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November 02, 2019

Comments

You don't like Trump, but you dislike the (D)'s even more, so if it's Trump or (D)'s, you'll go with Trump.

This is the heart of it. I have nothing to say to someone who wants me to go back into the closet, or, to judge from JDT's link to LGM earlier, to simply not exist. Or to say to someone who wants his tax cuts so badly that he'll ally himself with people like that.

Dems should be prepared to at least engage constructively with never-Trump conservatives

Sure, because we’ve got so much spare time on our hands.

Dems have an unending amount of work to do. Engaging with people who would love nothing better than to undo everything we stand for doesn’t make the top-1000 list of ways we might be effective in pushing back against Clickbait and all he signifies.

Get out the vote, fight R efforts to suppress the vote, help immigrants directly or indirectly, fight the unraveling of FDR's legacy, fight the undoing of the progress we've made in relation to LGBT and women's issues, fight the destruction of the ACA, attempt to make some progress in relation to climate change…the list goes on and on and on. Working on all these things will give us much more leverage than scrabbling around the fringes of the R world looking for what I think are wildly unlikely allies – who would love to be wasting our time and energy for us by pretending they might be interested.

And even if you just want to talk about talking to people: keeping the D coalition together, even in the age of Clickbait, cannot to be taken for granted. That’s far more important than tilting at windmills.

JanieM, for someone who has said she doesn't really like politics all that much, your 10:15 was fierce as hell. Thanks for that.

Janie at 10:13.

Really, I've been talking to conservatives online for almost 20 years now. It's been illuminating and interesting and I've made some friends.

It has had absolutely zero effect on electoral or policy outcomes. None whatsoever. None.

This is a hobby. I like everybody here, it's enjoyable to chat. It gives me a chance to think out loud, and I appreciate all of your forbearance with that.

But nobody's minds - or votes - are being changed here.

Everything Janie said at 10:13.

Everything Janie said at 10:13.

Yep. (I said 10:15 before because my eyes have gotten really bad, and am still working on the right glasses.)

So good to read and echo!

@sapient -- thanks in return. I'm still not that into politics, and I'm terrible at talking to people (not so terrible at writing, sometimes). I give $ and time to what I can, will probably do more now that I'm retired from my techie job.

@russell -- more power to you!

To be clear, I think talking to "conservatives" is fine -- I do it myself sometimes (esp. since I'm related to some). But I don't think it's useful electorally -- as you say, ObWi is perfectly illustrative of that.

That's the logical analysis. Emotionally, I have decreasing patience for anyone who wants to waste my time, and a too-short fuse which I don't seem to be able to get a handle on these days.

I followed a car into town the other day with a bumper sticker that said "#FUCKMILLS" (Janet Mills, our D governor, who replaced the execrable LePage in January). I'm pretty sure I've never had a bumper sticker on my car in my life, certainly not within the past 3 or 4 decades, and if I did, it wouldn't be a "fuck you" to half my neighbors. But that's the political climate we're living and breathing in right now, and I don't have the support structure in my life to keep me on an even enough keel for russell-style forbearance. It's at least nice to see it modeled on a regular basis.

*****

Finally, I failed in not explicitly including the fight against the resurgence of racism and anti-semitism in the off-the-cuff list of tasks in my 10:13. But issues around race are implicit in so much of our culture and politics that they were in my mind throughout: in relation to everything to do with voting, not to mention immigration, not to mention holding the D coalition together.

Also, while I'm filling in major blanks: the depraved levels of inequality of wealth we've reached, and (not unrelatedly) labor issues can go on the list too.

Quibbling with myself one more time before bed:

It would have been more accurate to say "the resurgence of out and proud racism and anti-semitism..."

It's not like they really ever went away.

You know, if you folks would just stop being darned condescending to Marty, he might just change his mind and support our struggle against Trump, just like Tommy Egan sez.

Betcha' you haven't thought of that now, have you?.

Dems should be prepared to at least engage constructively with never-Trump conservatives

Sure, because we’ve got so much spare time on our hands.

Well, you've managed to find time to constructively engage with me. Which I do appreciate.

Not quite the revolution devouring its own... but still:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/nov/11/donald-trump-jr-walks-out-of-triggered-book-launch-after-heckling-from-supporters
Donald Trump Jr ventured on to the University of California’s overwhelmingly liberal Los Angeles campus on Sunday, hoping to prove what he had just argued in his book – that a hate-filled American left was hell-bent on silencing him and anyone else who supported the Trump presidency.

But the appearance backfired when his own supporters, diehard Make America Great Again conservatives, raised their voices most loudly in protest and ended up drowning him out barely 20 minutes into an event scheduled to last two hours...

Just for Marty, the annotated 'transcript' of the call:
https://www.npr.org/2019/11/09/776173492/the-whistleblower-complaint-has-largely-been-corroborated-heres-how

And CNN has a good summary of the testimony which has been released to date:
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/11/09/politics/impeachment-transcript-takeaways/

I can understand Marty not wanting to wade through all this stuff, but failing to do so renders his attempted rebuttals somewhat ... unconvincing.

for nous...or anybody else interested

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2019/11/21/betrayal-of-the-kurds/


OK, I'm now back in the world of the living, and would like to say the following.

