows when someone has just kicked its ass.

Part of the testimony focused on the smear campaign (even Republicans couldn’t try to pretend it was anything other than that), and the topics of witness intimidation and witness tampering came up.

Her testimony was damaging to Trump, and half-way through, Trump, who swore he wasn’t watching the proceedings, blew up and launched a twitter attack against her. Even tried to imply that she was somehow responsible for Somalia being the mess that it is. Tactically, it was pretty much the worst move he could have possibly made. Aside from the sheer stupid boorishness of the move, there is the awkward fact that publically denigrating a witness AS SHE IS TESTIFYING, particularly when done by the defendant, is a prima facie case of witness tampering. He may as well have typed, “OK, you’re being a stoolie. A rat. You gotta dog? Your dog dies tonight.”

Speaking of which, Roger Stone was found guilty of six counts of lying to Congress and one count of witness tampering. He told the guy that if he testified, he, Roger Stone, would kill his dog.

If you want to know where Republicans get their class and dignity from, Roger Stone is a good place to start looking. He won’t be hard to find after his sentencing: federal prison, for up to twenty years.

Unless Donald Trump pardons him. That would be a catastrophically bad move politically for Trump, so I’m offering 4-1 odds that he’ll do exactly that.

Finally, Nancy Pelosi weighed in. Trump desperately needed someone in Congress who could slow the process down, and Pelosi, who was less than anxious to impeach, would have fitted the bill. All Trump had to do was treat her with a modicum of respect, and convince McConnell to take up at least some of the smaller 250 bills the House passed that the Senate will never hear, and she might have been willing to stop the impeachment process from really getting off the ground. For a while, it seems that no matter how stupid and egregious Trump got, the House wasn’t going to slap him down on it. He could have even turned Pelosi’s civility and willingness to try to find less draconian solutions against the Democrats, especially as impatience amongst non-Republicans mounted.

Pelosi used the b-word. “Bribery.” It’s what ‘quid pro quo” is the polite Latin for, and more to the point, it’s a crime explicitly mentioned in the Constitution as grounds for impeachment. Expect it to be in the articles of impeachment, and more than once. Trump lived by bribery and extortion, and he will die by bribery and extortion.

Pelosi, who has basically owned Trump for the past eighteen months or so, added this: “He [Trump] should not frivolously throw out insults, but that’s what he does. I think part of it is his own insecurity as an imposter. I think he knows full well that he’s in that office way over his head. And so he has to diminish everyone else.”

He diminishes himself pretty good. Today’s testimony came from someone named Mark Sandy who happened to be sitting at the same table as Gordon Sondland got his marching orders on how to use the Ukraine to fuck over Joe Biden. Despite knowing that Sondland was at a table surrounded by people, Trump elected to scream his demands, so loudly Sondland pulled the phone back from his ear, making Trump that much more audible to everyone else at the table. He was the first of something Republicans had been demanding: a first-hand witness, someone who could say he saw or heard this first-hand.

It’s a tribute to the impenetrable stupidity of Trump supporters that none of them asked why Trump had blocked first-hand witnesses from testifying. If they were capable of thinking…well, if they were. Trump would never have been president in the first place.

In the meantime, hope the days just keep getting worse for Trump, and not for the rest of us.

Trump is Toast – He has created a prima facie case for impeachment

Trump is Toast

He has created a prima facie case for impeachment

September 24th, 2019

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has just announced that a full-blown impeachment inquiry will proceed against Donald J. Trump. Clearly, she believes that the evidence supports it, and that the House will support it.

Republican resistance is beginning to crumble: The Senate voted unanimously to demand that the transcripts of the calls to the Ukraine be released. It’s a small concession in a way: the transcripts are of one phone call to one leader, and all reports are that the complaint itself involves at least a half-dozen calls to several world leaders, including Putin and Kim Jong Un. But given the utter solidity of GOP intransigence in the Senate, this relatively small accommodation to the law represents a massive surrender.

Trump himself reacted to this, characteristically, with a self pitying whine. “Such an important day at the United Nations, so much work and so much success, and the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage. So bad for our Country!”

Thank you, Mister President. You may sit down now.

