18 November 2019
Update from the Sunland
11.11.19 – 17.11.19
The House impeachment inquiry  entered the next phase from depositions to public hearings. On Wednesday, two administration officials testified in public before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).
-- Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, for European and Eurasian Affairs.
-- U.S. Chargé d 'Affaires ad interim (Chief of Mission-Ukraine; acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine; former ambassador to Ukraine [2006-2009]) William Brockenbrough Taylor Jr. [USMA 1969]  On Friday, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Louise ‘Masha’ Yovanovitch testified before the HPSCI. I recorded, watched and listened to the testimony of all three individuals in full. All three of them were impressive for their calm, direct, factual demeanor, professionalism and dedication to this Grand Republic.
After Jim Jordan’s rant about the whistleblower being protected, Representative Peter Francis Welch of Vermont said, “I say to my colleagues, I would be glad to have the person who started it all come in and testify. President Trump is welcome to take a seat right there,” pointing to the witness table. That is precisely the point. No one is above the law (except POTUS temporarily). We bear witness to the constitutional process by which we draw the line of acceptable or tolerable behavior by the commander-in-chief.
The issue is NOT a quid pro quo. The negotiating technique occurs all the time and virtually every day. It is a normal process of international diplomacy. What is dramatically different in the BIC’s instance is, he sought personal gain (political advantage) rather than pursuing the nation’s business. When the BIC says the words “do us a favor, though” [the BIC’s words, no one else’s], it is the essence of quid pro quo. For the BIC to claim there was no quid pro quo defies his exact words, period, full stop, end of story. He was using congressional approved and allocated aid to Ukraine for his personal gain. That is abuse of power, unethical, and outright bribery using the nation’s money, NOT HIS MONEY! Is this behavior acceptable to We, the People?
It also had nothing to do with corruption in Ukraine and clearing things up in Ukraine before security assistance was delivered. The only focus of the BIC on that telephone call was Hunter and Joe Biden, and the long-debunked conspiracy theory that inference in the 2016 election was carried out by the Ukrainians and not the Russians.
So, we are going to argue where the threshold of tolerance lies. The Republicans want to move the bar very high to condone the BIC’s conduct as acceptable to them. The Democrats appear to be working to maintain the bar where it has been for all previous presidents. Does anyone what to take a substantial bet that the next time a Democrat is in the Oval Office and the Republicans control the House, the Republicans will strive mightily to lower the bar much lower than where it has been for past presidents—other than this one—their boy. The Republicans controlled the House and Senate for the first two years of the BIC’s presidency. They sat back and did everything they could think of to protect the BIC, which in turn means directly that they accept and condone the BIC’s conduct. To those who have served in the military, would an officer or enlisted man be allowed to say and do the things the BIC does? Would the BIC’s conduct be acceptable in the military? Or, would it be conduct unbecoming to the service?
In the defense of the BIC’s conduct, Republicans are publicly stating emphatically that the BIC’s behavior is acceptable for any and all future presidents of this Grand Republic. We, the People, must ensure our representatives and senators know how we feel.
One thing the BIC has done in spades is helped us see clearly the tolerance threshold of the two major political parties. I hope and trust We, the People, will judge them accordingly.
NO! POTUS does not have the right to say whatever he wants any more than a company employee can say whatever he wants, or a uniformed military officer or enlisted man can say whatever they want. He is not a private citizen. He is an employee of the U.S. Government and We, the People. He is the principal representative of this Grand Republic. If POTUS can say whatever he wants regardless of the truth, then it does not matter what the president says; we cannot and should not believe a word he speaks and writes. Is that really what we want and expect from the POTUS? So-called "truthful hyperbole" may be acceptable in real estate and for snake-oil salesmen; it is NOT acceptable and in fact intolerable for a POTUS, or anyone else in a leadership position.
The BIC acted in a guilty manner from tasking his personal lawyer (Giuliani) to hiding the call transcript in a highly classified compartmented server, to smearing and relieving Ambassador Yovanovitch, ad nauseum. He acted guilty, which makes all of his actions appear even more suspect. Anyone of these elements, taken in isolation, can easily be pushed aside as within the authority of the president. However, taken as a whole, there is no doubt in my mind that he had nefarious intent.
Just when we thought the BIC could not get any lower and more disgusting, he tweets out this gem.
Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.
7:01 AM - 15 Nov 2019
. . . in the middle of Ambassador Yovanovitch’s public testimony before the HPSCI. She has deployed on behalf of this Grand Republic to dangerous places like Somalia. When has the BIC ever placed himself in danger for the country? How much more low-rent crap does he need to spew out on all of us before the dedicated BIC-sters reach their threshold of tolerance and join the rest of us in having enough of this bully’s revolting behavior? Is there no basement limit to the BIC’s despicable behavior for that segment of this Grand Republic?
Another one bites the dust! Sometime advisor to the BIC Roger Jason Stone Jr. was convicted in federal court of all seven charges and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years or more in federal prison. As he so often does, the BIC tweets out a message intended to distract, confuse and obfuscate.
So they now convict Roger Stone of lying and want to jail him for many years to come. Well, what about Crooked Hillary, Comey, Strzok, Page, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, Shifty Schiff, Ohr & Nellie, Steele & all of the others, including even Mueller himself? Didn’t they lie?....
9:13 AM - 15 Nov 2019
The BIC does this all the time. The other guys do it so, so it is OK for my guy. Well, the others he cited did NOT break the law. Roger Stone did. Full stop! This does not look good for the BIC.
As U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon David Sondland is about to testify before the HPSCI in public, and especially after the testimony of two fellow ambassadors, the BIC did what he so typically does when his minions have exhausted their value to him. The BIC preemptively said, “I hardly know the guy”—the first step in throwing him under the bus. I trust Sondland received the message; he is expendable at the altar of the BIC.
One final thought for this week, Twitter may well become to the BIC what the office voice recorder was to Richard Nixon. I’m just sayin . . .
Comments and contributions from Update no.930:
Comment to the Blog:
“Your email came to my in-box today. Thanks.
“I don’t cling to the genetic definition of fatherhood. Others do. That produces the bizarre sexual ethics of polygamous religions, among other results.
“Those people telling us to read the ‘transcript’ (summary) don’t want us to read that any more than the worst kind of Christian preacher wants us to read the Bible. Neither wants us to use our minds independently. See also the Mueller Report.
“Unlike the Democratic National Committee, I remember Nixon’s process. Democrats lost nothing in extending that process, and they aren’t this time either. Chump’s base can’t re-elect him in any case without other voters who don’t support him now. He’s campaigning according to the Electoral College, but that can only do so much. The DNC is mostly concerned with the grassroots chipping away at their perceived base. (That’s what their sponsors tell them.) Odd as it seems, I think the DNC is just embarrassed at standing up for themselves. That same attitude costs them votes every time they fail to take a stand on any issue.
“If this process lasts long enough to reach Chump’s resignation or elimination in the primaries, it will have served its political purpose. New York State and other jurisdictions can then carry out the law. (There’s also a chance the Chump’s health will stop him.) Should Mitch McConnell stall an impeachment trial for a while, that’s even better because of the attention on McConnell. In the long-term analysis, McConnell does more damage to the nation than Chump. We need that to be more obvious. We’re not likely to need a Senate conviction, but I also remember that a turning point came with the Republican Senators in the Nixon Administration. It wasn’t this early in the process.
“Great Britain has been the scene of internal strife dating back to 1066 CE. That has been primarily low-level discontent in recent centuries (other than Ireland), but there’s no reason to believe they will find harmony. That saddens me, especially since one of those mail-in DNA tests tells me they dominate my ancestry.”
My response to the Blog:
I think the eMail problem was on my end. I upgraded my Mac OS, and somehow some obscure, remote, buried file got corrupted during the upload/install. Our middle son solved the problem; everything seems to be working fine and normally now.
There are many knock-on consequences of the paternalism that has dominated our evolving cultures, perhaps the worst version stemming from the Victorian era—“bizarre sexual ethics of polygamous religions” being just one adjunct [FYI: Victorian morality staunchly condemned polygamy and sex in the main (for any reason other than for procreation)].
Well said, ignorance is the desired medium for dictators and megalomaniacs of any form including religious, e.g., Big Brother and The Party of “1984” infamy (fiction) and Catholic condemnation of the printing press (non-fiction).
I can agree with your political assessment, although it is only a fraction of the electoral variety in play today. Whoever makes it through the nomination process and to the actual election campaign must not ignore the constitutionally mandated Electoral College process. The popular vote (at least for now) is not what matters. Until the rules are changed, any candidate must play by the rules.
The BIC’s vast personality flaws will not allow him to resign, no matter how bad it gets, and I do not see any even remote possibility of him being eliminated in the primaries. Given the BIC’s personality flaws, I am more than remotely concerned about what he might do if he is defeated in the 2020 election—the worst condition being a confused or ambiguous outcome like 2000 or 2016, although he might well try to reject even a landslide defeat. Yes, I do not agree with just about everything McConnell has done; his unilateral stonewalling of the Senate confirmation of President Obama’s last Supreme Court nomination being one of the most egregious. I am not sure why you suggest a Senate conviction might not be necessary. I simply cannot imagine the BIC resigning for any reason; he will likely be defiant to the end.
The Brexit situation is precarious. I have studied fractious times in British history before. I do not recall a more threatening time tearing at the very fabric of the country. They have overcome adversity in the past; I trust they will do so with this contemporary version.
. . . Round two:
“Unfortunately, even as I write this, state Republican parties are rigging their primaries to favor Chump. I still regard it as possible that he will experience a moment of clarity and suddenly resign, based on some other not-sane people I have known. He would, of course, throw a massive blame fit. Also, I have a recurring fear of him committing suicide with maximum drama. That's one of the health issues I mentioned might catch up with him. Also, many people seem to have forgotten Watergate. As that process continued, Nixon and his party lost functional power. No conviction is necessary for that to happen. Regardless of Chump's base, more Americans will withdraw support for the man and his party will suffer from that.
“Just to add to England's Brexit woes, remember that risk still exists that if the UK leaves the EU, Scotland may leave the UK. Recall my admonition that no nation is content to be conquered, even hundreds of years down the road.”
. . . my response to round two:
First, I cannot imagine the BIC’s personality anomalies allowing him to commit seppuku, although he should. Second, the tribalism we suffer today is calcified well beyond any semblance during either the Nixon or Clinton impeachment processes. It is that tribalism I am the most concerned about, as it belies and defies any touch with reality or the facts; it is ONLY concerned with the tribe’s preservation of their grip on power. The BIC has been masterful in playing to and encouraging the tribalism that sustains him. To the tribe that supports him, this chaos he induced in acceptable and quite probably sought to neutralize the government. It is going to take a lot to overcome the tribalism.
Oh, I do remember, and I have not forgotten. Further break-up of the United Kingdom would not be a positive consequence.
. . . Round three:
“What I think you miss in Chump's personality is the extreme need for attention. ‘I'll show you!’ is as much a part of his personality as any five-year-old. His tribe/base is not large enough to re-elect him without others, even with voter suppression and Electoral College manipulation.”
. . . my response to round three:
You may well be correct. I simply contend that narcissistic egomania is conflict with intentional self-destruction. Such a “I’ll show you” demonstration would garner no attention to him, since he would be deceased. I do not dispute your hypothesis, simply urge caution with such thinking.
Yes, both main political parties are minorities among the voting or even eligible voters. In gross terms, a third each with the remaining third with independents, non-partisans, and such. I think once again, the election will likely be decided by the middle third.
. . . Round four:
“We all need to be cautious about Chump's mental health state. I'd like to see a professional diagnosis, but I doubt it would do any good. Even were he willing, treatment of narcissists and psychopaths is difficult.
“Elections are decided by the independents if they vote because they are so many. Even if they don't agree with me, I want that to happen. One voter, one vote, support maximum turnout.”
. . . my response to round four:
I’m with you on that. Successful treatment depends upon the patient recognizing his need for treatment, quite like addiction. I cannot imagine the BIC ever achieving that state of enlightenment. He continues to do what he has always done and proven he is incapable of learning from his mistakes. Oh wait . . . I forgot . . . he is perfect and incapable of making mistakes.
I remain apprehensive about the 2020 election. I take nothing for granted. The thought of the BIC being in office four more years is incomprehensible to me. Then again, I could not imagine how someone with the BIC’s personality anomalies could ever get elected . . . but he did.
“Glad to report your e-mails are now properly directing to my 'INBOX' and not the 'SPAM' filter box. I could not resolve that glitch and was quite irritated my e-mail client server Thunderbird was not letting me manually override the MCAS on the software. But, it seems resolved!
“The actuality of what is going on with our POTUS is amazing that we have reached this juncture, and for Trump it is well deserved contrary to the right-wing talking anchor heads. What is quite amazing to me is how many people I know act like nothing is going on, that nothing is significant.
“The POTUS phone call to the Ukrainian leader, we get a transcript of that. I suspect POTUS' communications may be encrypted and highly secure, but I am wondering whether NSA still can monitor on those, and if so, would their data be presentable and more complete?
“We must monitor Hong Kong, as that could turn into a significant geopolitical moment.”
. . . my reply:
I think the problem was on my end. I upgraded my iMac OS, and it apparently corrupted some obscure, deeply imbedded file. Our middle son sorted it out. Things appear to be functioning normally now—I hope.
Yes, indeedie! Although, amazing is not a word I would choose. Tragic is more like it. The Founders & Framers foresaw the potential for a rogue president to gum up the works; thus, the Impeachment provisions in the Constitution. I do not think they ever imagined the rampant (and I will say rabid) tribalism that has gripped this Grand Republic in contemporary times. Yeah, the image that continues to clarify in my mind is, those who support the BIC want and actually seek chaos and a dysfunctional federal government, to render the federal government impotent. Better a non-functional government rather than a government they do not approve of in any form. Conservatives are so desperate to maintain the status quo, they will resort to any tactic to negate change.
We have not received a transcript of that call, and I doubt we ever will. That was NOT a transcript; it was an edited summary and edited for they thought was innocuous. They missed just one sentence – “I would like you to do us a favor, though . . .” The BIC and his loyal minions are striving mightily to obstruct and obfuscate. They are desperate to make it through another three months, undoubtedly figuring all this impeachment stuff will evaporate once they reach the primary season, activating their mantra—let the People decide.
I think the situation in Hong Kong is past the ‘could’ stage and is well into the ‘is’ stage. Lines have been drawn. I do not see a bloodless path out of the box.
Another different contribution:
“Well Cap we are overwhelmed with Brexit and now a general election just to keep our minds busy.
“Well as you can see there are diversions, of course this one comes from your side of the pond. It’s looking pretty serious don’t you think.
“Still not receiving your updates Cap…”
It seems we all have our crosses to bear.
I hope y’all get through Brexit, as I have confidence you will. There is no way to make the pig pretty. Best just to get on with it and adjust from there.
The BBC reporting is both accurate and fair. Unfortunately, we must publicly display the ugly entrails of our current, “perfect,” omnipotent, fearless leader. There are no words available to describe my disgust and revulsion, and worse I have seen him in this frame since long before the 2016 election; but, he was duly elected. I have written and I am still writing on my impressions from this week’s revelations for this week’s Update.
I do not mean to lessen the seriousness of your trials, but at least you have leaders who are trying to get through it. We, on the other hand, must suffer a narcissistic, egomaniacal, megalomaniac who cares only about himself and no one else. There is little doubt in my little pea-brain that he would turn on his wife or children if he perceived that they were no longer valuable to him. The sign of that happening is: “I hardly know [whomever].” I can see him saying, I hardly know Melania. He is a revolting human being. And, the buffoon adds another charge during the ambassador’s testimony yesterday—witness tampering and intimidation. The BIC is so far beyond disgust and revulsion . . . I’m without words.
I am so sorry you are not receiving the Updates. I will try to send you a copy directly on the TO line than via the BCC line as it is now. You can always read them on-line at:
Yet, another contribution:
“After a period of rest from following your incessant tirades about our businessman president, whose bulliness and profane loose mouth I abhor while admiring his politically incorrect actions as our chosen leader but while regretting his single most disappointing mistake (lack of financial discipline and the balls to veto spending that compounds our obscene national debt), I shall respond to 930.
“While I continue to admire and respect your voice while totally disagreeing with your narrow-minded conclusions about the Donald, I must comment on the most important part of 930, your salute to our vets. I salute you for your own contributions in uniform as I recall my Marine Aviator Colonel brother's respect (as you recall) for your ideas before his passing.
“In addition I share with you, my brother in arms, and your vet readers, a somewhat relevant current joy a year and a half since the loss of the love of my life: I am spending time with a wonderful widow, enjoying new hope after 30 years of close friendship between both couples ended in our mutual lonesomeness last year. At my invitation, she joined me in my annual Veterans' Day visit to a nursing home, me looking out of date in my AF class A's as usual after more than a quarter of a century after retirement and she looking magnificent in her blues with her Chief Master Sargent stripes dominating her sleeve as a retired Air Guard NCO. The old codgers were so thankful, as is always my annual purpose, and this year they were especially thrilled at her beauty while largely ignoring my eagles. Enjoy and share the image, my friend, and wish me luck in what I have labeled for her ‘our Encore.’”
Always great to hear from you. I truly appreciate the fact we can disagree without being disagreeable. All viable democracies depend upon disagreement, debate and compromise.
To be frank and candid, I would vastly prefer to discuss and debate myriad other issues facing this Grand Republic and the international community in which we live. However, the fellow who currently occupies the Oval Office makes absolutely certain that he, and only he, is the center and focus of our attention. I simply respond to the issues placed before us, and he is issue no.1, from my perspective.
As you articulate your observations of the BIC, how do you justify his conduct being worthy, appropriate and acceptable for any occupant of the Oval Office. As Lindsey Graham so accurately stated publicly, “Impeachment is about cleansing the office.”
Thank you for your generous service to this Grand Republic, and thank you for the recognition.
As you requested, I will share your story. God bless you for your generous giving of your time to other veterans in need. I wish you nothing but joy and prosperity in whatever lays ahead for you, my friend. I sure do miss your brother in so many ways. May God rest his immortal soul.
My very best wishes to all. Take care of yourselves and each other.