1. On all matters of substance and policy, as I hope has long been clear, I agree with russell, Janie (and sapient), and FWIW I put my money where my mouth is.

2. Unlike the rest of you, *I don't know any Trump voters, Trump supporters, or even people who hold their noses and like his policies (metropolitan elites in action). (*Actually, I realise this may not be true, I have a friend who did support Trump because he had an R after his name, but we have not discussed it since then because I love her too much and she confessed to me some years ago she thought she might be getting Alzheimers).

3. I don't think people who believe as "we" do on policy matters can necessarily win the next election alone, and when it comes down to it, winning the next (and future) elections is the only thing that will help.

4. I think from many previous discussions here that Marty is a decent person in very many ways.

5. Marty stands in, for me, for Rs who might, if reached, hold their noses and vote against Trump in an electorally useful way.

6. I am very well aware of how condescending my attitude to Marty comes across ("misguided", "vulnerable to propaganda" etc), and I regret it, but because of item 5 I have been prepared to talk about it and hope he can forgive me for it. I wouldn't be surprised if some of his insults here (and by the way, in that respect I observe that he is more sinned against than sinning) are misdirected anger which truly should be aimed at me for my condescension.

7. I think calling people presently on this site "evil", "evildoers" and "morally wrong to countenance" to be unwise,counterproductive, and in the case of Marty plain wrong and in fact absurd. (For the avoidance of doubt, I do believe some people are evil, or evildoers, or morally wrong to countenance on this site.)

8. On the matter of "arguing in bad faith", my understanding was the same as this from Wikipedia: The Duhaime online law dictionary similarly defines bad faith broadly as "intent to deceive", and "a person who intentionally tries to deceive or mislead another in order to gain some advantage". There may well be other meanings of which I was unaware.

9. And lastly, I haven't been commenting here as long as some of you (e.g. russell) so perhaps I am not as tired of trying to reach out as some of you are. You may be right that we don't change minds here, but it seems to me that communication across various kinds of gulfs is desirable and may still be able to achieve something, even if it is just the realisation that ideological opponents are human beings and not monsters.

read this just now....couldn't resist posting:

I'm still learning how to be an adult and not all that happy about it.

I've just been down a rabbit hole on "bad faith", and further in the Wikipedia piece found this:

People may hold beliefs in their minds even though they are directly contradicted by facts. These are beliefs held in bad faith. But there is debate as to whether this self-deception is intentional or not.[17]

In his book Being and Nothingness, the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre defined bad faith (French: mauvaise foi) as hiding the truth from oneself.[18] The fundamental question about bad faith self-deception is how it is possible.[19] In order for a liar to successfully lie to the victim of the lie, the liar must know that what is being said is false. In order to be successful at lying, the victim must believe the lie to be true. When a person is in bad faith self-deception, the person is both the liar and the victim of the lie. So at the same time the liar, as liar, believes the lie to be false, and as victim believes it to be true. So there is a contradiction in that a person in bad faith self-deception believes something to be true and false at the same time.[20] Sartre observed that "the one to whom the lie is told and the one who lies are one and the same person, which means that I must know the truth in my capacity as deceiver, though it is hidden from me in my capacity as the one deceived", adding that "I must know that truth very precisely, in order to hide it from myself the more carefully—and this not at two different moments of temporality ..."

Cripes.

uniting "good faith" arguments, Hunter Biden, and the GOP's desperation:

The idea behind bringing Hunter Biden into the impeachment inquiry is to create a “good faith” defense for Trump. Republicans hope to show that Trump had a reasonable basis to be concerned about Joe Biden’s actions, and that he had legitimate grounds for wanting Zelensky to look into Biden’s alleged corruption. The idea there would be that as long as Trump was acting even in part in the public interest (that is, “fighting corruption”), then any personal benefit that he might receive as a result — say, in the form of election assistance because of a public smear on his potential opponent — is ancillary and irrelevant.

The problem is that Trump’s basic premise undercuts his defense: The “good faith” standard Trump hopes to argue would apply equally to Joe Biden. After all, in calling for Shokin to be fired, Biden was also acting in his official capacity as vice president and carrying out the foreign policy directives of the Obama administration to encourage Ukraine to fight corruption — something that the European Union had already been calling for and welcomed when Ukraine followed through. Biden’s “good faith” is even more evident than Trump’s, since he conducted his actions publicly, through official channels, and in conjunction with international partners. By Trump’s own argument, all of these factors would negate any self-serving benefit to the Bidens that came as a result. In other words, the “good faith” defense concedes that Trump had no reason to ever call for an investigation into the Bidens in the first place.

Conversely, attempting to litigate the Biden issue only underscores why Trump’s impeachment hearings are warranted. In calling Hunter Biden to testify, Republicans ostensibly hope to show that he benefited from his father’s actions, which theoretically quashed an investigation that could have hurt him. The implication would be that Joe Biden’s motives mattered: If his official actions were driven by a personal interest in helping his son, that would be corrupt and worthy of further investigation, and even criminal prosecution. Again, since Trump is similarly situated, such an argument would demonstrate precisely why using his leverage over Ukraine to publicly smear a political opponent — which would benefit his 2020 election campaign — would be an impeachable, and potentially criminal, act.

