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Thursday, February 6, 2020

A view from the middle

I haven’t posted anything political in a while but in light of recent events I do feel some sort of comment is reasonable. But before I make my feelings known, let me preface my comments with a few facts that I have alluded to before:

In general: I am not a Democrat, or a Republican. I did not vote for Hilary or Donald. I am not a 100% liberal or conservative but rather a blend based on the topic on the table. In a room of tribals from either side, I am the oddball…...which means I am rarely if ever in a situation where I have a tribe of my own. I am a fan of our history but not a rose-tinted acolyte of anything in a powdered wig. And lastly, I may not be a genius, but I am certainly no idiot, despite what some either-side tribal might want to think.

This young lady represents our current situation. Her 'red, white, & blue' goes from far left to far right. But wouldn't it be so much better to head towards the middle?

With regard to the current events of our day: I watched nearly every minute of the impeachment proceedings with my own eyes and ears. I have not had to rely upon the slanted media coverage from either polarized tribe to instruct me as to what I should think I heard. I clearly saw and heard for myself. So, I am not parroting anyone.

And now onto my reaction to the proceedings: I have never seen such a travesty of what should be a non-partisan proceeding. But despite many evasive and nonsensical defense arguments throughout the 'trial', let me say that I do not feel the second charge of obstruction was handled properly in this case. In fact, a LOT poor decisions were made by the Democrats. If a charge of obstruction was to be pursued, it would have behooved the House Democrats to conduct their pursuit of documents and witnesses more in line with precedent, even as I admit that such precedent is not a Constitutional requirement. Still, by not doing so they handed a defense over on a silver platter. I also think the Democrats botched the potential for a stronger obstruction case with regard to the Mueller report. Ignoring that report was a huge, tactical error that I could write about for way longer than this post.

As for the first charge? I cannot fathom how anyone could watch the entire process from the House to the Senate as if they were a juror and not see a clear abuse of power. It’s clear even without Bolton. Obviously Romney agrees.

A candid image, shot from a forbidden cell phone, of a Republican Senator listening to the House Mangers' arguments.

I will say that as an Independent who leans “small L” libertarian, there are not always third party candidates on the ballots that I vote on. As such I have sometimes had to make decisions on whether I will go with the Democrat or the Republican on the ballot. In the past I have voted for both. Going forward, however, I cannot see myself ever doing this again. If a legitimate third party whose platform aligns with mine is not an option, I will vote Democratic from now on, not because I love them (because I definitely don't) but because I simply cannot vote for a member of a party that has no intention to ever act as a reasonable check on the executive branch regardless of the evidence presented. In other words, while I could share certain views with the Republican party of the past, I no longer see anything of that party in that body now. Whatever was left got buried in John McCain’s casket.

Hypocrisy however, was rampant on both sides. That's the weakness with both parties. Neither one has substantial integrity.....but from what I heard, the Republicans have none at all. 

But while I have unprecedented disdain for this Trump-Party, my real disgust still remains firmly directed at a public that condones it. I’ve said before that I am no fan of Mike Pence, but I can easily discern that a Pence presidency would pursue a nearly identical agenda to that of Trump, but without the corrupt, rotting baggage. I would have respect, though maybe not agreement, with voters who would see things for what they are and replace the corrupt mafia boss currently violating every law and precedent without even a modicum of decency with their white-haired choir-boy of conservatism. But to look at this self-serving, and lying piece of shit and see a savior renders anything these sorts of people say, suspect.

What I DON'T buy into: I am sick of hearing from Democrats that the Constitution has been somehow irreparably destroyed because Republicans would not vote for witnesses or conviction even though no party whose president was in office has ever voted for conviction in the past. Nonsense! Until legislation is enacted to amend the Constitution, it will stand as it always has. The issue is not that the Constitution is in danger or worse, broken. Integrity is what is broken, and has been long before Trump or McConnell. The Constitution works just fine, it's the folks selectively ignoring the parts they find inconvenient that aren't working properly. Saying the Constitution is broken is like blaming the car instead of an incompetent or impaired driver when there's a collision.

It doesn't look destroyed to me. Ignored? Well, that's a different story.

Going forward, the Constitution is still there to protect us from tyranny. It hasn't gone away. It just has to responsibly used. 

And I am sick of hearing from Republicans that this was all about overturning an election and the will of the people. Hogwash! First, the evidence is damning. Second, if removed from office, Hilary Clinton would NOT become president. Pence would, and as stated earlier, he would undoubtedly pursue an identical agenda. Third, Trump won the election without the popular vote, so even if removing Trump reversed the presidency towards a Democrat, it would only be overturning the election, but NOT "the will of the people". Let's try not to forget that little inconvenient truth.

I fear several potential outcomes:
-I fear 4 more years of an empowered Trump with a Republican Senate or House. Checks and balances only work when there are checks and balances.

-I fear 4 more years of stagnation with a Trump rendered impotent by a Democratic House and Senate, and they in turn rendered impotent by him.

-I fear 4 years of a revenge-oriented far left Democrat who would now have carte blanche to violate everything reasonable since Trump and his party have opened the door to that. Socialism via executive order anyone? You asked for it! 

-I fear almost anything that follows because of what has become the "new normal". Any party with unlimited power, which is what they will now have with any majority and the inexplicable support of voters who are fine with it all, will function one step closer to the kind of authoritarianism past Americans have claimed to disdain. Like I said, the Constitution is still there. Conniving politicians are nothing new. But that "We the people" part? Now THAT'S what's broken.


  1. I to did not vote for either, so fed up I voted, feel strongly about voting. I've reach the point that Donald, Mitch, Nancy and others have told me to vote for those not in office. People wanted a change and got Trump, tried it, time for a Change, and change until we get who we want. Job security is out the door, bring in new blood and if that does not work, keep bring in new blood. Jack

    1. This philosophy harkens back to the old "Throw the rascals out!" sentiment.

  2. What you have said without saying it out right is both parties are not worth a crap. Until you have term limits you will have no nothing people on welfare that run for office and get elected. except in the case of Mr. money pockets who wants to be president but so far no one has told him how big he needs to write the check.

    1. Term limits are not a bad idea. Drastic campaign reform is another. A return to a neutral stage for debates that feature more than two parties is one more, and a big one too. But like I concluded in my post, the biggest problem is our populace. Consider this from John Adams: “I do not say that democracy has been more pernicious on the whole, and in the long run, than monarchy or aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as aristocracy or monarchy; but while it lasts, it is more bloody than either. … Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty. When clear prospects are opened before vanity, pride, avarice, or ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate philosophers and the most conscientious moralists to resist the temptation. Individuals have conquered themselves. Nations and large bodies of men, never.”

      Tell me THAT wasn't prescient.

  3. Neutral observer from Canada here. What I don’t get, isn’t it kind of corrupt that all these politician ne’er do well sons and daughters get rich off their parents names, obviously for access? That’s what the whole Biden thing looks like to me. Sure Trump wants to gain a political advantage in investigating Democrats, that is stunningly clear. But I think they do need to be investigated regardless! And isn’t it hypocritical to say that if there is any political motive, then you should refrain from investigating? Because isn’t that, like, ALL the Democrats have been doing to Trump (for obvious political motives, in addition to any sense of justice).

    1. "all these politician ne’er do well sons and daughters get rich off their parents names," True, but key word being "all".

      The Biden thing was a huge mistake that Joe Biden will pay for far more expensively than his son ever will, but ironically and hypocritically seems to be non-issue for those faced with Ivanka, Don Jr., Jared, etc. The very definition of hypocrisy is that the same thing is OK for one but not another.

      All nepotism is wrong. Sometimes it's empowered by the political figure purposely inserting their families where they don't belong, and other times it's like Billy Carter who seized upon his brother's fame and position but not encouraged by Jimmy. In fact it was a huge embarrassment to him.

      The question with the Bidens is whether Hunter took advantage of his last name with an offer from Burisma, or if Joe put him there. In the case of Trump's clan that answer is way more clear. Don't get me wrong, neither is good, but there are substantial differences.

      As for the investigation that Trump pushed for? Well, like I said, you have to see and hear it all. A slanted media presentation leaves out the stuff that doesn't sit well. In this case, the liberal media tends to minimize the inappropriate aspect of Hunter Biden's position and further worsened by Joe's seeming reluctance to address it head-on. However, the right-wing media conveniently ignores several key issues: 1. As president Trump could have investigated this legitimately at any point. He didn't. In fact, he didn't even try to investigate it with Ukraine until the coincidental timing of Joe's candidacy. 2: At any point the Senate could have done the same. They didn't. 3: Testimony pretty clearly indicated that Trump had no real interest in an investigation. Testimony came forward from witnesses that he was merely interested that Ukraine PUBLICLY ANNOUNCE one. 4: A typical investigation into corruption is not normally done through back door negotiations when the full power of the myriad investigative agencies are available, AND certainly not publicly announced beforehand. (Do you recall any corruption investigation that was announced beforehand? To let the parties KNOW they were being investigated?) The evidence reasonably leads one to believe Trump's motives were not genuine. And in my opinion, his own words on film, make that far more believable than a sincere desire to root out corruption. Hell, if he wanted to do that, he need only look in the mirror and then resign. (How many of his associates are currently in prison?)

      With you being Canadian I'm curious: where are you getting your USA news from? It sounds......"FOX-y".

    2. I'm with you on this one. There is a difference between nepotism and corruption, and it's naive to think that friends and family won't take advantage of relatives in high places. It's certainly true that Hunter Biden would never have made it to the Board of any large company on his own merits, so I think it is uncontested that Burisma put him on there because it hoped it would lead to a friendly relationship with the administration in the US. BUT, the Republicans have produced ZERO evidence that Hunter's position influenced anything that Joe Biden did. In fact, most of the evidence seems to point the other way.

      Like you, I find it fascinating that any Trump fan can look at the Biden situation and cry foul about nepotism and unimpressive kids succeeding because of winning the birth lottery. It was just a few months ago that Trump fans were whining about the students of the University of Florida impeaching a student rep for paying Don Jr. $50k to give a speech on campus. Now, I am the first to say I'm tired of colleges trying to "protect" students from being "triggered" by any position they don't like. But, what I found fascinating is the number of R's who see the Hunter Biden situation as a serious corruption issue but don't see anything wrong at all with Don Jr.'s shameless milking of his father's business and political success. I mean, does anyone really believe that anyone would ever pay that loser $50k for *anything* that he's ever accomplished on his own?? Does any Republican really believe that Ivanka or Jared are qualified to be policy advisors to any administration on their own merits? Give me a break.

    3. Dan: Yes, watching both sides try to claim higher moral ground on this is laughable or cryable (if there was such a word). And there is that pesky issue of degree. (How did the Trump clan en masse fare in that Trump Charity fiasco?)

      I think Biden is already paying for not directly addressing this head-on and forcefully. He may quite likely lose the nomination over it as people shy away from a candidate with such a Trump-boosting 'cloud' over them. I am still perplexed as to why he doesn't. He still could....but time is running out.

    4. Agreed on degree. I read yesterday that after Eric Trump claimed that Trump is providing rooms at Mar-a-Lago "at cost" for his security detail, they've actually been charging as much as $650 a night per room. But, no, that's not corrupt. Not at all.

      I agree that Biden is really mis-playing the situation. He would be so much better off just saying that his son took advantage of the Biden name just like Trump's kids have, and that in both cases is was wrong and shouldn't have happened. He seems to be trying to take a page of out Trump's own playbook by claiming that there was nothing wrong with the arrangement at all, ala "it was a perfect call." But, for some reason, I don't think Biden can pull off shamelessness as effectively at Trump. But, let's face it, Biden was never a perfect candidate even in his prime, and he's now far from his prime. While they may be close in age, Biden just seems so much of an "old man" than not only Trump, but Warren and Sanders. They are old, but Biden just seems tired, worn out, shaky. Honestly, I hate Trump but this is a really weak Democratic field. I don't think either Sanders or Warren can win a national election thanks to Medicare for All. I like Buttigieg, but I kind of doubt an openly gay man can win a national election, though I could be wrong about that.

    5. Isn’t the concern that it’s more than just trading off the name in the case of Burisma? There was the added twist of Joe Biden getting a particular named Ukrainian Attorney General fired (is that not odd behaviour for the US govt to explicitly meddle like that in another country’s business?). And then the added twist that the new AG dropped the Burisma corruption investigation, and the fired AG claiming he was fired by Biden for investigating Burisma. All very suspect and fishy stuff that ought to be looked into. And so ironic that Joe had a very explicit quid pro quo, fire the AG, get your $1B loan guarantee!p.

      And yes, I do watch some Fox and enjoy Scott Adams periscope as well, but get plenty (more than enough, yeesh) from the other side as it can’t be escaped. I fear those who don’t seek out Fox can live life completely in a bubble and never hear different points of view.

    6. Dan: I wonder if he's playing the Trump playbook or if it's something else? Either way, it's not working.

      I don't think the "Gay-thing" is the obstacle it might once have been, but recently I am getting a bad vibe off of Buttigieg. As for evaluating the field? Hmmm, a worthy topic for a future post!

    7. Julie: As I stated in my post, I watched nearly all of the proceedings in both the House and Senate. That's days and days of testimony......and damning testimony at that. How much of it have you seen? All of your points were addressed.....though conveniently ignored by those looking to support Trump no matter what. Your Fox-bias is definitely showing with these questions.

      As for Fox? Well there are people there like Chris Wallace who I find quite professional. And then there are folks like Tucker Carlson.....who I wouldn't waste my time pissing on even if he was on fire.

    8. KD: I could be wrong. In just a short period, Colorado elected the first openly gay governor in US history two years ago, and it is a purple state at best, with large pockets of red. So, perhaps George Will was right that for many (younger) voters, being gay has become about as distinguishing as being left-handed.

      Julie, I'm sorry, but that those points are just so wrong on the facts, and they work against your conspiracy theory about the Bidens. Biden (acting on official US policy which was in concert with most other Western nations) pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who himself had a widespread reputation for corruption and who was *not* actively investigating corruption at companies like Burisma. Then, after he go fired, Shokin went around suggesting bad things about the guy who got him fired. Shocker. Do you also believe in Trump's birtherism allegations? I guess we need to really look into that very fishy stuff too, huh? Or, maybe into Ted Cruz's father being involved in the Kennedy assassination?

      I actually do watch Fox, for the same reason KD enumerates. I like Chris Wallace and actually think of the Sunday morning talk show hosts, he is the best at pinning down guests from *both* parties when they try to dodge and weave. But, that equal handed approach to going after lying or evasive politicians from both parties is exactly why some of my more virulent Trump-loving relatives don't like him. They get *all* their TV news from Fox, but they hate the actual news team at Fox in favor of the entertainment Trump fluffers like Carlson and Hannity.

      And, for the record, I couldn't care less that Donald Trump got spanked by a porn star and, like you, I think it's generally entertaining. BUT, what I have a big problem with is the evangelicals who go around condemning everyone who isn't them but come up with all these fantasies about how Trump "converted" at some point is now a "real" Christian and family man. I'm perfectly fine saying we should get out of politicians' bedrooms, but let's not forget that it was the predecessors of the MAGA-wearers who put us in this place with all the clutching their pearls over Bill Clinton's blowjob.

    9. The “holier than thou” that MY points are just regurge Fox but that YOUR points aren’t just regurging CNN and MSNBC, are like, give be a break. It’s a weak argument when rather than addressing these points, you try to dismiss them like this. I know there are mixed motives for everything, but looking into Bidens in light of all the “smoke” seems fair enough.

    10. Julie: I made it crystal clear that I am forming my opinions on the days and days of testimony I watched and listened to with my own eyes and ears. So I'm not regurgitating anyone else's view. In fact if you read my view, you'd see it doesn't align completely with either side's. But it does align with the believable aspects of the testimony presented. In this case, I have no need to rely on others for my thinking.

      Your points were thoroughly addressed over the course of the two hearings. My point was merely that had you watched it all in its entirety, you probably would not be asking questions that resemble Fox News sound-bytes. So unless you now tell me that you did indeed watch the entire process and that your questions are unresolved issues of your own, I will stick with my opinions not because they are "Holier" than yours, but "more objectively formed" since they came from direct observation.

      The only reason I did not address each point individually is because it would take pages, and the fact is that if you want to see the answers to these questions, just try to find a YouTube video of the proceedings and watch them all.......but be warned, it's going to take a couple of weeks at minimum to get through it all.

    11. I watched a lot of it, but honestly found the 21 hours of Dem points in senate to be tedious and repetitive, so admittedly did not watch all of that, same for all the senator Q&A and statements. But I think I pretty much got the gist of it firsthand. Still think it all comes down to if there was a legit reason to want Biden/Burisma investigated, and, duh, yes. After that does not matter if there is also a political motive. Witness Trump being investigated all over on worse grounds for purely political motivations. I am cool with that. Let the investigations flow and the truth will out.

    12. Julie: "I watched a lot of it, but honestly found the 21 hours of Dem points in senate to be tedious and repetitive, so admittedly did not watch all of that, same for all the senator Q&A and statements."

      I agree completely on the Senate trial. The House hearing is where all the pertinent information came out. How much of that did you see?

      As to your point, "if there was a legit reason to want Biden/Burisma investigated".....then I agree, 'yes' but the action to be taken is then a LEGITIMATE investigation, not a back-door solicited announcement of one from a foreign country.

      As for this "poor Donald" sentiment over how he and his clan have been unfairly harassed for no good reason? If true, a lot of his associates are in prison for no good reason then?

      And if the Bidens are guilty of something? Go get them. I'm no Democrat-lover. Hell, if they managed to get Clinton on Whitewater instead of a cum-stain and perjury resulting from it, I'd be clapping as he was ejected as well. How about Johnson for intentionally lying about Vietnam in order to keep it going for his backers getting rich off of that war? He should have been impeached too. In fact he knew he was so unpopular he didn't even try to be re-elected as president.

      What about Bush/Cheney/Halliburton and Iraq? Impeach! Instead of everyone whining about the corruption in government, impeach. Maybe these fuckers on both sides would behave if they knew they WOULD be impeached.

    13. I’m afraid that the way the system is set up, you can’t get elected without being a bit scummy...

    14. Julie: unfortunately that could well be the case. One could even add that someone who wasn't scummy initially might well become so through association if elected.

  4. while I could share certain views with the Republican party of the past, I no longer see anything of that party in that body now. Whatever was left got buried in John McCain’s casket.

    Sadly, I have to agree with you on that. McCain wasn't perfect, but he had my respect.

    It's definitely a travesty of justice that occurred this week, with Romney being the only one in his party standing up against injustice.

    1. Yep.....that's pretty much how I see it too.

    2. Crimson Kid (C.K.)February 9, 2020 at 8:19 PM

      While overall I didn't agree with John McCain politically, he did save thousands of American lives by being the deciding vote against eliminating Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) back in 2017. Of course, Trump and his lackies in Congress insisted that they would replace it with a "better" health care plan, yet they could provide *zero* details about their supposedly superior health care program.

      I have to respect Mitt Romney's principled vote on the 'abuse of power' charges against Trump, even though I don't support him on many issues. I also respect Democratic senators like Doug Jones (Alabama) and Joe Murchin (West Virginia), who voted to convict Trump even though he's popular in their states, especially since Jones was already facing an uphill battle to retain his U.S. Senate seat in November. He could easily have voted to please his constituents in heavily redneck Alabama, it wasn't going to matter for the Senate vote's outcome, yet he took the 'high road' and voted for his place in history as a man of conscience.

      The ultimate vote on Trump's fitness for office will come in November, it's a decision to be made by the American people. I believe that the Democrats should win it simply because Trump is already once again showing his true colors, however they have to avoid being self-destructive--something which their party doesn't always manage to do... --C.K.

    3. CK: The Democrats are already showing cracks. They're like those sport teams that always manage to lose no matter how better suited to win they seem on paper. I will be doing another post on this very topic in the upcoming week or so.