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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#14641 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-January-24, 06:51

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-January-23, 12:57, said:

Ken, IMO you are asking a question that only applies to reasonable persons - Are we O.K. with what Trump did, or are we not? Because it is so simple does not answer the question of: why won't he be removed? That requires another question:

Are we O.K. with what Trump did, or are we O.K. with Trump? If the latter, how can that be possible? That's where religion rears its head.


I was serious about presenting myself as the man in the street. If someone asks me to think about Trump's actions regarding Ukraine, the Bidens, the money, I will do it. If someone says "And now i want you to consider how Christianity is the root cause of it all", my first response would surely be "Do I have to?".



I am strongly suggesting that this whole impeachment business might well be a disaster for the Dems, and the best way to approach it is to keep the message simple. We really can't have a president holding up military funds for a country under siege until that country agrees to dig up dirt on the president's political opposition. It doesn't matter what Jesus would have said about this.

A large portion of the electorate might well agree with such a simply put argument. The more complex the argument becomes, the less agreement and the fewer listeners you get. You will never get unanimous agreement, but you won't get unanimous agreement on what day of the week it is.

Well, that's the intent of my argument. We will see how the argument goes.
Ken
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#14642 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-January-24, 08:22

View Postkenberg, on 2020-January-24, 06:51, said:



I was serious about presenting myself as the man in the street. If someone asks me to think about Trump's actions regarding Ukraine, the Bidens, the money, I will do it. If someone says "And now i want you to consider how Christianity is the root cause of it all", my first response would surely be "Do I have to?".



I am strongly suggesting that this whole impeachment business might well be a disaster for the Dems, and the best way to approach it is to keep the message simple. We really can't have a president holding up military funds for a country under siege until that country agrees to dig up dirt on the president's political opposition. It doesn't matter what Jesus would have said about this.

A large portion of the electorate might well agree with such a simply put argument. The more complex the argument becomes, the less agreement and the fewer listeners you get. You will never get unanimous agreement, but you won't get unanimous agreement on what day of the week it is.

Well, that's the intent of my argument. We will see how the argument goes.


I understand your argument and I agree with the argument. My point is this: valid arguments can sway only reasonable people, what you call, the man on the street. But reasonable people are already anti-Trump. What I fear is that you are grossly overestimating the numbers of "men on the street", i.e., reasonable people.

I don't see a need to appeal to men on the street - if they are not turned off by Trump, there must be a reason, and that reason must also make them unapproachable with reason. Therefore, my solution is a candidate who will excite and propel Democratic turnout, especially young and minority voters.

PS: I hope you are right and I am wrong. I hope that this is only American temporary insanity. I fear it is more.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14643 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-January-24, 08:29

Quote

Adam Schiff

Donald Trump must be convicted and removed from office.

Because he will always choose his own personal interest over our national interest.

Because in America, right matters. Truth matters.

If not, no Constitution can protect us.

If not, we are lost.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14644 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-January-24, 09:08

View Postkenberg, on 2020-January-23, 11:04, said:

[At any rate, my earlier point is that the Ukraine business is pretty simple. It can be called quid pro quo, or tit for tat, or scratch my back and I will scratch yours, or call it anything. The deal was that the money will get released when the dirt on Biden is provided. Senators decide how to vote on this, and then people can decide how to vote on the Senators. This is where we are.

The basic problem we face is that there's just enough "plausible deniability" for the GOP to make an argument against removal that will satisfy their constituents. On the phone call he says "do us a favor" -- is that the "royal us" or does he mean the country? Trump supporters maintain the latter, and say that the favor is rooting out corruption, not digging up dirt on Biden. When Trump says "read the transcripts", he means to read them with the appropriate color of glasses to make this all seem "perfect".

#14645 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-January-24, 13:45

View Postbarmar, on 2020-January-24, 09:08, said:

The basic problem we face is that there's just enough "plausible deniability" for the GOP to make an argument against removal that will satisfy their constituents. On the phone call he says "do us a favor" -- is that the "royal us" or does he mean the country? Trump supporters maintain the latter, and say that the favor is rooting out corruption, not digging up dirt on Biden. When Trump says "read the transcripts", he means to read them with the appropriate color of glasses to make this all seem "perfect".

IMO, 90% of the basic problem is that way too many senators are happy to look the other way when the president abuses the power of his office if he happens to be a member of their party. Ditto for voters. The other half of the problem is that this is how democracy works.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14646 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-January-24, 14:43

View Postbarmar, on 2020-January-24, 09:08, said:

The basic problem we face is that there's just enough "plausible deniability" for the GOP to make an argument against removal that will satisfy their constituents. On the phone call he says "do us a favor" -- is that the "royal us" or does he mean the country? Trump supporters maintain the latter, and say that the favor is rooting out corruption, not digging up dirt on Biden. When Trump says "read the transcripts", he means to read them with the appropriate color of glasses to make this all seem "perfect".


Yes, there is a reason it takes wiretaps and "stoolies" to convict mafioso. So let it be with Caesar.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14647 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-January-24, 14:44

View Posty66, on 2020-January-24, 13:45, said:

IMO, 90% of the basic problem is that way too many senators are happy to look the other way when the president abuses the power of his office if he happens to be a member of their party. Ditto for voters. The other half of the problem is that this is how democracy works.


Yes, but we are supposed to be a republic....if we can keep it.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14648 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-January-24, 15:46

View Postbarmar, on 2020-January-24, 09:08, said:

The basic problem we face is that there's just enough "plausible deniability" for the GOP to make an argument against removal that will satisfy their constituents. On the phone call he says "do us a favor" -- is that the "royal us" or does he mean the country? Trump supporters maintain the latter, and say that the favor is rooting out corruption, not digging up dirt on Biden. When Trump says "read the transcripts", he means to read them with the appropriate color of glasses to make this all seem "perfect".

The difference between "us" or "me (royal us)" is a distinction without a difference. For anybody who has actually listened to either the House Impeachment session, or the Senate Impeachment trial sessions, not only is there no benefit to the United States for those "favors", but acting on those favors would be against the US interests, as well as future US-Ukraine relations once there is a change in administrations. The only ones to benefit from the favors would be the Manchurian President and his puppet master Putin.

As far as Individual-1 supporters not believing the evidence presented so far, they don't need plausible deniability to be against impeachment. As the Criminal in Chief says, he could shoot somebody in the middle of a crowded street and his supporters wouldn't care.
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#14649 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-January-24, 15:54

View Postjohnu, on 2020-January-24, 15:46, said:



As far as Individual-1 supporters not believing the evidence presented so far, they don't need plausible deniability to be against impeachment. As the Criminal in Chief says, he could shoot somebody in the middle of a crowded street and his supporters wouldn't care.


That's because he's on a "mission from god."
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14650 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-January-24, 16:45

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-January-24, 15:54, said:

That's because he's on a "mission from god."


Although he's a lot closer to the Illinois Nazis than the Blues brothers
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#14651 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-January-24, 19:32

View Postbarmar, on 2020-January-24, 09:08, said:

The basic problem we face is that there's just enough "plausible deniability" for the GOP to make an argument against removal that will satisfy their constituents. On the phone call he says "do us a favor" -- is that the "royal us" or does he mean the country? Trump supporters maintain the latter, and say that the favor is rooting out corruption, not digging up dirt on Biden. When Trump says "read the transcripts", he means to read them with the appropriate color of glasses to make this all seem "perfect".


Sure, we have all known people who are very resistant to evidence. But the answer is clear. Don't waste time trying to move the unmovable. I am speaking of how to address those who, under some circumstances, might re-assess a position. Any position, on any matter. The simpler the better. Then a person might say "I am not prepared to agree with you, but I will give it some thought". Not much maybe, and maybe not enough, but what else? A long-winded diatribe is not going to get a hearing. A simple declaration of the obvious, in this case that we really cannot have a president holding up allocated military funds for a country that badly needs those funds, holding up the funds until the country does a political favor.


An argument that this is really being done for the country is ridiculous in many ways, a person can see this for himself, once he chooses to give it some thought.

It's not that I am so optimistic about this, rather I see no better option. If a simple straightforward argument does not get the other person to give the matter some thought, then what?
Ken
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#14652 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-January-25, 14:14

View Postkenberg, on 2020-January-24, 19:32, said:



Sure, we have all known people who are very resistant to evidence. But the answer is clear. Don't waste time trying to move the unmovable. I am speaking of how to address those who, under some circumstances, might re-assess a position. Any position, on any matter. The simpler the better. Then a person might say "I am not prepared to agree with you, but I will give it some thought". Not much maybe, and maybe not enough, but what else? A long-winded diatribe is not going to get a hearing. A simple declaration of the obvious, in this case that we really cannot have a president holding up allocated military funds for a country that badly needs those funds, holding up the funds until the country does a political favor.


An argument that this is really being done for the country is ridiculous in many ways, a person can see this for himself, once he chooses to give it some thought.

It's not that I am so optimistic about this, rather I see no better option. If a simple straightforward argument does not get the other person to give the matter some thought, then what?


The "then what?" is getting out the voters who are against Donald Trump while also convincing those who won't vote Democrat to stay at home. That's how far down the rabbit hole we have traveled.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14653 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-January-26, 07:13

From The Darkness Where the Future Should Be by Michelle Goldberg at NYT:

Quote

What happens to a society that loses its capacity for awe and wonder at things to come?

Quote

William Gibson, the writer who coined the term “cyberspace” and whose novel “Neuromancer” heavily influenced the film “The Matrix,” has spent a lifetime imagining surreal and noirish possibilities for human development. But Donald Trump’s victory threw him off balance. “I think it took me about three months to come out of the shock of his actually having been elected,” Gibson told me. And when he finally did come out of it, Gibson still wasn’t quite sure what to do with the manuscript he’d been working on, about a young woman in modern-day San Francisco, since the world he’d situated her in seemed to have suddenly disappeared.

“If I had somehow been able to finish it, by the time it was published, it would have just been this lost thing,” he said, “completely out of time and unconcerned with what I immediately saw as being the beginning of something extraordinary, and almost certainly something extraordinarily bad.”

In the end, he turned the new book into a sequel to his 2014 novel, “The Peripheral.” Part of “The Peripheral” is set in a 22nd century where the world as we know it has been wiped out by a confluence of events known as “The Jackpot,” which is, as Gibson put it to me, “all the bad stuff that we’re worried about now coming true.” Eighty percent of the population has died, and many of the survivors live under the authority of a hereditary oligarchy descended from Russian kleptocrats. People in that future have developed the ability to use data to reach back in time, but when they do, rather than changing the course of events, they inaugurate new, parallel continuums, called “stubs.”

Much of the new book, “Agency,” takes place in a stub where Hillary Clinton won the election and Brexit never happened. Characters from the future — from Gibson’s extrapolated version of our own dark timeline — try to help people in the alternate past avoid a similarly cataclysmic fate. The question looming over the book is not whether the future will be horrifying but whether there’s even the possibility of a future that isn’t.

Gibson is famed for his sensitivity to the zeitgeist, and I asked him if he thought that part of what he’d picked up on here is a growing sense of the future as an abyss. “In my childhood, the 21st century was constantly referenced,” he said. “You’d see it once every day, and it often had an exclamation point.” The sense, he said, was that postwar America was headed somewhere amazing. Now that we’re actually in the 21st century, however, the 22nd century is never evoked with excitement. “We don’t seem to have, culturally, a sense of futurism that way anymore,” he said. “It sort of evaporated.”

The dearth of optimistic visions of the future, at least in the United States, is central to the psychic atmosphere of this bleak era. Pessimism is everywhere: in opinion polls, in rising suicide rates and falling birthrates, and in the downwardly mobile trajectory of millennials. It’s political and it’s cultural: At some point in the last few years, a feeling has set in that the future is being foreclosed. When, in the 1970s, the Sex Pistols sang “There is no future,” there was at least a confrontational relish to it. Now there’s just dread.

The right and the left share a sense of creeping doom, though for different reasons. For people on the right, it’s sparked by horror at changing demographics and gender roles. For those on the left, a primary source of foreboding is climate change, which makes speculation about what the world will look like decades hence so terrifying that it’s often easier not to think about it at all.

