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

#14681 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-January-31, 09:22

From Evan Halper at LA Times:

Quote

EL PASO — This arid border town in the far western reaches of Texas hardly seems to scream Bloomberg Country.
The billionaire former New York mayor has had a rocky history with minority constituents. His Spanish is bad enough to be the subject of frequent parody. The Wall Street culture on which he built his fortune couldn’t be more foreign.

Yet when Michael R. Bloomberg jetted here this week, many in this predominantly Latino community welcomed him like a hometown hero.

“The Russians put Trump in office,” said Roberto Abalos, a 61-year-old who was among the crowd of 300 who turned out to see Bloomberg at El Paso’s old rail depot. “But the American people, the Hispanic community especially, are going to put Mike in office.”

While the other Democratic hopefuls knock one another in the snows of Iowa and New Hampshire, Bloomberg has the rest of America largely to himself.

Fueled by a bottomless bank account, an advertising blitz of unprecedented size and scope and armies of organizers in vast regions other candidates don’t have the resources to staff, the Bloomberg presidential campaign is taking off in unlikely places — like West Texas.

His recent rise in polls — he’s surpassed former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and businessman Andrew Yang in polling averages nationwide — and his focus on amassing a big advantage when California, Texas and other big, delegate-rich states vote on “Super Tuesday,” March 3, is turning political forecasting on its head and unnerving rivals.

“I struggle with how to answer where this is going,” said Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a University of Virginia publication that tracks campaigns. “It is different than anything we have seen before.”

Rivals are increasingly vocal about their agitation. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren criticized him recently on MSNBC, noting that Bloomberg, who doesn’t hold regular town halls, hasn’t yet disclosed his tax returns or financial holdings and oversees a media empire where reporters are directed to not investigate the boss.

He’s “skipping the democracy part of this,” she said.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a large group on the left that backs Warren, has taken to trying to force Bloomberg into the televised Democratic debates.

Most candidates covet the exposure debates give them. Bloomberg has kept himself off the stage by refusing to do any outside fundraising, which means he can’t meet the requirement of having a certain number of donors.

“He is both escaping the scrutiny of Iowa and New Hampshire voters who are known for their role in vetting candidates, and he is escaping the scrutiny on the debate stage,” said Adam Green, a co-founder of the group.

Bloomberg aides say their candidate would be happy to debate, but soliciting contributions — even ones as small as $1 — is against his principles.

American elections are littered with political carcasses of rich folks who tried to use cash to power their way into office. But none ever spent at this scale.

Bloomberg had poured more than $263 million into television and online ad spending by Jan. 24, according to the ad tracking firm Advertising Analytics — nearly 10 times more than any non-billionaire Democrat in the race. On Superbowl Sunday alone, he is spending $11 million to claim a full minute of ad time.

The only candidate even approaching his level of spending — Tom Steyer, also a billionaire — has pursued a very different strategy aimed mostly at the first four states to vote and designed to get him on the debate stage. Bloomberg’s fortune, estimated by Forbes at nearly $60 billion, is more than 30 times larger than Steyer’s.

The Bloomberg campaign is scaling up at an unprecedented pace. It has 1,000 staffers working from dozens of offices — many signed to contracts running through November. In El Paso on Thursday night, Bloomberg launched the opening of another of what will be 17 Texas offices.

Among the dignitaries on hand to greet him was hometown favorite Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman who dropped out of the presidential race weeks before Bloomberg plunged in as a very late entrant.

“I like that he is here,” O’Rourke said during a brief interview. “I strongly believe we have a chance to deliver the [state’s] 38 electoral college votes to the Democratic nominee. But it won’t happen of its own accord. It’s going to take a massive level of organizing and a significant investment.”

“The fact that he’s willing to do that … bodes very, very well for the state, and may bode well for his candidacy.”

O’Rourke hasn’t endorsed anybody. But his presence at the event reassured more than a few that Bloomberg is worth their support.

“It’s a good sign,” said Alexis Archuletta, a 20-year-old student who had hoped to vote for O’Rourke and is now bullish on Bloomberg. “Bloomberg is like the cream of the crop.”

After spending so much money over the years on liberal candidates and causes — and suggesting he might spend $1 billion to defeat President Trump, whether he wins the Democratic nomination or not — Bloomberg has an intimidating network of political heavyweights speaking highly of him.

Bloomberg ads are saturating Facebook, and his army of techies are spending with abandon to vacuum up every available byte of data they can use to fine-tune the campaign’s targeting and expand its reach.

But there is one crucial variable Bloomberg can’t control: Joe Biden.

Bloomberg’s strategy makes a big bet that Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont or Warren will best the former vice president early on from the left, leaving many centrist voters looking for a viable pragmatist to back.

