Running commentary on yesterday’s impeachment hearing

Yesterday, I posted a running commentary on Twitter while watching the Yovanovitch hearing.

This is what I posted, in text form because there’s no good way to embed 25 tweets from a thread.  I’ll expand abbreviations, because tweets don’t allow for more than 240 characters, and add some interjections here and there:

1) Just started watching the next testimony on C-Span….Skipping past Nunes’ Nunesense…..

2) And the GOP is doing their best to turn this into a clown show and act surprised when Schiff shuts them down.

3) My birdies approve of Yovanovitch’s voice.

4) Ever notice how Trump keeps saying he’s allowed to do things–but not whether they’re morally correct?

5) There’s so much corruption in the GOP–from local to national–that there’s no way I can see myself voting for a Republican again for the rest of my life–without some major housecleaning.

6) Beginning to wonder if the GOP strategy is to say that everything except the July 25 call itself is irrelevant–making the quid pro quo the be-all end-all. But that’s not the case at all.

7) Um–Rep Stewart, it has been PROVEN! [Russian collusion] It’s not ridiculous–It’s FACT! And yes, there was collusion. Did you not notice [Roger] Stone got convicted today?

[Also note that Stewart merely asked if Yovanovitch had any information regarding Trump’s criminal activity.  Just because SHE has none, doesn’t mean he’s innocent of all charges.  It only means that SHE has none.  Yet he twisted it into proving Trump is innocent of all charges.  He also asked if Trump *accepted* a bribe, not if he *offered* one, yet twisted her answer into meaning that Trump is innocent of bribery.  Just shows the mind game the GOP establishment has been playing on the American people.]

[To “The American people know this is nonsense. The American people know this is unfair”: ]
8) The American people know that Rep Stewart is full of 🐂💩

9) The GOP keeps trying to bring in their conspiracy theory 🐂💩but Schiff keeps shutting them down and they get whiny complainey.

10) And Quigley brings in some levity, while pointing out that things didn’t end all hunky-dory making everything that happened before to the ambassador okay.

11) Yovanovitch’s response to [Sondland’s suggestion of] praising Trump via tweet to keep her job: that’s 🐂💩 (yeah, I’m having fun with emojis, lol)

12) uh-oh Stefanik again with more conspiracy 🐂💩

13) Geez….The GOP keeps insisting on bringing in the whistleblower. Those are TWO MONTH OLD articles [in which Schiff spoke of bringing in the whistleblower to Congress]. Things have changed: ie, now the whistleblower’s life is at stake because Trump put a target on his head. And the GOP is trying to give Trump the gun.

14) The whistleblower IS NO LONGER RELEVANT. You have the many witnesses proving what he said. WHEN I REPORTED MY EX-FRIENDS FOR CHILD ABUSE, NOBODY CONTACTED ME TO BACK IT UP. THEY DID THEIR OWN INVESTIGATION ON THE FACTS & LEFT ME OUT OF IT. That’s how it works.

15) The only abuse of power is coming from the frickin’ GOP.

[Rep Jordan complained that four transcripts have not yet been released to the public for the American people to see:]
16) And, you know what, Jordan, the American people could really use the unredacted Mueller Report.

[Jordan complained with faux outrage that Ukrainians complained about Trump while he was a candidate, and that Yovanovitch said nothing to them about it.  She responded, “I think from my point of view, that doesn’t — that doesn’t create a Ukrainian government strategy to interfere in our elections.  So I would just say that, you know, U.S. politicians will often criticize policies of foreign — foreign counterparts, even perhaps during their elections. You know, this happens in politics and I think that it doesn’t necessarily constitute interference.”]

17) To Jordan’s questions: So officials of other countries aren’t allowed opinions, especially for a candidate [not elected yet]?

18) So nobody in Ukraine was supposed to prefer one candidate over another, especially where their own interests were concerned?

19) So if I say it’s stupid to vote in Boris Johnson, or for Brexit, am I now “interfering” with Britain’s elections?

20) So Jordan expects that the ambassador from a land of FREE SPEECH should tell Ukrainians WHAT THEY SHOULD THINK?

21) Near the end, some key points: There was a 1-month gap between ambassadors to Ukraine [Yovanovitch and then Taylor]. During that time, Trump tells Sondland and others to talk to Rudy about Ukraine. Parnas & Fruman [“Lev and Igor”] tried to open a natural gas company in Ukraine; at noon today, we hear that feds are investigating Rudy for planning to profit from that natural gas company.

22)

[To Nunes saying that this impeachment hearing “is an embarrassment”: ]
23) Yes, Nunes, you are an embarrassment.

24) I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if others stood to benefit from the Parnas and Fruman natural gas company: Nunes, Ratcliffe, Jordan, Stefanik, McConnell, Graham, etc. It would explain a lot.

After this, I posted:

Funny thing is I saw a guy in that audience who reminded me of Richard, except he has blond hair–and he was applauding.  It made me wonder if it was him.  Except it seems to me Richard wouldn’t be applauding, unless he’s actually broken free of the Trump worship on the right, like Amash did.

The transcript for the hearing is now out here.

 

Seth Abramson’s Proof of Conspiracy: A review

I just finished reading Seth Abramson’s Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump’s International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy.

Seth Abramson's Proof of Conspiracy: A review 1

Seth Abramson has become known for posting looooong Twitter threads (I believe one had about 100 posts) on politics of the day.  In order to share them on Facebook, I had to resort to the Thread Reader unroller app, which turns long threads into blog posts to make them easier to read.  But of course, while what he says is shocking, you’ve gotta wonder how reliable it is.

