One of President Trump’s least desirable traits is his love of public spats – in many cases needless and self-defeating. He did it again during the impeachment hearing with former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
As I watched the play-by-play action – or lack of action – in the so-called impeachment inquiry, it was obvious that Trump’s team – the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee — were winning for the most part. Although you will not get that view from the east coast media propaganda machine.
In the middle of Yovanovitch’s testimony, Trump had to take to Twitter with a gratuitous tweet blasting the ambassador’s career in the diplomatic service – even as Republicans praised her past service.
The inquiry itself had little to do with the issues for possible impeachment. It was more like a job review for the reassigned ambassador. There was mostly bipartisan praise for her past diplomatic service and on a bipartisan admission that a President can remove, replace or reassign an ambassador at will. As Yovanovitch admitted, President Trump could reassign her without any public expression of purpose.
Instead, it is alleged that Yovanovitch was subjected to an alleged “smear campaign” led by former New York Mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. While the smear campaign was referenced innumerable times throughout the hearing, there was virtually no specifics provided as to what was said or alleged in the so-called smear campaign.
What came across in the hearing – although not in most of the highly distorted post-hearing reporting – was that Yovanovitch was NOT a fact-based witness. She was already out of Ukraine when all the discussions of investigations and any role by the Bidens were taking place.
If her testimony had any relevancy in the current proceedings, it was arguably to Trump’s benefit. In fact, when asked if she had ANY information suggesting ANY criminal activity by Trump, she answered, “no.”
She did, however, indicate that the participation of Hunter Biden on the board of the corrupt Burisma Holdings energy company while his father was Vice President of the United States – with Ukraine as part of his portfolio — was a problem. She agreed with the earlier testimony of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent that it minimally created “an appearance of conflict-of-interest.” Since an appearance of a criminal conflict-of-interest might indicate that a crime has been committed – and the further fact that Hunter Biden was serving on a known corrupt enterprise — an investigation seems a prudent and reasonable response.
Instead, there was repeated … and repeated … praise of her past service. One member of Congress asked how she and her family “felt” about what has happened to her – pumping up the narrative of victimization. They referred to her as being “fired” when, in fact, she was reassigned to a plum position that she requested – a State Department professorship at Georgetown University.
It was obvious that Yovanovitch was on the stand solely to make Trump look bad for removing her and saying unkind things. That is a valid complaint but NOTHING to do with ANYTHING relative to impeachable offenses.
Since the second day of public testimony – like the first day – failed to lay a glove on Trump, why was he motivated to tweet in the middle of the hearing. It struck me a bit like taking out a baseball pitcher after he struck out the first six batters.
Trump’s tweet was ill-timed, inappropriate and probably wrong. By all measures, Yovanovitch had a pretty good career at State. That does not mean that she should not have been replaced. For her part, she was unhappy with the way Trump was dealing with Ukrainian matters. In turn, he had lost confidence in her.
One major fact ignored by Democrats and their friends in the media is that the newly-elected President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, expressed his displeasure with her during the phone conversation with Trump. Zelensky said that Yovanovitch had been “working against him” during his campaign. With both leaders having lost confidence in Yovanovitch, there was little choice but to reassign her.
The major problem seems to be Trump’s going on a public attack on her. It was unnecessary. Yovanovitch was correct when she said that Trump could have simply reassigned her without making a public case of it. He certainly did not have to pile on with his tweet during her testimony. In a situation in which the Democrats were holding a weak hand in making an impeachment case, Trump slipped them a pair of aces.
This is not the first time that Trump had created a needless controversy for himself. He does it often. While he rightfully complains about the coverage he receives from the east coast media cabal, he keeps handing them more material for their bogus narratives.
It is an inexplicable bad habit that – if unchecked – just might cost him the presidency.
So, there ‘tis.
One of the reasons that this current phase of impeachment folly is called an “inquiry” is that it is the normal responsibility of the House Judiciary Committee to hold a REAL impeachment hearing – one that will lead to Articles of Impeachment, or not.
