Friday, January 31, 2020

Narrow, but not close!

Republicans defeat Democratic bid to hear witnesses in Trump trial
The Senate on Friday narrowly rejected a motion to call new witnesses in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, paving the way for a final vote to acquit the president by next week.
In a 51-49 vote, the Senate defeated a push by Democrats to depose former national security adviser John Bolton and other witnesses on their knowledge of the Ukraine scandal that led to Trump’s impeachment.

Murkowski a "no" on witnesses...

If she is a no on witnesses, then she is a no on impeachment! 

Nobody is really asking the question because it seems unlikely, but would either Romney or Collins take the plunge and provide a guilty vote? It seems inconceivable that Collins could win reelection in Maine without keeping a growing Republican base there. But Romney might just be the sort of guy to push the limits of his "independence" and possible split his vote (guilty on abuse of power, and not-guilty on obstruction). I don't see it "likely" but you never know.

Meanwhile there is really very little buzz surrounding whether or not any Democrats are going to break with their Party and vote to acquit the President. I think the most likely scenario is that two or three break at least on the subject of obstruction. But I could see the lack of witnesses (counterintuitively) swinging some possible acquittal votes to a guilty vote.

The media will cover this up!

GOP has 50 no votes on witnesses

Unless there is an unexpected flip, the Senate will not be calling any witnesses and impeachment will be over before the Super Bowl.... the last remaining hopeful for a fourth possible vote is now a solid no:

But Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who would have been the needed fourth, is a no. Alexander said while he thought what Trump had done was inappropriate, it did not rise to the level of an impeachable offense. So even if everything Democrats said was true, there was no reason to have more evidence since it wasn’t an impeachable offense in any event. He also said he thought the American people should decide in the election.

Yeah... go figure on the American people deciding the election. The problem for Democrats and Trump haters isn't that they wanted some symbolic impeachment, but rather they really don't want to face a politically healthy Donald Trump come November. A longer trial with more anti-Trump witnesses would have helped that cause. Now the President can claim vindication and aquittal (and no amount of spinning will change that he is right).

Either way, it looks like RINO Romney will be voting for witnesses, as well as Susan Collins. Lisa Murkowski is taking the night to think about it. But even with Murkowski, the Democrats would only have 50 vote, which (short of the less than likely possibility of Justice Roberts voting) is determined to be a negative result.  Many expect Murkowski to vote no, just to avoid the problems with a 50-50 tie and to garner some goodwill with the President and her red state of Alaska.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Trump's Super Bowl Ad!

Critics are wrong about the Dershowitz argument...

Dershowitz is not saying that nothing the President could do is impeachable...

I am not 100% sure at this point whether frustrated critics just don't understand the Dershowitz argument, are subconsciously or consciously refusing to accept the argument, or purposely straw-manning the argument to make it appear worse than what he is arguing. But whichever excuse they have, they are getting it wrong.

Now do I think Dershowitz goes a little too far on the absolute nature of his argument? Sure, but the underlying argument couldn't be any more sound, in terms of real world workings of our political system.

What Dershowitz is arguing (in a nutshell) is that the entire system of our government is a quid pro quo regarding garnering power and those who have it remaining in power. The basic reality is that our politicians are constantly running and campaigning for their next election (whether that be keeping their seat or moving up in the world). As much as they would love to tell you that they do everything for the good of the nation, nobody would (and nobody should believe them). The entire manner in which our Government is run (good, bad, or indifferent) is based on mutual relationships that exist within the scope of political quid pro quo.

Take the history of unions for example. Unions could collect dues, and then use a portion of those dues to back Democratic candidates for a variety of office. In exchange, Democrats in power would work to create laws that make it easier for unions to exist and for unions to collect dues and they work doubly hard to prevent laws that make it harder for people to unionize and to collect dues. The more successful Democrats were in controlling the laws, the more successful unions were collecting dues, and the more support (financial and otherwise) the unions could provide for these Democrats to be elected.

On the flip side, many corporations or corporate owners will back GOP candidates, hoping that they pass laws that might give them tax breaks, reduce red tape, and perhaps even limit their employees ability to go through a costly unionization process. If these laws pass, these GOP backers will make more money, and in theory be able to do more to support GOP candidates in their quest to win elections.

Now both sides will tell you that the real reason that they are doing this is because they believe in the causes (not because it helps them get reelected). But regardless of what you want to believe, most everything politicians do has one eye on whether or not it will help them get reelected. Even how a Congress person votes (or voted) in the impeachment fiasco is analyzed by whether or not it helps or hurts their election chances.

Imagine demanding that all of these basic fundamental gives and takes of our political machine are somehow akin to illegal election interference, or a corrupt quid pro quo that should land them all at the short end of an impeachment or removal process?

As obviously silly as that sounds, the question becomes where do we draw the line?

With half the country seemingly agreeing with the political considerations of every single politician, it's difficult to prove that any politicians does something entirely to get reelected. Even if they did, can that possibly be considered to be illegal? After all, part of their jobs is to keep their jobs. If they feel that they are the best person for the job (and most probably do) then they are allowed to openly campaign, openly seek out donors, openly vote for causes that will help them be reelected, and use their office to help that in anyway that isn't tangibly and defined as illegal.

In other words, Donald Trump asking about Hunter Biden in Ukraine is no different than Democrats supporting unions or Republicans supporting corporations. We all know that such support comes with a kickback of sorts, but as long as there is a plausible political argument to be made that they believe it's the right thing to do, then how can it be considered illegal?

The harm isn't in any argument that politicians are beyond reproach for any forms of campaign violations. There are literally hundreds of laws on the books that specifically address what you can and cannot do.  The harm is when you toss aside the pre-set laws and regulations, and allow partisan politicians to make an argument that their political opponents are acting in bad faith and therefore are breaking the law.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the line that nobody should ever want to cross...

Fake news with fake timing...

White House has issued formal threat to Bolton to keep him from publishing book

This is the screaming headline from CNN. But they cannot even make it past paragraph two before it falls apart:
In a letter to Bolton's lawyer, a top official at the National Security Council wrote the unpublished manuscript of Bolton's book "appears to contain significant amounts of classified information" and couldn't be published as written.
So for starters, it's the National Security Council (not the White House) and this is a distinction with a difference. The NSC is made up of  people like the National Security Adviser, the Director of Homeland Security, Director of the CIA, Ambassador to the United Nations, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (armed forces), and Director of National Intelligence.

So the decision was not (as implied) made by the President or the White House, it was not made for political reasons, and it quite simply is not an accurate description. Nobody is telling John Bolton that he cannot publish the book. They are telling him that parts of the book need to be scrubbed for classified information before it is released.

Moreover, every book written by someone with former security clearance is required to submit their manuscript for to the NSC for review. To act as if this is something unusual, something nefarious, or something sinister is a flat out falsehood. All books are screened, they are all scrubbed, and I doubt any of them make it through unscathed.

Moreover, CNN (and others) are acting as if this was a knee jerk reaction to potential Bolton testimony. The truth is that the book was submitted quite some time ago, the review process has been on going, and the letter was sent to the Bolton attorneys "before" the Maggie Haberman "leak" story was even written.

So it makes the timing of both the original leak, and the story about the book scrubbing more than a little suspicious. Either someone in the NSC illegally leaked this information at the most "inopportune" time for the President, or the NYT sat on the story until they felt it created the maximum impact.

Either way, the leak didn't seem to change the dynamics and quite possibly had the opposite effect. GOP Senators can now largely argue that they already know what Bolton would have said (which is not substantially different from what a dozen other people have stated) and make their decision based on even the worst case assumptions.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Bolton for the Bidens or we close things down!

This is the new buzz coming out of Washington! 

With Cory Gardner now coming out as a sure "no" vote for calling Michael John Bolton, the Democrats are down to drawing into an inside straight to extend the impeachment trial beyond Friday. As it stands, there are only two Republican Senators (Romney, Collins) who have expressed any real desire to hear from witnesses. Murkowski has been fairly quiet about calling new witnesses, and the only other remaining hopeful (Lamar Alexander) was always a long shot.

According to GOP sources, the mood is good and most everyone expects things to wrap up by the end of the week.

However, it does sounds like the GOP is certainly willing to make the trade to hear from John Bolton, if the Democrats agree that we should also hear from Hunter and Joe Biden. It sounds like the GOP is looking for bipartisan support for calling them (which would be a huge problem for Biden). But it's obviously very unlikely that Democrats would agree to that.

Part of the problem with the Maggie Haberman NYT "leak" is that it exposes what Bolton was likely to testify to. If there is no "mystery" and he will repeat much of the same thing other people claimed to have heard or assumed or presumed, then what real good does the testimony do? If eighteen previous witnesses claiming pretty much the same thing hasn't swayed any Republicans that President Trump committed an impeachable offense, then hearing from one more isn't going to make any difference.

So why would Democrats want to extend the trial, if all it does is turn things into a Biden corruption probe? That would be a major problem for the guy that many feel has the best chance to beat Trump in November. The fact that this is even being discussed (along with the impressive presentation by the Trump defense team on the topic of the Bidens) has probably already wounded the former Vice President. Having Hunter or even Joe himself show up to be put under oath might be a fatal blow.

Another "yeah but" moment for Politifact!

Trump lawyer Sekulow says Trump’s hold on Ukraine aid is like Obama with Egypt in 2013. He’s wrong.

This comparison has become a popular talking point among the president’s supporters. Trump tweeted on this, as did Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, who tweeted a list of countries where the Obama White House withheld aid, including Pakistan, Honduras, Mexico, as well as Egypt. But Sekulow’s comparison with Egypt is off the mark in several ways. 
While past administrations have delayed aid, the circumstances and the nuts-and-bolts process, including keeping Congress in the loop, bear no similarities to the Ukraine affair. In particular, with Ukraine, Congress had pushed to send the aid. With Egypt, they were pushing to have it held back.

So the question here isn't whether all of the circumstances regarding the delivery of aid can be checked off as "exactly the same"... the question quite frankly is whether or not it had been done before and whether or not there was previously any "requirement" to inform Congress of a delay.

Sekulow was not making a direct comparison regarding the reasoning, because every situation was different. Sekulow was pointing out that we have multiple examples of aid being "delayed" for a variety of reasons, that the only deadline is an end of the fiscal year (when the aid would expire), and that there was no law or legal obligation to "inform Congress".

In none of the previous examples of "delayed" aid (and Egypt was only one of the examples Sekulow provided) was the sitting President ever attacked, accused of anything, much less impeached over the delay. More to the point, where Egypt and Ukraine bore strong resemblance was in the timing. In both cases the Administration was bumping up against the end of a fiscal year, and in both situations the aid was ultimately sent before the end of the fiscal year.

I hate to keep harping on this, but the law and the Constitution provides the executive branch the authority to set terms and conditions on the aid. Congress has the authority to appropriate the aid, but no authority to lord over the executive branch on what happens next. It's one thing if Congress wants to overstep those constitutional (and legal boundaries). It's quite another when they want to "impeach" a President because he didn't do something he is not required to do by law.

Bottom line: Sekulow stated that there was previous times where aid had been delayed (and ultimately provided) and that there was no law or legal requirement for Congress to be "informed" of the delay. Politifact actually acknowledge that this is entirely true (because it is). But then, in typical Politifact fashion drones on for several paragraphs of straw man argument to declare that the point is actually "mostly false" because they have found irrelevant to the main point "differences" between the situations. Go figure?

The GOP ad!

CNN jumps the shark

The saddest thing is (that objectively) these people are losers! 