“All of this investment has gotten him in the anteroom to the nomination,” said Robert Shrum, director of the USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future. “If the door opens, it will be because Biden falters or falls apart.”

Bloomberg’s allies are open about this: “One thing you don’t want to happen is one of the moderate candidates sweeping through the early states,” said Bradley Tusk, a longtime advisor to the billionaire.

“But if Bernie Sanders is surging and he wins Iowa and New Hampshire, Mike could become the only obstacle between Sanders and the nomination.”

Voters like 82-year-old David Buchmueller in El Paso are already looking to Bloomberg as the salvation for moderates.

“I’m really afraid that Joe Biden, who I like, has been passed by life,” Buchmueller said. “That brings me to Mayor Bloomberg, who had a spectacular record as mayor in New York City.”

The mayor’s comments at the El Paso event were tightly scripted and, as is often the case, he didn’t stick around to mingle with voters or gaggle with reporters. But the message — pillorying what he called Trump’s cruelty toward immigrants and empowerment of white supremacists, along with the unveiling of his economic plan for Latinos — was well received.

Here, and at other stops, he made a particular point of appealing to nonwhite voters — trying to shore up a weak spot in his support.

In Houston before a large audience of African Americans at the AME Church’s Future of Black America Symposium a few hours before his El Paso event, Bloomberg talked about his white privilege.

“If I had been black, I wouldn’t have had the same opportunities, and my life would have turned out very differently,” he said. “Many black Americans of my generation would have ended up with far more wealth if they had been white.”

The steady increase of support for Bloomberg among nonwhite voters worries rivals. With racial justice and law enforcement accountability front and center in this primary, many thought the aggressive policing methods Bloomberg backed as mayor would disqualify him with voters.

Nina Turner, a national co-chair of Sanders’ campaign, took a pointed jab at that history when she followed Bloomberg on Wednesday onstage in Houston.

“No ‘stop and frisk’ on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ watch,” she declared.

But a formidable slate of black leaders allied with Bloomberg have helped drown out such criticism. San Francisco Mayor London Breed, former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, who endorsed Bloomberg last week, have spoken on his behalf, arguing that he has done more to empower minorities than any of the other candidates.

The endorsements bolster the biographical sketch voters targeted by Bloomberg are being inundated with, one that stresses the immense investment Bloomberg’s philanthropies and advocacy groups have put into fighting the gun lobby, curbing climate change and renewing urban economies.

Many of the endorsements have a transactional scent — the mayors backing him often represent cities that won lucrative grants from Bloomberg’s foundation. But that hasn’t blunted their appeal.

“All black voters are not the same,” Nutter said, arguing that the Democrat who is going to win over the most black voters is the one voters are most confident can win the White House. He recalled a house party he was at this week in Charlotte, N.C., with dozens of African Americans.

“The primary concern of the overwhelming majority of the folks in that house,” Nutter said, “was who can beat Donald Trump.”

If Bloomberg does not get the nomination, which he is not likely to get, I will be surprised if he doesn't continue his aggressive media campaign to dump our maniacal anti-president.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14682 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-January-31, 09:36

Now that the Senate has confirmed that a president is exempt from any oversight, it makes me wonder how the message of the New Testament and Gordon Gecko-like selfishness are able to blend into the modern right.

If this president, and indeed, his entire party are not soundly repudiated in the next election cycle then there is nothing worthwhile to save - or care about.

Tin Senate and Trump is coming
We're finally on our own
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the lies into your head
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14683 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-January-31, 09:53

View Postkenberg, on 2020-January-31, 08:11, said:



The Lamar Alexander argument had occurred to me as well. I will paraphrase, so without quotes but I believe accurately: There is no longer any doubt that Trump did what he is accused of doing, namely withhold funds from Ukraine in an attempt to get them to dig up dirt on the Bides. I accept that. I will not be voting to convict on the basis of that fact. Thus, having further witness to testify to what is already accepted fact is pointless.

Most of this was already well known months ago, although the GOP was simply unwilling to admit it. The whole trial has been pointless.

The Q&A was a total farce. Were any of the questions really something the questioners didn't know? They generally seemed to be rhetorical questions aimed at getting the House Managers or WH counsel to repeat arguments they made during the opening remarks phase, and that's all we got in response. One Senator asked something like "If Trump is acquitted, what will stop him from doing something like this again?" Even when the questions were written as general hypotheticals ("Is it appropriate for a President to ask a foreign government to investigate a private US citizen, and what if that citizen happens to be a political rival?") the responses were flipped to being specifically about Trump, and just parrotted the appropriate party line (WH counsel answered that by saying that Trump didn't ask Ukraine to investigate Biden, he asked them to address corruption, and the aid wasn't conditional on this).

