Family Crest

Family Crest
Motto: I will never forget. [ Source HouseofNames ]

HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK - Moves forward to 2125 due to election of US President trump.

Estimate of the time that Humanity will go extinct or civilization will collapse. The HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK moves forward to 2125 due to US President trump's abandonment of climate change goals. Apologies to Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for using the name.

PLEASE QUOTE, COPY and LINK

While this material is copyrighted, you are hereby granted permission and encouraged to copy and paste any excerpt and/or complete statement from any entry on this blog into any form you choose. In return, please provide explicit credit to this source and a link or URL to the publication. Email links to mckeever.mp@gmail.com

You may also wish to read and quote from these groundbreaking essays on economic topics with the same permission outlined above

The Jobs Theory of Growth [http://www.mkeever.com/apply.html]

Moral Economics [http://www.mkeever.com/moral.html]

Balanced Trade [http://www.mkeever.com/essay.html]

There Are Alternatives to Free Market Capitalism [http://www.mkeever.com/taa.html]

Specific Country Economic Policy Analyses - More Than 50 Countries from Argentina to Yemen [http://www.mkeever.com]




Translate

Saturday, January 25, 2020

UPDATE - TYRANNY STARTS NOW!



This is a fanciful, fictional projection of life in the United States in the event trump wins the election in 2020.

Since non-voters are perhaps the largest voting bloc in Presidential Elections, it has been argued that non-voters gave the elections to Trump. That bloc may hand the election to him again if they remain on the sidelines.

Since he has associated with and praised tyrants, it is reasonable to think that he is predisposed toward tyranny.

Several predictions have been made that he will be very hard to remove from office, even if he loses the election.

Here's what the decade might look like if he wins in 2020 and then stays [Please note that the examples listed below have been observed in other countries]:

UPDATE - TYRANNY STARTS NOW!

Tyrants playbook 101 - Attack your political enemies with the power of the state:
  • 'President Trump just issued landmark anti-counterfeiting regulations.
  • The new customs framework addresses the problem of counterfeit goods. It will put Amazon on the hook for policing counterfeit goods.
  • The Trump administration’s move fundamentally threatens Amazon’s operating cost structure and its long-term growth strategy.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has an existential challenge ahead. The Trump administration unveiled new rules to combat counterfeit and pirated goods Friday. The new policies, which were published by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will do what the courts have largely opted not to do: hold Amazon responsible for counterfeit goods.'

[https://www.ccn.com/president-trump-just-delivered-a-death-blow-to-amazon/?fbclid=IwAR3Af4jzW0qAy5ZHte5znRn-Evm6vZz-44x_qcEFowey4YhHWzq6ZeTOGFA]

NOW - BACK TO THE FUTURE

JEFF BEZOS JAILED - Former head of Amazon and owner of the Liberal Newspaper Washington Post Jeff Bezos has been jailed in Belize on behalf of the United States.

Bezos was on the run from Federal prosecution from several lawsuits and criminal charges stemming from complaints filed against him in Washington. The veracity of the charges has been challenged by Bezos, but his Amazon empire has been broken up and sold to various corporate entities as part of consent decrees from federal courts. The famous newspaper has been sold to FOX news and, while still publishing, has moderated its criticisms of President for Life Trump. Trump has generously allowed Bezos to remain in Belize so long as he refrains from political activity.

Jared Kushner has taken over ownership of Bezos' flagship Amazon.com

JUDICIAL MURDERS TOP 1000 FOR THE FIRST TIME - The National American front has continued its campaign of eliminating 'liberal' judges and court officials that began in 2025. The campaign claimed 1000 lives per year for the first time this year.

MISSING JOURNALIST RACHEL MADDOW RUMORED ASSASSINATED IN U.S. EMBASSY IN ISTANBUL - Maddow, the infamous liberal television commentator, was pursuing a story about Turkey when she was called into the US embassy last week. She has not been seen since and rumors are that she has been tortured, killed and dismembered. No further details are available. President For Life Trump called these reports 'Fake News'.

MSNBC SOLD TO SEAN HANNITY President For Life Trump has congratulated Hannity on his acquisition of the reviled liberal news channel MSNBC. Hannity promises to modify the editorial stance of the network and has already fired all its on-air talent. They will be replaced with personalities suggested by the President For Life.

UNITEDHEALTHCARE MAKES RECORD PROFITS - [This is a real press release this week]

UnitedHealth beat forecasts on earnings for the fourth quarter of 2019, though revenues of $60.9 billion were slightly lower than Wall Street's expectations. The Minnetonka, Minnesota-based healthcare giant's stock traded up roughly 3% in late morning trading Wednesday.

Health services segment Optum drove $29.8 billion in revenue in the quarter, up more than 8% year over year; and UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest private payer, reported revenue of $48.3 billion, up 4.4%. The payer reported a medical loss ratio of 82.5% for the full year, up from 81.6% in 2018 as the impact of the health insurance tax deferral was partially offset by improved medical cost management.

UnitedHealth executives cheered the repeal of the health insurance tax on a Wednesday call with investors.

DeVOS SECURITY CORP GRANTED CONTRACT TO REMOVE HOMELESS FROM AMERICAN CITIES. Former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos now is CEO of DeVos Security. She has stated that the contracted $500 per person per day is just barely adequate to remove the homeless from city streets, house them and make the streets secure. She promises to do her best for the homeless as well as keeping America's cities more pleasant. She denies strenuously that private companies are harvesting body parts from the homeless detainees for sale on the Asian body part markets. The black APC's used to detain homeless people can be seen in major city homeless encampments between midnight and 3 am. President For Life Trump praised the more pleasant streets in several cities. 'We don't want to see human misery on our way to work," he said.

POLICE IN SEVERAL CITIES USE RUBBER BULLETS TO CONTROL UNRULY PROTESTS. Anti Administration protests on public streets in New York and Los Angeles spiraled out of control yesterday. Our valiant police used non-lethal tactics to control the demonstrations including water cannons and rubber bullets. Police deny reports that live ammunition was used and blame the violent counter protesters from the National American Front for any deaths.

FOX CORP RECEIVES AWARD AS THE MOST 'RESPONSIBLE' LIBERAL NEWS OUTLET IN AMERICA. FOX Corp CEO Donald Trump Jr. expresses appreciation for the award at a banquet at The Mar-a-Lago Club resort in Florida.

DEFICIT FORCES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO REDUCE SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS. Due to the continuing recession Social Security payments have increased while tax collections have declined. In order to balance the budget President For Life Trump proposes further corporate tax cuts to stimulate business investment while at the same time reducing payments to individuals from the bankrupt Social Security Trust Fund.


Thursday, January 23, 2020

Trolls Tried To Divide USA


Trolls in IRA had goal to destabilize the USA

A person who worked for the Russian "troll farm" Internet Research Agency discussed the organization with the independent Russian news outlet Dozhd.

The secretive factory had several components, including a "Russian desk," a "foreign desk," a "Facebook desk," and a "Department of Provocations," according to the former troll, who went by the name "Maxim."

The Russian desk operated bots and trolls that used fake social-media accounts to flood the internet with pro-Trump messages and made-up news.

The foreign desk was more sophisticated, with trolls required to learn the nuances of American politics to best "rock the boat" on divisive issues.

"Our task was to set Americans against their own government," Maxim said, "to provoke unrest and discontent."

Article here: https://www.businessinsider.com/former-troll-russia-disinformation-campaign-trump-2017-10?fbclid=IwAR3ovqFsp2anX8abiMdpHNnv3ZCePtLNbYeUZbaQ6EMXJh2FUajW4bqFkZY 

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Personal, Profane Rant about Republicans

This is my personal rant.

It is about Republicans.

It is profane.

I fucking dare you to read it.

Republicans, all of you: You are gutless fucking cowards and traitors.

How dare you stand up in the United States and call yourselves Americans.

How dare you.

You - Nunes, Rubio, McConnell, Paul, McCarthy, Graham, Mnuchin, Bossie, Robert and Rebekah Mercer and the rest of you bastards.

You take Russian money to betray the United States for your personal gain.

You support a traitor in the White House.

He gets Putin's permission before killing an Iranian general. That helps Russia and it will murder American soldiers and perhaps some diplomats.

And all this is to protect your job.

Jesus Fucking Christ.

Washington, Adams, Madison, Hamilton, Franklin and even Benedict Arnold - all the Founding Fathers are disgusted at you. You have sullied the name and honor of the United States.

And you have done so in the name and service to a traitor in the White House.

He is a traitorous pedophile racist misogynistic corrupt thug.

Your career is over regardless of what happens next. You are hated and reviled for your cowardice and greed.

If you continue this path, you will ensure the installation of a thugocracy in the United States and you will be forever known as just that: a traitor and a coward.

You will live to see the results of your actions and you will be ashamed. Your children and grandchildren will be ashamed of your name forever.

I am ashamed of you.

Mike P. McKeever

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Dialog for Hope



Americans of all beliefs want to come together as a country and find our commonalities. But, we are engaged in a divisive non-discussion of our differences. Seemingly, we just shout at each other - sound and fury signifying nothing.

Part of the difficulty may be that many Conservatives recognize only emotions as legitimate discussion points while Liberals recognize only facts as legitimate.

It is time for Liberals to join a discussion about emotions.

One of the dominant themes in Conservative emotions seems to be fear of change. From that fear may spring hatred of any ideas and people which appear to support change.

The antidote to that fear may well be hope.

Maybe if Liberals talk about the things we hope for instead of the things we are against, we can find a common ground with some Conservatives. We are all Americans and perhaps focusing on the goals we all want can help bring us together.

We are weak when we are divided and strong when we are together.

A great thing about that is there are lots and lots of things we can all hope for.

Here is a preliminary list - please add your own.

THE AMERICAN DREAM

The American Dream is not dead but it is asleep. We want to revive that dream where our children can have better lives. We hope that the barriers to that dream can be removed or reduced.

ALL AMERICANS DESERVE A CHANCE TO ACHIEVE THE AMERICAN DREAM

Our dream is about the opportunity to secure a better life through hard work. But, severe inequalities of incomes and wealth between Americans make it difficult for all Americans to achieve that dream.

Those who work actively to enrich themselves at the expense of others are Un-American. It is an American value to prevent that from occurring and then punish those who try to do so.

Americans who cannot try, or who try and fail to achieve that dream should not be abandoned by our country. We are all in it together and we have the responsibility to care for those who do not succeed.

THERE IS ONLY ONE SET OF FACTS

We will come together more quickly when the truth is told. The truth always comes out. And, a Free Press is the best guarantor that the truth will come out. The Mainstream Media is being attacked today because some politicians don't like the truth.

While there is a single set of facts, it is difficult to find them since perceptions of truth can vary from observer to observer. Our best hope to finding truth is the Mainstream Media which discovers and then verifies facts.

Alternative facts are lies; there is only one real set of facts.

Abraham Lincoln said it: 'You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.'

AMERICA IS A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS

America WELCOMES immigrants. We do not fear immigrants. We are a nation of immigrants. As long as those who seek to come here are vetted to prevent those who would do us harm from entering, we welcome all who wish to be Americans.

Erecting false and illegal barriers to immigration is simply cruel and fundamentally Un-American.

AMERICA IS A SECULAR COUNTRY WHICH RESPECTS ALL FAITHS.

Person of all faiths are free to practice their personal faith without persecution. There is no officially recognized state religion. Established police authorities will secure that right for all.



Monday, December 30, 2019

Fall 2019 Country Studies Published


The Mike P. McKeever institute of Economic Policy Analysis [MIEPA] is pleased to announce the publication of its Fall 2019 Economic Policy Analyses.

Two countries - Belarus and Bulgaria - are examined for the first time, while several other countries which have been analyzed previously have received updated studies.

Belarus is analyzed by Specialist K. S. and is available here: http://www.mkeever.com/belarus.html

Brazil is analyzed by Specialist Klaisyon Borges De Paulo and is available here: http://www.mkeever.com/brazil.html

Bulgaria is analyzed by Specialist Dimitri Zlatev and is available here:  http://www.mkeever.com/bulgaria.html

China is analyzed by Specialist Lucien E. Rideau and is available here: http://www.mkeever.com/china.html

France is analyzed by Specialists Shannon Fracchia and David Rouxel and is available here: http://www.mkeever.com/france.html

Japan is analyzed by Specialist Itsuki Daito and is available here: http://www.mkeever.com/japan.html

The United States is analyzed by Specialists Lilah Segal-Angel, Victor Chen, Ciana Knight, Alexander Kung, Maddie Papenfuss, Brandon Peace and Nhi Tran and is available here: http://www.mkeever.com/usa.html

Lastly, VietNam is analyzed by Specialist Lua Chin and is available here: http://www.mkeever.com/vietnam.html

The Specialists and MIEPA are sensitive to the potential dangers they may face as a result of publishing their opinions in this space.

MIEPA home page is: www.mkeever.com

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Bribe McConnell !! Graham !! Paul !!




OPEN LETTER TO TOM STEYER AND MICHAEL BLOOMBERG

Gentlemen:

While your dedication to help our country is admirable, it appears unlikely that you will win the Presidential nomination from the Democrat party in 2020.

But regardless of how that ends, there is something you can do today that will help our country immeasurably.

BRIBE THE GOP SENATORS WHO HAVE TAKEN RUSSIAN MONEY TO HARM THE UNITED STATES.

HAVE EACH VOTE TO CALL FOR TESTIMONY FROM WITNESSES IN THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL AND ALSO SUPPORT BI-PARTISAN LEGISLATION.

Here are the Congress people for sale:

Mitch McConnell - Price $3.5 million

Lindsay Graham - Price $800K

Rand Paul - $ 1.5 million

Marco Rubio - $1.5 million.

Kevin McCarthy - price TBD

[I am not able to source the data, but it appears likely to be true. Here is a link to a list of Russian players: https://themoscowproject.org/players/ ]

Switching their votes will help our country immediately.

While our democracy is based on the idea that honorable officials will do the best thing for the country, the above officials have demonstrated clearly that they will sell out the country for the right price.

trump is probably beyond mere money at this point - Putin seemingly has some unknown hold over him, perhaps Putin has threatened the lives of his family. Time may tell

“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” JFK.


Friday, December 20, 2019

UPDATE - Cybercom has plans to attack Russia

UPDATE - Cybercom has plans to attack Russia

https://www.thedailybeast.com/us-cybercom-looks-to-target-russian-elite-if-moscow-messes-with-2020-election?fbclid=IwAR05F1c8I_5E-XvgBY5yh7KGxEPGg5DCjVNs4noWZBMCyGnqaCFxrvK9rzc

Now is the time to go off books and take out the bad guys: the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, TheSoul Publishing in Cyprus and all the rest.

They are targeting Democracy everywhere and will cause real and permanent damage to Western Civilization. At Putin's behest they are waging an all out war on the West. It is a fight for survival. It is not a drill.

It has to be off books because our governments are compromised. There will be zero official acknowledgment or support.

You will be on your own, but we really need you.

We beg you: Go into the dark to bring light back to us.

Trump Should Be Removed from Office, CHRISTIANITY TODAY

Mark Galli is editor in chief of Christianity Today.

'In our founding documents, Billy Graham explains that Christianity Today will help evangelical Christians interpret the news in a manner that reflects their faith. The impeachment of Donald Trump is a significant event in the story of our republic. It requires comment.

The typical CT approach is to stay above the fray and allow Christians with different political convictions to make their arguments in the public square, to encourage all to pursue justice according to their convictions and treat their political opposition as charitably as possible. We want CT to be a place that welcomes Christians from across the political spectrum, and reminds everyone that politics is not the end and purpose of our being. We take pride in the fact, for instance, that politics does not dominate our homepage.

That said, we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear—always, as Graham encouraged us, doing so with both conviction and love. We love and pray for our president, as we love and pray for leaders (as well as ordinary citizens) on both sides of the political aisle.

Let’s grant this to the president: The Democrats have had it out for him from day one, and therefore nearly everything they do is under a cloud of partisan suspicion. This has led many to suspect not only motives but facts in these recent impeachment hearings. And, no, Mr. Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on impeachment.

But the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.

The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.

Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president. We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath. The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people. None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.

This concern for the character of our national leader is not new in CT. In 1998, we wrote this:
The President's failure to tell the truth—even when cornered—rips at the fabric of the nation. This is not a private affair. For above all, social intercourse is built on a presumption of trust: trust that the milk your grocer sells you is wholesome and pure; trust that the money you put in your bank can be taken out of the bank; trust that your babysitter, firefighters, clergy, and ambulance drivers will all do their best. And while politicians are notorious for breaking campaign promises, while in office they have a fundamental obligation to uphold our trust in them and to live by the law.
And this:
Unsavory dealings and immoral acts by the President and those close to him have rendered this administration morally unable to lead.
Unfortunately, the words that we applied to Mr. Clinton 20 years ago apply almost perfectly to our current president. Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election—that is a matter of prudential judgment. That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.

To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency. If we don’t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come? Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?

We have reserved judgment on Mr. Trump for years now. Some have criticized us for our reserve. But when it comes to condemning the behavior of another, patient charity must come first. So we have done our best to give evangelical Trump supporters their due, to try to understand their point of view, to see the prudential nature of so many political decisions they have made regarding Mr. Trump. To use an old cliché, it’s time to call a spade a spade, to say that no matter how many hands we win in this political poker game, we are playing with a stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence. And just when we think it’s time to push all our chips to the center of the table, that’s when the whole game will come crashing down. It will crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel. And it will come crashing down on a nation of men and women whose welfare is also our concern.'


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Judiciary Committee REPORT With Dissenting Views


Introduction below -

 read full report here: [https://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20191216/CRPT-116hrpt346.pdf]

Mr. NADLER, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted  the  following R  E  P  O  R  T  together with DISSENTING VIEWS [To accompany H. Res. 755]

The  Committee  on  the  Judiciary,  to  whom  was  referred  the  reso-lution  (H.  Res.  755)  impeaching  Donald  John  Trump,  President  of  the  United  States,  for  high  crimes  and  misdemeanors,  having  con-sidered  the  same,  reports  favorably  thereon  pursuant  to  H.  Res.  660  with  an  amendment  and  recommends  that  the  resolution  as  amended be agreed to. The amendment is as follows: Strike  all  that  follows  after  the  resolving  clause  and  insert  the  following:That  Donald  John  Trump,  President  of  the  United  States,  is  impeached  for  high  crimes  and  misdemeanors  and  that  the  following  articles  of  impeachment  be  exhib-ited to the United States Senate:

Articles  of  impeachment  exhibited  by  the  House  of  Representatives  of  the  United  States  of  America  in  the  name  of  itself  and  of  the  people  of  the  United  States  of  America,  against  Donald  John  Trump,  President  of  the  United  States  of  America,  in  maintenance  and  support  of  its  impeachment  against  him  for  high  crimes  and  misdemeanors.

ARTICLE I: ABUSE OF POWER

The  Constitution  provides  that  the  House  of  Representatives  ‘‘shall  have  the  sole  Power of Impeachment’’ and that the President ‘‘shall be removed from Office on Im-peachment  for,  and  Conviction  of,  Treason,  Bribery,  or  other  high  Crimes  and  Mis-demeanors’’.

In  his  conduct  of  the  office  of  President  of  the  United  States—and  in  violation  of  his  constitutional  oath  faithfully  to  execute  the  office  of  President  of  the  United  States  and,  to  the  best  of  his  ability,  preserve,  protect,  and  defend  the  Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that  the  laws  be  faithfully  executed

—Donald  J.  Trump  has  abused  the  powers  of  the Presidency, in that:

Using  the  powers  of  his  high  office,  President  Trump  solicited  the  interference  of  a  foreign  government,  Ukraine,  in  the  2020  United  States  Presidential  election.  He  did  so  through  a  scheme  or  course  of  conduct  that  included  soliciting  the  Govern-ment  of  Ukraine  to  publicly  announce  investigations  that  would  benefit  his  reelec-tion,  harm  the  election  prospects  of  a  political  opponent,  and  influence  the  2020  United  States  Presidential  election  to  his  advantage.

 President  Trump  also  sought  to  pressure  the  Government  of  Ukraine  to  take  these  steps  by  conditioning  official  United  States  Government  acts  of  significant  value  to  Ukraine  on  its  public  an-nouncement  of  the  investigations.  President  Trump  engaged  in  this  scheme  or  course  of  conduct  for  corrupt  purposes  in  pursuit  of  personal  political  benefit.  In  so  doing,  President  Trump  used  the  powers  of  the  Presidency  in  a  manner  that  com-promised  the  national  security  of  the  United  States  and  undermined  the  integrity  of  the  United  States  democratic  process.  He  thus  ignored  and  injured  the  interests  of the Nation.

President  Trump  engaged  in  this  scheme  or  course  of  conduct  through  the  fol-lowing means: (1)  President  Trump—acting  both  directly  and  through  his  agents  within  and  outside  the  United  States  Government—corruptly  solicited  the  Government  of  Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into—

(A)  a  political  opponent,  former  Vice  President  Joseph  R.  Biden,  Jr.;  and

(B)  a  discredited  theory  promoted  by  Russia  alleging  that  Ukraine—rather  than  Russia—interfered  in  the  2016  United  States  Presidential  election.

With  the  same  corrupt  motives,  President  Trump—acting  both  directly  and through his agents within and outside
the United States Government—conditioned  two  official  acts  on  the  public  announcements  that  he  had  requested—

(A)  the  release  of  $391  million  of  United  States  taxpayer  funds  that  Con-gress  had  appropriated  on  a  bipartisan  basis  for  the  purpose  of  providing  vital  military  and  security  assistance  to  Ukraine  to  oppose  Russian  aggression and which President Trump had ordered suspended; and

(B)  a  head  of  state  meeting  at  the  White  House,  which  the  President  of  Ukraine  sought  to  demonstrate  continued  United  States  support  for  the  Government of Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.

Faced  with  the  public  revelation  of  his  actions,  President  Trump  ultimately  released  the  military  and  security  assistance  to  the  Government  of  Ukraine,   but   has   persisted   in   openly   and   corruptly   urging and soliciting   Ukraine to undertake investigations for his personal political benefit. These  actions  were  consistent  with  President  Trump’s  previous  invitations  of  foreign interference in United States elections. In  all  of  this,  President  Trump  abused  the  powers  of  the  Presidency  by  ignoring  and  injuring  national  security  and  other  vital  national  interests  to  obtain  an  im-proper  personal  political  benefit.  He  has  also  betrayed  the  Nation  by  abusing  his  high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections. Wherefore  President  Trump,  by  such  conduct,  has  demonstrated  that  he  will  re-main  a  threat  to  national  security  and  the  Constitution  if  allowed  to  remain  in  office,  and  has  acted  in  a  manner  grossly  incompatible  with  self-governance  and  the  rule  of  law.  President  Trump  thus  warrants  impeachment  and  trial,  removal  from  office,  and  disqualification  to  hold  and  enjoy  any  office  of  honor,  trust,  or  profit  under the United States.

ARTICLE II: OBSTRUCTION OF CONGRESS

The  Constitution  provides  that  the  House  of  Representatives  ‘‘shall  have  the  sole  Power of Impeachment’’ and that the President ‘‘shall be removed from Office on Impeachment  for,  and  Conviction  of,  Treason,  Bribery,  or  other  high  Crimes  and  Misdemeanors’’.  In  his  conduct  of  the  office  of  President  of  the  United  States—and  in  violation  of  his  constitutional  oath  faithfully  to  execute  the  office  of  President  of  the  United  States  and,  to  the  best  of  his  ability,  preserve,  protect,  and  defend  the  Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that  the  laws  be  faithfully  executed—Donald  J.  Trump  has  directed  the  unprecedented,  categorical,  and  indiscriminate  defiance  of  subpoenas  issued  by  the  House  of  Representatives  pursuant  to  its  ‘‘sole  Power  of  Impeachment’’.

 President  Trump  has  abused  the  powers  of  the  Presidency  in  a  manner  offensive  to,  and  subversive  of, the Constitution, in that: The  House  of  Representatives  has  engaged  in  an  impeachment  inquiry  focused  on  President  Trump’s  corrupt  solicitation  of  the  Government  of  Ukraine  to  interfere  in  the  2020  United  States  Presidential  election.  As  part  of  this  impeachment  inquiry,  the  Committees  undertaking  the  investigation  served  subpoenas  seeking  documents  and  testimony  deemed  vital  to  the  inquiry  from  various  Executive  Branch  agencies  and offices, and current and former officials. In  response,  without  lawful  cause  or  excuse,  President  Trump  directed  Executive  Branch agencies, offices, and officials not to comply with those subpoenas. President Trump  thus  interposed  the  powers  of  the  Presidency  against  the  lawful  subpoenas  of  the  House  of  Representatives,  and  assumed  to  himself  functions  and  judgments  necessary  to  the  exercise  of  the  ‘‘sole  Power  of  Impeachment’’  vested  by  the  Con-stitution in the House of Representatives.

President  Trump  abused  the  powers  of  his  high  office  through  the  following  means:

(1)  Directing  the  White  House  to  defy  a  lawful  subpoena  by  withholding  the  production of documents sought therein by the Committees.

(2)  Directing  other  Executive  Branch  agencies  and  offices  to  defy  lawful  subpoenas and withhold the production of documents and records from the Committees—in  response  to  which  the  Department  of  State,  Office  of  Management  and  Budget,  Department  of  Energy,  and  Department  of  Defense  refused  to  produce  a single document or record.

(3)  Directing  current  and  former  Executive  Branch  officials  not  to  cooperate  with  the  Committees—in  response  to  which  nine  Administration  officials  defied  subpoenas  for  testimony,  namely  John  Michael  ‘‘Mick’’  Mulvaney,  Robert  B.  Blair,  John  A.  Eisenberg,  Michael  Ellis,  Preston  Wells  Griffith,  Russell  T.  Vought, Michael Duffey, Brian McCormack, and T. Ulrich Brechbuhl.

 These  actions  were  consistent  with  President  Trump’s  previous  efforts  to  under-mine  United  States  Government  investigations  into  States elections.

Through  these  actions,  President  Trump  sought  to  arrogate  to  himself  the  right  to  determine  the  propriety,  scope,  and  nature  of  an  impeachment  inquiry  into  his  own  conduct,  as  well  as  the  unilateral  prerogative  to  deny  any  and  all  information  to  the  House  of  Representatives  in  the  exercise  of  its  ‘‘sole  Power  of  Impeachment’’.  In  the  history  of  the  Republic,  no  President  has  ever  ordered  the  complete  defiance  of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability  of  the  House  of  Representatives  to  investigate  ‘‘high  Crimes  and  Misdemeanors’’.  This  abuse  of  office  served  to  cover  up  the  President’s  own  repeated  misconduct  and  to  seize  and  control  the  power  of  impeachment—and  thus  to  nullify  a vital constitutional safeguard vested solely in the House of Representatives.


 In  all  of  this,  President  Trump  has  acted  in  a  manner  contrary  to  his  trust  as  President  and  subversive  of  constitutional  government,  to  the  great  prejudice  of  the  cause  of  law  and  justice,  and  to  the  manifest  injury  of  the  people  of  the  United  States.

Wherefore,  President  Trump,  by  such  conduct,  has  demonstrated  that  he  will  re-main  a  threat  to  the  Constitution  if  allowed  to  remain  in  office,  and  has  acted  in  a  manner  grossly  incompatible  with  self-governance  and  the  rule  of  law.  President  Trump  thus  warrants  impeachment  and  trial,  removal  from  office,  and  disqualification  to  hold  and  enjoy  any  office  of  honor,  trust,  or  profit  under  the  United  States.



Friday, December 13, 2019

Russia Crossroads


Under Putin, Russia is facing a crossroads.

It is an historic choice facing the country today.

One road can lead to a prosperous country with a first class military, a benign influence on world affairs and a growing economy.

Another road can lead to the opposite: an economy declining into poverty, exportation of corruption and violence and an irrelevant military presence.

Several trends are leading Russia toward the choice.

The financial exploitation of the country by the Oligarchs has forced Russian households to tighten their budgets: '...[while] the economy today shows signs of stability following the financial crisis of 2014-2016....the financial crisis left its mark on Russian households—personal finances are tight and inflation has outpaced income growth. As consumers adjusted over the past decade to that new economic reality, they’ve grown more cautious, pragmatic, and value-conscious.' [https://www.bcg.com/en-us/publications/2018/russian-consumers-new-economic-reality.aspx]

Russian family incomes are higher than China's, but lag behind both the EU and the USA.

'Economic recovery masks structural problems in the economy. Russia's  current  economic  growth  of  under  2 %  is  not  particularly impressive compared to the rates of 2.3 % and  2.7 %  registered  in  the  United  States  and  the  EU respectively, or the global average of 3.8 %; it is even further  below  the  7 %  averaged  during  Russia's  early  2000s'  economic  boom.  Anemic  growth  means  that  Russia's   share   of   the   global   economy   is   gradually   declining,  and  the  lag behind  the   more   advanced   economies,  which  had  been  narrowing  till  2014,  has started  widening  again,  causing  the  country  to  fall  further and further behind. The recession of 2015-2016 and the slowness of the recovery   since   then,   have only   partly   to   do   with   external factors (Western sanctions, a drop in the price of oil). The  fact  that  economic  growth  was  already starting to run out of steam in 2012, long before either of these two external factors came into play, suggests that Russia has longer-term internal problems holding back the economy.'[http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/IDAN/2018/625138/EPRS_IDA(2018)625138_EN.pdf]

This low consumer purchasing power contributes to the country's economic weakness.

Another factor relates to the combination of weak oil markets - read under or near $50 per bbl - and Putin's choice to make the oil industry the country's sole foreign exchange earner. [BLOWOUT, Rachel Maddow, CROWN, New York, 2019] Further, Russian oil reserves are changing from easily extractable fields to fields which require advanced western technology to access. US embargoes on that technology will continue to weaken oil production and consumer incomes.

Symptoms of this weakness are the cancellation of orders for the new, but expensive, plane, the Sukhoi Su-57 as well as the cancellation of Aeroflot order for 22 Boeing 787's [https://www.reuters.com/article/us-boeing-787-orders/boeings-787-under-pressure-as-russias-aeroflot-cancels-order-idUSKBN1WO2N8]

Another symptom is the surprising Russian support for continuing the nuclear arms reduction treaty which has been opposed by trump.

Even though 'Putin said Russia will start work on creating new missiles, including hypersonic ones, and told ministers not to initiate disarmament talks with Washington, accusing the United States of being slow to respond to such moves.' [https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-usa-nuclear/russia-suspends-nuclear-arms-treaty-after-u-s-says-to-pull-out-idUSKCN1PR06T]

BUT, Lavrov expressed support for continuing the treaty in his recent visit to Washington, DC. 'Washington “is evading any serious discussion, making public discouraging signals regarding the future of this treaty,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Nov. 8 at a nonproliferation conference in Moscow. Lavrov’s deputy, Sergey Ryabkov, voiced similar criticisms at the conference saying, “[It] looks as if the United States is dragging its feet, if not downright, looking for an excuse to get rid of New START right after tearing up the [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] Treaty.”'[https://www.armscontrol.org/blog/2019-11-15/us-russian-nuclear-arms-control-watch]

A possible explanation for this waffling and confusion is that the Russian economy cannot support the expensive programs it needs to keep up with Western armed forces.

Internally, Russian citizens continue demonstrating and rioting against Putin's government. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017%E2%80%932018_Russian_protests]. A triggering event was Putin's action to raise the retirement age for pensioners, forcing them to work longer.

The reaction of the Russian government to these protests has been to exercise even stricter control. In practice, this has meant assassination of critical journalists, assassination of Putin critics who were former Russian security employees, killing of perceived enemies in London and Paris, harsh treatment of Islamist minorities and banning social media platforms from access to Russian citizens [https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2019/09/13/putin-now-plans-100-facebook-instagram-and-youtube-bans-russians-warned/#730d1eaa57ff]. 

Externally, Putin has installed a comprehensive cyber war against Western democracies, seemingly in the hope that weaker Western democracies will make the West less hostile toward Russia.

History warns us that repressive regimes usually face violent revolutions. But it also suggests that non-violent means of achieving real change are more effective [https://wagingnonviolence.org/2012/03/the-more-violence-the-less-revolution/]

Regardless, the message is clear: change will be forced on Russia by popular discontent, violently or otherwise.

Putin has two choices: Choice 1 is to suppress the discontent violently while continuing to keep citizen purchasing power low through oligarch monopolization of business and profits. That course will lead, IMHO, to a likely violent effort toward social change with many casualties. This outcome will diminish both the economy and the ability of Russia to project power or influence.

Choice 2 may lead to a better outcome. This choice may involve  Putin's embrace of the change that will be forced upon Russia. Such an embrace would ensure that Putin's mark on history will be positive: tyrant changes to benign ruler.

Here are some specific actions he can take to create a real path:.

*  Remove the oligarchs from their monopolization of financial wealth,

* adopt European Style regulation and property rights and

* create real free elections.

This choice will likely lead to a better economy together with a stronger military and more benign internal and external policies. In plain words - no more invasions of foreign countries or military rule over dissidents.

It is also possible that the second path MAY, with other Russian concessions, lead to a relaxation of the Western embargo on drilling technology.

Concessions might include:

*agreement to cease, and actual cessation of,  the cyber-war currently under way against Western democracies,

* agreement to stop further armed invasions and withdrawal from Ukraine,

* auctioning of all oligarch owned properties and companies

* nationalization into a non-profit entity the entire natural gas industry and properties,

* installation of EU style property rights and protections,

* cessation of media suppression with encouragement of free press and broadcast media and,

* perhaps initially, installation of fair and free elections.

Well, one can wish, after all.




Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Resolution of Impeachment



Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Resolved, That Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:

Articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, against Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against him for high crimes and misdemeanors.

ARTICLE 1: ABUSE OF POWER

The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” and that the President "shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors". In his conduct of the office of President of the United States — and in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed — Donald J. Trump has abused the powers of the Presidency, in that:

Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election. He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage. President Trump also sought to pressure the Government of Ukraine to take these steps by conditioning official United States Government acts of significant value to Ukraine on its public announcement of the investigations. President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit. In so doing, President Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process. He thus ignored and injured the interests of the Nation.

President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct through the following means:

(1) President Trump — acting both directly and through his agents within and outside the United States Government — corruptly solicited the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into —

(A) a political opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.; and

(B) a discredited theory promoted by Russia alleging that Ukraine — rather than Russia — interfered in the 2016 United States Presidential election.

(2) With the same corrupt motives, President Trump — acting both directly and through his agents within and outside the United States Government — conditioned two official acts on the public announcements that he had requested —

(A) the release of $391 million of United States taxpayer funds that Congress had appropriated on a bipartisan basis for the purpose of providing vital military and security assistance to Ukraine to oppose Russian aggression and which President Trump had ordered suspended; and

(B) a head of state meeting at the White House, which the President of Ukraine sought to demonstrate continued United States support for the Government of Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.

(3) Faced with the public revelation of his actions, President Trump ultimately released the military and security assistance to the Government of Ukraine, but has persisted in openly and corruptly urging and soliciting Ukraine to undertake investigations for his personal political benefit.

These actions were consistent with President Trump's previous invitations of foreign interference in United States elections.

In all of this, President Trump abused the powers of the Presidency by ignoring and injuring national security and other vital national interests to obtain an improper personal political benefit. He has also betrayed the Nation by abusing his high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections.

Wherefore President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the of law. President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.

ARTICLE II: OBSTRUCTION OF CONGRESS

The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” and that the President “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”. In his conduct of the office of President of the United States — and in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed — Donald J. Trump has directed the unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives pursuant to its “sole Power of Impeachment”. President Trump has abused the powers of the Presidency in a manner offensive to, and subversive of, the Constitution, in that:

The House of Representatives has engaged in an impeachment inquiry focused on President Trump's corrupt solicitation of the Government of Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 United States Presidential election. As part of this impeachment inquiry, the Committees undertaking the investigation served subpoenas seeking documents and testimony deemed vital to the inquiry from various Executive Branch agencies and offices, and current and former officials.

In response, without lawful cause or excuse, President Trump directed Executive Branch agencies, offices, and officials not to comply with those subpoenas. President Trump thus interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, and assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the “sole Power of Impeachment” vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.

President Trump abused the powers of his high office through the following means:

(1) Directing the White House to defy a lawful subpoena by withholding the production of documents sought therein by the Committees.

(2) Directing other Executive Branch agencies and offices to defy lawful subpoenas and withhold the production of documents and records from the Committees — in response to which the Department of State, Office of Management and Budget, Department of Energy, and Department of Defense refused to produce a single document or record.

(3) Directing current and former Executive Branch officials not to cooperate with the Committees — in response to which nine Administration officials defied subpoenas for testimony, namely John Michael “Mick” Mulvaney, Robert B. Blair, John A. Eisenberg, Michael Ellis, Preston Wells Griffith, Russell T. Vought, Michael Duffey, Brian McCormack, and T. Ulrich Brechbuhl.

These actions were consistent with President Trump's previous efforts to undermine United States Government investigations into foreign interference in United States elections.

Through these actions, President Trump sought to arrogate to himself the right to determine the propriety, scope, and nature of an impeachment inquiry into his own conduct, as well as the unilateral prerogative to deny any and all information to the House of Representatives in the exercise of its "sole Power of Impeachment". In the history of the Republic, no President has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate “high Crimes and Misdemeanors”. This abuse of office served to cover up the President's own repeated misconduct and to seize and control the power of impeachment — and thus to nullify a vital constitutional safeguard vested solely in the House of Representatives.

In all of this, President Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Treason


The question arises as to whether trump has committed treason by any one or several of many of his actions which have the effect of advancing Russia's interests at the cost of United States National Interests.

There appear to be two components to approaching an answer to that question.

First, are there actions taken by the President which harm the National Interests of the United States and benefit the interests of other states?

And, is the country which is helped by his actions an enemy of the United Sates?

This discussion will limit itself to discussion of some of the President's actions which affect the national interests of Russia. While presidential actions may involve countries other than Russia, one or two actions benefitting Russia at the expense of the United States which began more or less immediately on the president's inauguration and have continued to date will illustrate the point. A longer list of issues is available here: [https://danger-clearandpresent.blogspot.com/2019/07/beating-trump.html]

CONCLUSION

Some of trump's acts and omissions appear to harm the National Interests of the United States and benefit the National Interests of Russia.

Russia is not formally recognized as an enemy of the United States even though it is conducting an active cyber war against our vital interests.

TREASON

An introduction to the concept and law of treason will be useful here.

In law, treason is criminal disloyalty, typically to the state. It is a crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's nation or sovereign. This usually includes things such as participating in a war against one's native country, attempting to overthrow its government, spying on its military, its diplomats, or its secret services for a hostile and foreign power, or attempting to kill its head of state. A person who commits treason is known in law as a traitor...

At times, the term traitor has been used as a political epithet, regardless of any verifiable treasonable action. In a civil war or insurrection, the winners may deem the losers to be traitors. Likewise the term traitor is used in heated political discussion – typically as a slur against political dissidents, or against officials in power who are perceived as failing to act in the best interest of their constituents. In certain cases, as with the Dolchstoßlegende (Stab-in-the-back myth), the accusation of treason towards a large group of people can be a unifying political message. Treason is considered to be different and on many occasions a separate charge from "treasonable felony" in many parts of the world. [wikipedia]

CONSTITUTION

To avoid the abuses of the English law, the scope of treason was specifically restricted in the United States Constitution. Article III, section 3 reads as follows:

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

    The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

The Constitution does not itself create the offense; it only restricts the definition (the first paragraph), permits the United States Congress to create the offense, and restricts any punishment for treason to only the convicted (the second paragraph). The crime is prohibited by legislation passed by Congress. Therefore, the United States Code at 18 U.S.C. § 2381 states:

    Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

The requirement of testimony of two witnesses was inherited from the British Treason Act 1695.

FURTHER U. S. CONGRESS LAWS

However, Congress has passed additional laws creating related offenses that punish conduct that undermines the government or the national security, such as sedition in the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts, or espionage and sedition in the Espionage Act of 1917, which do not require the testimony of two witnesses and have a much broader definition than Article Three treason. Some of these laws are still in effect. The well-known spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were charged with conspiracy to commit espionage, rather than treason. [wikipedia]

NATO - POTENTIALLY TREASONOUS ACTS

Any list of presidential or administrative acts which benefit Russia's national interests would include the immediate sacking of several State Department employees who were charged with coordinating NATO activities as a counter to Russian actions. Russia, and especially Putin, dislikes NATO intensely; they consider it a hostile power devoted to encircling Russian territory and preventing Russia from taking actions in its interests.

Since Russia has borne the brunt of two European invasions of its territories, Russia considers its Western borders to be its most vulnerable areas and devotes much of its military activities to protecting that border.

Any activity which weakens or divides NATO helps Russia directly. trump has taken actions which weaken NATO during his  administration to date. These actions seem to merit a charge of treasonous activity.

ELECTIONS - POTENTIALLY TREASONOUS ACTS

Fair and free elections are the lifeblood of the United States political system. One of our political lodestones is that interference in the election process will damage the vital interests of the United States and, perhaps, pave the way for corruption and tyranny.

Our intelligence community as seconded by the United States Senate has concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election in favor of trump and that it will continue that interference with the 2020 election with the objective of returning trump to a second term.

The Bi-Partisan Senate Report provides further bipartisan evidence of Russia's election meddling in 2016; it finds "the IRA [Russian Internet Research Agency] sought to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election by harming Hillary Clinton’s chances of success and supporting Donald Trump at the direction of the Kremlin." It also says that the IRA's activities were "part of a broader, sophisticated, and ongoing information warfare campaign designed to sow discord in American politics and society" and that IRA activity increased, rather than decreased, after Election Day 2016.

[Read the report here - https://www.axios.com/senate-intelligence-committee-russian-interference-report-425274e8-1780-44c3-963a-cd839ef1cbe5.html]

In order to counter this election meddling, both houses of Congress have passed several laws designed to secure our election process. trump has refused to sign or consider these laws or other measures with the same objective. By his failure to act, trump probably has committed treason against the United States.

IS RUSSIA OUR ENEMY?

Some of trump's acts have damaged the national interests of the United States and helped the national interests of Russia. And, Russia has built up its armed forces in the last few years even though it is a financial burden. See this site for a discussion of the relative strength of Russian and United States armed forces: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBapU_C76t0]


But, is Russia an enemy?

There has been conflict between the United States and Russia for many generations. While there was a time of tension relaxation during the dissolution of the USSR, Russia under Putin has re-activated hostility toward the USA with an extensive campaign of cyber warfare designed to weaken and exploit the United States.

This campaign seems to have hit its stride in about 2015 and it is fair to say that Russia today is an enemy of the United States. However, the formal foreign relation apparatus of the State Department has lagged behind the current reality and still considers Russia to be a potential partner.

Here is the official statement from the State Department on Russia:

U.S. Relations With Russia - Bilateral Relations Fact Sheet - Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs

June 25, 2019

More information about Russia is available on the Russia Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.

U.S.-RUSSIA RELATIONS

Russia recognized the United States on October 28, 1803, and diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia were formally established in 1809. Diplomatic relations were interrupted following the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. On December 6, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson instructed all American diplomatic representatives in Russia to refrain from any direct communication with representatives of the Bolshevik Government. Although diplomatic relations were never formally severed, the United States refused to recognize or have any formal relations with the Bolshevik/Soviet governments until 1933. Normal diplomatic relations were resumed on November 16, 1933, when President Franklin Roosevelt informed Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov that the United States recognized the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. On December 25, 1991, the United States recognized the Russian Federation as the successor to the Soviet Union and established diplomatic relations on December 31, 1991.

The United States has long sought a full and constructive relationship with Russia. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States adopted a bipartisan strategy to facilitate cooperation on global issues and promote foreign investment and trade. The United States supported Russia’s integration into European and global institutions and a deepened bilateral partnership in security cooperation to reinforce the foundations of stability and predictability. In response to the Russian violation in 2014 of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, however, the United States downgraded the bilateral political and military relationship and suspended the Bilateral Presidential Commission, a body jointly founded in 2009 by the United States and Russia to promote cooperation between the two countries. In addition to ongoing Russian aggression in Georgia and Ukraine, Russia has demonstrated its willingness to undermine norms within the existing international system beyond traditional military campaigns to encompass a suite of “hybrid” tools that are used to gain influence. Russia’s campaign aims to undermine core institutions of the West, such as NATO and the EU, and to weaken faith in the democratic and free-market system. The United States has sought to deter further Russian aggression through the projection of strength and unity with U.S. allies, and by building resilience and reducing vulnerability among allies facing Russian pressure and coercion. The United States would like to move beyond the current low level of trust with Russia, stabilize our relationship, and cooperate where possible and when in core U.S. national security interests. To achieve this, Russia must take demonstrable steps to show it is willing to be a responsible global actor, starting with a cessation of efforts to interfere in democratic processes. The long-term goal of the United States is to see Russia become a constructive stakeholder in the global community.

Bilateral Economic Relations

In response to Russia’s ongoing violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, the United States has suspended bilateral engagement with the Russian government on most economic issues. The United States continues to investigate allegations of mistreatment of or discrimination against U.S. investors in Russia and to urge Russia to improve its investment climate, adherence to the rule of law, and transparency. In Russia, the U.S. Commercial Service continues to assist U.S. firms interested in developing market opportunities that do not violate sanctions.

Since 2014, the United States and our European and G-7 partners imposed sanctions on Russia for its aggressive actions in eastern Ukraine, occupation of Crimea, and interference in U.S. elections. Sectoral sanctions have reduced Russia’s ability to access financing in the financial, energy, and defense sectors, as well as limited its access to certain technologies in those sectors.

A combination of low oil prices, structural limitations, and sanctions pushed Russia into a deep recession in 2015, with the economy contracting by four percent and one percent in 2016. Russia’s economy has returned to modest growth since 2017, owing to a global rebound in oil prices.  The World Bank projects that GDP growth will remain modest, at approximately 1.5-1.8 percent in the period 2018-2020.  In 2018, Russia’s oil production reached a post-Soviet high, averaging 11.6 barrels/day.

United States State Department.

HISTORICAL EXAMPLES OF TREASON

United States

In the 1790s, opposition political parties were new and not fully accepted. Government leaders often considered their opponents to be traitors. Historian Ron Chernow reports that Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and President George Washington "regarded much of the criticism fired at their administration as disloyal, even treasonous, in nature."When an undeclared Quasi-War broke out with France in 1797–98, "Hamilton increasingly mistook dissent for treason and engaged in hyperbole." Furthermore, the Jeffersonian opposition party behaved the same way.  After 1801, with a peaceful transition in the political party in power, the rhetoric of "treason" against political opponents diminished. [wikipedia}

Historical cases

In the United States, Benedict Arnold's name is considered synonymous with treason due to his collaboration with the British during the American Revolutionary War. This, however, occurred before the Constitution was written. Arnold became a general in the British Army, which protected him.

Since the Constitution came into effect, there have been fewer than 40 federal prosecutions for treason and even fewer convictions. Several men were convicted of treason in connection with the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion but were pardoned by President George Washington.

Burr trial

The most famous treason trial, that of Aaron Burr in 1807, resulted in acquittal. In 1807, on a charge of treason, Burr was brought to trial before the United States Circuit Court at Richmond, Virginia. The only physical evidence presented to the grand jury was General James Wilkinson's so-called letter from Burr, which proposed the idea of stealing land in the Louisiana Purchase. The trial was presided over by Chief Justice of the United States John Marshall, acting as a circuit judge. Since no witnesses testified, Burr was acquitted in spite of the full force of Jefferson's political influence thrown against him. Immediately afterward, Burr was tried on a misdemeanor charge and was again acquitted.

Civil War

During the American Civil War, treason trials were held in Indianapolis against Copperheads for conspiring with the Confederacy against the United States. After the war the question was whether the United States government would make indictments for treason against leaders of the Confederate States of America, as many people demanded. Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president, was indicted and held in prison for two years. The indictment was dropped in 1869 when the political scene had changed and it was possible he would be acquitted by a jury in Virginia. When accepting Lee's surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, at Appomattox, in April 1865, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant assured all Confederate soldiers and officers a blanket amnesty, provided they returned to their homes and refrained from any further acts of hostility, and subsequently other Union generals issued similar terms of amnesty when accepting Confederate surrenders. All Confederate officials received a blanket amnesty issued by President Andrew Johnson as he left office in 1869.

World War II

Iva Toguri, known as Tokyo Rose, was tried for treason after World War II for her broadcasts to American troops.

In 1949 Iva Toguri D'Aquino was convicted of treason for wartime radio broadcasts (under the name of "Tokyo Rose") and sentenced to ten years, of which she served six. As a result of prosecution witnesses having lied under oath, she was pardoned in 1977.

In 1952 Tomoya Kawakita, a Japanese-American dual citizen was convicted of treason and sentenced to death for having worked as an interpreter at a Japanese POW camp and having mistreated American prisoners. He was recognized by a former prisoner at a department store in 1946 after having returned to the United States. The sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. He was released and deported in 1963.

Cold War and after

The Cold War saw frequent talk linking treason with support for Communist-led causes. The most memorable of these came from Senator Joseph McCarthy, who used rhetoric about the Democrats as guilty of "twenty years of treason". As chosen chair of the Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee, McCarthy also investigated various government agencies for Soviet spy rings (see the Venona project); however, he acted as a political fact-finder rather than a criminal prosecutor. The Cold War period saw no prosecutions for explicit treason, but there were convictions and even executions for conspiracy to commit espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union, such as in the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case.

On October 11, 2006, the United States government charged Adam Yahiye Gadahn for videos in which he appeared as a spokesman for al-Qaeda and threatened attacks on American soil. He was killed on January 19, 2015 in an unmanned aircraft (drone) strike in Waziristan, Pakistan.

Treason against U.S. states

Most states have treason provisions in their constitutions or statutes similar to those in the U.S. Constitution. The Extradition Clause specifically defines treason as an extraditable offense.

Thomas Jefferson in 1791 said that any Virginia official who cooperated with the federal Bank of the United States proposed by Alexander Hamilton was guilty of "treason" against the state of Virginia and should be executed. The Bank opened and no one was prosecuted.

Several persons have been prosecuted for treason on the state level. Thomas Dorr was convicted for treason against the state of Rhode Island for his part in the Dorr Rebellion, but was eventually granted amnesty. John Brown was convicted of treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia for his part in the raid on Harpers Ferry, and was hanged. The Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith, was charged with treason against Missouri along with five others, at first in front of a state military court, but Smith was allowed to escape to Illinois after his case was transferred to a civilian court for trial on charges of treason and other crimes. Smith was then later imprisoned for trial on charges of treason against Illinois, but was murdered by a lynch mob while in jail awaiting trial. [wikipedia]






Saturday, December 7, 2019

'The Battle Hymn of the Republic'

Our justice will be temporal..

'The Battle Hymn of the Republic', Song by Julia Ward Howe

Lyrics

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword

His truth is marching on
Glory, Glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps

His day is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His day is marching on

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel
"As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal"
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel

Since God is marching on
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Since God is marching on

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet!

Our God is marching on
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free

While God is marching on
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
While God is marching on
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Peter Knight / John William Steffe / Julia Ward Howe
The Battle Hymn of the Republic lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

THE TRUMP-UKRAINE IMPEACHMENT REPORT




THE TRUMP-UKRAINE IMPEACHMENT REPORT

The impeachment inquiry into Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States, uncovered a months-long effort by President Trump to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election.  As described in this executive summary and the report that follows, President Trump’s scheme subverted U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential reelection campaign.  The President demanded that the newly-elected Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, publicly announce investigations into a political rival that he apparently feared the most, former Vice President Joe Biden, and into a discredited theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 presidential election.  To compel the Ukrainian President to do his political bidding, President Trump conditioned two official acts on the public announcement of the investigations:  a coveted White House visit and critical U.S. military assistance Ukraine needed to fight its Russian adversary.

During a July 25, 2019, call between President Trump and President Zelensky, President Zelensky expressed gratitude for U.S. military assistance.  President Trump immediately responded by asking President Zelensky to “do us a favor though” and openly pressed for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden and the 2016 conspiracy theory.  In turn, President Zelensky assured President Trump that he would pursue the investigation and reiterated his interest in the White House meeting.  Although President Trump’s scheme intentionally bypassed many career personnel, it was undertaken with the knowledge and approval of senior Administration officials, including the President’s Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.  In fact, at a press conference weeks after public revelations about the scheme, Mr. Mulvaney publicly acknowledged that the President directly tied the hold on military aid to his desire to get Ukraine to conduct a political investigation, telling Americans to “get over it.”

President Trump and his senior officials may see nothing wrong with using the power of the Office of the President to pressure a foreign country to help the President’s reelection campaign.  Indeed, President Trump continues to encourage Ukraine and other foreign countries to engage in the same kind of election interference today.  However, the Founding Fathers prescribed a remedy for a chief executive who places his personal interests above those of the country:  impeachment.  Accordingly, as part of the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in coordination with the Committees on Oversight and Reform and Foreign Affairs, were compelled to undertake a serious, sober, and expeditious investigation into whether the President’s misconduct warrants that remedy.

In response, President Trump engaged in an unprecedented campaign of obstruction of this impeachment inquiry.  Nevertheless, due in large measure to patriotic and courageous public servants who provided the Committees with direct evidence of the President’s actions, the Committees uncovered significant misconduct on the part of the President of the United States.  As required under House Resolution 660, the Intelligence Committee, in consultation with the Committees on Oversight and Reform and Foreign Affairs, has prepared this report to detail the evidence uncovered to date, which will now be transmitted to the Judiciary Committee for its consideration.

 

1. Preface
2. Executive Summary
3. Key Findings of Fact
4. Report


This report reflects the evidence gathered thus far by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in coordination with the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Foreign Affairs, as part of the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry into Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States.

The report is the culmination of an investigation that began in September 2019 and intensified over the past three months as new revelations and evidence of the President’s misconduct towards Ukraine emerged.  The Committees pursued the truth vigorously, but fairly, ensuring the full participation of both parties throughout the probe.

Sustained by the tireless work of more than three dozen dedicated staff across the three Committees, we issued dozens of subpoenas for documents and testimony and took more than 100 hours of deposition testimony from 17 witnesses.  To provide the American people the opportunity to learn and evaluate the facts themselves, the Intelligence Committee held seven public hearings with 12 witnesses—including three requested by the Republican Minority—that totaled more than 30 hours.

At the outset, I want to recognize my late friend and colleague Elijah E. Cummings, whose grace and commitment to justice served as our North Star throughout this investigation.  I would also like to thank my colleagues Eliot L. Engel and Carolyn B. Maloney, chairs respectively of the Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform Committees, as well as the Members of those Committees, many of whom provided invaluable contributions.  Members of the Intelligence Committee, as well, worked selflessly and collaboratively throughout this investigation.  Finally, I am grateful to Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the trust she placed in our Committees to conduct this work and for her wise counsel throughout.

I also want to thank the dedicated professional staff of the Intelligence Committee, who worked ceaselessly and with remarkable poise and ability.  My deepest gratitude goes to Daniel Goldman, Rheanne Wirkkala, Maher Bitar, Timothy Bergreen, Patrick Boland, Daniel Noble, Nicolas Mitchell, Sean Misko, Patrick Fallon, Diana Pilipenko, William Evans, Ariana Rowberry, Wells Bennett, and William Wu.  Additional Intelligence Committee staff members also assured that the important oversight work of the Committee continued, even as we were required to take on the additional responsibility of conducting a key part of the House impeachment inquiry.  Finally, I would like to thank the devoted and outstanding staff of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, including but not limited to Dave Rapallo, Susanne Sachsman Grooms, Peter Kenny, Krista Boyd, and Janet Kim, as well as Laura Carey from the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

* * *


In his farewell address, President George Washington warned of a moment when “cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

The Framers of the Constitution well understood that an individual could one day occupy the Office of the President who would place his personal or political interests above those of the nation.  Having just won hard-fought independence from a King with unbridled authority, they were attuned to the dangers of an executive who lacked fealty to the law and the Constitution.

In response, the Framers adopted a tool used by the British Parliament for several hundred years to constrain the Crown—the power of impeachment.  Unlike in Britain, where impeachment was typically reserved for inferior officers but not the King himself, impeachment in our untested democracy was specifically intended to serve as the ultimate form of accountability for a duly-elected President.  Rather than a mechanism to overturn an election, impeachment was explicitly contemplated as a remedy of last resort for a president who fails to faithfully execute his oath of office “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Accordingly, the Constitution confers the power to impeach the president on Congress, stating that the president shall be removed from office upon conviction for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”  While the Constitutional standard for removal from office is justly a high one, it is nonetheless an essential check and balance on the authority of the occupant of the Office of the President, particularly when that occupant represents a continuing threat to our fundamental democratic norms, values, and laws.

Alexander Hamilton explained that impeachment was not designed to cover only criminal violations, but also crimes against the American people.  “The subjects of its jurisdiction,” Hamilton wrote, “are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”

Similarly, future Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court James Wilson, a delegate from Pennsylvania at the Constitutional Convention, distinguished impeachable offenses from those that reside “within the sphere of ordinary jurisprudence.”  As he noted, “impeachments are confined to political characters, to political crimes and misdemeanors, and to political punishments.”



* * *

As this report details, the impeachment inquiry has found that President Trump, personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection.  In furtherance of this scheme, President Trump conditioned official acts on a public announcement by the new Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, of politically-motivated investigations, including one into President Trump’s domestic political opponent.  In pressuring President Zelensky to carry out his demand, President Trump withheld a White House meeting desperately sought by the Ukrainian President, and critical U.S. military assistance to fight Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.

The President engaged in this course of conduct for the benefit of his own presidential reelection, to harm the election prospects of a political rival, and to influence our nation’s upcoming presidential election to his advantage.  In doing so, the President placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security.

At the center of this investigation is the memorandum prepared following President Trump’s July 25, 2019, phone call with Ukraine’s President, which the White House declassified and released under significant public pressure.  The call record alone is stark evidence of misconduct; a demonstration of the President’s prioritization of his personal political benefit over the national interest.  In response to President Zelensky’s appreciation for vital U.S. military assistance, which President Trump froze without explanation, President Trump asked for “a favor though”:  two specific investigations designed to assist his reelection efforts.

Our investigation determined that this telephone call was neither the start nor the end of President Trump’s efforts to bend U.S. foreign policy for his personal gain.  Rather, it was a dramatic crescendo within a months-long campaign driven by President Trump in which senior U.S. officials, including the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Acting Chief of Staff, the Secretary of Energy, and others were either knowledgeable of or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the President.

The investigation revealed the nature and extent of the President’s misconduct, notwithstanding an unprecedented campaign of obstruction by the President and his Administration to prevent the Committees from obtaining documentary evidence and testimony.  A dozen witnesses followed President Trump’s orders, defying voluntary requests and lawful subpoenas, and refusing to testify.  The White House, Department of State, Department of Defense, Office of Management and Budget, and Department of Energy refused to produce a single document in response to our subpoenas.

Ultimately, this sweeping effort to stonewall the House of Representatives’ “sole Power of Impeachment” under the Constitution failed because witnesses courageously came forward and testified in response to lawful process.  The report that follows was only possible because of their sense of duty and devotion to their country and its Constitution.

Nevertheless, there remain unanswered questions, and our investigation must continue, even as we transmit our report to the Judiciary Committee.  Given the proximate threat of further presidential attempts to solicit foreign interference in our next election, we cannot wait to make a referral until our efforts to obtain additional testimony and documents wind their way through the courts.  The evidence of the President’s misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress.  Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a stronger or more complete case of obstruction than that demonstrated by the President since the inquiry began.

The damage the President has done to our relationship with a key strategic partner will be remedied over time, and Ukraine continues to enjoy strong bipartisan support in Congress.  But the damage to our system of checks and balances, and to the balance of power within our three branches of government, will be long-lasting and potentially irrevocable if the President’s ability to stonewall Congress goes unchecked.  Any future President will feel empowered to resist an investigation into their own wrongdoing, malfeasance, or corruption, and the result will be a nation at far greater risk of all three.

* * *

The decision to move forward with an impeachment inquiry is not one we took lightly.  Under the best of circumstances, impeachment is a wrenching process for the nation.  I resisted calls to undertake an impeachment investigation for many months on that basis, notwithstanding the existence of presidential misconduct that I believed to be deeply unethical and damaging to our democracy.  The alarming events and actions detailed in this report, however, left us with no choice but to proceed.

In making the decision to move forward, we were struck by the fact that the President’s misconduct was not an isolated occurrence, nor was it the product of a naïve president.  Instead, the efforts to involve Ukraine in our 2020 presidential election were undertaken by a President who himself was elected in 2016 with the benefit of an unprecedented and sweeping campaign of election interference undertaken by Russia in his favor, and which the President welcomed and utilized.

Having witnessed the degree to which interference by a foreign power in 2016 harmed our democracy, President Trump cannot credibly claim ignorance to its pernicious effects.  Even more pointedly, the President’s July call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, in which he solicited an investigation to damage his most feared 2020 opponent, came the day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified to Congress about Russia’s efforts to damage his 2016 opponent and his urgent warning of the dangers of further foreign interference in the next election. With this backdrop, the solicitation of new foreign intervention was the act of a president unbound, not one chastened by experience.  It was the act of a president who viewed himself as unaccountable and determined to use his vast official powers to secure his reelection.

This repeated and pervasive threat to our democratic electoral process added urgency to our work.  On October 3, 2019, even as our Committee was engaged in this inquiry, President Trump publicly declared anew that other countries should open investigations into his chief political rival, saying, “China should start an investigation into the Bidens,” and that “President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens.” When a reporter asked the President what he hoped Ukraine’s President would do following the July 25 call, President Trump, seeking to dispel any doubt as to his continuing intention, responded:  “Well, I would think that, if they were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens.  It’s a very simple answer.”

By doubling down on his misconduct and declaring that his July 25 call with President Zelensky was “perfect,” President Trump has shown a continued willingness to use the power of his office to seek foreign intervention in our next election.  His Acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, in the course of admitting that the President had linked security assistance to Ukraine to the announcement of one of his desired investigations, told the American people to “get over it.”  In these statements and actions, the President became the author of his own impeachment inquiry.  The question presented by the set of facts enumerated in this report may be as simple as that posed by the President and his chief of staff’s brazenness:  is the remedy of impeachment warranted for a president who would use the power of his office to coerce foreign interference in a U.S. election, or is that now a mere perk of the office that Americans must simply “get over”?

* * *

Those watching the impeachment hearings might have been struck by how little discrepancy there was between the witnesses called by the Majority and Minority.  Indeed, most of the facts presented in the pages that follow are uncontested.  The broad outlines as well as many of the details of the President’s scheme have been presented by the witnesses with remarkable consistency.  There will always be some variation in the testimony of multiple people witnessing the same events, but few of the differences here go to the heart of the matter.  And so, it may have been all the more surprising to the public to see very disparate reactions to the testimony by the Members of Congress from each party.

If there was one ill the Founding Founders feared as much as that of an unfit president, it may have been that of excessive factionalism.  Although the Framers viewed parties as necessary, they also endeavored to structure the new government in such a way as to minimize the “violence of faction.”  As George Washington warned in his farewell address, “the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.”

Today, we may be witnessing a collision between the power of a remedy meant to curb presidential misconduct and the power of faction determined to defend against the use of that remedy on a president of the same party.  But perhaps even more corrosive to our democratic system of governance, the President and his allies are making a comprehensive attack on the very idea of fact and truth.  How can a democracy survive without acceptance of a common set of experiences?

America remains the beacon of democracy and opportunity for freedom-loving people around the world.  From their homes and their jail cells, from their public squares and their refugee camps, from their waking hours until their last breath, individuals fighting human rights abuses, journalists uncovering and exposing corruption, persecuted minorities struggling to survive and preserve their faith, and countless others around the globe just hoping for a better life look to America.  What we do will determine what they see, and whether America remains a nation committed to the rule of law.

As Benjamin Franklin departed the Constitutional Convention, he was asked, “what have we got?  A Republic or a Monarchy?”  He responded simply:  “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Adam B. Schiff

Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

For the complete report, see this:  https://intelligence.house.gov/report/