RED HANDED

In a span of eight hours on Tuesday, January 2, the President used Twitter to:

-Spread InfoWars-level conspiracy shit about Deep State, undermining the Justice Dept. and legal process
-Taunted North Korea in game of nuclear chicken
-Took credit for the safety of commercial air traffic
-Unveiled upcoming awards for the worst media outlets and reporting, continuing to target and delegitimize the critical media
-Threatened Palestine with economic sanctions

This is, to strip our current situation down to its essence, exhausting and beyond insane. There is no reason we need to live like this. This does not have to continue. It continues because of the false narrative that Congress can't remove the president unless red-handed evidence of him committing a crime is uncovered. That simply is not true. Impeachment was added to the Constitution explicitly separated from the normal legal process. While a range of opinions exist on exactly what does and does not constitute impeachable offenses, any practical understanding of the process points to the conclusion that an impeachable offense is whatever a given Congress says it is at a given point in political time.

To play one of conservatives' favorite games, let us imagine what the Founders would say if we asked them, "Can a president be impeached for no specific crime but for being really, atrociously bad at being president?" Nothing in the historical record suggests that the people who put the Constitution together would dispute that poor performance and bad behavior are sufficient grounds for impeachment.

I am on the third day of the flu so I will cut directly to the chase: Everyone, Republicans included, can see where this is going. It is inevitable that this guy is going to start a shooting war somewhere, either through his bad temper and poor impulse control or because he is so stupid he will stumble into it by accident. This does not have to happen. And it's going to look mighty strange after it happens to look back at all the really obvious warning signs and rationalize why Congress did not act.

Republicans can get everything they want out of Mike Pence, but they are terrified of the primary challenges they'll face if they are perceived as the people who betrayed Trump. History offers us some pretty strange explanations for important events unfolding but I think this will top them all. "Everyone recognized that he was insane but we couldn't come up with a reason to impeach him that Fox News viewers would accept" and "I was scared of a Tea Party challenger" will stand out as particularly feeble reasons in a century or two when humanity tries to figure out what in the hell happened during the Great Insanity of the early 21st Century.

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30 Responses to “RED HANDED”

  1. Katydid Says:

    Ed, I hope you feel well really soon!

    As for Trump starting a shooting war; remember that he's depleted the State Department of its diplomats, he's ruined morale at the CIA, and he's currently at war with the FBI.

    We're screwed.

  2. democommie Says:

    @Katydid:

    To paraphrase that old song, "But what has he done to us, lately?"

    I talk to people, on a daily basis, who say things like:

    "Well, yeah, he's done a lot of crazy shit but some of it's been good.".

    or

    "Yeah, he's terrible but something had to break the cycle of endless Liebrulweakoncrimeandterra,strongongivin'MYtaxdollarzaway and he's proven he can do that 'cuz he's a business genius!".

    Up till now, I've been shaking my head. However, the next person that says something as nonsensical as those or other idiotic, uninformed, fact-free, opinion driven batshitKKKrazzewe statements is going to be challenged to tell me ONE thing that the asshole has actually done that WASN'T a fucking disaster.

    People I consider to be sane and probitive talk about what will happen if North Korea is actually crazy enough to launch nukes. They talk in hypotheticals that indicate they think the damage will be confined to North Korea and its immediate neighbors (bad enough, if it was true) and that we'll nuke them into the liquid stone age and then clean up the mess in time for the July 4th parades.

    If North Korea launches nukes I don't see any way to stop the conflagration that will be unleashed.

    Maybe 15-20% of the worlds population would survive the initial attacks and immediate aftermath. Civilization as we recognize it would disappear and a large chunk of those peoplew who did survive the first phase would die of famines, currently treatable diseases and dog-eat-dog, law of the jungle anarchy.

    It is simply not survivable in any way I would wish to survive such a thing.

  3. sluggo Says:

    South Korea is screwed fist and foremost. They hold the Olympics next month and God knows what could happen then, but I am sure that it won't be pretty.
    Get well, Ed.

