Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Dahlia Lithwick: Two Small Articles of Impeachment Are Pathetic but Necessary

Democrats have taken one lesson from Mueller—don’t give Republicans too much to lie about.

Following the announcement of the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning, progressives raced to formalize their positions in the monthslong battle over whether it was best to go broad or narrow in laying out the case against Donald Trump. Richard Hasen makes the case for the narrow focus here. Fred Kaplan disagrees. Jamelle Bouie says the two articles are not enough. Kim Wehle says they’re plenty. Laurence Tribe insists it’s a false choice. The cases center, in various directions, on thoughtful, careful analysis of what the evidence shows; what the proper scope of Trump’s wrongdoing should be; what moderate Democrats in the House would tolerate; and the breakneck timetable House Democrats have set for themselves. There is also the distinct possibility that House Democrats made the decision to limit themselves to two articles because of the regretful realization that Americans, who wouldn’t read the 448-page Mueller report or the 300-page intelligence committee report on the Trump-Ukraine inquiry, might just read the 8½ pages that represent the articles of impeachment.

I would venture that perhaps there is an even simpler reason for the two, spare articles. I think that the narrow nature of the impeachment charges speaks to the disinformation effort Democrats rightly expected to have to counter and their hope not to engage in a fight about multiple realities across multiple issues over a lengthy time period. In other words, my guess is that in the wake of the White House efforts to distort and confuse the outcome of the Mueller report by lying about it (efforts that were largely successful; it’s still referred to, falsely, as a “hoax” by the GOP), Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, and Nancy Pelosi made the reasonable decision to engage as little as possible with Republican lying. It is not simply that the impeachment managers have to sell a clean, coherent story, both to the public and in the Senate trial; it’s also that they need to avoid as many entanglements with fantasies and distractions as possible. Going narrow helps with that.

Paul Krugman: The Party That Ruined the Planet

Republican climate denial is even scarier than Trumpism.

The most terrifying aspect of the U.S. political drama isn’t the revelation that the president has abused his power for personal gain. If you didn’t see that coming from the day Donald Trump was elected, you weren’t paying attention.

No, the real revelation has been the utter depravity of the Republican Party. Essentially every elected or appointed official in that party has chosen to defend Trump by buying into crazy, debunked conspiracy theories. That is, one of America’s two major parties is beyond redemption; given that, it’s hard to see how democracy can long endure, even if Trump is defeated.

However, the scariest reporting I’ve seen recently has been about science, not politics. A new federal report finds that climate change in the Arctic is accelerating, matching what used to be considered worst-case scenarios. And there are indications that arctic warming may be turning into a self-reinforcing spiral, as the thawing tundra itself releases vast quantities of greenhouse gases.

Catastrophic sea-level rise, heat waves that make major population centers uninhabitable, and more are now looking more likely than not, and sooner rather than later.

But the terrifying political news and the terrifying climate news are closely related.

Caroline Fredrickson: Donald Trump Wanted Another Roy Cohn. He Got Bill Barr.

Even better.

President Trump famously asked, “Where’s my Roy Cohn?” Demanding a stand-in for his old personal lawyer and fixer, Mr. Trump has actually gotten something better with Bill Barr: a lawyer who like Cohn stops seemingly at nothing in his service to Mr. Trump and conveniently sits atop the nation’s Justice Department.

Mr. Barr has acted more like a henchman than the leader of an agency charged with exercising independent judgment. The disturbing message that sends does not end at our borders — it extends to countries, like those in the former East Bloc, struggling to overcome an illiberal turn in the direction of autocracy.

When Mr. Trump sought to have President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine announce an investigation of his political opponent, he likely expected a positive response. After all, politicized prosecutions had been part of Ukraine’s corrupt political culture for years.

On Monday, when Michael Horowitz, inspector general for the Justice Department, released a report that affirmed the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election was justified, Mr. Barr immediately turned on his own agency in defense of the president.

Kurt Bardella: House Republicans’ Trump impeachment strategy is simple: Distract, deceive and yell

GOP lawmakers have treated the hearings like Fox New segments, delivering loud, rambling monologues in a deliberate attempt to wear down participants and viewers.

