Saturday, April 20, 2019

Who Remembers When You Had To Take A Civics Class To Graduate From High School?


If that were still the case-- required civics classes-- more people would understand the difference between what the House does (impeachment) and what the Senate does (removal from office). They're not the same and there was never any reasonable chance that Trump would be removed by this Senate-- not even if he did take a gun out to the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone. That just speaks to the nature of the conservative movement, 2019. You'd need 2/3s of the Senators to remove Trump. Where you going to find that? Even if all 45 Dems (+ the 2 independents, Bernie and Angus King) voted to remove-- and remember, that would include Trump-lovers Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Joe Manchin (WV)-- 47 is a long way to 67. Twenty Republicans? Maybe in an alternative universe. In theory, super-strong, undeniable evidence of treason might open up half a dozen Republican senators to the call of patriotism:
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Jerry Moran (KS)
Rand Paul (KY)
Susan Collins (ME)
Ben Sasse (NE)
Mitt Romney (UT)
So all you need is 14 more. More likely that half of the ones above vote NO than even one more Republican decides to go for it. That's who they are and what they've become. Unless his approval starts to tank with Republican voters. Even after the release of the Mueller report, the new poll from Ipsos/Reuters released this morning, shows only a 6-point drop in Trump approval, from 43% to 37%, His disapproval rose from 54% to 56%. But 75% of Republicans still approve-- as do 32% of independent voters. That 61% of independents disapprove of Trump should worry Republicans in swing states (and swing districts).

click on the image to enlarge

But most people seem to think "impeachment" is the same as removal. Again-- it isn't. Impeachment is an investigation and a statement of charges. All you need is a majority of House members. There are 235 Democrats and 199 Republicans in the House. Imagine that all the Republicans vote against impeachment. That means 217 Democrats would have to vote to impeach. That's do-able-- unless all 27 Blue Dogs and the worst of the New Dems vote against impeachment.

Anyway, Pelosi and Hoyer are adamantly opposed to impeachment and it would take a massive, unified and sustained howl from the Democratic grassroots. You imagine you even see that on the horizon? As Alex Pareene wrote, for the New Republic yesterday, the Democratic leaders like Hoyer are "terrified to exercise their own power. They’re worried that an acquittal in Mitch McConnell’s Senate would be seen, by the public and the mainstream press, as a vindication of Trump rather than another lesson in the lengths the Republican Party will go to cover for a clearly unfit and crooked president."

In fact, after the Senate refuses to remove an impeached Trump, a vigorous Democratic Party-- something we used to have before Bill Clinton sold the party to Wall Street-- could use that as an opportunity "to take a moral stand against corruption and unaccountable elites" and "to weave the disparate (and quickly forgotten) scandals of the entire Trump presidency into a single narrative that the easily distracted (and even more easily spun) mainstream press can follow." This video is from a Republican group offended by Trump's lawlessness and manhandling of the U.S. Constitution! Pretty good. If Pelosi and Hoyer weren't holding Democrats back, they could do even better, I'm sure.

Democratic leadership seemingly believes that the party can’t let its candidates campaign on promises to materially improve the lives of voters while also letting its elected officials carry out the responsibilities of their offices. They also believe, deep in their bones, that the country is not on their side. They believe going after Trump too directly will stir his mighty base, rather than imagining that full and transparent investigations into his various fraudulent and corrupt activities may demoralize his staunchest supporters-- just as Trump himself was demoralized at the prospect of Mueller’s investigation-- while also persuading those people who aren’t already in the cult of MAGA that this administration, and the party that abets it, need to be soundly defeated.

Once again, we can celebrate a modern example of bipartisanship: a deep conviction, on both sides, that the only legitimate force in American politics is white grievance.

