AuthorTopic: 🤡 Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread  (Read 182318 times)

Offline Surly1

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Re: Add Nukes Again
« Reply #2265 on: November 20, 2019, 03:55:54 PM »
One of the things heard most often from bothsiderists and pother lickspittle sucks of corpmedia is that "there are two competing sets of facts."

How can you find out "facts" nowadays?  What you actually GET are competing narratives.  Currently, Trumpovetsky's narrative is losing traction, at least with the Pols if not his base of neo-Nazis.  If these jerks want to get reelected, now would be a good time to jump ship.

The one FACT incontrovertibly TRUE is that Donalditry Trumpovetsky is an irredeemably corrupt man who has been so at least as far back as the early 1980s when I first read his name in the NYC tabloids.

RE

I disagree to this extent: there are facts testified to by career civil servants, attesting to your above premise, that Trump is utterly corrupt. . there is an alternative fictional narrative launched by Nunes and the lickspittles who love him, consecrated to an alternative reality which has Ukraine interfering wth the US election, in contravention of the findings of the security series and the Senate Intel committee.

Trump went out today and burped out some of his previous denials. that's right, he held a press gaggle quoting himself.

He's nuts.

“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Offline azozeo

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impeachment hearings getting icy reception from group that matters most, Indies
« Reply #2266 on: November 20, 2019, 05:23:21 PM »

The Democrats who launched an “impeachment inquiry” against President Donald Trump without a single Republican vote in support no doubt intended to use the proceedings as a showcase to bring in independent voters to their cause.

With the country basically divided between Republicans who still support Trump in overwhelming numbers and Democrats who still haven’t gotten over the 2016 election, independent voters are the key to the 2020 vote.


https://www.wnd.com/2019/11/poll-shows-impeachment-hearings-getting-icy-reception-group-matters-independents/
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline azozeo

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Re: 🤡 Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #2267 on: November 20, 2019, 05:25:16 PM »

Democrat Who Voted Against Impeachment Says House Colleagues Are ‘Tired’ and ‘Bored’ of Effort


https://www.theepochtimes.com/democrat-who-voted-against-impeachment-says-house-colleagues-are-tired-and-bored-of-effort_3149748.html
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline Surly1

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The Democrats who launched an “impeachment inquiry” against President Donald Trump without a single Republican vote in support no doubt intended to use the proceedings as a showcase to bring in independent voters to their cause.

With the country basically divided between Republicans who still support Trump in overwhelming numbers and Democrats who still haven’t gotten over the 2016 election, independent voters are the key to the 2020 vote.

https://www.wnd.com/2019/11/poll-shows-impeachment-hearings-getting-icy-reception-group-matters-independents/

Citing wnd.com regarding the motivations of democrats is akin to citing old white men on the health care needs of women.

What's next? Stormfront? Gates of Vienna?
“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Offline Surly1

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Re: 🤡 Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread/Add Sondlund
« Reply #2269 on: November 21, 2019, 01:02:09 AM »
The Republicans’ impeachment lawyer made 2 huge mistakes in questioning Gordon Sondland

Ambassador Gordon Sondland delivered complex and convoluted impeachment testimony on Wednesday about his involvement in President Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal. He gave detailed evidence recounting the president and the rest of the administration’s involvement in his effort to get Ukraine to launch investigations of Trump’s political opponents — including by leveraging a potential White House meeting and a hold on military aid.

But he also, to the Republicans’ delight, left some ambiguity about how much Trump had been involved in the effort to leverage the aid, saying that he had “presumed” Ukraine’s announcement of the investigations would release the hold. And he noted that, in one phone call the president — as the scheme was slowly being uncovered — Trump angrily denied there was a quid pro quo.

Republican counsel Stephen Castor, serving for the minority party on the House Intelligence Committee, tried to exploit this apparent distance between Sondland’s push and the president as a defense against impeachment. But at two points in his questioning, he made a key cross-examination error: he asked questions he didn’t know the answer to.

The answers he got were not good for Trump’s case.

First, he tried to suggest that Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer who worked with Sondland and others in the State Department on the Ukraine pressure campaign, may not have actually been representing the president’s interests. If this were true, it might have placed greater distance between Trump and the apparent bribery scheme.

“You testified that Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president, correct?” Castor asked.

“That’s our understanding,” Sondland replied.

“But how did you know that?” pressed Castor. “Who told you?”

“Well,” began Sondland, “when the president says, ‘Talk to my personal attorney,’ and then Mr. Giuliani — as his personal attorney — makes certain requests or demands, we assume it’s coming from the president.”

Then, when Sondland was discussing his conversation with Trump, he recounted the president saying: “‘I want nothing! I want no quid pro quo! I just want Zelensky to do the right thing, to do what he ran on,’ or words to that effect.”

“And you believed, the president, correct?” Castor asked.

Then Sondland, who wasn’t hesitant to speculate or draw conclusions when it suited him, replied: “You know what? I’m not going to characterize whether I believed or didn’t believe. I was just trying to characterize what he said on the phone.”

The most plausible inference from that claim is that Sondland wasn’t buying Trump’s spin.

“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Offline Surly1

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The Democrats who launched an “impeachment inquiry” against President Donald Trump without a single Republican vote in support no doubt intended to use the proceedings as a showcase to bring in independent voters to their cause.

With the country basically divided between Republicans who still support Trump in overwhelming numbers and Democrats who still haven’t gotten over the 2016 election, independent voters are the key to the 2020 vote.

https://www.wnd.com/2019/11/poll-shows-impeachment-hearings-getting-icy-reception-group-matters-independents/

Uh, no.

Partisans seem unlikely to change their minds on impeachment. Independents might.


In the abstract, the views of American voters about impeachment don’t really matter. House Democrats launched an inquiry in late September to address questions about President Trump’s interactions with Ukraine. That inquiry may result in articles of impeachment, on which the House can then vote. If any pass, the Senate will then hold a trial for the president and decide whether his actions warrant his removal. In other words, it’s up to 435 members of the House and 100 members of the Senate to judge what Trump did, not for Americans to do so.

That is not how it works, though, for a number of reasons. For Democrats, impeaching Trump is also a rebuke of his leadership. Potentially removing him from office offers its own appeal. More obviously, those 535 elected officials represent their constituents, and if the constituents support impeachment or reject removing Trump from office, that’s an important guideline for the elected officials. For both parties, taking votes in opposition to the views of their constituents poses a career risk, one that elected officials are generally wary of taking.

So all eyes are on how views of impeachment are shifting. Are the open hearings being held by the House changing perceptions of impeachment? Is support for removing Trump from office growing?

New polling suggests that the shifts so far have been modest. Importantly, it also suggests that most Americans are intractable on the subject and that the group most likely to be persuaded is independents — making it unlikely that many Republicans representing solid-Republican districts would join votes condemning the president.

There has been a slight uptick in support for impeaching Trump and removing him from office since the public hearings began. Data aggregated by FiveThirtyEightshows that a seven-day average of polling on the question of removal has risen non-significantly since the open hearings began. The rise in support after the inquiry was announced, by comparison, was much sharper and significant.

(Philip Bump/The Washington Post)
(Philip Bump/The Washington Post)

What’s intriguing are the shifts by party. Small increases among Democrats and independents — and a downturn among Republicans. Generally speaking, there hasn’t been a significant change in views since the inquiry began. If these are the starts of trends among party groups, though, it suggests an uphill climb for persuading members of Trump’s party.

That shift among independents is intriguing, though, particularly when coupled with a new NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist poll considering views of impeachment.

Asked whether they might change their minds about their position on impeachment, most respondents — nearly two-thirds — said they wouldn’t. Those who say they’re paying very close or fairly close attention to the impeachment developments were slightly more likely to say they might change their minds than were those paying not too much or no attention.

But note the difference by party. Nearly 2 in 5 independents say their minds might be changed, compared with about a quarter of Democrats and Republicans.

(Philip Bump/The Washington Post)
(Philip Bump/The Washington Post)

Another survey, conducted by ABC News and Ipsos, shows that independents were the most likely to say that their minds were changed after the first week of public hearings. A plurality of Democrats had mostly made up their minds on impeachment before any of the Ukraine news broke.

(Philip Bump/The Washington Post)
(Philip Bump/The Washington Post)

About half of those who made up their minds in the past week were independents, according to the ABC-Ipsos survey. Of the 21 percent of respondents who said they had decided on impeachment in that time frame, 6 in 10 supported impeaching and removing Trump.

That said, the NPR-Marist poll still shows that most independents aren’t likely to change their minds. In another question, independents were evenly split on whether new testimony made them more or less likely to back impeachment. Those who were paying close attention said they were more likely to support impeachment, though that, to some degree, reflects that Democrats are more likely to say they are paying close attention.

That holds for views of impeachment in general, too, with close watchers of impeachment more likely to support Trump’s ouster. It’s worth noting that independents in the NPR-Marist poll were less likely than respondents overall to support impeachment. (Interestingly, not many people held an impeach-but-don’t-remove position.)

One reason that minds might be unlikely to change is that most respondents already have strong views of the impeachment inquiry. Six in 10 people overall already have a strong view of the inquiry, as do two-thirds of Democrats and nearly three-quarters of Republicans. The partisan group least likely to have a strong view of the inquiry was independents — though more than half still did.

Those not paying much attention to the impeachment were least likely to have a strong view.

Interestingly, there’s not much difference between those watching the impeachment closely and those who aren’t on issues that are central to what’s being discussed. For example, most respondents, including most of those who are and aren’t closely watching the inquiry, think that asking a foreign power to investigate a political opponent is not acceptable. (A plurality of Republicans think that it is acceptable.)

Most respondents, independent of how closely they’re watching the impeachment probe, also think that the identity of the intelligence community whistleblower who helped bring attention to the Ukraine issue should be protected.

What elected officials will be paying the most attention to, however, is probably this finding from the NPR-Marist poll. Respondents were more likely to say that a vote in support of impeachment from their representative would make them less likely to support that representative next year. More than half of Republicans said they would be less likely to support that representative.

Significantly, about half of those opposed to impeachment said they would be less likely to back a representative voting for impeachment. Only about a third of those supporting impeachment said it would make them more likely to vote for such a representative.

This is the data that elected officials will be watching most closely over the coming weeks, on the off chance that the numbers move. In the abstract, this poll result shouldn’t affect how members of Congress vote. In reality, it will no doubt be a significant factor.

“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Offline RE

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🤡 Sondland's spectacular example of throwing your colleagues under the bus
« Reply #2271 on: November 21, 2019, 02:32:35 AM »
He has the wrong Finger up.

RE

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/21/world/meanwhile-in-america-november-21/index.html

Sondland's spectacular example of throwing your colleagues under the bus

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN


Updated 3:59 AM ET, Thu November 21, 2019
Sondland talks about talking to President Trump

(CNN)This story was originally published in the November 21 edition of CNN's Meanwhile in America, the daily email about US politics for global readers. Sign up here to receive it every weekday morning.
That almighty crash you heard coming from the direction of the United States was the implosion of President Donald Trump's impeachment defense.
Red letter days rarely live up to expectations in Washington, but Wednesday did. Gordon Sondland, the central figure in the plot to pressure Ukraine, confirmed on live television that a quid pro quo scheme existed -- and that the US President directed it.
In a spectacular example of throwing your colleagues under the bus, he also said that several top governmental figures were in on the caper. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence and White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney are all now rubbing tire tracks off their suits.

Sondland left a few scraps for Trump's protectors — namely his comment that the President never personally directly told him to hold back military aid to Ukraine. But the avuncular ambassador to the European Union, who swigged from a collection of paper cups and water bottles during hours of testimony, seemed to have made a choice: He was not going down with the ship to protect the President.
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Despite his often sketchy memory, Sondland is particularly credible in Trump's world because he is not a career civil servant. Far from the mythic "Never Trumper" deep state bureaucrat, Sondland is a multimillionaire hotel tycoon like Trump -- and greased his path to ambassadorship with a $1 million donation to the President's inauguration.
So what happens now?
First, just to clear up any lingering doubts, the House will impeach Trump. Second, Republicans who mostly claimed they were too busy to watch Sondland must now twist into even more painful contortions to deny Trump did wrong — as they surely will in a subsequent Senate trial.

Don't look for Trump to do a Nixon by flashing a victory sign and climbing aboard his helicopter for a flight into political retirement. (In fact, he actually emerged from the White House as Sondland testified, with alternative talking points etched on an Air Force One pad in a thick felt-tip pen.) None of Wednesday's drama is likely to shift the political polarization that means Trump will survive in office.
But no one can now say they didn't know what was going on.
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Offline RE

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🤡 Trump's Removal Can't Wait for Impeachment
« Reply #2272 on: November 21, 2019, 05:59:34 AM »
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/trumps-removal-cant-wait-for-impeachment/

Nov 20, 2019
Opinion


Trump's Removal Can't Wait for Impeachment
Mike Vucci / AP

The most powerful position in the world’s most powerful nation is occupied by a demented fascist oligarch.

He demonizes and scapegoats minorities and immigrants. He provides dog-whistle cover for white supremacists. He sparks racist hate crimes with his vicious nativist words. He speaks with disdain about inner-city black communities. He tells police officers not to “be too nice” with suspects.

He packs the courts with hard-right racists, classists, sexists and eco-exterminists, toxically reshaping the federal judiciary for a generation. He has cultivated and rewarded Christian fascists, one of whom (Mike Pence) is his vice president
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He calls African nations shithole countries. He told four nonwhite progressive U.S. Congresswomen to “go back to … the crime infested places from which they came.”

He has absurdly threatened to “end birthright citizenship” (the granting of U.S. citizenship to all persons born on U.S. soil under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment) with an executive order.

Trump violates international asylum law and separates migrant children from their parents. He indefinitely detains tens of thousands of migrant children and families in for-profit concentration camps.

He declared a fake national emergency to criminally divert taxpayer dollars to the construction of a nativist border wall that most of the citizenry hates and Congress refused to fund.

Believing his dotard self “the world’s greatest person,” he promotes an absurd cult of personality, proclaiming himself a “stable genius.” He regularly praises dictators and despots the world over. He absurdly claims that Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution means that “I have the power to do whatever I want as president.”

Donald Trump attacks basic press freedoms. He demonizes and falsely conflates liberals and leftists. He mocks and disrespects intellectuals and science.

He absurdly denies climate science and arch-criminally ramps up the eco-exterminist war on livable ecology. He refused to adequately prepare for and respond to the epic climate change-fueled Hurricanes Harvey and Maria. He absurdly blames California’s deadly climate change-driven wildfires on the state’s failure to “sweep the forest floors.”

He threatened North Korea and Iran with nuclear annihilation. He provided cover for the absolutist Saudi Arabian regime’s murderous vivisection of a dissident journalist. He funds and equips the Saudis’ criminal and catastrophic war on Yemen over Congressional opposition. Last Friday he pardoned three murderous U.S. military war criminals.

He has turned the U.S. Attorney General into his own personal attorney. He has conducted a corrupt foreign policy on behalf of his own economic and political self-interest. He brazenly violates the Constitution’s emoluments clause while preposterously calling that clause “phony.” He denies and obstructs Congress’ constitutional right and duty to investigate his conduct. He criminally intimidates witnesses and whistleblowers, calling them “traitors.” He describes a constitutionally appropriate inquiry into his immoral and illegal behavior as a “lynching” and a “coup.”

His far right-wing attorney general, William Barr, argues that his executive powers are essentially unlimited and seeks to undermine the constitutional separation of church and state.

He wages a relentless Orwellian war on Truth, replete with more than 10,000 documentable false statements since his inauguration.

He openly flirts with calling for the use of extra-legal political violence on his behalf by his heavily armed backers, suggesting that impeachment could spark “Civil War.” He is the first president in American history to pose a serious threat of refusing to honor a re-election count that doesn’t go his way.

This is a national, and indeed global, emergency. We need Donald Trump out of the White House. How do we make that happen?

There’s no great mystery about how citizens humble and even overthrow corrupt and tyrannical governments. They take to the streets in significant numbers, engaging in mass disruption for as long as it takes. Look at Algeria, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Puerto Rico, Ecuador and Chile, to mention six places where mass protest and popular resistance have recently proven highly effective. Look now to Iraq, where hundreds of thousands have marched against corruption, even in the face of lethal live ammunition, and to Bolivia, where workers and peasants are facing bloody repression to resist a neofascist coup that was immediately applauded as a victory for “freedom” and “democracy” by Trump.

It doesn’t take the whole population to change history from the bottom up. Five days of insurrection by 200,000 people forced the French government to back down on its regressive gas tax last year. Extinction Rebellion leader Roger Hallam notes that it requires dedicated resistance by just 3% of the population to overthrow a regime. If Hallam is right, then ten days of rebellion by a quantity of Americans roughly equivalent to the population of the Chicago metropwolitan area could force the U.S. ruling class to get rid of Trump.

It is unthinkable that any but a few marginal voices in the mainstream “liberal” Democrats and their media (CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, et al.) would call for peoples’ power in the streets to bring down the Trump tyranny. The “liberal” elite is fiercely committed to Fake Resistance. It may be obsessed with Trump to the exclusion of practically everything else that ought to matter in national and world events (popular rebellions from France to Chile, Beirut, Quito and Hong Kong included) but they will not embrace the most effective method of collapsing the Trump-Pence regime collapse: mass mobilization and protest. Embracing an authentic people’s resistance movement would open a popular-democratic door that the Democratic establishment prefers to keep shut.

That establishment is instead advancing two tepid, deeply conservative strategies that will likely fail to get Trump out and will come with dreadful downsides—even if they succeed. Both of these strategies are designed keep the U.S. working-class majority functioning not as engaged historical agents, but as passive, system-trusting spectators who accede to a narrow definition of “politics” as little more than the occasional, strictly time-staggered marking of ballots next to the names of candidates selected in advance by the nation’s unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money and empire.

The first of these power-serving strategies is the standard quadrennial get-out-the-vote effort to rally citizens behind yet another corporate-centrist billionaire-pleasing and militaristic “national security” Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Democratic presidential candidate like Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, John Kerry, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden or the newly minted Iowa Caucus front-runner Pete Buttigieg—a silver-tongued right-winger (see Nathan Robinson’s brilliant take-down in Current Affairs last spring) wearing fake-progressive identity cloaking (like a certain technically black Wall Street-serving drone bomber-to-be in 2007). This is the same depressing neoliberal track that has so badly betrayed, divided and demobilized the nation’s working-class majority so as to grease the skids for Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Newt Gingrich’s Contract on America, George Bush Jr, the racist Tea Party and the malignant white nationalist Trump.

With the usual help from the anti-democratic Electoral College and racist voter suppression in battleground states, Trump will likely prevail over yet another dismal, dollar-drenched capitalist Democrat in November 2020. But even if the Democrats are able to win the Electoral College count and induce Trump to leave (with some help perhaps from constitutionalists in the U.S. military command), putting another Wall Street Democrat in the White House will just open door the for another neofascist white-nationalist Republican president in 2024—possibly someone more ideologically dedicated, less obviously corrupt and thus more dangerous than Trump.

(Yes, the Democrats could prevail if they run the self-declared democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. But the Democrats’ big money bankrollers and media won’t let that happen. The Democratic establishment’s dirty little secret is that it would rather lose to the right, even to a hard-right nationalist right-wing party, than lose to the mildly left wing of its own party. Even the avowedly “capitalist to her bones” Elizabeth Warren is considered “too far left” by top Democratic Wall Street funders).

