Today, Democratic Party leaders in the US House of Representatives formally brought Articles of Impeachment against President Trump. (You can read them here.) The official filing limits impeachment to just two charges: Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. It ends speculation that the charges would cover a broad front for which there is abundant evidence of wrongdoing; instead, it focuses on just two narrow areas, playing to an era of short attention spans in the arena of reactive public opinion.
These—the final and formal impeachment charges that will go to the floor in the House of Representatives for vote—distill the essence of a complex case into specific factual presentations.
That abandonment of "going big" does not keep this from producing a wholly partisan response from Republicans. Republicans cry foul at everything because they cannot refute the facts.
All the while, the White House—usually the president himself, through his social media tweets—largely admits to the facts of the very factual charges through his uncontrollable Twitter addiction.
Larry Wines: Since the House is giving us only a "going small" scenario, should we retreat to a bar with cheap drinks and a good honky-tonk band? Not yet, anyway.
Willfully oblivious Congressional Republicans continue to argue that whatever it is, it didn't happen, and if it did, it didn't matter.
Thus, it's Republicans arguing process while claiming Democrats are obsessed nuts endangering the republic, vs. Democrats arguing Constitutional law and facts of the administration's actions, while getting fed up with crazy Republican tactics of diversion, distraction, lots of yelling in mock outrage, and slanderous personal attacks against those presenting facts.
It's a circus, complete with clowns riding trumpeting elephants, and braying donkeys trying to keep the horror movie clown show contained within the three rings of the big top. Until the orange clown (with the pink circles around his eyes) rides in on the gold escalator to talk about flushing his solid gold toilet fifteen times, and blames his orangeness on energy-efficient light bulbs. Cue the dog and pony act and the plate spinners.
Or you can look at the facts of the Republicans' "witch hunt" / "we-don't-like-the-process" argument.
During the Clinton impeachment twenty years ago, formal impeachment charges were brought by Republicans on Day 73. Today's impeachment charges mark Day 77 of the process against Donald Trump. Yet Republicans successfully drive a Big Media narrative that Dems are "recklessly rushing things."
Congressional Republicans, whose song remains the same, nonetheless get all the airtime they want. They talk, veins bulging, of all this as a coup, portraying their Democratic colleagues as "obsessed with impeachment," to the point "they refuse to get anything else done," specifically, "any legislation brought forward" about "things that effect the lives of their constituents."
In the height of hypocritical cynicism, Congressional Republicans launch into a list of the very things that are sitting on Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell's desk—bills that passed with bipartisan majorities in the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives—bills that are slowly dying on the vine because they remain blocked from any votes in the Senate. Blocked in the Senate by the same Republican leader McConnell, the obstructionist-in-chief who predates Trump as intransigent-in-chief, and who violated the Constitution by refusing to allow a confirmation vote on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
Thus, Big Media is correct saying this impeachment is indeed wholly partisan. But it is not the "partisan mud fight" corporate media keeps citing. Rather, it is Democrats who chickened out on "going big" with a case that could have cited the federal RICO statute to reveal the Trump administration as a corrupt organization from top to bottom—a criminal enterprise that consistently uses public assets to direct private enrichment, often in acts of irrevocable exploitation that destroy precious resources. Things that cannot be restored or "fixed" later.
It remains to be seen if "going small" with specific, factually evidenced charges will be enough to win over a few GOP votes in the Republican-controlled US Senate, where all 100 Senators will determine whether Trump is convicted of the charges that will surely be adopted in the House— and adopted there by a wholly partisan vote. If there is a question, what will determine it?
Ultimately, it will all come down to every member of both houses of Congress acting from exactly the same basic motivations—and philosophically doing exactly what Trump is on trial for actually doing: using their elective public office to look out for their own interest. As in, if constituents (spell that v-o-t-e-r-s) in their state or congressional district will reward them with re-election for voting one way or the other, that's the way they'll vote on whether or not Trump being a crook is worthy of removing him from the most powerful position on the planet.
Forget all the appeals to heaven and evoking demigod Founding Fathers. It'll be that and only that. Not whether he is a reckless menace with a hair-trigger default to adolescent vindictive Trumpertantrums—and a clear and present danger to the 2020 elections, or to the planet itself. The very people who know that Trump isn't rehearsing to sing Christmas carols when he shouts "mi-mi-mi" will ultimately put their own job security first. Don't expect any votes in this impeachment to qualify for "Profiles in Courage."
There is added irony because yesterday was the UN-proclaimed "INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION DAY," for which we featured a write-up atop the December 9th event listings in the Guide's previous edition.
It's all been a Kafkaesque juxtaposition of big and small: trivial tweets of delusions of grandeur interspersed with kissy-kissy for Kim Jong Un, all of it sucking all of Big Media's oxygen out of the room. Not just with the current singularity of Impeachment News Daily, but consistently for the past three years, while arrogantly dumbass science-denying policies exacerbate global climate change on a scale that threatens human civilization and entire ecosystems.
For Big Media, capitalizing on whatever transitory BS is trending on social media rules the roost. Especially if it takes the heat off covering any real news that might hurt the stock prices of the corporate media outlet's overmerged megagiant "corpirate" holding company's other divisions in the warconomy or the greenhouse-gas-production biz.
As always, everything is connected to everything else, and we are schooled to function deductively rather than inductively. Thus, corporate media can run the game seductively and tell us how informed we are thanks to them.
Since the House is giving us only a "going small" scenario, should we retreat to a bar with cheap drinks and a good honky-tonk band? Not yet, anyway. Note that Al Capone—who ran the biggest criminal enterprise in American history—could never be successfully charged for his most heinous and murderous crimes. He was finally sent to Alcatraz on simple lil' charges of Income Tax Evasion. So "going small" can work.
But in the face of Republican leaders like Senator Lindsey Graham, who vows he "will not even read the impeachment charges" before voting to exonerate Trump? Oy. Some people need to read their job descriptions. Starting with the one for acceptable behavior to be a planetary citizen.
Film at eleven.