TRUMP IMPEACHED!

November 28, 2019

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Again, while you CAN get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant, I'm not sure Cinder Calhoun approves:


 
Basted in Blood from Goodly guy on Vimeo.

November 26, 2019

My Latest Column At The Pittsburgh Current

It's posted.

It begins thusly:
No, the colony of Pilgrims in what is now Massachusetts was not an example of a failed socialist experiment. I mention that because it’s Thanksgiving week and that means it’s time for that stinky rightwing landfill gas (that the Pilgrims were socialist failures) to burp up into the conversational air that everyone else has to breathe.
When I submitted this, the verb was "blurp up" - onomatopoeially superior to "burp up" if you ask me.

November 24, 2019

A Follow-Up To Yesterday's DEVIN NUNES Post

From The Washington Post:
A high-ranking House Democrat said Saturday it’s “quite likely” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) will face an ethics investigation over allegations that he met with an ex-Ukrainian official to obtain information about former vice president Joe Biden and his son.

Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, appeared on MSNBC where he was asked whether Nunes could face a House inquiry. “Quite likely, without question,” Smith said.

The allegation that Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, met with a former Ukrainian prosecutor last year to discuss the Bidens came from the attorney for Lev Parnas, one of two Soviet-born associates of Rudolph W. Giuliani who were indicted on charges they broke campaign finance law.
So if Nunes is part of the Biden-Ukraine story his committee is actively investigating, he needs to explain to the nation why he didn't say so before OR explain how he isn't part of the story.


November 23, 2019

Representative Devin Nunes Needs To Explain Himself

This past week, during an House Intelligence Committee hearing seen across the country, Rep. Eric Swalwell read this into the record:
Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, helped arrange meetings and calls in Europe for Rep. Devin Nunes in 2018, Parnas’ lawyer Ed MacMahon told The Daily Beast.

Nunes aide Derek Harvey participated in the meetings, the lawyer said, which were arranged to help Nunes’ investigative work. MacMahon didn’t specify what those investigations entailed.
You can see it here.

As for some background, there's also this about Nunes: 
Nunes has been at the center of the broader story about foreign influence in President Donald Trump’s Washington. When congressional investigators began probing Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, Nunes made a late-night visit to the White House and announced the next day he’d found evidence of egregious wrongdoing by Intelligence Community officials. The move appeared to be an effort to corroborate a presidential tweet claiming that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. Nunes then stepped back from the committee’s work scrutinizing Russian efforts. Instead, he ran a parallel probe looking at the origins of Mueller’s Russia probe. The undertaking made him a hero to the president and Sean Hannity, and a bête noire of Democrats and Intelligence Community officials. That work was still underway when he traveled to Europe in 2018.
If you're so inclined, Wired has more on Nunes' private intelligence service here.

CNN has more:
A lawyer for an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani tells CNN that his client is willing to tell Congress about meetings the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee had in Vienna last year with a former Ukrainian prosecutor to discuss digging up dirt on Joe Biden.

The attorney, Joseph A. Bondy, represents Lev Parnas, the recently indicted Soviet-born American who worked with Giuliani to push claims of Democratic corruption in Ukraine. Bondy said that Parnas was told directly by the former Ukrainian official that he met last year in Vienna with Rep. Devin Nunes.

"Mr. Parnas learned from former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Victor Shokin that Nunes had met with Shokin in Vienna last December," said Bondy.

Shokin was ousted from his position in 2016 after pressure from Western leaders, including then-vice president Biden, over concerns that Shokin was not pursuing corruption cases.
So was Devin Nunes part of the story?

He needs to explain to the nation why he was or how he wasn't.

November 20, 2019

Meanwhile, Outside...

From NOAA:
The global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average for October 2019 was the second highest for the month of October in the 140-year NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880. The year-to-date temperature for 2019 was also the second warmest on record for the January–October period.
And:
The October temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.76°F above the 20th century average of 57.1°F and the second highest October temperature on record. This value was only 0.11°F shy of tying the record warm October set in 2015.
And:
The 10 warmest Octobers have all occurred since 2003; however, the five warmest Octobers have all occurred since 2015.
Trump and the GOP may be eroding the democratic foundations of our society but it's still getting warmer out there.

November 19, 2019

I Stand With The PG News Guild

This:

And ICYMI:



(Click on the image if you want to read it in full.)

