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Vidal's Journal
Vidal's Journal
June 3, 2019

Biden is running against himself

An article in POLITICO called "It’s 2 primaries now: Biden and everyone else" makes the case that Biden is running against himself.

With the introductory stage of the Democratic presidential primary now over, the lines of engagement are beginning to take shape. And what is emerging is a primary that is no longer one nominating contest, but two.

The first, occurring wherever Joe Biden materializes, is the front-runner’s campaign against himself — his history of failed presidential elections, his propensity for gaffes, his need to adhere to new “boundaries of protecting personal space.”

The other includes everyone else.

Nowhere were the two tracks of the primary more stark than over the weekend, when Biden positioned himself in Ohio, far from the horde of other Democratic contenders. While more than half the field jostled at the Californian Democratic Party convention here — the largest single state party gathering in the nation — the former vice president had the lectern to himself at a Human Rights Campaign dinner on Saturday, contrasting his candidacy not with any Democrat, but with the Republican president.

His counter-programming appearance served the latest reminder that, with large leads in national and several early state polls, Biden is running a race in a vacuum, adhering to his own rules and schedule. The biggest threats to his campaign at the moment aren’t his rivals so much as his advanced age and ability to remain disciplined in an era where missteps are under heightened scrutiny.

The other Democratic primary, consuming everyone else, is to see who can pull within striking distance and emerge as one of the handful of contenders still standing after the four early states vote next February.

“It’s like an Alaskan dog sled,” said Bob Mulholland, a Democratic National Committee member from California. “If you’re not the lead dog, the view is the same all day long … Biden, as the leader, doesn’t need to be at every weekend barbecue.”

Read More: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/03/joe-biden-2020-primaries-california-1351101
June 3, 2019

From the UK: "Don't impeach Donald Trump. Vote him out of office"

This is an editorial in a London newspaper. And I agree with it.

If there is one thing you can say about U.S. President Donald Trump, it’s that his record in office is not exactly unimpeachable.

He is a serial liar, a tawdry name-caller, a consorter with white supremacists and a self-dealer who blatantly uses his elected position to benefit his business interests and to hire unqualified family members in key government positions.

He has turned on his traditional trading partners and military allies, and has damaged the international bonds and economic ties that have preserved peace in the West for decades; he often shows more allegiance to the heads of authoritarian regimes than he does to those in liberal democracies.

The world also knows, thanks to investigations by special counsel Robert Mueller and others, that Russian state actors actively worked to get him elected in 2016, and to harm the campaign of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. When members of his campaign team found out about this foreign interference, some of them – his son Donald Jr. included – eagerly sought the Russians’ help.

Mr. Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference and alleged collusion by the Trump campaign found no concrete evidence Mr. Trump was directly involved, but it did conclude that the President said and did things that could be construed as attempts to obstruct the investigation, which would be a criminal offense.

“If we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mr. Mueller said last week.

Mr. Mueller explained that U.S. Department of Justice policy prevented him from laying charges against a sitting president, but he suggested that Congress had an option for holding Mr. Trump accountable, which everyone understood to be impeachment.

And that is where the United States stands today: led by a President who might have been charged with a federal crime were he not protected by the fact he is in office, and who has made a mockery of the expectations associated with the position to which he was elected.

In a country where impeachment has been used in the past to attempt to remove judges and presidents from office on the grounds of drunkenness and lying about having sex with an intern, the allegations and facts surrounding Mr. Trump are enough for the House of Representatives to vote to impeach him a few times over.

An increasing number of Democrats in the House are now calling for just for that. But while there is a need to hold Mr. Trump accountable, and to restrict his term of office to no more than four years, the nuclear option of impeachment isn’t the way to do it.

If the Democrats used their majority in the House to pass articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump, it would mean that he faced formal allegations of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors," which is never a good look for a president.

But those charges would then go to the Republican-controlled Senate, where a hearing presided over by the chief justice of the Supreme Court would take place, and a two-thirds vote by the senators would be required for conviction.

There is not even a small chance the Senate would convict Mr. Trump. So what would the process accomplish?

Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi wisely argues that Mr. Trump actually relishes the idea of being impeached. The process would quickly descend into the kind of political circus the former reality-TV star excels at exploiting.

He would use it to portray himself as the victim of gross injustice at the hands of a corrupt system. And once the Senate acquitted him, he could claim complete exoneration. That acquittal could also make it harder for the Justice Department to lay charges against him once he is out of office.

The Democrats should focus on what really matters – winning the 2020 election – and make it clear they won’t seek impeachment. That would strip the President of a potent weapon, while still leaving his opponents with more than enough ammunition to fire at him.

His terrible record is the best argument against his re-election. Better yet, by forgoing the distraction of impeachment, the Democrats would leave it to voters to decide who should be president. The roughest justice the narcissistic Mr. Trump could ever face would be his rejection at the hands of the American people.

We know what we have to do folks! Vote him out of office! #BlueWave2020

June 3, 2019

The Great Progressive Attack on Biden Has Begun (Wash Post)

Per this morning's Washington Post:

"Liberals go after Biden, trying to blunt his candidacy and a centrist surge among Democrats"

"The former vice president’s standing hasn’t ebbed as some liberals hoped, so he and other moderates are now targeted in a fight for Democratic Party control."

Read More: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/liberals-go-after-joe-biden-trying-to-blunt-his-presidential-candidacy-and-the-recent-centrist-surge-in-the-democratic-party/2019/06/02/b0e20be4-8543-11e9-a491-25df61c78dc4_story.html

June 2, 2019

Are Democratic Socialists Democrats?

My experience with Democratic Socialists is that many are not positive or supportive of the Democratic Party and many of its candidates.

So I'm wondering: Are Democratic Socialists Democrats at all?

June 2, 2019

5 Ways Trump's New Tariffs on Mexico Could Backfire

The Man is an idiot. This won't work out well, for anybody.

Per NY Magazine:

Donald Trump has a problem. The president’s defining issue is border security and curtailing illegal immigration. But adverse conditions in Central America’s Northern Triangle are sending tens of thousands of asylum seekers to the United States each month. And once these migrants reach U.S. soil — even if they do so by crossing the border illegally — they are entitled to make an asylum claim, which typically takes months, if not years, to fully adjudicate.

The Trump administration does not have enough trust for these asylum seekers to release them into the country while they await their day in court — but it does not have enough cages for them, either.

The president would like to solve this problem by either changing asylum law or ignoring it. But a divided Congress isn’t about to reach the “grand bargain” on immigration that has eluded it for decades on the eve of a presidential election. And Trump has yet to install enough lackeys in the judiciary to completely nullify existing federal statutes.

Thus, the administration has turned its focus to coercing Mexico into solving the United States’ border crisis for it. Specifically, the White House has lobbied the government of Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (a.k.a. AMLO) to ramp up security on Mexico’s border with Guatemala, crack down on international organizations that aid Central American migration to the U.S., and to allow those seeking asylum in the U.S. to stay on the Mexican side of the border while they await their hearings.

The Mexican government has offered a degree of cooperation on all of these fronts. But even with this help, in May, border crossings into the U.S. hit a 12-year high. So now, the Trump administration is pressing a more sweeping demand: It wants Mexico to declare itself a safe harbor for Central Americans fleeing the Northern Triangle, in what is known as “a safe third country” agreement. This would mean that Central American migrants who travel to the U.S. southern border would no longer be entitled to asylum hearings in the United States, as they would have already secured the right to seek asylum in Mexico, a safe country.

The Mexican government does not wish to sign such an agreement for a variety of reasons. Some of these are self-interested: The mass migration of Central American asylum seekers isn’t much less controversial with the Mexican public than it is with America’s. But Mexico’s most compelling objection is rooted in the facts of the matter: Given Mexico’s own problems with gang violence and police corruption, it is far from clear that Central American asylum seekers are safe in Mexico.

Here’s a quick rundown of five distinct ways Trump’s tariffs on Mexico could backfire.

1. They could prevent Trump from winning approval of his new version of NAFTA before the 2020 election.
2. The tariffs could actually hurt American exporters.
3. Trump could end up squandering his top political asset.
4. The United States just demonstrated that its allies cannot trust it to honor the terms of trade deals — so why would China?
5. AMLO may now be less inclined to help the U.S. with its asylum “problem.”