If there’s one thing we’ve seen consistently from Republicans during the past few weeks of congressional impeachment hearings, it’s yelling.

The articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump have been drafted and the process is now moving steadily towards a vote in the House. But GOP lawmakers, especially GOP men, aren’t going down quietly. Perhaps Democratic Coalition’s Jon Cooper put it best when he tweeted Monday, “Why is Doug Collins always yelling?” CNBC’s Christina Wilkie pointed out a similar phenomenon, noting that Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz was “yelling about whether the rules of the hearing are, in fact, the rules of the hearing.”

Indeed, in observing my former House GOP comrades over the many days of contentious House hearings, I am reminded of a scene from the classic Will Ferrell comedy “Anchorman,” where the famed (and fictional) Channel 4 News team angrily confronts its news director over the hiring of a female reporter. In the scene, several of the male journalists take turns yelling their opposition to the addition. Steve Carell’s character, Brick Tamland, isn’t really smart enough to have a critique but wishing to be included, he screams, “I don’t know what we’re yelling about!”

That pretty much sums up Republicans’ defense of their current leader. If they yell loud enough and long enough, what they say about the circumstances of this impeachment inquiry will become truth. Their calculation is that by yelling about anything and everything, the American people will either be convinced or at the very least so annoyed they’ll stop watching. To the GOP, yelling seems to be both a demonstration of strength and a deliberate effort to wear down Democrats and any other Americans who care enough to tune in.

Geoffrey Kabaservice: Republicans are turning impeachment into a carnival – and it could cost them

These antics may work as a short-term strategy. But they’ll go down poorly with voters the Republican party really needs

House Democrats announced this week that they would bring two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, making him only the fourth president in US history to face such charges. Democratic leaders characterized the occasion as solemn, somber and sad. Republicans, on the other hand, dismissed the impeachment inquiry as a circus and a sham despite the fact that they are themselves the ones trying to reduce it to carnivalesque farce. Even a motion to take a 15-minute bathroom break during this week’s judiciary committee hearings provoked hysterical Republican objections.

The Republican strategy, clearly, is to undermine and delegitimize the impeachment inquiry. Republicans are portraying the inquiry as a hoax and an attempted coup by Democrats desperate to reverse the results of the 2016 election, unrelated to any actual presidential wrongdoing. The White House’s refusal to cooperate with Congress by sending legal representation to the impeachment hearings was explained by Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway as resistance to “colluding with an illegitimate process”.

Why are Republicans taking this approach? Largely because they have no other choice, given the considerable weight of evidence that the president did in fact abuse his power and obstruct Congress, as charged in the impeachment articles.[..]

Republicans appear locked into their strategy of trying to dismiss impeachment as a partisan sham, despite the likelihood that this will make it harder to win back college-educated suburban swing voters. In hindsight, Republicans may come to feel that this play for short-term political advantage came at too high a cost.v

Lunch with a Boor

This didn’t happen to me personally, it’s kind of third hand because I know people who know people and I have no reason to doubt the person who related this story or the original source.

It goes something like this.

The Lady in question was temporarily displaced from the Plaza Hotel which I mention not to impress but because the point that she can afford to live in the Plaza is relevant, and had taken up residence at 721 down the street. In her estimation and the words of the proprietor, it was a dump.

I mean, he thought it was perfect but he has very poor taste.

Demonstrated when he plopped himself next to her in the dining room and invited himself to lunch so he could pitch his current con after which she politely, in a Nero Wolfe kind of way, told him that she never discusses business at the table and he should call her people (meaning for the unsubtle- go away and never bother me again).

It wasn’t so much the pitch, the details are immaterial, it was the experience. Not just creepy in that Hillary debate kind of way (pro tip- don’t loom over women, stalk them, or touch them unexpectedly and without invitation) but disgusting in the “Ewww” kind of way that comes from watching someone consume a lump of coal inches from diamondhood in a sea of ketchup.

In my life I’ve been fortunate to find better friends than I deserve (my family thinks I’m a blot on the escutcheon and I feel forced to agree). My Therapist insists they must see some redeeming quality beyond my self assessment and we spend our time in session looking for it (so far without success, but therapy is not a cure- it’s a living).

