July 28, 2019 by epoetus
This image shows Ron Wyden, Jim Clyburn, Peter Defazio, Steny Hoyer, and Nancy Pelosi of the US House, along with Chuck Schumer of the US Senate.
With the conclusion of Mueller’s testimony, there appears to be a battle amongst the news agencies, the 7 days a week by 24 hour (24X7) news channels and their paid pundits to “call the game.” Unfortunately this falling over each other to obtain our eyeballs and the advertising revenue associated with it, does not seem to have helped us very much. Where do we stand now? Some facts:
• Mitch McConnell continues to block anything that might have to do with either investigating Russian interference in the elections, or with securing our elections – this is after he received donations from voting machine lobbyists. One widely publicized Op Ed by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post calls him a “Russian Asset.” And the hashtag #MoscowMitch has gone viral.
• 100 Members of the US House support impeachment, and the list grows. US Representative Rick Larsen is now among those who favor impeachment. There is an expectation that after the Summer break, this number will be higher. This list includes Katherine Clark who s part of the Democratic leadership
• Representative Nadler has wasted no time in requesting Grand Jury testimony for passages that are redacted in the Mueller report and additional information that can be used in his committee. The wording used in these inquiries utilize impeachment language, which Pelosi endorsed, to bolster the justification for obtaining the documents.
• Many questions about the Mueller report were either further clarified (e.g. why there was no indictment or conclusion of wrong doing by the President), or entirely new observations were obtained during this testimony. For example, nobody knew about the litany of ongoing FBI investigations that are under way which have been either spawned by or related to the Mueller Report. Also it was clarified that the Justice Department opinion on not indicting a sitting President says that the statute of limitations clock is stopped while they are in office — how many months has that been a topic of hand wringing on these 24X7 news shows?
• The latest deflection from POTUS 45 is that he has ‘started an investigation into Obama’
Many of these news agencies appear to have analyzed the Mueller testimony at least somewhat incorrectly, by effectively calling it a “nothing sandwich” – the list includes NPR, Democracy Now, and many other shows like Brian Williams’ “The 11th Hour” on MSNBC. This post intends to communicate a “Truth Sandwich” and then some.
The Truth Sandwich on “The Punditry covering Mueller’s Testimony”
Were we expecting a smoking gun to come out of the Mueller testimony this past week? How were our expectations shaped by those very news services which appear to have interpreted it incorrectly? The Mueller testimony measurably moved Nadler’s House Intelligence Committee down the road towards impeachment, as his recent subpoena’s endorsed by Pelosi demonstrate. To focus on the political theater is to persist in doing a disservice to the American people and to the justice being pursued by this growing list of elected officials who support impeachment. We are now in a time where the average American must play a more sophisticated role of being their own journalist and discuss their observations amongst those who will listen, because our news agencies have evolved into money machines focused on eyeballs in the 30+ year old transition to a world where “fair and balanced” (e.g. entertainment is now normal) is no longer required.
A quick analysis on the argument for and against Impeachment
• It is Congress’s job to pursue impeachment
• There are so many reasons for impeachment – not just the Mueller report
• Pursuing impeachment is an opportunity to uncover more facts and to debate the meaning of what we know
• Pursuing impeachment and failing could set the wrong precedent – specifically there is concern around the ambiguity of passing the “Articles of Impeachment” in the House only to have them rejected in the Senate. Will the Republicans be able to make a case that Trump was exonerated?
• Pursuing impeachment and failing could constrain other legal routes
• Pursuing impeachment but not doing so in a formal, and explicit way that is directed at producing “Articles of Impeachment” can be used to continue the debate and uncover more facts
• Not pursuing a formal process designed to produce “Articles of Impeachment” allows the legislature to explore other options which might be worth pursuing
• Polling shows that impeachment is not as important as healthcare, infrastructure or living wage jobs to the Average American
But does the argument against impeachment mean that our elected officials will not pursue matters relating to impeachment? That does not appear to be the case. What is the difference between the two then, if both can continue to pursue impeachment?
What strategy should be implemented?
The Democrats need to demonstrate to the public that they are not engaging in a knife fight with a compostable take-out utensil, as they have done so many times before. This means that the Democrats must take bold legal steps which further the case against POTUS, his administration and the entire Republican party. The complicity of Republican leadership and elected officials must be laid bare in the court of public opinion, because it is true and because of the Democrats need to route the Republicans in their “safe” zones in 2020. If the Democrats have done their jobs there will be no “safe” zones for the Republicans, because the case for continued legitimization of treason over the course of 45+ years should motivate the voters into showing politicians that this will not be tolerated any longer.
To mitigate the fear of failure due to the real or imagined consequences associated with impeachment procedures, the Democrats must convert each concern from the fear of the unknown or the misunderstood, into a competent, well-defined risk and mitigation plan. For example, all of this talk about ‘running out the statute of limitations’ because of the opinion against prosecuting a standing President was easily debunked by simply reading the opinion, yet we have lived through many months of titillating news casting about POTUS needing to win in 2020 so that he can run out the clock. By demonstrating a ‘no stone left unturned’ obsession with doing a thorough job of revealing corruption of our democratic processes, the public should see that the Democrats have taken this matter seriously. Having a detailed plan that accounts for risks will also allow for more effective course corrections while they execute this political strategy.
The Democrats need to take charge of the message and drive the media as the Republicans have done and continue to do – on NPR and other mainstream media outlets. Driving these matters in the court of public opinion as a massive public relations campaign is essential. From what we’re seeing it appears that they have begun to take their role in driving communications seriously.
What is the most important goal that needs to be accomplished?
Informing the public and swaying the jury towards impeachment in the court of public opinion – this can be accomplished by pursuing an explicit impeachment route or the more ambiguous “we’re thinking about it” route that Nancy Pelosi endorses. In light of this, and given that the media continue to play games with the fate of our democracy as they have increasingly pursued eyeballs for over 30 years, it is on the shoulders of our US Congress people to ensure that we are adequately informed. This is a risk, as our Congress people are also beholden to the “Money in Politics” required to obtain re-election. Therefore this responsibility is even greater for us, the Average American, to engage in these impeachment discussions, try to obtain consensus amongst ourselves, and take action with our elected officials, the news media and by civil disobedience.
We must fight this matter in the court of public opinion, and our elected officials need to lead the way. Every person needs to get engaged, and the result of the work of our elected officials must be to encourage that engagement and demonstrate that there is a big tent that is growing and listening to them. The functioning of our democracy needs to be on the table, and it must be discussed in a way that is accessible to everyone – the Democrats must stop the hand wringing and apologizing with excuses for why the “Will Of The People” has been or is being ignored if they expect to capture the “hearts and minds” of the voters in 2020. In other words, impeachment is not top of mind to the Average American, but the rising income and wealth inequality that has prevented our democracy from taking care of basic issues like healthcare and climate change is top of mind.
Mitch McConnell is a Russian Asset
Mitch McConnell receives campaign money from the voting machine lobbyists just before squashing legislation to improve election security
Dana Milbank of Washington Post calls Mitch McConnell a “Russian Asset”
100 Members publicly support impeachment
Democratic leader, Katherine Clark, supports impeachment
Argument against impeachment: Adam Schiff says that it could set the wrong precedent
Argument for impeachment: Using Article 1 for Impeachment to argue for subpoena’s of redacted passages and grand jury testimony
Denny Heck NPR interview
Trump investigation into Obama book deal