This documentary details the effects of the Chernobyl disaster locally. Unsafe nuclear reactors still operate. Tourists called “stalkers” pay money to be sneaked into the most unsafe areas for a thrill. Some people from small villages have moved back to contaminated areas. There has been a rise in tourism to this area because of the HBO series.
Morning Impeachment Thoughts
- I am obviously not a member of congress. Nor am I an expert on Congressional rules, but I think this impeachment debate is a terrible showing for the Democrats.
- The Republicans are giving impassioned speeches. Democrats are reading scripted statements. I really don’t know what they are thinking.
- Every event in this impeachment is a public hearing, an opportunity to sway people and explain why Trump should be impeached. All three major cable news networks are carrying this live and the Democrats can’t even show up. The chamber is largely empty. What kind of message does that send? What are they doing? What is more important than doing everything you can possibly do to carry the nation along in this process?
- I know this will not be a popular sentiment, but I don’t even think Jerry Nadler should have left yesterday’s rules debate. I don’t think any family emergency is more important than the future of the country. Raskin is not good at debate. He is diffident, defensive, pleading. We need a fighter, someone who relishes fighting for the rule of law and justice.
- Oh God, now Chris Matthews is arguing that nobody is watching this impeachment hearing. That is certainly not true at our house. I have watched every minute of it and have probably written 700 pages of notes since the whistleblower came forward.
- Back to the Democrats being feckless. Most of the Democratic representatives cannot even read a prepared statement and make it sound like they mean it. Where is the passion? Where is the moral outrage? Where is the anger that Donald Trump and the Republicans have brought us here? This tactic of claiming “sadness” over impeachment is truly terrible. We are not sad to be impeaching Trump. We are furious, indignant, fist pounding morally outraged.
- Speaking to a Republican talking point, it doesn’t make any difference if every Democrat in the country is Jack the Ripper and wanted to impeach Trump since before he was elected, Donald Trump extorted an announcement designed to smear a political enemy with tax payer money. End of story. The motivations of the Democrats are irrelevant. WHY DOESN’T SOMEBODY F…ING SAY THAT?
- What this morning’s performance demonstrates to me is that most people are in Congress because they can raise money. They are certainly not there because they are good at public speaking. They are not there because they are capable of expressing moral outrage on the behalf of the people. In fact, I am wondering if any of them actually believe in anything.
- If they truly believe in the Constitution and the rule of law, they don’t sound like it. Either they are incapable of feeling a genuine emotion or they are incapable of expressing one.
- In any case, we can and should do better than this.
Chickenshit Club Notes:
- In 2002, James Comey was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Manhattan. When giving a speech to the criminal division, Comey asked the audience: “Who here has never had an acquittal or a hung jury?” People proudly raised their hands. Comey looked out over the assembled and said: “You are members of what we like to call the Chickenshit Club.”
- Comey was talking about the tendency for attorneys to go after easy targets that provide celebratory newspaper headlines rather than bringing cases that would right the biggest injustices. He was talking about the incentives that existed (and still exist and should be resisted) for prosecutors to advance their careers through wins, not fights.
- As Eisinger writes: Prosecutors should “…be righteous, not careerist….Victory in the courtroom should be a secondary concern, meaning that government lawyers should neither seek to win at all costs nor duck a valid case out of fear of losing. Federal prosecutors should not be judged on their trial record, whether they are criticized, or what the political consequences might be of their prosecutions.”
- Sadly, the very thing that Comey was criticizing, became standard practice in the SDNY and also in the Justice Department itself.
- Eisinger’s book is about how we wound up with a prosecutorial system that makes it standard practice to settle out of court white collar, corporate and political crimes. It is about how white shoe law firms, corporations and big money interests pressured the legal system so that it now works for their benefit not for the benefit of the society at large.
- This book is essential reading. It provides the context in which to understand many of the recent failures of the system to hold high level people accountable.
- If we had a functioning justice system for high level offenders, people like Manafort, Stone, Trump would all be in jail rather than involved in running a country.
Van Drew and the Trough
Five aides to Rep. Jeff Van Drew, the only Democrat to come out against impeachment, have resigned. Van Drew announced that he will not vote for impeachment.
In a letter of resignation the staff members told the Chief of Staff: “Van Drew’s decision to join the ranks of the Republican Party led by Donald Trump does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office.” “Over the past year, Trump Republicans have sided with special interests over the needs of working people,” they said. “Worse, they continue to aid and abet Trump as he shreds the Constitution and tears the country apart. They have refused to grapple with how the President of the United States has jeopardized our national security for his own political advantage.” “Van Drew’s decision to join the ranks of the Republican Party led by Donald Trump does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office.”
It should be a serious subject for discussion just how craven men and women will become to hold onto a position in Congress. One only has to think of the enormous increase in the personal wealth of Mitch McConnell to understand just how much money these man and women expect to make from their positions of public service.
As I used to tell my students when I taught Criminology – they don’t come to public office and become corrupted, they go into public service because they are corrupted and plan to become more so.
The Republicans Cannot be Shamed
I have a little clue for CNN and MSNBC. Both cable news networks have shown clips of Lindsay Graham asking members of Congress to wait and weigh the evidence before deciding on impeachment when Clinton was the object. They then show video of Graham proudly proclaiming that he is not an objective juror in the Trump impeachment.
Trying to point out the hypocrisy of Lindsay Graham, Mitch McConnell or any other Republican is a waste of time. THEY DON’T CARE.
The Republican party is trying to install a one-party religious state in this country. They are fighting what to them is a holy war against the rest of us and against democracy. They cannot be shamed or embarrassed. They cannot be reasoned with because they are trying to colonize reason and use it for themselves and their own power.
Appeasers like Joe Biden, Cory Booker and Buttigieg are our worst enemies. They encourage people to believe that when Trump is gone (if he ever is) things will return to “normal.” But “normal” is what got us Trump. The Bill Barr’s, the Mitch McConnell’s, the Jim Jordan’s, will still be there. The Fellowship Foundation will still be there.
Those who don’t see the fight and won’t engage in it, must get out of the way and be left behind.