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dajoki

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Gender: Male
Home country: USA
Current location: PA
Member since: Wed May 11, 2005, 10:48 PM
Number of posts: 10,503

About Me

I love spending time with my grandchildren and gardening.

Journal Archives

It's hard to be an optimist about America right now

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/its-hard-to-be-an-optimist-about-america-right-now/2019/11/27/8020e526-115b-11ea-b0fc-62cc38411ebb_story.html

<<snip>>

There is another concerning trend that threatens America’s constitutional character: the ever-expanding power of the presidency. Whatever you think of the charges against President Trump on Russia or Ukraine, his position of resolute noncooperation with Congress should trouble you deeply. If Congress cannot exercise its core oversight capacity, obtain documents and subpoena administration officials to testify, the essential system of checks and balances has broken down. The presidency will have become an elected dictatorship.

We have been going down this road for a while. Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. wrote about “The Imperial Presidency” in 1973. The legislation and culture after Watergate led many to believe that matters were under control. People actually began worrying about a weakened and emasculated White House. In fact, as Schlesinger noted in a 2004 reissue of his book, the presidency in recent years has become stronger than ever. The fear after 9/11 proved to be the gateway for an out-of-control executive branch. The president gained the ability to snoop on private Americans, use military force at his whim, torture prisoners and detain people indefinitely. The president can now order the execution of American citizens who are deemed — by him — to be terrorists, without due process.

In Attorney General William P. Barr, Trump has found an extraordinarily useful aide, who appears to believe, despite all this history, that the great problem in the United States is that the presidency is too weak. He has enabled a policy of stonewalling and silence, in which top administration officials almost behave as though Congress does not exist. People often ask themselves what the founders would think of America today. It seems to me that the greatest shock to them would be the incredible growth of presidential power. Congress and the courts are recognizable from their times; the White House is not.

Tensions over profound demographic change, fierce political backlash and a presidency that refuses to be checked. My optimism is wearing thin.

Trump's GOP defenders cannot be shamed. It's time to try this instead.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/11/22/trumps-gop-defenders-cannot-be-shamed-its-time-democrats-try-this-instead/

/snip/

It’s time to drop the posture that Trump’s defenders can be shamed into accepting what has been unearthed, or that they can be shamed into arguing from a baseline of shared democratic values, or into arguing over how to interpret a comprehensive set of shared facts.

Instead, let’s rhetorically treat Trump’s defenders as his criminal accomplices. Not just as “enablers” of Trump’s corruption but as active participants in it.

Once this is accepted, it becomes obvious why they can’t be “won over,” because they are actively engaged in keeping the corruption in question from getting fully uncovered, in the belief that they, too, benefit from it, and that they, too, lose out if it’s exposed.

/snip/

"If those records had come out, the truth would have been exposed"

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/trial-opens-for-roger-stone-accused-of-lying-about-wikileaks-and-trump-campaigns-interest-in-hacked-2016-democratic-emails/2019/11/06/647bd322-ff2b-11e9-8bab-0fc209e065a8_story.html

<<snip>>

The trial before Judge Amy Berman Jackson is expected to last about two weeks. She has warned that any visible or audible response from those attending the trial will lead to expulsion from the courtroom, and after one break, Stone warned his supporters to “tone down the reactions — no smiling, no giggling, no rolling your eyes,” he said.

A trove of Stone’s communications with Trump insiders, including exchanges with Bannon, Manafort and Manafort deputy Rick Gates, will figure prominently in the case.

Zelinsky said the case’s most important evidence will not be the witnesses, but Stone’s own words.

“Amazingly, most of the evidence in this case is in the written record — it’s emails and text messages showing what really happened. If those records had come out, the truth would have been exposed,” the prosecutor said.

The trial will detail the eagerness of some in Trump’s orbit to find damaging information to derail Clinton’s presidential run, and how Stone then denied such efforts when asked about them.

“At a critical moment in this nation’s history,” as Congress sought to “find out the truth of what happened,” Zelinsky said, Stone “was doing his best to stop them.”

Sorry, pundits: The problem isn't "polarization" -- Republicans have lost their damn minds

Sorry, pundits: The problem isn't "polarization" — Republicans have lost their damn minds
Mainstream media loves the "both sides" narrative. But the real problem is that the GOP has snapped the tether
https://www.salon.com/2019/11/01/sorry-pundits-the-problem-isnt-polarization-republicans-have-lost-their-damn-minds/

When the final vote tally on a formal resolution governing the impeachment inquiry concluded on Thursday with a party-line split — all Republicans present voted against the resolution, and all but two Democrats voted for it — one could practically hear the squeak of excitement from the mainstream media pundit class. Here was an opportunity to run with a "partisan polarization" narrative that neatly sidesteps the substantive disagreement between the two parties.

The situation is simple: The Republican Party, both its politicians and its voters, has collectively decided that it's fine for Donald Trump to use his office to run an illegal extortion scheme against a foreign leader in an effort to cheat in the 2020 election. The moral rot of the Republican Party, and its cultist loyalty to a criminal president is the sole reason for this situation. Democrats are — rather too reluctantly! — trying to do something to stop the bleeding.

But to read mainstream news coverage, one would think the real problem is that both sides are irascible and bitterly divided, and that there's some reasonable solution that involves everyone joining hands and finding some way to compromise.

"Analysis: On Impeachment Fight, Neither Side Seems Willing To Give an Inch," read the Friday morning front-page headline at the New York Times, which, as usual, was the most egregious offender when it comes to "both sides" pablum.

The article underneath, by Carl Hulse, focused exclusively on the failure to compromise, noting that "the two parties [are] pulling ever further apart as they dig in deeper on the righteousness of their respective causes" and that "[l]ittle evidence has emerged that either side is willing to give an inch."

How the parties are supposed to compromise on the issue of whether the president should be allowed to commit serious crimes is not even addressed. After all, to acknowledge that one side is for crimes and the other side is against them might expose how ridiculous this "compromise vs. polarization" framework really is.

The Associated Press covered the vote in a similar vein, writing that "Democrats swept a rules package for their impeachment probe of President Donald Trump through a divided House," and failing to note until the 22nd paragraph that Republicans have been calling for such a vote for weeks, as Media Matters pointed out.

Other outlets, including NBC News, CNN and the Washington Post, ran front-page stories on the way partisan polarization shaped the vote and is driving the polling on impeachment.

These stories are tough, because, in one sense, it's technically true that the vote and the polling shows that Americans are deeply divided, by party identity, on the issue of impeachment. But that framework misses the larger story: The reason for this deep division is that Republicans, both voters and their representatives, have completely abandoned any respect for democracy and rule of law, choosing instead the cult of personality around a flagrant criminal. It ignores that Democrats value the truth and Republicans are awash in lies. It equates the two sides in a way that is not justified by looking at the bigger picture.

The "both sides" frame, in other words, hides the fact that this situation is very a one-sided problem.

<<snip>>

Kevin McCarthy is implicated in the scandal he doesn't want investigated

https://www.emptywheel.net/2019/10/31/the-republican-closing-argument-against-impeachment-is-personally-implicated-in-the-scandal/
...

But perhaps the most telling aspect of the debate is that the Republican closing argument — yet another recital of that same Hamilton quote — came from Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Kevin McCarthy is implicated in the scandal he doesn’t want investigated.

McCarthy received money both personally and in the guise of his Protect the House PAC from Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, the grifters at the core of the influence operation that led to Trump’s quid pro quo conversation with Volodymyr Zelensky. He also keynoted an event with the grifters. While he has said he’d donate the money to charity (though has not yet, as far as I know, shown that he did that), there is no way to unring the bell of their support. He became Majority Leader with the support of men who have since been indicted for that support.

That is the face that is leading opposition to impeachment.

...
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