What is going on in the House today is nothing more than a long public relations stunt with Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff as the current ringmaster. There was no reason that Democrats could not have simply voted to launch an impeachment HEARING – as has been the normal course in the past. They could have had all the same witnesses – even some behind closed doors. The only difference is that the rights of the accused – in this case the President of the United States – would have been preserved.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi chose to bypass the normal impeachment process in order to gin up a political lynching. (Yes, I called it that in the colloquial sense of the word.) She assigned six committees to “inquire” as to whether Trump committed any offenses worthy of an impeachment HEARING.
You will notice I did not say “crime.” That is because impeachment – as currently defined — does not require a crime even though the Constitution says that impeachment must be founded on “treason, bribery HIGH CRIMES and misdemeanors.” That sounds like serious stuff.
Pelosi and Co. understand that the Constitution be damned, the only requirement for impeachment is getting a majority of one political party to pass Articles of Impeachment. Consequently, she has undertaken the most political and unnecessary impeachment process in the history of the nation. She has weaponized impeachment.
Of course, such Articles must be filled with language suggesting abuse of power, obstruction of justice and other dubious accusations that can be made to sound like crimes. In fact, the Democrats have all those talking heads on television saying flat-out that Trump is guilty of this crime or that crime. Of course, that is only their opinion – or at least their politically-based claim.
Once the Democrats finish their repetitious “inquiry” – rolling it into a quasi-public phase — they will transfer the impeachment business over to the Judiciary Committee to conduct the “hearing” that will most likely lead to a highly partisan vote on Articles of Impeachment.
In the meantime, we will have the impeachment ball lateraled to Jerry Nadler, the diminutive chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a stridently partisan New York Democrat, who makes Schiff look like the champion of bipartisanship.
Nadler craves the center stage over impeachment. He was among the earliest voices demanding impeachment – a full-fledged member of the #NeverTrump Resistance Movement. We got a preview of Nadler when he was undertaking his own investigation of the Trump administration – saying that HIS investigation was essentially an impeachment hearing.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi squelched that idea as being a bit premature. Instead, she concocted the impeachment “inquiry” concept as a precursor to a legitimate hearing. It was only a temporary setback for Nadler since the impeachment process would eventually have to come to his Committee.
Anyone who holds any hope that Nadler will conduct a fair and nonpartisan hearing does not know the guy. He has already accused Trump of every crime in the book. He even claims that Trump criminally colluded with Russian even though Special Counsel Robert Mueller made it VERY clear that he had not – nor had anyone associated with the Trump campaign.
Nadler insists that the Mueller Report accused Trump of at least 10 counts of obstruction of justice – even though he left that decision to the higher-ups at the Department of Justice – and they declared that NONE of the examples of POSSIBLE obstruction rose to the level of a crime. End of subject.
Some Democrats – apparently including Pelosi – want to limit the charges in any Articles of Impeachment to abuse of power associated with the allegations that Trump attempted to enter into an inappropriate quid pro quo with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Others – including Nadler – want to include every conceivable charge – even those discredited in the Mueller Report.
If we were dealing with a court-of-law, all the charges leveled against Trump would not likely survive the first Motion to Dismiss. But this is not a court-of-law. Impeachment is a political process, and Nadler is the consummate political creature. His only interest is to create enough cover for the Democrat majority to impeach Trump.
If you think the Schiff inquiry was marred by political acrimony and shenanigans, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
So, there ‘tis.
We can all recall how former Democrat Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke entered the presidential race with the adulation of the liberal media. He was compared to Jack Kennedy – a new young face. Dynamic! Charismatic!! Able to leap tall buildings in a single … or that was the fictional superman. Sorry.
O’Rourke was catapulted to national prominence by his campaign against incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz. The press praised the great campaign O’Rourke had waged, admired his fundraising capabilities and were celebratory of his vote totals. That was a lot of high praise for a guy who lost the race – but O’Rourke-Ophelia in the press is not conditioned on actually winning,
Beto was everything the mavens of the media love – a young liberal Democrat with a gift for gab. Not only did the press heap praise on the one-time legislator, but they predicted that he would be a serious contender in the Democrat presidential contest. He was a man with a great future in the Democratic Party.