So I picked up the Kindle version of Proof of Conspiracy, which came out just a few months ago, so I could check into this.  Contrary to the spin by the GOP, Abramson argues that the Mueller Report proved both collusion and conspiracy (this book is in tandem with a previous book, Proof of Collusion).  And since I’ve read the Mueller Report, along with documents and analyses, I can confirm Abramson’s conclusion.

Publishers Weekly writes:

[Proof of Conspiracy] alleges a ‘Red Sea Conspiracy’ hatched in 2015 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates and then Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. Their plan….was to illicitly help Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in order to gain his support for a ‘grand bargain’ that would end U.S. sanctions on Russia in exchange for Vladimir Putin’s help in evicting Iran from Syria, pave the way for dozens of new Saudi and Emirati nuclear plants, and forge an anti-Iranian, pro-Israeli military alliance among Sunni Arab nations….[CNN analyst Abramson] traces labyrinths of murky ‘ties,’ meetings, and business deals….[and offers] serious criticisms of Trump’s foreign policy, including his support of the Saudi regime’s brutal war in Yemen.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been working through POC, finally finishing last night.  Right about the time I started it, Trump pulled troops out of Syria–and I began to see, right before me in the daily news, eerie confirmation of things I had only just read in Proof of Conspiracy.  Not just regarding Syria, but other issues as well that started coming to light during the impeachment inquiry, allegations being corroborated by witness testimony.  Names in Proof of Conspiracy started showing up in the news.  We learned new names as well, which traced back to and confirmed claims made in Proof of Conspiracy.

Another way to confirm the claims of the book is the extensive bibliography, which was a PDF posted on the Web instead of in the Kindle book.  I also downloaded it onto my Kindle, where I could click on the links and verify the articles whenever I felt the need.

Then at the end of the book, in the acknowledgements, I discovered that Abramson relied on four fact-checkers.  People complained that Michael Wolff didn’t fact-check Fire and Fury, making it unreliable, so it is a relief to see that Abramson did not repeat that mistake.

And what are the claims of the book?  That Trump’s presidency has not just been a series of blunders, but that Trump is being manipulated–through his greed and desire for power–by leaders of several Middle-Eastern countries in a Red Sea Conspiracy.  Every day, the news confirms that this isn’t just some wild theory.  It certainly explains the Putin and MBS high-five at the G20 last year, while Trump looked on jealously.  It helps explain why Trump would withdraw troops from Syria, to the objections of pretty much everybody, even his attack dog Lindsay Graham.  It also explains why Mueller said Israel–one of our closest allies–is threatening our 2020 election integrity.

Abramson notes how overwhelming it is for Americans to try to keep up with the news when there are so many different sources and so many stories; his book helps by pulling together those stories that most of us probably missed in our busy lives.  I certainly learned a lot of things that were covered a year or two ago in the media, but I missed, despite constantly checking the news since Trump was elected.  Abramson writes on page 561,

At the end of December 2018, the United States for the first time in its history became one of the five most dangerous nations in the world for journalists. We cross this dark threshold at a time when the nation’s journalistic ecosystem simultaneously produces too much quality investigative reporting for even the nation’s best analysts to synthesize; too little accountability for corporate journalism that places profits above ethics; too many stories where commitment to evenhandedness masks an unwillingness to render conventional journalistic and even moral judgments about truth and falsehood, integrity and moral degradation; and too little attention for innovations in the journalistic enterprise that might allow the profession to survive, even if generatively transformed, amid the bewildering transfigurations of a digitized and increasingly virtual (if too rarely virtuous) world.

…The New Yorker quotes Tamir Pardo, the director of Israel’s chief spy agency Mossad from 2011 to 2016, as saying of the Russian election-interference operation in 2016—which appears to have received significant assists from Israeli, Saudi, and Emirati entities—“It was the biggest Russian win ever. Without shooting one bullet, American society was torn apart.” Yet U.S. media still spends more time dissecting Trump’s tweets than seeking to curate the hundreds of major-media investigative reports from around the world that confirm that it is Trump who is, piece by piece, dissecting our nation’s foreign policy and domestic institutions.

This, by the way, also confirms a Facebook post written several years ago by a Ukrainian American friend I met on an Orthodox forum many years ago.  After the invasion, he wrote that it wasn’t just about Ukraine, that Putin would eventually come for us as well.  He thought it would be a military invasion, however, so a few weeks ago, I told him he was right–except that Putin had a much more clever way of toppling us.

Abramson writes on page 546,

The question, of course, has never been about what Donald Trump can or cannot resist. Rather, it has always been about what a society that values the rule of law is willing to tolerate. And more recently—since November 8, 2016—the question has been an even more dire one: What happens to a nation when it not only tolerates the worst excesses and degradations of the human condition but celebrates them? What happens when a once-great nation makes of its very worst instincts and proclivities a shudderingly grotesque political and cultural idol?

What we find when we train this sort of lens on a man like Donald Trump is that his desire to rule has always been co-extensive with his desire to accumulate. Indeed, the fact that, as president, Trump now wants to combine diplomacy with business—even if it threatens America’s national security—is clear.

In short, I recommend this book if you want to understand the strange events that keep going on in our nation and world these past several years.  It is also a warning of why we can’t afford to be complacent about politics in this country.

[Update: Shortly after I posted this, the author himself saw it and retweeted it, which made it go viral.  🙂 I can barely keep up with checking my stats….]

 

Seth Abramson's Proof of Conspiracy: A review
Seth Abramson's Proof of Conspiracy: A review 2

I just finished reading Seth Abramson's Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy. Seth Abramson has becom

Editor's Rating:
5
%d bloggers like this: