SIX WAYS FROM SUNDAY

10 11 2019

bigbrother

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,”

That’s what Chuck Schumer said to Rachel Maddow shortly before Trump’s inauguration. Now, after the false dawn of the Mueller investigation, that Sunday appears to be arriving for Donald Trump.

As near as I and the plague-on-both-their houses commentators I read can figure, if Trump did what the Democrats say he did, then they’ve got him dead to rights. There is, however, some wiggle room on whether he did what the Democrats, and various “witnesses,” many of whom have axes to grind, say he did.

“Axes to grind” are definitely at work here. The “whistleblower” who reported on Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian President Vlodimir Zelensky is a CIA officer who previously worked in The White House during the Obama administration, and who is strongly opposed to Trump. Facebook and Youtube are censoring posts and videos that use his name. That’s an interesting contrast to the way other whistleblowers, who revealed things the corporate media and our security services did not want revealed, have been treated. Who, or what, will be censored next?

Moreover, there are fairly reliable reports (Note to readers: this is not the kind of website I would necessarily trust for information, but I trust the individual writing this piece, and trust the source that referred me to him.) that the CIA had a secret task force, established by John Brennan,for  the purpose of taking down Donald Trump. That’s why Schumer’s “six ways to Sunday” quote is relevant here. I am not a fan of Donald Trump, but I think that having him removed through the machinations of a secret “intelligence services” task force is even more dangerous than Trump. If they can do it to him, what’s to stop them from doing to Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren?

Beyond that, the impeachment story raises some simple questions with very interesting answers. Those questions are:

Why have the Democrats chosen this moment to finally spring the impeachment trap on Trump?

Why have they chosen, from among all his many egregious offenses, this one to be the trigger for their trap?

What are the possible outcomes of impeachment?

First, why now? There are, I think, two reasons. The most obvious is that there’s an election coming up. Just as the Kavanaugh hearing happened just before the 2018 midterm elections, the Trump impeachment is going to be unrolling in the heat of the primaries, and will certainly reverberate into the general election. The DNC calculates that, whether they win or lose on impeachment, this will generate plenty of emotional fervor in their base, boosting turnout and increasing their chances of winning, a strategy that has to be balanced against the fact that the DNC originally promoted Trump’s candidacy because they thought he would be easy to beat. On the other hand, the handful of races that were decided last week certainly seem to indicate that a blue wave is building. Or will the Democrats once again succeed in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?  Gee, what an or-willian question.

I think it is also part of their calculation that the emotional noise of the impeachment question will help drown out more substantive issues like the environment, the need for a better health care system, wealth and social inequities like the insanely high cost of college and the destruction of the middle class by policies that value the welfare of corporations over the welfare of families,  the dubious efficacy of our military and the insane amounts we are spending (or, more accurately, borrowing) on that military. If the DNC can get enough people in an “anyone but Trump” mood, that will make it easier to nominate a corporate candidate such as Biden, if the Senator from MBNA doesn’t descend into dementia too fast, or some other corporate shill if Biden becomes completely incoherent or is revealed to be wearing Depends. I hear the DNC is sounding out Michael Bloomberg.  The best thing I can say about Bloomberg is, he’s not a corporate shill, he’s the corporate system personified, and his nomination instead of Sanders or Warren would make the true politics of the Democratic Party abundantly clear.

Or should I say, “make the true politics of the Democratic Party’s leadership abundantly clear”? One of the ways in which the corporate media are manipulating the news is by continuing to portray Biden as “leading the polls,” while the combined numbers of Sanders and Warren, who have maintained a collegial relationship, consistently trounce Biden by at least 50%. I would not be surprised if, when the primary season is actually upon us, Warren or Sanders withdraws from the race, endorsing the one who remains, with a promise that the one who withdrew will be the Vice-Presidential nominee or otherwise play a big role in the government in the event that he or she wins the election.

But there’s another reason why the Democrats decided that it was time to take the initiative on impeachment, and that has to do with the sound of distant trumpets and a dust cloud on the horizon, as the DOJ’s investigation of the origins of Russiagate  has turned into a criminal investigation that threatens the Democrats and those in the “intelligence community” who support them.  I think this quote from Aaron Mate, writing in The Nation, helps explain the matter:

We have yet to receive a credible explanation for why intelligence officials thought it was appropriate to take cues from an unverified collection of lurid conspiracy theories about Trump (the Steele dossier)—all paid for by his political opponent. What has already been revealed is damning enough. The FBI cited the Steele dossier to obtain a surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page in October 2016, telling the court that it “believes that [Russia’s] efforts are being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with,” the Trump campaign. Its source for that wild supposition was Steele, whom it described as “Source #1” & “credible.”

Then there is the role of the CIA under John Brennan. Multiple news reports make clear that the CIA is a principal focus of Barr and Durham’s inquiry. In breaking the story of the expanded criminal inquiry, The New York Times includes the curious claim that Durham has asked interview subjects “whether C.I.A. officials might have somehow tricked the F.B.I. into opening the Russia investigation.”

Mate concludes:

If the FBI had investigated President Barack Obama for more than two years on the false allegation of conspiring with or being an agent of a foreign power, Democratic leaders would rightfully demand a full inquiry. It would set a dangerous precedent for liberals to now reject an effort to get answers only because those answers would not be politically expedient. If left unchecked now, the same intelligence services that involved themselves in domestic politics in 2016 could do so again against progressive candidates on similarly spurious grounds.

The unfortunate reality is that under Trump, Democratic leaders and intelligence officials used the Russia investigation as a political weapon against his presidency. Now that it has proven baseless, Trump and his supporters have legitimate grounds to uncover how it began. The fact that Trump will use Russiagate’s failure as a political weapon is exactly why us skeptics on the left warned that its evidentiary holes would help him. Rather than complaining, those who brought us Russiagate should accept responsibility for handing Trump that opportunity, and work to ensure that the national security state does not receive opportunities to intrude again.

The response of the Democratic Party and the corporate media that supports them has been to dismiss the Barr-Durham investigation as “conspiracy theory.” On the other hand, the DNC, our so-called intelligence services, and those same corporate media outlets have spent the last three years loudly drumming into the public consciousness what has turned out to be a completely spurious “conspiracy theory,” the claim that Ms. Clinton lost the 2016 election because of Russian interference, thus providing cover for social media like Twitter and Facebook, and search engine Google, to soft-censor those of us who dissent from the corporate world view on the grounds that we are “Russian agents,” or at least “useful idiots” in some Kremlin plot to undermine America–a plot that, it turns out, doesn’t exist. Nonetheless, the censorship continues.

So, those are the  reasons why now is the time. There’s an election coming up, there are substantive issues and candidates the DNC wants to distract the public from, and there is a counter-investigation under way that could expose the Democrats’ own venality and corruption.

It’s also worth noting that, with these competing investigations, and various officials’ refusal to co-operate with one investigation or the other, we have a kind of civil war taking shape in the courts. Will it stay in the courts, or end up in the streets? I think there are too many variables at play to tell.

Next, let’s look at why the McGuffin in this drama is the rather complex issue of Trump allegedly leaning on the Ukrainians to investigate–not just the involvement of the Bidens, as corporate media tend to frame it, but, in line with the Barr investigation, any role that Ukraine, or persons based in Ukraine, may have played in the NSA-DNC plot to portray Trump as a Russian asset.

First, manipulating other countries with quid pro quos is standard operating procedure for American diplomacy. Joe Lauria, in a Consortium News article entitled “The Untold History of the Trump[Ukraine Scandal: The Routine Corruption of US Foreign Policy” points out numerous recent examples:

The threat of withholding foreign aid was wielded against nations on the UN Security Council in 1991 when the U.S. sought authorization for the First Gulf War. Yemen had the temerity to vote against. A member of the U.S. delegation told Yemen’s ambassador: “That’s the most expensive vote you ever cast.” The U.S. then cut $70 million in foreign aid to the Middle East’s poorest nation, and Saudi Arabia repatriated about a million Yemeni workers.

The same thing happened before the Second Gulf War in 2003… an NSA memo .. showed the U.S. sought help from its British counterpart in signals intelligence to spy on the missions of Security Council members to get “leverage” over them to influence their vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq.

In 2001 the U.S. threatened the end of military and foreign aid if nations did not conclude bilateral agreements granting immunity to U.S. troops before the International Criminal Court.

More recently, the U.S. used its muscle against Ecuador, including dangling a $10 billion IMF loan, in exchange for the expulsion of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from its London embassy.

That’s one line of defense for the Trump team. Another would be to question why Biden’s current status as a Presidential candidate should shield him from investigation into his pre-candidacy activities. After all, Trump was a Presidential candidate when first the never-Trump Republicans and then the Democrats paid the Russians–and possibly some Ukrainians–for the spurious material in the Steele Dossier, which was then fraudulently used by US intelligence officials to persuade a FISA court to allow them to spy on the Trump campaign. This case is a potential minefield, which is why I think the Democrats are more interested in bringing the electorate’s emotions to a pitch than they are in publicizing the facts, much less actually getting Trump out of office. If anything, they want to make sure the facts remain obscured, since there are plenty of indications that Biden, and his son Hunter, did engage in shady behavior in Ukraine. There is enormous potential for backfire in this strategy, but at least it’s likely to keep Sanders or Warren from being the Democratic nominee. Just think of all the times you hear corporate media saying “Trump’s political rival, Joe Biden.” Free publicity for Corporation Joe!

There is a curious parallel with Nixon and Watergate here, but one that corporate media, in order to protect their friends the Democrats, like to keep out of sight. Noam Chomsky put it front and center in a recent Intercept interview, saying,

they’re going after Trump not on his major crimes but because he went after a leading Democrat. Does that remind you of anything? Yes. Watergate. They didn’t go after Nixon on his major crimes. They were off the record. It was because he had attacked the Democratic party…..

….they’ll protect themselves. Is it the right thing to do? I mean, Trump is impeachable 100 times over. You know, he’s a major crook. There’s no doubt about it. Is it politically wise? I frankly doubt it. I think it’ll turn out pretty much like the Mueller report, which… I thought was also a political mistake. What’ll happen is probably the House will impeach, goes to the Senate. The Republican senators are utterly craven. They’re terrified of Trump’s voting base. So they’ll vote to turn down the impeachment request. Trump will come along, say I’m vindicated. Say it was the Deep State and the treacherous Dems trying to overturn the election. Oh, vote for me.

I recently heard a discussion on the Democratic Party talk show Ring of Fire Radio, in which they discussed the possibility that, although Pence is likely as impeachable as Trump, it might be possible to sway enough Republicans to vote for impeachment by offering to not prosecute Pence and allow him to become President. This sets up another possible parallel with Watergate, when the newly-inaugurated President Ford pardoned Nixon, but it also opens up a very disturbing door, since Pence is straight out of A Handmaid’s Tale, and I’m talking Margaret Atwood, not Geoffrey Chaucer.

Mike Pence is a Christian dominionist. Here’s the crux of what Michael D’Antonio and Peter Eisner, authors of  The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence, have to say about him:

For most of his life Pence had believed he was guided by God’s plan. He believed that the Lord intended for him to halt the erosion of religious conviction in the United States. And though he avoided stating it himself, many of his evangelical friends believed Pence’s ultimate purpose was to establish a government based on biblical law. That was what they called Christian Dominionism.

This ought to give pause to anybody who is eager to see Trump out of office at any price before his term expires. It may cost us our country. We are probably better off just waiting until next November.

There are other possible outcomes, of course. I think there are too many variables, and too many just plain unknowns, to predict what’s going to happen in this country over the next year, but here’s one thing I see as possible that I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere else:

There could be an assassination attempt, successful or not, on Trump, with the assassin apparently connected with Antifa, resulting in a further crackdown on the rights of those of us who dissent from the Demopublican corporate consensus. Much later, we may discover that the “Antifa member” involved was actually a government infiltrator into the organization. Or maybe that will be the case, but it will remain concealed. Trump may also simply “die in office,” and be given a Jeffrey Epstein-style coroner’s inquest that calls it “natural causes.” Of course, a lot of people won’t believe this, but it will generate even more loyalty from his base.  If Trump dies in office, Mike Pence becomes President, and we’re in deep doo-doo.

Beyond that, the possibilities are so diverse and branching that I just don’t have time to go into them now.

I haven’t mentioned the Green Party in this post. I wish I could say that we offer a serious alternative to the corporate parties. Potentially, we do, but our country’s electoral process has been systematically rigged by the Demopubicans to exclude any options but them.  Our inability to access the halls of power makes us a party of passionate wannabes, unless or until we actually build enough of a community base in enough places to make a difference from the ground up. I am not well-suited to this task, but perhaps some of my listeners or readers have such talents, and will take up the matter and succeed at it in time to save us from the imminent political and climactic crises that hang over our heads. Until then, I am afraid we Greens are not going to be able to do much but adjust our attitudes as best we can, and enjoy the ride.

The Grateful Dead “Hell in a Bucket

The Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil

 


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