November 14, 2019

Representative Guy Reschenthaler on The Impeachment Hearings

Yesterday, in response to the first day of the House Impeachment Hearings, Representative Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14) tweeted:
Holy crap, there's a lot to unpack here. Let's take them one-by-one.
  
No quid pro quo in call transcript
Perhaps Guy was looking to give himself some rhetorical wiggle room when he added the "in call transcript" to his tweet. Perhaps since the exact phrase "quid pro quo" is nowhere to be found in the so-called transcript, he thinks he can simply say that there was no quid pro quo in the phone call. The text, however, says otherwise:
President Zelenskyy:...We. are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps. specifically we are almost. ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.

Trump: I would like you to do us a favor though...
If the representative needs an explanation for the "a favor" part, here's Rolling Stone:
Though Trump has repeatedly directed Americans to “READ THE TRANSCRIPT” of his July 25th call with Zelensky, the partial readout of the call released by the White House in September is actually pretty damning. After Zelensky mentions that Ukraine is willing to “cooperate” regarding military aid, Trump says, “I want you to do me a favor though,” before detailing the investigations he wants carried out. The “though” is a pretty explicit indication that the aid in question is contingent upon Ukraine launching the investigations details by the president.
Both leaders said there was no pressure
Well, of course Trump would say there was no pressure. But what about Zelensky? Why would he say that there was no pressure?

Well, what would you do if you were at war with a huge military and dependent on another country's huge military to survive?
Ukraine unaware aid was held
Ukraine took no action to receive aid

Ukraine only learned that the aid had been on hold with the publication of this Politico piece published in August. The aid was released only after the world learned that it was being held. It doesn't change the fact of the extortion.
I'll let another member of the house, Representative Adam Schiff (CA-28) explain:
Some have argued in the President's defense that the aid was ultimately released. That is true. But only after Congress began an investigation; only after the President's lawyers learned of a whistleblower complaint; and only after Members of Congress began asking uncomfortable questions about quid pro quos. A scheme to condition official acts or taxpayer funding to obtain a personal political benefit does not become less odious because it is discovered before it is fully consummated.
Guy needs to do his homework better before he tweets.

November 12, 2019

Hey, Look What I Wrote!!

My latest from The Pittsburgh Current.
[H]ave you ever wondered what the phrase “quid pro quo” actually means? Well, it’s latin and Google translate tells us it means “something for something” while Merriam-Webster goes a bit further, that it’s “something given or received for something else.” Simply speaking, it’s an exchange. I do a favor for you and you do a favor for me. An exchange of something for something else — a quid pro quo.
And to the end, comparing impeachments - Clinton to Trump:
Then, the impeachment cleanse was triggered by a president lying about fellatio. Now, it’s about a different president withholding military aid (already approved by Congress) for another country until that country agreed do him “a favor” regarding a potential political rival of his.
Enjoy!

November 11, 2019

Eat Shit, Bob (Murray)





Make sure you watch till the end.

A Veterans Day (Armistice Day, Kurt Vonnegut's Birthday) Repost -

Happy Birthday, Stanley Tucci, Lee Haney, Demi Moore, and Calista Flockhart.

And of course, a Happy Birthday to Kurt Vonnegut who wrote this:
I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

Armistice Day has become Veterans' Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans' Day is not.

So I will throw Veterans' Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don't want to throw away any sacred things.

What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance.

And all music is.
All music is sacred.

So it goes.

November 1, 2019

RESOLVED - By A Vote Of 232-196

H. Res. 660

In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

October 31, 2019.

Resolved, That the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committees on Financial Services, Foreign Affairs, the Judiciary, Oversight and Reform, and Ways and Means, are directed to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America.

SEC. 2. Open and transparent investigative proceedings by the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

For the purpose of continuing the investigation described in the first section of this resolution, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (referred to in this resolution as the “Permanent Select Committee”) is authorized to conduct proceedings pursuant to this resolution as follows:
(1) The chair of the Permanent Select Committee shall designate an open hearing or hearings pursuant to this section.