At least I’m not this guy.

The Breakfast Club (Pillar Of State)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

U.S. forces capture Iraq’s ousted dictator Saddam Hussein; Authorities in communist Poland impose martial law; Union forces suffer defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia; Actor Dick Van Dyke is born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

In our country the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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The Abuser’s Argument

I have some experience of Domestic Violence in my family and know a lot of other people who have been involved in that situation which makes a lot of sense, it’s kind of pervasive and the more aware you are the more you see, even in some interactions considered “normal”.

Two words- Mika Brzezinski. Joe Scarborough is a horrible human being and you should never forget that even if he agrees with you.

It is disturbung if understandable that victims accept the argument that they have brought it on themselves because in the largest sense it’s true, you make life choices and they have effects.

But that doesn’t excuse the Abuser’s evil.

Nikki Haley reveals how Republicans will absolve themselves of Trump
By Paul Waldman, Washington Post
12/12/19

But in this case she’s arguing that if conservatives take the most despicable positions, like supporting racist symbology, the fault is only that of liberals and not conservatives themselves. Haley excuses them, saying that only “a small number of hardened white-supremacist racists” share Dylann Roof’s “sick and twisted view of the flag.”

In fact, white supremacists, Roof included, have a perfectly accurate view of what the Confederate flag represents, one they share with most every liberal: that it’s a symbol of hate and oppression. They just think that’s a reason to fly it, not a reason to take it down.

But now Haley argues that her fellow Republicans, with their benevolent and warm-hearted view of the Confederate flag, are so sensitive that criticism from liberals will cause them to embrace positions they shouldn’t. This is something we’ve been hearing since the beginning of the Trump presidency, echoed in the words of every domestic abuser: Look what you made us do.

We didn’t want to line up behind someone as corrupt and immoral as Trump, but what choice did liberals give us? They were so mean, we just had to. They called us racists, so we had to become racist. They called us extremists, so we had to become extremist.

“This is how you got Trump,” conservatives said every time some liberal excess emerged. We Republicans would much rather have made a less repugnant politician our champion, but once Hillary Clinton said half of Trump’s supporters were deplorable, it hurt our feelings so much that the rest of us just had to become deplorable, too.

Yes, we supported ripping children from their parents’ arms and putting them in cages. We said it’s fine if the president gives White House jobs to his family members and directs taxpayer money to his own bank account. We defended him for pressuring a foreign government to help his reelection campaign. We nodded along at his bigotry, his misogyny, his hate-mongering, his corruption, his dishonesty, his contempt for basic human decency. But it’s not our fault.

The issue of the Confederate flag in South Carolina may be settled. But make no mistake, Haley is arguing about the future, not the past. Hers is the template for how Republicans will excuse and explain away all their actions during the Trump years.

Whenever they’re called to account for their role in enabling everything Trump has done and the way their party has been so thoroughly fashioned in his image, they’ll insist that they bear no moral responsibility for what they became and what they abetted. Don’t let them get away with it.

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Charles M. Blow: Impeachment in the House Is the Victory

Donald Trump and his supporters need to know that you can be punished for your actions.

It is hard for me to be out in public or on social media without being peppered with questions by people with strained faces about whether there is any chance that the Senate will vote to convict Donald Trump if the House of Representatives impeaches him.

I have to constantly remind people that impeachment in the House is the victory. The Senate is a lost cause, and has been on this issue since Trump rose to office.

The Senate has considered articles of impeachment against two other presidents and refused to convict and remove both times. This time is not likely to be any different. In that sense, impeachment by the House is the strongest rebuke America has ever been willing to give a president.

Trump deserves at least that. [..]

History will not only record Trump as a corrupt, tyrannical demagogue, it will also record his staggering success: How one man with no political experience hijacked a major American political party and its tens of millions of loyalists.

It is as extraordinary as it is horrifying.

Jared Bernstein: Trump’s China Trade War Is Failing. Democrats Should Campaign Against It.

The presidential candidates need to stop demurring and fully reject Trump’s approach.