Beto agreed. He saw the presidency as his personal manifest destiny. He said as much when asked why a rather unaccomplished obscure congressman would seek the highest office in the land. In a Vanity Fair interview, O’Rourke describes his political ambition as mystical – almost messianic terms.
He describes his speechifying as of pupil of Star Wars’ Obi Wan Kenobi . O’Rourke said, “… every word was pulled out of me. Like, by some greater force, which was just the people there. Everything that I said, I was, like, watching myself, being like, How am I saying this stuff? Where is this coming from?”
Speaking of his wife, O’Rourke said, “There is something abnormal, super-normal, that we both experience when we’re out on the campaign trail.” He summed up his presidential campaign as “I am just born to be in it.”
After his exaggerated accomplishment in the Texas Senate race and his overly hyped entrance into the 2020 presidential contest, reality has finally come to the O’Rourke ambitions. In the Whack-A-Mole Democrat race for the Democrat nomination, O’Rourke got whacked pretty early by another young charismatic candidate, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. The latter had the advantage of being gay – a definite plus among the more politically correct Democrat voters.
Despite being the momentary darling of the liberal media he sank into single digits, O’Rourke continued to sink. He tried to revive his campaign with the equivalent of political shock treatments. He gained headlines – but not support – for his bold promise to come and get our guns. He then tried to swear his way back into contention by giving out the f-bomb like it was Halloween candy.
With his polling numbers falling below the margin of error – and his highly vaunted fundraising ability fading – O’Rourke responded to the inevitable. His polling number in the first-in-the-nation Iowa primary is close to zero.
His lackluster congressional career – and his subsequent political failures since – have not diminished the idolization of O’Rourke by the east coast elitist press. In reporting his exit from the presidential race, the one-wing news media praised his efforts and assured us that O’Rourke has a bright future in the Democratic Party as well as in the nation. They gushed over his courage (what courage?). For his fans in the newsrooms, O’Rourke is a political Paris Hilton – a celebrity for little more than the media’s willingness to talk about him. But even that has a shelf life.
It is more likely that O’Rourke will slip into the bin of political has-beens – close to a never-was. He will be remembered for … very little for a short time.
So, there ‘tis.
President Trump referred to the impeachment process as a “lynching.” In colloquial usage, the word means that a person is being unfairly treated – outside the bounds of law and tradition. We often call our adversaries in such a situation as a “lynch mob.”
It is, of course, a rhetorical allusion – not a statement of literality. It is a “catch phrase” that has been in common use for generations.
In its current manifestation, it is also another example of how Trump hatred has distorted and reversed the norms of civil discourse. Within moments of Trump’s use of the word, the #NeverTrump Resistance Movement went into high gear – claiming that Trump is engaging in racist rhetoric.
According to virtually every Democrat presidential candidate, the use of the word was ripping open the deep wounds of slavery and segregation – alluding to an era in which more than 4000 people were summarily hanged without due process or the right of a fair trial. About three- fourths of the victims were black Americans.
According to such shameless race baiters as Al Sharpton, Trump’s use of the word was more evidence of his racist soul – minimally an insensitivity to the impact such language has on the African American community.
As with all anti-Trump narratives, the concocted lynching controversy was played out in the elitist east coast media for days and would be archived for periodic future use – whenever the propaganda press chose to pile on with a repetitious history of condemnations of Trump. It has now become a permanent addition to the media echo chamber.
As with much of the negative reporting on Trump, the lynching controversy requires a complete re-invention of history and reality. As an allusion the use of “lynch mob” and “lynching” have been as common as mosquitoes on a hot humid day in Georgia.
Former Vice President Joe Biden was one of the Democrat hopefuls who did not have much to say about Trump’s use of the word. Maybe that is because in a television interview during the Clinton impeachment hearing, Biden referred to the process as a … you guessed it … lynching.