  4. Katydid Says:

    @Demo; yeah, "business genius"…who's gone bankrupt multiple times and sued people he owes money to. The man couldn't even run a casino, for Pete's sake..

  5. Katydid Says:

    Caught some of Fox and Friends on in a conference room while waiting for a meeting to start. They're attacking Hillary Clinton again. This time they were shrieking that Don Trump Jr. has been investigated more closely than Hillary Clinton (because 70 Benghazi investigations weren't enough?!?!)

  6. mothra Says:

    I think you are missing one important point, Ed: the current crop of elected Republicans LIKE what Trump is doing. Particularly the stuff on Palestine. Any of the nutty stuff they just shrug off and rather enjoy because it gives them cover whatever nonsense they are up to.

  7. mothra Says:

    Grrr. That would be "cover FOR whatever nonsense…"

  8. geoff Says:

    @Mothra, yup. What's a little nuclear brinksmanship when you get a dream corporate tax cut, a Supreme Court justice, and nuke the EPA? TOTALLY WORTH IT!!

  9. jcdenton Says:

    Get well Ed.

    Also, pretty sure the GOP is kinda cool with another shooting foreverwar. Distracts the populace from domestic immiseration, rolls in the military and empire-building contracts, gets rid of poor people who might not enjoy being even poorer. Win-win-win. Who cares that a bunch of brown or yellow people died? They're not voters, after all.

    Fuck this idea that the GOP doesn't know what it's doing. They've been braying for another semi-hot war in Iran for a decade. Glassing the ME is like their wet dream, but NK will do.

  10. Gerald Parks Says:

    Humpt …there it is again!
    The consensus is happening across the political spectrum and can be boiled down to this simple statement.
    "THIS mother fucker IS crazy!"
    Time to rid US(America) of Dotard 45.

  11. Tim H. Says:

    What I don't want to see, but won't be surprised by is "Herr Drumph!" getting us into deep enough shit to expend a lot of military resources and the party formerly known as the GOP will lack the will to fund their replacement, reducing us to a regional power. About time for us to step away from empire anyway, and a graceful exit is too much to hope for.

  12. Talisker Says:

    Ed talks about impeachment, and of course he's correct that Congress can impeach Trump any time it wants; but arguably this is more of a job for the 25th Amendment.

    Republicans can argue Trump has not committed "high crimes and misdemenours"; but it's abundantly clear he is not mentally competent to be President. The Cabinet (including the supposed grown-ups like Mattis and Tillerson) needs to discover its collective spine and remove him; and then Congress needs to vote to confirm the removal.

    @democommie:

    Global nuclear holocaust will not occur, as long as the government of Russia exercises restraint. (China has a few hundred warheads, plenty to destroy any one country but not enough for worldwide Armageddon.) Putin is undoubtedly evil, but he doesn't appear to be stupid or suicidal.

    So, if Trump blunders into nuclear war with North Korea, he is "only" likely to kill ten million or so people through his ineptitude. (We are so fucked.)

  13. RosiesDad Says:

    I know one very committed Trump supporter (I know a lot of people who voted for Trump but they are mostly doctrinaire Republicans who were toeing the party line and really hate Bill and Hillary Clinton) who is a guy who supported him because he believes (correctly) that both parties are hopelessly corrupt and tainted and (incorrectly) that a Trump presidency was going to blow up the existing status quo allowing us to fix our political system. (Trump may push the Republican Party over the edge but I don't see him doing the same to the Democrats.) To Ed's point that Republicans fear reprisal if Trump is pushed out: this guy has said since Day 1 that if Trump is removed from office, that he and those who think the way he does are going to lock and load and take to the streets and forcibly take the government back. I laugh at him because I think his threats are ridiculous but he is the constituent that the Republicans fear; the segment of their constituency who will show up at their offices with pliers and blow torches and wreak true havoc on their comfy little status quo.

  14. RosiesDad Says:

    And Ed–stay hydrated and feel better. Flu sucks.

  15. democommie Says:

    Talisker:

    I think you're smarter than me, on this as well as some other stuff.

    I can only say these two things*, at the moment:

    Moore nearly got elected.

    November 8th, 2016.

    I am hopeful that you're correct but hardly convinced of it.

    * 'cuz the dog is saying: "Make me my breakfast or BE my breakfast!"

  16. Talisker Says:

    @democommie: Don't get me wrong. I'm far from comfortable with the situation, because (a) Trump might decide to nuke Russia just for the hell of it, (b) Russia borders North Korea, and could concievably mistake a US strike on NK for an attack against itself, and (c) accidents and misunderstandings happen, and become more likely when a nuclear superpower is led by, well, Donald Trump.

    Relevant blog post: http://blog.iainroberts.com/2017/11/perspectives-on-annihilation.html

  17. RosiesDad Says:

    @Talisker: The 25th Amendment is really not a permanent solution, it's a temporary patch that would require impeachment, resignation or death to permanently remove a president. And this Congress (and cabinet) would no more likely invoke the 25th than they would impeach for the reasons given above–fear of the Trump loving base.

    We are probably going to have to depend on the adults in the room (Mattis, Kelly, McMaster, Tillerson) to keep the clamps on Trump and prevent him from starting a shooting war. As long as they do that, we are probably better off with Trump remaining in office because he will continue to motivate the Democratic opposition to win back at least one chamber of Congress in 2018 and then to remove him in 2020. Pence might be as motivating (because he is a really shitty person who became very unpopular in IN when he was governor) but the Republican establishment would rally behind him in ways they will not for Trump.

  18. Talisker Says:

    @RosiesDad: Not so. The text of the 25th amendment says a two-thirds vote of both Houses of Congress can make the President's removal permanent.

    Leaving Trump in command of nuclear weapons, because it's believed to provide a partisan advantage to the Democrats, does not strike me as a sensible thing to do.

    I also note that Democrats thinking, "Hey, Trump is so awful we can beat him easily!" is part of what got us into this mess in the first place.

  19. Katydid Says:

    @Demo; feed your hairy roommate before he eats you!

    I'm home today because of the snow–which is not much, even for this place that's not used to snow. However, a decade of "NO TAXES EEEVVVAHHH!" crybabies electing officials who pander to them means that the county has practically no money for snowplows, so unless you're on a main road, you wait for a thaw to get anywhere. Yay libertarianism!

  20. Aurora S Says:

    @RosiesDad:

    The narrative (even among the so-called "Never Trump" Republicans) has been, "Yeah, but do we want to give a complete maniac with practically nonexistent impulse control access to the nuclear codes just because he's a Republican?" since back when he was running for office. It's not like threatening nuclear war was something anyone hadn't already written off as a total given this entire time. The Republicans have been entirely cool with chancing nuclear goddamn war to get what they want (namely, a Republican in office to sign off on their pet projects and to beat Hillary Clinton)–there is NO way they are afraid of a bunch of unhinged yahoos with hunting rifles "taking to the streets". Contrary to what the paranoid horde wants to believe, the Republicans wouldn't be taking the NRA's blood money and be systematically deregulating weapons for civilians over decades if they thought for one instant that it would bite them in the ass. The government will always out-arm the populace–it has to. Uncle Liberty wants to bring an AR-15 to a drone fight? By all means. Letting the Faux News crowd think they have more power than they do has always served the Republicans well.

    Also, I understand what you're getting at with the "both sides are corrupt" thing, but there is consistently and for decades ONE side that has pushed a hateful, racist, theocratic, avaricious agenda at the expense of the American people, and that side is the Republican Party. Both Sides Do It is a narrative pushed by a complicit media that is looking for horserace and spectacle to harvest human attention in order to sell it to advertisers. False-equivalence is a particularly lazy way of pulling this off. It's also helpful that the beltway media Both Siderist crew tends to be primarily made up of comfortably rich white guys who live cushy privileged lives and will pretty much be okay no matter who wears the crown, so they can talk like this is some sort of anthropological exercise and protest-vote with a clear conscience. They will never, ever, EVER relate to the people who are affected most adversely by their careless Republican enabling.