Fox viewers, who have had 24 hours of on-screen celebration must have been scratching their heads if they happened to glance at, say, USA Today today, where one headline says Mueller Report: A Corrupt, Unpatriotic President, A Stark Impeachment Choice For Democrats. Another planet? Jason Sattler posed a question that is surely not in the minds of any Fox viewers today: "We have to decide if we're willing to go on with a president who was elected with Russian help and tried 10 times to obstruct a probe into that help." Fox hasn't been playing up the first 70% of this sentence at all: "Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities."
The actual Mueller report, beneath all the redactions, details one of the most successful foreign disruptions of an American election in the history of the republic. It reveals a presidential campaign eager to suck up the benefits of this "sweeping and systematic" interference, and it unmasks a president who attempted to commit multiple crimes to cover the whole thing up.

But beyond all those revelations, this process has shown we are in an emergency unlike anything we've seen since Watergate. Barr has proven that he is determined to help Trump get away with some of the most unpatriotic and corrupt acts ever committed by a president.

...Trump's singularly corrupt approach to politics is perfectly in line with his approach to avoiding taxes and running a fake for-profit college. Likewise, the Republican Party's firm belief that a Republican president is incapable of committing crimes was confirmed in the report. Instead of leading an impartial investigation, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)-- the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee-- was leaking information to the White House.

America now has to decide if we're willing to go on with a president who was elected with Russian help and then tried to obstruct an investigation into that help-- 10 times. What we're learning for sure is something Russia has known for years: Trump is eager and willing to accept its help, even if that means lying to the American people.

The Republican Party and Barr have made their decision-- to let Democrats carry this burden alone. They know the responsibility to impeach a president will be a distraction for a party that just took over the House by campaigning on issues voters care about, like health care and corporate tax cuts.

But with an attorney general willing to do almost anything to protect this president, the question isn't "What's politically advantageous?" It's what will be left of our democracy if Congress doesn’t do its job.
Ezra Klein posts for Vox they'll never see, so they won't have to steel themselves against his impeccable logic showing that even the best defense of Trump is still a damning indictment. "The story the report tells," wrote Klein, "is that a foreign government illegally interfered in America’s presidential election on Trump’s behalf, and rather than treating that incursion as an attack on America’s political institutions, Trump treated it transactionally, as a gift to him personally. And so, rather than defend America from Russia’s attacks, he defended himself from the investigations into Russia’s attacks. Rather than see Russia’s hacks as a threat to the legitimacy of America’s elections, he saw the investigation as a threat to the legitimacy of his own election. So rather than defend the rule of law, Trump subverted it. The irony is that if Trump’s defenders are right, then it was Trump himself who delegitimized his presidency. He did it through specific acts of obstruction, like firing James Comey and trying to fire Jeff Sessions and lying to the public, but he also did it by failing to understand that being president of the United States means putting America, well, first."
[W]hen Trump is fighting to stop Sessions from recusing himself, McGahn characterizes his motives, in part, as worrying that he’d be “unprotected from an investigation that could hobble the presidency and derail his policy objectives; and detract from favorable press coverage of a Presidential Address to Congress the President had delivered earlier in the week.”

This argument pops up again and again in the characterizations Trump’s staff makes of his motives. It was also the core of Barr’s defense of Trump. It is a deeply damning description of the president of the United States.

The most generous characterization of this is that Trump was so blinded by his own pride and political incentives that he understood an attack on the country’s political system as an alliance with his campaign, and so rather than turning on Russia with fury, he turned on those who would reveal Russia’s role with fury.

This is the thinking of a man who has never understood that the presidency is bigger than he is, that the role he now occupies requires a larger frame of reference than himself. The myopia this causes him comes up again and again. Notably, there is a section in the report where Trump is heard lamenting that he doesn’t have a more corrupt attorney general. “You’re telling me that Bobby and Jack didn’t talk about investigations?” he asked. “Or Obama didn’t tell Eric Holder who to investigate?” To Trump, the attorney general’s role is to protect the president, not to serve the law.

The most generous read of the Mueller report’s findings does not clear Trump of wrongdoing. Instead, it argues that Trump betrayed the laws he swore to uphold because he thought doing so would protect his reputation, and that it was only the insubordination of his staff that restrained him from yet more egregious acts of criminality.

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At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The occupied nations of 1940s Europe had ways of dealing with Nazi collaborators.

At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

civics ignorance among the dumbest population in the history of earth doesn't seem all that important.

This is a nation without laws for the rich, powerful and MOST celebrities (if you're a celeb mom who bought your kid a college spot, not so much). This is a nation where corporations are bestowed with more rights and privileges than the bottom 90% of humans. It's a nation that pretends, badly, to be a democracy, but where over a third of voters don't have anyone to vote for and less than a third can elect a government that will punish the other 2/3 with impunity.

Even those educated in US civics still, for some reason, think this is a democratic republic instead of a government of/by/for the money that is only ever affirmed by a minority of voters. Those who know of the Constitution still, for some reason, believe it is operative when all government action belies this. Trump is the living embodiment of what W said "just a goddamn piece of paper" and wipes his ass with it every minute of every day.
Those educated in civics must wonder why the speaker can unilaterally spike all congressional responsibility arbitrarily while also unilaterally determining all things that are done and, more importantly, ignored.

"But with an attorney general willing to do almost anything to protect this president, the question isn't "What's politically advantageous?" It's what will be left of our democracy if Congress doesn’t do its job."

Yes. TODAY we have an AG whose sole task is to protect the president from accountability for all crimes and malfeasance.
But YESTERDAY we had AGs whose sole task was to protect their party's donors and predecessors from prosecution for world records in fraud, torture and murder.

What was left of our "democracy" after obamanation refused to do his fucking job is trump.
What will be left after trump leaves? Your guess is as good as mine... but it'll be worse than trump. Nobody ever fixes anything in this shithole. They find new and innovative ways to make it worse.

I wonder if Pelosi realizes that she's refusing to remedy that which she, herself, arguably unilaterally, caused when she refused to impeach cheney.
I wonder if obamanation realizes that trump is his legacy. That if obamanation had done his goddamn job wrt bankers and torturers and acted honorably wrt foreclosed homeowners, jobs and health CARE, there would be no trump. Did voters immediately elect Nixon after FDR's admin? Results bred continuity and more results. years of ambivalence led to corruption and 40 years of reaganism and, now, naziism.

Trump and his AGs are doing absolutely nothing that obamanation and his AGs did not do previously... and they only did what cheney/W and their AGs did before. And because nobody ever does shit about any of that, the next and all future AGs will do it also.

All cabinet posts will be manned by "Baghdad Bobs" from here on out.

At 9:46 PM, Blogger edmondo said...

I had a Civics class and I remember that you need a REASON to impeach, you can't impeach the azzhole just because he beat the warmonger in the last election.

You wanna re-elect him in 2020? Impeach him in 2019.

At 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

edmondo, here is where you and I must diverge.

emoluments. 'nuf said.

but there's plenty more. obstruction (an actual crime) -- he boasted about obstruction when he fired comey. kidnapping kids (some of whom are now dead)? campaign finance? perjury? conspiracy with putin might be a tough proof, but it's an obvious national security problem.

he's going to be re-elected anyway. the democraps are going to insure that even without an impeachment.

The Mueller report proves only one thing that americans didn't already know (because we're fucking stupid) -- the democraps are total shit for refusing to impeach. In that respect, the report damns Pelosi far more than it damns trump.

At least an impeachment trial COULD (though that would mean the democraps would actually TRY to do their fucking jobs) prove to all voters, even the Nazis, that they'd be better off with pence beating biden, even if the Nazi senate would not convict.

by refusing to impeach (again and still), the democraps just prove to THEIR voters just how worthless and feckless THEY are. You want to discourage 30 million lefty voters... no better way than to prove to them that you're actually worse than the other side.

At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If civics was taught today, all students would be flummoxed at why everything they're learning is wrong and why government does not work at all like it is supposed to.


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