The second flawed “liberal” strategy is, of course, impeachment, likely by the end of the year. It requires just a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, where the Democrats hold sway. But (as a remarkable number of U.S.-Americans I encounter seem not to know) removal requires a two-thirds vote in the U.S. Senate, where the nation’s most racist and right-wing regions are absurdly over-represented and the Trumpified Republican Party holds sway. The Republican-run Senate is not going to remove the demented fascist oligarch from office just because he tried to trade New Cold War arms for political dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine—not when a super-majority of Republicans “strongly approve” of Trump’s performance no matter what he does or says. And Trump may well use “exoneration” by the Senate to his electoral advantage next November.

At the same time, the Democrats are pursuing impeachment on chillingly narrow and imperialist grounds that whitewash the crimes of U.S. foreign policy, past and present. Democratic politicos and talking heads proclaim House impeachment testifier Ambassador William B. Taylor Jr. a great “national hero” and all-around “good guy” because Taylor was a rifle company commander “serving” in the Quang Tri and Thua Tien provinces in the United States’ beloved 101st Airborne during the so-called Vietnam War. Fellow Ukraine-Gate witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is upheld as another great patriot for “serving” in the U.S. invasion of Iraq. How depressing: The U.S. “crucifixion of Southeast Asia” (Noam Chomsky) murdered 2-5 million Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians between 1962 and 1975. The arch-criminal U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq killed one million-plus Iraqis.

One need not be a fan of Vladimir Putin’s oligarchic regime to wonder what’s so great about Washington’s sponsorship of the corrupt U.S.-backed capitalist Ukraine government, which is the product of a U.S.-backed 2014 coup and contains neo-Nazis. On what grounds do top Democrats think Washington has the right to play power politics and help fuel hot wars on Russia’s western border? “The U.S. government,” Sheldon Richman tried to remind Americans one year ago, “has no businesses policing relations between Ukraine and Russia. Even if that role were appropriate for some party, the U.S. government would not be the one, because it hardly has clean hands in the matter.”

How would U.S.-Americans feel about Russia and/or China sending military equipment to an anti-U.S. regime in Mexico or Canada? And if Democrats are so committed to democracy around the world, why have none of them beyond Sanders and a few other progressives denounced the recent neofascist coup in Bolivia or voiced support for this year’s popular uprisings in Ecuador and Chile?

Trump deserves removal not just for his crooked Ukraine shenanigans and related obstructions of justice, but for setting up concentration camps, separating babies and children from their families, inciting violence, interfering with voting rights, discriminating on the basis of religion, waging criminal war, criminally threatening nuclear war, abusing his pardon power, violating the emoluments clause, assaulting press freedoms, backing coups in Venezuela and Bolivia, unconstitutionally declaring a fake national emergency, violating campaign finance laws, illegal proliferation of nuclear technology, tax fraud, instructing Border Patrol to violate the law, stripping environmental and public lands protections, and doing everything he can to turn the planet into a giant Greenhouse Gas Chamber as soon as possible.

Even if impeachment leads to removal, Trump’s defenestration merely for interjecting his personal interests into Washington’s imperialist policy in Eastern Europe could constitute both an undeserved validation of that policy and an exoneration of Trump for his much bigger transgressions. And it would put the dangerous right-evangelical troglodyte Mike Pence in the Oval Office—a chilling prospect.

To make matters worse, impeachment threatens to become a great rallying point for Trump’s ugly white-nationalist base while encouraging the nation’s all-too-silent progressive majority to stay seated in front of glowing Telescreens to watch House Democrats and liberal cable news taking heads falsely claim to be collapsing the Trump regime from the top down.

If we are serious about getting rid of the demented fascist oligarch and his insurance policy, Pence, then we are going to have to join and expand an authentic opposition, a real popular resistance in the streets. The effective and meaningfully democratic way to remove Trump is not through elite procedures designed by 18th century slaveholders for whom democracy was the ultimate nightmare. It is through sustained mass civil disobedience—through rebellion by and for those whom the American ruling class fears and hates the most: the working-class majority.

The sooner Trump can be forced out, the better. Curiously enough, impeachment makes the need to form a grassroots movement to overthrow the Trump-Pence regime more urgent than ever. Now that he’s looking at impeachment and a Senate trial, there’s no telling what Trump and his heavily armed minions might do. He has enormous means of mass destruction and mass distraction at his neofascistic fingertips.

We need Trump and Pence out now, not some time next year. The way to make that happen is with a mass movement that will not only sweep him from power but challenge the richly bipartisan racist, sexist, imperial and eco-cidal class rule system that hatched the Trump regime in the first place.
Paul Street
Contributor
Paul Street holds a doctorate in U.S. history from Binghamton University. He is former vice president for research and planning of the Chicago Urban League. Street is also the author of numerous books,…
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Offline RE

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🤡 GOP lawmaker's line of questioning draws laughter
« Reply #2273 on: November 21, 2019, 07:46:13 AM »
Beyond absurd...  ::)

RE

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/w5g8h9kuhXg" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/w5g8h9kuhXg</a>
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Offline RE

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El Trumpo is losing his marbles.  lol.

RE

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-impeachment-hearings-twitter-schiff-russia-ukraine-investigation-latest-a9212236.html

Trump erupts over ‘human scum’ impeachment investigators in rambling series of false and misleading tweets


US president rails against Adam Schiff and Fox News following day of damaging testimony in Congress

    Tom Embury-Dennis
    @tomemburyd
    1 hour ago
    23 comments

Donald Trump has erupted over the ongoing impeachment inquiry in a series of false and misleading tweets in which he accused investigators of being “human scum”.

“Corrupt politician Adam Schiff’s lies are growing by the day,” the US president tweeted on Thursday morning.

“Keep fighting tough, Republicans, you are dealing with human scum who have taken Due Process and all of the Republican Party’s rights away from us during the most unfair hearings in American History.

“But we are winning big, and they will soon be on our turf.”

In fact there is no evidence Mr Schiff, the House intelligence committee chairman, has lied and the impeachment inquiry his committee is conducting does not deny the US president any rights granted to him by the Constitution.
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Trump impeachement: FBI seeks to interview
whistleblower who triggered investigation

Mr Trump’s outburst came ahead of testimony to Congress by Fiona Hill, a former National Security official who is expected to criticise Republican attempts to promote a discredited conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine, and not Russia, which interfered in the 2016 US presidential election.

It also came the day after Gordon Sondland, America’s EU ambassador and a prominent Trump donor, dealt a serious blow to the president’s battle against impeachment by appearing to implicate him directly in attempts to pressure Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden, his political rival.