But it’s not just climate change. In his forthcoming book, “The Decadent Society,” my colleague Ross Douthat mourns the death of the “technological sublime,” writing that our era “for all its digital wonders has lost the experience of awe-inspiring technological progress that prior modern generations came to take for granted.” This is true, but doesn’t go nearly far enough. Our problem is not just that new technologies regularly fail to thrill. It’s that, from artificial intelligence to genetic engineering to mass surveillance, they are frequently sources of horror.

Consider some recent headlines. The New York Times reported on Clearview AI, a start-up whose facial-matching technology could give strangers access to the identity and biographical information of anyone seen in public. (“Sure, that might lead to a dystopian future or something, but you can’t ban it,” one investor said.) Reuters described classes in South Korea that teach people how to arrange their features for job interviews performed by computers that use “facial recognition technology to analyze character.” Wired had a story about “smart contact lenses” that could overlay digital interfaces on everything you see, which is not so different from the visual feeds that the post-Jackpot characters have in “The Peripheral” and “Agency.”

Around the world, the social media technologies that were supposed to expand democracy and human connection have instead fueled authoritarianism and ethnic cleansing. Andrew Yang is running a remarkably successful insurgent presidential campaign premised on the threat that automation and robots pose to the social order.

Fear of the future doesn’t pose much of a political problem for conservatism. Reactionary politics feed on cultural despair; the right is usually happy to look backward. In his 1955 mission statement for National Review, William F. Buckley Jr. famously wrote that the magazine “stands athwart history, yelling Stop.”

It’s a bigger problem for the left, which by definition needs to believe in progress. In 2013, Alyssa Battistoni wrote in the socialist magazine Jacobin about the challenge that climate change poses to left politics, asking, “What should the orientation be of a politics that’s playing the long game when the arc of the universe is starting to feel frighteningly short?”

I suspect that one reason Pete Buttigieg, the 38-year-old former mayor of a Midwestern city, has vaulted into the top tier of presidential candidates is that he speaks so confidently about the future. He asks voters to picture the day after the last day of Trump’s presidency and discusses how the world might be when he’s nearly as old as his septuagenarian competitors. “You just have a certain mind-set based on the fact that — to put it a little bluntly — you plan to be here in 2050,” he once said. But his forward-looking technocratic pitch has mostly failed to resonate with his own generation. Instead, it appears that the people most soothed by Buttigieg’s ideas about what America might look like decades hence are those who won’t be here to experience it.

The candidate who polls show has the most support among young people is Bernie Sanders, the oldest person in the race. Clearly, Sanders fills his followers with hope and makes them feel that a transformed world is possible, but he also speaks to their terrors. Recently Sanders backers released one of the more moving campaign videos of this cycle. Set to a mournful cover of “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” it features inspirational scenes of the senator and his supporters, but also flooded streets, wildfires and an emaciated polar bear; in one scene protesters hang a banner that says, “We deserve a future.” It’s an ad that speaks to the desperate longing for kindness and solidarity to replace the cruelties of a society devouring itself, but also a grief-stricken apprehension of what’s in store if they don’t.

Writing about the future is usually just a way of writing about the present, and were it not for climate change, one might see widespread anxiety about what’s coming as just an expression of despair about what’s here. It’s still possible, of course, that someday people will look back on the dawn of the 2020s as a menacing moment after which the world’s potential opened up once again. But that would seem to require political and scientific leaps that are hard to envision right now, much less stake one’s faith in.

Though Gibson’s older work is frequently described as dystopian, he used to consider himself an optimist. “Neuromancer,” he pointed out, was written in the early 1980s and posited a future in which the Cold War hadn’t led to apocalypse, something far from guaranteed at the time. “Since the end of the Cold War, I’ve prided myself on being the guy who says, eh, don’t worry, it’s not going to happen tomorrow,” he said. “And now I’ve lost that.” This darkness where the future should be, he said, “makes my creative life much, much more difficult,” since he doesn’t simply want to surrender to gloom. Gibson is a man renowned for his prophetic creativity, but he can’t imagine his way out of our civilizational predicament. No wonder so many others are struggling to do so.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14654 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-January-26, 10:51

View Posty66, on 2020-January-26, 07:13, said:

From The Darkness Where the Future Should Be by Michelle Goldberg at NYT:



I found this very interesting, partly for the social views, partly for the comments about William Gibson, a person I was unaware of. He is younger than I am, but close enough that I recognize him as "of my era". He read William Burroughs when 13, I read George Gamow, to each his own.


Perhaps one way of looking at the optimism/pessimism shift is this: In the Kennedy years, we decided to go to the moon. Now we are to fight climate change. That is, we have gone from supporting a project we can be enthusiastic about to trying to deal with a problem we are fearful of.

Of course it is more complicated than that.

Anyway, I found the article interesting. It speaks of how Gibson's work led to The Matrix. I found The Matrix boring. But maybe Gibson? I'll see.


Ken
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#14655 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2020-January-26, 13:49

For many years in the US there was quite a lot of fear of nuclear war. They had drills against nuclear attacks, escalations over things like the Cuban missile crisis, and a war in Vietnam in which many Americans (and even more Vietnamese) died. It wasnít all sunshine and roses! But somehow these challenges did seem to bring the country together in many ways.

The thing is, everyone agreed on what the problems were and wanted to work together (even being willing to make some sacrifices) to try and fix them.

The big difference now is that we no longer agree on what the problems are. Many of us are terrified of climate change but almost half the country doesnít think itís even a real thing (and is seemingly more afraid of sharia law or a war on Christmas or something). This makes the situation pretty gloomy. I do think if we manage to implement a green new deal (in a way that helps rather than hurts the pocketbooks of most of the country) the future will look a lot brighter.
Adam W. Meyerson
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#14656 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-January-27, 07:04

From Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:

Quote

Trumpís lawyers began with a misstep, rehashing their flimsy claim that thereís some kind of significance to the fact that Schiff paraphrased, instead of directly quoting, the words Trump used in the July 25 phone call in which he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to participate in a smear of a leading Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

But they didnít rely on emotion in their presentation. Instead, they did what defense attorneys do. They floated alternative interpretations of the evidence the House managers, serving as prosecutors in the Senate trial, had presented in support of the articles of impeachment accusing Trump of abusing his power by trying to coerce that countryís interference on his behalf in his 2020 re-election effort. They pointed out that some of the witnesses who testified on the House side were not entirely reliable on some questions. And they added a bunch of mostly irrelevant points, such as the administrationís overall support for Ukraine (which in fact only makes Trumpís decisions to pause congressionally approved military aid and refuse to schedule an Oval Office meeting with Zelenskiy harder to understand as anything but elements of a pressure campaign) and the fact that previous presidents had also put foreign aid on hold (which no one denies, but the question is why it happened this time).

Iím not sure Iíd call the first few hours of their presentation strong, but then again if they are constrained by their client to pretend that the Zelenskiy call was ďperfect,Ē they have a difficult hand to play. It could have been worse.

And then, Sunday night, it fell apart. The New York Times reported that former National Security Adviser John Bolton has written in his upcoming book that Trump made explicit the quid pro quo that his lawyers are denying: that Trump told him directly that he wanted to keep the military aid frozen until the Ukrainian government agreed to help with investigations of Democrats. Not only that, but apparently the White House has had Boltonís manuscript all month. Trumpís team knew this was coming.

While I certainly donít expect the presidentís support in Congress to collapse, itís impossible not to see close parallels to the ďsmoking gunĒ tape that ended Richard Nixonís presidency in 1974. That tape, proving that Nixon ordered his staff to have the Central Intelligence Agency block the Federal Bureau of Investigationís inquiry into the Watergate scandal and released to Congress and the public after the House Judiciary Committee had passed articles of impeachment, was so devastating for Nixon not so much because it was proof of his crimes; plenty of proof of plenty of crimes had long since been placed in the record. Instead, it became the moment when conservative Republicans realized that Nixon had deliberately set them up with false arguments even though Nixon knew that the evidence, if released, would undermine those arguments and make them look like liars and fools.