In a total escape from logic and reality, Biden now claims that Trump used the word deliberately while he, Biden, used the word unintendedly – without malice aforethought. Really? Biden then added his use of the “L” word to his growing list of apologies of past statements and actions.
Democrat Congressman Jim Mc Dermott also used the newly forbidden word – and he even went further in a speech on the House floor during the Clinton impeachment hearing. He factiously suggested that Republicans were “… going to find a rope, find a tree, and ask questions later.” And how did his Democrat colleagues respond? They applauded.
Then-Senator John Kerry and then-Senate Leader Harry Reid were also among the verbalizers of the “L” word from the Senate floor, no less.
New York Congressman Jerry Nadler criticized House Republicans for criticizing the impeachment process by saying, “In pushing the process, in pushing the arguments of fairness and due process the Republicans so far have been running a lynch mob.”
Perhaps the most notable examples of using the “L” word came from New York Congressman Gregory Meeks and Illinois Congressman Danny Davis. Meeks called the impeachment of Clinton a “political lynching” and Davis referred to it as a “lynching in the People’s House.” Meeks and Davis are both black legislators. If “lynching” was such a hurtful racist word, you would think they – above all people – would have known that.
It is obvious what is going on here. Reality cannot stand in the way of maligning Trump – and that hypocrisy remains the dominant characteristic of the political class.
So … ignore the mock shock. And, if you want to get away from all the heavy political news of the day, you can always play “Hangman” online at hangmanwordgame.com – or as a “cool math game” at coolmathgames.com. There are other sites featuring what is described as a “classic fun game.”
FOOTNOTE: If there is any value in conjuring up the historic reality of lynchings in America it might be to remind us that virtually every lynching of a black American was done by Democrats with the tacit approval – or even participation of – the racist and segregationist Democrat leadership in Dixie. Repeated Republican attempts to make lynching a federal civil rights crime in the 1930s, were defeated by President Franklin Roosevelt and his Democrat allies in Congress. Just saying.
So, there ‘tis.
Yes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi actually said that – and the pro-impeachment press played her comment without rebuttal. That let her blatant and obvious political lie stand. That is what the elitist media do.
But what about … ?
California Congresswoman Maxine Waters calling for Trump’s impeachment BEFORE he was inaugurated. She raised that desire during the transition period when the Democratic Party, the political left and most of the east coast liberal media were in a state of shock. The knee-jerk mood on the left was to undo what the public had done – elect Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States.
Since it is not possible to impeach a President before he takes office – despite what unhinged folks like Waters seem to think — the dazed left tried to get Electoral College electors to break faith by defying the vote of their constituents to elect someone – anyone else — to be President. That was not even the craziest idea emanating from the deranged left.
We can recall that there was even a totally idiotic effort to have the Congress refuse to seat President Trump – even though the Congress has no authority to do that. And the Congress can only impeach AFTER a person takes office. Duh! And that is exactly what they are trying to do now.
In offering up her mendacious talking point, Nancy appears to have conveniently forgotten that Maxine Waters repeated and repeated her call for an impeachment of Trump throughout his years in office. Pelosi seems to have forgotten that Texas Congressman Al Green entered a bill of impeachment in the first year of the Trump presidency. Other bills of impeachment were entered subsequently. These folks obviously came to Congress with malice of forethought to impeach Trump.
Did Pelosi forget about Minnesota Congresswoman Rashid Tlaib who told her young son that she was going to Washington to “Impeach the m*****f****r.” When she relayed that bit of dubious motherhood to the others in her freshman class, she was cheered and applauded vigorously.
New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made no secret of her intent to push for impeachment of the President as soon as she was sworn in.
Contrary to Pelosi’s contention that no one comes to Congress with a desire to impeach a President, it is more accurate to say that the vast majority of her Democrat caucus in the 116th Congress came there motivated by one unifying thought – impeach President Trump.
So, there, tis.
If you follow the recent polls – and God knows why you would – they indicate that a slim majority – around 52 percent or so – favor impeaching President Trump. Some polls even indicate that a majority of the American public favor removing him from office.
That gives Democrats a rationale for moving ahead with their three-and-a-half-year campaign to undo the 2016 election. It is now 99.9 percent certain that they will impeach the President. They are claiming popular support.
Since at least one or two Republicans in the House and Utah Senator Mitt Romney in the Senate have expressed support for the impeachment inquiry, Democrats also claim bipartisan support. A few outliers are not, however, an indication of bipartisan support.
But then there are those other polls – the ones that get much less notice by the east coast left-wing news media. Those are the state-based polls in such battleground states as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. In those key states, most folks OPPOSE impeachment. In those critical swing congressional districts in which a Democrat won in a district previously carried by Trump, the voters are very much OPPOSED to impeachment. The numbers generally run in the 53 to 40 range against — with the remainder undecided.
These numbers should scare the hell out of Democrats presidential candidates and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It could mean the re-election of Trump and the re-taking of the House by the GOP if they proceed with impeachment – and they have little choice but to impeach. If they did not vote to impeach, their radical base would go nuts and Trump would rightfully declare all their talk of criminal and impeachable behavior to be political nonsense.
The apparent disparity in the polling numbers between the national figures and the state-based figures reflects the same dynamic that gave Trump the majority in the Electoral College even as Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. It could happen again based on the current polling numbers.
It is the weight of the large populations in blue states. Such states a California, New York and Illinois produce HUGE numbers for the Democrats – ergo votes for impeachment. But no matter how lopsided the numbers, the votes in the Electoral College would favor Trump. You can win California with 90 percent of the vote, but if you lose Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, you are losing the election.
In 2016, California alone gave Clinton the votes needed to gain a majority of the popular vote. But it was Trump’s narrow victories in several of the key battleground states that gave him the Electoral College by a significant amount – and with it, the presidency.
If you translate the current polling numbers to votes in the 2020 General Election – and assume that Trump can carry states and congressional districts in which there is opposition to impeachment, much less removal – it is very possible that 2020 could be a repeat of 2016. The Democrat candidate might again win the popular vote – based on lopsided majorities in California and New York — and still, lose the Electoral College votes to Trump.
An additional danger for Pelosi is that many of those Trump congressional districts that flipped in 2018 will flop in 2020 – giving back the majority in the House to the GOP and sending Pelosi into retirement.
Pelosi & Company fully understand that it is extremely unlikely that the Senate will remove Trump from office. They are banking on inflicting enough damage on Trump and the Republican brand to enable them to win both the White House and the Senate. It is a high-risk strategy with no guarantee that it will not backfire. But Democrats are already well down the slippery slope of impeachment. Whether it is a good strategy for Democrats or a potential disaster, only time will tell.
So, there ‘tis.
On top of Trump Deranged Syndrome (TDS), for First Lady, New York Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is showing signs of Terminal Russian Universal Meddling Paranoia (TRUMP).
Do not misunderstand. I do believe that the Russians meddled in the 2016 General Election. In fact, I am quite sure that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been meddling in our domestic and foreign affairs before and since. I think that is also true of the Chinese, the North Koreans, the Iranians, the Cubans – and even the Brits, the French the Germans and that guy in all-white in teeny-tiny Vatican City.
In fact, we meddle in other country’s elections. One need only recall how a bunch of President Obama’s political advisors traveled to Israel to try to defeat President Benjamin Netanyahu. We meddled in any number of South and Central American national elections. We meddled big time when we used the Army to remove and arrest Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega. He is still serving time in an American prison.
Though there is some equivalency, that is not to minimize the extensive and elaborate efforts undertaken by Putin to disrupt our political and social harmony. It is just that Hillary seems to have gone over the edge.
Granted, losing the presidency to Donald Trump had to be a YUGE blow to her ambitions and ego. I mean … on the morning of Election Day 2016, this lady was prepared to be giving a victory speech later in the day. Was to become the first female President in American History and the first First Lady to become President – the most powerful woman in the world. The emotional and mental shock of losing was commensurate with the perceived certainty of her victory. And she loses everything to … Donald Trump.
No doubt, every day of the Trump presidency must be an agonizing mental comparison of the “only if …” The bitterness and rage within her soul must be a consuming conflagration that intensifies rather than subsides.
As a result, the lady has gone bonkers. As a defense … an explanation … of her failure, she appears to have created her own internal reality. And when it rises to the surface like the hot magma of a volcano, it reveals her emotional state.
Since losing the election, Clinton has expressed several theories to explain her loss – and they all have to do with ignoring the facts and advancing her narrative-of-choice. Most have to do with the Russians. Though everyone concluded that the election was not stolen. There were no examples of wholesale flipping of votes by Russians hacking into the various voting systems.
It was also reported – and conveniently forgotten – that some of the Russian disinformation campaigns on social media was directed against Trump – and that much of it was designed to trigger social unrest along racial lines. But everyone from President Obama on down assured America that while there was Russian meddling it did not … repeat NOT … alter the outcome of the election. It was much later when Democrats and their media cronies spun the narrative in a much different direction.
In the spirit that she did not lose the election, but it was stolen, Clinton now believes that had it not been for Russian meddling, she would have won the election in the Electoral College – although there is no evidence to support that claim.
Suffering from “the phone doesn’t ring much anymore,” – not to mention all those big-dollar speaking engagements – Clinton is using her limited exposure to the national spotlight to advance increasingly bizarre and irrational theories and accusations.
It is difficult to image that Clinton could conceivably top her latest. In a recent podcast, the former First Lady alleged that Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is a “Russian asset.” Not just soft on Russia as a matter of policy, but as a witting operative of Vladimir Putin.
Clinton goes on to suggest that Gabbard will abandon her run for President in the Democratic primaries to become a third-party candidate for the sole purpose of siphoning off enough Democrat votes to get Trump re-elected. That is unless the 2016 Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, serves in that role AGAIN. Yes, again.
It seems Clinton believes Stein was part of the Russian meddling – a Putin asset – designed to take away votes from Democrats. Under that theory, you might also believe that Ralph Nader was Russia’s guy to take votes from Vice President Al Gore. And what international conspiracy empowered Ross Perot to damage the re-election effort of President George H. W. Bush?
Whatever her state of mind, Clinton’s public statements are increasingly sounding like a plot from a Russian novel. Her only chance of preserving a reputation of dignity may be to take a vow of silence.
So, there ‘tis.
The elitist liberal press predicates days of repetitious reporting on two assumptions – which they claim are facts. Assumptions are NOT facts.
First is the claim that President Trump wanted Ukrainian President to “make up dirt” on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter “for political purposes.” At best, that is one person’s theory – spin. It is not an established fact by the transcript of the conversation or any of the secondary commentary.
It is equally reasonable – and there is hard evident to support it – that President Trump was continuing the United States interest in ferreting out corruption in Ukraine and that the Biden issue was just one example. It is just as arguable that Biden was mentioned because it was the most prominent example in which there was legitimate suspicion.
Biden, the Democrats and their media allies say that the Bidens have been investigated and totally exonerated. There is no there there. That is simply untrue – nothing more than a partisan narrative. Several publications usually friendly to Democrats raised questions and suspicions of Hunter’s seemingly lucrative business deals based on nothing more than his father’s power and influence.
The case-in-point was the fact that young Biden was provided a $60,000 PER MONTH part-time long-distance position on the board of Bursima, a major oil company in Ukraine, despite that fact that Hunter is without any obvious experience in the energy business, was not associated with Ukraine previously and had a personal work history that would question his ability to attain any high-level job anywhere in the world on his own.
To make matters worse, the company that “hires” Hunter is deeply involved in the corruptive environment of Ukraine and headed by an oligarch often cited as one of the corruptors. This was before the reform candidate, Volodymyr Zelensky, was elected President.
As Vice President of the United States, daddy Biden travels to Ukraine to say that the United States will withhold American funds much needed by Ukraine in their fight against Russia unless the lead prosecutor is replaced. He wanted a favor – a quid pro quo – from the widely recognized corrupt leadership in Kyiv. (Hmmm. Does that sound like what they accuse Trump of doing?)
Some say the dismissed prosecutor was investigating Bursima and some say he was one of the corrupt officials. That is irrelevant because his successor did not investigate Bursima and the Biden connection. That was simply a declaration from Biden’s new hand-picked prosecutor. Well, duh!
When Biden & Company say that Hunter did nothing wrong, that is because there was no real investigation. If the FBI had not looked into Al Capone’s tax evasion, old Scarface could also have claimed to have “done nothing wrong.”
Of course, “doing nothing wrong” and “doing nothing illegal” are also two different things – as we see in so many of the accusations against Trump. Most of the accusations against Trump deal with alleged improprieties that would unlikely hold up in a court-of-law – even though Democrats and the media claim they would.
The concern over Hunter’s Ukraine dealings gains a degree of legitimacy when he traveled on Air Force Two to China with his dad and comes home with a billion-dollar deal for his consulting business – in which the son of former Secretary of State John Kerry is Hunter’s partner. Small world.
It is clear that as Vice President, Joe Biden did help his son get access to extraordinarily lucrative deals with nations that had – at the time – a troubling relationship with the United States. The extraordinary amounts of money involved seem to far exceed the professional capabilities of the recipients – and even of far more knowledgeable and capable professionals.
There is enough there there to warrant a serious investigation of Hunter Biden. What service did he provide to the corrupt oligarch and his company? What does he know about the alleged corrupt activities of the aforementioned? What would legitimately cause any business to hire Hunter at such an extraordinary pay grade? No matter how you wish to interpret Trump’s motivation in pursing an investigation of the Biden boys, it is still very worthy of a full and thorough investigation.
So, there ‘tis.
On example of how the to-impeach-or-not-to-impeach has sucked all the air out of the airwaves, consider the workers strike against GM. At 21 days. this is now one of the longest major strikes in decades – not counting the 3-day walk out against GM in 2007. In normal times, an auto strike would be the lead story at the top of the news virtually every day – but these are not normal times.
In my surfing the news networks, I was reminded of the GM strike by a report on One America News (OAN) – a second tier (but first-class) network that actually reports a number of news stories every hour – leaving their commentary to a few personalities. I have not seen any updates from any of the so-called major news outlets – even those the cable variety have 24 hours a day to fill.
Even if I missed a report – which is possible – it is fair to say that the coverage, if not nil, is minimal. Regardless of the myopic attention to all things Trump, the GM strike is a story and has meaning. It deserves analysis.
What is the current status and what are the ramifications for the labor movement in general? I will attempt to provide an update – but first I must go do the research that the news folks fail to do.
The fact that the strike is garnering very little coverage just be a huge disappointment to the leadership of the United Auto Workers (UAW). Strikes are intended to get maximum exposure and sympathy from the public to put pressure on those mean old bosses who will not accede to the demands of the Union.
In an effort to get some media exposure, Bernie Sanders went to GM to walk the picket line in solidarity with the workers. Since the strike has gone on for almost a month, it seems that the folks with the oak paneled offices are not feeling the pressure – or “the Bern.”
So far, the Company keeps making proposals, and the union keeps rejecting them. That happened as recently as this weekend. The strike has had huge ramifications on workers. More than 50,000 GM employees are off the job. An additional 10,000 workers in Canada and Mexico have been affected by plant shutdowns even though they are not part of the Union. The UAW claims that as many as 200,000 workers may have been temporarily laid off at companies that supply GM. That last figure could be a tactical exaggeration, however.
While wage, benefits and job security are the evergreen issues in a labor strike, this one has a few issues that may be unacceptable – even impossible – for the Company to meet. The Union wants GM to put three plants that have been – or are planned to be – closed. This is where the Union may be some sympathy from President Trump. The Union wants workers brought back from Mexico.