Earlier, Mr Trump railed against his preferred conservative news channel, Fox News, for featuring a Democratic pundit, before revealing he had asked Apple chief Tim Cook to help build 5G network capabilities across the US.
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“The Republican Party, and me, had a GREAT day yesterday with respect to the phony (sic) Impeachment Hoax, & yet, when I got home to the White House & checked out the news coverage on much of television, you would have no idea they were reporting on the same event. FAKE & CORRUPT NEWS!” Mr Trump later tweeted.

He next went after New York prosecutors, who have in recent weeks subpoenaed Mr Trump’s accounting firm to demand eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns, the New York Times reported.

“Bob Mueller, after spending two years and 45 million dollars, went over all of my financials, & my taxes, and found nothing. Now the Witch Hunt continues with local New York Democrat prosecutors going over every financial deal I have ever done,” he tweeted.
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“This has never happened to a President before. What they are doing is not legal. But I’m clean, and when I release my financial statement (my decision) sometime prior to Election, it will only show one thing – that I am much richer than people even thought – And that is a good thing. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!”
Gordon Sondland says Donald Trump ‘directed’ quid pro quo

There is no evidence Mr Mueller accessed Mr Trump’s tax returns, and the special counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election actually cost the far smaller total of $32 million (£24.7m).

Pivoting back to impeachment, Mr Trump claimed a 25 July phone call with Ukrainian president Voldymyr Zelensky in which he asked the new leader to investigate the Biden family was “perfect”.

“I never in my wildest dreams thought my name would in any way be associated with the ugly word, Impeachment! The calls (Transcripts) were PERFECT, there was NOTHING said that was wrong. No pressure on Ukraine. Great corruption & dishonesty by Schiff on the other side!” Mr Trump said, though he provided no evidence to support him claims over Mr Schiff.

Mr Trump later added, ”Read the two Transcripts of Ukrainian calls!” in reference to the 25 July call and an earlier phone conversation he had with Mr Zelensky.

The president also sparked anger when he said on Thursday he would block any efforts to oust a Navy SEAL at the centre of a high-profile war crimes case.

Mr Trump last week cleared Edward Gallagher, who was accused of murdering a teenage Isis prisoner in Iraq and of killing civilians. He was found not guilty of the most serious charges, but was convicted of posing for a photo with an Isis victim.

“The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin,” Mr Trump tweeted in reference to the Navy SEALs insignia.

“This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!”

Mr Trump concluded with an extraordinary attempt to cast doubt on the testimony of US diplomat David Holmes, who said he had overheard a phone conversation between Mr Sondland and Mr Trump in which the president asked the EU ambassador if Ukraine was going to “do the investigation?”.

“I have been watching people making phone calls my entire life. My hearing is, and has been, great. Never have I been watching a person making a call, which was not on speakerphone, and been able to hear or understand a conversation. I’ve even tried, but to no avail. Try it live!” Mr Trump said.
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POTUS Thread - Thee OLD Switch-eroo
« Reply #2275 on: November 21, 2019, 10:09:28 AM »

So much for the #Resistance! While all eyes were on impeachment hearing, House re-authorized PATRIOT Act


https://www.rt.com/usa/473842-patriot-act-betrayal-democrats-house/
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

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Re: 🤡 Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread/Heather Cox Richardson
« Reply #2276 on: November 22, 2019, 03:44:17 AM »
"It. Is. All. About. The. Story. "

Diner readers heard it hear first. And if you've been paying attention, note that want #TeamTreason wanted was the President of Ukraine to announce investigation into the Biden's and Burisma. Whether they actually followed through didn't matter. #TeamTreason only wanted the clip for propaganda purposes, the better to smear the D candidate Trump fears most.

And that is all.

November 21, 2019 (Thursday)
Today was a revealing day for me in all this chaos, and I have not been able to stop thinking about it all.

Trump’s former Russia and Ukraine expert, Dr. Fiona Hill, testified today, and her testimony was electric. She was whip smart, cool, measured, thorough. No matter what anyone threw at her, she knew the answer, and delivered it with such detail and confidence that it was immediately clear she was a force to be reckoned with. She corrected timelines and laid out criminality, insisting that there was, indeed, a secret and illegal channel directly from Trump to Mike Pompeo and Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, designed to influence the 2020 US elections, a channel she opposed and despised because it weakened American on the world stage. She was crystal clear that this back channel was designed not to protect national security, but to benefit Trump.

By midday, Hill had become a phenomenon on Twitter, with former Federalist Society anti-Trump lawyer George Conway offering to start a fan club for her and Peter Sagal of NPR’s Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me, summing up her extraordinary performance up in a tweet:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my Soul to keep,
And I screw up, I hope He will
Please not tell Fiona Hill


Dr. Hill’s testimony was absolutely damning. So was that of her colleague, David Holmes, who witnessed the July 26 phone call between Trump and Sondland when they discussed trading an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma for a White House visit. Holmes tied Trump directly to the scheme, killing the GOP argument that the president was not involved. Damning, too, was the evidence of Laura Cooper, of the Defense Department, yesterday. Cooper testified that, contrary to GOP insistence that the Ukrainians could not feel pressured in the July 25 call because they did not know that military aid was being withheld until late August, Ukrainian officials had contacted her immediately after the call to ask what was going on with the aid.

Hill was clear, convincing, impressive, and, to those of us who study this stuff, she was also evidently a supporter of the Republican view of American government, although she also clearly works hard to make sure she doesn’t bring her political leanings into her work. (Her apparent political bent is going to matter in a second.)
Hill began her testimony with a very short statement, chastising the Republicans, including some of the people on the House Intelligence Committee, for parroting Russian propaganda designed to weaken America at home and internationally. The argument that it was Ukraine, rather than Russia, that attacked us in the 2016 election was Russian propaganda, she said, and she urged everyone advancing that conspiracy theory to stop. “In the course of this investigation,” she said, “I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.”

Devin Nunes of California, ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee (meaning he is the top Republican on the committee), immediately pushed back. Despite his own constant reference to such conspiracy theories, he suggested that she was being unfair. He insisted that Republicans were well aware that Russians had interfered, but that it was entirely possible that Ukrainians had interfered as well. That is, he wasn’t going to stop parroting Russian propaganda. And that, to me, was a revelation… not that Nunes talks in the exact same vein as Russian state media; I am quite used to that. But that, faced with a brilliant witness who was clearly in the Republican camp right up until she saw Trump cross into criminal territory that threatened American national security, he didn’t even pause. He treated her with disdain and continued his slavish reiteration of Russian talking points.

I watched the rest of Hill and Holmes’s testimony with a different eye. It jumped out that Jim Jordan (R-OH), John Ratcliffe (R-TX), and Devin Nunes (R-CA) were not at all interested in asking questions or making any kind of sense to a regular American. They were simply making speeches, yelling, and talking over the witnesses.

