Showing posts with label robert mueller. Show all posts
Showing posts with label robert mueller. Show all posts

Saturday, June 01, 2019

A Bad Scenario For Trump

If the trade war not only continues but escalates mindlessly to the point Huawei is further strangled, and China decides to put into play the rare earth minerals card which is a serious blow to the US high tech industry, and of course Mexico, which did not pay for Trump's wall, will not cave in to his latest threat, and already the US Chamber Of Commerce is suing Trump for the stupidity, and the stock market goes down 10% in one day, and America is officially in recession and Americans are losing jobs left and right while paying about 20% more for everything they buy, in that scenario Trump's approval rating could go down to the 35% zone. That is when he will lose support in the US Senate. It happened during the government shutdown. He ended that shutdown. He might also end the trade war. But trade is not an on-off switch.

In that 35% approval rating zone, there might be enough support for his impeachment and the House might finally go for it. In the meantime, the House is already building a case by investigations of Trump. Pelosi is passing the buck to the people. She things investigations will wear down Trump's support whereas immediate impeachment proceedings will rally Trump's base around him.

Trump could be impeached by the summer of 2020. Pence takes the seat, runs and is easily beat.

Of course, this is not painless for China. It is not painless for Mexico. But Trump really has not left much wiggle room for them. The Chinese economy, of course, will also get hurt.

Maybe it is the other way around. It is not that the trade war will drive down the US economy and Trump's popularity and then it will be the right time to impeach. He should be impeached so the worst of the trade war is not heaped on the ordinary American.

Besides, what is Pelosi investigating? Mueller already did that. And he is a professional.

Americans' support for impeaching Donald Trump rises The poll also found that 32 percent agreed that Congress treated the Mueller report fairly, while 47 percent disagreed..... The number of Americans who said President Donald Trump should be impeached rose 5 percentage points to 45 percent since mid-April ...... House Speaker Nancy Pelosi re-emphasized that the leaders of the investigative committees in the Democratic-controlled House were taking a step-by-step approach. ........ “This is very methodical, it’s very Constitution-based,” Pelosi said. "We won’t go any faster than the facts take us, or any slower than the facts take us.” ...... House Democrats are pursuing multiple inquiries into Trump's presidency, his family and his business interests. ..... Trump is stonewalling at least a half-dozen such inquiries, refusing to disclose his tax returns, invoking executive privilege to keep the unredacted Mueller report under wraps and filing unprecedented lawsuits to block House investigators. ...... “It’s becoming a circus over there” in Washington

The end of Nixon’s presidency proves Pelosi is wrong to wait on impeachment a progressive Republican congressman from Wisconsin, William Steiger. The press, he complained, “is always looking for a political or self-serving motive for our votes.” Reporters were not paying enough attention to the conscience of individual congressmen, as they approached a historic vote. ...... “This is an occasion when party loyalty demands too much,” the elder Hogan said. “To base this decision on politics would not only violate my conscience but it would be a breach of my oath to uphold the Constitution. Those who oppose impeachment say it would weaken the presidency. In my view, if we do not impeach this president after all he has done, we would be weakening the presidency even more.”..... Three days later, five more of the 17 Republican members of the Judiciary Committee followed Hogan to vote for the first of the articles of impeachment, alleging that Nixon obstructed justice in the the Watergate cover-up...... history forgets the other 11 Republicans of the committee who marched slavishly to the party line ...... Three other Republicans, Sen. Barry Goldwater, Sen. Hugh Scott and House Minority Leader John Rhodes, were critical in persuading a wavering Nixon not to drag the country through an impeachment trial in the Senate. They went to the White House on what would become the day before the president’s resignation not to demand that Nixon leave office, but simply to “assess” with him his bleak situation.......

What happened in Washington in the summer of 1974 is a template for what could and perhaps should happen in the summer of 2019.

..... Hogan and his like-minded colleagues did not step forward at the outset of the impeachment process, but only at the very end, when historic votes loomed, votes that would force upon them the most profound personal consideration about what they valued and what they stood for..... Yet today’s House leader, Nancy Pelosi, and her group are demanding that Republicans step forward now, at a preliminary stage in judging President Trump, as a condition of proceeding with impeachment. No formal process should even be initiated, she says, without significant Republican buy-in. This position is untenable...... The investigate, investigate, investigate strategy lets both Republicans and Democrats off the hook. The point of oversight should be to come to conclusions about presidential misconduct, and then do something about it. Only specific articles of impeachment allow for that. Voting, in public, with history in the balance, concentrates the mind and the conscience; investigations alone do not....... Waiting for weeks and even months for the courts to deliberate and decide questions of obstruction and abuse of power ensures that impeachment will die by October. In the fall, the nation will be turning its attention to the 2020 election with the Iowa caucuses only a few months away...... Impeachment hearings must get underway before the August recess of Congress. After that, forget about it. Trump will have won. No collusion, no obstruction will be the mantra of the land by fiat.

Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. He’s worse Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report makes one thing clear: Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. He is worse. And yet Trump seems almost sure to be spared Nixon’s fate. This will do severe — possibly irreparable — damage to the vital norms that sustain American democracy....... Then came Trump. After smashing through dozens of other deeply rooted norms of American politics to win the presidency, he treated the post-Watergate consensus with similar contempt. ...... “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion” on behalf of Donald Trump. The FBI and Mueller set out to discover whether Trump’s campaign was complicit, and Trump took extraordinary measures to thwart their efforts. Nixon’s obstruction of the Watergate investigation looks almost innocent by comparison. ..... In the hyperpolarized political environment of the early 21st century, the president is a law unto himself.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

In The News (4)

Why is Kamala Harris running for president? Joe Biden is offering a return to normalcy. Elizabeth Warren aims to bring big corporations to heel and prop up the working class. Bernie Sanders wants a political revolution. ...... She’s pitching herself as the kitchen-table realist of the field ..... Harris’ plans include big raises for public school teachers, a proposal to pay women equally to men and a tax plan that calls for a $500 monthly credit for families earning less than $100,000 a year. ..... Harris is calling for direct payments to families to ease their paycheck-to-paycheck burdens........ Nearly half of American families are one unexpected $400 expense away from financial distress, she often says, and in 99 percent of the counties in America, a minimum-wage worker can’t afford market rate price of a one-bedroom apartment. ....... But if she makes it far enough, Trump is certain to yoke Harris to "Medicare for All" and the "Green New Deal," no matter how she talks about them...... Trump, who is trying to paint all Democrats as radicals and socialists. ..... Harris’ plans call for spending $315 billion over 10 years to boost teacher salaries, which amounts to a raise of $13,500 for the average teacher, a 23 percent increase in base pay. ...... Another plan would mandate that companies prove they aren’t discriminating against women and would fine corporations that don’t close their pay gaps between women and men. ..... She also has promised to take unilateral action on sweeping gun control measures that have stalled in Congress. ....... Harris said she also plans to release criminal justice reform and immigration proposals.

As trade war heats up, China threatens clampdown on "rare earths" Rare earths are a group of 17 elements used in everything from mobile phone cameras and automobile catalytic converters to wind turbines and MRI machines....... China dominates the global supply of rare earths and accounted for almost 80% of exports to the U.S. last year. ...... rare earths are ubiquitous in modern life, and their use is likely to spread as technology advances. ...... One rare earth element, lanthanum, makes up as much as 50 percent of digital camera lenses, including cell phone cameras. ....... One reason China is the global leader -- it's been pulling rare earths out of the ground for a long time. The country spent a century perfecting the refining method for extracting and refining rare earths in large enough quantities to keep costs manageable. ....... JJ Kinahan, chief marketing strategist at TD Ameritrade, said China's threat to use rare earths as a weapon against the U.S. is worrisome. "What it shows to me is that there is a little bit of a worsening relationship here," he said. "They went pretty deep in the bag to throw out something that would hurt." ...... China's goal is to paint the U.S. as a "lawless actor" that disrupts economic growth ...... China blocked some rare-earth exports to Japan after a maritime dispute in 2010. That led some countries to search for alternatives -- and a protest by Japan with the WTO, which ruled in 2014 that the restrictions on rare-earth exports were illegal.

‘Don’t say we didn’t warn you’: A phrase from China signals the trade war could get even worse The phrase “Don’t say we didn’t warn you” has been used by the People’s Daily in 1962 before China’s border war with India and ahead of the 1979 China-Vietnam War. ...... China threatened it would cut off rare earth minerals as a countermeasure in the escalated trade battle. The materials are crucial to the production of iPhones, electric vehicles and advanced precision weapons ...... The S&P 500 has lost nearly 6% this month.

Survivors Of Sexual Abuse By Nuns Want Greater Visibility For Their Claims Now in her late 60s, Cahill has struggled with PTSD and addiction to drugs and alcohol for decades, both fueled by having been sexually exploited as a minor......."To say, 'I was sexually abused by a nun' without immediately the cloud of, 'You're a sinner, this was a lesbian relationship, you tempted her...I'm not living in shame any longer," she said.

Escalating Iran crisis looks a lot like the path US took to Iraq war half of all Americans believe the U.S. will go to war with Iran "within the next few years" ..... Is Iran doomed to be an Iraq redux? This is just one of the questions raised by a crisis that has eerie parallels to the missteps that led to the Iraq War in 2003, where the buildup to conflict was precipitated by faulty intelligence and confrontational foreign policymakers such as John Bolton in President George W. Bush's administration. ....... In an opinion article in The Guardian in 2013, Bolton wrote: "Overthrowing Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003 achieved important American strategic objectives. Our broad international coalition accomplished its military mission with low casualties and great speed, sending an unmistakable signal of power and determination throughout the Middle East and around the world. Despite all the criticism of what happened after Saddam's defeat, these facts are indisputable." ...... Meanwhile, with the failed outcome of the 2003 Iraq War still plain to see, Bolton started ramping up his outspoken criticism of Iran's Islamic Republic. In 2009, as President Barack Obama's administration entered into what would turn out to be almost five years of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, Bolton said: "Ultimately, the only thing that will stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons is regime change in Tehran." As the deal entered its final stages, Bolton advocated in a New York Times opinion piece that the U.S. join forces with Israel: "Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed. Such action should be combined with vigorous American support for Iran's opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran," he wrote. The articled was headlined: "To Stop Iran's Bomb, Bomb Iran."....... Bolton calls Iran "the central banker of international terrorism" and accuses Tehran of pursuing nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them and of "tyrannizing its own people and terrorizing the world." The video ends with a direct threat to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader: "I don’t think you’ll have many more anniversaries to enjoy," Bolton says. ..... Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Bolton said Wednesday that there had been a previously unknown attempt to attack the Saudi oil port of Yanbu as well. "Who else would you think is doing it? Somebody from Nepal?" .......... As for Trump's position on Iran, nobody seems to know the president's mind, not even, perhaps, the president.

Space internet maybe end of year, says SpaceX This new batch of satellite-driven internet systems, if they work and are eventually switched on, could provide broadband to most places, including previously internet-barren locations, such as rural areas. That would be good for high-bandwidth, low-latency remote-internet of things (IoT) and increasingly important edge-server connections for verticals like oil and gas and maritime. Data could even end up getting stored in compliance-friendly outer space, too. Leaky ground-based connections, also, perhaps a thing of the past........ Laser technical progress, where data is sent in open, free space, rather than via a restrictive, land-based cable or via traditional radio paths, is partly behind this space-internet rush. “Bits travel faster in free space than in glass-fiber cable,” LeoSat explained last year. Additionally, improving microprocessor tech is also part of the mix...... Global penetration of the “populated world” could be obtained after 24 launches, it thinks.

Why astronomers are worried that SpaceX’s satellite network will pollute the night sky The satellites, strung out like a line of glowing army ants, shone brightly as they moved along their orbit around Earth, clearly visible to the naked eye. Now, many in the astronomy community are concerned that this mega constellation might be too bright, and the sheer number of satellites that SpaceX wants to launch could muck up their telescope observations of the Universe. ...... Satellites can be seen for a few hours around dusk and dawn when they catch the light from the Sun as the sky dims, but they won’t reflect light for many hours of the night whenever they are in the shadow of the Earth. However, in higher latitudes during the summer, satellites can be seen throughout the evening. ...... at a latitude of 52 degrees north (about where London is located), there will be 84 Starlink satellites above the horizon at all times. ...... “So what something like Starlink will do, it’ll shut off some of those frequencies from the possibility of study.” Lonsdale also argues that there is a possibility that there will be some level of transmission that spills outside the intended frequency bands....... it’s unusual to have not consulted on this kind of impact.”

Mueller Drops A Bomb

I think this leaves no room for Congress to not take this matter up. Mueller basically said, I have done all the homework, but it is beyond my jurisdiction to take the next step. Impeachment proceedings will begin. Will the Senate follow through on what the House might do? It depends on how the House conducts its business. If the House makes a clear case not just to Congress, but to the people at large, and sways public opinion, the Senate might follow the lead. If more than 60% of the American public ask for impeachment, it might happen.

If the House impeaches, but the Senate, on partisan lines, does not follow, what happens politically? Does that weaken or strengthen the president? I think that depends on how strong the public support for impeachment is. If it is in the above 60% range, and the Senate still does not follow through, the Republicans might lose the Senate in 2020.

Trump counts on his base to stay with him. How big is that base? And how firm? If during the impeachment noise it is still a 49.9-50.1 nation, then the whole thing might even strengthen Trump. That would defy logic. Mueller has made it absolutely clear that Russia did interfere. It was concerted, it was relentless, state actors were involved.

As for collusion, Trump said very publicly in 2016: "Russia, are you listening!" If he had said the same thing to the Russian ambassador in a private meeting, that would have been collusion, but if he says it publicly for all world to hear then that is not collusion? Does not make sense.

There is a whole another debate about the US track record of having interfered in other countries' elections over the decades. There have been cases of sabotaging elected governments who were deemed to be against US national interests. But that is a separate topic.

Or Trump could resign. That is a distinct possibility. The good thing about resigning would be Pence would pardon him.

This constitutional crisis is much bigger than anything going on with China, or Iran.

Mueller said, it's not on me, it's not on Congress. Nancy Pelosi is saying, it is not on Congress, it is on the American people.

Trump responds to Mueller, calls him 'a true never Trumper' "The whole thing is a scam. It's a giant presidential harassment," Trump said. "Russia did not help me get elected. You know who got me elected? I got me elected. Russia didn’t help me at all,” Trump said, adding that, if anything, Russia helped “the other side” get elected.

Trump attacks Mueller as a 'true never-Trumper' after admitting for first time that Russia helped elect him Responding to Trump's earlier tweet, George Conway, a conservative attorney, frequent Trump critic and husband of top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, made note of Trump "finally" admitting that Russia sought to boost his candidacy........ "Well, that’s what the investigation was about," Conway wrote. "The investigation found plenty of evidence that Russia did just that. It thus wasn’t a 'Witch Hunt' or 'Hoax.' So why did you repeatedly try to obstruct it?" ....... the special counsel detailed Russia's extensive efforts to boost Trump's candidacy and harm 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton through social media campaigns and by targeted email hacking and releases....... Trump also said he believed the special counsel was "certainly conflicted" because of a "business dispute" the president claimed he had with Mueller.

Trump blasts Mueller as 'highly conflicted,' calls impeachment a 'dirty, filthy, disgusting word' The president, in his tweet, also seemed to acknowledge that Russia helped him "get elected" through their interference in the 2016 election, though said he "had nothing to do" with it. Mueller said Wednesday "there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election," but said there was "insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy" involving the Trump campaign....... Later Thursday morning, Trump, departing the White House, repeated his criticism that the special counsel was "totally conflicted," and claimed that Mueller, who served as FBI director under the Bush and Obama administrations, wanted to be tapped to lead the bureau again during the Trump administration........ "He wanted to be FBI director," Trump said. "Mueller should have never been chosen--he wanted the FBI job and didn't get it and then was picked as special counsel."...... Mueller stated that: “The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse the president of wrongdoing.”...... But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., under pressure from her party, still seems cool to the idea...... “We want to do what’s right and what gets results,” Pelosi said Wednesday. “We’re legislating, we’re investigating and we’re litigating.” ...... But House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., whose committee would lead any potential impeachment proceedings, said: “all options are on the table.”

'Start Here': Mueller finally speaks as calls to impeach Trump get louder

Mueller Counted on Institutions to Grapple With His Report. They Didn’t. Neither Congress nor the press did enough to tell the American people what they needed to know. ........ the statements definitively showed Attorney General William Barr’s previous comments on the matter to have been misleading. ........ The fact that this material is being treated as new when it has been available for weeks is indicative of a vast failure on the part of American institutions, which have not adequately grappled with the information conveyed in the Mueller report or presented it to the public with sufficient clarity. ........ Mueller described a “concerted attack on our political system” by the Russian government and emphasized the existence of “multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election.” He reiterated that his office had not exonerated the president. He also said that “it is important that the office’s written work”—that is, the Mueller report—“speak for itself.” ....... Some publications reported uncritically on the president’s claims of “Complete and Total EXONERATION,” though Barr’s letter stated that Mueller had not exonerated Trump. The New York Times and The Washington Post both said a “cloud” had been lifted from over the White House. ...... Mueller’s tone was that of a teacher telling his students once again that they would know the answer if only they had done the reading....... If the attorney general had chosen to release Mueller’s summaries instead of choosing to protect the president by writing his own, perhaps Mueller’s message might have been easier for the public to understand and for the press to report. ...... And then there is Congress—perhaps the main target of Mueller’s entreaty to please just read the report. ....... Two notable exceptions here are Democratic Senator (and presidential candidate) Elizabeth Warren and Republican Representative Justin Amash—both of whom have made a point of reading the entire report and publicly discussing their conclusions. Both support impeachment.

The Wisest Remedy Is Not Impeachment Over to you, Nancy Pelosi. ..... Impeachment at this point is all but certain to end in Trump’s acquittal in the Senate, which is controlled by a Republican majority. ...... It will change only if new real-world facts materialize—either legal facts (evidence of other crimes) or political facts (a collapse in Trump’s support in the country)...... A Trump facing impeachment will rally reluctant Republicans to him, with the argument, so effective for Bill Clinton in the 1990s, Even if he did something wrong, it does not merit removal from office...... And an acquitted Trump will be an immunized Trump....... Impeachment now threatens to turn the 2020 election into a referendum on the Democrats’ methods in Congress, not Trump’s wrongdoing in the presidency, in the campaign, and in private life....... Trump outrages the sense of justice. It is understandable that many yearn for urgent and decisive action to cleanse the American system. But wise action is better than urgent action, and the best decision is one that leads to success.

Mueller Hands His Caseload To Congress, As Impeachment Calls Grow Louder
More Democrats call for impeachment after Mueller makes statement