Impeaching Trump the Cynical Way

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#NoResistance

W.J. Astore

Dare I say I haven’t been watching the impeachment proceedings against Trump?  That’s because the charges brought against Trump by the Democrats are weak.  They are basically for Trump acting like Trump.  The Donald is not, never has been, and never will be a public servant.  His existence as president revolves around rallies, golfing, watching Fox News, tweeting, and attending an occasional meeting, party, or other photo op.  If you want to impeach him, why not for not doing his job as chief executive?

What Trump did with Ukraine is what Trump has always done.  He pressured a guy to dig up dirt on another guy who could be a potential rival for his job.  For Trump, this isn’t a crime: it’s business as usual.  He has no grasp of his constitutional duties as president and no interest in learning.

Trump’s next crime has been to stonewall with lawyers and the like while going on the attack.  Again, this is par for the course for him.  He tells his underlings not to obey Congressional orders to testify.  He fights delaying actions.  He lies.  He’s used these and similar tactics his whole life and has lived to fight another day.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think Trump is unqualified to be president.  I’d like to see him gone.  But the charges the Democrats have brought are incredibly weak compared to the damage Trump has already wreaked.  That damage, however, is largely bipartisan, meaning if the Democrats (like Nancy Pelosi) were to call Trump to account for his real crimes against America, they’d implicate themselves as well.  And that’s not about to happen.

The analogy I’ve heard more than once for Trump’s impeachment is that it’s like going after Al Capone for income tax avoidance rather than his murderous reign as a gangster.  Even here, though, it seems more like we’re going after Capone for unpaid parking tickets or for playing Italian opera too loud.

We’ve been told impeachment is a political act, not, strictly speaking, a legal one, and that surely is the case here.  The cynic in me says this: Establishment democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi, knew they had to do something against Trump, if only to appease activists within the party.  Yet they also know they can’t remove Trump, not only because the Senate is controlled by Republicans, but because they can’t charge him with real crimes without implicating themselves, e.g. continuing to sell arms to Saudi Arabia and supporting the House of Saud no matter what in the name of profit and the petrodollar, even if that means a genocide in Yemen.  (It’s a lot worse than cajoling Ukraine to issue a negative statement about the Bidens, right?)

The Democrats know impeachment will fail in the Senate, but they can at least say they took a stand, even if they’re up to their necks in the swamps of DC.  It’s all so sad and sordid, and so predictably the behavior of an opposition party that offers no real opposition.

Readers, what do you think?

24 thoughts on “Impeaching Trump the Cynical Way

  1. This is the same reason I have paid scant attention to the whole process. It’s incomplete and ineffectual. This opposition action ( or lack of it) is one more reason why our democratic republic could be entering its sunset.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we are in the twilight right now. We have been there for 19 years in a real terrible way. Trump is guilty of crimes against humanity and belongs in the Hague. The Ukraine crime is EXTORTION. Why soft pedal what this man is doing. He is a super thug and a master cheater. The reason Trump has not been properly charged is that the people charging him are guilty of the same crimes. For them to charge Trump would open Pandora’s box which they have been busy stuffing for some time and keeping the change. Pelosi is worth over $100 million and you can be sure that came from corruption of the worst ilk.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I must agree with you. However, some of the charges against King George III as enumerated in the Declaration of Independence are a bit flimsy too 🙂

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  3. An Early View Into How the World Works

    In my hometown of Calumet City, Illinois there was a bar at the intersection of 159th & Route 6 called The Ball of Fire. Popular place, couldn’t miss it with its blazing red neon ball sign.
    Every summer, from the first weekend in June to Labor Day Weekend, my friends and I pursued the Civic League Championship on our neighborhood’s baseball fields. In our young lives, this was serious stuff and our coaches were “all in” as well. Onward, to victory and glory! Yeah, well.
    Early one evening in July of ’65, as my team took the field for the top of the seventh (and last) inning, I heard my manager ask our opponents’ manager, “Hey, Tommy! See you at The Ball after the game?” to which Tommy replied, “You bet.”
    I was only 11 and as yet unacquainted with the phrase “tantamount to treason” but it was obvious someone was going through the motions, and it wasn’t anyone wearing grey flannels, Keds, and a baseball cap.

    So, it came as no great surprise when the Democrats – in their cherished role of “loyal opposition” – announced that three years into the current administration, they had a grand total of two (2) counts for impeachment, which they probably scribbled out on a cocktail napkin over dinner the previous evening. “We have to say something.”
    As one of my ex-wives recently put it, “… and people thought the Weimar Republic was a joke.”
    In a couple weeks – if not sooner – there will be a press conference featuring grim-faced Democrats who will assure the populace they’ve done all they could but even in failure they had at least brought evil into The Light, “… and it will be up to the voters to finish the job in November. Thank you, and God bless America.”
    The only thing lacking will be someone – McConnell or Graham, perhaps – calling out, “Hey, Nancy! See you at The Ball later?”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Mentioning a notorious gangster in your good essay on Congress may be even more appropriate on investigating the Mob. Sandra Lansky, daughter of Meyer, wrote a book “Daughter of the King. Growing up in Gangland”. Quite humorous, and very informing, she mentions the many “investigations” Congress, FBI, Senate, put Dad & chums through. With a chuckle, thanks to paid informants, they had their “defence” long before the trials. Never packed a bag for prison! Just made sure their limos were comfortably heated or air conditioned after the quick dismissal. Is this all sounding familiar?
    We’re learning as a Nation “Foreign aide” is nothing of the sort, but a payoff to Congressional sponsors of the bills. Biden & son prove this, but can’t be investigated, because so many others have played the same racket. Today, I’m taking bets on who wins Venezuela’s CITGO stations in USA in Congress, though they may have to split up this enormous piracy.
    Back to the Lansky’s, Sandra is honest enough to end her tale in Havana: Castro meant real business, and seized their glamorous hotels and cash. The Mob never recovered financially from this immense loss, and lost a power in USA they held since the 1920’s.
    So maybe this impeachment scheme ain’t so bad…..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I get your argument, but I disagree (which is unusual because you typically make a realistic argument/point.) Trump has committed real crimes, many more than are in the Articles of Impeachment. You know that. I believe that he has to be held accountable or there is no rule of law. Your argument seems to be: he always commit crimes, so that’s okay. The inane “Yeah, well what about Obama ….” argument. “Yeah, well what about…” is an acceptance that crime is okay. A cop on a street doesn’t let the suspect go because “everybody is doing it.” The argument you and others make amounts to yelling “a plague on both their houses” and then stopping there. Is there cynicism at play in Washington? Oh my god yes. I fear that cynicism has made us all apologists for business as usual. This ain’t a perfect world. We muddle on despite our own hypocrisies, because it is still worth trying to do the right thing.

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    1. My argument is the Democrats cynically decided to impeach Trump on a relatively minor issue, one that affected Joe Biden more than anyone else.

      If you’re going to impeach Trump, hit him hard. His profiting from his office. His bowing before the House of Saud and complicity in war crimes in Yemen. His immigration policies, i.e. separating families, putting people in cages, etc.

      The problem is that establishment Democrats also support weapons sales to the Saudis; they also support harsh immigration policies, as the Obama administration practiced. They give Trump more money for the military; they extend the Patriot Act; they give him a trade victory (NAFTA 2.0). They’re empowering Trump at the same time they’re saying he’s crooked and dangerous.

      The Democrats have gone for impeachment-lite, and it’s much too weak of an approach when you consider Trump and his agenda.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sorry I’m a bit late to this discussion. I have been pointing out for some time that Trump is impeachable for enacting policies to DELIBERATELY accelerate the degradation of the planet’s environment. This violates what the Constitution lays out as THE prime purpose of the damned government: “to promote the general welfare” of the citizenry! That said, I have been extremely critical of Pelosi’s “leadership” and foot-dragging. However, in retrospect I have to say she showed some wisdom in letting Trump impeach himself with his released (though apparently somewhat redacted) transcript of the “perfect” phone call to Ukraine. Plus his doubling-down public statements that China should investigate Biden also, etc. The GOP committee members wasted enough time (for which they’re being paid by us taxpayers. of course) swinging from the chandeliers like demented monkeys over these measly two Articles of Impeachment. For how many weeks (months?) would you have liked this process to be dragged on, Bill Astore?? We know the Senate will acquit, and McConnell may try to hold a vote for that, or dismissal of charges, before a shred of evidence is presented to that “august” body. Proceeding with impeachment is the right thing to do, on principle, regardless of the dreadful shortcomings of today’s Democratic Party. Boris Johnson, Trump’s “soulmate,” just kicked butt in the UK. This bodes very ill for our 2020 election. The Trump base will be highly motivated to keep their Hater-in-Chief in office for another term. And our country will just keep sinking deeper into the mire. Oh, joy!

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  7. Butsudanbill, this is bizzare, I grew up in Lansing, Illinois, same era as you. Once my best friend and I went to the Ball of Fire, it had that mystical lure. My group hung out at Rosen Crown @ 154th Place and Wentworth after the army in 1971. I once heard that Calumet City, Il had more liquor licenses per capita than any other city in America.

    Anyway back to the subject of today’s blog. Without one shred or scintilla of factual evidence (Who needs that these days) I suspect if President Agent Orange told Rudy and crew to go to Ukraine and dig up dirt on Bernie Sanders, it would have been Ho-Hum, lets move on. The crews at CNN and MSDNC would have given out a collective yawn.

    Since it was Joe Biden all the defenses were mustered to defend Corporate Joe and his son Hunter, who got a very cushy gig, without much to recommend Hunter for the job.

    I read this quote by Carl Sandburg, ““If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.” This is the Republican Strategy.

    The Democrats take the approach of putting you to sleep. Like the Mueller Report, this Impeachment effort will be a blank. All the effort will be for nothing. Instead of focusing on issues for the people, the diversion into Impeachment avoids any Progressive Movement. CNN and MSDNC have come with the scenario that President Agent Orange’s High Crimes and Misdemeanors are visible to everyone and Republican’s in the Senate voting to acquit will imperil themselves and the Republican Party. HA, HA, fat chance of that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No less an authority than LIFE Magazine dubbed Calumet City “Sin City” when Las Vegas was just a wide spot in the road. Cal City & Cicero were where the Chicago mob moved their operation when they decided Windy City politicians were too corrupt even for them to deal with any longer.

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  8. Yes, WJA, I have to strongly agree with your take on these impeachment proceedings. While I would like to see Trump (& Pence, McConnell, et al) out of office AND replaced by true progressives, it just ain’t gonna happen, at least from everything I’ve observed. As has been obvious from day-one of the proceedings, impeachment has virtually no chance of getting approved in the Senate, so this is essentially just bad-theatre that’s spending a lot of time & money on a dead-end, so I’m not going to waste my time watching or following it. And even in a crass political calculus, this isn’t going to hurt Trump because virtually everyone already KNOWS Trump is a sleaze-bag, but his voters don’t care — it’s more like revealing that the Pope is Catholic. And without any positive changes to the Electoral College (the reason Trump became POTUS), it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he won again.

    Sadly, the impeachment efforts I’ve lived through were all about relatively minor things (ie; Nixon’s Watergate break-in and coverup, Clinton’s extra-marital blowjob, and now Trump’s pressuring foreign powers to investigate a political opponent). I promise to get more interested when they begin impeachment proceedings against a POTUS for starting a war under a pretense of lies, like W & Cheney & friends, where 10’s or 100’s of thousands of poor innocents lost their lives, or Johnson or Nixon for lying about trying to withdraw from Vietnam, etc. But as you alluded to, those kinds of things, as well as the rampant corruption, are essentially structural, institutionalized, so there’s no-chance that can occur.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, and there was a tacit understanding that Obama would not do a thing about his predecessors’ launching the Endless War under phony as hell circumstances. They just dare not set such a precedent!! You have understated the seriousness of Nixon’s offenses, however. All the lines of command led back to the White House, including the activities of the crew of ex-Cubans doing the dirtiest deeds, some of whom very likely were involved in assassination of JFK. I think I can safely predict that I will be dead of old age (or some nasty malady) before the truth of THAT operation is ever ferreted out of government files (stored at bottom of some salt mine, perhaps? Or permanently vaporized?). One need not be a conspiracy theorist (and I certainly ain’t) to grasp these matters.

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  9. From the beginning of this impeachment process, Democrats have argued that “simpler is better” because the Republicans will have a harder time defending Trump from fairly straight-forward and easy to understand charges without it being obvious to everyone that they’re letting him get away with things they would never allow from a Democrat. So far, the Democrat’s strategy makes sense to me, because the Republican defenses of Trump have been nothing but ludicrous lies and bluster. I think it’s too early to judge the Democrat’s strategy. We’ll have to wait until November 2020 to see if acquitting Trump helps, or hurts, Republican senators. My only hope for this whole process is that it will lead to a progressive landslide in November, with many millions of new voters who will have seen enough to understand why many of us, for many years, have had enough of this rotten, corrupt regime; and will elect Bernie Sanders no matter how many billions are spent, and how many dirty DNC tricks are played to try to nominate Biden, Buttigieg, Bloomberg, etc., so they can keep the status quo.

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    1. I continue to argue that the impeachment process must be pursued ON PRINCIPLE. GOP strategy now appears to be to maneuver to quash the Senate trial before any evidence can even be presented! If, on top of that, SCOTUS declines to intervene on the side of that archaic, quaint concept of “the rule of law,” then Trump will have achieved his apparent goal of dictatorship. Even I could not conceive such things at the start of Trump’s term in office. The GOP enablers of such a process obviously should be “run out of town on a rail, tarred and feathered” (to call up another ancient concept!), but I predict almost all will be re-elected next year (assuming we have elections!).

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  10. I remember reading “The Pearl” when I was young for school. I was too young to understand it. This article does a great job of citing it for a valuable lesson about our political reality.

    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/12/14/americas-two-headed-one-party-system/

    There’s a scene from John Steinbeck’s The Pearl that’s been coming back to me over and over again ever since I started writing about US politics. I find it amazing that this scene hasn’t become a political meme yet, given Steinbeck’s fame and given its perfect illustration of the fake two-party system that we see in western so-called democracies.

    The Pearl is a short novel about a poor fisherman, Kino, who discovers the titular enormous gem in an oyster and goes to sell it to the pearl buyers in town. What he doesn’t know is that the buyers, while they have multiple offices and pretend to compete with each other, all actually work for the same owner.

    “Kino has found the Pearl of the World,” Steinbeck writes. “In the town, in little offices, sat the men who bought pearls from the fishers. They waited in their chairs until the pearls came in, and then they cackled and fought and shouted and threatened until they reached the lowest price the fisherman would stand.”

    “And when the buying was over, these buyers sat alone and their fingers played restlessly with the pearls, and they wished they owned the pearls. For there were not many buyers really – there was only one, and he kept these agents in separate offices to give a semblance of competition.”

    When Kino brings the priceless pearl to the sellers, they put on a performance, working together to deceive him into thinking it has no value in order to cheat him out of it for a ridiculously low price.

    The man behind the desk said: “I have put a value on this pearl. The owner here does not think it fair. I will ask you to examine this – this thing and make an offer. Notice,” he said to Kino, “I have not mentioned what I have offered.”

    The first dealer, dry and stringy, seemed now to see the pearl for the first time. He took it up, rolled it quickly between thumb and forefinger, and then cast it contemptuously back into the tray.

    “Do not include me in the discussion,” he said dryly. “I will make no offer at all. I do not want it. This is not a pearl – it is a monstrosity.” His thin lips curled.

    Now the second dealer, a little man with a shy soft voice, took up the pearl, and he examined it carefully. He took a glass from his pocket and inspected it under magnification. Then he laughed softly.

    “Better pearls are made of paste,” he said. “I know these things. This is soft and chalky, it will lose its color and die in a few months. Look-” He offered the glass to Kino, showed him how to use it, and Kino, who had never seen a pearl’s surface magnified, was shocked at the strange-looking surface.

    The third dealer took the pearl from Kino’s hands. “One of my clients likes such things,” he said. “I will offer five hundred pesos, and perhaps I can sell it to my client for six hundred.”

    Kino reached quickly and snatched the pearl from his hand. He wrapped it in the deerskin and thrust it inside his shirt. The man behind the desk said, “I’m a fool, I know, but my first offer stands. I still offer one thousand. What are you doing?” he asked, as Kino thrust the pearl out of sight.

    “I am cheated,” Kino cried fiercely. “My pearl is not for sale here. I will go, perhaps even to the capital.”

    Now the dealers glanced quickly at one another. They knew they had played too hard; they knew they would be disciplined for their failure, and the man at the desk said quickly, “I might go to fifteen hundred.”

    This is exactly how the two-headed one-party system works, in America and elsewhere. One party owned by one imperialist oligarchic class is placed in two separate offices “to give some semblance of competition,” just like Steinbeck’s pearl buyers. And just like Steinbeck’s pearl buyers they work together to deceive the people into accepting the lowest possible bid, in their case meaning the acceptance of virtually no change at all from the imperialist oligarchic status quo.

    You see this kleptocratic dynamic at play regardless of who is in office. When the two-headed one-party system convinced Americans to sell their pearl to Barack Obama, for example, their payment took the form of a corporatist healthcare scam deceitfully labeled the Affordable Care Act and a pathetic temporary band-aid on the sucking chest wound of environmental peril, along with a continuation and expansion of all of Bush’s most depraved foreign and domestic policies.

    Then Kino, angry and determined never again to be deceived, sold his pearl to the Republican Party. This time his payment consisted of a tax break for the wealthy and some verbiage about a wall, along with a continuation and expansion of all of Obama’s most depraved foreign and domestic policies.

    This pattern repeats over and over and over again, whether it’s the presidency or Congress, and the people never learn their lesson. They’re trained to think of the two parties as competing, when really they’re more like the left fist and the right fist on the same boxer. An orthodox-stance boxer uses the left jab and the right cross in conjunction with each other in one-two punch combinations to accomplish the same goal, namely to leave his opponent staring up at the arena lights and rethinking his life decisions. And in this case, the boxer’s opponent is you.

    Ralph Nader, who to this day is still falsely smeared as responsible for George W Bush’s pseudo-victory over Al Gore in 2000, occasionally shares an anecdote about the time he told his father that what America needs is a good third party.

    “I’ll settle for a second,” his father replied.

    This is the kind of clear seeing we all need to have. We need to not fall into the drama of the two-handed puppet show and mistake what we are seeing for two separate and competing entities. We need to see and be aware of the puppeteer at all times.

    Look past the “semblance of competition” and watch what the pearl buyers are actually doing.

    Ignore their words.

    Ignore their fake pro-wrestling kayfabe combat over impeachment agendas they know will never bear fruit and their Russia conspiracies they know are pure nonsense.

    Watch their actual behaviors instead.

    Don’t fall for the illusion.

    Don’t get sucked into the drama of the two-handed puppet show.

    Don’t be deceived, Kino.

    Don’t sell your pearl.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I wasn’t aware of this Steinbeck story, so thanks for that. I only recently learned that Charles Chaplin consulted Steinbeck about the language in the famous (infamous to fascists!) speech that concludes “The Great Dictator.” I don’t believe Steinbeck penned directly any of the language that appears in finished film. BTW, what, pray tell, is “kayfabe combat”?? Looking at the UK election for a moment, I think we’re forced to conclude that the British workers, whose class consciousness used to far exceed that of their USA counterparts, have now been “Americanized.” Sad!

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      1. Greg: kayfabe is presenting fake as real, e.g. the staged “fights” of professional wrestling, which are choreographed, much like a dance, rather than real.

        I had to look it up!

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    1. Blackmail of whom by whom? I agree that there may well be something else that is REALLY going on. I suspect that Trump would like to think up some way to not ever leave office and I have thought this since I read somewhere that he had read much of what Hitler had written and had also written Hitler’s speaches. (I assume he read Hitler’s speeches in translation and in simplified language, also.)

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      1. I prefer the term EXTORTION to “blackmail.” It is more obvious than the nose on your face that Trump extorted the Ukraine regime to launch investigations into the Bidens. Case closed. Unfortunately, Mitch McConnell is coordinating Trump’s defense directly with the president, and he and Lindsey Graham have openly stated they have no intention of judging facts objectively. The Criminal-in-Chief can’t possibly be convicted and removed from office under these circumstances, and this just makes USA an even more pathetic laughingstock in the eyes of the rest of the world. Also, I doubt Trump is much of a reader, unless he finds an article in some periodical or online that praises him! Now, Steven Miller and the other little Nazi creeps in this administration, THEY likely are well versed in Hitler’s writings. (Do we even know if Hitler really wrote anything, after “Mein Kampf” perhaps, without help of ghostwriters??)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I like the way Trump mainly reads things that mention him and/or are about him. I read the intel community quickly learned that the way to capture Trump’s attention was to connect important intel to Trump’s name, otherwise he’d ignore it.

          The narcissist-in-chief, perfect for our selfie age.

          Liked by 1 person

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