If you really want to learn something about politics and the coming “election,” I suggest you start listening to podcasts. The corporate media is useless. They are intellectually masturbating on top of a pile of verbal garbage waiting to catch fire.
This is a particularly fascinating episode of the Majority Report, where Sam Seder interviews Stuart Stevens who has just come out with a book entitled “It was All a Lie” about the Republican party.
Stevens maintains that the party was not hijacked by Trump, but then goes on to try to defend policies of the Republicans that have been a standard feature of party theory for decades.
Stevens also uses the standard Republican device of oversimplification and magnification of the position of the other side to try to make his points. Example, I don’t think people in this country support open borders. Seder never says this and the Democrats never advocated “open borders.” This is much like the current “abolish the police” characterization of the de-funding movement.
Stevens has written a book called “It was all a Lie” but demonstrates so well in this interview that he hasn’t learned anything. Trump is the extension of Republican policy that has been a part of the party ideology for over half a century.
The Slouch Toward Authoritarianism
Armed federal agents, dressed in combat gear, have been sent into the streets of Portland, Oregon against the wishes of local authorities. These agents display no identifying information and are taking citizens off the streets in unmarked cars to undisclosed locations. The agents are reporting to the Department of Homeland Security.
In a strong stand against such unbridled intervention, the House Appropriations Committee just approved a new Homeland Security Funding Bill.
The Oregon Attorney General has sued over the deployment of the federal agents and asked for a restraining order. The Trump administration is expressing disdain over the objections of local officials and publicity threatened to send more anonymous police into other Demcratic-led cities.
According to an interview on MSNBC (7/20/20) with Ryan Haas, Oregon Public Broadcasting:
- Protestors are sometimes not even near federal property.
- People are being taken in for questioning inside the federal courthouse.
- Charges range from pointing something at federal officers, assault of federal officer, and defacing property.
The administration dismissed warnings of local officials that the actions of the federal agents is making the situation worse. In fact, that is likely exactly what they want. They are being sent into Democratic-run cities, generating conflict and confrontation with protestors, in order to scare the suburbs into thinking that violence is widespread and escalating.
DHS, therefore, has been transformed into a political arm for the Republican candidate.
The use of secret police is common in authoritarian governments, but again, as with all the moves toward authoritarian control in this country, the corporate media fails to sound the alarm and normalizes the activities. While they spend hours and hours talking about Trump’s psychology and dysfunctional family history, they have no commentators talking about the implications of using the federal government as instruments of political power. In addition, CNN, is blurring out the faces of the federal agents so that they can’t be recognized.
In another move common, indeed essential, to authoritarian leaders, Trump is installing loyalists to senior roles at the Pentagon. These toadies are being put in place as “acting” officials, thus skirting a Senate confirmation process. The administration just announced that they are assigning a 33-year-old White House chief technology officer to be the head of the research and engineering for the entire Department of Defense.
The man has a bachelor’s degree in political science and is replacing a man with a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering.
The Trump administration is discussing installing a “Fox News regular” to be the Pentagon’s top policy official.
The assurance of loyalty and the elimination of expertise is essential to establishing authoritarian rule. We have seen this play out during the Trump administration in the State Department, the CDC, and now the Pentagon.
Listen to what Dennis Kucinich has to say about the “soul of the Democratic Party.”
In this podcast by journalist Robert Scheer, Kucinich and Scheer talk about:
-whether the Democratic Party has a soul. Kucinich says he’s not sure that it does anymore
-Clinton, as a public official, supporting interventionism and regime change.
-the Clinton administration opening the country up for Wall Street and turning its back on the policies of the New Deal.
-the fact that foreign policy needs to be part of every discussion of domestic programs. We cannot support adequate domestic programs when we are funding endless wars.
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.
I am at impeachment battle stations this morning, surrounded by cats. One of them is already snoring. I miss my little Burmese who died recently. He had watched 21 years of CSPAN and news shows and was a kitty genius. He appreciated and would have schooled the other cats on the historical significance of this event.