So Don Lemon has issued an explanation (but not an apology) for his ridiculous behavior the other night. For anyone not paying attention, Don Lemon was interviewing two Trump haters (Wajahat Ali and Rick Wilson) when Wilson into a bigoted tirade, making fun of Trump supporters as people who couldn't spell, couldn't do math, didn't understand geography, and then declaring that Trump supporters "mock" the "elites" for knowing such stuff.

Don Lemon literally falls over laughing...

Now the saddest part of this is that Don Lemon is objectively a loser. He loses every night to his competition, and his entire network is a network of losers. That is just a fact. CNN is a rating disaster and a rating joke (although nobody at CNN seems to be laughing about that). 

And let's not forget that the President was a better and more successful host of a television show (doing it in his spare time) than Don Lemon is doing it as his job full time. Sorry Don, if you are so smart, why are you such an objective loser at your job?

So Lemon's "statement" was the idea that he was not laughing at the people who were the butt of the joke, but rather he was laughing at the "joke" itself. Not sure how you can separate the two, but it's the Don Lemon explanation, non-the-less.

The guy is even a loser at issuing an apology! 

Lemon video

Here is his so called apology/explanation! He even looks smug doing it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

What to make of this? Part II

GOP to go on the offense? 

Lindsey Graham (one day after Ted Cruz made the same argument) suggested that there are at least 51 votes to call Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, as well as the DNC staffer accused of conspiring with Ukraine in regards to the 2016 election.  The concept would be to do a full court press for the case that the President was fully and completely justified in asking Ukraine to investigate possible corruption by both the Bidens, and the DNC.

The House Democrat Impeachment Managers desperately attempted to make the case that such a request was unwarranted and that the President was asking Zelensky to "make up things" for political gain. The basic bottom line requirement for Democrat's impeachment efforts requires them to not only claim that the President was acting in "bad faith" when he talked to Zelensky about Burisma and (by extension) the Bidens, but to be able to prove that it was in bad faith.

After all, they are the prosecution and the burden of proof is on them! 

But the Presidents team hit back hard with half a day's worth of evidence against the Bidens and the DNC. One could hardly listen to this and objectively come out of it still demanding that the President's opponents are innocent of any and all wrongdoing. Even people as far left as Chris Matthews were admitting that the evidence against the Bidens was overwhelming and that they may no longer be irrelevant to this impeachment trial. 

The House impeachment managers opened the door to possible testimony from the Bidens. The evidence presented by the President's defense team blew that door off the hinges. 

It looks as those Slow Joe will have to do more than get angry and challenge men older than he to push up contests. He may have to show up at this Senate trial and defend the actions of both him and his son. Unfortunately for Joe, there may not be much of a defense for him to offer above and beyond the stonewalling that has been going on for the past several months. But that won't work once he takes the stand. 

What to make of this?

So several Republicans are now pushing for the Bolton manuscript to be circulated in a private manner to the Senate, so that the Senate members could review it for themselves. The argument is that they would then have "all" have the information required to make a determination whether Bolton should be called to testify (or not), rather than relying on the "leaked" information from the NY Times.

The other argument is that having the manuscript would provide a full understanding of what Bolton is claiming, and would be superior to simply calling him as a witness (which could largely become a media circus). Republicans could then make the honest case that they were willing to take into account what the Bolton book has to say before calling for a vote. Of course, who is to say whether the book will provide more answers than questions. There could be a huge disagreement regarding that.

However, guess who doesn't like this idea? Senate Democrats! Chuck Schumer has called the idea an "absurd proposal" and believes that there should not be any preliminary private reading by the Senate.

I will offer two things to keep in mind.

  • The first is that if the NYT and WaPo have inside information on this, then so do the Senate Democrats. No way this was "just" leaked to the press. It's likely that Schumer already knows details of the book that are not part of the NYT WaPo story line. 
  • The second is that the book "will" come out and Bolton will make his media rounds. If the book is as explosive as the NYT demands that it is, then the Senate Republicans would have little choice but to acknowledge as much after reading the manuscript. 

So the question becomes... are the Democrats looking for this information to be carefully vetted and considered in the impeachment vote or are they just more interested in getting another anti-Trumper on the witness stand to potentially damage the President?

Trump attorneys prove that Biden's acted corruptly in Ukraine...

Everyone agrees.... even the liberals at CNN

Highly questionable Ukrainian arrangements should be investigated 

Abuse of power, violating of the emoluments clause, corruption, conflict of interest.  As much as Democrats would like you to believe that they have evidence that the President is in violation of these (and pretty much most every other law), the facts are beginning to show that much more evidence exists that the Bidens acted corruptly in Ukraine than Trump ever has. Even liberal CNN legal analysts Jeffrey Toobin agrees:

"I thought Attorney General Bondi did an effective job at showing how sleazy the hiring of Hunter Biden was," Toobin told Jake Tapper and Wolf Blitzer Monday. "There is no way to dress that up. He was given a great deal of money for a job he was unqualified for and the only reason he got it is because he was the vice president's son."

This shows the root problem for Democrats in their impeachment arguments. If, in fact, there was this sort of obvious selling of power to get Hunter Biden a high paying foreign gig in a country where his dad was overseeing our country's foreign policy, then how can looking into it be considered a corrupt investigation? It would be more accurate to argue that doing "anything" to prevent or undermine investigations into this corruption is akin to obstruction of justice. The fact that Joe Biden is running for President is all the more reason TO investigate it, not brush it under the rug.

Bottom line is that it should be US policy at this point to look into Burisma. Every American (Republican, Democrat, or Independent) should welcome such an investigation, especially considering Joe Biden wants to be President of the United States. If Biden refuses to be properly vetted for the job and would rather cover up his past behavior as Vice President, either he isn't qualified or he doesn't really want it.

Monday, January 27, 2020

USSC rules in favor of Trump... Again!!!

Bernie up! Biden down!

The tide is turning! Can you feel the Bern! 

NYT, Bolton, Trump, and what difference does it make?

The NYT and WaPo (in superlative, if not suspicious timing) are revealing that they have "sources" who apparently have seen a draft version of the upcoming Bolton book, which had been given to Administration officials for review. According to NYT and WaPo these officials (whoever they are) are demanding that Bolton was told "explicitly" that the Bidens were to be be investigated or there would be no aid.

The President flat out denies it. A spokesman for Bolton is acting upset with the "corrupt nature" in which the secret review was leaked. The spokesman neither confirms or denies that the information is accurate.

Either way, of course, it doesn't matter.

As has been argued (and will be argued over the next two days by the President's team) there has never been an impeachable offense (even if the Democrats could prove everything that they state). There has never been anything illegal about anti-corruption statements, requesting that closed investigations be reopened, or anything else that is being pushed in the impeachment nonsense.

How it will affect things, is that there will likely be enough votes to call Bolton as a witness, which could get very interesting. At this point we have no idea if the NYT is fairly and accurately conveying what they heard. We don't know if the sources are embellishing. We don't know to what degree Bolton is going to confirm any of this. Lastly, even if Bolton confirmed everything, would it just be his word, or would he have anything to back it up? Would he be able to prove that even if Trump made a statement to "him" that he followed through and demanded anything from Ukraine?

At this point, the main facts have not changed. The Ukrainians deny that there was ever any quid pro quo regarding any of this. Trump denies demanding any quid pro quo. Nobody has any direct evidence of any agreement between the countries...

and ultimately the aid was released and none of the supposed demands were met.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Impeachment logic is actually two polar opposite arguments at the same time!

So to listen to the Democrats explain their impeachment justification, they will provide for you two key points. Both of which would have to be true, but only one of which "could" logically be true.

  • Key point one: That asking to reopen the investigations into the company Burisma is akin to election interference because the investigation would focus on the role that Hunter Biden had in the company, and the role that Joe Biden played in getting the prosecutor fired. So in essence, asking for an investigation into Burisma, is asking for an investigation into Joe Biden (Trump's potential political opponent in the 2020 election).
  • Key point two: That the suspended investigations of Burisma were focused on things that happened prior to Hunter Biden ever joining the company, there was never any evidence of any wrongdoing by Hunter Biden, and that Joe Biden asked for the prosecutor to be fired for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with the investigation into Burisma.

So which is true? If point one is true and asking for an investigation into Burisma is akin to asking for an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden, then point two cannot possibly be true.  But if point two is true, and Hunter Biden had nothing to do with the Burisma investigations, and the Prosecutor was not fired in order to end the Burisma investigation, then point one cannot possibly be true. 

Such a logic quagmire. 

The truth, of course, is that key point one is likely true, and that key point two is total fiction. Democrats are afraid of what the Burisma investigations would uncover, but are forced to make the nonsensical argument that such an investigation also unwarranted. They cannot just argue that the investigation might uncover negative things about their potential 2020 Presidential candidate, so it cannot happen. That would be an admission that they believe that there probably is corruption that involves Hunter and Joe Biden. It could also arguably be called obstruction of Justice.

So they have to add the second portion (that the investigation is unwarranted) to cover up their real fears. It actually undercuts their first argument, but their hope is that the logical quandary would to unnoticed. So far it has.

The fact that this twisted argument has even made it this far is just a testimonial in regards to how much hatred and how much Trump derangement syndrome actually exists. Their rabid fans and swooning media do not want to think that hard. They prefer to be happily fooled by a dumb argument, than to actually admit that this whole thing is bullshit!

The bottom line is that if the Democrats are really confident that there is no Burisma corruption that will touch Hunter or Joe Biden, then they should welcome such an opportunity to clear the reputation of their potential 2020 candidate. The fact that they don't welcome this opportunity can only be explained by the reality that they do believe that the Bidens acted corruptly, and that they desperately want to sweep it under the rug.

Sunday Funnies!

Shades of Clinton!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Yes... Democrats "are" losing the impeachment trial!

Add to this, the idea being floated that Senate Democrats might cut a deal where they agree to vote to dismiss the second article out of hand and admonish the House for their handling of impeachment (in general). Then in exchange the GOP would agree to call witnesses? Sounds like as admission that they (Senate Democrats) lost their leverage!

Whistleblower involved in scheme to dig up dirt on Trump

Ukrainian Official Who Attended Jan 2016 White House Meeting on Biden/Burisma Blows Up Schiff’s Narrative
On May 1, 2019, New York Times reporter Ken Vogel emailed the State Department to confirm that (State Dept. official) Elizabeth Zentos had attended the January 2016 White House meeting about “Burisma Holdings and concerns that Hunter Biden’s position with the company could complicate such efforts.” Vogel wrote that the attendees included “Ukrainian prosecutors and embassy officials as well as Eric Ciaramella from the NSC.” By now, everyone who has read my posts knows that Ciaramella is alleged to be the whistleblower who sparked the current impeachment trial of President Trump.
Telizhenko attended the secret January 19, 2016 meeting and his statement began: “I was told to work and cooperate with Mrs. Chalupa, a DNC operative, by Ambassador Chaliy…She asked for me to help her get dirt on Presidential candidate Donald Trump…I never coordinated any work with her or the DNC because…I did not support the unethical orders to work and assist one party.”
He also provided a copy of the White House invitation and a “schedule of the meeting listing two names, one associated with the whistleblower whose name we blocked out, and Elizabeth Zentos, both from Obama’s NSC (National Security Council).”

So this is part of the reason why Schiff and the Democrats will do anything in their power to avoid having Eric Ciaramella testify. Not only is he known to have talked about impeaching Trump shortly after he was elected, but there is now confirmed evidence that he was at meetings where members of the Obama Administration allegedly asked for Ukraine's assistance in digging up dirt on Trump (when he was the GOP candidate).

Telizhenko is an actual witness to these events and at the very least can confirm the meetings and the attendance of certain people. While it's only his word at this point that accuses the Obama Administration of asking for elections assistance, it's certainly more than the second and third hand information that Democrats are using to justify their impeachment efforts. We've had three years of Russia, Russia, Russia and now months of impeachment over far less than what is offered here. Yet Democrats will continue to demand that such allegations are "debunked" even though they have neve been investigated.

Perhaps a Special Counsel might be in order? I think everyone deep down understands that the very illegal activities that Robert Mueller "failed" to find in his Russia/Trump fiasco... would be found if we looked into Ukraine/Clinton/Obama.

Schiff blows it!

GOP Including Potential Swing Moderates ‘Incensed’ at Schiff for Untrue Claim Trump Threatened Them, ‘Head on a Pike’

Opps! I guess wasn't what I expected?
“CBS News reported last night that a Trump confidant said that key senators were warned, ‘Vote against the president and your head will be on a pike.’ I don’t know if that’s true,” Schiff said, while trying to persuade his Senate colleagues to vote with “moral courage” rather than in their political self-interest.

So this, of course, was a dumb thing to say, especially to Senators who believe that they are superior to House members and certainly do not want to be lectured by Adam Schiff regarding anything ethically or morally related.

So how did this go over? Senator Murkowski was quoted:  “that’s where he lost me. Whatever gains he may have made, he lost all of it — plus some — tonight.” While Senator Collins suggested that “Not only have I never heard the ‘head on the pike’ line but also I know of no Republican senator who has been threatened in any way by anyone in the administration.”

The overall reaction was anywhere from amusement, disbelief, to actual anger. Schiff basically went back to "making stuff up" rather than sticking with the facts, and probably showed GOP Senators exactly how it feels when "they" are the subject of one of his personal attacks based on his own fantastic opinions (rather than the reality of where we are).

But this exposes the main problem for Democrats and for Schiff. If you stick to the facts, then you literally have zero case that you can make. The lack of any actual tangible evidence of any real impeachable wrongdoing has simply gotten Democrats so used to "making things up" to fit the case, that I am not sure that they still have a real understanding between fact and fiction anymore.

What Schiff did last night was personally expose the lack of tangible arguments to the very people he is trying to convince. He literally "made up" stuff about them, as a means to convince them that they should listen to the rest of the "made up" stuff he has stated about the President.

Now members of the Senate know first hand how the President feels. You can thank Adam Schiff for that!

Friday, January 24, 2020

Nope! Jonathan Turley has not changed his mind about impeachment!

Turley: The Dems Impeachment Process Will ‘Go Down as One of the Greatest Historic Blunders of a House of Congress’
The CBS panel had been discussing Impeachment on Thursday when Turley said, “I think that this is one where the House is completely unmoored by history and by the law. And I think that this will go down as one of the greatest historic blunders of a House of Congress.”
The statement has been made, not just by these witnesses, but Chairman Schiff and others that this is a clear case of bribery. It’s not and Chairman Schiff said that it might not fit today’s definition of bribery, but it would fit the definition back in the eighteenth century. Now putting aside Mr. Schiff’s turn toward originalism, I think it might come as a relief to him and his supporters that his career will be a short one. There’s not an originalist future in that argument. The bribery theory being put forward is as flawed in the eighteenth century as it is in this century.
If you make a high crime or a misdemeanor out of going to the courts, it is an abuse of power. (He turns toward the Democrats.) It’s your abuse of power. You’re doing precisely what you are criticizing the President for doing. We have a third branch that deals with conflicts of the other two branches. And what comes out of there and what you do with it is the definition of legitimacy.

So this is a liberal constitutional scholar. He doesn't like Trump, and very likely doesn't care to be on his side. But the overwhelming reality is that the law, logic, and common sense is on the side of the President. Meanwhile, legal gymnastics, twisted logic, and idiocy represents the main arsenal of the Democratic articles of impeachment.

Unless you are a partisan hack (and Turley is definitely not a partisan hack) you would agree with the obvious take here. Impeachment is massive blunder. It undermines everything about our constitutional system, and will negatively affect the future of both the Presidency and out entire system of Government. There is quite literally not a single reasonable argument to be made that Schiff and Nadler are anything but jokes pushing complete nonsense for entirely political purposes.

So they want to impeach him for allegedly delaying the aid that they never wanted in the first place?

Have to be curious as to how many of these people are demanding this was some sort of National Security issue, when they didn't feel it was necessary in the first place!

Are the Democrat's over-aggressive rhetorical arguments backfiring?

Key moderate Republicans 'offended,' 'stunned' after Nadler accuses senators of 'cover-up'
"The president is on trial in the Senate, but the Senate is on trial in the eyes of the American people. Will you vote to allow all the relevant evidence to be presented here? Or will you betray your pledge to be an impartial juror?" Nadler said.
Murkowski specifically questioned Democrat's desire to rush things along and
 then demand that the Senate do the job that the House couldn't be bothered with.
Murkowski & Collins were part of the effort to have Justice Roberts scold Nadler. 
“I mean, that’s an extraordinary thing to say on the floor of the United States Senate, the middle of the trial, and that’s what drew the rebuke and rightly so,” Hawley told reporters. “I can tell you, there was an open, open gasping on the Senate floor when Nadler was saying these things. I mean, it’s really, really extraordinary.” He added: “If the goal was to persuade, they took a huge step backward last night.”

Well if the Democrats were looking for media fawning from CNN, MSNBC, and the rest of the liberal press, then they probably accomplished this. If they were looking to persuade fence sitting Senators that they are here in good faith, then they failed miserably. To the degree that it makes a difference, it would be much easier today (than it would have been had Democrats not been so damned snarky) for the moderates to vote to end this thing after questions, rather than call any additional witnesses.

If Nadler truly believes that it's Congress (not the President) on trial, then he should take a good hard look in the mirror, and ask himself how his own performance is being judged. The House ran a shit show (or a Schiff Show). It was by all measures, shoddy, incomplete, secretive, unfair, and ultimately accomplished nothing but them losing the support some of their own Congresspeople.

Right now there appears to be a much better chance that the Republicans and Trump will be able to pick off a Democrat or two in the Senate, then there will be that anyone on the GOP side will roll over and let themselves be bullied by Nadler and Schiff. Moreover, they may have lost their edge in terms of having additional witnesses called.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Now here is a cut and paste that matters!

On the Bidens, Schiff Opened the Door
In sum, the House’s chief prosecutor represented to the American people that President Trump had asked his Ukrainian counterpart to fabricate a false case against Biden. In any court in America, that would open the door to the Trump defense team to show that this was not the president’s intention at all; he was simply asking Zelensky to look into a situation that cried out for an inquiry.
Legal Expert Andrew McCarthy - Gets things correct! 
In light of Schiff’s explicit allegation, the president is entitled to an opportunity to show that there was reason for him to believe that a notoriously corrupt Ukrainian energy company had retained Hunter Biden and paid him a fortune despite his lack of qualifications; and that later, despite the blatant conflict of interest, then–vice president Biden extorted Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company, threatening to withhold $1 billion in desperately needed funds.
Schiff insists that Trump’s claims in this regard are false. But his mere say-so does not prove falsity, no more than his mere say-so proves that Trump wanted Ukraine to “make up dirt” on Biden. Figuring out who has the better of a factual dispute is what a trial is about. If a litigant does not want to create a dispute, it’s up to the litigant to steer clear of the issue.
Adam Schiff steered his case straight into the Bidens. The Trump team may have their political reasons for highlighting Biden’s involvement. But it was Schiff’s strategy that made the Bidens relevant. If one or both of them ends up in the witness box, they have Schiff to thank.

Obviously there has been a groundswell of "legal" experts who have come out of the woodwork since Trump has been President, and never before has our legal world been so partisan. Liberals like Alan Dershowitz and Jonathan Turley are routinely "shunned" for making sound legal arguments that just happen to coincide with the Trump side of an argument. Only those who side against the President 100% of the time, still enjoy their place at the top of the liberal food chain. Being correct is no longer a desirable trait. Better to be "morally" right than "legally" right I guess.

Andrew McCarthy is one of those guys who doesn't just tell you what you might want to hear, but he tells you the truth (as he sees it) and he has been remarkably accurate in this sort of thing. In fact, of everyone, he might have the best track record. This appears entirely to be because he doesn't just agree or disagree with an argument based on the knee jerk determination of which political side is making the argument.

So here McCarthy makes a similar argument that I have been making for some time. Which is that you cannot accuse the President of demanding an illegal or unethical politically motivated investigation without also proving that the investigation in question is illegitimate. To put it bluntly, if there is a reasonable reason to believe that there was something "fishy" about the Hunter and Joe Biden situation in Ukraine, then the fact that Slow Joe is running for President becomes moot.

Moreover, as McCarthy points out, the prosecution (or Schiff in this case) does not have any legal standing or authority to "declare" such an investigation illegitimate. He would be required to prove as much. But how can you possibly prove that there is nothing worth investigating, unless you at least ask a few questions and get a few answers.

The bigger problem for Schiff and the Democrats (and ultimately the Bidens) is that the situation seems more than just a little bit fishy. Hunter earns several hundred thousand dollars a year working for a Ukrainian energy company, with neither any energy or international Ukrainian experience... and it's just coincidence that his dad is the Vice President who is overseeing Ukrainian foreign policy?

Demanding that there is nothing there, is a pretty bad argument to make when push comes to shove. Very few would see that situation as out of the boundaries of something that we might want to take a closer look at. If that hurts Joe Biden's chances of being President. Well then so be it. The entire impeachment fiasco is specifically designed to hurt the President and GOP chances in the 2020 election. There is nothing illegal about investigations that might hurt someone politically. That holds true EVEN if it (gasp) harms a Democrat.

So true! Democrats are just banging the table!

Let's be clear... Democrats have all but given up on saying this was a breach of the law (and are now arguing that impeachment doesn't require a statutory law to have been broken). Moreover, Schiff displayed himself (again) to be at odds with the facts on numerous occasions yesterday. Again, replacing what "did" happen with a fictional account that fits more into his narrative.

Bernie surging in New Hampshire!

Most recent poll has him up by 12 - Biden in third place!

New Hampshire is always a big state for momentum. If the winner in Iowa can double up in New Hampshire, that person has pretty much always gone on to victory. On the other hand, if these two states split, then we can look for a more long drawn out battle.

The Iowa situation is interesting. Polling there has always been suspect because it's a caucus state, not just an election. So it relies more on hard core support than it does for just sort of casual support. So it's not unusual for the actual results to differ (something widely) from the polling. 

I suspect that if Bernie does well in Iowa, that he will also perform equally well in New Hampshire and come out of the first two states in pretty good shape. Obviously Biden has a bit of a fire wall in North Carolina, and you have Bloomberg spending millions on the Super Tuesday States. So it's still up in the air! 

But many people are already wondering if the Democrats are going to end up feeling the Bern!

What do the Bidens have to hide?

Biden: A Witness Trade Involving Hunter For John Bolton Would Turn The Process Into A “Farce”
Now here’s the Senate minority leader, the lead impeachment manager, and the leading Democratic candidate for president all suggesting on the same day that approving a Bolton-for-Hunter deal won’t get Collins et al. any credit after all. They’ll be attacked anyway as Trump’s lackeys, muddying the waters about whether the president engaged in misconduct by introducing the Bidens’ ethical scruples into the mix, even though Bolton-for-Hunter is the best centrist Republicans can do realistically for Democrats. Any GOPer who agreed to subpoena Bolton without giving Trump his own pick of witnesses to call would be attacked as a traitor by the right. It doesn’t do a RINO any good to pander to moderate voters at the cost of enraging their base.
So if Collins can’t afford to call Bolton without calling Hunter but she also can’t call Bolton without being attacked by Democrats for also calling Hunter, what’s left for her except to say, “To hell with it”? Democrats won’t agree to her own conditions for a fair trial so maybe she’ll just end up doing what McConnell has wanted all along and decline to call any witnesses. Dems don’t want Hunter on the stand? Fine, no problem. Then no Bolton either. Proceed to deliberations.

Obviously, Joe obviously lacks the confidence that his son could be called to testify and not totally expose and humiliate him. They say Joe is just as adamant (if not more adamant) that he not be called as a witness himself. Apparently, he feels the better option would be to challenge Mitch McConnell and another McConnell family member to a dual push up contest.

Either way, this is becoming more about the politics and who is vulnerable to being called out. This is literally an abuse of power based on the very standards of the Democrat's own argument on impeachment. We are quite literally using impeachment entirely for political fodder, knowing that there is no way in hell that the President would actually be removed. The hypocrisy of demanding that investigations (that could harm a Democratic candidate) cannot be performed, while putting on this purely political dog and pony show on display (with every intention of harming people politically) is incredible. Perhaps the sheer over the top nature of the hypocrisy is how some are actually blinded by it.

If instead Joe is reluctant to that, Trump will spin it as proof that he and Hunter have something to hide — the same argument Democrats have made repeatedly about his refusal to let the likes of Bolton and Mulvaney testify. What’s the less risky option for Biden, to go answer questions in a deposition and hope that his testimony doesn’t come off as incriminating or to refuse to dignify the accusations (unless subpoenaed) and hope that people don’t conclude from his silence that he’s guilty of something?

I guess what is good for the gander is not good for the goose in this situation. The President is challenging Biden to a good old fashioned testimony contest. Perhaps Trump himself could offer testimony in exchange for Biden doing the same. Make it a two full day affair! How many questions does Biden want to answer about "his" quid pro quo demands in Ukraine? How much do Democrats really want to compare and contrast the two situations?

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

I heard Schiff is now talking about Russia!

Bernie overtakes slow Joe in new poll !

CNN poll: Bernie Sanders surges to join Biden atop Democratic presidential pack
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has improved his standing in the national Democratic race for president, joining former Vice President Joe Biden in a two-person top tier above the rest of the field, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS.

The poll marks the first time Biden has not held a solo lead in CNN's national polling on the race.
Overall, 27% of registered voters who are Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents back Sanders, while 24% favor Biden. The margin between the two is within the poll's margin of sampling error, meaning there is no clear leader in this poll. Both, however, are significantly ahead of the rest of the field, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 14% and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 11%. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg lands at 5% in the poll, while Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and businessman Andrew Yang each hold 4% support. Businessman Tom Steyer has 2%. No other candidate reaches 1% support.

Well technically, it's not a tie. As much as CNN doesn't care for the fact that slow Joe Biden is losing support to a socialist with little chance to win the general election, the truth is that it happened. Suck it up, CNN and deliver the news! (not your spin)

The "rhetorical" impeachment...

I have made the argument again and again that our politicians, media, and even our younger generations are becoming less and less interested in fact, and more and more interested in bending facts with rhetoric. In fact, many specifically reject the age-old notion that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, just not their own facts.

It seems that in the year 2020, everyone is entitled to create not only their own opinions, but their own facts. This is especially true when objective facts might offend someone, or is deemed to be somehow "unfair" based on the collective emotions and feelings of the woke culture. Just try to tell someone that life begins at conception or that there are only two possible combinations of chromosomes (XX, XY). Doesn't matter if objective science and biology backs you up, you are liable to be fired, sued, or worse just for stating what most people would have (just a few years ago) consider to be a fact.

Now politicians have used rhetorical arguments to levels that brush up against absurdity. We learn to expect it, temper it, and to some degree drown it out, because generally it's just fodder on a Sunday morning talk show, cable news, or political advertisement. But what we are seeing today is not just political rhetoric being argued, but we are seeing political rhetoric being used to impeach a duly elected sitting President. To be perfectly clear, this is a rhetorical impeachment that relies entirely on rhetorical arguments.

Lets start with the basic concept that the President "withheld" funds from Ukraine for "personal gain" and look to see where fact has been replaced with rhetoric

  • Fact: The funds were not withheld, but rather provided to Ukraine within the time frame necessary to satisfy any requirements of the authorization of Financial aid. To argue otherwise, would be to argue that the IRS can arrest you for withholding your payments, even if you paid them prior to the April 15th deadline. The fact is that you are not legally withholding payment to someone until you have gone past the due date or deadline for that payment. To even argue that the payments to the Ukrainians were "delayed" is a semantic argument that implies that there were some arbitrary deadlines to be met, when in fact, no such deadline existed.  
  • Fact: The Ukrainians did not investigate the Bidens, nor did they announce any investigations into the Bidens. While the Biden name came up in conversation between the US and Ukrainian Presidents, it was in conjunction with discussions about the Prosecutor General who was fired and how the previous Ukrainian administration had investigations (including Burisma) closed down shortly afterwards. We can provide an imaginary scenario where the Ukrainians did announce investigations, and we can provide a more recent tin foil hat theory that it was Lev Parnas who was the official go between, but the actual FACT remains that none of it actually happened. 
  • Fact: The President never asked for anything of "personal value". Personal value, as it legally pertains to political bribery or political favors is just that, personal. It would include things like personal payments, personal gifts, favors or gifts for friends or relatives, and other things not related to politics. The rhetoric here is that a Ukrainian investigation that might have drawn the Biden name through the mud would help Trump in his reelection efforts. Factually, that would be of political (not personal) benefit to the President. That (according to the laws) is not a distinction without a difference, but rather a very legal and very real distinction that is being muddied up in the name of rhetoric. By the same logic, the House is engaged in a corrupt abuse of power by impeaching the President, because the actual impeachment might harm his Presidential reelection chances. Does anyone want to go there?
  • Fact: There was no "quid pro quo". While many people have testified that they believed (at least for a a while) that there was a deal in place between the two Presidents, both Presidents deny such a deal ever took place, and there is literally nobody who has testified that they have any first hand knowledge of such a deal between Trump and Zelensky. Moreover, even if there had been a "deal" made that involved "quid pro quo" (which there is no proof of), the FACT is that the alleged give and take never took place. It. Just. Didn't. Happen. 

The FACT is that the military aid was not withheld, but rather provided within the legal timelines for dispersing the aid. The FACT is that nothing was provided in return for that military aid. The FACT is that the President neither asked for or received anything of personal value. All the rest is little more than political rhetoric, dangerously used to impeach a duly elected President. This is what happens when a society and culture decides to reject the notion of objective fact as being the best means to resolve disagreement or conflict.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Impeachment open thread!

Can you even take Schiff seriously?

In retrospect...

Was the Kavanaugh hearings good or bad for the country?

I think after the dust settled and the entire thing turned out to be a divisive exercise in futility, the consensus was that the Kavanaugh hearing were a lose lose for everyone involved. Apparently, however, Democrats seem to believe differently, as they are taking much the same approach in the current Presidential impeachment hearings. 

The questions posed and situational similarities are that Kavanaugh faces scrutiny that no other USSC justice had ever gone through, and was basically forced to defend himself against allegations that something had happened literally decades ago. Not only was this sort of High School behavior never before considered in a hearing over a Justice, but never before was someone provided such a forum to register accusations that quite literally had no evidence (tangible or testimonial) to back them up.

But we have seemed to have entered a new phase of societal inquisitions, where any and all allegations are assumed to be true, and the accused is sort of on the hook to prove his or her innocent. You hear liberals and the media time and time again tell us things like "if there is nothing to hide, then why not welcome the inquisition"? Why not indeed? 

The best thing that came of the Kavanaugh hearings is that it ultimately didn't do what it was designed to do. The design was not about justice, but rather to prevent the President from being able to get a USSC nominee confirmed prior to the 2018 election, when Democrats were sure they could take over the Senate and prevent future Trump confirmations. Meanwhile Kavanaugh, his family and friends are forever tainted, as is Ford and the other witnesses. But ultimately he sits on the court anyways. A symbol of perseverance in the face of unrelenting false attacks.  

Obviously the President will still be President once this impeachment hearing is over. But was the goal simply to taint the President, as Kavanaugh was tainted? It sure seems that way, and it certainly appears that this is a new political blue print. That accusations no longer need evidence or proof in order for them to appear credible or demand an inquisition. In many ways, this is a much larger and more obvious example of abuse of power, than the one the President is accused (without evidence) of committing.  

I think that is a bad thing... and I think we can look back at the Kavanaugh hearings as the event that set this all in motion. 

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Trump magic!

Let's honor MLK on MLK day!

Trey Gowdy on Lev Parnas

“[S]econd hand information. This is a distraction. This is a person that’s been indicted right now. He’s out on bail. He’s been meeting with the House Intel Committee. If the House felt like this information was pertinent, I would think they would’ve included him… … The President says he doesn’t know who he was.”
This is one of those cases where what he says seems pretty damning, but it's also 100% true. Parnas has not only been indicted, but he has been charged, is awaiting trial, and out on bail. Let's be clear, Parnas is indicted over campaign fraud and will likely be found guilty.

The upcoming trial will have little to do with Trump. Parnas and his partners illegally raised upwards of $325 million dollars from foreign donors for a particular Congressional candidate (thought to be Pete Sessions) and fudged the means in which that money was raised. There is some mention of Parnas and his group looking to gain political influence within Ukraine, but there doesn't appear to be specific charges regarding that.

PARNAS, 47, FRUMAN, 53, CORREIA, 44, all Florida residents, and KUKUSHKIN, 46, a California resident, are each charged with one count of conspiring to violate the ban on foreign donations and contributions in connection with federal and state elections, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. PARNAS and FRUMAN are also each charged with one count of conspiring to make contributions in connection with federal elections in the names of others, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; one count of making false statements, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; and one count of falsifying records to obstruct the administration of a matter within the jurisdiction of the FEC, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Obviously, Parnas is facing upwards of 30 years in prison and would like nothing more than to leverage possible information (or cooperation) to reduce his potential prison time. But does he actually have any real information? Gowdy suspects not. I tend to agree.

San Fran vs K.C.

One of these two QBs will start their legacy!

Two impressive wins by two pretty impressive teams. Mahomes sort of took over his game, whereas Garoppolo  just sort of ran the offense. The thing that sticks out to me is the 49er Defensive front. They dominated all through the playoffs and may just have the speed and talent to contain Mahomes. 

Not exactly a game for the ages, but an interesting matchup non-the-less. 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

From hundreds of thousands to thousands...

Women's March draws thousands, brings 'renewed energy' to start new decade: 'We are not resting'
The chants, signs and energy were on par with the past three years, even if the crowds for Women’s March 2020, held Saturday, Jan. 18, didn’t match the turnout of previous Southern California events.
Organizers had expected less than 10,000 in D.C. for this year's "Women Rising" march — about a tenth of the 100,000 or so who turned out last year on an equally snowy and windy day, and a fraction of the 500,000 who jammed the street in 2017.

So from 500,000 to about 10,000 (if even that), this anti-Trump woman's march has started to tank. Quite literally this the number has dropped by about 98% and reflects a general burn out of people trying to remain constantly triggered.

Or perhaps the fact that Trump didn't start WWIII, destroy the country, or tank the economy. In fact the economy is doing better than just well, women are doing better under Trump, trade deals are getting signed, illegal immigration is down, and even crime is down.

I guess the two percent that are still angry enough to protest Trump's mere existence are just doing so as little more than a matter of spite.

Sunday Funnies