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Saturday, January 05, 2019

Why Pelosi and Schumer should back down NOW

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer should give up now.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: This shutdown is a game of chicken -- one jalopy zooming toward the other. Such a game is always won by the sicko who doesn't mind crashing. Pelosi and Schumer are not sickos; therefore, they cannot win.

Trump, by contrast, feels that he must achieve victory at any cost.
One of these knowledgeable sources told The Daily Beast President Trump kicked off the meeting with a rant lasting roughly 15 minutes that included his $5.6 billion demand for a border wall, and threatened that he was willing to keep the government closed for “years” if that’s what it took to get his wall. He also, unprompted, brought up the Democrats who want him impeached, and even blamed Pelosi for new Democratic congresswoman Rashida Tlaib saying at a party earlier this week that Democrats would impeach the “motherfucker” Trump. (It is unclear why Trump would think Pelosi was responsible for this.)
I'm hardly a member the Language Police, but Tlaib should understand that it works to the benefit of the Democrats if they are seen as the grown-ups.

The more important point is that Trump isn't lying. He really will keep the thing shut down for years. Trump is not like other presidents; other presidents were sane. He doesn't care if the government ceases to function; he doesn't care if democracy itself falls. He's quite willing to crash the car; arguably, crashing the car was the real reason Putin put him in the oval office.

Right now, the polls are against the Wall. But opposition is not overwhelming; it hovers close to the 50 percent mark. People are persuadable on this issue -- and the incessant coverage of the shutdown will give the Trumpers many chances to make their case. I would not be surprised to learn that the polls have already shifted.

Recall the precedent of the Iran-contra scandal. Many liberals thought that the hearings -- in particular, the questioning of Ollie North -- would destroy the credibility of the Reagan administration. The opposite occurred: The nation watched as North spoke at length about the need to arm the contras -- and for the first time, public opinion shifted in favor of American intervention in Central America. The shift didn't last; nevertheless, it was real.

What happened then could happen next week.

The idea of a Trump declaring national emergency should terrify everyone. Once Trump gets a taste of extra-Constitutional power, he'll want more. And more and more. The wall could provide Trump with his excuse to become a full-on tyrant.

Democrats will mount a legal challenge to such a declaration -- but in doing so, they could hobble a potential Democratic president in the future. Why did the Republicans in Congress give FDR what he wanted? In large part, they did so because Roosevelt threatened to declare an emergency and to take on quasi-authoritarian powers. It's the presidential version of the "nuclear option." Granting that option to a Roosevelt means granting it to a Trump. Conversely, denying it to Trump now could mean denying it to a future Roosevelt, who may need emergency powers to deal with a genuine catastrophe.

Better to end this mess now. Nobody wants to see that orange bastard do a victory dance, but that dance won't last long.

By the way: The moment Trump told reporters that previous presidents favored the wall, I knew he was lying. Politico proves the point. But what's the point of proving the point? His followers will always believe only what they want to believe.
The public Barr memo from June, likely requested by Rosenstein, and provably not read by Trump, serves as Exhibit A for invoking the 25th as proof of executive incompetence and incapacity. That is, Barr's memo says obstruction is an impeachable crime, and 'someone' often enough has let Trump know that he's a sunk witch for obstruction and suborning perjury. Trump's only way out is to be removed without penalty, and I'm guessing he's allowing the prerequisites for the 25th to come to pass. The pop media will turn sympathetic as he's lawfully removed, kicking and screaming, a horror show. No impeachment with full benefits. The unpardonable (by a POTUS) state charges from wherever could proceed, but any resolution or disposition of those will be appealed and the clock on Trump will run out because he's a septuagenarian. Or a New York governor will pardon him, maybe also his family members. The expense and deployment of legal and political resources to go through that kind of criminal process would be staggering, and the daily reporting could only benefit the right wing.

For Trump to declare a national emergency and exercise his power two elements must exist: evidence of an emergency and someone who will carry out his orders. If he declares one, like today or tomorrow, the documents needed for the 25th will be sent to Congress within seconds, and Pence will assume office of POTUS temporarily, like tonight or tomorrow.

You can say Trump is too egomaniacal and pathologically narcissistic to allow any of that. Well, he's not like that on the golf course, say, when Tiger or the other great players are with him, or they'd never play with him. So he can behave himself and think, even logically.

The House can then hold hearings about Kavanaugh and impeach the motherfucker.
The key to public opinion is the news media and we know how they work. For those of countries off the turnip truck check the essays of Joe's Balmer neighbor (no, not John Walters) Bob Somerby chronicling the media malfeasance that gave us Bush the Lesser and 9111. It would be one thing if media animosity was driven by hate as is the case of the drunken banished of New York but it's the cold calculus of selling more soap flakes to you. Bashing Democrats so a loose cannon gets elected brings in viewers.
Democrats have a difference of opinion as to when impeachment hearings should start but you would think it the end of the party if you heed the media. If opinion turns in favor of the Wall it will be the media not shaming Senate republicans to do right.
I read somewhere that there are 145 places where "national emergency" is mentioned in the Code. The majority of these instances have to do with giving the President immediate tactical war powers in case we are attacked. In sum, they amount to declaring martial law. If the President tried to do this, I believe the generals would refuse to obey his orders and would stand down. End of story.
I thought the whole point of a republic was that stupid, wasteful, counterproductive ideas -- such as a border wall -- would be subject to some sort of rational evaluation, even if they were momentarily the will of the [uninformed, misguided] masses. The way for the Democrats to prove they are the grownups in the room -- which lately has come to mean 'those who attempt to maintain harmony by always giving in' -- would be finally to refuse to participate in the race to the bottom and actually start acting like grownups.
I disagree Joseph.
Voters voted and elected Democrats to stand up and fight. Just as Trump knows he needs to appease his base all be it with insisting on this rediclous wall, Democrats can not allow their base to feel deflated so early on after the last election.
There are ways that both sides can save face and end the shut down. That would be the preferred outcome.
Politically the US and Britain are on parallel tracks: an apparent impasse without easy resolution but which can't go on forever; threats by Trump and May to employ extraordinary, half-crazy methods; little real leadership in either country.

Former Tory leader and current ERGer Iain Duncan-Smith (IDS) wrote some revealing words in the Daily Mail:

"(...) Project Fear (wielded in defence of "May's Deal") has gone wrong. Crowded out by the drone chaos at Gatwick and illegal migrants arriving in growing numbers, it hasn’t worked."

If there is another referendum, both sides will play the fear card. Nobody has hope for a better future. We don't know how the questions would be phrased on the ballot, but the xenophobes aka raving Brexiteers aka nationalists would be pitted against a blob of Remainers and supporters of "Brexit In Name Only" or "Soft Brexit".

In an ensuing general election, the Labour party could be smashed. First, ask which option their leading figures might have backed in the referendum, given that "reopen negotiations" won't be available. Second, the LibDems are likely to do well: their leaders with only a very few exceptions will all have backed Remain.

Key point: if Deal or Remain win a referendum, freedom of movement CONTINUES, either for the foreseeable future or for a "transition period"; but if "No Deal" wins, freedom of movement STOPS on 29 March, at 11pm.

News stories would include ones about non-white people stabbing white people (as at Manchester's Victoria station on New Year's Eve) and Iranian refugees sailing across the English Channel in dinghies and then being allowed to stay around once they've claimed asylum. (Never mind that Britain has international obligations to assist refugees: Sun and Daily Mail readers don't give a fuck. Nor for "transition period" either.)

The referendum could be held next month. (Any procedure that currently requires a longer wait could easily get repealed in the Referendum Act.) So as news stories show blood at railway stations, on the streets of London, on the shores of southern and eastern England, and in the Channel; and as the navy and possibly also the army and airforce get sent out to stop foreigners arriving (the Tory press has already called for "smugglers' boats" to be seized in Calais - i.e. for military action against France), the "No Deal" side will be able to say with utmost clarity that the only way to put an immediate stop to freedom of movement is to vote "No Deal".

Remainers and Dealers can say "If you're young, wouldn't you like to go to Paris or Prague?" and "Immigrants are welcome here". They will also be able to say "Imagine the congestion at Calais" and I am sure there will already have been some food and medicine shortages by that time. Some who are addicted to prescribed opioid painkillers may have it very hard. But not even these very real problems - not even the army giving out bags of rice and driving fuel lorries to hospitals - will have the emotional power of stories about migrants on the Channel beaches, once Union Jack-waving military force has been deployed and the blood has started flowing. Crowds don't think rationally.

As well as "migrants", the other "fear" that IDS mentions is drones. Or are they drones? Even if they aren't called out as Russian, the time is super-ripe for an explosion of the mass-market irrational: sightings of strange events, either on the earth's surface or in the skies? TV mega-psychics? Who knows what the form could be? But there will be something...
If Trump gets removed from office under the 25th amendment, can't he then be indicted in the normal way and be tried by an ordinary criminal court? No need for impeachment...

But Pence would probably pardon the motherfucker.
Sorry, @Aylmer - you already said that and more...
There's no law or settled Constitutional prohibition that prevents Trump from being indicted TODAY. There's only a DOJ policy statement, dating back to the Watergate era -- and that was cooked up almost after-the-fact as a rationale for "unindicted co-conspirator."

Not saying he should or shouldn't be indicted. Only pointing out a bit of "Fake News" that many journalists keep kicking further down the field, until it seems like established truth.

A similar fake-truth is the one that says we have to be in pitched battle with an enemy before we can even utter the word "treason."
Just Give Trump his wall in exchange for agreeing that Climate Change is real. Bill Clinton didn't back down when the Republicans led by Newt Gingrich shut down the Government. If Trump backs down he will be ridiculed by the Media and Progressives, if he doesn't back down he is vilified by the Progressives. He knows he is in a lose lose situation so he might as well not back down and show an actual backbone.
How many have died because of the shutdown so far? Someone could do a website with a counter.

