Broken Laughter is an occasional blog by a middle aged Midwesterner. It will include posts and articles about politics, current events, arts, and anything else that the Broken Laughter editor chooses to post.
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Some people think that impeachment will strengthen chances for Trump re-election. However, I think it’s not so simple a calculation. The likelihood of impeachment increasing odds of a Trump re-election depends on the type of impeachment he might experience. According to a Politico-Morning Consult poll, only 40 percent of registered voters approve of the job President Donald Trump is doing in office,… Read more The post Trump Re-Election Likely In 2020 appeared first on Broken...
Some people think that impeachment will strengthen chances for Trump re-election. However, I think it’s not so simple a calculation. The likelihood of impeachment increasing odds of a Trump re-election depends on the type of impeachment he might experience.
According to a Politico-Morning Consult poll, only 40 percent of registered voters approve of the job President Donald Trump is doing in office, but more than half of them expect him to win reelection,
In that poll, 56% of voters say it is likely Trump will win a second term – 27% say it is “very likely” and 29% say it is “somewhat likely.”
Forty-seven percent of people polled said they support impeaching Trump and removing him from office, and 43% say they oppose that impeachment two-step process.
Given this and other polling data, Trump is very likely to be re-elected in 2020 — unless Congress impeaches him soundly, thoroughly and for every impeachable offense. The evidence put forth for a thorough impeachment needs to be so overwhelming that every GOP Senator who voted to acquit would be recalled by his/her constituents for gross incompetence.
Mixed opinions about the impeachment hearings abound. According to a New York Times analysis, “Whatever the hearings revealed about Mr. Trump’s conduct in office, they seemed to only reinforce just how polarized the country has become. No lawmakers declared that the evidence had changed their minds in either direction and judging by polls most Americans seemed to find only validation for the viewpoint they had when the hearings began.”
The problem with the impeachment process so far is that that a huge quantity of documentary evidence has been destroyed. In addition, witnesses with the most complete and damaging evidence have not testified because Trump has blocked them (which some people understand is a clear demonstration of consciousness of guilt), he will most likely be impeached insufficiently.
Therefore, if Congress impeaches Trump insufficiently, or not at all, the greatest likely outcome is that he will win re-election through the same kind of process that barely won him the Electoral College the first time.
United States President Donald Trump surprised many people in early October by ordering an abrupt removal of US troops from Syria. Those US troops had been working with Kurds to protect Syrian land from ISIS and Turkish aggression — in general, to keep the area stable. There has been conflict between Kurds and Turks for a long time. Trump did… Read more The post A Problem With President Donald Trump appeared first on Broken...
Those US troops had been working with Kurds to protect Syrian land from ISIS and Turkish aggression — in general, to keep the area stable. There has been conflict between Kurds and Turks for a long time. Trump did this after a phone conversation with Turkish leader Erdogan.
Let’s be very clear: President Donald Trump removed US troops from Syria so that Russia could strengthen its position there. Immediately after removal of US troops, Russia sent in troops to fill the vacuum.
The US sanctions with which Trump has been threatening Turkey — after initiating the removal of US military forces — are a ruse.
Everything Trump does is to the benefit of Russia and at the request of Putin and oligarchs from Russia and other countries. Why? Because Trump owes those people vast sums of money.
For more about Turkey and Syria and the Kurds, this is an excellent round-up of information from Vox.
Emoluments. To make a point about Trump and his emoluments, let me start with a hypothetical: Let’s say Donald Trump were the United States President and he owned a privately held company called The Trump Organization, a company that made missiles. Further, let’s say the United States Department of Defense, using dollars from American taxpayers, paid The Trump Organization $6… Read more The post Trump’s Emoluments Are Breach Of Law appeared first on Broken...
Emoluments. To make a point about Trump and his emoluments, let me start with a hypothetical:
Let’s say Donald Trump were the United States President and he owned a privately held company called The Trump Organization, a company that made missiles. Further, let’s say the United States Department of Defense, using dollars from American taxpayers, paid The Trump Organization $6 billion dollars for missiles in 2018.
Would this scenario be any different than if the US bought $6 billion worth of missiles from Raytheon?
Yes, buying missiles from a company owned by the President would be drastically different than buying missiles from a company not owned by the President. And I think everyone in America, including every Senator, Congressperson and federal court judge would agree on how those two scenarios differ.
However, missiles, which our tax dollars buy, are no different than rounds of golf, food and beverages, or overnight accommodations, which our tax dollars also buy.
The Trump Organization and family receive millions of dollars of revenue from us, the US taxpayers every year. Those revenues are a flagrant violation of norms, ethics and laws, and Congress should put a stop to them.
Trump, his company and family receive emoluments not only from American taxpayers but from other people and countries around the world. The breadth of the gains that the Trump Organization and family receives is astounding.
Although the Trump Organization has made a few payments to “pay back profits” to the Treasury, those payments don’t begin to correct the problem. The illegal emoluments are not only the “profits” but also the revenue the Trump Organization receives. “Profit” is a nebulous term, since the Trump Organization can define it based on what it says are its expenses — this is ridiculous.
The payment of emoluments to the Trumps should stop, but I doubt it will, not until he is removed from office or fails re-election.
According to Benjamin Wittes in lawfareblog on Aug. 29, 2019, “Inspector General Horowitz of the Justice Department has determined that it is misconduct for a law enforcement officer to publicly disclose an effort to shut down his investigation.” Think about that for a minute. That an Obama-appointed Inspector General has got on board with Attorney General Barr is both appalling… Read more The post Inspector General Horowitz Criticizes Comey appeared first on Broken...
According to Benjamin Wittes in lawfareblog on Aug. 29, 2019, “Inspector General Horowitz of the Justice Department has determined that it is misconduct for a law enforcement officer to publicly disclose an effort to shut down his investigation.”
Think about that for a minute. That an Obama-appointed Inspector General has got on board with Attorney General Barr is both appalling and chilling.
Wittes continued, “Michael Horowitz would probably not describe his findings that way. But that seems to me the inescapable message of the inspector general’s report, released today, on former Director James Comey’s handling of his memos on his interactions with President Trump.
“To be sure, you have to read through a lot of pages, facts and argument to get there. But get there you do if you read the document carefully. It’s an extraordinary message for an inspector general to send. And it warrants scrutiny.
“For all that Horowitz spent two years on this investigation, there aren’t a lot of new facts—at least not major ones—in this document. The reason is simple: Comey has never been anything but straightforward concerning why he wrote the seven memos in question, what he did with them, whom he shared them with and what his motives were in doing so. On all significant factual questions, the 62-page report merely fleshes out a story that has been known to the public for the better part of two years.”
Inspector General Horowitz, who reports up to Barr, wishes that Comey had followed the internal policy.
However, if Comey had followed the policy, no one outside the Trump Family, Complicit Accomplices and Henchmen’s Club would ever have known that or how much Trump interfered with an FBI investigation. Nor would anyone have ever found out about the depth of Russian involvement in the American election or in the degree to which the Trump campaign cooperated, conspired or attempted to conspire with Russian oligarchs and government figures. Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation never would have happened.
This is the part of the Horowitz report that has him so worked up, and it comes after about 50 pages of a dry recitation of simple facts:
“Comey violated FBI policy and the requirements of his FBI Employment Agreement when he chose this path. By disclosing the contents of Memo 4, through Richman, to The New York Times, Comey made public sensitive investigative information related to an ongoing FBI investigation, information he had properly declined to disclose while still FBI Director during his March 20, 2017 congressional testimony. Comey was not authorized to disclose the statements he attributed to President Trump in Memo 4, which Comey viewed as evidence of an alleged attempt to obstruct the Flynn investigation and which were relevant to the ongoing Flynn investigation. . . . Comey placed in the public domain evidence relevant to the investigation of Flynn, and what he clearly viewed as evidence of an attempt to obstruct justice by President Trump. Rather than continuing to safeguard such evidence, Comey unilaterally and without authorization disclosed it to all (emphasis added).”
It is astounding that Horowitz has missed the point that the problem is Trump’s interference with an FBI investigation of Flynn, not that Comey shared the information about the interference with people in a position to do something about it: initiate a full conducted by an special counsel.
The whole reason that a special counsel was needed was that the FBI would not able to conduct a thorough investigation because the FBI is within the government. In a Trump administration, one cannot expect asking people within the Federal government to investigate others in the Federal government to yield the kind of information and results needed.
Even though the Mueller investigation was more independent from the government, specifically the DOJ, than an FBI investigation, it still did not yield all the necessary results. The DOJ policy preventing indictment of a sitting president severely constrained the Mueller investigation from doing all that it could. That is the greatest miscarriage of justice in this entire affair.
During his campaign Trump made many campaign promises. People who think he’s doing a great job would do well to remember how he has failed in keeping those Trump campaign promises. First, a wall between the United States and Mexico: Trump promised Mexico would pay for a wall. “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border and… Read more The post Trump Campaign Promises Unkept appeared first on Broken...
During his campaign Trump made many campaign promises. People who think he’s doing a great job would do well to remember how he has failed in keeping those Trump campaign promises.
First, a wall between the United States and Mexico: Trump promised Mexico would pay for a wall. “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall,” Trump said during his presidential announcement in June 2015.
In addition to failing in other aspects of immigration regulation, he has been unable to keep that promise. Where is his wall that Mexico has paid for?
Infrastructure: Trump promised great infrastructure. Where is any of Trump’s great infrastructure? Are our interstate roads or bridges significantly improved than they were? Have there been any other significant — or even insignificant— accomplishments in the United States infrastructure?
The best healthcare: Trump promised that we would receive the best healthcare (health insurance). I still have the same health insurance policy I have had for the last 5 years, since 2014. Where is any of Trump’s great healthcare or health insurance?
A huge tax cut: Trump promised a huge tax cut. Yep, Trump provided a big tax cut — for businesses and the wealthiest individuals in the country. In 2018, businesses paid $91 billion less and individuals paid $93 billion more in tax dollars than in 2017. That’s not a tax cut, that’s a tax shift: Trump reduced the tax burden on businesses and moved the tax burden to individuals.
The tax cut was supposed to pay for itself by stimulating great growth but it has not. GDP remains at an annual average of 2.5%, where it has been since before Trump took office in January 2017. The tax cut has reduced government revenues and contributed the highest federal deficit, projected to reach $1 trillion this year.
As reported by NPR, “We heard some people claim these tax cuts are going to pay for themselves,” said Marc Goldwein, senior vice president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “Certainly, they haven’t to date, and there’s no evidence they will in the future.”
I have a greater chance of becoming a billionaire than Trump does of keeping his campaign promises.
On the prevalence of gun violence in general and mass shootings in particular in the United States: Mick Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff, blamed mental illness and social media on television on Sunday, August 4. Kevin McCarthy, the US House Minority Leader, blamed video games, also on a Sunday morning news talk television program. Trump blamed the news media through… Read more The post Trump Blames News Media For Mass Shootings appeared first on Broken...
On the prevalence of gun violence in general and mass shootings in particular in the United States: Mick Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff, blamed mental illness and social media on television on Sunday, August 4. Kevin McCarthy, the US House Minority Leader, blamed video games, also on a Sunday morning news talk television program. Trump blamed the news media through a Twitter tweet Monday morning, August 5, 2019.
All these comments were made in response to mass shootings in El Paso, TX, and Dayton, OH, on August 3 and 4, 2019.
Unfortunately, none of these imagined “causes” are in fact the primary cause of the high number of mass shootings and gun violence in America.
We can quite quickly rule out two of the most popular among members of the Trump administration: video games and mental illness. All of the countries in the developed world have access to the same video games as people in the United States, but none of those nations have mass shooting rates as high as the mass shooting rates in the United States. So clearly, the cause is not video games.
Similarly, there is no logic that leads one to think that the vast, vast majority of people in the rest of the developed world are mentally sane, and the greatest majority of violently mentally ill people are in the United States. No reason or evidence exists to support the notion that rates of mental illness in the United States are higher than in the rest of the developed world.
Trump’s claim that the news media organizations are somehow responsible for mass shootings is so ludicrous it doesn’t even deserve refutation.
The main feature regarding gun violence — and mass shootings in particular — that sets the United States apart from the rest of the industrialized world is the great ease with which someone can buy a gun, along with the sheer number and variety of guns available in the Unites States.
The other thing that sets the United States apart from other industrialized countries is that the United States has a president who, during his campaign and since his election to office, has and continues to foment and encourage white nationalism and violence. In that regard, the United States is unique among industrialized nations in the world.
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