#14684 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-January-31, 10:47

Manu Raju @mkraju said:

Just asked Lamar Alexander the distinction he made between inappropriate conduct and impeachable conduct, and he said: “Impeachable conduct is a very high bar. It's treason, bribery, it's high crimes and misdemeanors. And to me, an error in judgment, an inappropriate and improper telephone call or action doesn't add up to treason, bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors,” Alexander said.

So, why didn't Dems explicitly accuse Trump of committing bribery in their first article of impeachment and attempt to prove it? This must be because they didn't think they could make a convincing case.

Alan Dershowitz said:

So the position that I’ve derived from the history would include, and this is a word that has upset some people, but would include criminal-like conduct akin to treason and bribery. There need not be, in my view, conclusive evidence of a technical crime that would necessarily result in a criminal conviction. Let me explain. For example, if a president were to receive or give a bribe outside of the United States and outside of the statute of limitations, he could not technically be prosecuted in the United States for such a crime. But I believe he could be impeached for such a crime because he committed the crime of bribery, even though he couldn’t technically be accused of it in the United States. That’s the distinction that I think we draw. Or if a president committed extortion, perjury, or obstruction of justice, he could be charged with these crimes as impeachable offenses because these crimes, though not specified in the constitution, are akin to treason and bribery.


Adam Schiff, responding to Dershowitz said:

The counsel acknowledges that a crime's not necessary but something akin to a crime. Well we think there is a crime here of bribery or extortion, conditioning official acts for personal favors; that is bribery, it's also what the founders understood as extortion. You cannot argue — even if you argue. 'Well, under the modern definition of bribery you've got to show such and such' — you cannot plausibly argue that it's not akin to bribery. It is bribery, but it's certainly akin to bribery.


Elizabeth Warren said:

To House managers and Trump defense: "If Ukrainian President Zelensky called President Trump and offered dirt on President Trump's political rivals in exchange for President Trump handing over hundreds of millions in military aid, that would clearly be bribery and an impeachable offense. So why would it be more acceptable and somehow not impeachable for the reverse that is, for President Trump to propose the same corrupt bargain?"


Jerry Nadler, responding to Warren said:

Bribery is contained within the accusation that the House levels of abuse of power. We explained in the Judiciary Committee report the practice of impeachment in the United States has tended to envelop charges of bribery within the broader standard of other high crimes and misdemeanors. That's the historical standard.


Patrick Philbin, responding to Warren said:

This is an effort to smuggle into articles of impeachment that do not mention any crime, the idea that there is some crime alleged here. There is not. And I went through that earlier. The articles of impeachment specify a theory of the charge here that is abuse of power. They do not allege the elements of bribery or extortion. They don't mention bribery or extortion. If the House managers had wanted to bring those charges, they had to put them in the articles of impeachment. Just the way a prosecutor, if he wants to put someone on trial for bribery, he's got to put it in the indictment.

Susan Collins said:

The House Judiciary report stated President Donald Trump committed criminal bribery and honest services wire fraud. But these offenses are not cited in the impeachment articles. Why not?

Per Politico, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said Trump’s actions as alleged in the impeachment articles are “akin to a crime.” But he did not specifically answer Collins’ question about why bribery and wire fraud were left out of the articles, even though the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment report states that Trump committed those offenses.
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#14685 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-January-31, 19:39

Lindsey Graham, in 1998 said:

The day Richard Nixon failed to answer that subpoena is the day that he was subject to impeachment, because he took the power from Congress over the impeachment process away from Congress, and he became the judge and jury.

Lindsey Graham, in 1999 said:

What’s a high crime? It doesn’t even have to be a crime. It’s just when you start using your office and you’re acting in a way that hurts people, you’ve committed a high crime.

Lindsey Graham, in October 2019 said:

If you could show me that Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing.

Lindsey Graham, January 15, 2020 said:

The best thing for the American people is to end this crap as quickly as possible, to have a trial in the Senate, bipartisan acquittal of the president. And on Feb. 4, when the president comes into the House chamber to deliver the State of the Union, he will have been acquitted by the Senate

Lindsey Graham, January 30, 2020 said:

We're not blocking anybody's witnesses, we're just not going to legitimize the House choosing not to call a witness, dumping it in our lap and put us in a spot where if you call the witness, you'd be billing the courts out of the judicial review of impeachment.

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#14686 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-January-31, 19:59

From How Republicans Scotched the Idea of Witnesses in Trump’s Impeachment Trial by Michael C. Bender, Lindsay Wise, Siobhan Hughes and Rebecca Ballhaus at WSJ:

Quote

WASHINGTON—At the White House on Sunday evening, as the phones started ringing nonstop and emails flooded in, President Trump took aim at the cause of the alarm: John Bolton, his former national security adviser.