Trump will address the nation on TV tonight.

Will he go full-on James Forrestal, leading grownups to invoke the 25th amendment and impose an "Ezra Pound" solution on the motherfucker?

Or will he give the sign for the "American people" [*] to "have their day", as millions of far-right lardarses turn off the wrestling, grab their firearms as if they were stressed-out two-year-olds holding on to their penises, and emerge on to the streets imagining they're playing Earl Turner in a video game, encouraged by those among the fascists, libboes and 4channers who enjoy an above-Twitter level of literacy, who can play John Galt?

Trump is psycho, but ask what Steve Bannon and Michael Ledeen want.

(*) Where else but in the US do a single country's brand managers speak of it as if it were a continent? Meanwhile the British monarchy's men speak of the country as if it were identical to the regime they serve.
Sky News are pushing the idea of a government "shutdown" in Britain - blaming it on the nicies (liberals, Remainers, snowflakes, those who would open the gates to the foreign hordes, etc.) of course.

Expect the military to be deployed against another "caravan" heading northwards in Mexico and a "flotilla" sailing north across the English Channel.

The parallel tracking of the US and Britain right now is remarkable. We are way beyond the events in Congress and Parliament regarding Syria in 2013.
I agree.
b, all I can say is that I love the idea of Trump going James Forrestal on national television. Or perhaps the better reference point would be Howard Beale in "Network." The thing is, one could argue that he ALREADY has done this, and his followers refuse to see what's going on.

If Forrestal were alive today, he wouldn't be tucked away in a hospital. He'd be a regular on Alex Jones' show. On Fox. On Breitbart. And then he'd run for president himself.
And Forrestal would win! Sometimes you just gotta laugh...

A few hours ago another drone was supposed to have been sighted over a British airport, this time over London's Heathrow. Flights stopped for about an hour before resuming. Once again, as far as I am aware no footage has been published showing a drone identifiably over the airport and no testimony has been attributed to a named person who claims they saw one.

Any model aircraft enthusiasts who live within 20 miles of the airport should practise dropping what they're holding and shouting "I am not resisting arrest!" The authorities screwed the publicity up after they arrested two innocent people near Gatwick before Christmas and they are unlikely to make exactly the same mistake again.
What a disgrace the gutless leaders of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute are for rescinding their decision to give a human rights award to Angela Davis! Their reason is that she has the guts and anti-racist consistency to support BDS against the racist state of Israel. Some people take their opposition to racism seriously; others don't. Credit to Birmingham City Council for unanimously passing a resolution recognising Davis's life work.
It seems clear that the 5.6 billion would simply be a Trump slush fund. Whether the money would go to Trump's friends or directly to Trump is the real issue. But Democrats can't give in to the bully. Give in now and all leverage is lost. Trump has to be shown that he cannot treat the Democrats the way he would a vendor that he can simply stiff.
Before it gets too ugly, fund it the way he says. And no ifs ands or buts. Just don't build it. And don't he look like Ozymandias?
Is former MI6 boss Richard Dearlove (the agency's director of operations at the time of the Princess Diana assassination) Kremlin property? Because why else is he talking shit like this?

"Former MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove and ex-former chief of the defence staff Lord Guthrie have written to Conservative association chairs claiming the EU withdrawal agreement threatens national security.

In an explosive move which will infuriate the prime minister and her allies, delight Brexiteers and dismay Remainers, they write: "Please ensure that your MP does not vote for this bad agreement."

In their letter, Sir Richard - who was chief of the secret intelligence staff - and Lord Guthrie claim the prime minister's Brexit deal would surrender the UK's forces and intelligence services to EU control.

It was revealed that MI6 knew not to give Boris Johnson any sensitive info when he was foreign secretary. I doubt that was because Johnson was a US citizen. Dearlove should mind how he goes.

From the department of May You Live In Interesting Times: FBI opened an investigation into Trump working for the Russians. Almost as earth shaking is who leaked this to the New York Times?
50% Wall support, does that include California? Because if that 50% Wall Support includes California, then the real numer is actually well over 60% in all the other States, you know, all the racist States. The ones who are honest about limited funds for unlimited people, the "racists".
California Teachers are striking because they can't stand the size of their classrooms. The irony is dripping.
Looks like Trump will get his wall a Federal prison.
Has Donald Trump ever been cross-examined? As soon he even gets near that prospect now, he's finished. He's liable to make up abusive names for the judge and opposing counsel and to commit numerous other contempts of court too. He is nowhere near sane enough to answer questions sufficiently well to avoid condemning himself as the deranged lying criminal thug that he is.
Hillary declared her candidacy yet?
A guest on MSNBC just suggested something interesting I haven't seen elsewhere.

Could Mueller's office have issued their statement on direct orders from the Acting AG? Who of course gets his orders from Trump?

That could explain a couple things.
Stone was arrested! I ran straight here to see what you had to say. Where are you, Joseph?
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