Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 20, 2019

Impeachment Circus - Today's Bombshell Is Another Dud

The impeachment circus continued today with a refreshingly candid opening statement from Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the EU. Sondland was involved in diplomatic efforts in Ukraine. Instead of stonewalling Sondland just let it all out:

Gordon D. Sondland testified that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed off on the pressure campaign, and that he told Vice President Mike Pence about an apparent link between military aid for Ukraine and investigations of Democrats. Mr. Sondland confirmed there was a “clear quid pro quo” for a White House meeting between President Trump and Ukraine’s president.

The anti-Trump media see this as another "bombshell" that will hurt him.

But it is more likely that Sondland's testimony will help President Trump and those involved on his side.

The President of the United States thought it to be in the interest of the United States to press Ukraine's government into publicly announcing investigations into two issues:

  • The successful meddling by Ukrainian officials in the 2016 U.S. election.
  • The evident intervention by then Vice President Biden into Ukrainian politics to the benefit of the owner of a company that paid his son more than $50,000 per month.

Sondland and other U.S. officials were negotiating with the Ukrainians about these demands. There were two potential points that they could  use to pressure the Ukrainians into announcing investigations:

  • The Ukrainian request for a visit by President Zelensky to the White House.
  • The Ukrainian desire to receive military aid that Congress had allocated for that purpose.

It is not clear at all that Trump wanted those issues to be used to pressure Ukraine. Trump never told Sondland that these issues were connected:

Aaron Maté @aaronjmate - 15:58 UTC · Nov 20, 2019

Sondland's testimony is not as damning as it's being portrayed. He says Trump never told him that money for US weapons ("security assistance") was conditioned on investigations. Sondland says that such a condition is what he came to believe based on his own inference.
His interpretation may well be correct (I'd bet it was). But his own interpretation is not direct evidence -- it's an interpretation. Given he's the star witness who spoke to Trump -- & he says Trump never even mentioned "security assistance" -- it's actually an evidentiary hole.
Sondland: "I've never heard from Trump that the aid was conditioned on the investigations." Also says Trump never mentioned “security assistance.” This is the star witness who spoke to Trump, & who relayed conditions to Ukraine — which he now says was based on his interpretation.
Sondland: “President Trump never told me directly that the aid was conditioned on the meetings. The only thing we got directly from Guiliani was that the Burisma and 2016 elections were conditioned on the White House meeting. The aid was my own personal, you know, guess.”

The negotiators, including Sondland, presumed that the demands and pressure points were linked. But Trump had never said so.

The negotiations around the Ukraine issues were going slow. It was not clear to the negotiators what Trump actually wanted. Sondland said that at one point he called up Trump and asked an open questions: "What do you want from Ukraine?".

According to Sondland Trump responded: "I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing."

Trump is a crook. It is fair to presume that he wanted his aides to use all potential pressure points to deliver the desired results from the Ukrainians. But Trump is also a smart enough crook to never say that.

Today he read the above quote from Sondland's testimony to the press. Some photographer took a picture of his notes.


bigger

Zelensky got the meeting with Trump, though it was in New York not in the White House. The Ukraine received the military aid. The Ukrainians never announced an investigation into the election interference or into the Biden affair.

It will be difficult for the Democrats to claim that Trump wanted a quid pro quo or wanted to bribe the Ukrainians when, according to one of there main witnesses, Trump said the opposite. Not only that - Trump did not get what it is claimed what he wanted while the Ukraine got everything that it had asked for.

And this was not even the last line of Trump's defenses.

For two years the Democrats insisted on investigating alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election. What is wrong with Trump requesting an investigation into well documented Ukrainian interference?

Ukrainian corruption has been a concern of several administrations. What is wrong with Trump asking the Ukrainians to investigate a well known case that may have involved U.S. officials?

The U.S. is not a welfare organization. Official political White House meetings with the president are only granted if the U.S. hopes that it is to its advantage. Aid or loans are only granted by the U.S. when it is to its own advantage. The granting or withholding of such items are part of most international deals, as are threats. They are part of political deals between nations, not personal bribery.