Mr. Bolton’s recollection in his forthcoming book—that Mr. Trump had put a hold on Ukraine aid to press Kyiv to open an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden —had just leaked. The information ran counter to a key Trump defense that he had held up the aid because of broad corruption concerns, and it turned up the heat on some Republicans to extend the trial by calling witnesses.

As White House aides scrambled to figure out how to respond, Mr. Trump recalled that Mr. Bolton once told him he wanted to be national security adviser because he worried he couldn’t win the Senate confirmation required for many other senior jobs.

“I should have seen that as a red flag,” Mr. Trump said, according to an aide in the room. “But instead, I did the guy a favor, took him at his word that this was a good fit, and this is what he did to me?”

Mr. Bolton didn’t respond to a request to comment.

For the first time, Republican plans for a quick Senate impeachment trial were under threat of derailment. The White House and GOP leadership in the Senate swung into a political good-cop, bad-cop routine to keep the trial on track for a fast acquittal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R. Ky.), aided by White House liaisons, exercised a behind-the-scenes campaign in the chamber to keep his members from panicking and breaking en masse from Mr. Trump. Mr. McConnell’s office even advised the president’s legal team throughout the process on which arguments were important to be made on the floor to resonate with certain undecided senators.

Mr. Trump stayed largely on the sidelines, heeding advice he had received directly from Mr. McConnell to give fence-sitting Republican senators—who were wary both of crossing the president and appearing browbeaten by him—the space to make their own decisions. But he engaged in some political saber-rattling with tweets about the need for a speedy trial resolution and criticism of Mr. Bolton, which was amplified by conservative allies in the media.

“Once he got over being pissed about this whole thing,” an administration official said, “he could see the wisdom of sitting still and letting the Senate come to its conclusions.”

The strategy didn’t prove immediately effective. In a private meeting at lunchtime Monday, Sen. Mitt Romney (R., Utah) made an impassioned speech to his colleagues about the need to hear from Mr. Bolton.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) floated the possibility of bringing in Mr. Bolton and a witness who would appeal to Mr. Trump.

Mr. McConnell’s message to senators then was to stay calm and be patient. He had framed the handling of the trial as a bigger threat to the party’s Senate majority than to the president, and stressed on Monday that there was plenty of time before senators would have to decide, people familiar with the matter said.

At the White House, Mr. Trump hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the Oval Office, when asked about Mr. Bolton’s allegations, Mr. Trump said: “False.” His lawyers, arguing his case in the Senate, made only brief mention of the issue.

That night, the consequences of crossing Mr. Trump started to come into focus for Republicans. On his primetime Fox News show, Tucker Carlson called Mr. Bolton a snake. Lou Dobbs, a host on Fox Business News, referred to Mr. Bolton as a “tool for the radical” Democrats.

By Tuesday, it was clear to Republicans in the White House and the Senate that Mr. Bolton’s account in his draft manuscript, first reported two days earlier by the New York Times, had to be more forcefully addressed, officials said.

White House officials spoke out against Mr. Bolton, as did Trump allies in the Senate. Sen. James Inhofe (R., Okla.), who considers Mr. Bolton a close friend, patrolled the Senate hallways gripping a printout of talking points matching those pushed by the White House. Other Republican senators bristled, however, unwilling to make a call on who might not be telling the truth between the president and Mr. Bolton, a prominent and longtime conservative in Washington.

On Tuesday afternoon, all 53 Republican senators gathered in an ornate room near the Capitol Rotunda. Mr. McConnell was clutching a card—apparently a tally of Republican votes on the witness question—marked with “yeses,” “noes” and “maybes.”

He told them the vote count wasn’t where it needed to be, according to people familiar with the meeting, and struck an ominous tone, saying the future of the country and the Constitution were at stake. People close to Mr. McConnell were struck by his intensity. They felt that he had moved the needle.

The lone senator Mr. McConnell wasn’t focused on persuading at the meeting was Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine), who faces a tough re-election fight. She had made it clear to the leader and her GOP colleagues from the beginning that she wanted a vote on witnesses and documents.

Republican Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado, Martha McSally of Arizona and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who face competitive races in the fall as well, also addressed their colleagues in the meeting. Other GOP senators, including Mike Lee of Utah, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas, all lawyers, made the legal case against witnesses.

Reports that the GOP had yet to secure the needed votes to prevent witnesses increased the tension and suggested for the first time that Mr. Trump’s trial could prove much longer—and potentially more volatile—than at any time since it began almost two weeks before.

Mr. McConnell kept up his cajoling on Wednesday, repeating his argument that the trial wasn’t just about the president, but about preserving the GOP Senate majority, and the sooner it ended the better. He also said that adding witnesses would bog down the Senate in battles over executive privilege—the right of the president to prevent advisers from sharing some information—when the outcome of the trial wasn’t in doubt.

There were signs that the strategy was starting to tamp the momentum for witnesses. Mr. McConnell met that morning with Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who was one of the handful viewed as potentially in favor of calling witnesses. “I’m not going to be discussing the witness situation right now,” she said afterward.

Mr. Toomey, who had earlier floated the idea of calling witnesses for both sides, shifted position, telling reporters he didn’t believe that new witnesses could change the outcome of the trial.

But the vote was “still uncertain” as of Wednesday evening, according to Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the GOP whip.

In the White House, the rapid-response communications team, led by Adam Kennedy, deputy communications director, unearthed video of an interview Mr. Bolton gave to Radio Free Europe in August before he left the national security post in which he described Mr. Trump’s interactions with Ukraine as “very warm and cordial”—suggesting it undermined his book excerpt.

Club for Growth, a conservative group that has aligned itself with Mr. Trump, aired a television ad attacking Mr. Romney for siding with Democrats on the need for more witnesses, and referring to Mr. Bolton as a “spotlight-seeking blowhard.”

By Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Trump strolled the halls of the West Wing. “We’re doing good, I think,” he said in a brief exchange with The Wall Street Journal. When asked about the vote for witnesses, he said: “Whatever it is, it is.”

By Thursday lunchtime, GOP support for witnesses was on a knife edge. With Mr. Romney in favor, Ms. Collins a likely, two other GOP senators—Ms. Murkowski and Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee—became pivotal. With their 53-47 Senate majority, the Republicans could afford three defections, down to a 50-50 Senate vote, figuring Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wouldn’t use his power to intervene to break the tie.

At lunch with his colleagues that day, Mr. McConnell didn’t reveal where the vote tally stood. Mr. Alexander, who is retiring, shook his head when asked afterward if he had made a decision. “There’s been no clear declaration of who’s still stewing on it,” said Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana. “It’s going to be very, very close.”

Mr. McConnell met with Mr. Alexander in the leader’s office at dinnertime on Thursday. He had one tactical advantage in keeping the Tennessee senator onside: a half-century of friendship and Mr. Alexander’s rule of thumb to be upfront with the majority leader about whether he would vote against the party.

In the Senate chamber, Ms. Murkowski asked the White House legal team why the Senate shouldn’t call Mr. Bolton. The lawyers responded that House Democrats could have subpoenaed Mr. Bolton, but chose not to. House Democrats have said that Mr. Trump directed administration officials not to testify before the House.

An hour and a half later, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) had persuaded Ms. Murkowski to reframe the question, in effect asking: Even if Mr. Bolton’s account was accurate, would Mr. Trump’s actions amount to an impeachable offense? Mr. Trump’s lawyers said late Thursday that it wouldn’t be. It was a subtle signal that she might be leaning against the need to hear from Mr. Bolton or other witnesses.

Ms. Collins said Thursday evening that, as expected, she would vote for witnesses. But later Mr. Alexander, while terming Mr. Trump’s actions on Ukraine inappropriate, said he saw no need for witnesses.

On Friday around lunchtime, Ms. Murkowski said she, too, saw no need for witnesses, effectively scotching the prospect. Senators on Friday afternoon narrowly voted 51-49 not to have witnesses, the first impeachment trial in U.S. history to exclude them.

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#14687 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-January-31, 20:20

It is now time to wrap it up. I favor having the vote for acquittal tomorrow.
Ken
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#14688 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-January-31, 22:07

View Postkenberg, on 2020-January-31, 20:20, said:

It is now time to wrap it up. I favor having the vote for acquittal tomorrow.

Wrapping it up before Sunday (Super Bowl Sunday) or Tuesday (State of the Union) gives the Manchurian President the chance to "spike the football" in declaring his innocence in the Impeachment trial. Of course Not Guilty has never been the same as Innocent but I'm sure Individual-1 will totally ignore that concept.
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#14689 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-January-31, 22:08

In answer to the title of this thread, "Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped?", that question has been answered and that answer is "Yes".
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#14690 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-February-01, 03:37

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-January-30, 09:37, said:

But you know the really important question for the sake of the country moving forward is this: if Obama had done what Trump did, how many Democrats would vote to convict?

You won't know until the rubber hits the road for a Democratic president. However, more than 2 dozen US Senators including Senator Gillibrand called on Senator Al Franken to resign from the senate after a sexual misconduct scandal broke. You can bet that there probably wouldn't be any Republican senators calling on one of their own Republican senators to resign after they lined up to endorse Roy Moore in the 2017 special senate election after being accused of sexually assaulting numerous teenage girls
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#14691 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-February-01, 04:21

50 Congresswomen Call Out Donald Trump’s Misogyny In Searing Open Letter

Quote

“Mr. President, instead of being the biggest bully on the playground, why don’t you set a moral example for our children?” concluded the letter that Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) shared on Twitter:

In response, Secretary of State Pompeo cursed them out is a 10 minute diatribe and challenged the congresswomen to find Misogyny on the map. The Manchurian President denied all charges and proudly showed a world map with a sharpie circle in the middle of the Pacific ocean.
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#14692 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-February-01, 07:48

View Postjohnu, on 2020-January-31, 22:07, said:

Wrapping it up before Sunday (Super Bowl Sunday) or Tuesday (State of the Union) gives the Manchurian President the chance to "spike the football" in declaring his innocence in the Impeachment trial. Of course Not Guilty has never been the same as Innocent but I'm sure Individual-1 will totally ignore that concept.


This is true. It is also true that it would be an excellent way of announcing that Democrats recognize reality and will now turn their attention to the nomination process. And other issues

As to spiking: You cannot stop a gloater from gloating but I think more than a few Americans are ready to move on and would not take all that kindly to more stuff on impeachment now that the outcome has been settled. As a tactical matter, I would say that if he wants to gloat, by all means give him the opportunity to do so. . But mostly I think Dems need to accept reality and move on to a discussion of issues and candidates. The sooner the better.


Iowans will be discussing things on Monday and making some choices.


A brief, presentation of some issues appears in a recent WaPo. There are links to further discussion.

https://www.washingt...cs/policy-2020/


For example, I will comment on student debt. I start with the idea that there are good reasons for giving people money and there are reasons for lending people money, but we should know which it is that we are doing. Giving a loan, to be paid back, and later converting it to a gift, not to be paid back, requires substantial justification. I start with No. I am willing to listen, but I start with No. At the very least, it has to be explained, if making it a gift is right, why then it was originally packaged as a loan. Truth in packaging is a useful concept.

Anyway, there is an election coming up, we need to get on with making the choices.
Ken
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#14693 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-February-01, 07:57

From After Trump’s Acquittal, It Will Only Get Worse for Republicans by Francis Wilkinson at Bloomberg:

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The Senate trial of President Donald Trump is proving less Soviet than expected. Representative Adam Schiff of California, the House impeachment manager, last week presented a coherent, damning and often eloquent narrative of Trump’s guilt, backed by text messages, emails, letters and sworn witness testimony previously delivered to the House.

As my colleague Jonathan Bernstein points out, the weight of such facts can alter political gravity. Even Republicans who have made up their minds to acquit — which almost certainly describes the entire GOP caucus — have had to sit through the avalanche of evidence. Surely it weighs on at least a few consciences. Meanwhile, writes New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait, ignoring the facts carries risks of its own: “The impeachment trial is an exercise in displaying the Republican Party’s institutional culpability in Trump’s contempt for the rule of law. At some point, they will have to decide to damn the president or to damn themselves.”

It’s a foregone conclusion: Republican senators will damn themselves to infinity and beyond. The question isn’t what Republican senators will decide next week, but where the Republican Party will go after Trump’s acquittal. That answer, too, is alarmingly clear: further downward. From 1994 to 2015, give or take, the party was tumbling down a slippery slope. Since 2016, Republicans have been falling at 32 feet per second squared.

Acquitting Trump is not the same as shrugging at the president’s venality and vindictiveness, or mumbling and walking away when a reporter asks whether you believe it’s OK to solicit foreign sabotage of a U.S. election. Acquitting Trump is a bold, affirmative act.

The acquittal will mark the senators as political made men. It will be their induction into Trump’s gangster ethos, using constitutional powers to enable corruption. For those who have hovered on the periphery of Trump’s political gangland, there is no route back to innocence.

Many long ago crossed that Rubicon, proclaiming their fealty to “the chosen one.” But acquittal will transform even the most reticent Republicans into conspirators against democracy and rule of law.

It will not be long before they are called upon to defend the indefensible again. And they will do it, acquiescing to the next figurative or literal crime just as they did to Trump’s videotaped boast of sexual assaults, his horrifying sellouts to Russian President Vladimir Putin, his personal use of charitable contributions intended for veterans, his brutality toward children, or his quotidian blitzes against decency and democracy.

Schiff’s repeated use of the word “cheat” to describe Trump’s posture toward U.S. elections was less an accounting of past performance than a guarantee of future results. “No one is really making the argument, ‘Donald Trump would never do such a thing,’ because of course we know that he would, and of course we know that he did,” Schiff told the Senate last week. “He’ll do it now. He’s done it before. He’ll do it for the next several months. He’ll do it in the election if he’s allowed to.”

Whether the game is golf or politics or business, Trump cheats. On trial for seeking foreign interference in the 2020 election, after having been the beneficiary of foreign interference in the 2016 election, Trump will find many willing accomplices before November. His presidency is a strategic boon to multiple U.S. adversaries, most prominently Putin. Another modest investment in Trump’s presidency could yield an even larger return — destroying, for a generation or more, American democracy not only as a vehicle of ethical government but also as a protector (aspirationally if not always actually) of human dignity.

This is not cynicism. It’s the reality of U.S. politics in 2020. Acquitting Trump will destroy what’s left of the Republican Party’s claims to ethical legitimacy and pave the way for the further erosion of democracy. The only question that remains is how much more corruption the non-MAGA majority of Americans is willing to take.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14694 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-February-01, 11:21

EL CHAPO OUTRAGED THAT HIS TRIAL INCLUDED WITNESSES

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FLORENCE, COLORADO (The Borowitz Report)—The convicted drug lord known as El Chapo said on Thursday that he was “outraged” his 2019 trial had included witnesses. He also revealed that he was demanding a new trial without them.

Speaking from ADX Florence, a maximum-security facility in Colorado, the former drug kingpin complained that his trial would have resulted in a speedy acquittal had it not been for the irritating presence of witnesses.

“If I had to point to one reason why I was convicted of all of those crimes, it would have to be witnesses,” he said. “Once the decision was made to include witnesses, things really went downhill for me.”

El Chapo said that, at the time of his trial, he had been totally unaware that it was possible to have a trial without any witnesses at all.

“I didn’t know that was a thing,” he said. “If someone had told me that you could have a witness-free trial, that’s the route I would have gone, for sure.”

The former criminal mastermind said that he was now actively seeking a new trial without witnesses because, in his opinion, “witnesses ruin everything.”

“For the good of the country, it’s time to move on,” he said.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14695 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-February-01, 11:59

View Postjohnu, on 2020-January-31, 22:07, said:

Wrapping it up before Sunday (Super Bowl Sunday) or Tuesday (State of the Union) gives the Manchurian President the chance to "spike the football" in declaring his innocence in the Impeachment trial. Of course Not Guilty has never been the same as Innocent but I'm sure Individual-1 will totally ignore that concept.

Considering that he considered the Mueller Report to be a "complete exoneration" when it was exactly the opposite, it's hard to imagine how positively he'll spin the impeachment process. I predict that he'll say that he's already won the 2020 election.

#14696 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-February-01, 15:19

Johnny Mathis says goodbye to the U.S.A.

Guess it's over, call it a day.
Sorry that it had to end this way.
No reason to pretend,
we knew it had to end someday
this way.

Yes, it's over, democracy's gone
What's the use of tryin' to hang on?
Somewhere we lost the key
So little left for you and me and it's clear to see

Too Much, Too Little, Too Late for lies again from you
Too Much, Too Little, Too Late to try again with you
We're in the middle of ending something that was new
It's over
Oh, it is over

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14697 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-February-01, 18:24

‘The Fix Is In!’ Twitter Users Shred ‘Coward’ Lamar Alexander After Vote Reveal

I have to defend Lamar's vote to deny witnesses and documents in the Impeachment trial. Sure Lamar is retiring after his current term, but there are 6 and 7 figure TV and lobbying jobs up in the air if he voted to allow witnesses and documents, and there would be hell to pay if he voted to convict. He could kiss those Fox TV contracts goodbye, as well as all those cushy Red State lobby positions.

Of course, he could live more than comfortably on his generous government pension, and savings, but why be comfortable when you can really rake in much more money than a Senator's salary by trading in your years of Senate connections. Is the Constitution and the health of this country really that important when compared to personal enrichment? I think not.
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#14698 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-February-01, 20:08

From Ross Douthat at NYT:

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All you have to do is beat him.

Donald Trump is not a Caesar; he does not bestride our narrow world like a colossus, undefeatable save by desperate or underhanded means. He is an instinct-driven chancer who has exploited the decadence of his party and the larger system to grasp and hold a certain kind of power.

But he is also a reckless and distracted figure, a serial squanderer of opportunities, who barely won the presidency and whose coalition is united only in partisan solidarity and fear of liberalism. He may not be removable by the impeachment process, but is not a king; he is a widely hated, legislatively constrained president facing a difficult re-election.

All you have to do is beat him.

For a long time during Trump’s ascent I wrote columns demanding that the leaders of the Republican Party do something to keep this obviously unfit, chaotic, cruel man from becoming their nominee for president. Those columns were morally correct but structurally naïve, based on theories of party decision-making that no longer obtain in our era of institutional decay.

But Trump could have been stopped in the Republican primaries the old-fashioned way — by being beaten at the polls. His base was limited, his popularity fluctuated, and if his rivals had recognized the threat earlier, campaigned against him consistently, strategized with one another more effectively, and avoided their own meltdowns and missteps, there was no reason he could not have been defeated.

All you have to do is beat him.

After Trump’s administration began and immediately descended into chaos, I had one last flare of institutionalism, one last moment of outrage and 25th Amendment fantasy. But since then I have left the outrage to my liberal friends, watching them put their hopes in Robert Mueller’s investigation, in law-enforcement and intelligence-agency leaks and whistle-blowing, and finally — though with less real hope, and more grim resignation — in the House’s articles of impeachment.

Now that last effort is ending, as everyone with eyes could see it would, with the Republicans who failed to beat Trump when it counted declining to turn on him now that partisan consolidation and improving national conditions have sealed their base to him. The mix of expedience and cravenness with which the institutional G.O.P. approached impeachment is no different than the way the institutional G.O.P. behaved during Trump’s initial ascent, and it leaves Trump’s opposition no worse off than before. A failed impeachment doesn’t give him new powers or new popularity; it just shows that the normal way to be rid of an unpopular president is the way that Democrats must take.

All you have to do is beat him.

Of course, in trying to beat him they have to cope with the fact that he is chronically unscrupulous, as the Biden-Ukraine foray shows. And they have to overcome the advantage that his particular coalition enjoys in the Electoral College.

But in other ways the Democrats are lucky to have Trump to run against, as they were lucky in 2016. In a year when the fundamentals mildly favored Republicans, Hillary Clinton got to face off against the most-disliked G.O.P. nominee of modern times. And she would have beaten him — even with Russia, even with Comey — had her campaign taken just a few more steps to counter his team’s long-shot strategy to flip the Midwest.

All you have to do is beat him.

As with 2016, so with politics since. Liberal hand-wringing about their structural disadvantages ignores the advantages that Trump keeps giving them — the fact that in the best economy in 20 years he can’t stop making people hate him, can’t stop missing opportunities to expand his base, can’t stop forcing vulnerable Republicans to kiss his ring and thereby weaken their own prospects.

Impeachment has only extended this pattern, with Republicans voting to shorten the trial even when it makes them look like lackeys, and too cowed in many cases to even take the acquit-but-still-condemn approach that Democrats took with Bill Clinton. So now most of the country thinks the president did something wrong, most of the country thinks Republicans are protecting him, and most of the country is open, entirely open, to voting Trump and the most vulnerable Republican senators out in nine short months.

All you have to do is beat him.

It’s worth remembering, too, that liberalism is not just struggling in America, with our Electoral College and right-tilting Senate; it is struggling all around the world. Which, again, suggests that American liberals are fortunate to have Trump as their Great Foe. If he were merely as disciplined and competent as Boris Johnson or Viktor Orban, to choose leaders with whom he has a few things in common, he would be coasting to re-election.

Instead it is very likely that he will lose. But it was likely that he would lose in 2016 as well. One essential lesson of the Trump era is that likelihoods are not enough; if you want to end the Trump era only one thing will suffice.

You have to beat him.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14699 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-February-02, 06:53

Well, I hope we can beat him. Here is a fact. Listing Trumps bad features won't do the job.

The Dems seem to be having an identity crisis. No doubt this is tied up with the issue of electability, but I think the question of who we are is the basic one. Being Not Trump won't be enough.

I mentioned a relatively straightforward example a bit ago, student debt. Figures vary, but I gather a conservative estimate is that the total approaches a trillion dollars. really? Now the population of the US is a little less than a third of a billion. So a trillion collars averages out to around three thousand person, adult and child.
Obvious conclusion: Whoever designed this loan program seriously screwed the pooch. (Old expression for my childhood).
What to do? If you ask a person what comes to mind with the word loan, they will answer that a loan is something that has to be paid back. many of us have paid back loans of one sort or another, many of us believe you should borrow money only as a last resort and should then borrow as little as possible .This view could affect how people see any effort to have us all contribute money to pay back loans.
Oh. Not to worry. The rich will pay for it all. Actually there are many great plans the Dems have, all of which cost a lot of money, Not to worry, the rich will pay for it all.
So: are the people who assure us that the rich will pay for it all the same people who set up this loan program that leaves the total debt at around a trillion bucks?


The point is that saying we can do a lot of really great things and someone else will pay for it appears extremely naive.


So yes, let's beat him.
The way to start is by thinking about the possible candidates. Trump? Don't focus there. Focus no who who will be the candidate, what will be the plan.
I guess they will be doing that in Iowa tomorrow. Good luck to them.
Ken
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#14700 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-February-02, 14:03

I think the current odds suggest that Trump is less likely to be beaten (as per betting odds, he has a 53% chance of winning).

Secondly, if Michael Bloomberg becomes a big player, he is more likely to steal Dem votes than Rep votes. i.e. the stronger he gets in the polls, the higher is the chance that Trump is re-elected.
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