More though, using my new eye for propaganda techniques, they reminded me of nothing so much as being a talking head on a documentary. When producers are filming you in that situation, they very carefully ask questions to get a sound bite they can use. In that case, you are working together, of course, and you can craft your own answers until you like them. In this case, though, it seemed very clear to me that Jordan and Ratcliffe, and especially Nunes, were tangling the witnesses in questions designed to give the questioners short sound bites that they could then make into their own “documentaries.” They were salting the hearings with the language of conspiracies that people who don’t watch Fox cannot understand but which, in their sound bites, can be turned into a narrative that will misrepresent what was said and proven today, marketing it to True Believers who will then continue to support Trump and his party.

And then, as soon as they got their sound bites they would get up and leave the hearing, which Hill noted so it made the transcripts. Her point was that they don’t want the truth. They don’t want to govern. They want to be able to craft a narrative that will play on a Fox News show or on 4chan or on some other right-wing site that can keep their base convinced that the evidence presented has exonerated Trump, and that the Democrats are on a witch hunt, and that Ukraine, rather than Russia, attacked us in 2016. It makes sense to me now that Trump is maintaining in public that Sondland, for example, completely exonerated him by saying there was no quid pro quo when, in fact, Sondland said just the opposite. The truth doesn’t matter at all; what matters is the crafting of a narrative—propaganda—to feed the base so that Trump and his people can stay in power.

It. Is. All. About. The. Story. As I keep saying, Trump and Giuliani wanted Ukraine President Zelensky not to investigate Burisma and the Bidens, but simply to say on a major television channel that he was going to investigate them. That would salt the narrative, much as the constant stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails, and then stories about her physical weaknesses, and so on, affected the outcome of the 2016 election.

Their attempts to pressure Ukraine into announcing an investigation into Burisma failed when a whistleblower complained to the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, and the IC IG found the complaint urgent and credible. He passed it on, as required by law, to the acting Director of National Intelligence who, by law, was supposed to pass it on to the congressional intelligence committees. Instead, he took it to the Department of Justice, which told him not to deliver it, while also apparently telling Trump that news of the scheme had leaked out. The White House immediately released the withheld aid to Ukraine, but Schiff still found out that the complaint was being illegally withheld… and the whole scandal began to unravel.

Still, the conspirators did not get Ukraine to announce it was opening an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma.

Late this afternoon, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham, a strong Trump supporter, announced an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, asking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to produce documents concerning the issue.

--Heather Cox Richardson
“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

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Re: 🤡 Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread/Heather Cox Richardson
« Reply #2277 on: November 22, 2019, 04:57:40 AM »
Anybody who hasn't figured out by now that Trumpovetsky orchestrated this whole clusterfuck for his own political benefit is as dumb as rocks (which explains why they are supporters of The Donald to begin with).

Also anybody who doesn't see that the Repugnant Defense is completely transparent and worthless is DUMBER than rocks. None of that of course matters as far as a conviction goes in the Senate.The only thing that matters there is whether enough Repugnants are worried enough about losing their seats that they Jump Ship.

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🤡 Trump Attacks Impeachment Inquiry and Accuses a Witness of Lying
« Reply #2278 on: November 22, 2019, 09:07:42 AM »
EVERYBODY KNOWS who the "Whistleblower" is/was!  He's been Outted by a variety of Right-Wing websites and radio shows.

Trumpovetsky is a Pathological Liar. If he opens his mouth or hits his keyboard,you can be sure he is lying.  Are there really people who believe any of this bullshit?  I don't think even the Mouth Breathers believe him, they just DON'T CARE that he is lying.

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Trump Attacks Impeachment Inquiry and Accuses a Witness of Lying

Mr. Trump said a career diplomat made up a conversation between him and his ambassador to the European Union, dismissing a critical detail in the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

By Eileen Sullivan

    Nov. 22, 2019, 9:16 a.m. ET


President Trump and Melania Trump at the White House on Thursday.Credit...Samuel Corum for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump unleashed a series of falsehoods on Friday in an effort to invalidate the impeachment inquiry and counter sworn testimony from officials in his own administration, after a week of damaging public hearings.

In a 53-minute phone interview with “Fox & Friends,” Mr. Trump accused David Holmes, a political counselor to the American ambassador in Ukraine, of fabricating a phone call between Mr. Trump and the American ambassador to the European Union. Mr. Holmes told impeachment investigators that he had overheard the president ask the ambassador, Gordon D. Sondland, about Ukrainian investigations into his political rivals, a consequential detail in the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

“I guarantee you that never took place,” Mr. Trump said. He added that he barely knew Mr. Sondland, a wealthy hotelier from Oregon who contributed $1 million to Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee. In his own testimony, Mr. Sondland corroborated Mr. Holmes’s account.

The interview on Friday, broadcast live and commercial-free with a view of the “Fox & Friends” hosts speaking by phone to Mr. Trump, gave the president a chance to respond to the damaging revelations of the past week and reprise widely debunked theories and some of his favorite lines of attack.
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To start, Mr. Trump called Representative Adam B. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence committee, a “sick puppy,” a “corrupt politician” and the first witness he would want to call in a Senate impeachment trial.

Will he be impeached? “I don’t expect it,” the president said. “I think it’s very hard for them to impeach you when they have absolutely nothing.” Some of Mr. Trump’s top aides and legal advisers, anticipating that the Democratic-led House would impeach Mr. Trump, met with Republican senators on Thursday to strategize over what they would do.

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Mr. Trump also said he knows the identity of the anonymous whistle-blower whose complaint prompted the impeachment inquiry — and asserted that the details in the complaint were “fake.”

The July 25 phone call between Mr. Trump and Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, was “perfect.” He said, “Why should we give money to a country that’s known corrupt?”

Mr. Trump also said the Obama administration spied on his campaign, an accusation leveled without evidence on Twitter in the early days of his administration. “They tried to overthrow the presidency. This is a disgrace.”
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He also said Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election with the goal of helping Hillary Clinton, an unsubstantiated theory. “Don’t forget. Ukraine hated me. They were after me in the election.”

“This guy, Sondland: hardly know him,” Mr. Trump said.

“I’ve had a couple of conversations with him,” Mr. Trump said. “I see him hanging around when I go to Europe.”

Mr. Sondland is posted in Brussels and testified that he had spoken to the president on the phone some 20 times.

Mr. Holmes in public testimony on Thursday described in detail the phone call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland during a lunch with two other officials from the State Department, as they dined outdoors at a Kyiv restaurant and shared a bottle of wine.

Mr. Holmes said Mr. Sondland and Mr. Trump were discussing a recent meeting with Mr. Zelensky, just one day after the phone call between the leaders, which is at the heart of the impeachment investigation.

According to Mr. Holmes, the president asked Mr. Sondland if Mr. Zelensky would pursue the investigations he sought into Democrats. Mr. Sondland assured Mr. Trump that “he’s going to do it,” and that the Ukrainian leader would do “anything you ask him to.” When the call ended, Mr. Holmes said the ambassador told him Mr. Trump did not care about Ukraine, only about “big things” like the investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, Hunter Biden.

A day before Mr. Holmes’s testimony, Mr. Sondland publicly implicated the president and other senior administration officials in the pressure campaign against Ukraine.

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In the Fox interview, Mr. Trump hit on a theme that Democrats and witnesses have raised during the impeachment hearings — how was it that Mr. Sondland, with no foreign policy experience and who was not the ambassador to Ukraine, found himself leading the United States policy with Ukraine?

“But he was really the European Union ambassador, and all of a sudden he’s working on this,” Mr. Trump said on Friday. “Ask about that.”

Mr. Sondland told lawmakers that Mr. Trump directed him to do so.

Noah Weiland contributed reporting.
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🤡 Donald Trump Is Annihilating Truth Itself
« Reply #2279 on: November 23, 2019, 02:34:56 AM »
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/donald-trump-is-annihilating-truth-itself/

Nov 21, 2019
Donald Trump Is Annihilating Truth Itself


President Donald Trump addresses the media in front of the White House this week. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP)

These days, witnessing the administration’s never-ending cruelty at the border, the shenanigans of a White House caught red-handed in attempted bribery in Ukraine, and the disarray of this country’s foreign policy, I feel like I’m seeing a much-scarier remake of a familiar old movie. The cast of characters and the headlines are different, but the thinking underlying it all is, in many ways, eerily reminiscent of what we as a nation experienced during the early years of the Global War on Terror, particularly when it comes to the interactions between the White House and the public. As then, so today, there is distrust, there are conflicting facts, and there is little in the way of a widely agreed upon narrative about what’s happening, no less how to interpret those events.

The most blatant attack on facts comes in the form of the unabashed lying of President Donald Trump, who obfuscates and changes his many stories with impressive regularity. By this October, after almost 1,000 days in office, according to the Washington Post’s Fact Checker’s database, he had made 13,435 false or misleading claims. He had lied about immigration, the stock market, the impact his sanctions and tariffs were having on the American economy, U.S. troop withdrawals from the Middle East, the size of his crowds, and even the weather, which, of course, is just the beginning of a far longer list.

Still, despite the breadth of his falsehoods, the president’s behavior has actually been anything but novel at a fundamental level. After all, President George W. Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, took this country to war based on an outright lie — that there were weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein’s arsenal in Iraq — a falsehood which cost the U.S. more than a trillion dollars and took staggering numbers of Iraqi and American lives, a war that has never really ended and is widely seen (as Trump and Bernie Sanders have both said) as the worst mistake in our history.

The corrosiveness of official lying has long been the subject of philosophers. Hannah Arendt, writing about the Pentagon Papers and the corrosive effects of falsehoods back in 1971, called “the right to unmanipulated factual information” basic, one “without which all freedom of opinion becomes a cruel hoax.” But it’s important to note that, when it comes to the Trump presidency, there is so much more to the strategy of degrading public discourse and debasing the facts than anything as simple and straightforward as mere lying. Political scientist Kelly Greenhill has aptly termed Trump’s assault on the truth “extra-factual information,” pointing to “distraction, threat conflation, normalization, and repetition” as among the methods he employs to make facts anything but what they used to be.

For Trump, lying is but the tip of the iceberg and in this he reflects far more than his own predilections. He reflects as well our moment, our age. George Orwell, that prescient twentieth-century observer, warned in his classic essay “Politics and the English Language” about one key aspect of such a lying mindset: the way “lack of precision” in language can pose a danger to society and to political stability.

When it comes to imprecision today, the dangers couldn’t be more real. In fact, the strategies employed in Washington to confuse and mislead the public have subtly eaten away at the country’s collective mindset, creating fertile ground for Trumpian-style lying to successfully take root.  In many ways, the focus on Donald Trump’s blatant and persistent lying only serves to obfuscate other no less destructive methods of deceiving the public that preceded him into the White House and helped create the conditions that make the president’s lies so destabilizing.

Consider just six ways in which, in this century, imprecision and cloudiness have come to define American political discourse.

The Recasting of Language: The gutting of the customary uses of language and the substitution of new, imprecise replacements has, as Orwell warned, set the stage for lying and duplicity to multiply. Officials of the Bush administration, for instance, redefined basic legal terms specifically to circumvent the law. Instead of “prisoners” at their Guantanamo Bay detention center, they had “detainees.” Instead of “lawful enemy combatants,” they just had “enemy combatants,” a term without a commonly understood or precise definition that conveniently skipped the idea of lawfulness entirely.

In her famous book Eichmann in Jerusalem, Arendt reminded us how new “language rules” became part and parcel of the Nazi propaganda world in ways meant to confuse the public about the changing German reality. The forced imprisonment of Jews in concentration camps was, for instance, referred to as a “change of residence.” In The Death of Truth, Michiko Kakutani reflects on Trump’s version of such an “assault on language,” his penchant, in particular, for “the taking of words and principles intrinsic to the rule of law and contaminating them with personal agendas and political partisanship.” As examples, she notes his use of words “to mean the exact opposite of what they really mean,” particularly the way he took the words of his accusers and robbed them of meaning by turning them back on the accusers themselves. For instance, Hillary Clinton “colluded” with Ukraine, not he with Russia (ditto, of course, for Hunter and Joe Biden). Words, in other words, become exactly what he cares to make of them.

Uncertain Numbers: Numbers, which otherwise might seem so precise, have similarly been used to create a sense of imprecision in Washington.  A short trip down memory lane should remind us of some of the ways in which vagueness and imprecision were instrumental parts of the war on terror in particular. For Donald Rumsfeld, President George W. Bush’s secretary of defense, numerical precision of a distinctly imprecise sort provided an effective means of refusing to offer any meaningful information to the media on the administration’s illegal acts. He had, for instance, a penchant for referring to the number of detainees at Guantanamo in approximate rather than specific terms. “More than 150,” for instance, sounded innocuously close to precise, but also served his purpose — creating a lack of transparency around the administration’s war on terror.