When it comes to trade policy with China, the Democratic presidential candidates face a conundrum. They don’t want to sign onto President Trump’s endless, chaotic, pain-over-gain trade war, yet they don’t want to appear weak or appeasing of China’s trade practices.

Most of the candidates have rightly called out China for its human rights abuses, and they should continue to do so. But none have clearly and cleanly made rejecting Trump’s trade war a “Day 1” commitment. They need to stop demurring and fully reject Trump’s failing approach. The way to compete with China on trade is neither sweeping tariffs nor the administration’s futile insistence that China change its fundamental economic model. It’s to enhance our own international competitiveness and provide real help to the people and places left behind by globalization.

Max Boot: The Do Something Democrats show they can legislate even while they impeach

Of all the nonsensical impeachment defenses coming from the Republican Party, one of the silliest has to be the constantly repeated refrain that holding President Trump to account for his “high crimes and misdemeanors” is a distraction from the really important issues confronting America. As Trump tweeted on Nov. 24, “Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, AOC and the rest of the Democrats are not getting important legislation done, hence, the Do Nothing Democrats. USMCA, National Defense Authorization Act, Gun Safety, Prescription Drug Prices, & Infrastructure are dead in the water because of the Dems!”

Personally, I can think of nothing more important for Congress to be doing than defending the Constitution by showing that no one — not even the president — is above the law. But Congress has also shown that it can walk and chew gum at the same time. [..]

On issue after issue — whether gun violence, immigration, the deficit, income inequality, election security, health coverage, drug prices or global warming — Trump is part of the problem, not the solution. The only way to make progress in addressing our most serious challenges is to remove him from office. So anyone who is worried about getting things done in Congress should be cheering, not jeering, impeachment.

Tim Wu: How Professors Help Rip Off Students

Textbooks are too expensive.

As the semester ends, instructors at universities and community colleges around the country will begin placing their orders for next year’s textbooks. But not all professors will pay enough attention to something that students complain about: the outlandish prices of the books we assign. Having grown at many times the rate of inflation, the cost of a leading economics book can be over $250; a law school casebook plus supplement can cost $277. Adding to such prices is the dubious trend of requiring students to obtain digital access codes, averaging $100, to complete homework assignments.

Professors love tough questions. Here’s one we need ask ourselves: Are we helping rip off our students?

A good instructor wants to use the best materials, and some of the expensive textbooks are excellent and arguably worth the price. But some really aren’t, especially when there are cheaper or free alternatives of equal quality out there. Basic ethics suggest we have a duty to look for cheaper options before we inflict the $200 or $300 books or the $100 access codes on our students. Professors who write successful textbooks need to think harder about the professional ethics of allowing a book to be sold at exploitative prices to young people.

Jim Hightower: ‘Tax the Rich’ Is No Longer Just a Political Slogan

It’s a national necessity and a moral imperative. And, at long last, it’s actually within our reach.

There’s nothing inevitable about inequality. It’s an injustice that the moneyed powers and their political hirelings have chosen. We the People can choose a brighter path, one that bends toward justice, starting with a wealth tax such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan to apply a 2% per annum wealth tax only to net worth over $50 million and another 1% to households worth more than a billion bucks.

But how can we best the billionaires who buy the political clout to push through laws that the great majority opposes (such as 2017’s Donald Trump-Mitch McConnell trillion-dollar tax giveaway to the rich) and best their brawny political blockers? Not by going around them but by pushing right through them.

First, years of rank avarice and arrogance have caught up with the superrich and their enablers, turning “billionaire” into a synonym for “thief” and focusing rising public anger on the inequality they’ve fostered.

Second, that anger has generated a stunning level of popular enthusiasm for the wealth tax.

I don’t give a stitch if I don’t get rich

C’mon guys, Rogers and Hart.

I am never, ever going to watch Cats: The Movie

Athens of America

Red Carpet

Plantation Wedding

I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair.

No Joke

The crime is soliciting personal benefit for Government (or Institutional in the fiduciary sense) action. He’s admitted his guilt in public.

Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?

Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio

Public Domain

Condoleezza Rice

More Disney

Golddiggers

The Breakfast Club (Collective Goal)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

A divided U.S. Supreme Court halts the presidential recount in Florida, effectively making Republican George W. Bush the winner.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

It’s the individual effort of everybody working together towards a collective goal that causes real, effective change in America and in the world.

David Hogg

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Perseverance Porn

Hey, Google has monetized Cody. Not to be an influencer mind you, that would be so CB/Beta Basic.

Good deeds never go unpunished.

Not to be mistaken for a Cartnoon despite the time and tag.

Remember, I am sponsored by a Patron like Mozart (or Salieri) so my Art is on public display because of benevolence and magnaminity. No, I really mean it, I am rarely constrained and then with a frown but you know, I go all Banksey every once in a while because better to apologize than ask permission.

My point is that is if you feel charitable this holiday season we accept content, other contributions unnecessary. I urge you instead to consider the welfare of others, and yourself.

Oh, and “Bah. Humbug.” Not only would I tape a banana to a wall, I would eat it.

I’m a Nutmegger after all.

The Breakfast Club (Where The Wind Blows)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Britain’s King Edward steps down; Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy declare war on the United States; UNICEF organization launches; ‘Magnum PI’ makes television debut

Breakfast Tunes

Marie “Roxette” Fredriksson 30 May 1958 – 9 December 2019

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Democracy relies on free speech. Yes, say anything you want, but it relies even more on the speech being truthful. It is the truth, after all, that sets us free.

John F. Kerry

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Proposed Articles of Impeachment

First of all, only the 2. I am very afraid that the cowardly Institutional Democrats are simply conceeding defeat, cravenly content with a mere symbolic token of resistance to the criminal treason of this regime. Were there Justice not only the Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio and his stooge Pence, but his henchmen Mukasey, Barr, Pompeo, and Perry, as well as the rest of his Organizaton of Republican Racketeers need indeterminate reservations at the United States Penitentiary Florence Administrative Maximum Facility and by that I mean life in solitary without parole and I hope and pray it’s a long, long, long one because I’m not sure there’s enough time between now and the Heat Death of the Universe (about 14 Billion years give or take) for sufficient punishment.

I don’t mention repentence because they never will. They’re shameless and should be locked up for the safety of others and our nation.

Secondly, the text is lifted from WaPo’s annotated. I could duplicate the links but it’s a lot of work so I’m not going to because I’m lazy.

Resolved, That Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:

Articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, against Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against him for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Article I: Abuse of Power

The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” and that the President “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” In his conduct of the office of President of the United States — and in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, Donald J. Trump has abused the powers of the Presidency, in that:

Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election. He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage. President Trump also sought to pressure the Government of Ukraine to take these steps by conditioning official United States Government acts of significant value to Ukraine on its public announcement of the investigations. President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit. In so doing, President Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process. He thus ignored and injured the interests of the Nation.

President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct through the following means:

  1. President Trump — acting both directly and through his agents within and outside the United States Government — corruptly solicited the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into:
    1. a political opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.; and
    2. a discredited theory promoted by Russia alleging that Ukraine — rather than Russia — interfered in the 2016 United States Presidential election.
  2. With the same corrupt motives, President Trump — acting both directly and through his agents within and outside the United States Government, conditioned two official acts on the public announcements that he had requested —
    1. the release of $391 million of United States taxpayer funds that Congress had appropriated on a bipartisan basis for the purpose of providing vital military and security assistance to Ukraine to oppose Russian aggression and which President Trump had ordered suspended; and
    2. a head of state meeting at the White House, which the President of Ukraine sought to demonstrate continued United States support for the Government of Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.
  3. Faced with the public revelation of his actions, President Trump ultimately released the military and security assistance to the Government of Ukraine, but has persisted in openly and corruptly urging and soliciting Ukraine to undertake investigations for his personal political benefit.

These actions were consistent with President Trump’s previous invitations of foreign interference in United States elections.

In all of this, President Trump abused the powers of the Presidency by ignoring and injuring national security and other vital national interests to obtain an improper personal political benefit. He has also betrayed the Nation by abusing his high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections.

Wherefore President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.

