17 February 2020

Update no.944

Update from the Sunland
No.944
10.2.20 – 16.2.20
Blog version:  http://heartlandupdate.blogspot.com/

            To all,

            To quote Charles Dickens’ famous opening to Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness . . . .”  So it is for us.
            The Bully-In-Chief (BIC) decided to place his thumb on the scales of justice and interfere once again in a criminal prosecution performed by the U.S. Justice Department.  This time, the sentencing of long-time BIC friend and self-proclaimed dirty trickster Roger Stone was the object.  Stone is the potential beneficiary of the BIC’s interference.  Stone is currently scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday, 20.February, for his conviction on all seven (7) federal felony counts—obstruction of Congress (count 1), making false statements to Congress (counts 2-6), and witness tampering (count 7).  The BIC’s tweet:
This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!
11:48 PM · Feb 10, 2020
no.2 (two days later, after Attorney General Barr quickly hustled to claim he had decided on the action before the president got involved):
Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought. Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!
4:53 AM · Feb 12, 2020
no.3:
Two months in jail for a Swamp Creature, yet 9 years recommended for Roger Stone (who was not even working for the Trump Campaign). Gee, that sounds very fair! Rogue prosecutors maybe? The Swamp! 
5:06 AM · Feb 12, 2020
This latest dust-up exploded when the attorney general withdrew and overrode the sentencing recommendation in the Stone case for seven (7) to nine (9) years in prison for his conviction.  Barr’s action leaves the sentencing without a Justice Department recommendation and thus up to U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson.  As a consequence, all four government prosecutors resigned from the case on Tuesday, 11.February; the government lawyers involved were: 
-- Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Kravis,
-- Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Marando,
-- Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron S.J. Zelinsky, and
-- Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam C. Jed.
Kravis completely resigned from the Justice Department and the government. The other three— Marando, Zelinsky, and Jed—withdrew from the case but remain in the department, so far.  On Thursday, the 13th, ABC News interviewed Attorney General Barr, who made the following extraordinary statement:
To have public statements and tweets made about the department, ah, about the people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department, and about judges before whom we have cases, ah, make it impossible for me to do my job, and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we are doing our job with integrity.
Barr’s public statement is, in itself, extraordinary given the BIC’s penchant for retribution at any sign of dissent—no matter who it is.  Given the BIC’s mistake, we must question whether Barr’s action and statement were rehearsed and approved by the BIC to deflect public outrage.
            The BIC, as president, does have “the authority to do it,” as he states.  However, the injection of the Office of the President in a criminal justice matter is wrong in so many ways.  But, of course, the BIC could not care less about tradition, precedent, practice or propriety.  And to think, Senator Collins thought the BIC had learned his lessons from the impeachment process.  The only lesson he learned was he was indeed above the law and he can do whatever he wants for whatever reason strikes his fancy.
            At the end of the day, this is what we get with a king.  I certainly hope those who support and sustain King Donald I are happy and joyous with his conduct; I hate to think all these citizens who have supported and sustained the BIC are not belly-giggle pleased after all they have done to enable the man.  As an old citizen of what used to be a grand republic, I am NOT one of those.  I condemn the BIC’s conduct (well, as long as he acts like he does and I am able).  The BIC’s conduct has been, is, and most likely will continue to be the antithesis of everything this nation has stood for hundreds of years.

            Considerable power is vested in the Office of the President.  The BIC loves to remind us he has the authority to do whatever he wants.  In large measure, by the Constitution and the law, the president wields extraordinary power.  Previous presidents have been predominantly self-restrained—respectful of the enormous power they wield.  As I have repeatedly said, just because he can, does not mean he should.  Where are the boundaries?  The president can initiate a thermonuclear attack on another country.  Does that mean he should for whatever reason he wants?
            I am reading an interesting book on the genesis of the Gestapo in Nazi Germany—The Gestapo – A History of Horror.  Far too many good German citizens ignored, looked the other way, or supported the regimes quasi-legal efforts to seize control of German society . . . until it was too late and well beyond the point of no return.  Germans liked what Hitler did with rejecting the Versailles Treaty, making Germany militarily strong again, creating the Autobahn, making the trains run on time, et al.  Hitler and the National Socialists did good things from a German societal perspective.  They were all too willing to overlook the darkly ominous signs accumulating around them . . . until they lost the objectivity of the Press when it was subjugated to the will of the State, i.e., Hitler (and his henchmen & minions).  The German people only saw what the State wanted them to see and not what he was doing, once the Gestapo aggressively and brutally suppressed or eliminated any and all forms of doubt, dissent, or resistance—instilling mortal fear in every single person.  Even indifference was considered an action against the State (der Führer).
            Perhaps, We, the People, of this former grand republic, passed our point of no return on Wednesday, the 5th of February.  We are probably not knowledgeable enough, perceptive enough, or smart enough to recognize the moment.  Yet, history shall record the outcome despite our ignorance.

            The New Hampshire primaries were held on Tuesday; the election was decided and reported that evening.  FYI: the Iowa results remain unofficial as of this writing.  Bernie Sanders won the Democratic primary; the BIC handily won the Republican primary.
            The next event in the primary phase of the silly season is the Nevada Caucuses on Saturday, 22.February, followed by the South Carolina Primary a week later, and then Super-Tuesday on the 3rd of March {Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia—all on one day}.

            How many times must we endure the BIC’s standard, consistent, modus operandi when he gets caught in a faux pas, a mistake, or an outright bigtime screw up?  The sequence of his responses is always the same.
1.     “I didn’t do it,” then
2.     “I didn’t do it, but I could do it.  I have the right to do it,” then
3.     “I did do it, so what,” and finally
4.     “I did do it, and it was right to do it.”
We have witnessed this staged sequence countless times in the last three years, and we will undoubtedly see it many more times before he is done.  The only reason he ever gets to stage 3 and 4 is he has repeatedly demonstrated his immunity from prosecution, and now his immunity from conviction & removal under impeachment.

            received the following contribution from an irregular contributor that I thought worthy of our attention.
“No way to adequately pars and reply to the lengthy (record?) 943.
“One old sentiment and new comment and sincere comment, CAP:
“Your characteristically energetic and sincere comments are as always, since about 2017, unfortunately, diminished and rendered petty by your childish insistence upon use of BIC to refer to your President.  Yeah, yeah, I know: you have zero respect for the guy and want to remind us ad nauseum
“But Cap, as one of your long time admirers and thankful students, I feel compelled to give some unwanted advice: Stop using BIC unless each time you are willing to define it, which would, of course, soon be tedious and eventually embarrassing because of its juvenile essence.  You and your commentary are above that.  Please revert to POTUS or some less disrespectful acronym or words.  It will improve your message and restore dignity to your very valuable and informative tirades, most of which I agree.”
 . . . to which I replied:
            I take your constructive criticism in the form it was intended.  I always appreciate your words.  I erroneously assumed the term had become a common usage acronym . . . like USA.  I shall abide by your counsel as noted above.
            Please allow me to step beyond the obvious here.
            You are a man of the law, a citizen-soldier, who has served the nation well.  I am truly puzzled, as a man of the law, how do you rationalize his conduct?  I do not know whether you have read the Special Counsel’s report or H.Rept.116-346.  If you have not, I strongly urge you to do so.  Both official reports lay out hard evidence in graphic detail.  Would you accept the conduct documented in those reports from a mayor, a police chief, or even a dogcatcher?  Why should we tolerate such conduct in a president?
            I have acknowledged your consistent encouragement for me to “look at what he does, not at what he says.”  For better or worse, I interpret those words to mean the ends justify the means.  I have been taught from my late teen years to respect morality in an immoral conduct of war.  The ends do NOT justify the means.  I imagine you received the same teachings during your service years.  Surely, you are not suggesting the ends justify the means, or as he contends, the BIC can do whatever he wants.  If so, then we shall respectfully disagree.  If not, where do we draw the line?  If the official reports noted above do not document unacceptable behavior by a president, then what does?  . . . shooting an innocent man on Fifth Avenue in New York City in broad daylight?  No?  How about lobbing a nuke at some group he disapproves of at the moment?  Where do we draw the line?
            Lastly, please go back to the very beginning—election (Update no.778), inauguration (Update no.788), and my loss of tolerance and respect, and introduction of the term Bully-In-Chief (BIC) (Update no.846).  If you will review just those three Updates, you will see that despite my early misgivings about his serious personality flaws, I respected his employment for We, the People, in the Office of the President; he was and I still believe he was duly and properly elected.  It was not until one year later (Update no.846; 12.3.2018 – 18.3.2018) that I gave up any hope that he would overcome his infantile & juvenile conduct.  I acknowledge that you (and many others) have consistently chastised me for my disrespect of the Office of the President.  In reality, the one person in the whole country who has disrespected the Office of the President is the BIC—he is alone at the pinnacle.  I have sworn an oath multiple times, as you have, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.  I have not and never will swear an oath to protect the president and especially the BIC, or even the Republican Party.  The BIC is not worthy!  I acknowledge (although I do not accept) that you and many others are quite satisfied with his behavior, and his conduct is now acceptable for every future king.
            As I have written previously, the U.S. Senate chose to crown the BIC as King Donald I.  All hail the king.  Long live the king.  I recognize reality.  I mark the day as the moment this Grand Republic passed into history—sad but true. Nonetheless, I shall continue the struggle to recover our dignity, honor, and integrity, and hopefully, someday, restore the status of this nation as a grand republic.

            Comments and contributions from Update no.943:
Comment to the Blog:
“It’s bad form to include the name of the (possible) whistleblower, even in quoting one of the villains.
“I’ll note that the courts remain available as an avenue for, as an example, convicting the most valuable minions of their criminal offenses.
“The Iowa caucus fiasco is another DNC manipulation.  The biggest difference from 2016 is that it got coverage and at a much higher level than the ‘not Sanders’ project of 2016.  Also, changing the DNC candidate was clumsy, but Biden couldn’t do the job.
“This ‘representative democracy,’ as you call it, could be a damned sight more representative if Senate and other votes from lightly-populated states didn’t count so much more than mine.
“You may deliver any number of civics lectures insisting on voter participation as do the DNC Democrats.  They will have no effect if voters don’t believe their votes matter or they see no candidates worthy of their votes.”
My response to the Blog:
            Thank you for the reminder.  I understood that precisely.  I debated with myself on exactly how to handle that issue.  I did more than the usual research to understand the extent of disclosure.  I was surprised to find the extent.  From my research, I think that name has been publicly disclosed by a variety of widely disassociated sources—not all sources, but more than a few.  Because of that disclosure, I thought it was important for We, the People, to recognize his name just in case something should happen to him.
            I can and will support your encouragement of judicial review.  I would like to see either the House Intelligence Committee or the House Judiciary Committee issue subpoenas to the cast of characters and prepare the court documents.  Time is of the essence since there is no guarantee of electoral outcome in November.  Unfortunately, the failure of the BIC impeachment trial dilutes the urgency judgment argument.
            I do not and cannot subscribe to your DNC conspiracy hypothesis.  The Democrats are a long way from deciding the candidates for the general election . . . although I confess that many state Republican Party committees have abdicated to the BIC.  Despite the heavy hand of the RNC, some states are actually holding Republican primary elections.
            Your argument against state’s rights has been consistent and persistent.  I laud your persistence.  My opinion has not changed.
            Like all behaviors, the individual will justify her/his conduct.  I am only one (1) vote among 130+ M.  I will hardly appear as a teeny-weeny blip on the tote board, but I still feel an obligation to cast my one vote.  I know complacency, apathy, whatever, infects many eligible voters.  I will only argue: if we continue to do what we have always done, we will continue to get what we have always got.
. . . Round two:
“Your comment on the DNC is a little idealistic (and buys into marketing).  If we study the 2016 model, the DNC doesn't really care on a personal level who wins, but they control the process so that the eventual officeholder will not be in conflict with the DNC's funding sources.  Hence, Sanders was eliminated in 2016 and the DNC will do their best to prevent him or anyone with his policy record from being elected this year either.  For another example of the DNC at work, study the election in Debbie Wasserman Schultz's district in 2016.  A local election official was convicted in that event, but Wasserman Schultz kept her office and remained (for right then) as the chair of the DNC.”
 . . . my response to round two:
            You criticize the DNC as if they are somehow more corrupt than the RNC.  Respectfully, I do not see the DNC as any worse than the RNC; in fact, quite the contrary, the level of corporate influence within the RNC seems to be orders of magnitude worse than within the DNC.
            Until we get a constitutional amendment to negate Citizens United and get dark money out of politics, we will continue to get what we’ve always got.  The monied among us (individuals and corporations) will continue to buy the protection, influence and action they seek for personal gain.  Political organizations evolved for the money.  Until the sources of money they need are changed, the process will not change, i.e., the root cause is the money, not the political structures.
 . . . Round three:
“I have no idea how you read anything whatever about the Republican Party into what I wrote.
“Certainly, money in politics is a major issue.  It has been overcome before (think Teddy Roosevelt and others of that time).  If we don't overcome it again, we will not address climate change, in which case we can kiss off pretty much all of life as we know it.”
 . . . my response to round three:
            LOL  That was exactly my point.  You seem to focus your ire on the DNC without a single word of condemnation of the RNC.  I understand your criticism of the DNC, but I do believe the RNC is far worse.
            There was a great, recent NOVA program on climate change—worth the time; very fundamental and easy to absorb.  There have been numerous attempts to curtail the influence of money in our electoral process.  Citizens United ended all of that.  The Supremes decided money has a conscience, has a soul, and has a right to citizenship.  The Supremes are highly unlikely to overturn Citizens United; they will hide behind stare decisis.  Our only path (since negation of the decision is highly unlikely) is a constitutional amendment; not easy, but more do-able than the Supremes overturning the ruling.  Not to be pessimistic, even a constitutional amendment is unlikely as the RNC, and likely the DNC, will block every attempt; they want the money.
 . . . Round four:
“I work in a functional rather than a moral framework. What is the point of addressing the GOP? There's no way to improve the situation there.
“I saw a good part of that special, and I will watch it in full when time and energy permit. My point is that if we do nothing about Citizens United and our other electoral issues, those climate issues will not be addressed. We'd better find some way to do something useful about both issues or we're in deep trouble.”
. . . my response to round four:
            Interesting dissection.  I surmise your argument is there is still hope for the DNC.  If I read between the tea leaves, are you suggesting the salvation of the DNC rests with Bernie Sanders?
            I share your concern and attention.  I have long argued that we need (must) wean ourselves off of fossil fuels, period, full stop.  The circumstantial evidence that human use of fossil fuels may be the cause of our current climate change is growing and progressively undeniable.  I remain skeptical that climate change is caused by humans, but my skepticism is getting harder to sustain.  Regardless, our use of fossil fuels must end for whatever reason sustains the change.
. . . Round five:
“Let's remember that the DNC is not the Democratic Party, as much as they'd like to be.  My premise, as with other progressives, is that only one thing can overturn the current management, and that is voters.  If the votes go against the DNC, the sponsors will stop donating.  Then, and only then, can a takeover succeed.”
 . . . my response to round five:
            Thank you for the reminder.  I have not forgotten.  There is that.  In fact, I will say that is exactly what happened in the Republican Party.  The BIC tapped into, amplified, and energized the Tea Party faction, and literally took over the Republican Party.  Some of what the BIC has done is consistent with Republican dogma, but most of it is emphatically not.  Yet, the establishment Republicans have proven themselves fully capable of setting aside their morality, their humanity, their principles, and their reasoning in deference to the BIC’s grip on the aggressive faction of the Republican Party.  I suppose you are suggesting the liberal wing of the Democratic Party should carry out a similar coup d’état, i.e., the revolution Sanders espouses.

            My very best wishes to all.  Take care of yourselves and each other.
Cheers,

Cap                  :-)