The detention of migrants at the border in the Trump years echoes Rumsfeld’s refusal to share real numbers, but has gone even further in creating a kind of numerical imprecision around reality itself.  The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) has, for instance, been strikingly obstructionist when it comes to announcing the numbers of migrants in its custody. Last July, for instance, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan claimed that fewer than 1,000 children had been separated from their parents. As it turned out, he wasn’t even close to accurate. Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions alone, 2,800 families had been separated in this fashion. Only recently, a suit brought by the ACLU led to the release of government statistics showing that an additional 1,500 families had, in fact, experienced such separations.

Willful Ignorance: Hiding or ignoring facts has been yet another tactic integral to the deception of these years. The Bush administration, for instance, purposely disregarded then-CIA Director George Tenet’s comments about the striking lack of certainty regarding the presence of nuclear and biological weaponry in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Instead, they relied on false claims about the presence of WMDs in Iraq as the premise for invading that country.

Sometimes, Bush officials quite deliberately put their heads in the sand rather than face reality. For example, when the first accounts of the grim abuse of Iraqi captives at the American prison at Abu Ghraib in Iraq were reported by CBS News (and later even by Fox News) in 2004, according to journalist Andrew Cockburn, Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith “sent an urgent memo round the Pentagon warning officials not to read [such reports], or even discuss [them] with family members.”

More recently, upon the release of the Mueller Report, President Trump expanded on this strategy, applying it to himself when he boasted that “I have not seen the Mueller report. I have not read the Mueller report. I won. No collusion, no obstruction.”

Unabashedly choosing to bury his head in the sand in a similar fashion, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told the media that he wouldn’t read the transcripts of witnesses at the initial closed Congressional impeachment proceedings when they were made public. “I made up my mind… There’s nothing there.”  Several Republican senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have similarly said that they won’t be watching the House impeachment hearings, claiming they have “better things to do.”

Withholding Evidence: In addition to ignoring facts and embracing ignorance, withholding evidence has been one obvious path to blunting awareness. From the first Abu Ghraib photos to today’s military commissions at Guantanamo, evidence of torture has, for instance, been purposely withheld or misrepresented.  Likewise, the Trump administration has consistently withheld documents and records about its migrant detention system and the methods used in it, as illustrated by a determination to claim absolute immunity for officials refusing to testify in Congress on the subject. Similarly, ICE has refused to release records of the agency’s surveillance and data-collection methods, including the use of facial-recognition software at the border. It’s no surprise then that the White House has employed the same tactic — not allowing officials of all sorts to testify before Congress — in the ongoing impeachment hearings. As the whistleblower in the Ukraine quid pro quo bribery scandal has informed us, White House lawyers were directed “to remove the electronic transcript [of Trump’s phone conversation with the Ukrainian president] from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored for coordination, finalization, and distribution to Cabinet-level officials.”

The Destruction of the Record: A fifth tactic meant to confuse and enable governmental lying in these years has been the destruction of the facts themselves.  Worse than linguistic sloppiness, omissions, and willful ignorance has been the actual destruction of potentially incriminating documents. (We, of course, only know about examples of this that have come to light.) The Bush administration pioneered such tactics. We know, for instance, that Jose Rodriguez, director of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, destroyed tapes of sessions with war-on-terror prisoners in Agency “black sites” around the world in which so-called enhanced interrogation techniques (acts of torture) were used. Prosecutor John Durham, who is now tasked by Attorney General Barr with looking into the origins of the Mueller Russia investigation, was asked by Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey and then Obama Attorney General Eric Holder to look into the destruction of those tapes, only to conclude that there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue charges.

Under Trump, a strategy of destroying government records has evolved into one of not creating such records to begin with. In 2017, for instance, the National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a suit charging the Trump administration with violating the Presidential Records Act (PRA) by using an encrypted application designed to delete the contents of the president’s email messages. This May, the two groups, along with the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, filed a complaint against the White House for violating the PRA and the Federal Records Act by failing to create records of conversations with foreign leaders. Last month, the plaintiffs intensified their efforts by asking a judge for an immediate injunction to require the White House to preserve the records of all calls with foreign leaders.

Spreading Conflicting Facts: Trump and his team have added a new layer of confusion to all of this by making the spreading of contradictory stories a normal part of everyday life in Washington. The impeachment hearings are a case in point. Potential administration witnesses say one thing one day, only to contradict it without blinking soon after. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, for instance, said that there had indeed been a “quid pro quo” in Trump’s dealings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, only to retract his statement hours later. Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union who became a key figure in the Ukraine negotiations, first claimed that there was “no quid pro quo,” only to later revise his testimony. “I now recall” otherwise, he acknowledged, in a supplemental declaration issued three weeks later. Military aid had, in fact, been withheld pending a Ukrainian agreement to investigate Hunter Biden and Burisma.

This is increasingly the norm and not just in relation to the impeachment hearings either. Only recently, for instance, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told reporters that China and the U.S. had reached an agreement about reducing tariffs, only to be contradicted within hours by the president’s senior trade advisor who swore that no such agreement existed. And so it goes in Washington as 2019 comes to an end.

The New Norm in Washington

Of course, neither George W. Bush nor Donald Trump invented such methods of compromising truth and facts, but in recent years this has become something like the new norm. Through the centuries, as Orwell and Arendt made clear long ago, the connection between the integrity of language, the validity of facts, and the strength of any country has been acknowledged. The Greek historian Thucydides, writing about the Peloponnesian Wars thousands of years ago, associated the gutting of language with the dissolution of the state. “Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them. Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally… moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question, inaptness to act on any.”

Historically, the degradation of words has gone hand in hand with the undermining of stability for which the accepted meaning of things remains essential. Armed with the integrity of words, knowledge can be shared among a citizenry, otherwise chaos becomes the order of the day. In his farewell to the nation, George Washington, himself an admirer of the classical thinkers, tied such diffusion of knowledge, the means by which the government could “give force to public opinion,” to the strength of the republic.

Today, in Donald Trump’s Washington anything goes, linguistically speaking. Sadly, words are more important than we as a nation seem to believe. They are the bedrock on which facts are built and facts are the bedrock on which nations stand in order to make decisions. The Trump administration has little respect for the integrity of words, no respect for educating the public with the facts, and every intention of clouding the space between fact and fiction, certainty and uncertainty.

Perhaps the best strategy for finding our way forward is to hold one another accountable, first and foremost, for the very words we use.

Karen J. Greenberg, a TomDispatch regular, is the director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law, as well as the editor-in-chief of the CNS Soufan Group Morning Brief and the foreign-policy blog Vital Interests. She is the author and editor of many books, among them Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State and The Least Worst Place: Guantánamo’s First 100 Days. Julia Tedesco helped with research for this article.
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