Thanks for all of this GFTNC. It all speaks very well of you. It's a privilege to have you here.

I'm also sure that Marty is quite a decent person in many ways.

Here is the thing:

When people talk about the impeachment inquiry being a "coup", or impugn not the accuracy, but the motives and integrity of the witnesses coming forward, or claim that the various investigations into Trump's behavior are simply attempts to re-visit and overturn the results of the 2016 election, they undermine the institutions that make it possible for this nation to exist as a self-governing republic.

Marty very often insists that, no matter what, people have to play by the rules. The rules in this case are that the POTUS is not above the law, that the mechanism for calling the POTUS to account for gross abuse of power and office is impeachment, and the House owns the authority for bringing articles of impeachment. Full stop.

Marty's arguments here aren't just that Trump is not actually guilty of the things for which he is being investigated. His arguments are that the investigation itself is illegitimate. That it is a purely partisan attempt by the (D)'s to overthrow a duly elected administration.

It's a pernicious argument, because it seeks to delegitimize what is an essential function of US governance - the separation of powers, and the accountability of each institution and person to other institutions.

It's fine if Marty would prefer Trump to any (D). Everyone's entitled to their point of view. Whether Marty understands this or not, or would be willing to acknowledge this or not, the arguments he presents here would have the institutions of American governance dismantled so that he could have his preference.

That's not good.

Extending russell's 8:56 comment:

Marty is making the same argument that many high-profile Republicans have been making for some time - that the impeachment is an attempt to remove a democratically elected president, overruling the will of the people who elected him. But that's not an argument specifically against this impeachment; it's an argument against presidential impeachment in general (except, maybe, for impeaching someone like Ford, who wasn't elected president).

It's an argument that would apply to the impeachment of any elected president, meaning that presidential impeachment is almost always inherently wrong, regardless of the circumstances. Ultimately, it's an argument against the constitution.

Ultimately, it's an argument against the constitution.

It's an argument in bad faith, too, because it's only advanced when the president being impeached is an R. The list of such "arguments" coming from the mouths of Rs could fill a thick volume. IOKIYAR. So yes, it's an argument against the constitution at another level -- the rule of law doesn't matter unless it serves the purpose of Rs staying in power. Because heaven forbid the president should be a D, or if the people are stupid enough to elect one, should be able to, oh, let's say, appoint people to SCOTUS.

I should have written that Marty sometimes makes that argument. It's not always the same argument. Sometimes, it's just that he thinks what Rump did is no biggie, therefore the inquiry is illegitimate. (Technically, we haven't gotten to impeachment yet.)

Well, you've managed to find time to constructively engage with me. Which I do appreciate.

Mutual. As I said last night, I don't agree (with GftNC and whomever else) about the electoral need or usefulness of "engaging" with e.g. never-Trumpers. That doesn't mean it's not fun to bat ideas around in a forum like this. What's not fun is to go back and forth ad infinitum with people who are condescending (to say the least) and (IMHO) trolly about it. (And to find myself responding in kind.)

As my Irish friends used to say, shag the begrudgers.

I can't even picture an occasion that would inspire you (wj) to sneer or condescend -- nastiness doesn't seem to be in your repertoire, and more power to you for that.

Thank you russell. I don't disagree with a word you say @08.56, except possibly your second and third sentences: in which case right back atcha.

I also agree with hsh @09.21, and Janie @09.49, although the "bad faith" thing now has me pretty confused. I might have said it was hypocritical, or inconsistent (although the latter is too neutral), but one thing is certainly true, as Janie says, IOKIYAR.

I think you can make an argument for not actively dismissing or demeaning never-Trumpers without necessarily making an argument for making some kind of special effort to reach out to them (if that's what anyone is suggesting).

I say make the best arguments for what you stand for (and against?) to persuade whoever you can. If never-Trumpers are receptive, great. If not, that's on them. Get the votes you need elsewhere. Don't beat your head against the wall or kick a dead horse or whatever other tired metaphor makes you happy.

that the impeachment is an attempt to remove a democratically elected president

and it's a ridiculous argument because nobody seriously thinks 20 GOP Senators will defect.

so, what they're really arguing is that Trump shouldn't even get the asterisk. which is really kind of silly because they'd be able to use the Senate dismissal of the charges as another "Total Exoneration™". the base would love it! they'd be able to spin it into "Overreaching Dems defeated!"

but even that is too much because they just can't let the Dems win an argument.

impeachment is an attempt to remove a democratically elected president

Well, yes.

By definition impeachment provides Congress with that power, as the Constitution specifically provides.

Cripes

Sartre will do that to you.

:)

7. I think calling people presently on this site "evil", "evildoers" and "morally wrong to countenance" to be unwise,counterproductive, and in the case of Marty plain wrong and in fact absurd. (For the avoidance of doubt, I do believe some people are evil, or evildoers, or morally wrong to countenance on this site.)

Donald Trump is a liar, a racist, a demagogue, a rapist, a hater, a corrupt person, and someone who is encouraging the institutionalization of those things into the fabric of my country. That agenda is evil.