  21. mothra Says:

    Rosie's Dad: So you don't think the Republicans would call out their favorite militarized police forces to quell the armed Bubbas who would rise up?

    Those assholes love to talk tough, but their guns are just their fetishes that they rub to make themselves feel better.

  22. RosiesDad Says:

    @Talisker: Impeachment requires a simple majority in the House and 2/3 of Senate. As such, the permanent removal requirement of the 25th is more or less the equivalent of impeachment. Who are the 17 Republican Senators who would vote for the permanent removal of Trump (provided that all Democrats are on board)?

    While Trump nominally has control of the nuclear arsenal, I have faith–hopefully not misguided–that the military would not allow an offensive nuclear launch by a raving lunatic, even if he is POTUS.

    I was never one who thought that beating Trump would be easy because Hillary was almost as despised as he was and the people who hate her really hate her.

    @Aurora S: I share the belief that both parties are corrupt but do not view them as equivalent. My assessment has generally been, "Both parties suck but one sucks by orders of magnitude more." As such, I don't think I have ever been in the "Both Sides Do It" camp. Thus, I'd like to banish the GOP to the wilderness for the remainder of my lifetime and I would like to see the Democratic Party fix what ails it. I thought Howard Dean got on the right track when he ran the party but that was sort of abandoned when he turned the reins over to DWS. Hopefully Perez and Ellison do better. The fact that the Dems are gearing up to run candidates basically everywhere up and down the ballot in 2018 and that many of those who have stepped up to run are women is promising.

  23. Ten Bears Says:

    Take to the streets!? Hell yes, you point your pop-gun at the US Army.

  24. Katydid Says:

    @Aurora S: absolutely, the one thing you can say in Trump's favor was that he never tried to hide what a deplorable and dangerous human being he was. Unlike Pence, Trump is honest in that regard.

    @Rosie's Dad; the ones who hated Hillary even more are just f'ing deplorables and I wish they were the only ones stuck living with their candidate, but unfortunately they dragged the rest of us down to their muck.

  25. democommie Says:

    @ Katydid:

    The roomie is fed and after a hard 30 seconds or so of wolfing down his food and fifteen minutes or so of around the block with clumsy, he has been napping most of the day. Soon, he will go out again, come home, get fed and nap some more, then I will go drink a few beers.

    It's hard to know the exact amount but I think we've had about 5 feet of snow since 12/25/17 (3 feet overnight 26-27th) and the pile on my curb is about 3' of snow cone consistency but certainly not tasty.

  26. Safety Man! Says:

    Re: Civil Insurrection

    The guns vs drones thing isn’t the problem, the problem is logistics, which has been true of pretty much all tribal or non-governmental forces. As we all saw with the wildlife refuge stupidity out west, it’s easy to get an armed force together, but damned hard to keep them fed, supplied, and healthy.

    However comma never, ever undersestimate the damage they can do before the pop tarts run out.

  27. Rosies Dad Says:

    @Katydid: on deplorables and other miserable Trump supporters–I totally agree. I'm a native New Yorker so Trump was a well known entity to me long ago and this was never going to be anything other than a colossal shit show based on past performance.

  28. Katydid Says:

    @Rosie's Dad; even non-native New Yorkers knew who Trump was back in the 1990s and 2000s, but for those who lived in NYC from the 1980s onward knew exactly who he was. As I said upthread; the man has not ever pretended to be anyone other than who he is (as opposed to Pence).

  29. Dave Bearse Says:

    Maliciously and willfully starting a war that kills a few hundred thousand innocents that severely damages the USA's standing in the world is arguably treason.

  30. Aurora S Says:

    @Dave Bearse—

    Yeah, but Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney were never held accountable for that.

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