Article II: Obstruction of Congress

The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” and that the President “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” In his conduct of the office of President of the United States — and in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed Donald J. Trump has directed the unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives pursuant to its “sole Power of Impeachment”. President Trump has abused the powers of the Presidency in a manner offensive to, and subversive of, the Constitution, in that:

The House of Representatives has engaged in an impeachment inquiry focused on President Trump’s corrupt solicitation of the Government of Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 United States Presidential election. As part of this impeachment inquiry, the Committees undertaking the investigation served subpoenas seeking documents and testimony deemed vital to the inquiry from various Executive Branch agencies and offices, and current and former officials.

In response, without lawful cause or excuse, President Trump directed Executive Branch agencies, offices, and officials not to comply with those subpoenas, President Trump thus interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, and assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the “sole Power of Impeachment” vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.

President Trump abused the powers of his high office 2 through the following means:

  1. Directing the White House to defy a lawful subpoena by withholding the production of documents sought therein by the Committees.
  2. Directing other Executive Branch agencies and offices to defy lawful subpoenas and withhold the production of documents and records from the Committees — in response to which the Department of State, Office of Management and Budget, Department of Energy, and Department of Defense refused to produce a single document or record.
  3. Directing current and former Executive Branch officials not to cooperate with the Committees — in response to which nine Administration officials defied subpoenas for testimony, namely John Michael “Mick” Mulvaney, Robert B. Blair, John A. Eisenberg, Michael Ellis, Preston Wells Griffith, Russell T. Vought, Michael Duffey, Brian McCormack, and T. Ulrich Brechbuhl. These actions were consistent with President Trump’s previous efforts to undermine United States Government investigations into foreign interference in United States elections.

Through these actions, President Trump sought to arrogate to himself the right to determine the propriety, scope, and nature of an impeachment inquiry into his own conduct, as well as the unilateral prerogative to deny any and all information to the House of Representatives in the exercise of its “sole Power of Impeachment”. In the history of the Republic, no President has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate “high Crimes and Misdemeanors”. This abuse of office served to cover up the President’s own repeated misconduct and to seize and control the power of impeachment — and thus to nullify a vital constitutional safeguard vested solely in the House of Representatives.

In all of this, President Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law, President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.

Not a catalog. Barely a digest of the most recent developments (only been 139 days since the July 25th phone call to Zelensky).

Should things proceed as I foresee, after consigning Republicans and Republicanism to the ash heap of History, we need to police our own. Democrats are cowards.

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Jesse Wegman: With Trump, All Roads Lead to Moscow

Monday’s congressional hearing and the inspector general’s report tell a similar story.

When it comes to Donald Trump and Russia, everything is connected.

That’s the most important lesson from the two big events that played out Monday on Capitol Hill — the House Judiciary Committee’s hearings on President Trump’s impeachment and the release of the report on the origins of the F.B.I.’s investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

One of these involved the 2016 election. The other involves the 2020 election. Both tell versions of the same story: Mr. Trump depends on, and welcomes, Russian interference to help him win the presidency. That was bad enough when he did it in 2016, openly calling for Russia to hack into his opponent’s emails — which Russians tried to do that same day. But he was only a candidate then. Now that Mr. Trump is president, he is wielding the immense powers of his office to achieve the same end. [..]

These are serious and in some cases alarming missteps and would be a concern in any case, let alone in one targeting people closely associated with a presidential campaign. But don’t be lulled into thinking Republicans care about surveillance overreach — just as they don’t care about Hillary Clinton’s emails or Joe Biden’s son. They’re simply casting about for anything that will protect their president from the scrutiny that he has invited upon himself since long before he was elected.

Amanda Marcotte: Impeachment: Republicans have no defense for Trump — just tribal hatred of Democrats

During the “opening arguments” hearing, Republicans stick to conspiracy theories and claims that Trump is a victim

Republicans have nothing: That is the only reasonable conclusion one can draw after Monday’s impeachment hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. It’s clear that Donald Trump is guilty of running an extortion scheme against Ukraine in order to gin up false accusations against his potential 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. The evidence, which has been laid out in a series of hearings and in a 300-page document released last week, is voluminous and crystal-clear.