That is exactly what appears to have happened with the Bolton book. Trump knew that Boltonís testimony and supporting notes, if they ever surfaced, would undermine the claims of his supporters. In some ways, itís not quite as strong as Nixonís smoking gun, since thereís no tape (as far as we know!) furnishing absolute proof of what Trump said to Bolton. But in some ways, itís worse. Nixon knew what was on the tapes, but until the Supreme Court ruled against him he might at least have hoped that he could keep them secret. Apparently in the Trump case, at least some people in the White House have known for weeks that Bolton was going to release this book, and yet they still encouraged their allies to say things that were about to be shown to be false.

So far, it appears that Republican politicians would rather look like liars and fools ó following ever-less-plausible White House lines, perhaps hoping that no one notices ó than dare to oppose Trump and his still-loyal allies in the Republican-aligned media. Maybe theyíll all stay on message, even after this episode. Some of them, Iím sure, are either such blind partisans or so far inside the conservative information feedback loop that they may not even notice. But I have to believe that, whatever they do about it, a lot of Republican politicians are feeling more uncomfortable than ever.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14657 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-January-27, 07:17

View Posty66, on 2020-January-27, 07:04, said:

From Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:




The only defense they have was summed up by Melania Trump in 2018: "I really don't care, do you".

That's it, that's their defense, there is nothing else.


So far it appears to be working, With some, at least.
Ken
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#14658 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-January-27, 07:44

View Postkenberg, on 2020-January-27, 07:17, said:



The only defense they have was summed up by Melania Trump in 2018: "I really don't care, do you".

That's it, that's their defense, there is nothing else.


So far it appears to be working, With some, at least.


It would take 20 Republicans plus all the Democrats to vote to remove. A foregone conclusion that it won't happen. The impeachment now is all about the 2020 elections, forcing the Republicans to take a stand for or against.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14659 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-January-27, 09:32

View Postkenberg, on 2020-January-27, 07:17, said:



The only defense they have was summed up by Melania Trump in 2018: "I really don't care, do you".

That's it, that's their defense, there is nothing else.


So far it appears to be working, With some, at least.

And much of the defense seems to be "Even if he did what they say, it's not an impeachable offense." Dershowitz has reversed what he said during the Clinton impeachment (he claims he was wrong then, and has done more research -- what a coincidence that this happens to support his client), now he says there has to be an actual crime (AFAIK, this is not the concensus of Constitutional scholars).

#14660 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-January-27, 13:18

View Postbarmar, on 2020-January-27, 09:32, said:

And much of the defense seems to be "Even if he did what they say, it's not an impeachable offense." Dershowitz has reversed what he said during the Clinton impeachment (he claims he was wrong then, and has done more research -- what a coincidence that this happens to support his client), now he says there has to be an actual crime (AFAIK, this is not the concensus of Constitutional scholars).


Obviously, a defense attorney for an impeached president would disagree, but I found the following a fairly convincing argument about "high crimes and misdemeanors" by tracing it back to English common law:

Quote

by Jon Roland, Constitution Society

The question of impeachment turns on the meaning of the phrase in the Constitution at Art. II Sec. 4, "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors". I have carefully researched the origin of the phrase "high crimes and misdemeanors" and its meaning to the Framers, and found that the key to understanding it is the word "high". It does not mean "more serious". It refers to those punishable offenses that only apply to high persons, that is, to public officials, those who, because of their official status, are under special obligations that ordinary persons are not under, and which could not be meaningfully applied or justly punished if committed by ordinary persons.


Under the English common law tradition, crimes were defined through a legacy of court proceedings and decisions that punished offenses not because they were prohibited by statutes, but because they offended the sense of justice of the people and the court. Whether an offense could qualify as punishable depended largely on the obligations of the offender, and the obligations of a person holding a high position meant that some actions, or inactions, could be punishable if he did them, even though they would not be if done by an ordinary person.


Offenses of this kind survive today in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It recognizes as punishable offenses such things as perjury of oath, refusal to obey orders, abuse of authority, dereliction of duty, failure to supervise, moral turpitude, and conduct unbecoming. These would not be offenses if committed by a civilian with no official position, but they are offenses which bear on the subject's fitness for the duties he holds, which he is bound by oath or affirmation to perform.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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