What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 31, 2019

Franklin and Marshall Poll Data On Impeachment

I'm not sure you caught this in today's Tribune-Review.

It's poll data produced by Franklin & Marshall College.

Here's the money shot:
More than half (57%) of registered voters in the state support an impeachment inquiry, with nearly half (47%) expressing “strong support” for the inquiry. Supporters of the inquiry believe the President has broken the law (36%), has participated in a corrupt or criminal act, or that the inquiry is needed to uphold the Constitution (14%). One in seven (16%) supports the inquiry because they want to discover the truth. On the other hand, nearly two in five (37%) registered voters “strongly opposes” the inquiry. These opponents believe the inquiry is partisan politics (28%), fake news or anti-Trump propaganda (17%), a waste of resources (12%), or that the President did nothing wrong. Few Republicans (21%) or conservatives (18%) support impeachment, while almost all Democrats (84%) and liberals (97%) do. At the moment, majorities of independents (61%) and moderates (67%) support impeachment.
The next paragraph is interesting in itself:
Notably, only one in five (21%) registered voters in the state believes it is acceptable for a president to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political opponent, although Republicans and conservatives are most likely to believe it is acceptable.
Elsewhere in the report, we learn that 71% think it's unacceptable for a president to ask such a thing.

There's also another question that asks:
What, if anything, do you think should be done about the president requesting this political help from a foreign leader?
52% said impeachment.

Granted this is poll data and poll numbers always change but this is a picture of what Pennsylvanians think in late October, 2019.

October 26, 2019

Meanwhile, Outside...

Even while the orange vulgarity in the Oval Office is eroding the foundations of our democratic republic, the warming continues.

From the scientists at NOAA:
The global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average for September 2019 tied with 2015 as the highest for the month of September in the 140-year NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880. The year-to-date temperature for 2019 was the second warmest January–September on record.
And:
The 10 warmest Septembers have all occurred since 2005, with the last five years (2015–2019) being the five warmest Septembers on record.
Of course, the vulgarity's administration, seemingly, just wants to watch the world burn.

From Time:
The Trump administration on Wednesday sued to try to block California from engaging in international efforts against climate change, charging that the state exceeded its constitutional authority by joining with a Canadian province in a program to cut climate-damaging fossil fuel emissions.

The suit, filed in federal court in California, is the latest Trump administration push to stymie state efforts aimed at contesting the administration’s rollbacks of environmental and climate protections. California says it’s being punished for its advocacy.
Here's another question for the Trump-supporting conservatives: Whatever happened to State's Rights?

Doesn't matter. The world is still warming up.

October 24, 2019

LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP!

From The Washington Post:

Republicans’ defense of President Trump grew more frantic and disjointed Wednesday, with House members storming a closed-door meeting, delaying the testimony of an impeachment witness as the GOP grappled with a growing abuse-of-power scandal centered on the president.
And a few paragraphs later:
“I led over 30 of my colleagues into the SCIF where Adam Schiff is holding secret impeachment depositions,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said Wednesday morning on Twitter, referring to the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility. “Still inside — more details to come.”
That's the part that's trouble. From Manu Raju of CNN:
This is a serious breach of security. Now that the last in a long line of investigations into the nearly empty charge of Clinton's emails has ended with "no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information," now can we see an investigation into this breach of national security by the republicans?

There were a couple dozen house republicans who gained unauthorized access to the SCIF. I have a few questions:
  • Who exactly were those house republicans? We only have a few names.
  • How many had unauthorized cell phones?  
  • How and when will the unauthorized (both with cell phones and without) be punished? 
These questions must be answered.

Now.

LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP!

October 20, 2019

But Her Emails...

Read the report of the State Department investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

It ends with this sentence:
There was no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information.
How many times did Trump (and his MAGA-cultists) screech about her emails? How many times did they scream to "lock her up!"?

How many times have we since been told, in effect, that there is no there there?

Instead we have this tweeting from The White House.


Mark Esper estas la Sekretario pri Defendo. Trump akiris sian nomon malĝusta. Trump estas malklera rasisto, kiu probable finos mortigi nin ĉiujn.

October 18, 2019

How Is This NOT A Violation Of The Emoluments Clause? UPDATED

Now class, let's all refresh our memories as to what the emoluments clause is.

It's from Article I, Section 9 of the US Constitution:
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
And what's happened to violate this clause?

This:
President Trump has decided to host the Group of 7 meeting next June at the Trump National Doral near Miami, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s acting chief of staff, said Thursday, a decision that prompted immediate questions about whether it was a conflict of interest for him to choose one of his own properties for a diplomatic event.
And then there's this from Andrew Napolitano:
The network's legal analyst reacted Thursday after the White House announced the 2020 meeting of world leaders would be held at the president's Doral golf resort, calling this a violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which prohibits the president from accepting "any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."

After quoting from this clause, Napolitano noted its purpose is to "keep the president of the United States of America from profiting off of foreign money," and so Trump holding the summit at his private resort is "about as direct and profound a violation of the emoluments clause as one could create."

The White House has claimed the resort was simply the best venue for the event and that Trump will not profit from it. Napolitano, however, dismissed this defense.

"The president owns shares of stock in a corporation that is one of the owners of this, along with many other investors," Napolitano said. "He also owns shares of stock in the corporation that manages it. Those corporations will receive a great deal of money from foreign heads of state because this is there. That's exactly what the emoluments clause was written to prohibit."
How is this NOT a violation?

Trump wimps out:
President Trump announced abruptly Saturday night that he would no longer host next year’s Group of Seven summit at the Trump National Doral Miami resort in Florida, bowing to criticism for having selected his own property as the venue for a major diplomatic event.
But you'll note from the text:
I thought I was doing something very good for our Country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 Leaders. It is big, grand, on hundreds of acres, next to MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, has tremendous ballrooms & meeting rooms, and each delegation would have . . . its own 50 to 70 unit building. Would set up better than other alternatives. I announced that I would be willing to do it at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA. But, as usual, the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners went CRAZY!
And:
Therefore, based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility, we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G-7 in 2020. We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately. Thank you!
He still doesn't see it as a violation of the Constitution.

October 15, 2019

My Latest Column In The Pittsburgh Current

Read it here.

And excerpt:
For this column, I was originally planning on looking at the 2017 Trump tax cuts, specifically how some members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation described and defended them over the past few years. I was planning on contrasting those statements with how the Congressional Research Service analyzed those tax cuts. I was planning on showing how the GOP descriptions of those cuts were wrong, wrong, wrong.

But then the news of Donald Trump’s phone calls to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hit the news and the idea of fact-checking a mere multi-billion dollar tax cut that skewed wealthy seemed rather quaint compared to a sitting President of the United States actively corroding the foundations of the republic for his own political gain.
Enjoy.

My HUNDRED AND THIRTIETH (And Last) Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter (my last) to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

When will you be upholding your oath to The Constitution and and by that I mean when will you be putting your country above your party and holding the man you voted for for president accountable for his actions?

That's the only question that really matters these days.

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

October 14, 2019

Message For A Monday Morning

From CNN:
A retired four-star Marine general on Sunday bluntly criticized President Donald Trump over the ongoing Turkish military offensive in northern Syria, saying, "There is blood on Trump's hands for abandoning our Kurdish allies."
And from Fox:

Meanwhile:
Donald Trump paid a Oct. 12 visit to Trump National Golf Club, Washington, D.C. in Potomac Falls, Va., representing the 236th time the 45th President has visited one of his 17 golf clubs (and, for most of them, presumably played some golf) since becoming President on Jan. 20, 2017. He has now paid 238 visits to any golf course as President.

Trump arrived at approximately noon Eastern, as Trump continues to receive bipartisan criticism for his decision to remove American troops that had been assisting and protecting Kurds in Syria. The withdrawal, favored by dictators in Turkey and Russia, signaled a willingness to let those countries' troops attack and kill in an effort to take over the territory.
There is blood on Trump's hands.

October 11, 2019

George Will On Congressional Republicans

From The Washington Post:
Trump’s gross and comprehensive incompetence now increasingly impinges upon the core presidential responsibility. This should, but will not, cause congressional Republicans to value their own and their institution’s dignity and exercise its powers more vigorously than they profess fealty to Trump. He has issued a categorical refusal to supply witnesses and documents pertinent to the House investigation of whether he committed an impeachable offense regarding Ukraine. This refusal, which is analogous to an invocation of the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, justifies an inference of guilt. Worse, this refusal attacks our constitutional regime. So, the refusal is itself an impeachable offense.
While there are certainly many many other positions of Will's that people can rightfully dispute (marriage equality, climate science), he is at the very least a thoughtful conservative - even if he gets some really important stuff really really wrong.

