His Antics This Week an Attempt to Escape the Trump Shutdown that Put Him in a Tight Spot…So he’s ready to announce some nonsensical drivel tonight about the wall, then grace us in a couple days with a photo opp at the border. Trump told Schumer & Pelosi in December the Trump shutdown would be all on him, so we need to take him at his word whenever he blames himself, since it happens so rarely. More on the repercussions of the demand for wall funding & his orchestrating the Trump shutdown are at the bottom, plus we have new news on the Russian case, but first a brief summary on us.
Here at The VORACS (Voice Of Reason And Common Sense), we normally post updates Tuesday & Friday afternoons, providing commentary & recent articles from the newsfeeds. Normally part one is on Russia, part 2 on the conservative echo chamber (echo for short), & part 3 on the economy, but we’re flexible depending on what hits the headlines. And on date nights, my wife & I like hearing the song always at the bottom of part 3, so yes, we do enjoy a wild nightlife! We’re patriotic Americans with legitimate concerns about the direction of our country & the future of our democracy. If you share our viewpoints & even our disgust, please share this blog site with others.
So on the Russian Front, the Dem base needs to curb their enthusiasm for impeachment until the results of Mueller & other investigations come to fruition. Why impeach now & further divide the country, only to watch the process fail in the Senate. So let’s be patient as the facts will be coming out soon enough, almost certainly sometime this year. It’s possible the Mueller report might even be ready next month. Keep in mind the far-right insanity that once started on talk radio spilled over onto the internet, soon infiltrated the conservative base, infested Fox News & then produced Trump. Inside their alternative facts bubble where truth seldom penetrates, a delusional cult has been formed. The GOP, their messaging sources & base have become a monster that no longer resembles anything close to rational, so it’s going to take nothing less than concrete proof of criminality to rid ourselves of their Frankenstein-monster offspring now occupying the White House. So again, please be patient as we do this impeachment thing in the right order to get it done successfully. This is how history will likely record 2019: trumps-crimes-are-worse-watergate.
Countering My Argument for Patience, a NYT Opinion Columnist Says We Cannot Afford to Wait
Inside opinion/sunday/trump-impeachment David Leonhardt believes the situation has become so untenable & dire, we should proceed with impeachment soon. He explains we already have grounds to act based on the president’s corrupt grifting, violating campaign finance law, obstructing justice & subverting democracy. In recognizing the GOP Senate caucus holds the key, Leonhardt concludes with these thoughts: But whatever happens in 2019, his false version of reality will not survive history, just as Nixon’s did not. Which side of that history do today’s Republicans want to be on? The opening to his op-ed is posted here:
The presidential oath of office contains 35 words and one core promise: to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Since virtually the moment Donald J. Trump took that oath two years ago, he has been violating it. He has repeatedly put his own interests above those of the country. He has used the presidency to promote his businesses. He has accepted financial gifts from foreign countries. He has lied to the American people about his relationship with a hostile foreign government. He has tolerated cabinet officials who use their position to enrich themselves. To shield himself from accountability for all of this — and for his unscrupulous presidential campaign — he has set out to undermine the American system of checks and balances. He has called for the prosecution of his political enemies and the protection of his allies. He has attempted to obstruct justice. He has tried to shake the public’s confidence in one democratic institution after another, including the press, federal law enforcement and the federal judiciary.
The unrelenting chaos that Trump creates can sometimes obscure the big picture. But the big picture is simple: The United States has never had a president as demonstrably unfit for the office as Trump. And it’s becoming clear that 2019 is likely to be dominated by a single question: What are we going to do about it? The easy answer is to wait — to allow the various investigations of Trump to run their course and ask voters to deliver a verdict in 2020. That answer has one great advantage. It would avoid the national trauma of overturning an election result. Ultimately, however, waiting is too dangerous. The cost of removing a president from office is smaller than the cost of allowing this president to remain. He has already shown, repeatedly, that he will hurt the country in order to help himself. He will damage American interests around the world and damage vital parts of our constitutional system at home. The risks that he will cause much more harm are growing.
More on Leonhardt, Steele, Mueller & Trump Stooges Trying to Bury the Coming Report
Leonhardt followed up that op-ed with this one: opinion/trump-the-vulnerable. That Steele dossier that Trump & his henchmen tried to discredit in order to discredit the FBI & Mueller probe, well, it turns out it’s looking more accurate all the time: investigaterussia.org/media/2019-01-07/far-phony. Trump knows he’s in trouble since he has a strong sense what’s being put in the Mueller report. He realizes better than anyone all that he’s done wrong. So the prez & his PR lawyer Rudy, plus whatever crony happens to be running the DOJ as AG at that time, plan to hide the report from the public & maybe even Congress. But with such intense public interest, it’d be hard to bury it since the outcry would be enormous. Among the options to counter their shenanigans, a House committee could simply allow Mueller to testify (plus perhaps subpoena the evidence), & a state district like NY could pick up the mantle. But these articles reveal the sinister schemes from the president’s team we should watch out for:
The very first article link above opines Russiagate will prove worse than Watergate. There certainly looks to be a lot more variety of crimes involved, & has international intrigue instead of being just a two-bit burglary. Some of the remarkable similarities between Russiagate & Watergate are brought out here in excerpts from anxiety-will-drive-trump-from-office:
Nixon’s support among Republicans remained steady for awhile, but by the summer of 1974 it began to slip. Anxiety internationally and in the financial markets began to take its toll. The Congress, as Nixon himself charged, was “consumed by Watergate,” with nothing much getting done but talk of impeachment, and then impeachment itself. Recently Watergate reporter Bob Woodward, made an appearance on “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” on MSNBC, to discuss the comparison between Nixon and Trump. “The investigative walls are closing in on Trump,” Woodward said, and the guilty plea of Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, was “a game changer” in the investigation of Donald Trump by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. “But you need to convince Republicans. This was the case with Nixon. For a long time, the Republicans in the Senate and the House stood with him. With Trump, a lot of this is going to turn on the Cohen tapes and other evidence. We are living in a world of untruths and contradictions even within a week, and the stunning fact that Trump doesn’t even know what is in his own self-interest.” Woodward went on to make specific comparisons between Watergate and today’s situation with Trump. “This is definitely a similarity. The people closest to Nixon were the most appalled by the lying and the deceit. And I think we find in the Trump case that the people there [in the White House] are the ones with most profound anxiety about what’s going on.”
Lying & Painting False Equivalencies
Some common talking points of Trump, his echo & supporters in deflecting away from his numerous signs of indiscretions & criminal activities, are to twist logic in somehow portraying other politicians as having done the same things. Those claims are distortions from the pit of hell & also Fox News. We’ve not ever seen anything like Trump, whose level of dishonesty & corruption are at levels never witnessed before, to where no other president even comes in as a close second. An example comes from trump-doubles-down-on-claim-campaign-finance-violations-are-common, where Trump world tries to dismiss the fact he’s been implicated in a court case as an unindicted co-conspirator to felony campaign finance violations, by claiming Obama was guilty of the same. Such ridiculous false equivalencies go back to the strategy of claiming the shoplifter is as bad as the armed robber, since the Obama case was a minor infraction which Obama himself wasn’t even knowingly & willfully involved.
Just don’t try to pronounce that name. News broke today that lady Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin, who top Trump campaign members met with in that infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, she’s been charged with obstruction in a NY money laundering case. Trump is not referred to in any way with the indictment, but it likely has something to do with investigations tied to him. We don’t know yet for sure, but the cases involving Mueller & the Southern District of NY all appear to be interrelated. At the very least, we’re seeing the high standing Veselnitskaya held within Putin’s government:
More news breaking today! Manafort has been found to have shared polling data with a Russian intelligence operative during the 2016 campaign. That would have helped the Kremlin know which areas to target in their social media disinformation campaign. Manafort as the head of Trump’s campaign, we’ve got to think the boss was sure to know. This is nothing less than more signs of the Trump campaign engaging in collusion with the Russians, as seen in these articles. Rest assured Mueller is connecting all the dots:
Here Comes the Dems!
After two years of GOP distractions, conspiracies & stonewalling, a Dem House can finally investigate & get to the bottom of the multiple underhanded actions of this president. The committee chairs, the likes of Adam Schiff (trump-robert-mueller-adam-schiff-investigations), Jerry Nadler & Elijah Cummings, are competent legislators who’ll be effective at digging in & uncovering the facts as committee chairs. These next articles show some of the high-stakes doings we can look for from the House:
Plenty of lies & asserting bogus executive privileges previously came from key witnesses: https://investigaterussia.org/media/2019-01-04/schiff-kushner-don-jr-bannon-invoked-bogus-privileges
Those transcripts being turned over to Mueller: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/schiff-plans-to-make-interview-transcripts-fully-available-to-mueller/ar-BBRSmXq?ocid=spartandhp
Let’s protect Mueller while also letting the House investigations commence: https://investigaterussia.org/media/2019-01-04/house-judiciary-investigations-wont-wait
And also finally Drain the Swamp: https://thehill.com/homenews/house/423922-democrats-launch-drain-the-swamp-agenda
Those who’ve been convicted & who might be next are shown inside robert-mueller-who-charged-list-trump-russia-inquiry-latest-indictments-flynn-manafort-cohen-what-happens-next. New coordination between House committees & Mueller’s team will help them to compare notes & get at that facts. That could spell real trouble for Trump, his family members & top campaign aides, as seen in this article posted from trump-aides-could-face-perjury-charges-mueller-investigation.
Here are some foreign threats we should be wary of: nukes-drugs-and-an-enemies-list-reasons-to-be-wary-in-2019, while we must be more proactive in addressing specific threats that have been proven to be out there: election-security-campaign-finance-bill. Whatever was said in the private meeting between Trump & Putin in Helsinki last summer remains a mystery that’s a major concern. It plays into the overarching issue of Trump constantly pandering to & fawning over Putin, which always raises the ongoing question what does Putin have on our American president? There’s no telling what concessions Trump is making to the Kremlin in covering up his campaign’s nefarious alliance in 2016 (& also the years before & after the presidential campaign), or the dirty money that may have defined their allegiances. The beginning & ending to we-need-to-know-what-happened-when-trump-was-left-alone-with-putin are posted here:
Donald Trump spent two hours alone with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki in July and we still have no idea what was specifically said or agreed between two of the most powerful men in the world. (Only two interpreters, bound to silence, were present.) How much does this matter? Quite a lot, probably. First off, there are new concerns about Trump’s continuing susceptibility to talking points that can have only one source – Russian propaganda. More of this later. Second, it belongs in a long trail of events that have either deliberately left serious blanks in the historical record or delayed by many years discovery of the truth. We live in a moment in America when the discovery of information is in daily hand-to-hand combat with the deliberate suppression of information. For the second time in recent history the fate of a presidency might well rest on the unhindered discovery and exposure of essential evidence. Nothing is as central to the health of a democracy as overcoming a cover-up. In 1974 the evidence that proved fatal to Richard Nixon’s presidency was all on tape—the White House tapes that recorded the president’s unguarded conversations with aides as they engineered the Watergate cover-up.
It would be nice to think that in the end history will always be able to retrieve the deliberately created gaps in the record, whether major or relatively minor—that truth will out simply because it has an ineluctable quality. But surely, given the examples above, history requires relentless pursuit to make that happen. Helsinki’s peculiar lacuna may turn out to be relatively minor, but unless we know what was really said we can’t be sure. Putin is a master of mind games learned as a Soviet intelligence agent. Trump, with his blend of narcissism and ignorance, presents a soft target for these games. He is an empty vessel into which ideas can easily be seeded. How often this happens and by what means are worrying questions, heightened this week when Rachel Maddow showed three examples of either Trump or Trump people suddenly spouting talking points that were so incongruous that they could come from only one place—propaganda created by Russian intelligence.
The first came just weeks after Trump’s inauguration. The Associated Press reported that Trump national security aides were concerned that Poland was preparing to invade Belarus. The only people spreading this bizarre notion were Putin’s propagandists. (At that time General Mike Flynn was the national security adviser, an obvious stovepipe for the Putin line.) The second, in the summer of 2018, was when—out of nowhere—Trump, talking on Fox News, blurted out that the people of the small Balkan state of Montenegro were “very aggressive” and could start World War III. As Maddow pointed out, that was the Putin line at the time of elections in Montenegro in 2017 when a Russian intelligence plot to take power in Montenegro was exposed and foiled. The third example just happened—during the course of the so-called meeting of the Trump cabinet when cameras were allowed to cover the whole 90 minutes. It was not so much a meeting as a monologue in which Trump combined salutes to his own towering genius with strange assertions, the strangest being that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 had been justified because “terrorists from there were going into Russia.” Until now Russian historians had concluded that the Afghan invasion was a mistake and one that ended with an ignominious retreat. But here was Trump saying “They were right to be there.” Maddow pointed out that this is Putin’s latest revisionist line—both his party and the communists are rewriting Russian history using the falsehood that it was a move to stop terrorism. The former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, reviewing these three events, told Maddow: “It is striking how Trump does pick up these strange ideas from Putin, there is a pattern here.”
After their Helsinki meeting, Trump looked like a man in thrall to Putin. Asked if he still believed that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election, he said “I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. He said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be….” Later, after even House Speaker Paul Ryan rebuked Trump for the remarks, he attempted to rewrite what was already on the record by saying he had intended to say “I don’t see any reason why it would not be”—a tautology that convinced nobody. Syria was one of the subjects Trump discussed with Putin. At the press conference following the meeting Putin said that Syria could be “the first showcase example” of successful joint work. Trump’s impetuous decision last month to pull out of Syria came after a phone call with another of the authoritarians he so reveres, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who urged the pull-out. He was probably pushing at an already open door, thanks to Putin. In Helsinki Putin admitted for the first time that he had wanted Trump to win the presidential election. This was not prima facie evidence of a Manchurian Candidate situation. The worry is that with Trump nothing as sinister as brain washing is needed. The psychological impact on him of spending quality time with an admired “strong man” and a dose of flattery is probably enough.
Concerns Grow with the Trump Shutdown & Drama Grows over the Speech Tonight
We do need secure borders, but this whole fiasco is mostly a made-up crisis contrived to please his fervent base. We can’t help but wonder if this government shutdown Trump has orchestrated is another example of the master distractor creating this massive distraction, taking attention away from the numerous investigations aimed at him & the monumental shift that’s come about with the Dems taking over the House. The current situation on the border is not a “crisis” or “national emergency” (unless we include the kidnapped migrant kids still separated from their families). But the wailing over the wall, yes a concern, but far from an emergency. In fact, the number of border crossings is far lower than a decade or two ago. And fact checkers confirm migrants seeking to enter the U.S. are not terrorists, but desperate refugees fleeing violence & abject poverty in their home countries. Drugs are coming in mostly through containers at checkpoints, by sea or in the mail. Plus addressing another Trumpian crackpot idea, the proper role of the Army is NOT in building a wall! Our prez hardly seems bothered when he’s exposed as a liar, or a bully, or a con man, or a criminal. But he cannot stand being viewed as a loser, & on this Trump shutdown & paying for the wall battle he’s been losing.
On more of his crazy ideas & claims, Trump declaring a national emergency wouldn’t make much sense & may not even be legal without approval of Congress, so would probably be challenged in court. Shifting funds from the Defense Dept. to the wall is also probably illegal. To be honest, whether or not we allocate $5 billion for a wall or not isn’t going to make that much of a difference on border security. But the issue has been totally politicized on both sides. Dems don’t want to hand him a political victory & the GOP doesn’t want to give in on DACA. Trump really wants the wall as a monument to bigotry, racism & xenophobia, since apparently his supporters who chant build that wall at his rallies also really want that wall. Meanwhile, plenty of government workers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, are growing increasingly desperate. The longer this nonsense goes on, the worse it will get for them. Trump claims federal workers are supportive of his Trump shutdown, yet another flat-out lie! And the pilot’s union is now concerned about air safety when TSA agents are working without pay or calling in sick.
The speech tonight is sure to feature more head-scratching buffoonery. His doting base will cheer him on while rational Americans will see through the lies, while fact checkers will have a field day proving multiple falsehoods. He’ll also try to pin the blame on Dems for the Trump shutdown that is his own fault. This whole charade might have been orchestrated to keep Russiagate out of the headlines. And the short speech at 9 PM Eastern Time tonight may have been timed because lately Maddow has been beating co-president Hannity in the ratings. But most of all, Trump is making a desperate move to reverse the blunder of shutting down the government in the first place nearly 3 weeks ago. That’s especially true as GOP congressional members are getting nervous, with the public mostly blaming Trump & his party for the Trump shutdown. Plus a majority do not support the wall! While the prez will bluster about national security, be assured it’s really all about politics & saving face. And I can guarantee the Schumer-Pelosi rebuttal will be far more accurate than anything the prez has to say!
This Trump shutdown story dominated headlines this week, so we have tons of articles about it here with a limit on outbound links, so to read any of these articles you’d need to search for yourself. Or even just perusing these titles is informative & it is a long list: