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Trumps Indictment: Historical and Future Implications II

MidnightSonneteer
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We hear what our MAGA friends say, and then we see what they do, and then the observable incongruity reveals all.

And so we must illustrate what's happening in MAGA psychology by way of the metaphor wherein the right MAGA forebrain has bent the left MAGA forebrain over the back of the couch, without asking for permission first, due to the inordinate supply of martinis to the entire organ. Textual forensics offer ample evidence for this conclusion.

And yet this is why the ethical treatment of MAGA victims is much the same as it is toward any other category of human (or animal), who are vulnerable to substance and ideological abuse.

Please now compare and contrast the MAGA phenomenon with the Jim Jones cult, and subsequent 1978 Guyana massacre. Were guns involved? Of course they were, but as tools of execution by the cultists.  

Josh
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It's a shame that in Western politics generally (not just America) we see so much attention is given to the mental health crisis, but virtually no attention is given to the mental ill-health crisis.

Ahavati
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Texas is right in the ecliptic crosshairs. . .

Ahavati
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January 26, 2024
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON
JAN 27, 2024

[There is a description of rape in paragraph 8.]

This afternoon a jury of nine Americans deliberated for less than three hours before it ordered former president Trump to pay writer E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million for defaming her after she accused him in 2019 of raping her in the 1990s. In May 2023 a jury found Trump liable for sexually abusing Carroll in an assault the judge said is commonly known as rape, and for defaming her. That jury awarded Carroll $5 million.

Despite the jury’s 2023 verdict, Trump has continued to attack Carroll. Indeed, he repeatedly attacked her on social media posts even during this month’s trial. Today’s jury found that Trump acted with malice and awarded Carroll $65 million in punitive damages, $11 million in compensatory damages for a reputation repair program, and $7.3 million in compensatory damages outside of the reputation program.

Trump immediately called the jury verdict “Absolutely ridiculous!” and said he would appeal.
“THIS IS NOT AMERICA!” he posted on social media.

Conservative lawyer George Conway responded. “Not so. The United States of America is about the rule of law, something you couldn’t care less about. Today nine ordinary citizens upheld the rules of law. You have no right to maliciously defame anyone, let alone a woman you raped. In America, we call this justice.”

In June 2023 the court required Trump to move $5.5 million to a bank account controlled by the court to cover the jury’s judgment while he appeals it. For this larger verdict, Trump could do the same thing: pay $83.3 million to the court to hold while he appeals, or try to get a bond, which would require a deposit and collateral and would also incur fees and interest. Any bank willing to lend him that money would likely take into consideration that he has other major financial vulnerabilities and charge him accordingly.

This was not, actually, the case that looked like it would incur staggering costs. More threatening is the other case currently underway in Manhattan, where New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron is considering appropriate penalties for the frauds that Trump, the Trump Organization, the two older Trump sons, and two employees committed in their business dealings. New York attorney general Letitia James, who brought the case, has asked Engoron to impose a $370 million penalty, as well as a prohibition on the Trump Organization from doing business in New York.

Judge Engoron has said he hopes to have a decision by the end of the month.

Former president Trump is under pressure on a number of fronts. As legal analyst Joyce White Vance pointed out tonight in Civil Discourse, two separate juries have now found that Trump acted with malice, and it is becoming harder for him to argue that so many people—two entirely different juries, prosecutors, and so on—are unfairly targeting him. Vance speculates that this latest judgment might hurt his political support. “How do you explain to your kids that you’re going to give your vote in the presidential race to a man who forced his fingers into a woman’s vagina and then lied about it and about her, and exposed her to public ridicule and harm?” she asked.

On the political front, much to his apparent frustration, Trump has not been able to bully former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley out of the race for the Republican nomination, and she is needling him about his mental deterioration. The Republican National Committee has been considering simply deciding Trump is the nominee rather than letting the process play out. The Haley camp responded to that idea with a statement saying that if Ronna McDaniel, the RNC chair, “wants to be helpful she can organize a debate in South Carolina, unless she’s also worried that Trump can’t handle being on the stage for 90 minutes with Nikki Haley.” Ouch.

