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June 04, 2019 06:30 AM UTC

Tuesday Open Thread

  • 33 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

“Human nature is evil, and goodness is caused by intentional activity.”

–Xun Kuang

Comments

33 thoughts on “Tuesday Open Thread

  1. End of the Denver election today.  No matter who wins, it will be time to quote Clint Eastwood:

    Winning the election is a good-news, bad-news kind of thing. Okay, now you're the mayor. The bad news is, now you're the mayor.

     

  2. 3D Chess? We Just Want Nancy Pelosi to Connect the Dots: Progressives shouldn’t believe in unknowable plans on faith.

    I’m on team #ImpeachThe[Bleep]. Over the weekend, I heard every conceivable theory for Pelosi’s resistance to starting impeachment hearings, including: She’s trying to protect Red State House Democrats; she doesn’t want Trump to be “exonerated” in the Senate; she’s actually doing impeachment hearings without using “the i word;” she’s building a case for impeachment; she’s waiting for a “smoking gun” evidence of Trump’s obstruction; something, something Bill Clinton; she’s holding off on impeachment in case Trump wins in 2020; and Trump has already been impeached we’re just all dead and trapped on the Lost Island.

    I’m making that last one up, but you get the point. People need to believe that Nancy Pelosi has a good reason for not starting an impeachment inquiry, because otherwise her refusal to hold the president accountable for his crimes with the only tool she has looks like ethical and moral malpractice.

    If you are in favor of impeachment, the “Nancy Pelosi knows what she’s doing” argument is exasperating. It’s an argumentum ad verecundiam, an “appeal to authority” logical fallacy. It’s a trick that makes you argue against the authority, instead of the argument. In this case, nobody on the left really wants to suggest that the powerful and righteous speaker of the House doesn’t know what she’s doing. Maybe she really is doing some kind of multivariable alchemy and in the end this gelatinous goop that the Democratic Party leadership keeps serving will be transubstantiated into a spine? I don’t know. I’m just a mere mortal who has read both the Mueller report and the US Constitution within the past month.

    1. Speaker Pelosi knows exactly what she is doing and she is doing it well.  

      Impeachment has two components.  The nature of the first one is closely related to the legal system.  It revolves around the particular illegal or illicit acts a person commits that may make them subject to impeachment.  In other words, what acts of commission or omission has an elected official committed that could be defined as high crimes and misdemeanors.  I think volume II of the Mueller Report certainly outlines acts by President Trump that fit within the parameters of high crimes and misdemeanors but there is a second component that is just as important as the first one.

      That component is the political one.  Admittedly, since (thankfully) we don't have many historical experiences with impeachment to guide us, my opinion is just that an opinion, but it seems we shouldn't go forward with impeachment until public opinion is substantially for impeachment.  Without public support, impeachment will fail and probably should fail.  The question is does a substantial majority of the electorate believe President Trump's acts cross the line and therefore he should be impeached.  This is a political question not a legal one.  In other words, it is possible for an elected official to breach a criminal statute but the electorate does not believe it is so significant the officeholder should be impeached.  That is a somewhat confusing and difficult concept because it eliminates or blurs the bright line found in the first component.  

      The Speaker understands all of this and she is proceeding, as she should, slowly and cautiously.  

      1. …but it seems we shouldn't go forward with impeachment until public opinion is substantially for impeachment.  Without public support, impeachment will fail and probably should fail.  The question is does a substantial majority of the electorate believe President Trump's acts cross the line and therefore he should be impeached.

        So we shouldn't have proceeded with the impeachment of Nixon in Watergate, right?

        For instance, Zelizer noted, the jump in July 1974 came after the House Judiciary Committee launched impeachment hearings in May 1974, and the subsequent jump in August 1974 came after the Committee approved articles of impeachment in July of that year.

        “It’s clear from the data that impeachment proceedings provided the jolt that shook the public, among independents in particular,” Zelizer told me. “An independent by nature is not going to make a quick decision. Impeachment proceedings and then the approval of articles of impeachment are what ended up moving independents.”

        “This wasn’t Congress waiting on the public,” Zelizer added. “It was the other way around — Congress provided guidance to the public.”

        1. In the 1970s there was no 24/7 cable teevee news. There was no internet. There was no media conglomerate formed for the Republicans or the Democrats. People got their news from newspapers (remember them?) and the three networks with trusted anchors. The impeachment hearings produced real news of Nixon's wrongdoing.

          The parties were nowhere near as polarized as they are today. If you think there are enough Republican senators today persuadable to vote for removing Trump, you're living in a time machine.

          Trump needs to be beaten at the polls. Pelosi knows this.

           

           

          1. That isn't the argument I was confronting.  It's certainly a different argument that's worth thinking about, but I disagree that the news cycle or Republican intransigence are reasons not to impeach.  Also, I don't think conviction is necessary; I think impeachment is.

                1. Because he would campaign, speak, tweet and fart that the Senate exonerated him. He and his personal teevee network have peddled it relentlessly and a good chunk of the population believes it.

                   

                  1. Oh sure, I think that's true.  Isn't he already constantly doing that using his Attorney General?  While you appear to disagree, I don't think that Republicans in the Senate doing that will give the claims he's already making any more weight.  I think the same folks will continue to believe it that already do.

        2. Yes, that's right.  What created the jolt in 1974 was the release of the White House tapes in late July (by order of the U.S. Supreme Court) which showed Nixon knew about and authorized the cover-up.  That was the smoking gun that turned public opinion decisively in favor of impeachment.

          The tapes were released after an extended battle in the courts.  Knowledge of the tapes became public the year before in July 1973 when Alexander Butterfield, a White House staffer, testified before the Senate Watergate Committee.  In 1974, Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski subpoenaed the tapes. Nixon refused.  In late July 1974 the Supreme Court ordered the president to release the tapes.

          The point I was trying to make is there needs to be clear and convincing evidence that turns public opinion toward impeachment. It doesn't matter what the political class thinks.  Its what the general electorate thinks.  In 1974, the tapes showed, unequivocally, that Nixon knew about and authorized the Watergate cover-up.  The question at this juncture, which remains unanswered, is whether the public believes Trump's transgressions merit impeachment.  I don't believe we know yet. 

          The House is looking into and developing the facts right now.  In February 1974 when the House authorized the Judiciary Committee to look into impeaching Nixon, Chair Peter Rodino (D-NJ) said it best:

                Whatever the result, whatever we learn or conclude, let us now                    proceed with such care and decency and thoroughness and honor that          the vast majority of the American people, and their children after                them, will say:  This was the right course.  There was no other way.

          John Rhodes (R-AZ), the Republican minority leader said Rep. Rodino's statement was good with him.

          Let Rep. Nadler's committee proceed with gathering evidence and testimony.  If they find sufficient evidence, they can ask the House to authorize impeachment hearings in that committee.  In the meantime, their efforts and the information they uncover will influence public opinion.  

          All of us need to be prepared for either outcome. The public may agree impeachment is necessary or they may come to the conclusion it isn't, but may exercise their option to "impeach" Trump at the ballot box in November 2020. 

                

          1. I understand what you're saying, but the smoking gun tape wasn't released publicly until August. It wasn’t even ordered released until after the poll above was taken.  The first "jolt" happened in conjunction with investigative hearings on impeachment, which began in May. Evidence will become public through the process of impeachment, which requires evidence to be gathered before voting to impeach.

            I don't see a coherent argument being presented by Pelosi for not moving forward except that she thinks it's bad.  That's fine.  I disagree.  I think what she's doing is bad.

             

        3. You are leaving out a few substantial details of the overall experience of Watergate to resignation.

          They include

          • a previous round of televised Senate hearings (summer, 1973);
          • resignations and indictments of a sizeable number of Nixon aides (Spring, 1974);
          • publication of "All the President's Men," the Woodward and Bernstein volume which provided a clear narrative account (June, 1974); and
          • court orders mandating disclosure, from a district court, circuit court, and Supreme Court (July, 1974).

          The House impeachment action did not begin until May 1974 — so if you are urging we should act in a similar manner, the timing would be after trial and convictions of some low-level operatives, conclusion of a set of Congressional hearings (and publication of the report), and indictment and resignation of senior Presidential aides.

          1. So, the previous hearings are accounted for in the change in the polls from the first number shown, from June of 1973, to the second number, in February of 1974.

            You'd have to remind me which aides resigned in spring of 1974, as I can't remember that.  All the ones I can remember resigned prior to 1974.

            The book was published after the impeachment process started, so I'm not sure what that argument is.

            The content of the tapes ordered released by the court was not made public until August 5, the last day polled, for the tapes I remember burying Nixon.  By that time, the HJC had already passed articles of impeachment.

            While it's entertaining to talk about Watergate, none of that is relevant as support for impeachment, since the statement I was contesting was this one:

            …but it seems we shouldn't go forward with impeachment until public opinion is substantially for impeachment.  Without public support, impeachment will fail and probably should fail.  The question is does a substantial majority of the electorate believe President Trump's acts cross the line and therefore he should be impeached.

            Public opinion wasn't substantially for impeachment prior to the House opening the inquiry, and impeachment, and conviction, happened just fine. The House impeachment investigation into Watergate, regardless of any “lesson” it might offer, was undertaken without majority public support for impeachment.

            Now, my impeachment argument isn't that we look to Watergate, particularly, to determine whether to undertake impeachment.  My argument is that we have sufficient evidence of impeachable crimes already and that should lead us to undertake the process of impeachment.  I believe that not to have a formal investigation that describes itself as "an impeachment inquiry" in these circumstances is a moral failure and a betrayal of the constitutional responsibilities of the House.

            I believe that with the full knowledge that a conviction may not come and, even if it does, it will likely result in a President Pence, who I believe to be an objectively more evil and harmful leader.

              1. At the rate this is going, the impeachment trial in the Senate will likely take place in September or October 2020. What happens if he is re-elected after being acquitted? Do they re-impeach him in January 2021?

                Seems like a lot of heavy thought has gone into this. 

                Hmm, shall we following AOC or Nancy Pelosi? That's one tough call to make. Right!

    1. I’m in London and attended the rally.  Great time was had at the Baby Trump blimp and the Trump on the toilet float was hilarious. The march was fun with nearly everyone holding clever hand made signs. I don’t have a good feel for how many participated — there were rain showers.

      The upside down flag I was holding and my Never Trump bumper sticker drew a lot of media attention.  I was interviewed on BBC, Italian and Japanese media.

      Worldwide resistance!

      1. Wonderful!  Thanks for representing the US to the world to let them know how we really feel.

        I was in Paris when GW Bush was warmongering to invade Iraq.  I only had the opportunity to have a sympathetic, commiserating discussion about the worst US president in history (at the time) with my cabbie.

        1. There’s a weird video on Facebook showing a huge pro Trump rally also going on today.  No reporter saw that rally.  NBC reporter Richard Engel specifically noted that pro Trumpers were out numbered 100s
          to one by anti Trumpers. I also only saw a handful of Trump supporters.  I’m curious how that tape was doctored because it’s beyond weird — it’s a little scary.

            1. Upon investigation, it turns out that pro Trump rally occurred July,  2018.  A post to my Facebook account was deceptive.  Whodathunk?!?

  3. *rump can't suppress all the government expert reports afterall

    A New Congressional Study Finds Little Economic Benefit From The 2017 Tax Cuts

    And because the TCJA did so little to boost the economy, it fell wildly short of paying for itself in growth-driven new revenue. CRS calculated that the TCJA reduced federal revenue by about $170 billion in Fiscal Year 2018, with corporations benefitting most from the tax cuts.

    While the growth of wages and consumption were very modest in 2018, capital spending grew smartly, especially in the first half of the year. But Gravelle and Marples identify a surprising phenomenon: The sectors of the economy that showed the most investment growth were those actually hurt by the TCJA.

    CRS concluded the after adjusting for inflation, wages grew more slowly than overall economic output, and at a pace relatively consistent with wage growth prior to passage of the TCJA.

    …reported bonuses were equivalent to about $28 per US worker. And many were announced so firms could deduct the cost at their higher 2017 tax rate of 35 percent instead of the 2018 rate of 21 percent.

    If effective corporate rates were cut in half, and firms had new access to $664 billion in overseas income, yet they didn’t spend that extra cash on wages or investment, where did it go?

    CRS confirms what was well-reported at the time: Much of it went to $1 trillion in stock buybacks.

    That was good news for many shareholders. But it also was evidence that companies didn’t see a way to earn significantly higher returns by investing the money in capital or labor. And that may explain, more than anything, why the TCJA’s effects on the 2018 economy are so hard to find.

     

  4. Shocking news!  Senate Republicans grow a spine (or more likely, worry their wallets will shrivel)

    GOP senators warn White House they're prepared to block Trump's Mexico tariffs, say they have votes to override a veto

    Republican senators told administration officials Tuesday they were prepared to stop President Trump’s effort to impose tariffs on Mexican imports, promising what would be GOP lawmakers’ most brazen defiance of the president since he took office.

    Senators told White House and Justice Department officials that there could be a disapproval vote if Trump moves forward — and opponents say they have enough support to override a veto.

      1. Wall Street billionaires seem to believe they mean it

        DOW 25332.18 +512.40 (+2.06%)

        NASDAQ 7527.11 +194.09 (+2.65%)

        S&P 2803.27 +58.82 (+2.14%)

        10 YR. T-NOTE 2.12 +0.38 (+1.83%)

    1. Sr. Joan Chittister's words ring more true every day: 

      "I do not believe that just because you are opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, a child educated, a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."

      "Do I still stand with that statement? You bet I do, probably stronger than ever, to be frank," Chittister told NCR on May 22.

      While she describes herself as pro-life, Chittister questions why some who oppose abortion only seem to care about unborn babies as the sole "defenseless life" worth protecting. After babies are born, "they're ignored," she said.

      "You have babies and pregnant mothers on the border. They're innocent and defenseless, but those babies are being separated and segregated," she said.

      And many pro-life leaders do not consider defenseless casualties in war, she added.

      "We're not worried about pregnant mothers in North Korea or Iran," Chittister said.

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