It is beyond me why the Democrats think they can bring Trump down over this.

Posted by b on November 20, 2019 at 20:08 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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karlof1 @16

Re Keiser Report, I couldn't find anything there of relevance to the impeachment circus.

Just a conversation about trade that struck me as one of the weaker Keiser reports I have listened to. In fact, I stopped listening to it. Is that the report you are recommending?

Posted by: Really?? | Nov 22 2019 0:51 utc | 101

Unfortunately, the narrative is about the quality, integrity, and intentions of the people who man the government.. not about how the structure of the government denies most of the people access to the government, not about serving the will of the governed deplorables, not about defending each person equally against all attempts to violate or infringe human rights.

no wonder nothing ever gets anything but worse. the bad characters we have in the government that used to be our government, only gets worse, and there is always out there a person with worse character than the ones currently in office. but where are the persons with good characters, why are they at the head of our government?

Can't we change the narrative to what's wrong with the government and how to fix it, instead of whether or not one or more of the elected elite is crooked or not?

Posted by: snake | Nov 22 2019 0:57 utc | 102

h @100

I resent the implication that criticism of Trump is anti-American or anti-freedom. And I'm not some partisan lefty throwing mud to the right. I've criticized Obama, Hillary, Sanders, and others with equal passion. In my comment @72 I pushed back on an anti-Trump smear.

But what's really galling is that you don't seem to have bothered to look at the links I provided.

We KNOW that Trump University was a scam. It was investigated and they have testimony from Trump University execs. That's why Trump ultimately settled it (despite insisting that he wouldn't).

We KNOW that Trump's Foundation was used inappropriately. NY AG investigated and has criticized the way that the Foundation operated in the strongest possible terms. Trump may say he wasn't directly involved ... but he's claimed ignorance many times about things he should know about. It's just not credible anymore.

We KNOW that Trump's contractor used scab laborer and that those workers were maltreated, including not being provided with proper safety equipment as they demolished a building full of asbestos. There is is evidence that Trump himself was aware of what the contractor was doing - that's why Trump eventually paid a settlement to the union pension fund.

We KNOW that Cohen was Trump long-time 'fixer'. He did what Trump told him to do. The story of Trump's non involvement in paying off Stormy Daniels is not credible.

We KNOW that Trump made incorrect public statements about sales at Trump SOHO that are probably fraudulent but everyone that filed suit against him was shut up via payments.

We KNOW that Trump socialized with Epstein and that Epstein proffered young girls to powerful men.

We KNOW that Trump praised Wikileaks during his campaign and then blatantly lied saying that he doesn't know who they are.

We KNOW that Trump declared that he would get a prosecutor to investigate Hillary during the campaign and then, days after winning election, he said that he wouldn't pursue an investigation because "they've been through a lot".

Since Trump announced his Presidency, he's been the golden child. Although new to politics, he ran a virtually perfect campaign (while Hillary made crucial mistakes). And he got a sweetheart deal wrt Trump University - anyone else would've been prosecuted.

No wonder he bragged (before the election!) that he could kill someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it. He looks like a "stable genius" because the Deep State is there to guide him and smooth over any mistakes.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 22 2019 2:07 utc | 103

fwiw - i tend to agree in a carte blanche way with b and jackrabbit when i say trump is a crook.. i think that is beyond dispute... but, that said this could extend to the vast majority of political leaders in the usa and many other countries for that matter.. i think where trump excels is he is very blatant about it all and doesn't play the politicians visual game the same way most of them do.. for that he is indeed exceptional and he certainly suits the usa in helping to shine a light on what has been obvious to many since long before his time...

Posted by: james | Nov 22 2019 2:17 utc | 104

snake @102: what's wrong with the government and how to fix it

This has been discussed from time to time.

What's wrong is that we have a sham democracy run by a Deep State that profits from the Empire.

How do we get a real democracy that is responsive to the American people? No one really knows. It's thought that severe financial hardship that results in a 'reset' might do the trick. But the Empire weathered the 2008 Global Financial Crisis without much difficulty by spreading the cost over decades.

The end of dollar hegemeny might cause financial dislocations and discontent. But no one really knows how severe that 'hit' would be.

The only way to really get back the democracy that everyone says they cherish is by forming Movements like the Yellow Vests. But democracy works! propaganda, criminalization of dissent, and general laziness make it difficult for any such Movement to gain traction in USA.

There's great commentary on the web from a variety of voices that see what's wrong - but when will people are ready to be receptive? Recall that in the 1990's there were many people that warned that moving USA manufacturing to China was wrong-headed. But the wealthy wanted to arb USA wages and no rational argument was going to block their greed.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 22 2019 2:29 utc | 105

@ ralphieboy 60

"This is not about bombshells or sensations, it is about uncovering suspected illegal actions on the part of the President. The fact that five of his closest advisers and associates have been convicted or pleaded guilty of felony crimes is a sign that there are grounds to investigate him."

"Suspected illegal actions" - are you joking? By Nuremburg standards all presidents and most of their top officials going back at least many decades would be hanged for aggressive wars and crimes against humanity. Self-evidently this ticky-tack "impeachment" circus is nothing but diversionary bombshells and sensations for the mass of idiots.

@ pogohere 65

So the self-alleged Indian Warren supports the imminent genocide of Bolivia's Indians? Can't say I'm the least bit surprised.

@ steven t johnson 89

So you're saying the Clinton campaign wasn't fighting to win in the electoral college and were so stupid they didn't know that's what they were fighting for? I don't believe that. Fact is, Clinton and her smug "movement" were perfectly confident that she would win the electoral vote, and that's the line you all were fighting on. And you lost.

Are you claiming that thruout the election Clinton and all you Dembots were deploring how you had to fight to win electoral rather than popular votes? I must have missed that. Fact is, if Clinton had won the electoral vote, we never would've heard a peep from a single Dembot complaining about the electoral college. You're all complete frauds and hypocrites.

@h 100

"JR, I don't have a clue what your background is but mine was in lobbying. Given the fact that my world then and now is all about facts, statistics, the law and more, I don't go about slinging accusations around to suit my purposes. I just don't. I deal in the world of facts."

Now that may be the single funniest thing I've ever read. Though your claim that hard-right politicians like Obama and the Clintons are "the Left" is also a contender.

Posted by: Russ | Nov 22 2019 6:16 utc | 106

Over the last two days I had the displeasure of being in a position where the hearings were being broadcast live on a radio feed. Fortunately it was only for twenty minutes each day. I can't say my conclusions are conclusive but based on what I heard I do think it's a good bet this held true for most if not all of the hearings.

For each and every individual I heard speak or testify in these hearings the primary topic being discussed was not Trump, rather it was Russia. If we did a word count it was easily at a 4 to 1 ratio in the bits I heard (quite a bit more I would say) with the word 'Russia' being used every 4 times for every time we heard the word 'Trump.' In fact in the segments I heard Trump's "unlawfulness" (keep in mind war crimes don't count here only "improprieties" of State are impeachable offenses) was merely a sidelight- the main issue was the "security threat" of Russia.

The other topic that was front and center was America itself and how great and exceptional this country is and we certainly can't have anyone "staining" that greatness which is problematic for "our" role on the "world stage."

Politicians on both manufactured sides of this circus were hammering home these narratives as if their political lives were at stake.

One Congress critter's emphatic bluster really revealed what much of this sturm und drang is all about- this was towards the end of yesterdays session. In what should've been seen as "off topic" this goon was asking the individual on the stand about RT and if it "should" be seen as a Russian/Putin propaganda outlet and "should" RT be allowed to be broadcast to US citizens. He asserted that influencing US citizenry as such can have detrimental impact on US policy. He used the example of fracking here (Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas was asking Fiona Hill about Putin's propaganda efforts in the United States, at the center of which is the RT, which pushes anti-fracking messaging) where he strongly implied that this would threaten US "domination" of global energy markets.

If anything the irascible and corrupt Trump serves as the vehicle for the US political class to highlight for the US citizenry that not only is their "democracy" being "threatened" by this orange-haired buffoon but there is a far more dangerous boogeyman lurking out there and once again it is the big bad wolf of Mother Russia who has found her way to infiltrate the great American Dream from beneath our beds.

For domestic consumption only.

Posted by: Allen | Nov 22 2019 15:40 utc | 107

Jackrabbit 103

As far as I can see this thread---indeed the whoile discussion at MoA of the impeachment inquiry---is about the legality of this particular action. It is not about Trump per se, his character, his previous crimes or scams or pussy grabbing. It is about *this impeachment process* and its character as a travesty of norms regarding the seeking of justice in our system, which seem to be gettin tossed to the wind in the case of DJT. We hope they are norms. Someone accused of murder has rights. But this inquiry is based on trumping up charges for a partisan agenda: to deny Trump a second term. This has been stated clearly by both Clinton and AOC.

An accused criminal, a serial killer, a terrorist, *should* all have the same rights to a fair trial, standard rules of evidence, not going to trial unless actually indicted for a crime by a grand Jury, etc. This is truly a circus run by clowns. Bigger clowns even than Donald Trump. Your constant listings of what Trump may have done or even has done are not relevant because they are not what the impeachment "inquiry" is about, nor what IMO these MoA discussion threads are about.

Why you are taking up so much space with these lists?

Posted by: Really?? | Nov 22 2019 17:12 utc | 108

"in the 1990's there were many people that warned that moving USA manufacturing to China was wrong-headed. But the wealthy wanted to arb USA wages and no rational argument was going to block their greed."

It wasn't a matter of "want" but rather one of "need". Profit rates (real profit rates) were falling and so to keep the Wall St ponzi party going production costs had to be reduced. Sure, that means layoffs, which invariably lead to contraction of the demand side of the economy, but if prices could be depressed faster than buying power declined then economic growth could be simulated (no, not "stimulated", but simulated). In the meantime silly schemes like house-flipping could foster the illusion of increasing wealth.

Of course, the house-flipping economy fell apart as was inevitable because it ended up just being another way to live on credit other than credit cards.

The thing is, there is a hard limit to how low prices can be dropped, and that limit was exceeded when China began to approach full employment. The illusion of economic health in the US could then be maintained a bit longer with currency manipulation, with both the US and China working to prop up the US$ and depress the RMB, but that has largely reached its limit as well.

Essentially, capitalism in the US lost what remained of its progressive character in the early 1970s and should have crashed hard multiple times since then. Each time, though, emergency measures and shots of adrenaline and amphetamines straight to capitalism's heart (big finance bailouts/nationalizing private debt) have kept it staggering along. Of course, the apparent surge of profits from those operations leave the capitalist elites with heady drugged out delusions of invulnerability that always crashes back down to paranoia as their profits from financialization inevitably drop back towards zero.

But how many times can you reanimate a corpse on the gurney in the Emergency Room by hooking it up to machines and injecting it with drugs? American capitalism should have died decades ago, and China is getting tired of performing CPR on it and only getting flack (and bulky biceps... CPR is hard work) in return.

The key point here is that all of this that has transpired since the early 1970s that people criticize for having hurt America have actually been necessary to keep American capitalism alive. Things like bailing out big finance, looking the other way when Boing aircraft suck, fracking, and now Trump's desperate Hail Mary play to get manufacturing to return (kinda like the corpse on the gurney trying to get its muscle tone back); all of these things gave American capitalism years that it otherwise wouldn't have had. We are due for something far more... umm... exciting than the Great Depression, and these things have pushed that inevitability back a few years to a decade at a time.

The more farsighted leaders in the world can see where this is heading and are making arrangements. Sadly, Trump is apparently the most farsighted individual in America's government these days, which of course is condemnation of American leadership rather than praise of Trump, but they are at a loss for what arrangements might help at this point. I suppose keeping everybody, and themselves, distracted with Trump Derangement Syndrome nonsense is their best response.

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 22 2019 17:23 utc | 109

William Gruff @108--

It should be recalled that offshoring began in the 1960s to Japan, Taiwan, South Korea initially, then to Central and South America and Caribbean with Reagan, with no attempt to defend the Full Employment Act ever--that the "Race to the Bottom" has been ongoing for @60 years.

Really?? @101--

I'll need to watch again and be more attentive to the time mark for that part of the discussion. So, I'll reply again with that info.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 22 2019 18:17 utc | 110

@ William Gruff # 108 who wrote a good summary and
"
Essentially, capitalism in the US lost what remained of its progressive character in the early 1970s and should have crashed hard multiple times since then.
"
In 1971 Nixon made the Reserve Currency fiat instead of gold based and financialization was energized (it existed before but was unleashed and hence outsourcing like you wrote.

WG ended with
"
I suppose keeping everybody, and themselves, distracted with Trump Derangement Syndrome nonsense is their best response.
"
If the circus doesn't go on like the impeachment one then folks are going to notice more that their pockets are being picked by the elite and start asking impertinent questions. That is why there is ongoing push for war as well because that has been very effective at controlling the narrative for a century or so.

The music is about to stop because structurally it is very hard to make it any more but are the masses brainwashed enough to still have some sort of "Faith" in the elite? Continued reading of the "enlightened" at MoA tells me yes because folks here keep writing that the choice in ONLY between capitalism and socialism and not between public/private finance with mixed economies like the US and other countries use to have when I learned about the political economy eons ago.....and what China has now with its core public finance tools.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 22 2019 18:17 utc | 111

To add to the above post #108 I would note that as the capitalists struggled to reverse the decline in their profits in the early seventies, they sought several alternative ways out. They did this because they were extremely fearful of the political consequences of 'de-industrialising' and off shoring.
(I recall at the time having little doubt that mass closures of factories and the 'rustbelting' of entire regions in the old industrial heartlands would inevitably lead to uprisings by the working class. I was wrong in that my view was far too sim;plistic and mechanical.)
Hence the sort of political movements exemplified by the Carter/Clinton Democrats, Blairism in the UK and so on-everywhere. They played a crucial role in reconciling the working class to the acceptance of lower living standards, less social mobility and increasing austerity in the public sector. What happened in the Soviet Union after 1989 was telegraphed, in a sense, by the market reforms of Thatcher, Reagan and others.
At the same time two other tendencies existed. The first was wage and price control-also known as wage cutting- in which the Unions were invited to join with the capitalists (and not without small rewards) to make industry more profitable by cutting labour costs. This trend died when the political consequences of simply smashing the unions became acceptable. Although there are signs of it still around:
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/11/22/pers-n22.html

The other tendency was protectionism- the US did not become a dominant economy thanks to good fortune and free trade, but in spite of free trade. As Trump demonstrates the Protectionist impulse in US politics never dies. The problem protectionists face, however, is that it benefits not only capitalists but workers who are protected from international competition in the labour market.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 22 2019 18:23 utc | 112

Noirette 76 (and Frances0

I think you are on to something here.
Makes sense to me.
Esp. in light of the news from Ukr about the extent to which Yanokovich seems to have pocketed a few millions (or was it billoins??) himself. Perhaps the jig was up with the cash game?
Much more to come out on this. I think it also does makes sense that the Dems started this to try to preempt the Barr investigation. But will thelatter really happen? Or will the various oligarchs make a deal behind closed doors to lay off Trump, let Biden run, and everyone goes home and pretends nothing happened . . .
IOW, how serious is Barr?
Trump might be just "immature" and "off the reservation" enough that he plays the revenge game for real---and could one really blame him?

I would just love to see a repo man come after Obama.

Posted by: Really?? | Nov 22 2019 18:49 utc | 113

Really @107

If you look back you can clearly see that I was replying to a comment that questioned b’s assertion that Trump is a crook.

I’m neither pro- or anti-Trump as I see Presidents as just Deep State stooges.

I also believe that much of the political circus is kayfabe so IMO a focus on the Democratic witch-hunt is just as wrong as a focus on Trump.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 22 2019 18:56 utc | 114

Steven Johnston 89

RE the Electoral Collage I mean college,
sounds like you are an Obama Democrat.
So please explain why the Dems didn't do away with the Electoral College in 2009, when they held the House, Senate, and Executive Branch and could have done so.

Pls also feel free to excoriate the Senate as an institution, since it operates on basically the same principle as the Electoral College. Which is, that the USA is a confederation of states, and all state, irrespective of size, have representation qua states. That is the official legal structure of the USA. It is obvious from the fact that the name of the country actually is also a descriptor: "united states." Using "America" as the name of this country is quite misleading.

If you can't come up with an explanation, STFU about the electoral system we have had in the USA for a couple of centuries. Everyone who has sought the presidency has had to come up with a strategy that is in line with this reality. You would like to change the rules of the game after a loss. That is very unsportsmanlike!

Posted by: Really?? | Nov 22 2019 19:08 utc | 115

@JackRabbit #105
You said:

How do we get a real democracy that is responsive to the American people?

Easy: go back in time and shoot Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, the Adamses, etc. Let Jefferson and Madison rule.
Most of the Founding Fathers were extremely wary about "mob" rule - the electoral college arose not just because most of the colonies distrusted New York, but also because they distrusted the "regular man".

Posted by: c1ue | Nov 22 2019 19:30 utc | 116

@Really?? #115
I am fairly certain that a full Constitutional Convention is needed to take out the Electoral College.
This is very much more difficult than merely controlling the houses of Congress and/or the Presidency.
2/3rds of the legislatures have to call a Constitutional convention, then 3/4s of the Conventions have to approve.
I doubt a new amendment will ever happen.

Posted by: c1ue | Nov 22 2019 19:33 utc | 117

Really?? @101--

The Keiser Report in question is the one linked here and is primarily about honest money, which is commented upon throughout the segment. At the outset, the only real reference to the Impeachment affair is the reference to the D-Party as being the War Party and thus inline with the War Party in the City of London, neither of which want globalization to continue since the terms of trade are no longer in their favor. That brings us to the point raised that China has officially announced it wants Trump to be reelected since he's "easy to read … transparent" an easy mark at the poker table of global trade negotiations. But, China also sees Trump's escalation of using the dollar as dishonest money where it instead desires honest money, thus China's quest in league with its partners to circumvent the entire dollar-based international financial architecture.

I can see why my initial comment @4 is hard to understand since some important context is missing, context that was gained by reading the open preview here to Russia's Geoeconomic Strategy for a Greater Eurasia as it allows us to see what Trump's attempting to do which the D-Party's oligarchical faction attempts to stymie. I'd like to expand on what I see happening, but I need better evidence to substantiate what for now are assertions not facts. Unfortunately, I don't think I helped clear your confusion.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 22 2019 20:18 utc | 118

bevin 112

"The problem protectionists face, however, is that it benefits not only capitalists but workers who are protected from international competition in the labour market. "

When you say "the problem is" do you mean that the capitalist protectionists would like to benefit themselves with NO benefit whatsoever to labor? So, "the problem for protectionists is" is that they can't reap ALL the rewards? How counterproductively greedy! Surely letting some crumbs fall to labor increases domestic demand? Or do you mean something else?

Posted by: Really?? | Nov 23 2019 0:09 utc | 119

c1ue, re the Electoral College you are right of course. Ain't never gonna happen. Esp. now.
But if the Dems had put this at the top of their agenda in 2008 they might have gotten somewhere with it.
Along with some other truly democratic initiatives to form a "suite" of truly democratic reforms. (That is, if one thinks getting rid of the Electoral College is "truly democratic.")
Instead of what Obama did put at the top, which turned off enough people so that they blew the midterms.

Actually, as a former registered Dem who unenrolled after 2016, and in light of "the resistance", the pink pussy hat hysteria, the lopsided #Metoo thing (does not apply to Dems?), the acceptance of ANtifa goons by progressives, etc. I do think portions of the electorate are kind of moblike.

Can individual states tweak the way their Electoral College contingents actually work? Seems like the MO could be improved without actually eliminating the EC

Posted by: Really?? | Nov 23 2019 0:21 utc | 120

Karlof1,
thanks for the additional comments.
I did start to listen to the linked interview but still can't clearly connect to the impeachment. I guess what you are saying is that the impeachment circus is the tip of an iceberg, and the rest of the iceberg is actually about major philosophical and strategy views as to what the USA should be doing to retain hegemony (or maybe even survive?) via trade or military might?

So the Keiser report, in discussing China trade, etc. is actually contributing to a picture of the true outlines of the invisible iceberg?

Posted by: Really?? | Nov 23 2019 0:30 utc | 121

Really @119
" The problem protectionists face, however, is that it benefits not only capitalists but workers who are protected from international competition in the labour market."
That labour market competition is what keeps the cost of labour power down and profits up.
Of course, historically, the protectionism in US industry was mitigated by massive immigration and capitalist use of the State to crush labour attempts to raise living standards. Plus, of course, racism, of which Jim Crow and Chinese Exclusion were only the most notable examples.

You are right about the benefits, to capital, of those crumbs that fall into the hands of the poor and help maintain demand. But Capitalism is irrational to the point of being suicidal. It must expand to grow and it must grow to live- demand is important if stasis is enough and the economy goes 'round and round. But that is not good enough for capitalists, spurred on by usury, it must maintain the rate of profit on an ever greater capital. It is this which leads to cannibalism.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 23 2019 1:13 utc | 122

Really?? @121--

I owe you a drink! Yes, you're on the right track--the D-Party being the War Party and Trump a Man of Peace; the Chinese seeing Trump as a favored negotiator since he's so "transparent," although not necessarily honest; the FED covertly manipulating the dollar while simultaneously enacting "Easing #4"; and so forth. It's hard to spot, but there's an underlying topic to the program. IMO, you and all other barflies will intellectually profit from reading this paper as it addresses this:

"In the age of increasingly destructive weapons and intensified economic interdependence, political power is largely extracted from asymmetrical economic dependence. [1] Asymmetrical interdependence, or a skewed ‘balance of dependence’, empowers a less dependent state to set favourable economic conditions and obtain political concessions from a more dependent one. [2] States therefore compete for power by skewing the symmetry within economic interdependent partnerships to enhance both their influence and autonomy. Diversifying partnerships can reduce one’s own reliance on a state or region, while asserting control over strategic markets diminishes the capacity of other states to lessen their dependence."

What we're seeing is a slow steady shift in the "balance of dependence" between Russia & China, and between both Russia & China and the Outlaw US Empire. IMO, within the next decade, both Russia and China will move beyond being dependent on structures erected to serve the Outlaw US Empire, and they will have a host of followers, which is what moving to a genuinely multilateral world will involve. The irony is the Outlaw US Empire is already becoming dependent on other nations while still trying to fulfill its #1 policy goal of attaining Full Spectrum Dominance. It might be hard to see, but Trump is actually trying to evolve whereas the "policy establishment" sees no need to because it's blinded by decades of accumulated hubris, thus the power struggle exemplified by the attempt at impeachment.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 23 2019 2:15 utc | 123

Below is a link to a John Solomon posting debunking Lt. Col. Vindman testimony

Responding to Lt. Col. Vindman about my Ukraine columns … with the facts

The circus continues apace

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 23 2019 3:06 utc | 124

@124"Below is a link to a John Solomon posting debunking Lt. Col. Vindman testimony"

I haven't yet read the Solomon piece, but just watched Amazing Polly's laser-look at Vindman, his family, and the web it seems to be part of. Vindman looks a lot like a groomee since his childhood. There are some very odd connections.

It is the second video down, here:

https://www.amazingpolly.net/

Posted by: Really?? | Nov 23 2019 3:32 utc | 125

The circus is bringing out the best in Biden as the quotes from a ZH article show below

"
Former Vice President Joe Biden lashed out at Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for launching an investigation into whether Biden abused his office when he had Ukraine's top prosecutor fired while he was looking into Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian gas company paying Hunter Biden to sit on its board.

"Lindsey is about to go down in a way that I think he’s going to regret his whole life," Biden told CNN host Don Lemon in a Friday interview in South Carolina.

"I say Lindsey, I just — I’m just embarrassed by what you’re doing, for you. I mean, my Lord."
"They have him under their thumb right now. They know he knows that if he comes out against Trump, he’s got a real tough road for reelection, number one," Biden continued. "He knows me; he knows my son; he knows there’s nothing to this. Trump is now essentially holding power over him that even the Ukrainians wouldn’t yield to. The Ukrainians would not yield to, quote, ‘investigate Biden’ — there’s nothing to investigate about Biden or his son."

"

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 23 2019 19:01 utc | 126

Never forget that Israel was behind the 9/11 attack AND the Kennedy assassination.

And......here is a fun fact for you: American evangelicals contribute more money to Israel than American Jews.

American evangelical continue to promote the lie that Jews are the chosen people and we must bend the knee to Israel.

Posted by: Mr. Lucky | Nov 23 2019 21:11 utc | 127

@ Really?? | Nov 22 2019 19:08 utc | 115

". . .please explain why the Dems didn't do away with the Electoral College in 2009. . ."

Because Article 2 of the US Constitution, Section 1, paragraphs 2, 3 and 4, prohibits them (or anyone else) from doing so. The EC can only be done away with through the constitutional amendment process.

Posted by: Antispin | Nov 23 2019 22:17 utc | 128

Antispin 128


This is just a loser's argument.

They didn't even bring it up, IIRC.

Trump's win was a hell of a lot more legit than Bush's in 2000 (or 2004, for that matter, code word "Ohio"). When Kerry ignominiously threw in the sponge in a pointless display of "grace." Or something.

Maybe the post-2016 derangement is some kind of delayed reaction to having fumbled 2000 and 2004. A delirious game of catch-up.

Posted by: Really?? | Nov 24 2019 0:39 utc | 129

@ Really?? | Nov 24 2019 0:39 utc | 129

What? The US Constitution is "just a loser's argument?"

Posted by: Antispin | Nov 24 2019 2:50 utc | 130

130"What? The US Constitution is "just a loser's argument?""

Please don't be obtuse.
If the electoral system as laid out in the Constitution were a genuine concern of the Democratic Party, in need of changing--and not just an opportunistic loser's argument---they would have made an effort to bring this issue forward when they had a trifecta and would have tried to get an amendment to the Constitution. Or take steps to put righting this wrong at the top of their agenda. Obviously, amending the Constitution is a long-term project. However, there have been 22 amendments.

The Dems are not serious about this issue. The "Trump won on a technicality" argument is the one that treats the Constitution as a technicality. And that is a "sore loser" argument.

Surely this is now crystal clear.

Posted by: Really?? | Nov 24 2019 15:19 utc | 131

@124, thanks for the link, psycho, much appreciated.

Posted by: spudski | Nov 24 2019 18:58 utc | 132

Even if every single accusation about the so-called quid pro quo were to be true, we are asked to believe that this kind of horse trading doesn't go on normally. That friendly heads of state don't scratch each other's backs with information on their opponents?
Not trying to minimize it, but I suspect a lot of Americans aren't going to get as worked up over it as the Democrats want.

Posted by: ian | Nov 26 2019 1:23 utc | 133

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