There is no substantive defense of Trump in the face of this overwhelming evidence. Instead, Republicans are betting that Trump’s base voters hate Democrats so much that they will keep on supporting Trump, no matter what crimes he commits, in order to stick it to the Democrats. It’s not necessarily a bad bet. [..]

For this reason alone, I’m beginning to be glad that Democrats want to wind this up quickly. The Republican lies are exhausting — arguably they’re meant to be exhausting to people of good faith, because exhausted voters often stop voting altogether. Limiting the amount of air time handed over to Republicans to spin their lies is starting to feel like a mercy.

William Saletan: It’s Not About Corruption. It’s About Revenge.

The GOP’s new explanation of why Trump extorted Ukraine.

Why did President Donald Trump—against the wishes of his State Department, his Defense Department, and his congressional allies—withhold military aid and a White House meeting from Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine? For weeks, Republicans said the reason was corruption. Trump cared deeply about fighting corruption, they explained, and he blocked the aid until he was sure that Zelensky would clean up Ukraine.

Unfortunately, that explanation doesn’t fit any of the facts. So Republicans have developed an alternative theory: Trump blocked the meeting and the aid because he thought Ukraine was out to get him. He did it for revenge.

The revenge theory starts with a May 23 meeting at the White House. A delegation of Trump appointees and a Republican senator, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, had just returned from Ukraine. They told Trump that Zelensky, who had just been inaugurated, was launching an unprecedented campaign against corruption. If Trump had cared about corruption, the delegation’s report would have moved him. It didn’t. He fixated instead on the idea that Ukraine was out to get him.

Robert Reich: Trump is the natural consequence of our anti-democracy decade

The president knows how the system works: the rich give money and get what they want in return. His defeat is imperative

We’re coming to the end of what might be called the anti-democracy decade. It began on 21 January 2010 with the supreme court’s shameful decision in Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission, opening the floodgates to big money in politics with the absurd claim that the first amendment protects corporate speech.

t ends with Donald Trump in the White House, filling his administration with corporate shills and inviting foreign powers to interfere in American elections. [..]

t doesn’t have to be this way. Even if Citizens United isn’t reversed by the supreme court or defanged by a constitutional amendment, a principled Congress and decent president could still rescue our democracy.

House Democrats have begun with their For the People Act, the first legislation they introduced when they gained a majority. It expands voting rights, limits partisan gerrymandering, strengthens ethics rules and limits the influence of private donor money by providing $6 of public financing for every $1 of small donations, up to $200, raised by participating candidates.

On the other hand, a second Trump term could make the anti-democracy decade a mere prelude to the wholesale destruction of American democracy.

Paul Krugman: Donald Trump Is Bad for the Jews

There are things more important than your tax rate.

On Saturday Donald Trump gave a speech to the Israeli American Council in which he asserted that many in his audience were “not nice people at all,” but that “you have to vote for me” because Democrats would raise their taxes.

Was he peddling an anti-Semitic stereotype, portraying Jews as money-grubbing types who care only about their wealth? Of course he was. You might possibly make excuses for his remarks if they were an isolated instance, but in fact Trump has done this sort of thing many times, for example asserting in 2015 that Jews weren’t supporting him because he wasn’t accepting their money and “you want to control your politicians.”

Well, it’s not news that Trump’s bigotry isn’t restricted to blacks and immigrants. What is interesting, however, is that this particular anti-Semitic cliché — that Jews are greedy, and that their political behavior is especially driven by their financial interests — is empirically dead wrong. In fact, American Jews are much more liberal than you might expect given their economic situation. [..]

But it takes, well, chutzpah, a truly striking level of contempt for your audience, to foment hatred-laced identity politics, then turn to members of minority groups and say, in effect, “Ignore the bigotry and look at the taxes you’re saving!”

And some of the audience deserves that contempt. As I said, people are pretty much the same whatever their background. There are wealthy Jews who are sufficiently shortsighted, ignorant or arrogant enough to imagine that they can continue to prosper under a white nationalist government.

But most of my ethnic group, I believe, understands that Trump is bad for the Jews, whatever tax bracket we happen to be in.

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