Posted tagged ‘impeachment’

Unfit

November 17, 2019

This week, Americans have witnessed several riveting testimonies from seasoned, high level State Department employees in President Trump’s impeachment hearings.  None was more compelling than Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s.  Her compelling testimony coupled with the readout of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian President plus the President’s contemporaneous tweet, lead no other place than recognition that  Donald J Trump is a despicable person and unfit to hold the office of President.

Many still argue that the President delaying military aid to the Ukraine and then asking a “favor” in which the Ukraine would announce an investigation of Joe Biden and his son Hunter was not impeachable.  No one, including Ambassador Yovanovitch, disputes that the President can dismiss any Ambassador (they serve at the pleasure of the President).   On what basis and for what purpose, however, does a President have the right or the need to trash the reputation of an Ambassador in the process?

What Americans are witnessing is a man without any moral compass and completely untethered to decency.  Recalling Ambassador Yovanovitch is the President’s prerogative, calling the Ambassador “bad news” says volumes about the President and totally mislabels the Ambassador.

The Second Phone Call

October 16, 2019

The now famous “whistleblower” gave us an insight into President Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian President.  From the whistleblower’s report, a number of released emails, and further testimony by present and former Administration persons before select House panels, the public knows how the crass (and mafia-like) President Trump tried to extort the Ukrainian President.  Trump’s goals were information intended to discredit Hillary Clinton and his potential opponent in the 2020 Presidential election, Joe Biden.  

This week the public has learned of a second phone call, this time with the President of Turkey.  The public does not yet have the details of this second call, but the evening news is delivering the sad consequences.  Turkey has invaded northern Syria and is attacking Syrian Kurds who previously had been US allies in the effort to destroy ISIS.  President Trump’s decision to stand back, and by default, allow Turkey to have its way, was against all professional advice news reports are telling.  Slowly there is speculation forming about what the telephone conversation with President Erdogan contained.  And the speculation is not pretty.

One school, let’s call it the “innocent” version goes as follows.  The President initiated a call against the advice of his aides.  As normal for President Trump, the President was unprepared for unexpected developments.  President Erdogan told the President that Turkey was prepared to implement a “buffer zone” in norther Syria along Turkeys border with Syria.  President Trump accepted the proposal and said US troops would not interfere.  President Trump is said to have laid down no conditions or consequences if Turkey went too far.  End of call.

The second school of thought, let’s call it the “Trump, Inc” version opens with the President thanking President Erdogan for attending the recent opening of a new Trump property in Istanbul.  President Erdogan reminded the President that “Trump, Inc” also has several other properties in Turkey and that Turkey was an important country for “Trump, Inc”.  President Erdogan than transitioned to Turkey’s plans to invade Syria and that it would be wise for the US to withdraw as soon as possible, etc, etc, etc.

Most likely the actual conversation combined both versions.  President Trump’s highest interests involve his properties and their financial value.  President never prepares for important meetings and so why would one expect that he prepared for his Erdogan call?  And, as “Mr Transactional”, why would anyone expect President Trump to see further than how the deal impacts the President now.

As a narcissist, a lazy thinker, and an outmatched participant in the international big leagues, why would anyone expect President Trump to suddenly act Presidential and attempt to deal with the best interests of America first?  

Should the details of the second call begin to be leaked, President Trump could be looking at wholesale abandonment by his up to now Congressional Republican firewall.  What a hoot that discrediting Joe Biden doesn’t bother Congressional Republicans but messing with the Middle East would.  Go figure.

To Impeach Or Not To Impeach, That Is The Question

September 25, 2019

I am always stunned when I see a “Trump 2020” sign or hear someone I had otherwise considered an “informed” person proclaim his/her unflagging support for President Trump.  Forgetting the absence of moral fiber (if it is ok with Melania, then it is ok with me), I can not think of any Trump endorsed issue, domestic or foreign, which makes sense.  Trump’s policies are fatally short sighted, disastrous for the country, and thinly disguised to hide their real intent… to help Trump, his family, and his loyal supporters, financially.

Yesterday at the United Nations. President Trump outlined his views that the world is divided between “globalists” and “patriots (aka nationalists)”.  Hmmm. 