Is my attitude constructive? It's every bit as constructive or more so than positing that people who argue on his behalf (especially whatabouters who attempt to diminish the reputations of people who don't deserve it in order to bolster their man) are "reachable" with logic.

Donald Trump is a liar, a racist, a demagogue, a rapist, a hater, a corrupt person, and someone who is encouraging the institutionalization of those things into the fabric of my country. That agenda is evil.

Well, I don't disagree with any of this with the possible exception of "rapist" because it is unproven, although I believe it to be true. Mind you, a reasonably credible accusation of rape was made against Bill Clinton; I am prepared to believe it may have been true - are you?

For me (FWIW) to argue on good faith is to take seriously the arguments of your opponents, and directly address them, irrespective whether you fundamentally disagree with them, or even hold them in a degree of contempt.

It doesn't extend to submitting to being trolled - IOW, I will engage with others if they are prepared to make the same effort with me.

Cripes

Sartre will do that to you.

:)

i haz le nausea.

Is my attitude constructive?

when arguing with those to your right...yes. when arguing with those to your left...not so much. ;)

i have refrained from joining the bash marty chorus this time as his so-called 'arguments' were simply more daft than usual...and i have standards. low ones to be sure, but standards nonetheless.

For me (FWIW) to argue on good faith is to take seriously the arguments of your opponents, and directly address them, irrespective whether you fundamentally disagree with them, or even hold them in a degree of contempt.

Actually, this seems like a pretty good definition to me.

Mind you, a reasonably credible accusation of rape was made against Bill Clinton; I am prepared to believe it may have been true - are you?

You're a whatabouter too now, GftNC? I am not prepared to believe it wholesale on the strength of Juanita Broaddrick's story. What a circus of despicable people Republicans have so long been.

And as far as engaging with the other side is concerned, I thought this an interesting article:
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/11/18/is-the-supreme-courts-fate-in-elena-kagans-hands

Kagan is probably the Justice with whom I am temperamentally most sympathetic.
Though I am no doubt far less polite than she from time to time.

From the Atlantic article about Broaddrick:

"At the time, her claims were mostly ignored, and when acknowledged they were often disparaged; the fact that she’d recanted in an affidavit after being subpoenaed by Jones’s lawyers was a favorite data point of critics. (Broaddrick says she denied that anything had happened with Clinton because she didn’t want to get involved in a big legal circus with Jones.)"

The only time she was under oath, she recanted her accusation. I know that sworn testimony is no biggie to a lot of people (especially Republicans), but it means something to me.

in case anyone was still wondering:

One of Rudy Giuliani’s associates arrested last month in connection with shady activities in Ukraine appears to have flipped on Donald Trump and his personal attorney. Lev Parnas, who has agreed to comply with investigators, is claiming that he personally offered a quid pro quo to the incoming government in Kiev at Giuliani's direction, undercutting the president and his lawyer's claims of innocence and suggesting their pressure campaign in Ukraine went further than previously known.

According to an attorney for Parnas, he traveled to Kiev just ahead of Volodymyr Zelensky’s swearing-in in May to deliver an ultimatum: investigate Joe Biden, or Vice President Mike Pence will not attend Zelensky’s inauguration, and Congressionally-approved military aid will be held up.


A couple of thoughts:

1. Trump is a clinical narcissist who, as narcissists do, lashes out blindly at anyone who criticizes or disagrees with him and who responds favorably to anyone who flatters him, including outright thugs and tyrants. Narcissists also believe their words shape reality because the words come from the infallible narcissist.

2. Attempting to benignly parse what was clearly a "give me stuff on Biden and we'll talk further about your national defense needs" trade-off into some kind of "bad judgement but no big deal" lapse ranges from flat out wrong to intellectually dishonest and, more to the point, it is impeachable.

3. It is impeachable because the military aid on the quid side was intended to deter Russia from attacking the Ukraine which, if such an attack occurred, would have direct and profoundly negative national security implications for the US and NATO.

4. Trump clearly put the nation's national security interests at risk for personal political gain.

5. Not only is it impeachable, it is just stupid. As most here know, I'm a trial lawyer. If I were slimy and stupid enough to go to someone in economic duress and offer them money to find evidence against an adverse party, leaving aside the whole witness bribery thing, just how credible is my bought-and-paid-for witness? I mean, really.

6. I would like to see Trump impeached and the sooner the better.

7. The disconnect here is that wanting Trump out is not synonymous with being ok with Warren or Sanders as president.

8. The second disconnect here is that just because everyone thing I said is true doesn't mean the Dems leading the impeachment charge don't overreach and overstate routinely in their lust to oust Trump. I'm not going to get into a fight over where I find fault with the Dems because, quite frankly, very few here are open to that discussion which makes it a waste of time.

9. Finally, I agree with GFTNC and I disagree that people don't change their minds. Many of my views have been changed to one degree or another by my interactions here. As well, even though I disagree with virtually all of the economic policies that emanate from the progressive left, having discussions about those policies helps me calibrate and sometimes re-calibrate my own thinking.

Back to work.

I can't even picture an occasion that would inspire you (wj) to sneer or condescend -- nastiness doesn't seem to be in your repertoire, and more power to you for that.

Oh, I'm entirely able to get nasty.** Condescending, too. But that's what the Preview button is for. (That and correcting at least some of my typos.)

** And surely you have seen me get sarcastic here.

The disconnect here is that wanting Trump out is not synonymous with being ok with Warren or Sanders as president.

There is no disconnect if what we're discussing is removing him ia impeachment.

The second disconnect here is that just because everyone thing I said is true doesn't mean the Dems leading the impeachment charge don't overreach and overstate routinely in their lust to oust Trump. I'm not going to get into a fight over where I find fault with the Dems because, quite frankly, very few here are open to that discussion which makes it a waste of time...

I would be interested in hearing that, should you change your mind.
If only in précis.

I would be interested in hearing that, should you change your mind.
If only in précis.

Seconded.

Thanks McK. I have argument with anything you've said here, not even this:

doesn't mean the Dems leading the impeachment charge don't overreach and overstate routinely in their lust to oust Trump

or this:

wanting Trump out is not synonymous with being ok with Warren or Sanders as president.

and FWIW, I'm "open to" the idea that Clinton raped somebody, somewhere, at some time, just like I'm open to any idea that is imaginable and has not been disproved. Back it off from rape to assault, in the sense of unwanted hands-on sexual advance, and I'd go from "open to" to "would not be surprised by".

Just like McK can want Trump out without wanting Warren or Sanders in, I can appreciate Clinton's political talents and general effectiveness as POTUS, and can generally affirm his social and political goals and values, without having to think he is personally a wonderful or blameless guy.

Probably my least favorite thing about DC political culture is the way that shagging attractive young people appears to be seen as one of the perks of office. It's disgraceful. In my opinion. I value our political institutions, and I simultaneously have a profound distaste for the general atmosphere of greed and entitlement that appears to be endemic in our national political culture.

In any case, Broderick was not a good witness, so her claim did not prevail. It's been almost 20 years since Bill Clinton was POTUS, so maybe we can all move on from all of that.

And the changing minds thing is also interesting.

Of course there are very large numbers of people who are not going to change their minds, and a significant number of whom it is not worth the time engaging with ...quite frankly, very few here are open to that discussion which makes it a waste of time... as someone said... :-)

But if the election is going to be close (in electoral college terms if not in the popular vote), then it is worth considering what might change minds at the margin along with what might encourage a high turnout from whichever side.
(And if it's not, then why are we worrying anyway ?)

The signs are (FWIW) that next November's election might see a record turnout. Certainly polls on voter enthusiasm indicate as much.

Probably my least favorite thing about DC political our (and most other) culture(s) is the way that shagging attractive young people appears to be seen as one of the perks of office any position of power. It's disgraceful. In my opinion. I value our political institutions, and I simultaneously have a profound distaste for the general atmosphere of greed and entitlement that appears to be endemic in our national political culture.

FTFY.

I simultaneously have a profound distaste for the general atmosphere of greed and entitlement that appears to be endemic in our national political culture.

Well, we did steal an entire continent.

McKinney abv.: Best post I've seen from you in a long time.

I would be interested in hearing that, should you change your mind. If only in précis.

I appreciate the request, but I'm going to pass. It's far too subjective. From my discussions with my Trump supporting friends, I know that there are some things that cannot be discussed outside the partisan prism and, truly, I'm very, very tired of those discussions. I see no difference in kind on the committed, progressive left. FWIW, I find my take to be common among many of the conservatives and liberals I know. We have our differences, but we don't personalize it or question the integrity of those we disagree with. And most of us find the "true believers" to be exhausting. Sapient is a good example of people who wear the rest of us out. Sorry, because when you're not in full Resistance mode, you are very much worth listening to. But these days, you are a one-note singer and it's well past grating on the nerves.

So, going forward, and when time permits, I'll address policy issues, e.g. medicare for all. That may change, but for the time being, it will be a policy discussion. Since Trump doesn't have many actual policies (that mean anything), that will leave me fussing with Professor Warren.

wMcTxs

Nigel, that article on Justice Kagen was really interesting. Thanks.

Fair enough, McKinney.

I neglected this:

I agree with GFTNC and I disagree that people don't change their minds. Many of my views have been changed to one degree or another by my interactions here.

Very much appreciated.

I've become very pessimistic about a lot of things, I'm glad to know that there are open minds. Even if mine is not one of them at the moment. :)

Thanks McK.

Since it's Veterans Day, and I am relieved to know that tomorrow we will stop the steady stream of using veterans as commercial props for a bit and continue to ignore the need to fix the VA, etc....

One lasting effect of having read so much writing by veterans during my dissertation research is my deep and abiding respect for the citizen soldiers for whom the citizen side was strongest -- the ones whose service was spent loving and wishing every day to return to their peacetime lives. All service is worthy of respect, but I think there is something special about the military service of those who had no love of the military, only love of the way of life that needed defending and to which they wished a rapid return.

It is impeachable because the military aid on the quid side was intended to deter Russia from attacking the Ukraine which, if such an attack occurred, would have direct and profoundly negative national security implications for the US and NATO.

Also, Congress had explicitly ordered the military aid. Therefore the President had no authority to mess with it. (As opposed to Congress budgeting for foreign aid, without specifying who gets it or how much.) And that failure to follow the law by holding up the aid (that it was eventually released is irrelevant) is impeachable -- one of the requirements of the President is to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

7. The disconnect here is that wanting Trump out is not synonymous with being ok with Warren or Sanders as president.

May I at least get some fries with my ham sandwich, however?

Why I read comments by nous with great attention:

One lasting effect of having read so much writing by veterans during my dissertation research is my deep and abiding respect for the citizen soldiers for whom the citizen side was strongest -- the ones whose service was spent loving and wishing every day to return to their peacetime lives. All service is worthy of respect, but I think there is something special about the military service of those who had no love of the military, only love of the way of life that needed defending and to which they wished a rapid return.

What a lovely Veteran's Day tribute. Thank you.

Marty, oh Marty...where did you go?

Careful, bobbyp. Campos's post ends with "This should not be tolerated." That sentiment isn't tolerated well by many here.

McKinney: So, going forward, and when time permits, I'll address policy issues, e.g. medicare for all.

Someone may earlier have provided this link, but I'll do it again in case not.

As I've mentioned, "Medicare for All" isn't on my must-do checklist. I am fine with Obamacare, especially with Medicaid expansion, although a public option should be made available along with other improvements and tweaks. Unfortunately Obamacare's flaws were never going to be solved by any bipartisan effort in Congress, and that's not because of intolerant people like me.

In any case, the old system of private health care only didn't work for most people, but that's what R's apparently want to return to.

Elizabeth Warren has put her cards on the table, and made her work available for scrutiny and discussion. That, in itself, shows leadership and character, and makes discussion possible.

I appreciate that McKinney has thoughtful views about Trump's malfeasance, and that he is honest about the impeachment argument. But Trump has been enabled by politicians and citizens who either support him, or unwilling to recognize the binary nature of our political system which requires actively supporting the other side. We're a democracy, and the people who support Trump's malfeasance (even if only by not opposing him enough) are part of the problem.

If that makes me a one-noter, sorry about that! It's important to me that we recognize what's happening, and how to fix it. When people base their arguments on lies, misinformation, conspiracy theories and whataboutism, I don't take their arguments seriously. Sorry again!

Marty, oh Marty...where did you go?

whew. the GOP sure ain't what it used to claim to be.

they're having a panic attack over the fact that the crook they hired has been discovered being crooked.

Nigel, that article on Justice Kagen was really interesting. Thanks.

Seconded.

Thirded.

"This should not be tolerated"

It is tolerated by the malign "things" who will nominate and push through Calabresi's nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States.

That this sickening "scholar" enabler, indeed, champion of autocracy and fascism issues claptrap like this with numerous misspellings and typos merely endears him to the metastasizing malignancy of the republican base as an authentic one of them.

OP: today, the planet Mercury passed across the face of the Sun. The advancing perihelion of Mercury (13 arc-seconds/century!) being one of the post-dictions of GR. It wasn't initially a big deal, because it non GR effects (perturbations from Venus, solar oblateness) greatly complicate what the answer "should be".

Starlight and Gravity, all in one spot.

Unfortunately, I missed it. Somewhat cloudy and seriously busy. Oh well, I caught one, some years back, plus both transits of Venus, which is far far more rare.

I'm not sure exactly how to respond...

It's good to talk to people one disagrees with. One can get new information, or new understanding of the different priorities which cause them to reach conclusions different from yours.

But tribal chanting: "any Republican is better than any Democrat" offers none of that. Please tell us what it is in your experience, or your world view, which makes you think that a lying, corrupt, self-serving, ignorant, bullying narcissist like Trump is preferable to Obama, who, ordinary political dissimulation aside, is none of those things.

Or you could just accept my invitation.

Pro Bono, That specific question is answerable but not with the time at hand. So, unsatisfactorily, the answer comes down to, for 50 years and continuing today the Democratic party has supported and implemented as they could a complete distortion of a safety net. The result of their picies is unfettered illegal immigration, failed education systems, a divided country on every possible axis,( age, sex, color, sexual preference,religion) because every person they convince that they are the "other" becomes a potential Democrat. This was expanded in the last 15 years or so to defining everyone as the other except old white men. They prey on fear and hate to convince people that the GOP is evil.

Now, in some of those contexts the GOP is wrong, particularly anything that has to do with sex, but the expansion of wrong to evildoers is also and more wrong.

The constant drive to change the constitutional protections for small state voters is frightening. Literally frightening.

Obama was a fancy grifter, a top notch long con guy. He is the kind of crook that Leo plays in a movie. Trump is a street thug and a numbers runner. That difference is meaningful, but doesnt change the policy differences.

Marty, what makes you say Obama was a grifter, long con or otherwise? What was his grift?

Obama was a fancy grifter, a top notch long con guy. He is the kind of crook that Leo plays in a movie.

[citation required]

I think we have established, at some length, that Trump has used the office of the Presidency in several different ways for personal gain, so it would not be ridiculous to label him a grifter.
(That he labelled the emoluments clause of the constitution "phony" suggests that he doesn't have much of a defence to the charge.)

What was Obama's 'grift' ?

Obama was a fancy grifter, a top notch long con guy. He is the kind of crook that Leo plays in a movie.

Apparently, this is just standard, acceptable discourse from someone who is just misguided (but persuadable!)?

That specific question is answerable but not with the time at hand.

Never enough time to come up with facts.

Literally frightening.

'nuff quoted (in my monotone).

Kevin Drum finally drinks the kool-aid.

Good on him. Know your enemy.

In the news:

"A new draft of the Environmental Protection Agency proposal, titled Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, would require that scientists disclose all of their raw data, including confidential medical records, before the agency could consider an academic study’s conclusions".

Misguided.

Oh but sapient, consider how amusing it would be to shred the climate change deniers raw "data." Could end up a classic case of "be careful what you wish for."

An elegy on this thread....

https://johnpavlovitz.com/2018/12/13/i-dont-grieve-over-his-cruelty-i-grieve-over-yours/?fbclid=IwAR2f9x6GQ9O-3yFyh-NTadOIyqSO7ktosCFjCS4hlsRoCkea6qYUs_WYq_k

If Tulsi Gabbard did run as a third-party candidate, it's not clear to me who that would hurt more - Rump or the Dem nominee. Whose votes would she be taking?

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-we-know-about-tulsi-gabbards-base/

Also, too, from 538, both support and non-support of impeachment jumped in recent polling, which I can only assume means some of the previously undecided have decided.

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/impeachment-polls/?ex_cid=rrpromo

bobbyp's link more or less is where I am.

Could end up a classic case of "be careful what you wish for."

Not sure how you manage to keep on the sunny side so spectacularly, wj.

bobbyp's link more or less is where I am

Yep, it's a good piece.

Marty, lest we forget the late, great (or great-ish despite much wrongheadedness) Christopher Hitchens:

That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.

Not sure how you manage to keep on the sunny side so spectacularly, wj.

Brute force. It's the only way I've found to avoid sinking into dispair. (Other suggestions more than welcome.)

In some ways, it's like venture capital investing. You make a bunch of bets against the odds. In the hopes that a handful of big successes will outweigh all the misses.

GftNC, surely that's true. Which is the very core of my criticism if all the testimony so far. Lots if asserting, lots of we felt uncomfortable no factual evidence that a quid pro quo was presented.

Thus also no facts that the reason was political rather than simply doing the job of investigating possible criminal activity.

Thus people who want to impeach Trump get to make it up.

There is a pretty high volume of "There is only one way to view this" with no facts to support that.

But what is your evidence for accusing Obama of grift?

Thus also no facts that the reason was political rather than simply doing the job of investigating possible criminal activity.

For one thing, why request a public announcement if it wasn't political? How would publicly announcing the investigation make it more effective? The subject and timing of the announcement request (demand?) point strongly to a political motive.

There is a pretty high volume of "There is only one way to view this" with no facts to support that.

I'd say there are plenty of facts that point to a most-likely-correct way to view it.

Thus also no facts that the reason was political rather than simply doing the job of investigating possible criminal activity.

Asking a foreign government to investigate (or actually, just announce that it is going to investigate) your main, American rival is illegal under American law, if I understand it correctly. And withholding military aid that has been authorised by Congress, a co-equal branch of government, is also (I believe) illegal.

Thus also no facts that the reason was political rather than simply doing the job of investigating possible criminal activity.

Asking a foreign government to investigate (or actually, just announce that it is going to investigate) your main, American rival is illegal under American law, if I understand it correctly. And withholding military aid that has been authorised by Congress, a co-equal branch of government, is also (I believe) illegal.

But most of all, what is your evidence for accusing Obama of grift? Because his reputation in the rest of the world, even among people who have no reason to love him or protect his reputation, is of an almost painfully correct and careful president.

"doing the job of investigating possible criminal activity"

Ah, yes, the full majesty of the LAW being upheld by the numbers-running street thug you want impeached, but merely for his incontinent tweeting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLDI7Gb2FrY

Fluffing like that calls for some lip balm.

Lindsay Graham et al have a lifetime supply for when you run out.

"misguided"

Don't go soft on on us now, sapient.

The proposed EPA "rule" (of lawlessness) is like Agatha Christie advocating for the efficacy of arsenic in eliminating one's opponents in the game of Clue, or the city fathers of Athens arguing that a little hemlock poured in the ear of its citizens, like Socrates, can improve their selective hearing while, of course, silencing their voices.

The GOP is a mass murderer that enlists law enforcement in its deeds.

"misguided"

Don't go soft on on us now, sapient.

The proposed EPA "rule" (of lawlessness) is like Agatha Christie advocating for the efficacy of arsenic in eliminating one's opponents in the game of Clue, or the city fathers of Athens arguing that a little hemlock poured in the ear of its citizens, like Socrates, can improve their selective hearing while, of course, silencing their voices.

The GOP is a mass murderer that enlists law enforcement in its deeds.

Posting here is like starring in a DoubleMint commercial:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKWEYzj79S0

no factual evidence that a quid pro quo was presented.

you have to be blind.

Does she or doesn't she?

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/nikki-haley-today-show-interview-impeachment-inquiry

Keep the spittoon handy.

no factual evidence that a quid pro quo was presented.

fact: multiple people who were personally involved in the back and forth of demanding it (both in and out of the official government channels) say there was.

fact: Trump's own words. the transcript is perfectly clear about what's going on. and when you add in what we know about the weeks of discussions before the call, there is no innocent way to read that transcript.

fact: the WH has said there was, multiple times. then they either say "but that's how things work!" or "wait, i really meant to say the opposite of that."

Thus also no facts that the reason was political rather than simply doing the job of investigating possible criminal activity.

Thus people who want to impeach Trump get to make it up.

Some basic information that may be of use.

Impeachment is not about criminal activity. It is about abuse of power and corrupt behavior in office.

The grounds for impeachment in the Constitution are treason, bribery, and high crimes and misdemeanors. The phrase "high crimes and misdemeanors" is a term of art, in common usage in English common law since about the 14th C. It refers to abuse of office and/or corrupt behavior by a person in a position of public responsibility.

The authors of the Constitution were surely aware of that when they included those words in the Constitution. Especially since, at the time the Constitution was written, there was no US code, no federal law of any kind.

Impeachment is a specifically political remedy, not a criminal one, and in fact criminal liability is specifically excluded from the consequences of impeachment. All that it is allowed to accomplish is removal from office.

Criminal activity is not a necessary basis for impeachment. Abuse of power and/or corrupt behavior in office are. The basis for impeachment is not a matter of criminal law, it is a matter of Constitutional process - separation of powers and mutual accountability between the branches of government. It is, inherently, a political act.

The consequence of all of this is that it doesn't much matter if Trump broke a law as far as impeachment goes. If that was the bar, he'd be out by now, for things like failure to pay taxes, illegally using funds raised for charitable purposes to pay for his own legal fees and buy great big pictures of himself to hang in his golf clubs, paying off porn star girlfriends to keep them quiet during election season, etc etc etc.

All of that is against the law, and none of it has been cited as the basis for impeachment.

What matters for purposes of impeachment is whether he abused the power of his office for corrupt ends.

A credible report was made that he did so, and that report has been corroborated by a number of witnesses, all of whom are also credible.

So it will land wherever it lands.

What I predict is that the House will bring articles of impeachment, and the Senate will vote to keep Trump in office.

And then we'll all go on from there.

Brazil's trumpian, republican, conservative EPA under Bolsonaro:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/11/11/blood-gold-in-the-brazilian-rain-forest

Bolsanaro will be slaughtered and butchered, as a preview for his confederates around the globe.

"And then we'll all go (to Hell) on from there."

Even Russell requires an editor.

And then we'll all go (to Hell) on from there.

So be it.

the Wingnut Wurlitzer has been amazingly successful in teaching 'conservatives' a lot of incorrect things about the Constitution in the past few weeks.

as always: The Onion.

Ah yes, abuse of power not illegality (although possibly illegal too). But, for the purposes of impeachment: abuse of power. Sorry.

I remember that brilliant Onion piece. It's a masterpiece of theoretical journalism.

Mortensen's passion for safeguarding the elaborate fantasy world in which his conception of the Constitution resides is greatly respected by his likeminded friends and relatives, many of whom have been known to repeat his unfounded assertions verbatim when angered.

***

Mortensen told reporters that he'll fight until the bitter end for what he roughly supposes the Constitution to be.

it's so so good.

According to sources who have read the nation's charter, the U.S. Constitution and its 27 amendments do not contain the word "God" or "Christ."

According to sources who have read the nation's charter, the U.S. Constitution and its 27 amendments

There you go again, injecting facts into the discussion. The only recourse is the Lindsay Graham defense: close eyes and refuse to look, lest a closed mind be (inconveniently) changed.

/sarcasm

Dear Marty,

I'm an older white dude living in the state that all the small red states point to as the Reason To Fear. I live in a county that used to be steadily red, but has since turned blue - in part because while whites are still the largest demographic group, we are outnumbered by our Asians and Latinx neighbors. I teach at a campus with an interest in diversity in hiring and with a student body that is even more demographically diverse than is the general population of the county.

I am at ground zero for the sort of demographic plight you most fear.

It's a pretty nice place to be.

It will be even nicer if we can reduce the terrible inequality between the rich and the poor and fix some of our housing problems.

Come on by some time. You can hang with the white frat boy Trump supporters in front of the library and troll the DREAMers. And when you get tired of that you can go buy Bulgogi and Boba and Empanadas from one of the student groups in the booth next to the trolls and watch Hillel and the MSU demonstrate against each other.

Then you can go home and have nightmares about the death of the US.

Vox makes a pretty good case that there wasn't a QPQ, there were two QPQs.

That's cool nous, not sure what state that is. But when you get a Senator out of 250 and your votes count nothing because NYC and LA pick the President call me then. I dont care what the make up of the population is, people dont want to live like they are in a megalopolis. Or maybe no one will care, but I will be dead. Until then its frightening. Go to the Berkshires and ask what they think of state government favoring Boston.

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