Read More: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/05/trump-mexico-tariffs-asylum-migrants-usmca-backfire-trade-war-explained.html

June 2, 2019

Economist: Trump's Trade War Will Cause 'Cataclysmic Recession'

According to a report at Bloomberg, the chief economist at a major investment firm is warning the investment community that they are not taking President Donald Trump’s trade war seriously and that it may cause a cataclysmic global recession if he doesn’t back off.

“A recession could begin in as soon as nine months if President Donald Trump pushes to impose 25% tariffs on additional $300 billion of Chinese imports and China retaliates with its own countermeasures, according to Chetan Ahya, chief economist and global head of economics at Morgan Stanley,” Bloomberg is reporting, while noting that stock market just had its worst month of the year.

According to Ahya’s Sunday cautionary note, “Growth will suffer as costs increase, customer demand slows and companies reduce capital spending.”

According to Ahya, holding off the recession may already an impossible task at this late date, stating, “As the negative effects of the tariffs become more apparent, it may be too late for political action,” Bloomberg reports.


June 2, 2019

New Poll: Massive Blue Wave Likely in 2020

2018 saw the largest margin of victory in an off-year congressional election in U.S. history --- 10 million votes in favor of the Democrats (who picked up 40 net seats in the House).

A new poll from the Economist/YouGov indicates that there could be a similar margin of victory for Democrats in House elections in 2020 (9 percentage points).

This is bad news for Donald Trump and his reelection chances -- and good news for us!


June 2, 2019

Trump does not want to be impeached. It's bad for his brand.

Jeremy Peters of The New York Times said on MSBNBC’s Up with David Gura:

Having spoken to people who speak to the president, he does not want to be impeached. It’s bad for his brand. But he’s right about that. It’s also bad as far as he’s concerned because it would just be such a distraction and such a heavy undertaking. This is not like the Mueller report and the years they went through investigating him behind the scenes. This is all conducted in public. It would be such a spectacle, unlike anything that we saw with Watergate or even with Bill Clinton because the media environment right now is so different.

This president has such a singular ability to dominate coverage and to shift the narrative as he likes to. And really I think we as citizens have never seen anything like I think that would going back to what Betsy was saying, I’m picking up on a lot of the same things from the Democrats in the house. What they are worried about is losing more seats in 2020. That’s a big concern because this president is able to have his voters, his people, take on his fights as if they’re their own fights. And by portraying this as a witch hunt, as a redo of the 2016 election while the 2020 re-election is taking place, I think that worries a lot of Democrats because they see that as an advantage for the president because he’s saying they’re sore losers. And you know what, Americans really don’t like sore losers.

June 2, 2019

Pentagon Tells White House to Stop Politicizing Military

The U.S. military does not want to be used by Trump in a game of politics. Good for them.

BY LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Pentagon has told the White House to stop politicizing the military, amid a furor over a Trump administration order to have the Navy ship named for the late U.S. Sen. John McCain hidden from view during President Donald Trump's recent visit to Japan.

A U.S. defense official said Patrick Shanahan, Trump's acting defense chief, is also considering sending out formal guidance to military units in order to avoid similar problems in the future.

Shanahan confirmed details about a Navy email that said the White House military office wanted the USS John McCain kept "out of sight" when Trump was in Japan about a week ago. The internal Navy email came to light last week, triggering a storm of outrage.

Trump, who long feuded with McCain, has said he knew nothing about the request, but added that "somebody did it because they thought I didn't like him, OK? And they were well-meaning, I will say."

link: https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2019-06-02/pentagon-tells-white-house-to-stop-politicizing-military
June 1, 2019

Remember This: Nancy Pelosi is Smarter Than You

She knows what it will take to win in 2020 and help Dems keep control of the House, AND take the presidency.

Healthcare, corruption, infrastructure.

One year from now we'll look back and have to admit that she played the whole Trump corruption/impeachment issue perfectly.

More House hearings and victories in court are on the horizon.

We will be victorious.

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