(2) Notwithstanding clause 2(j)(2) of rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, upon recognition by the chair for such purpose under this paragraph during any hearing designated pursuant to paragraph (1), the chair and ranking minority member of the Permanent Select Committee shall be permitted to question witnesses for equal specified periods of longer than five minutes, as determined by the chair. The time available for each period of questioning under this paragraph shall be equal for the chair and the ranking minority member. The chair may confer recognition for multiple periods of such questioning, but each period of questioning shall not exceed 90 minutes in the aggregate. Only the chair and ranking minority member, or a Permanent Select Committee employee if yielded to by the chair or ranking minority member, may question witnesses during such periods of questioning. At the conclusion of questioning pursuant to this paragraph, the committee shall proceed with questioning under the five-minute rule pursuant to clause 2(j)(2)(A) of rule XI.

(3) To allow for full evaluation of minority witness requests, the ranking minority member may submit to the chair, in writing, any requests for witness testimony relevant to the investigation described in the first section of this resolution within 72 hours after notice is given for the first hearing designated pursuant to paragraph (1). Any such request shall be accompanied by a detailed written justification of the relevance of the testimony of each requested witness to the investigation described in the first section of this resolution.

(4) (A) The ranking minority member of the Permanent Select Committee is authorized, with the concurrence of the chair, to require, as deemed necessary to the investigation—
(i) by subpoena or otherwise—
(I) the attendance and testimony of any person (including at a taking of a deposition); and

(II) the production of books, records, correspondence, memoranda, papers, and documents; and
(ii) by interrogatory, the furnishing of information.
(B) In the case that the chair declines to concur in a proposed action of the ranking minority member pursuant to subparagraph (A), the ranking minority member shall have the right to refer to the committee for decision the question whether such authority shall be so exercised and the chair shall convene the committee promptly to render that decision, subject to the notice procedures for a committee meeting under clause 2(g)(3)(A) and (B) of rule XI.

(C) Subpoenas and interrogatories so authorized may be signed by the ranking minority member, and may be served by any person designated by the ranking minority member.

(5) The chair is authorized to make publicly available in electronic form the transcripts of depositions conducted by the Permanent Select Committee in furtherance of the investigation described in the first section of this resolution, with appropriate redactions for classified and other sensitive information.

(6) The Permanent Select Committee is directed to issue a report setting forth its findings and any recommendations and appending any information and materials the Permanent Select Committee may deem appropriate with respect to the investigation described in the first section of this resolution. The chair shall transmit such report and appendices, along with any supplemental, minority, additional, or dissenting views filed pursuant to clause 2(l) of rule XI, to the Committee on the Judiciary and make such report publicly available in electronic form, with appropriate redactions to protect classified and other sensitive information. The report required by this paragraph shall be prepared in consultation with the chairs of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Oversight and Reform.
SEC. 3. Transmission of additional materials.

The chair of the Permanent Select Committee or the chair of any other committee having custody of records or other materials relating to the inquiry referenced in the first section of this resolution is authorized, in consultation with the ranking minority member, to transfer such records or materials to the Committee on the Judiciary.

SEC. 4. Impeachment inquiry procedures in the Committee on the Judiciary.

(a) The House authorizes the Committee on the Judiciary to conduct proceedings relating to the impeachment inquiry referenced in the first section of this resolution pursuant to the procedures submitted for printing in the Congressional Record by the chair of the Committee on Rules, including such procedures as to allow for the participation of the President and his counsel.

(b) The Committee on the Judiciary is authorized to promulgate additional procedures as it deems necessary for the fair and efficient conduct of committee hearings held pursuant to this resolution, provided that the additional procedures are not inconsistent with the procedures referenced in subsection (a), the Rules of the Committee, and the Rules of the House.

(c) (1) The ranking minority member of the Committee on the Judiciary is authorized, with the concurrence of the chair of the Committee on the Judiciary, to require, as deemed necessary to the investigation—
(A) by subpoena or otherwise—
(i) the attendance and testimony of any person (including at a taking of a deposition); and

(ii) the production of books, records, correspondence, memoranda, papers, and documents; and
(B) by interrogatory, the furnishing of information.
(2) In the case that the chair declines to concur in a proposed action of the ranking minority member pursuant to paragraph (1), the ranking minority member shall have the right to refer to the committee for decision the question whether such authority shall be so exercised and the chair shall convene the committee promptly to render that decision, subject to the notice procedures for a committee meeting under clause 2(g)(3)(A) and (B) of rule XI.

(3) Subpoenas and interrogatories so authorized may be signed by the ranking minority member, and may be served by any person designated by the ranking minority member.

(d) The Committee on the Judiciary shall report to the House of Representatives such resolutions, articles of impeachment, or other recommendations as it deems proper.