Friday, December 20, 2019

Impeachment 2

It looks very much like Trump will be the very first US president to be Impeached but not acquitted. This does not mean he'll be found guilty: the Republicans in the Senate all appear that, like all the Republicans in the House, they will vote to acquit, and, knowing this, and not wanting Trump to be able to say he was acquitted, the Impeachment will not be given to the Senate, and the Senate cannot vote on the Articles of Impeachment until they are given them by the House. The House has passed two Articles, so Trump is impeached, but if the Articles are not formally handed to the Senate, they cannot try Trump and acquit him, and that's what Speaker Pelosi seems to have decided is best.
This impeachment is different from the two times the Congress considered impeachment in the 20th century. First, there was a burglary of the Democratic National Convention Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in 1972 that was ordered by the Committee to Reelect the President, or CREEP as it was called. The burglary was reported then ignored in '72, but then the US discovered that Nixon might have ordered the burglary, or might have found out it was CREEP that ordered and paid for it and then failed to report the people responsible for hiring the actual burglars, and this led to an Impeachment Investigation by the House. They discovered that Nixon taped every single word said in the Oval Office, and demanded the tape. Nixon refused, and took the Congressional subpoena to court. He was ordered to hand the tape over, appealed, and it finally ended up in the Supreme Court who ordered Nixon to hand the tape over, so he did. Sort of. 18 minutes were missing.
Eventually, a group of Republicans went to meet with Nixon, told him they could not vote against Impeachment and Conviction, and suggested it would be best to resign, and Nixon did.
In 1998, the intern Lewinsky had saved a blue dress she'd worn when she had sex with Clinton, who had said, under oath, that he had never had sex with her. The House Impeached Clinton just before the '98 Congressional election, and the Republicans lost heavily in that election, which is unusual, because it is usually the party in the White House that loses seats in the mid-term Congressional elections.  After the election, the Senate held a trial where a large majority of the Senators voted that Clinton was innocent as a new-born babe. Some say that, when he denied having sex with Lewinsky, he did it in such a way that it was not technically perjury. Other say that a gentleman never talks about what he has or has not done with a lady, so it is never perjury for a man to deny having had sex.with a woman.
In Nixon's case, everyone knew he was accused of being an accomplice to a burglary, and both Democrats and Republicans were ready to Impeach and convict. In Clinton's case, everyone agreed he'd had sex with Lewinsky and denied it under oath, but all the Democrat and many Republican Senators agreed that was not an offence.
In Trump's case, Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on anything, not what the charges are, not if they are Impeachable offences, nothing.
And the net result is that Trump will be the first president who was Impeached but not Acquitted!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Impeachment 1

Today, the House is expected to Impeach Trump. In some places, an 'impeachment' means the person impeached is forced out of office, but in American English, an impeachment is an indictment, and was originally intended to mean that the House has found probable cause that the office holder has committed High Crimes or Misdemeanours, after which the Senate must hold a trial where both sides present witnesses and where, after a thorough investigation, the Senate adjudges whether the office holder is guilty, and imposes some punishment (usually, removal from office, but the Constitution does not say that has to be the punishment, it could impose some lesser punishment), or that the office holder is not guilty, and so is acquitted and goes back to the duties of the office.

Assuming (and I do) that the House impeaches Trump today, or tomorrow, or Friday, the trial is planned for next year, and most Republicans say they'll vote to acquit. The Senate could just vote not to have a trial, and dismiss the case, but they're now saying most Senators will vote in favour of a trial so that they can declare that Trump is innocent as a new-born babe.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Much more news than when I was young

Growing up, my father took the Sunday New York Times, just for the magazine. The paper didn't arrive until Thursday, so the news was out of date, but the crossword was still one of the best crosswords in the US, and my father enjoyed solving it (with the help of some relatives). We also took a local morning and evening newspaper. Of course, when I was born, most people got their news from the CBS or NBC television network every night. It was on twice, early evening and late evening. Most Americans got the latest news from whichever of the two networks they preferred (I never noticed much difference) and the details in the morning and evening newspapers that had to be local (since the newsboys had to walk, bike, or drive the newspaper to your door, and newspapers from other places wouldn't arrive for four days). The newspapers were all independent, so there were lots of jobs for reporters, jobs that didn't pay much, but it was easy to find a job. And one could find newspapers intended just for Polish Republicans or just for Italian Democrats. There were newspapers whose business model was 'first with the facts' and newspapers with a business model 'tell the people what they want to see' or the business model 'tell them what I want them to think'. So, if one lived in a big city, one might be able to find a 'first with the facts' newspaper. No more.

Today, fewer than 7 huge conglomerates own all the major news outlets in the US. Almost all city newspapers are owned by one of the conglomerates, and the big national newspapers like the New York Times can be remotely printed and delivered to your doorstep the same day it gets delivered in New York city. So there are very few newspaper jobs, they pay better, but everyone must toe the owners' line if they want to keep their job. Facts are never allowed unless they fit the 'tell the people what they want to read' business model. The 'first with the facts' business model doesn't get enough clicks to be profitable.


Back in the day, we read what a great thing the US was doing for Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Libya, & etc, rescuing those people from a brutal dictator and drug smuggler who kept the nation mired in abject poverty and giving them a democratic, free, peaceful and prosperous paradise. No one dared contradict that story.


Back in the day, my father had a golfing buddy who was a ham, and he offered to let my mother call my grandmother. He put a lot of time and money into being a ham, with an antenna that he'd somehow managed to attach to the tops of all the trees in his yard, meters long so it would pick up the short wave signals. My mother took me to his place so I could say 'Hello,' to my grandmother. One time when we were there, the ham told me he could listen to the Soviet propaganda channel and hear what they said about the US.

'What do they say?' I asked.

My mother immediately said, 'We're only here to call your grandmother and leave. We don't have time for anything else,' and that was that.

Getting a short wave in the US is expensive and difficult, and I never managed it, but I did want to hear what the Soviets said about the US. I never will, of course, because the Soviets have been gone for 30 years.

But the Internet and satellite TV mean I can hear the official Chinese, Russian, Persian, Qatari, French, and British propaganda channels, in English, without getting a ham license (the official US propaganda channels are all in the languages of the people living in brutal dictatorships* who can't get the 'truth' from their own nation's TV or newspapers).

And the other nations' propaganda channels often have video that contradicts the story in the US news outlets. But every decent American (and the decent members of NATO) will tell you never to believe those channels, even if they have solid proof. Decent folks always accept the official American version without question.

*Brutal dictatorships - governments that do not do exactly what the US Deep State wants them to do

Monday, December 2, 2019


It now appears certain that Trump will be the 3rd US president to be impeached. The Democrats plan to impeach before Christmas as their Christmas present to themselves and all the other #NeverTrumps. But why?

Career civil servants have said that serving under Reagan, both Bushes, Clinton and Obama was about the same, but Trump is completely different. One might have erroneously believed that there was a huge golf between Reagan & the Bushes on one side and Clinton and Obama on the other.

The US is doing the exact same things under Trump as it did under Reagan, both Bushes, Clinton, and Obama, but, where they all read the speeches they were given, Trump tweets copious covfefe.

Obama, Deporter-in-Chief, who deported more Hispanics than any other president said repeatedly, 'We must treat Hispanics with dignity and respect, and I am only ordering the deportation of those convicted of the most heinous, violent crimes.' Obama lied about that. Trump did two things: he promised to build an impregnable wall to keep any new Hispanics out of the US and to deport all those already in the US without papers, and he pointed out that Obama and Clinton lied when they gave their great speeches about treating Hispanics with dignity and respect, Bill and Obama both worked as hard as they could to get rid of Hispanics. Bill didn't deport as many as Obama, but he had many more Hispanics 'removed' than Obama deported. A 'removal' means there's no trial and a judge to order a legal deportation, just put them on a plane leaving the US. And when Hispanics checked and found out Trump was telling the truth, those who had raced to the polls to vote for Bill Clinton and Obama stayed home, since it wouldn't really matter whom they voted for. But still, many believe Obama. I've read Trumpeters convinced that Obama didn't deport a single Hispanic (in spite of the Federal records--it wasn't in the establishment media at all, they lied that Obama was telling the truth, but the Federal records have the number of deportations going back 50 years, and Obama is by far on top). Many Trumpeters believe the lie that Obama not only didn't deport a single Hispanic, he gave them all multiple voter ID cards and said they could stay as long as they voted Democrat early and often.

The same is true of climate change. The US desperately needs to do all it can to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Obama gave speech after speech against anthropomorphic global warming (AGW), but worked hard to double US fossil fuel production, a greater increase than any president I can recall. Trump says he thinks AGW is a hoax to hurt the US fossil fuel industries. Same actions, different words. Trump may or may not believe AGW is a hoax, but he wants the fossil fuel owners and workers to vote for him, and his actions match his very ill-informed, incorrect words, while Obama was obviously lying through his teeth, did more to expand the fossil fuel industry than Trump (of course, Obamabots are convinced Obama fossil fuels, when they burn, don't produce any carbon dioxide, they consume it and reduce the total carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and fight AGW).

The US president is expected to give speech after speech about spreading freedom and democracy, as Trump's predecessors did. Of course US 'freedom and democracy' means having a government that does what the US wants, while a 'totalitarian dictatorship' is any government that doesn't. And Obama started two new shooting wars--Libya and Syria--to 'spread freedom and democracy', and he also sent money and weapons in support of the anti-Russian coup in the Ukraine. Under Trump, all the wars he inherited have increased in intensity, but he hasn't started any new shooting wars. Yet. Only trade wars and sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, and he supported the coup in Bolivia.

But Trump has ordered all the troops out of Syria. Three times. The first time, they told him never to do that again, it's not on the table. The second time, his Secretary of Defence resigned in disgust. The third time, they told Trump Syria was not about spreading freedom and democracy, it was about stealing all the oil, and Trump said, 'I'm OK with that. Keep those troops there and keep that oil flowing and all the money going into US hands.' (And I heard Bashar al-Assad say Trump is the best US president he's known in his life, since all the other lied, while Trump tweets the truth.)

Net: Trump is terrible, he's still doing all the same horrible things that Reagan, both Bushes, Clinton and Obama did, but instead of reading the prepared speeches about how the US is the world leader in fighting AGW and repression and dictatorships and in spreading freedom, democracy, peace and prosperity as he should, he's getting impeached for tweeting covfefe instead.