We’re going to hear a lot about how the transcript may not show anything really bad and how Hunter Biden is the one who should be investigated, along with lots of other apologist gaslighting. Trump just said that the transcript will show “no quid pro quo unlike Hunter Biden.” Hunter Biden isn’t the president, and even if he was as corrupt in the Ukraine as Paul Manafort, he didn’t violate the Constitution. Trump, however, did.

By his own public statements, he withheld $400 million in military and foreign aid to the Ukraine while pressing the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on Hunter Biden. The office of the president, Volodymyr Zelensky, indirectly confirmed this, issuing a statement that they would respond favorably to ally legal request through intelligence channels regarding any activities involving Biden, but not in response to extortion.

There is absolutely no question that extorting a foreign power in order to dig up dirt on relatives of a possible political challenger qualifies as a “high crime or misdemeanor” and there’s no reasonable doubt that Trump did exactly that.

The transcript, even if damning, is small potatoes. The whistleblower complaint addresses a pattern of corruption and subversion, you can be absolutely certain of that. I have my own suspicions as to who the whistleblower is, and when his identity is revealed, he will prove to be someone who did directly witness Trump acting in a feckless and even treasonous manner in his interactions with other world leaders. Voters will recognize treason when they see it.

The complaint is part of a far larger pattern of corruption. Not just Trump, but his adult children, his vice president, and dozens of members of Congress. The fact that McConnell and others may be caught up in this mesh of villainy may result in them throwing Trump, his family, and Pence under the bus in an effort to save their own hides.

Don’t think it will happen? I call your attention to today’s unanimous resolution in the Senate. McConnell has finally realized he cannot stonewall his way out of this, and the known evidence suggests that he, too, is involved in corruption involving favoritism toward Ukraine gangsters. He isn’t going to let himself go down with Trump.

The GOP is disintegrating before our very eyes. Dozens of Congressmen are quitting, and dozens more will quit between now and the start of primary season. They know that the party will be utterly destroyed if they do not rid themselves of this cancer on America.

The impeachment inquiries will produce a huge barrage of evidence showing duplicity and treason by a large segment of the leadership of the GOP, and it will be out there with the public watching, in in a form where Faux News can’t pretend it isn’t there, or that it can deflect the overwhelming evidence with whattaboutery.

It’s unlikely, in my opinion, that we’ll see impeachment come to a formal vote in the House. The GOP cannot afford to let that happen. Indeed, they need to stop this before the lurid public testimony begins, and the real and irreversible political damage sets in.

The GOP cannot survive a full public inquiry into the multiple facets of Trump’s criminality, and their own complicity. They know this. They can no longer stop it by stonewalling.

So right now, behind the scenes, party leaders are debating how much of the Administration they have to destroy in hopes of cutting out the gangrenous parts of their party. They may already be considering forcing Trump to resign, or failing that, a 25th amendment move. They may have to sacrifice Pence (and thus the White House) if that’s what it takes to convince the public they aren’t really anti-American gangsters.

Except a lot of GOP bluster over the next few days. But it’s empty bluster meant to distract from the fact that Trump is finished, and threatens to take the entire party down with him.

Trump is toast. The GOP need to concentrate on trying to save themselves.

Nothing To Be Done For It – Nancy wants to surrender and beat the traffic

March 11th 2019

Nancy Pelosi once again demonstrated today the utter worthlessness of centrist Democrats when she said, “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. He’s just not worth it.”

Pelosi, do you not think TRUMP is dividing the country? Saying that impeaching the motherfucker would divide the country is like saying we shouldn’t let a skunk wander into one of those gawdawful pig factories because it would make the place smell bad. Trump is ripping the country to shreds, and as Republicans make utter disgraces of themselves going along with it, Democratic centrists are nearly as bad, looking woeful and sighing, “There’s nothing to be done for it.”

Pelosi doesn’t want to jump on the “Impeach the motherfucker” bandwagon, and I get that. She has to appear fair and willing to hear Trump’s side of the story.

“There’s nothing to be done for it.” The line is from Samuel Beckett’s paean to existential despair, “Waiting for Godot.” (Godot is pronounced ‘Goddo’ for those of you who didn’t get the joke.) In the play, Vladimir (no relation to Trump’s Vladimir) is trying, without luck, to pull off one of his boots. His companion, Estragon, is watching him struggle, and ruminating on the hopelessness of hope and the hope of hopelessness, or words to that effect, and concludes, “There’s nothing to be done for it.” And at that moment, the boot pops right off.

Beckett was being a smartass when he had Estragon say that.

The Dems say it with no sense of irony.

“We mustn’t put up a fight. We mustn’t shout, or make demands, or punish wrongdoers. We might upset the sort of idiot who thinks fighting for what is right is exactly equal to fighting for what is wrong, like Trump and his minions are doing.”

It’s a defeated, placatory attitude that delights Trump and his fascists, and disgusts people who vote Democratic on the basis that someone has to oppose Trump.

Pelosi should have said something like, “I want to see what Mueller’s office and the various House and Senate committees come up with. They have to make a good case for impeachment. If they cannot, then I won’t consider it a viable option, because I’m not Newt Gingrich and Henry Hyde, and won’t impeach a man just because he’s a pig.

“On the other hand, if there is a solid case, we’ll come after him with everything we’ve got, and paint every newspaper and media outlet with our evidence, and god help any Republican who dares to stand in our way.”

One big problem that undermines that is the last time she was offered that option, she ran for her life, taking impeachment (of Bush, Cheney and other war criminals) right off the table. So even if she had given a better answer, I would be suspicious. Like most centrist Dems, she doesn’t seem to know how to fight, doesn’t want to fight, and is scared to death that Fox News would convince the country she’s being mean to that nice Mister Trump.

When she realized she might face an intraparty challenge for the speakership last December, she said, “We have to wait and see what happens with the Mueller report. We shouldn’t be impeaching for a political reason, and we shouldn’t avoid impeachment for a political reason. So we’ll just have to see how it comes,” Now it sounds like she’s backpedelling on that.

“He’s just not worth it.” Pelosi, do you understand that’s been a favorite phrase of people backing down from a fight for centuries? It’s right up there with “Too proud to fight” as an excuse for not getting your fur up and showing some teeth. Given your background on punishing Republicans for criminal actions, you’ve just sent a huge lightning bolt of doubt and uncertainty through the Democratic Party, many of whom were cultivating a hope you would bring this fight to Trump and his criminal cabal.

Now, somewhere in your political calculations, you probably realize that by showing weakness now, you are probably encouraging Democrats who are willing to ‘impeach the motherfucker’ to walk away from the party, along with millions of voters, many of whom have tepidly supported your decades-long line of conciliatory centrist who promise to work well with the fascists. At some point, you might have even wondered how much damage it might do in the next election.

If we can’t raise the gumption to challenge Trump now, there’s a pretty good chance there won’t be a ‘next election.’ You won’t have to worry about damage to the party through bad optics from your utterly imaginary centrist voters because the whole fucking country will be trashed, and ‘opposition parties’ will have gone the way of the Weimar Republic.

So I’ll just close with a reworking of a speech some English bloke, facing someone even more duplicitous and vicious than Trump, said back some 75 years ago: “…we shall surrender on the seas and oceans, we shall surrender with growing confidence we can outrun our adversaries, we shall defend our optics, whatever the cost may be. We shall surrender on the beaches, we shall surrender on the landing grounds, we shall surrender in the fields and in the streets, we shall surrender in the hills; we shall never fight,”

You deserve Vladimir’s boot, Pelosi. The Vladimir that owns your President.

Down 0-63 After One Quarter – For Trump, only losing six yards on a play is doing good.

January 20th, 2019

Back in 1916, there was a football game between a powerhouse team coached by John Heisman, and a college that had actually already disbanded its football program, but was contractually obliged to play this particular game. So, lacking an actual team, they sent a pack of frat boys, lambs to the slaughter.

There wasn’t much doubt about who would win: it was the score that made history. Cumberland 0, Georgia Tech 222. It was the most lopsided game in history, and observers suspected Tech wanted revenge for a 22-0 baseball drubbing by Cumberland earlier that year. Tech took a 63-0 lead in the first quarter, and built on it for a 126-0 lead at the half. Heisman solemnly warned his squad during the break to be wary of a possible comeback, but the fact was Cumberland was deader than Queen Victoria. Grantland Rice, the sportswriter, noted that Cumberland’s moment of glory came in the second half, when they had a running play in which they only lost six yards.

The stats were cringeworthy: Tech outran Cumberland by a net 564 yards, capitalizing on 15 turnovers. Oddly enough, Cumberland had the better passing game. They went 2-18 for 14 yards, while Tech never even attempted one pass. The score actually fails to show just how lopsided the game was.

So why am I talking about a football game from over a century ago? I mean, I’m not even a football fan!

Well, I was watching Pelosi and Trump this week, and that ancient rogering came to mind.

Trump has been reeling from one self-inflicted catastrophe to the next, and on his best days, he only suffers an embarrassment, and every so often, he has a great day that is merely disappointing.

I watched the televised meeting between Trump and Pence (who knew what as coming and simply went tharn) and Pelosi and Schumer, and my first thought was “It’s Boris and Natasha versus Moose and Squirrel.” Those Russian agents never had a chance.

When Trump crowed that “I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck.” I knew he had lost this one, no matter what he did.

At the time, I figured he would back down. His silly burst of braggadocio had seemingly ensured that he couldn’t shut the government down and evade blame for it.

But I actually underestimated Trump’s craven and easily-manipulated personality. He managed to publicly fold in the face of disapproval from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. A fringe pair. A has-been and a sociopath. Even most Republicans dismiss them as a pair of dips. Outside of the GOP—which is to say among the other 72% of Americans—they are regarded as two of the more loathsome examples of what crawls around under damp American rocks.

Depending on the approval of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter to stiffen public support is a bit like plotting to win the Indy 500 by entering a Yugo. Or getting a pickup squad of 19 guys—three of whom subsequently get lost en route to the game—to play Georgia Tech.

Pelosi must have looked at the political dynamics at play and resolved to not show the pity Trump seemed to demand, since Trump would never show her any pity. Pelosi, after all, is human.

On the other hand, Trump was hurting a lot of people and actually endangering the country in order to suck up to a pair of fringe loons who represent the worst America has to offer. Knowing that probably helped Pelosi to decide that she really didn’t have to play nice with the vicious fool in the Oval Office.

Everyone knows about the subsequent interplay: Pelosi told Donald he wasn’t going to give the State of the Union in front of a Joint Session of Congress until he reopened the government, citing security concerns. I’ll bet any amount of money Trump immediately turned to Miller and screeched, “She can’t DO that! Can she?” No constitutional scholar, he. She can. She did.

Trump responded by canceling her planned trip to NATO allies and Afghanistan via military plane, citing security concerns. It was a pretty feeble riposte, petty tit-for-tat, but it might have actually held water had Melania used a military plane to travel—alone—to Mir-a-Lago that afternoon. OK, granted, Trump probably wouldn’t care much if she died in a plane crash. But then two days later, he exposed and scuppered plans by Pelosi to go ahead with her planned trip via private plane.

Then he announced a big, important announcement for noon yesterday. Now, Trump has taken us all to that particular rodeo many times before, to the point where when he gave a “big announcement” a few weeks ago, the Chuck-and-Nancy rebuttal actually got higher ratings. I wasn’t going to bother watching, simply because the Trump sideshow has gotten so tiresome.

Pelosi felt the same way, I guess. She rejected his offer before he even made it. Oddly enough, I didn’t hear any Republicans accusing her of jumping the gun.

Trump did offer to provide a temporary respite to Dreamers—there’s already court orders telling him he must do so by law—and that was it. The offer didn’t fool any sane Americans, and pissed off the haters on the fascist/Nazi right. So aside from getting a very public slap-down, all he did was harden resolve against him, while chipping away at his loathsome base.

Now there’s open talk among Democrats of impeachment, and outside Washington, talk of a national general strike.

Last night I mentioned on one blog that once Nancy Pelosi gets her fur up, she can be quite formidable.

The same, of course, could be said of the American people.

Donald came into this quarter trailing 63-0. Things don’t look to improve. It’s unlikely that even Heisman is going to be warning anyone of a Trump comeback on this one.

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