You can be sure that Donald Trump has never wasted even minutes studying history books, nor has Trump taken advice from sociologists about the virtues of “win-win” a negotiating strategy.  It should not be lost on anyone that the “nationalist” approach allows President Trump to cannibalize America’s existing relationships, economic power, and institutions while claiming victory after victory, all the while draining the country’s wealth, influence, and power.  This is a presidency of living off the accomplishments of the past while telling Americans how smart he is.  Hmmm.

But these Presidential shortcomings are not grounds for impeachment.  Trump’s poor job should be the subject of the 2020 Presidential election where hopefully Donald Trump will become a one term President. 

President Trump is projecting himself as a nationalist.  In reality, Trump is a would be “thug” who has a lifetime of getting his way through fraud and intimidation.  So what should happen if as President of the United States employs bribery as part of his “statecraft”?  What if the President induces certain behavior from a foreign leader in return for some favorable treatment by the US?  Does impeachment seem appropriate?  Hmmm.

While bribery sounds bad and unpresidential, “horse trading” has gone on between countries and their leaders since recorded time began.  So for example, President Trump might say to another foreign leader, if the US provides your country with $400 million in military assistance, will your country do “X”, “Y” or “Z” for the US.  Normally “X”, “Y”, or “Z” refer to some mutual defense agreement or provision of some land for US bases.  Horse trading does not sound like the basis for impeachment.

But what if the President says “I” will approve $400 million in military assistance if your country investigates someone who may be my opponent in the next election?

Bingo, such action should qualify for an impeachable offense because (1) the President would be inviting foreign interference in a US election, and (2) the President is using $400 million of tax payer money to obtain a favor for himself.  Third world countries may find this antic unsurprising but isn’t the US better than that?

For President Trump, impeachment presently appears to not include “removal from office” since the Senate is Republican controlled and a Senate trial is unlikely to produce a 2/3rds majority to convict.  One must therefore consider whether impeachment without conviction is worth the effort, especially recognizing that a Trump impeachment would likely make it easier to impeach the next President for strictly partisan reasons.  Not a good precedent to establish.

So the quandary, impeach or not impeach probably boils down to whether a majority of voters can be convinced that the President has stepped over the line and his actions rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors”.  With the House under Democrat control, impeachment can be assumed if pursued.  The Republican controlled Senate is very unlikely to convict so why impeach?  On the other hand, impeachment proceedings should inform voters of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” President Trump has performed.  Under such circumstances, voters are likely to remember in November 2020 and vote Trump out of office.

End Game?

May 15, 2017

There seems to be much reporting and analysis these days concerning how President Trump will become ex-President Trump. For those who were neutral or opposed to his candidacy, the option of an ex-President Trump is tantalizingly attractive. For those who supported his candidacy, somewhat surprisingly over 90% of them still think the Trumpeter is performing well and meeting their expectations. So, why the talk of “ex-President Trump?

President Trump has given his supporters all they could hope for. Reverend Jerry Falwell said this weekend at Liberty University’s Graduation in Roanoke, Virginia that “President Trump is the real deal and unlike previous Republican Presidential candidates (Mitt Romney and John McCain), Trump has delivered” (or words to that effect). (Evangelicals may have an advantage versus the rest of the secular America since Evangelicals believe God is listening only to them.)

One must assume President Trump’s supporters believe there should be immigration and entry barriers for Muslims and see President Trump’s so far failed actions as heroic never the less. (I wonder whether these religious champions have thought about which religious group would be next after the Muslims, or if his Muslim bans becomes implemented, what should the Country do with current lawful Muslim residents and citizens?)

Evangelicals must also cheer when they read about the American Health Care Act which cuts healthcare for the neediest. (Sound like lover thy neighbor?). And I wonder whether evangelicals think about the future. After AHCA, can a re-do of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security be far behind?

The Trump proposed tax reform must echo sympathetically amongst their church’s pews. The potential of huge tax reductions for the wealthy (corporate or individual), again overlooking the poorest Americans, must inspire these evangelicals to lift their voices in songs of heavenly thanks.

Of course, evangelicals may be thinking that “god helps those who help themselves”, and surely there is every indication that President Trump, his family members, and his richest supporters are helping themselves and buy into this myth wholeheartedly.

If one is objective about the Trump Presidency, one must admit the President has shown no signs of adjusting his ways despite a hail of criticism and push back. If tweets do not work, then a campaign style rally might. Or, a threat against this person or organization followed by a slam against a foreign country (friend or not) serves to distract the 7/24 news cycle as well as most citizens.

Environmental policy is under attack. Let’s have more oil wells, pipe lines, and even coal fields.  The Justice system has signaled it will be blind to individual liberties (especially voting rights) and instead focus on refilling out Federal prisons. Labor, Education, and HHS are all headed by individuals who are on record of opposing those departments’ previous policy direction. Hmmm.

And let us not forget that the overriding factors that got President Trump elected were two myths, (1) the US economy was flagging, and (2) only President Trump could make it great again.

Both of these myths were and are completely false. With the President’s rants over trade, his stress of keeping American manufacturing jobs in America with one hand and his destruction of jobs with budget and policy decisions with the other, there is more than a reasonable chance that the US economy will begin to slow and soon contract. If that happens, get ready for the wolves to come out.

Today the dark money sources (read Jane Mayer’s Dark Money), conservative and libertarian hedge funds and business owners (plus a lot of wealthy individuals with inherited money) support or at least have welcomed President Trump. These enormously selfish and self centered Americans will turn on a dime if President Trump is unable to provide them the tax reform he has promised and will seek his ouster if the economy fails in such a way as to shrink their personal wealth.

So, back to end game. President Trump is building a public record replete with words, actions, and deeds worthy of supporting impeachment. And, if not impeachment, then not reelections. And if not reelections, then may be not even re-nomination.

Americans, however, need to understand that a President Pence will not change President Trump’s policies. In many regards Pence represents a greater threat than President Trump. Vice President Pence will avoid any public statements if possible which are not fully vetted.  (Pence’s alibiing for Trump’s firing of James Comes is an exception.)   Remember, cutting back on the environment, pushing tax cuts for the wealthy, marshaling aid for religious groups, opposing women’s rights, and suppressing the vote are all bread and butter policies currently supported by Vice President Pence as well as the “dark money” owned Republican party.

Americans must, for their own good, keep an eye on Trump/Republican policies.  Impeachment of President Trump and removing him from office while tempting won’t change the foul wind blowing in Washington.

Repudiation of President Trump by making him a one term President, on the other hand, is that best alternative. Only in cases of severe “malfeasance” should impeachment be considered, regardless of the smell or optics of President Trump’s behavior.  The end game must include the blunting of “dark money” and its stranglehold on the Republican Party.  President is a red herring and not the originator of these top 1% policies.

Criticism

March 22, 2011

President Obama is away in South America.

This has not stopped critics, weary from their ideological and mythical battles with the deficit, from opening up from all sides.  Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich has termed US attacks on Libyan air defense assets, an impeachable offense.  Republican leaders are grumbling that the President did not involve them enough in the process leading up to the hostilities.  Interestingly, Republicans are split with some saying Obama has not acted quick enough and others saying they need more information.

Bottom line.  The President is taking heat.

President Obama’s style is to seek facts and to think.  Americans are not used to that type of presidency.  The downside of President Obama’s approach is that world events sometime set their own pace and do not allow you to operate on your own timeline.  We are seeing that play out now.

The President knows that the “rebels” are an amorphous collection of tribes and factions whose political views are entirely unclear.  They are united, however, in opposing Kardafi.  Ousting Kardafi could easily lead to someone just as despotic.  So why risk a third land war and fuel the hatred of Islamic fundamentalist?

The Administration is telling the press that it sought a UN mandate for humanitarian reasons.  No more Rwanda’s.  I wonder, if that is the true reason, whether the Administration has thought that standard through.  The US will really become the world’s policeman if that is the standard for military action.

There is a chance, just like in “W’s” invasion of Iraq, that the initial military action will end soon.  The President may get a chance to explain his actions and it will make sense to us.  (At least we are not looking for WMD’s.)  There is unfortunately also a very good chance that the Libyan stalemate will last for some time.  A Libyan civil war, like all civil wars, will result in a lot of innocent people dying.  So much for humanitarianism.

China and Russia may be the wisest here.  They say, “don’t meddle in the internal affairs of other countries.