He's right about Trump.

And then there's Representative Guy Reschenthaler:
I'll give the floor back to Will:
Trump is not just aggressively but lawlessly exercising the interests of his place, counting on Congress, after decades of lassitude regarding its interests, being an ineffective combatant. Trump’s argument, injected into him by subordinates who understand that absurdity is his vocation, is essentially that the Constitution’s impeachment provisions are unconstitutional.
And:
In 13 months, all congressional Republicans who have not defended Congress by exercising “the constitutional rights of the place” should be defeated. If congressional Republicans continue their genuflections at Trump’s altar, the appropriate 2020 outcome will be a Republican thrashing so severe — losing the House, the Senate and the electoral votes of, say, Georgia, Arizona, North Carolina and even Texas — that even this party of slow-learning careerists might notice the hazards of tethering their careers to a downward-spiraling scofflaw.
Thus spake the conservative, equality- and science- denying George F. Will.

October 10, 2019

Sure, Be Nice To George W. Bush

I'm sure we've all seen this:
A few things (among others) to remember:
  • The Torture:
  • In a memoir due out Tuesday, Bush makes clear that he personally approved the use of that coercive technique against alleged Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Sheik Mohammed, an admission the human rights experts say could one day have legal consequences for him.

    In his book, titled "Decision Points," Bush recounts being asked by the CIA whether it could proceed with waterboarding Mohammed, who Bush said was suspected of knowing about still-pending terrorist plots against the United States. Bush writes that his reply was "Damn right" and states that he would make the same decision again to save lives, according to a someone close to Bush who has read the book.

  • Iraq War:
  • As of Wednesday, Sept. 29, at least 4,424 members of the U.S. military had died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
Torture is a war crime and those 4400 US Servicemen and women died for Bush's lie.

But yea, it's real important to be nice to him at a football game.

We'll all be better off for it.

October 8, 2019

My HUNDRED AND TWENTY-NINTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

Impeachment inquiries are back in the news.

We all know the details. He asked a foreign country (Ukraine) for "a favor" and that favor was help regarding his own political future. He admitted to it. He's on tape hoping yet another country (China) will do him that same favor.

You've said that the call to Ukraine was inappropriate but not impeachable. So let me ask, at what point would this become impeachable? How much more of the Constitution will he have to ignore for you to stop supporting him?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

October 4, 2019

Judge Andrew Napolitano From FOX NEWS, On Donald Trump

Take a look.

Some highlights:
Has Trump committed any impeachable offenses?

A CIA agent formerly assigned to the White House – and presently referred to as the "whistleblower" – reported a July 25, 2019 telephone conversation that Trump had with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. That conversation manifested both criminal and impeachable behavior.
And then, after describing the nature of the military aid promised to Ukraine, Napolitano goes on:
It is easy to see why all of the senior members of the Trump administration involved in security – all of them – advised the president to release the military hardware, which was ready to be shipped, and the foreign aid, which Congress had appropriated.

Trump rejected that advice. Instead, in the Zelensky phone call, he told the Ukrainian president that he needed a personal "favor." The clear unmistakable inference is that the $391 million in aid would be held up until the favor was delivered. The favor he sought was dirt on Biden.
And so far, the bulk of the GOP in The Congress - representing all those gun-toting, freedom-loving, Constitution and/or bible-quoting patriots - have been silent.

October 2, 2019

Hey, Look What I Wrote!

From The Pittsburgh Current:
What the P-G’s board doesn’t seem to understand that impeachment is part of the process. It’s a correction when all else has gone bad. And they have gone bad, haven’t they?
Go read the rest, it's pretty good.

My HUNDRED AND TWENTY-EIGHTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

This week, Donald Trump accused Adam Schiff, a sitting member of Congress who heads the House Intelligence Committee of committing treason and called for his arrest. As you know, Schiff's committee is investigating Trump for his dealings with Ukraine.

So far, as far as I can tell, you've been silent on the President's threat.

Can I ask why?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up: