VERDICT: ACQUITTAL, EVEN IF GUILTY!
[NYT Editorial, 31 Jan 2020] Make no mistake: The Senate may acquit Mr. Trump, but it will not, it cannot, exonerate him. Mr. Trump is the most corrupt president in modern times, a reality Americans will continue to be reminded of — by continuing investigations by the House, which should immediately issue a subpoena to Mr. Bolton; by a trio of cases in the Supreme Court that seek to reveal Mr. Trump’s shady finances; and, of course, by the behavior of the man himself.
Senate Republicans’ indifference to the overwhelming public support for calling witnesses was of a piece with the party’s minority politics. Its president lost the popular vote by three million votes. Its Senate majority represents 15 million fewer Americans than the Democrats’ minority. In states like North Carolina, it rigs the maps to turn popular-vote losses into legislative majorities, then strips power from duly elected Democratic leaders.
The Senate is deeply unrepresentative of the country
According to 2018 Census Bureau estimates, more than half of the US population lives in just nine states. That means that much of the nation is represented by only 18 senators. Less than half of the population controls about 82 percent of the Senate.
It’s going to get worse. By 2040, according to a University of Virginia analysis of census projections, half the population will live in eight states. About 70 percent of people will live in 16 states — which means that 30 percent of the population will control 68 percent of the Senate.
Currently, Democrats control a majority of the Senate seats (26-24) in the most populous half of the states. Republicans owe their majority in the Senate as a whole to their crushing 29-21 lead in the least populous half of the states. Those small states tend to be dominated by white voters who are increasingly likely to identify with the Republican Party.
[David Leonhardt, NYT 31 JAN 2020] The United States is not an authoritarian country. President Trump has failed to carry out many of his authoritarian impulses — like, say, banning Muslims from entering the United States or jailing his political opponents.
And yet, the events that have taken place in the Senate this week would nonetheless have been unimaginable for most of our modern history. They are the makings of authoritarianism — in which the party in power decides it can reject democratic principles for the simple reason that it holds power.
A majority of senators, all Republican, are not interested in hearing evidence of presidential wrongdoing. Many are on the verge of accepting Trump’s argument, made by his lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, that any action a president takes to help his chances of re-election is, by definition, in the national interest. The nation, according to this argument, is indistinguishable from the president.
This defense, the political scientist Brian Klaas writes, is “the kind of thing I have heard in authoritarian countries — that if the leader does it, and they think it’s good for the public, then it’s legitimate.”
Susan Hennessey of Lawfare: “I don’t think people fully grasp the constitutional danger of this moment. If the Senate were to refuse to call relevant witnesses with direct testimony of grave presidential wrongdoing then we can no longer understand impeachment to be a genuine check on executive overreach. … Impeachment is merely a measure of how many members of the president’s party sit in the Senate.”
Dershowitz implausibly tried to claim yesterday that he hadn’t said what everyone heard him say. National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru offered a charitable reading of the attempted walk-back before concluding, “Alan Dershowitz is wrong.”
The one silver lining of this week’s events, argues Jonathan Chait of New York magazine, is that Senate Republicans’ brazenness makes it easier for House Democrats to justify continuing to investigate Trump: “They can keep digging into Trump from next week through fall, keeping public attention not only on his corruption and abuse of power but also on the Republican conviction that abuse of power is permissible.”
[Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN 31 Jan 2010] The implied expansion of presidential power that will be left in this impeachment saga’s wake seems to be turning back the clock to before the time of Richard Nixon’s ouster in the Watergate scandal. After that original “long, national nightmare” Congress sought to recover powers from White House that had been abused by the 37th President. But gradually, the presidency has adopted a more imperial mode starting with the Reagan administration through George W. Bush and Barack Obama. But none of those presidents — who were sometimes criticized for overreaching executive authority on issues like union policy, anti-terrorism measures and immigration — made the kind of audacious power grabs that have characterized Trump’s administration and for which he has now been absolved.
Lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff warned on Thursday that the constraining of the presidency in the years after Watergate had now been reversed — to dangerous effect.
“We are right back to where we were a half century ago,” Schiff said. “And I would argue we may be in a worse place.”
“That argument, if the President says that it can’t be illegal, failed,” he continued. “And Richard Nixon was forced to resign. But that argument may succeed here now. That means we’re not back to where we are, we are worse off than where we are. That is the normalization of lawlessness.”
Re: Chuck Schumer @SenSchumer
The @NYTimes report suggests multiple top Trump Admin officials knew the facts and deliberately misled Congress and the American people.
A massive White House cover-up.
All we need is four Republican Senators to get the truth.
[José Becerra @je_becerra] Foreshocks detected by truth seismographs worldwide. Epicenter near Washington, DC (USA).
Major political earthquake/tsunami warning. Houses of lies may crumble.
Stay tuned for advisories.
–The Hermetic Observatory (THOTh) at http://hierarchicaldemocracy.blog .
Strengthening the Hands of the New Group of World Servers
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, opening the Trump #ImpeachmentTrial, quotes Alexander Hamilton.
Hamilton wrote on Aug. 18, 1792, in his “Objections and Answers Respecting the Administration” letter to George Washington:
“When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the ability of military habits—despotic in his ordinary demeanor—known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty—when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion—to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day—It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.'”
“That has been proved.”
THAT HAS BEEN PROVED = 2 + 8 + 1 + 2 + 8 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 7 + 9 + 6 + 4 + 5 + 4
= 75 = 7 + 5 = 12 = 1 + 2 = 3
Soul urge number is derived from the vowels:
AAEEOE = 1 + 1 + 5 + 5 + 6 + 5 = 23 = 2 + 3 = 5
Personality number is derived from the consonants:
THTHSBNPRVD = 2 + 8 + 2 + 8 + 1 + 2 + 5 + 7 + 9 + 4 + 4 = 52 = 5 + 2 = 7
I ASSERT THE FACT:
THREE MINDS UNITE,
AS ABOVE, SO BELOW,
IN TRUTH, IN GOODNESS AND IN BEAUTY.
A BEAUTIFUL MIND, A TRUTHFUL HEART AND THE WILL-TO-GOOD,
FOR THE GLORY OF THE ONE.
Any “small” effect right now, such as praying and invoking light, can trigger a major political earthquake.
See scientific studies on Real Magic (2018) by Dr. Dean Radin, chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS).
Political forces to remove the unfit and deranged individual currently holding the POTUS Office must be summoned for the good of humanity. Always respecting individual free will, these forces should facilitate impeaching and removing the despotic ruler now, or defeating the WASP Project in the forthcoming presidential elections of November this year. -JB
C-SPAN’s President Trump impeachment coverage
Senator Romney on Voting to Convict President Trump
Mitt Romney (R-UT) spoke about impeachment ahead of final votes on the articles, and announced he’ll vote to convict.
Surprise, Mr. President. John Bolton Has the Goods.
Who’s telling the truth about Ukraine? There’s one way to find out.
By The Editorial Board Jan. 27, 2020
A far more representative attitude in the Republican caucus was expressed by Roy Blunt, of Missouri, who said on Monday, “Unless there’s a witness that’s going to change the outcome, I can’t imagine why we’d want to stretch this out for weeks and months.” With this tautology Senator Blunt gives away the game: All witness testimony to date — all presented as part of the House impeachment proceedings — has only strengthened the case against Mr. Trump, but Republicans will not vote to convict him under any circumstances. By definition, then, no witness in the Senate could possibly change the outcome.
The reporting on Mr. Bolton’s manuscript, which is scheduled for publication in March, has scrambled that strategy.
In a late-night tweet, Mr. Trump angrily denied Mr. Bolton’s allegations. “I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” Mr. Trump wrote.
You know what would be a good way to figure out who’s telling the truth? Subpoena Mr. Bolton to testify under oath.
This isn’t a close call. A majority of Americans of all political stripes want to hear from Mr. Bolton, at the least. They believe, as do congressional Democrats, that you can’t vote on whether to remove a president from office without getting the fullest possible account of his alleged offenses.
The most galling part is that Republicans have already admitted how bad the president’s behavior was. Back in September, Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican and one of Mr. Trump’s staunchest defenders, said: “What would’ve been wrong is if the president had suggested to the Ukrainian government that if you don’t do what I want you to do regarding the Bidens, we’re not going to give you the aid. That was the accusation; that did not remotely happen.”
Except that it did, as Mr. Bolton is apparently willing to say under oath. Republicans don’t want him to do that because they don’t want Americans to exercise the simple good judgment that Mr. Graham once did.
Chris Wallace: Bombshell claim by John Bolton has Trump defenders ‘spinning like crazy’
Ingraham threatening GOP senators on the “Bolton red herring”
John Roberts Can Call Witnesses to Trump’s Trial. Will He?
Democratic House managers should ask the chief justice to issue subpoenas for John Bolton and others.
By Neal K. Katyal, Joshua A. Geltzer and Mickey Edwards
Mr. Katyal and Mr. Geltzer are law professors at Georgetown. Mr. Edwards is a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma. Neal K. Katyal is the author of “Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump.”
An overwhelming number of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, believe the Senate should hear from relevant witnesses and obtain documents during President Trump’s impeachment trial. Striking new revelations about the president’s role in the Ukraine affair, as reported from an unpublished manuscript by John Bolton, underscore the need for his testimony and that of others.
Yet Republican members of the Senate have signaled that they intend to uphold Mr. Trump’s unprecedented decision to block all of this material.
But it turns out they don’t get to make that choice — Chief Justice John Roberts does. This isn’t a matter of Democrats needing four “moderate” Republicans to vote for subpoenas and witnesses, as the Trump lawyers have been claiming. Rather, the impeachment rules, like all trial systems, put a large thumb on the scale of issuing subpoenas and place that power within the authority of the judge, in this case the chief justice.
Most critically, it would take a two-thirds vote — not a majority — of the Senate to overrule that. This week, Democrats can and should ask the chief justice to issue subpoenas on his authority so that key witnesses of relevance like John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney appear in the Senate, and the Senate should subpoena all relevant documents as well.
President Trump’s allies have tried to distort a separate rule (also still in effect), hoping that it could be stretched to say that a majority of senators can override the chief justice’s decision. Rule VII reads, in the relevant part: “the presiding officer on the trial may rule on all questions of evidence including, but not limited to, questions of relevancy, materiality, and redundancy of evidence and incidental questions, which ruling shall stand as the judgment of the Senate, unless some Member of the Senate shall ask that a formal vote be taken thereon, in which case it shall be submitted to the Senate for decision without debate.” So President Trump’s allies are hoping that last clause authorizes a majority of Senators to overrule the chief justice on matters including subpoena issuance.
But its plain text says otherwise. It’s carefully drawn to be about “questions of evidence”: whether, for example, a line of witness questioning is relevant or not. The issuance of a Rule XXIV subpoena, however, is not a question of evidence. In normal litigation, we’d call it a discovery question.
There’s a reason that, to our knowledge, no chief justice presiding over a president’s impeachment trial has had to confront precisely this issue before: No president has tried to hide all of the facts from Congress before.
The Democrats’ impeachment managers should immediately ask the chief justice to issue subpoenas for key witnesses and documents, insisting that the Senate rules make him and him alone the decision maker about whether to “make and enforce” those subpoenas. That’s his prerogative — and his responsibility, one he can’t simply shift to the senators as permitted for evidentiary questions under the Rule VII carve-out.
What happens next won’t be totally within Democrats’ or the chief justice’s control. As Representative Adam Schiff acknowledged Thursday, the chief justice can decide evidence questions like executive privilege, but his determinations can be overruled by a majority of senators.
Even if you think impeachment requires a crime, as I do, that belief hardly supports the president’s defense or Mr. Dershowitz’s position. President Trump has been accused of a crime. Two in fact: “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress.”
The phrase “abuse of power” appears nowhere in the federal criminal code, which lists thousands of criminal laws passed by Congress over the years. But many crimes aren’t written down in codes. Crimes derived from the “common law” — the body of law developed from judicial opinions and legal treatises rather than statutes — have been a staple of American law for centuries.
Courts from Michigan to Maryland have recently upheld convictions of government officials for committing this common-law crime — despite objections that the crime has never been codified by statute. And the House, in its first article of impeachment, has accused Mr. Trump of exactly what the law prohibits: He “abused the powers of the presidency” for “corrupt purposes in pursuit of a personal political benefit.”
As for “obstruction of Congress,” that’s not only a common-law crime. Versions of the crime have also been listed in the federal criminal code since the 19th century.
Abuse of power may be “unwritten” in any code, and obstruction of Congress may be “implied” by statutes, but these crimes are now as well established, well defined and destructive of the public trust as bribery or treason. If the president did what the House accuses him of doing, he can and should be punished.
Climate* Change and Earthquakes
(*applicable to political climate)
Does Climate Change Really Trigger Earthquakes?
The debate around the connection between climate change and earthquakes has been almost as intense as the earthquakes themselves. When professor Bill McGuire released his book “Walking the Giant: How a changing climate triggers earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes,” in 2012, it was deemed to be “science fiction,” according to an article in the British national newspaper The Sunday Times by motor journalist and climate skeptic Jeremy Clarkson. However, by looking more closely at the evidence, McGuire’s work begins to gain some credibility.
Weighing the Seismic Consequences of Water
In order to make any connection between climate and earthquakes, says Lundgren, you first have to determine what kinds of tectonic processes might be related to climate phenomena. Scientists know earthquakes can be triggered or inhibited by changes in the amount of stress on a fault. The largest climate variable that could change fault stress loads is surface water in the form of rain and snow. Lundgren says several studies have supported such correlations.
What About Droughts?
We know seasonal effects can cause changes on faults, but what about less periodic climate phenomena, like a long-term drought? Might they cause changes too?
As it turns out, changes in stress loads on Earth’s crust from periods of drought can, in fact, be significant.
Similarly, pumping of groundwater from underground aquifers by humans, which is exacerbated during times of drought, has also been shown to impact patterns of stress loads by “unweighting” Earth’s crust.
Fire and Ice: Glaciers and Tectonic Processes
Another climate-related phenomenon that’s believed to have connections to tectonic processes is glaciation. The retreat of a glacier can reduce stress loads on Earth’s crust underneath, impacting the movement of subsurface magma. A recent study in the journal Geology on volcanic activity in Iceland between 4,500 and 5,500 years ago, when Earth was much cooler than today, found a link between deglaciation and increased volcanic activity. Conversely, when glacial cover increased, eruptions declined.
Human Uses of Water and Induced Seismicity
Several studies investigating the quakes concluded that fluctuations in the reservoir level, and corresponding changes in the weight of the reservoir, changed the stress loads on a local fault, triggering the quakes. Monitoring of earthquake activity at the reservoir in the years following the quakes established a seasonal correlation between the reservoir’s level and seismicity. Seismicity decreases as the reservoir fills in winter and spring, and the largest earthquakes tend to occur as the reservoir level falls in the summer and fall.