Monday, December 2, 2019

Facts About Ukraine vs Republican Lies

CNN provides an excellent summary of the conspiracy theories offered by Republicans to save Donald Trump from impeachment.  Click on the link to take a look:

FACTS ABOUT UKRAINE



Monday, November 18, 2019

Conservative Scruple and Impeachment According to Billy Barr

In a recent speech, Trump’s attorney, Billy Barr, explained to the Federalist Society why he and other Conservatives have more scruple than immoral Democrats when it comes to impeachment and everything else for that matter.  
“Conservatives,” said Barr “…do not seek an earthly paradise. We are interested in preserving over the long run the proper balance of freedom and order necessary for healthy development of natural civil society and individual human flourishing. This means that we naturally test the propriety and wisdom of action under a “rule of law” standard. The essence of this standard is to ask what the overall impact on society over the long run if the action we are taking, or principle we are applying, in a given circumstance was universalized—that is, would it be good for society over the long haul if this was done in all like circumstances?”
So, I guess Barr thinks Presidents using the powers of their office for personal and political advantage is something that is good for society over the long haul and therefore should be encouraged.  Are you listening Biden/ Warren / Sanders / Democrats?  Your turn next.
https://www.motherjones.com/impeachment/2019/11/bill-barr-trump-federalist-society-speech-reaction/

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Should Trump Be Impeached and Removed From Office? Yes. Here’s why.


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Should Trump be impeached and removed from office?  Here are four questions to ask.  Their answers lead to only one conclusion.

Question 1: Did Trump ask the President to Ukraine to launch an investigation of Biden and his son?

If not, then there is no impeachable offense since what is charged did not happen.

What We Know:  According to the summary of the phone call Trump did ask for the investigation.

Question 2: Why did Trump ask Ukraine to investigate the Bidens?

If the request was made because Trump was primarily concerned that the money the U.S. gave to Ukraine might be mis-used because of widespread corruption in Ukraine, then the request may well have been legitimate as a request in the national interest. If on the other hand, the request was made because Trump wanted Ukraine to undertake an investigation that might be harmful to a political opponent, then the request would be evidence of the use of powers of the office of the Presidency for personal and/or political gain.  That is impeachable as a violation of oath of office and the public trust.

What We Know:  There is no evidence that the Trump administration was concerned about corruption in Ukraine prior to the time it became obvious that Biden would be a major challenger to Trump in 2020.  The Trump administration had not raised objections before Congress or publicly about funds being given to Ukraine due to possible corruption.  Supporters of Trump, particularly by Rudy Giuliani, were trying to use Ukraine to get political dirt on Biden that would be helpful if Biden ran against Trump.  Trump knew about this effort and promoted it.  Giuliani urged Trump to use the influence of the Presidency and the threat of withholding funds from Ukraine to get Ukraine to launch an investigation into the Bidens or at least announce they were doing so. 

Question 3: Was there a Quid Pro Quo?

While a Quid Pro Quo is NOT necessary to show that Trump abused the powers of the Presidency, it would be much more damning for Trump if he threatened Ukraine with some penalty if they failed to comply with his request that they investigate Biden. 

What We Know:  Trump refused to release millions of dollars of funds Congress had approved for Ukraine for a number of months without any public explanation of why the funds were not being released.  In the telephone conversation with the President of Ukraine, Trump asked for a favor immediately after reminding the President of Ukraine of the support the U.S. had provided Ukraine in the past.  According to sworn testimony from individuals who had reason to know, members of the administration told Ukraine representatives that an invitation for the Ukraine President to visit the White House and future funding depended upon Ukraine’s compliance with Trump’s request for dirt on Biden.  This demand would constitute a Quid Pro Quo—Either you comply with Trump’s request or you will not be getting the invitation or the funds.

Question 4: Has Trump committed an impeachable offense?

Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution says:

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Article III, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution says: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

Treason as defined in the Constitution does not apply in this case.

The U.S. Constitution does not define  the terms “bribery” or “other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” 

Under U.S. Law, Bribery refers to the offering, giving, soliciting, or receiving of any item of value as a means of influencing the actions of an individual holding a public or legal duty.  Proof of bribery under the law requires the demonstration of a quid pro quo.  https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/bribery

In Federalist Paper 65, Alexander Hamilton, said high crimes and misdemeanors involved "offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust."  Similarly, during the Nixon impeachment, the House Judiciary Committee staff said the phrase historically and as understood by the framers of the Constitution meant offenses like "misapplication of funds, abuse of official power, neglect of duty, encroachment on Parliament’s prerogatives, corruption, and betrayal of trust.”

President Gerald Ford, said: "An impeachable offence is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history."

What We Know:  When Trump asked the President of Ukraine the favor of investigating Biden, he solicited a bribe since dirt on a political opponent would constitute “something of value.”  While under the law, a charge of bribery would have to be supported by a quid pro quo, that does not apply to impeachment.  Impeachment is not a criminal proceeding since the only penalty possible is removal from office.  The strict rules of evidence of criminal law do not apply in an impeachment.  However, as I noted, there is evidence that Trump did engage in a quid pro quo by making the release of funds and an invitation to the White House conditional on Ukraine investigating Biden.  Trump is guilty of bribery.

In addition to soliciting a bribe, Trump engaged in behavior that was a violation of the public trust and abuse of official power when he used the power of the Presidency to obtain dirt on an opponent that would benefit him personally and politically.

Bottom Line: The facts are not in dispute.  Trump solicited a bribe from Ukraine.  Additionally, violated the public trust by using the power of the Presidency for his personal gain.  He committed bribery and at least one high crime or misdemeanor.           TRUMP MUST BE IMPEACHED AND REMOVED FROM OFFICE.

Sources of Additional Information:






Monday, October 28, 2019

Trump’s Folie à Deux

Presidents are always on the edge of the slippery slope.  The very needs, desires and qualities that cause them to aspire to the presidency can be their downfall and have disastrous consequences for their followers and the country.  We are seeing that very thing happen with Donald Trump. 
In his book Organizational Paradoxes, Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries discusses the concept of the folie à deux, “a collective phenomenon whereby entire groups of individuals become influenced by the delusional ideas of the affected person.” [See Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries, Organizational Paradoxes: Clinical Approaches to Management, 2nd Edition, (London: Tavistock Publications, 1980, 2nd edition 1995): 85] 
A folie à deux is a kind of mental contagion or collective insanity characterized by leaders and followers sharing “illusions of grandeur and delusions of persecution.” [Kets de Vries, 86] 
Leaders who are predisposed to folie à deux can be recognized by behavior patterns such as those in the list below.  Trump exhibits all of these behaviors.
  • Displays of conceit, arrogance and righteousness which camouflage underlying feelings of inadequacy, inferiority and low self-esteem. 
  • Holding rigid concepts and ideas that are extremely difficult to alter by any appeal to logic or reality because of their uncompromising, hostile and aggressive stand. 
  • A façade of bravado, self-sufficiency and unrealistic pride. 
  • A need to dominate and control the persons around them.
  • Strong resentment of any form of authority directed toward themselves.
  • Constant defensiveness manifested by a hyper-alertness, hypersensitivity, suspiciousness, guardedness, and a critical attitude toward others.
  • Preoccupation with hidden motives coupled with a search for confirmation of suspicions.
  • Feeling easily slighted, wronged, or ignored. 
  • Lack of trust and confidence in others.
  • Frequent mood swings.
  • A false display of friendliness and companionship that is nothing more than a façade that is quickly shattered by the slightest provocation, after which the full force of hate, mistrust and rage becomes evident.  
  • Lack a sense of humor. 

[Source: Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries, Organizational Paradoxes: Clinical Approaches to Management, 2nd Edition, (London: Tavistock Publications, 1980, 2nd edition 1995): 103.]
Beware the Slippery Slope
What we are seeing with Trump and his followers in and out of Congress is a scenario that is all too common.  The charismatic leader has a need for power and influence and develops the ability to acquire both.  His followers need the leader to fulfill their own psychic needs for meaning, purpose, confidence and security.  Each feeds upon the other, sometimes too much so. 
As the leader acquires more and more power, he becomes even more attractive to his followers who begin to see him as omnipotent.  The leader assumes the mantel of savior with near magical powers.  He “becomes a symbol to his followers of the long-sought-after, and for common mortals never attainable, state of final independence.  He appears to need nobody and thus seems possessor of the envied ability to attain complete mastery and control over his environment.”  A downward spiral begins.  Leader and follower alike regress to a childlike state “in which fantasies of omnipotence and of being taken care of play a major role.”  The followers’ belief in their leader’s omnipotence reinforces the leader’s illusions of grandeur and self-love.  The leader’s grandeur reinforces the followers’ beliefs in his God-like statue.  Eventually no one will give him negative feedback.  The cycle of positive feedback can reach megalomaniacal heights as it did in the case of Adolf Hitler.  To his followers, Hitler was “the greatest artist of all time” and “the greatest general of all time.”  He had “an antenna directly to God.”  The Führer was always right.  He was “the only man in the world in the history of mankind who never made mistakes.”
[Quotes from:  Gustav Bychowski from his study Dictators and Disciples quoted in Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries, Organizational Paradoxes: Clinical Approaches to Management, 2nd Edition, (London: Tavistock Publications, 1980, 2nd edition 1995): 73.]
Trump’s former Chief of Staff, John Kelley recently came under fire from Trump and Trump’s followers for warning Trump that he needed someone on his staff who would tell him No.  
Kelley was right, particularly when it comes to Trump and his followers.  For the sake of our country, Trump’s staff, the Congress and the public, particularly those who still support Trump, must for his sake and the sake of our country, tell him NO in the strongest possible terms.

There is no better way to say, “NO” than thru Impeachment.  Even if he is never removed from office,  Trump needs to hear the words, “You Are Impeached.”


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Impeachment: What Are High Crimes and Misdemeanors?

Article II, Section 4 says: The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. [NOTE: Members of Congress are not subject to impeachment but either house can expel a member for cause.]
There is little debate about the meaning of the terms “Treason” and  “Bribery.”
Treasonis defined in the Constitution.
Article III, Section 3 defines Treason as follows: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”
Briberyis not defined in the Constitution, but as the non-partisan Constitutional Rights Foundation, notes Bribery is a crime that has long existed in English and American common law.  “It takes place when a person gives an official money or gifts to influence the official’s behavior in office. For example, if defendant Smith pays federal Judge Jones $10,000 to find Smith not guilty, the crime of bribery has occurred.”  https://www.crf-usa.org/impeachment/high-crimes-and-misdemeanors.html
What did the framers mean by High Crimes and Misdemeanors?
As the Constitutional Rights Foundation says, most people, including many in Congress today, take the phrase to mean “any crime” either a serious crime like a felony or a lesser crime or misdemeanor.  In other words, if no crime is committed then a person cannot be impeached for “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”   
That is not what the framers meant.
The framers were in agreement that treason and bribery should be grounds for impeachment plus something else.  One committee proposed “treason, bribery and corruption.”  George Mason of Virginia proposed “treason, bribery and maladministration.  
The framers finally settled on “Treason, Bribery and other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
There was almost no discussion in the Constitutional Convention about the meaning of the term “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” since the framers KNEW what the term meant since it had been used in the English parliament for over 400 years as a grounds to impeach officials for crimes and non-crimes.  These impeachable offenses included such things as:
·     misappropriating government funds, 
·     appointing unfit subordinates, 
·     not prosecuting cases,
·     not spending money allocated by Parliament, 
·     promoting themselves ahead of more deserving candidates,
·     threatening a grand jury, 
·     disobeying an order from Parliament, 
·     arresting a man to keep him from running for Parliament, 
·     losing a ship by neglecting to moor it, 
·     helping “suppress petitions to the King to call a Parliament,” and
·     granting warrants without cause.”
Some of these “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” were actual violations of law but others were not.  Officials did not have to be found guilty of a crime to be impeached.
Perhaps Alexander Hamilton defined the meaning of the term High Crimes and Misdemeanors as understood by the authors of the Constitution best in Federalist NO. 65. He wrote that High Crimes and Misdemeanors were those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.” https://www.congress.gov/resources/display/content/The+Federalist+Papers#TheFederalistPapers-65

What is a "High Crime or Misdemeanor?
Any action by a President, Vice President or civil Officer of the United States that is 
AN ABUSE OR VIOLATION OF SOME PUBLIC TRUST.

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Friday, October 4, 2019

The Real Reason We MUST Impeach Trump AND Remove Him From Office

Our Constitution creates three co-equal branches of government-the Legislative, Executive and Judicial.  The Executive branch is the only branch in which the co-equal power is invested in a single individual, the President.

The President, as head of the Executive Branch, has a number of roles to play and in performing those roles has power equal to, if not in some cases, beyond those of the other branches.  For example, he alone has the power of enforcement through the military and the Justice Department and FBI.

The President of the United States is responsible for:

1. Being the Commander in Chief or the Armed Forces of the United States, the General above all General;
2. Running the vast federal government as the executive in charge of all of the departments of the U.S. Government;
3. Proposing policy and legislation and working with the Senate and House to resolve differences and reach agreement on public policy;
4. Upholding the Constitution and protecting the rights of every American for fair and equal treatment under the law;
5. Providing inspiration to the American people, speaking for the people as a whole and appealing to our best natures and our common interest-helping us to put aside our differences and do the right thing; and
6. Speaking for the United States, representing our country on the world stage, projecting the image of America that we celebrate in our memorials and historical documents.

Above all, we expect, or should expect, the President of the United State to perform these roles and exercise the great powers we have given him or her in the best interest of the people of the United States as a whole and NOT in his personal interest.

He is Commander In Chief, but the Armed Forces of the United States are not his personal army. He runs all the departments of  the Executive Branch, but he is not suppose to use the regulatory and other powers of these departments to enrich himself or serve his personal interests.  The legislation he proposes and works to achieve should be legislation designed to serve the interests of the country as a whole and not just his personal interests or that of wealthy friends or donors.  The foreign policy he pursues should benefit us, the people, not his personal interests.  In short, we expect and should demand that the occupant of the White House subordinate his personal interests to that of the people, us, all of us.

Donald Trump has put his personal interest first.  That is the impeachable crime.  That is why he should be impeached.  That is why he should be removed from office.

If we fail to hold Donald Trump and all Presidents to the standard of putting public over personal interest, then we will no longer have a democracy.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

What Really Happened During Trump’s July 25th Call to Zelenskyy?

The following is based upon the summary of the call approved and released by the White House with Trump’s approval on September 24..  You can read the full summary as released by the White House here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uyWKAGgHIqDEORgjOyo0uq7JOXzhxOQf/preview  

Let’s walk through what Trump said in the call step by step.

1.  Trump begins by congratulating Zelelnskyy on his election 
President Trump: Congratulations on a great victory. We all watched from the United States and you did a terrific job. The way you came from behind, somebody who wasn't given much of a chance, and you ended up winning easily. It's a fantastic achievement. Congratulations.

[Zelelnskyy won 73% of the vote to become Ukraine’s 6thPresident in April, 2019.   See: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/04/5-ukraine-presidential-vote-winner-190422063051756.html

2.  Zelenskyy compliments Trump by saying that he learned from Trump and that he used a lot of Trump’s skills and knowledge.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: You are absolutely right Mr. President. We did win big and we worked hard for this. We worked a lot but I would like to confess to you that I had an opportunity to learn from you. We used quite a few of your skills and knowledge and were able to use it as an example for our elections 

3. Trump reminds Zelenskyy that the U.S. does a lot for Ukraine, much more than the European countries. He says the U.S. has been “very very good to Ukraine.”
Trump: Well it is very nice of you to say that. I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk 

4. Zelenskyy agrees and says all the Europeans and says Europeans are not doing as much as they need to be doing.
Zelensky: Yes you are absolutely right. Not only 100%, but actually 1000% and I can tell you the following; I did talk to Angela Merkel and I did meet with her I also met and talked with Macron and I told them that they are not doing quite as much as they need to be doing on the issues with the sanctions

5. Zelensky tells Trump that Ukraine is very grateful for the help the U.S. has provided it in defense and that they want to buy more Javelins from the U.S.

[Javelins are anti-tank missiles.  Ukraine had obtained these missiles from the U.S. going back to at least 2018.  See: https://www.rferl.org/a/javelin-missile-delivery-ukraine-us-confirmed/29200588.html
Ukraine had asked to buy more missiles in August 2019.  See: https://www.rferl.org/a/us-ambassador-ukraine-asks-to-buy-more-javelin-missiles/30093162.html]

Additionally, Zelensky is aware that Trump had put a hold on $391 in military aid to Ukraine about a week before the telephone call.  https://www.wsj.com/articles/president-trump-repeats-criticism-of-biden-in-impromptu-u-n-appearance-11569254230  and here: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/24/donald-trump-ukraine-military-aid-1509070

6.  After they have both agreed that U.S. aid is important to Ukraine, Trump immediately makes a request for a favor.  Trump is saying in effect, “We agree that you need the U.S. and that you want to buy more Javelins and I know that you know I’m holding up nearly $400 million in aid.  Now, before I agree to give you more aid, I need a favor.”  This is the “quid pro quo.”  Quid Pro Quo is “a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something.”  See:https://www.google.com/search?q=quid+pro+quo+means&oq=quid+pro&aqs=chrome.3.0j69i57j0l6.8732j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Trump: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say CrowdStrike ... I guess you have one of your wealthy people... The server, they say Ukraine has it

[Trump mentions CrowdStrike.  The New York Times notes“Mr. Trump appeared to be referencing an unfounded conspiracy theory that Ukrainians, not Russians, were behind the D.N.C. hacking, and the Ukrainians framed the Russian government to make it look like that country was working with Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign. Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, has been among those pushing this theory.”  Part of this conspiracy theory is that CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm that investigated the DNC hacking has hidden a server in the Ukraine that contains information that could prove that the conspiracy theory is right.  See: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/25/us/politics/crowdstrike-ukraine.html]

7.  Zelenskyy assures Trump that Ukraine very much wants to cooperate and links this discussion to the earlier discussion of U.S. help to Ukraine.
Zelensky: Yes it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a President, it is very important and we are open for any future cooperation… I just wanted to assure you once again that you have nobody but friends around us… I also plan to surround myself with great people and in addition to that investigation, I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly. That I can assure you.

8.  Trump brings up Joe Biden and his son and another conspiracy theory that Joe Biden forced Ukraine to fire a prosecutor because the prosecutor was investigating Biden’s son for corruption. He asks Zlensky to talk to Giuliani and Barr about the Biden issue.

Trump: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that's really unfair… A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what's happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great…There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it...It sounds horrible to me

9.  Zelenskyy that Ukraine will work on the investigation and asks for any additional information 
Trump can provide.

Zelensky: I wanted to tell you about the prosecutor. First of all I understand arid I'm knowledgeable about the situation. Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament; the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved, by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case. On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to us it would be very helpful for the investigation

10.  Trump says he will have Giuliani and Barr give Zelenskyy a call about the Biden issue.

Trump:… I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. 

11.  Zelensky tells Trump he stayed at the Trump hotel in New York on a previous visit and brings up a visit to the U.S. and specifically Washington DC.

Zelensky: I would like to tell you that I also have quite a few Ukrainian friends that live in the United States. Actually last time I traveled to the United States, I stated in New York near Central Park and I stayed at the Trump Tower. I will talk to them and I hope to see them again in the future. I also wanted to thank you for your invitation to visit the United States, specifically Washington DC. On the other hand, I also wanted to ensure you that we will be very serious about the case and will work on the investigation. 

12.  Trump says again that he will have Giuliani and Barr call. He invites Zelensky to call about arranging a visit to Washington.

Trump: Good. Well., thank you very much and I appreciate that. I will tell Rudy and Attorney General Barr to call. Thank you. Whenever you would like to come to the White House, feel free to call

13.  Zelensky thanks Trump and invites him to visit Ukraine.

Zelensky: Thank you very much. I would be very happy to come and would be happy to meet with you personally and get to know you better. I am looking forward to our meeting and I would also like to invite you to visit Ukraine 

14.  Trump says they can work out visits and ends the call the way it began with a congratulations.

Trump: Okay, we can work that out. I look forward to seeing you in Washington and maybe in Poland
Zelensky: Thank you very much Mr. President.
Trump: Congratulations on a fantastic job you've done


 Question:  Did Trump ask a foreign country to open an investigation against a potential opponent in return for American aid?  Is that an impeachable offense?  You decide.