It is ironic that the labor unions – including the UAW – align so completely with the Democratic Party when Trump is giving them – at least temporarily – what they have wanted – tariffs.
Ironically, the major obstacle to repatriation is the high wages – and other costs — the UAW is demanding of GM. It was all those years of high wage settlements that pushed auto manufacturers to seek production overseas. The high wages also led to the competitive advantage enjoyed by foreign car manufacturers that put American companies on the ropes – and in some cases out of business.
The lack of attention to this strike shows how weak organized labor has become. In many ways, they are a paper tiger politically – especially the private sector unions. Back in 1954, unions represented more than one-third of the American workforce. Today that number is approximately 10 percent – and that includes the enormous increase in public sector union membership.
While wages have gone up, many union contracts have led to workforce reduction, killed off new job creation and sent jobs overseas. In trade negotiations – and I have been involved in a few – this is referred to as “benefiting the survivors.”
This strike will eventually get settled. The real question, however, is whether the new contract will put GM and other American auto manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage … again. The unions have too often killed the goose that laid the golden eggs.
So, there ‘tis.
I sincerely extend my best wishes to Bernie Sanders for a speedy recover from his heart attack and stent operation. The operation is not all that serious – although underlying causes can be. The only delay in getting back to full activity is waiting for the incision into the artery near the groin to heal. These days it does not qualify as major surgery. It can often be done as an outpatient procedure.
How do I know that? I have more than a half dozen of those little devices in my body. Anymore and they will send me to the metal scrapyard when I die.
The fact that Sanders suffered a “mild heart attack” makes a difference. Such heart attacks are not a grim foreboding of a limited future. Many people – me included – had had them. So, from what we know, Sanders should be okay. But this medical emergency is have an effect.
The outlook for his political future is not so optimistic. For months, he and Elizabeth Warren had been running neck-and-neck for the leadership of the progressive Democrats – which currently make up a majority in the party. Once that happened, I have long predicted that the Biden lead would vanish. And so, it has.
Sanders has been slipping for several weeks (not referring to his fall in the shower that required a few stitches). For the far left, the choice will be which of these two candidates – Warren or Sanders – has the best chance to beat Trump. The momentum is moving in Warren’s direction.
She appears to have three advantages over Sanders. She is a woman. That appeals to the progressives. As much as they love the old curmudgeon, he is still an old white male – a political breed as unpopular with those on the left as the billionaires Sanders attacks so much.
The second advantage Warren has is that, despite the fact that she and Sanders are identical twins in terms of the issues, her I-have-a-plan-for-everything has been far more effective as a campaign pitch than Sanders’ I-hate-billionaires drone.
The third advantage is age and energy. For sure, Warren – at the age of 70 — is not a spring chicken. But she performs on stage – and off – like the Energizer Bunny. It seems to be a presidential campaign affectation since she has been more sedate in her senate campaigns. It is her way of drawing a comparison to the two old men she hopes to defeat – Sanders and Biden.
Both Sanders and Biden would hit their 80s in the first term. Warren would never hit 80 during a two-term tenure. In fact, Warren would be about the same age as Sanders is today AFTER serving two terms in office.
Though not life threatening, Sanders stent operation shows that he has Coronary Heart Disease. Most old folks do. He is a reminder that the odds against being alive, healthy and – most importantly –functional for the next nine years is not very good. Very few people survive their 80s – and even fewer retain physical and mental facility sufficient to maintain an active lifestyle.
Most people understand that – and that is why Sanders’ stent operation is likely to cost him votes and continue his downward slide. Warren is likely to pick up those votes and use them to overcome Biden’s current lead.
It is not a matter of how they perform today, but how they are likely to perform in the future. Former President Jimmy Carter put it bluntly – declaring that 80 is too damn old to be President. Sanders’ operation is a warning flag – and it points the issue in Biden’s direction as well. With more than a year to go until the 2020 General Election, I would not be surprised to see another one or two “health scares” for Sanders or Biden.
So, there ‘tis.