Jonathan Turley will read a statement this morning which is longer than the statements of any of the other lawyers appearing. He will finish with a hilarious (I’m not serious) narrative about how even his dog is angry, but we don’t need to rush into impeachment. Isn’t that just so cute?
Turley used to be a principled analyst and commentator. Then he was hired by the Republicans to destroy the ACA. Jonathan Turley fought AGAINST providing health insurance for low income people. This is the kind of scum he became after the Republicans bought him off.
Turley will say that there is no “statutory crime” here. But, the Constitution doesn’t require a statutory crime to impeach. That’s just how shameless Turley has become in terms of advancing nonsense as legal reasoning.
Brian Williams (why does he still have a job) is telling us that it is understandable that nobody will read the House Intelligence Committee Report because it’s 300 pages. Is he talking about himself? I read 300 pages regularly and know other people who do. The mediocrity that fills the corporate news is just so tiresome.
House Intelligence Committee Report
The House Intelligence Committee has released their preliminary impeachment report.
Included are phone records that document phone calls between Giuliani and OMB, made from the White House. This makes it impossible to maintain the fiction that Giuliani was conducting a “rogue operation.”
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz told The Miami Herald on Wednesday that he does not believe investigating the outcome of pedophile multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s case is a wise move, saying it would set a “dangerous” precedent of second-guessing prosecutorial decisions.” The Intellectualist.
If you don’t know just how outrageous this plea deal was, you need to do some reading. The plea deal immunized not only Epstein, but anyone associated with him, unnamed.
Seth Abramson pointed out on Twitter that the Trump/Ukraine story is far worse than the Democrats are presenting. They are conducting a concerted attempt to dumb down the impeachment inquiry to the most elementary story hoping that then, people will understand it.
Abramson writes: “It’s much worse than we’ve been told.”
Trump, Pompeo, Giuliani, Nunes, Solomon, Parnas, Lutsenko and Fruman, Abramson notes began their plotting much earlier than is being considered. (Note: Schiff referred to this in his statement today after the report was released).
The plotting began at a time when the participants didn’t know if Mueller would take down Trump. It started when Trump learned he was being investigated over Russia.
Trump, Abramson argues, believed that Mueller would take him down. The push towards Ukraine was a defense to allegations he knew were being made against the Kremlin, which he believed were going to be connected to him via Manafort.
This was not a plot against Biden. Biden was just the icing on the cake.
“This was a plot to exculpate Trump, Putin and the man who connected them: Manafort. It was a plot to end sanctions and pave the way for Trump deals in Russia.”
The key events started before anyone knew that Biden was going to run for president.
Duncan Hunter and Sentencing
Duncan Hunter is going to be allowed to plead guilty to corruption charges he vehemently denied for years. Hunter claimed the charges against him were politically motivated and a (sign) “witch hunt.” He refused to admit his wrongdoing, publicly claimed that he was being persecuted and still holds his position in the congress, but he is being allowed to plead guilty to one charge. Even though he has been charged with multiple crimes, and potentially faces five years in prison, the reporting is that he will most probably get a little over a year.
There is no functioning criminal justice system for white collar, corporate and state criminals in this country. That’s why Trump and Manafort and others like them were running around free to engage in political campaigns. This must stop or we will have no democracy left.
The Corporate Media
At this extremely serious time, Nicolle Wallace has Donnie Deutsch on her show as a member of the panel. Deutsch is a “marketing expert.” This, folks, is where we are as a country, and where the corporate media is.
- The President Forced Out the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine …………………………………….38
- The President Put Giuliani and the Three Amigos in Charge of Ukraine Issues …………51
- The President Froze Military Assistance to Ukraine ……………………………………………….67
- The President’s Meeting with the Ukrainian President Was Conditioned on An
Announcement of Investigations ………………………………………………………………………….83
- The President Asked the Ukrainian President to Interfere in the 2020 U.S. Election by
Investigating the Bidens and 2016 Election Interference …………………………………………98
- The President Wanted Ukraine to Announce the Investigations Publicly ………………..114
- The President’s Conditioning of Military Assistance and a White House Meeting on
Announcement of Investigations Raised Alarm ……………………………………………………126
The President’s Scheme Was Exposed