Trump’s congressional allies’ attacks on President Biden took another hit today after a business associate of Hunter Biden said in sworn testimony yesterday that President Biden “was never involved” in any of their business dealings.

John Robinson Walker said: “In business, the opportunities we pursued together were varied, valid, well-founded, and well within the bounds of legitimate business activities. To be clear, President Biden—while in office or as a private citizen—was never involved in any of the business activities we pursued…. “Any statement to the contrary is simply false…. Hunter made sure there was always a clear boundary between any business and his father. Always. And as his partner, I always understood and respected that boundary.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s attempts to destroy the bipartisan border deal, in which Democrats appear to have been willing to give away more than the Republicans out of desperate determination to fund Ukraine, are being called out for cynical politics. The news is awash today with stories condemning the Republicans for caving to the demands of a man who is, at least for now, a private citizen and who is putting his own election over the interests of the American people as he tries to keep the issue of immigration alive to exploit in the 2024 campaign.

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) told his colleagues: “I didn’t come here to have the president as a boss or a candidate as a boss. I came here to pass good, solid policy…. It is immoral for me to think you looked the other way because you think this is the linchpin for President Trump to win.” Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) told Sahil Kapur and Frank Thorp V of NBC News, “I think it’s crap…. We need to get that deal done to secure the border. If they want to keep it as a campaign issue, I think they need to resign from the damn Senate.”

But while Trump is apparently telling Republicans he will “fix” the border if he gets back into the White House, Greg Sargent noted yesterday in The New Republic that when Trump was in office, “[h]e too released a lot of migrants into the interior, and he couldn’t pass his immigration agenda even with unified GOP control.” And, of course, he never got Mexico to pay for his wall, as he repeatedly claimed he would, while President Joe Biden, in contrast, got Mexico to invest $1.5 billion in “smart” border technology and to beef up its own border security.

Cont below

Ahavati
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Cont from above:

The White House has refused to abandon negotiations even as Trump trashed them. In a statement today, Biden said that negotiators have been “[w]orking around the clock, through the holidays, and over weekends,” to craft a bipartisan deal on the border, and he called out Republicans who are now trying to scuttle the bill.

“What’s been negotiated would—if passed into law—be the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border we’ve ever had in our country,” he said. “It would give me, as President, a new emergency authority to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed. And if given that authority, I would use it the day I sign the bill into law.

“Further, Congress needs to finally provide the funding I requested in October to secure the border. This includes an additional 1,300 border patrol agents, 375 immigration judges, 1,600 asylum officers, and over 100 cutting-edge inspection machines to help detect and stop fentanyl at our southwest border. Securing the border through these negotiations is a win for America. For everyone who is demanding tougher border control, this is the way to do it. If you’re serious about the border crisis, pass a bipartisan bill and I will sign it.”

Biden seems to be signaling that if the Republicans kill this measure, they will own the border issue, but he is not the only one making that argument. Yesterday the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, which slants toward the right, wrote: “[G]iving up on a border security bill would be a self-inflicted GOP wound. President Biden would claim, with cause, that Republicans want border chaos as an election issue rather than solving the problem. Voter anger may over time move from Mr. Biden to the GOP, and the public will have a point. Cynical is the only word that fits Republicans panning a border deal whose details aren’t even known.”

The Wall Street Journal editorial board went further, articulating what Republicans are signing up for if they continue to prevent funding for Ukraine. Recalling the horrific images of the April 1975 fall of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, to North Vietnamese forces, when desperate evacuees fought their way to helicopters, the board asked: “Do Republicans want to sponsor the 2024 equivalent of Saigon 1975?”



Notes: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/january-26-2024

Ahavati
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I felt a knife twist in my gut on the mention of the fall of Saigon. I wasn't there, of course, but my father was. He served two tours in 'Nam and returned for the evacuation. He said that day was more hellish in memory than the entire war.

The whiter shade of pale on his face concurred.

runaway-mindtrain
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Billy_Snagg said:Ok then... if NONE of these politicians care about us (your words) why does that make TRUMP so great, in your eyes? I agree, Biden bumbles & trips over somewhat. He hasn't really got the energy for the job anymore. What's scary, in my view, is that there doesn't seem to be a credible candidate on either side that could punch through all the garbage of yesteryear. I always believed politicians represented the people, rather than themselves. Regarding your gun argument, that works both ways... i.e, if everyone's getting rid of their guns, maybe you should too!

Perhaps she is referring to 4 years of domestic and foreign accomplishments by President Trump. The Abraham accords that brought peace treaties to many parts of the middle east, brokered by Trump, is enough. The world knows the truth. The world saw what was accomplished, and now leftists rewrite history and claim different. This is not new. It has happened for a long time but especially in the last 100 years by leftists. Stacking up bodies by the millions, destroying Russian, Tartarian, Asian (etc) history, temples, writings, traditions and families. These current leftist have censored free speech via government agencies, sexualized kids, arrested political opposition, interfered in the current elections, and intentionally pay for immigration in order to change the electorate. This has all been done in oppressed countries for years but specifically done by the Biden regime for over 3 years. Currently, ten states, just sent troops to defend the Texas border from the treasonous Biden regime's demands and actions to keep it busted open and now he is threatening to arrest national guardsmen if WE PROTECT OUR BORDER.!!!!

Why would 25 states sign a pledge to defend our border?

Because Biden is a piece of shit pedophile Nazi.
He handed the Tailaban 80 billion in weapons.. treason
He used government agencies to censor speech...treason
He handed the border to the cartels and facilitated human trafficking across the country...treason
He raid his political opponent...treason
He continues to falsely arrest America citizens for the fake J6th scam. .treason
He has pushed to allow sexualization of children...treason
He is currently attempting to arrest his main political rival...treason

ONLY. .and I mean ONLY Nazis support this vile authoritarian child sniffer...

This entire thread is specifically establishment propaganda to destroy the U.S. Constitutional Republic...

What is the historical punishment for traitors?

The ROPE

How many times have Americans strung up traitors?

160 years of examples

I am constantly called angry for calling out democrat Jim Crow fuckery...

I am not angry. 150 million U.S. citizens will be serving justice to traitors soon enough...

Will Biden supporters post a thread about the civil war they started, just like the last one THEY started?....   I doubt it




runaway-mindtrain
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https://youtu.be/7vjyE0zzUEc?si=cYc8HcobLOnn5CkL

I figured I would post these historical facts here before this video is deleted by the establishment...


Ahavati
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MidnightSonneteer said:We hear what our MAGA friends say, and then we see what they do, and then the observable incongruity reveals all.

And so we must illustrate what's happening in MAGA psychology by way of the metaphor wherein the right MAGA forebrain has bent the left MAGA forebrain over the back of the couch, without asking for permission first, due to the inordinate supply of martinis to the entire organ. Textual forensics offer ample evidence for this conclusion.

And yet this is why the ethical treatment of MAGA victims is much the same as it is toward any other category of human (or animal), who are vulnerable to substance and ideological abuse.

Please now compare and contrast the MAGA phenomenon with the Jim Jones cult, and subsequent 1978 Guyana massacre. Were guns involved? Of course they were, but as tools of execution by the cultists.  


Yep. I can't tell you how many times I've thought of Jim Jones or Waco Texas in all this mess.

Josh said:It's a shame that in Western politics generally (not just America) we see so much attention is given to the mental health crisis, but virtually no attention is given to the mental ill-health crisis.

^5

Ahavati
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January 27, 2024
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON
JAN 27, 2024


On January 27, 1838, Abraham Lincoln rose before the Young Men’s Lyceum in Springfield, Illinois, to make a speech. Just 28 years old, Lincoln had begun to practice law and had political ambitions. But he was worried that his generation might not preserve the republic that the founders had handed to it for transmission to yet another generation. He took as his topic for that January evening, “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions.”

Lincoln saw trouble coming, but not from a foreign power, as other countries feared. The destruction of the United States, he warned, could come only from within. “If destruction be our lot,” he said, “we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

The trouble Lincoln perceived stemmed from the growing lawlessness in the country as men ignored the rule of law and acted on their passions, imposing their will on their neighbors through violence. He pointed specifically to two recent events: the 1836 lynching of free Black man Francis McIntosh in St. Louis, Missouri, and the 1837 murder of white abolitionist editor Elijah P. Lovejoy by a proslavery mob in Alton, Illinois.

But the problem of lawlessness was not limited to individual instances, he said. A public practice of ignoring the law eventually broke down all the guardrails designed to protect individuals, while lawbreakers, going unpunished, became convinced they were entitled to act without restraint. “Having ever regarded Government as their deadliest bane,” Lincoln said, “they make a jubilee of the suspension of its operations; and pray for nothing so much as its total annihilation.”

The only way to guard against such destruction, LIncoln said, was to protect the rule of law on which the country was founded. “As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor…. Let reverence for the laws…become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.”

Lincoln was quick to clarify that he was not saying all laws were good. Indeed, he said, bad laws should be challenged and repealed. But the underlying structure of the rule of law, based in the Constitution, could not be abandoned without losing democracy.

Lincoln didn’t stop there. He warned that the very success of the American republic threatened its continuation. “[M]en of ambition and talents” could no longer make their name by building the nation—that glory had already been won. Their ambition could not be served simply by preserving what those before them had created, so they would achieve distinction through destruction.

For such a man, Lincoln said, “Distinction will be his paramount object, and although he would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm; yet, that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would set boldly to the task of pulling down.” With no dangerous foreign power to turn people’s passions against, people would turn from the project of “establishing and maintaining civil and religious liberty” and would instead turn against each other.

Lincoln reminded his audience that the torch of American democracy had been passed to them. The Founders had used their passions to create a system of laws, but the time for passion had passed, lest it tear the nation apart. The next generation must support democracy through “sober reason,” he said. He called for Americans to exercise “general intelligence, sound morality, and in particular, a reverence for the constitution and laws.”

“Upon these let the proud fabric of freedom rest, as the rock of its basis; and as truly as has been said of the only greater institution, ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’”

What became known as the Lyceum Address is one of the earliest speeches of Lincoln’s to have been preserved, and at the time it established him as a rising politician and political thinker. But his recognition, in a time of religious fervor and moral crusades, that the law must prevail over individual passions reverberates far beyond the specific crises of the 1830s.



Notes: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/january-27-2024

https://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/lyceum.htm

Josh
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I enjoyed reading that. I've been reading a book of historic speeches, some of Lincoln's amongst them. People who saw the bigger picture and what was needed to protect real freedom, protect the people at the bottom from the bullies. Where are they now in a time of great need? In the U.K they all resigned or were booted out and the vacuum has been filled with apes (no insult to apes intended)

MidnightSonneteer
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Any MAGA litany of unsubstantiated accusations via inaccurately labeled "treason" would be immediately dismissed by any competent court, and the inclusion of an "I am not angry" disclaimer at the end of any obviously rage motivated grievance would be a splendid example of the type of incongruity that MAGA excels at being unable to detect BEFORE they present it, and thereby is valid proof of MAGA textual and conceptual incompetence, as well as being an excellent example of why they are consistent jurisprudential failures, in spite of their likely lengthy experience with the penal system their own selves, as inmates.  

It should go without saying that anybody exhibiting that sort of MAGA intellectual and emotional disability ought not to be trusted with firearms, or weapons of any sort, particularly when their closing statement suggests that their idea of justice is to just round up and shoot whoever has been rhetorically tarred and feathered to their immediate satisfaction, whether or not an actual injustice has been done.

Ahavati
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Honestly. Watching MAGA is like watching a gang of bullies threaten and harass anyone who disagrees with them.

January 28, 2024
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON
JAN 29, 2024


Today—last night U.S. time—three military personnel were killed and 34 more wounded in a drone attack on the living quarters at a U.S. base in Jordan, near the Iraq-Syria border. U.S. troops are stationed there to enable them to cross into Syria to help fight the Islamic State. There have been almost-daily drone and missile strikes on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria since the October 7 attack on Israel by Iran-backed Hamas. The U.S. has blamed Iran-backed militant groups for the attack, and while no one has officially claimed responsibility yet, three officials from such groups have said an Iran-backed militia in Iraq is responsible.

President Joe Biden today called the act “despicable and wholly unjust,” and he praised the servicemembers, who he said “embodied the very best of our nation: Unwavering in their bravery. Unflinching in their duty. Unbending in their commitment to our country—risking their own safety for the safety of their fellow Americans, and our allies and partners with whom we stand in the fight against terrorism.”

“And have no doubt,” he said, “we will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner [of] our choosing.”

Republican war hawks have called for retaliation that includes “striking directly against Iranian targets and its leadership,” as Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) said, or by “Target[ing] Tehran,” as Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said. Republicans are blaming Biden for failing to “isolate the regime in [Iran], defeat Hamas, & support our strategic partners,” as Representative Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) wrote on X, formerly Twitter, today.

But there is, of course, a larger story here. The Biden administration has been very clear both about the right of nations to retaliate for attacks and about its determination to stop the war between Hamas and Israel from spreading.

Iran would like that war to spread. It is eager to stop the normalization of relations between Arab states and Israel, and is backing Hamas in Gaza, the Houthis in Yemen, and Hezbollah in Lebanon—all nonstate militias—to try to stop that normalization.  

They are trying to stop what Patrick Kingsley and Edward Wong outlined in the New York Times yesterday: a new deal in the Middle East that would end the war between Hamas and Israel and establish a Palestinian state. The constant round of phone calls and visits of Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken with at least ten different countries is designed to hammer out deals on a number of fronts.

The first is for a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, which would require the exchange of more than 100 Israeli hostages taken on October 7 for thousands of Palestinians held by the Israelis. The second is for a new, nonpartisan Palestinian Authority to take control of Gaza and the West Bank. The third is for international recognition of a Palestinian state, which would be eased by Saudi Arabia’s recognition of Israel. If that recognition occurs, Arab states have pledged significant funds to rebuild Gaza.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has rejected this proposal, but his popularity is so low people are talking openly about who can replace him. Hamas and Iran also reject this proposal, which promises to isolate Iran and the militias from stable states in the Middle East.  

Behind this story is an even larger geopolitical story involving Iran’s ally Russia. As Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg retorted when Senator Wicker called on Biden to respond to the attack that killed three Americans “swiftly and decisively for the whole world to see”: “Wasn’t funding Ukraine and Israel the first, critical step in deterring Iran? We are in this place now due to the Russian fifth columnists in the Republican Party including Trump who slavishly do Putin’s bidding.”  

Rosenberg was referring to the fact that Iran is allied with Russia, and Russia is desperate to stop the United States from supporting Ukraine. Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, apparently thought his February 2022 invasion of Ukraine would establish control of the eastern parts of that country in a matter of days. Instead, the invasion has turned into an expensive and destabilizing two-year war that has badly weakened Russia and that threatens to stretch on.

In the United States, today marks the 100th day that extremist Republicans have refused to provide supplemental funding for Ukraine or Israel arguing that funding to protect the U.S. border must be addressed first. On October 20, 2023, as David Frum pointed out today, Biden asked Congress for “$106 billion to aid Ukraine and Israel against attack by Russia, Iran, and their proxies.” That funding has bipartisan support, but “[f]or 100 days, House Republicans have said NO,” Frum said. “Today, Iranian proxies have killed Americans.”

Republicans’ insistence that they want border funding has proved to be a lie, as Democratic and Republican senators have hammered out a strong agreement that extremist Republicans now reject. Former president Trump has made it clear he wants to run on the idea that the border is overwhelmed, so has demanded his supporters prevent any solution. Today, on the Fox News Channel, when asked why Republicans should let Biden “take a victory lap” with a border deal, Senator James Lankford (R-OK), who has been part of the border deal negotiation team, responded with some heat:

“Republicans four months ago would not give funding for Ukraine, for Israel, and for our southern border because we demanded changes in policy. So we actually locked arms together and said we’re not going to give you money for this, we want a change in law. And now it’s interesting, a few months later, when we’re finally getting to the end they’re like, ‘Oh, just kidding, I actually don’t want a change in law because [it’s] a presidential election year.’ We all have an oath to the Constitution, and we have a commitment to say we’re going to do whatever we can to be able to secure the border."

MAGA Republicans in charge of the Oklahoma Republican Party showed where Trump Republicans stand when they voted on Saturday to “strongly condemn” Lankford for “playing fast and loose with Democrats on our border policy.” They said “that until Senator Lankford ceases from these actions the Oklahoma Republican Party will cease all support for him.”

In The Atlantic, Frum noted that “vital aid to Israel and Ukraine must be delayed and put in further doubt because of a rejected president’s spite and his party’s calculation of electoral advantage. The true outcome of the fiasco in Congress will be the collapse of U.S. credibility all over the world. American allies will seek protection from more trustworthy partners, and America itself will be isolated and weakened.”

Rosenberg wrote: “If you are unhappy with Iran today, first thing you should do is come out for funding Ukraine fully. Nothing will embolden Iran more than a Russian victory in Europe.”



Notes: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/january-28-2024

Ahavati
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January 29, 2024
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON
JAN 30, 2024


With their families now notified, the Pentagon has released the names of the three American soldiers killed in Jordan yesterday. Army Reserve soldiers Sergeant William Jerome Rivers, 46, Specialist Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, and Specialist Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, all from Georgia, were assigned to support Operation Inherent Resolve, charged with helping regional partners defeat the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq, or ISIS, to promote stability in the region.

At a press conference today with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke of the three lost soldiers, the many wounded, and their family and friends. “Every day we have our men and women in uniform around the world who are putting their lives on the line for our security, for our freedom,” he said. “I am as always humbled by their courage and their sacrifice.”

Blinken reiterated the administration’s determination to keep the Hamas-Israel war from spreading, a signal that the administration will respond to this attack but not go to the extremes right-wing hawks have demanded. “From the outset, we have been clear in warning that anyone looking to take advantage of conflict in the Middle East and try to expand it: Don’t do it,” Blinken said. “[W]e do not seek conflict with Iran, we do not seek war with Iran, but we have and we will continue to defend our personnel and to take every action necessary to do that, including responding very vigorously to the attack that just took place.”

The secretary reiterated that the administration is “very, very actively pursuing” efforts to get the hostages currently held by Hamas released—including as many as six Americans—and create an extended pause in fighting to get aid to Palestinians in Gaza. Its larger goal, he said, is “putting a durable end to the cycle of violence that we’ve seen in the region for generation after generation” and to achieve “an integrated Israel with relations with all of its neighbors, security commitments, assurances that it needs to make sure that it can move forward in peace and security; a Palestinian Authority that’s reformed, and a clear pathway to a Palestinian state.”

Such a plan, Blinken said, would promote security by creating a more integrated region with normalized relations between countries and “where the question of the rights of Palestinians is finally answered.” Stoltenberg responded by thanking Blinken for his “tireless diplomacy…to prevent further escalation of the war in Gaza, your efforts to alleviate human suffering, and your hard work towards a peaceful resolution.”

Over the weekend, officials from the U.S., Israel, Egypt, and Qatar meeting in Paris, France, created a blueprint for a six-week pause in the war while Hamas releases the hostages taken on October 7 in exchange for a much greater number of Palestinians held in Israeli jails. The prime minister and foreign minister of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani, traveled from Paris to Washington, D.C., where he met with Blinken.

David Rothkopf noted today in The Daily Beast that such a plan would end the death and destruction in Gaza and enable Israel to begin a healing process. It would create room to rebuild new leadership for the Palestinians and move Israel toward “the new elections and new government it so desperately needs and deserves.”

Qatar is taking the proposal to Hamas.

Blinken and Stoltenberg both talked as well about NATO and its “unwavering support for Ukraine.” NATO has grown stronger in response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, and NATO allies and partners have provided more than $110 billion in total aid for Ukraine while the U.S. has provided about $75 billion, Blinken noted (the U.S. has contributed by far the most in military aid).

But the U.S., which has provided key support for NATO and Ukraine, is suddenly faltering as extremist Republicans in the House are refusing to pass a supplemental measure to provide more funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan and to secure the southern border of the U.S.

Blinken again urged Congress to pass the funding.

“Without it, simply put, everything that Ukrainians achieved and that we’ve helped them achieve will be in jeopardy,” Blinken said. “And…we’re going to be sending a strong and wrong message to all of our adversaries that we are not serious about the defense of freedom, the defense of democracy. And it will simply reinforce for Vladimir Putin that he can somehow outlast Ukraine and outlast us.”

Stoltenberg agreed. “It would be a tragedy for the Ukrainians if President Putin wins, but it will also make the world more dangerous and us, all of us, more insecure. It will embolden other authoritarian leaders—not only Putin…but also North Korea, Iran, and China—to use force. Today it’s Ukraine; tomorrow it could be Taiwan. So therefore it is in our interests to ensure that Ukraine prevails as a sovereign, independent nation.”

Biden appears to have ramped up aid to Ukraine slowly to keep Putin from being able to claim he was at war with the U.S. and to keep him from mounting a full-blown response to such a threat, but as David Frum put it in The Atlantic, Biden “overestimated the time available to keep aid flowing to Ukraine because he underestimated the servility of House Republicans to Trump’s anti-Ukraine animus.” Frum explained: “[T]he background political reality is that Donald Trump is an enemy of Ukraine and an admirer of the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. As Trump has neared renomination, his party—especially in the House of Representatives—has surrendered to his pro-Putin pressure.”  

Back in early November, then a brand new House speaker, Mike Johnson (R-LA) told Senate Republicans that he supported aid to Ukraine but would not deliver it without money for security on the southern border of the U.S. Such a measure was crucial to U.S. security, he and other Republicans insisted, and they hyped the dangers of current immigration policy.

A bipartisan group of Senate negotiators went to work to hammer out such a measure, but once it got close to completion, Trump stepped in to stop the deal, intending to run on fears of immigration in 2024. Republicans are falling into line behind Trump, putting the border deal, as well as more funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, at risk.

Meanwhile, the extremist Republicans are in the awkward position of insisting that the United States is in terrible danger from a border crisis but that they don’t want to solve that crisis for almost a year, waiting until 2025 when they expect Trump to be in office.



Notes: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/january-29-2024

Ahavati
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January 30, 2024
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON
JAN 31, 2024


Today, according to Clare Foran, Manu Raju, and Morgan Rimmer of CNN, House speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) told his Republican colleagues that he will not bring forward the bipartisan immigration bill senators have been working on for months, calling it “absolutely dead.”

Although Johnson insisted in November that border security was so crucial that he wouldn’t bring up aid to Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and Gaza until such legislation was attached to it, Trump has made it clear he wants immigration and border security left on the table for him to use as an issue in his run for the presidency.

Instead of addressing border security through legislation, House Republicans instead are moving forward with their plan to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. They wrote articles of impeachment even before holding hearings. Today, members of the House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing to mark up those articles, which claim that Mayorkas committed high crimes and misdemeanors because he allegedly breached the public trust and refused to enforce immigration law.

In all our history, only one cabinet officer has been impeached. William Belknap, whose eight years as secretary of war under President U. S. Grant had been marked by ostentatious displays of wealth and apparent kickbacks from army contracts, was charged with corruption in March 1876 just hours after he tearfully handed Grant his resignation.

The House charged Belknap with “criminally disregarding his duty as Secretary of War and basely prostituting his high office to his lust for private gain.” The Senate agreed that it had jurisdiction to hold an impeachment trial even for a former government official, for an officer should not be able to escape justice simply by resigning. After hearing more than 40 witnesses, a majority of senators voted to convict Belknap on each of five charges, but no vote reached the necessary two-thirds threshold for conviction, and he was therefore acquitted.

Almost 150 years later, the impeachment of Mayorkas would be the second effort to impeach a cabinet member. Yet there is no suggestion that Mayorkas has done anything but try to implement the law, even as the administration has repeatedly asked for more funding to make it possible for him to do his job.

In the hearing today, Representative Seth Magaziner (D-RI) noted that “across the system, we are at and above capacity, and so, what should the secretary do? The secretary, because he has not received the funding to provide adequate detention capacity, has to use his judgment for who to detain and who to release. That is not illegal. It is certainly not impeachable. And it is the exact same kind of discretion that every other director before him has used. In the last two years of the Trump administration, 52% of migrants apprehended at the southern border were released, not detained…. Nearly a million people. I did not hear my Republican colleagues trying to impeach the secretary or acting secretary under the Trump administration during those years. But here they are, trying to impeach Secretary Mayorkas for doing the exact same thing.”

Rather than passing the laws the country needs, the extremist Republicans appear to be determined to tee up an issue on which Trump can run for president in 2024. House speaker Johnson has demanded “ZERO” illegal crossings into the U.S., but this is a standard that no previous homeland security secretary has met because it is impossible to wall off every single means of entering this country by water, air, or land. And—despite Republicans’ false claims that Biden has established “open borders”—immigrants were more likely to be released into the country during Trump's term than during Biden’s.

What is going on here is an attempt of the extremist Republicans to undercut the administration by attacking a key cabinet officer not for actual misbehavior but on policy grounds.  

There is no chance the Senate, dominated by Democrats, will convict Mayorkas even if the House, with its razor-thin Republican majority, impeaches him, but the extremist minority in the House that is going after him is attempting to set a precedent that a minority can stop the government from functioning.

The cost of that obstruction has been clear in domestic politics over government funding, but it has now become a global issue over the question of U.S. support for Ukraine. Johnson had said he would not bring forward a bill to provide supplemental funding for Ukraine unless it included measures for increased border security; now his rejection of a bill to provide that border security threatens Ukraine aid.

Ukraine is defending itself against an invasion by Russia, but the struggle there is larger than one between two countries: it is the question of whether the rules-based international order put in place after World War II will survive, or whether the world will go back to a system in which stronger countries can gobble up less powerful ones.

Military aid for Ukraine is widely popular among Americans and among American lawmakers, who recognize the larger questions at stake. But extremist Republicans are siding with Trump, who has made his preference for Russia and its autocratic leader over Ukraine clear. The realization that a few extremist Republicans are scuttling Ukraine aid has prompted officials from both parties to warn of the consequences if the U.S. stops providing support to Ukraine.

In Foreign Affairs today, Central Intelligence Agency director Wililam Burns noted that the war has weakened Putin’s Russia significantly. Aid to Ukraine has amounted to less than 5% of the U.S. defense budget, “a relatively modest investment with significant geopolitical returns for the United States and notable returns for American industry,” he wrote.

“For the United States to walk away from the conflict at this crucial moment and cut off support to Ukraine would be an own goal of historic proportions,” Burns said. The secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Jens Stoltenberg, has been in Washington, D.C., this week, urging Republicans to back the aid, if only on the grounds that most of the money appropriated goes to support jobs in the U.S.

The man behind the extremists, Trump, was in the news today for the fact that the political action committees that back him spent about $50 million covering his legal bills in 2023. That money came from donors and arrived primarily in the months after the 2020 presidential election, when Trump lied that he had actually won the election and needed financial support to challenge the results.



Notes: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/january-30-2024

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