After the house sent the articles of impeachment to the senate, the senators were sworn in and the trial began. As would be expected, it has played out along party lines (although Collins did vote with the Democrats on one losing vote). While the Constitution does not provide an extensive guide to the process, the oath that the senators take is informative: “”Do you solemnly swear, that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the constitution and laws: So help you God?” This oath commits the senators to “impartial justice” defined by the “constitution and laws.”
Some Republican senators, such as Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham, have been quite clear that they made their decision before the trial even began. McConnell was quite explicit that he would be working with the White House to ensure that that Trump is not removed from office—he did not make even the slightest effort at pretending to be impartial. Some Democrats have been accused of prejudging Trump, but McConnell seems unmatched in this matter. Regardless of party, to the degree that a senator has committed to their position based on partiality, they have failed to live up their oath.
The senators are also supposed to use the “constitution and laws” as their standard of justice. While the Republicans are trying a variety of strategies, the one that seem most consistent with these standards are the arguments that Trump broke no laws, that Trump acted constitutionally and that the Democrats are acting unconstitutionally. As would be expected, people tend to accept or reject these arguments along party lines. One that has no merit is the argument that Trump should not be impeached because that would nullify the 2016 election (and the 2020 election, assuming Trump would not be able to run again if he was removed from office).
Impeachment is constitutional—this is evident from the fact that it is laid out in the Constitution; so that line of defense has no merit. While it is certainly tempting to see it as nullifying the election (after all, the president could be removed from office) to accept this reasoning would be to nullify the impeachment process: if impeachment and removal nullifies an election and elections should not be nullified, then no one should ever be impeached and removed. While this would defend Trump, it would also do away with impeachment and removal entirely.
The Republicans can also be seen as claiming that the Democrats have a wicked motivation (nullifying the election they lost) and hence their case has no merit. The problem with this argument is that the motivation of the Democrats is irrelevant to the legitimacy of their case. If the Republicans can show that there is no constitutional or legal basis to the articles of impeachment and can provide evidence of the Democrat’s wicked motivations, then they can certainly conclude the impeachment is unfounded and the Democrats have wicked motivations. But the motivations of the Democrats, however wicked, are not relevant to assessing the case against Trump by the standards of “impartial justice.” One could, of course, use the wicked motivations of certain senate Democrats to argue they are not impartial; but it is even easier to show that certain senate Republicans are not impartial—since they have made clear statements to that effect on camera. But such exercises would be largely pointless: there are no penalties specified for breaking the oath, though there might be some political cost for doing so in an egregious manner.
A case can certainly be made the Republicans are interfering with “impartial justice” by trying to prevent witnesses from testifying and by blocking new evidence; the legal process of discovery does set a clear precedent for new evidence and witnesses in a trial. Impartial justice would seem to require considering all available relevant evidence whether it favors or harms Trump. The Republican leadership understands that witnesses and evidence would be damaging to Trump—the more Americans learn about the matter, the more they have come to support impeachment and even removal. While the Republicans will almost certainly all vote in Trump’s favor regardless of any new evidence or witnesses, they do get that the 2020 election might be impacted by what the public sees and hears in the trial. Hence, McConnel wants the trial to be as short as possible with no additional revelations about Trump’s misdeeds. Which is to say that he does not want impartial justice; he wants his side to win or at least he wants to minimize the damage done to his Party.
It can be argued that the Democrats are just out to score political points for 2020. Even if this is true, it does not entail that Trump should not be removed from office. After all, why the Democrats are pushing impeachment has not relevance to whether Trump should be removed or not. For example, I might want a professor who sexually harasses students and creates a hostile classroom for conservative students removed because I want a buddy of mine to get their job. But if the professor is, in fact, sexually harassing students and creating a hostile classroom for conservative students, then they should still be removed. While one could say that this would “nullify” their hiring (the vote of the hiring committee, etc.), such an objection would entail that professors should never be removed, no matter what they might do—which would be absurd.
If one accepts the idea that impartial justice should be done, then the evidence seems damning for Trump. Naturally, those defending Trump will assert that I am just biased against him—but one struggles to imagine what sort of case would ever convince them. But if we reject the idea of impartial justice and simply take it as a political battle between the dominant parties, then talk of justice, the constitution and law are but empty words. It would just be a matter of winning by having more votes, regardless of the case made for or against the president. It could be said that this is an honest approach: it is just a struggle for power between two groups of awful people and one almost must pick a side because they are the only two available.
Mike, what is your theory of why Hunter Biden deserved to sit on Burisma’s board?
One of the more disturbing pieces I’ve read on this issue:
Saw that a couple days ago. Haven’t seen anything in the MSM about it but I’m not tuned into them much anymore. I suppose they dismiss it as yet another cwazy cwazy far right-wing conspiracy theory. But hey, I’d be happy if someone could change my mind on that.
You failed to mention that the Dems impeached Trump in 48 days and would not allow Republicans to call witnesses. You also failed to mention that out of all Dem witness statements, only the whistleblower’s, a leftist CIA political zealot who apparently decided days into the presidency he and his Ivy League degree were much more suited to run things, that he should rid the country of Trump.
You fail to explain what the damning evidence against Trump is, unless you consider Hunter Biden a “political opponent”. You also fail to mention quid pro quo for foreign aid is not illegal: it’s exactly why aid is given, wvery time.
Which shocks your conscience more? That apparently national security council members and the US intelligence apparatus was used to “get” Trump or his phone call to Zelensky, whobsays he didn’t feel pressure? And who area if he did feel pressure? Foreign policy is about carrot and stick.
Many Democrat voters have left the party. The corruption is overwhelming and never-ending. The fake dossier, Hillary’s servers, pay for play, Obama’s millions for 20 minute speeches, Kavanaugh, CIA cutouts in the White House, illegal media leaks. You want me to be on the side of the cops who obtain an illegal warrant then bulldoze a guy’s house over to find a bad check he wrote, before there’s even a trial to find out if he really did it. And after the cops repeatedly made up stories to get the same guy for three years.
I have already indicated my opinion.
We have the transcript; and nothing further is probative, but even in the most unfavourable possible interpretation, there is no identifiable crime here. The charge of “obstruction of congress” is simply made up. If the Democrats (because there were no others) had taken the issue to the courts successfully, and the White House had still refused, there might be a case for obstruction of justice, but they chose not to, and they simply don’t have the power to compel White House testimony.
The tactics of the Democrats have been blatant, bare-faced lies.
As I have said before, my sympathies would be naturally against Trump on many points, but his opponents are so ridiculous and so vicious and so detached from reality that I can’t help but cheer him on.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQJoar17jyo (Tweet, tweet)
And whether my sympathies were with him in this matter or not, my view of the facts would not change.
This is a partisan political impeachment, as was Clinton’s, and any court, any juror, is entitled to say immediately that the core facts don’t sustain a charge, no matter what spin can be invented to surround them.
but his opponents are so ridiculous and so vicious and so detached from reality
Ah, but would you say Mike is ridiculous and so vicious and detached from reality? Or just some radnos out there? Is it wrong, after all this time, to say such a thing? Why or why not? I’m genuinely interested in these things. I understand that such talk is perceived to be rude or even crude and of course impolite but which is more honest and to the point?
Look, I’m not trying to start fights. Honestly. But after years and years and years of this nonsense, the dodging of accountability, the sophistry, etc. These things are done by individual people. There was a recent Prager video that spoke about how the right (generally…there are many, many pathetic exceptions…especially in religion) looks to change society by first changing the individual. The responsibility is on the person. The left (generally) by it’s very big-government approach, seeks power over the individual to force the change from the top down. Jordan Peterson has also spoken quite often about this. Curious your thoughts on this.
Actually turns out Prager addresses Peterson’s perspective in the same video which is here…
Only finding the FB version right now, presumably it’s widely available.
I avoid Facebook like a pool of vomit, and I try not to get any on my shoes. I’m guessing it’s
Yes, that’s a very obvious and standard distinction. It follows from the belief, ubiquitous on the Left, that human nature is malleable and formed by the norms of Society. With that as premise, it is entirely logical to work on the formal and informal norms of Society, in the expectation of the perfectability of human nature. False premise, false conclusion.
As for Mike, I certainly believe that he is detached from reality on Trump. It scares me a bit, because he seems eminently reasonable and sensible (well, for an academic) outside the subject of Trump. It reminds me how badly our perceptions can be warped by wanting to believe. I know I am just as vulnerable; we all are. It reminds me of science fiction stories in which a “mind virus” infects a human population.
It scares me a bit, because he seems eminently reasonable and sensible (well, for an academic) outside the subject of Trump.
It scares me a bit that you find much of anything here ’eminently reasonable’. Economics? Education? Philosophy of government? Law enforcement? Most fundamentally to any discussion, what a ‘truth’ is? Right vs. wrong? Integrity? I mean, of course even a blind nut can find himself a squirrel…
Completely agree that the transcript tells all. The Dems did not think Trump would release the transcript and it was a good move to do so. I only mention the other things because much of what the party of Jefferson Davis relies on is a “hall of mirrors”; constantly confusing the public with mumbo-jumbo, legalism, and dramatic staments like “nobody is above the law”. So I remind people of these facts to show that none of it is in good faith. Most suspect they do not understand the legalities. I seek to convince that not even the Dems really think Trump did anything illegal or impeachable.
I seek to convince that not even the Dems really think Trump did anything illegal or impeachable.
Oh, I wouldn’t say that. I think you’re giving them way too much credit. A good number of Republicans, so called, think Schiff did a great job and don’t see how you can think otherwise. I refer you to this solid, solid Ted Cruz supporter from way back…well, not so much recently but from a ways back. According to some, Schiff is DEAD right on this impeachment thing…
The nature of his opponents is exactly why I endorse him. And frankly any “good” president would melt in front of the Dems.
A second separate reply, but I felt this was compelling, as an illustration of the mindset, as I understand it.
On DailyKos right now, on top of the Recommended stories, is “Adam Schiff’s amazing Closing Argument”, which says:
“The core of the argument went basically like this:
The Truth matters. Right matter.
And you know we can’t trust Donald Trump to protect our National Interest, over his personal self-interest.
You know you can’t trust him to act in our best National Interest.
And that makes him dangerous to this country — and why Donald Trump must be removed.
You know you can’t count on him to do the right thing for this country.
You know you can only trust he will do the right thing for Donald Trump.”
This seems to me an honest statement of the impeachment movement. It contains nothing about the facts, nothing about the law, but a deep and genuine belief that Trump is Bad, and should therefore be impeached.
Oh you got trouble, my friend. Right here in River City. Trouble with a capital ‘T’…
I have a real question we need to consider: why are all the people running the Clown World Order very likely to hate Trump?
My hypothesis is that Leftism is a phenotype. Only a hypothesis.
Mike’s core argument is correct; bad intentions don’t matter much here, an impeachable offense either happened or it didn’t. But few believe that Trump should become the first president forcibly removed from office over a phone call, after which Ukraine got the aid, no investigation of Biden ensued, and no announcement of said investigation was made by Zelensky.
I’ve written many of these comments from my phone and don’t blog anymore, so forgive any typos-still have a tiny iPhone SE…
The obvious defense for Trump is that nothing happened. I suppose Dems say the aid was delayed by weeks or days. I’ve yet to see how this breaks a law. Things like this happen everyday in the military. Trump could have been advised by counsel that he should not withhold aid, because it could be a problem. He then followed that legal advice. Him merely thinking or voicing the possibility is obviously not a crime. In the military for instance, when a soldier is charged with a crime, a unit commander is restricted by military law as to the things he or she can do in regards to the case. Things like “undue command influence” come into play. Often commanders will suggest things be done to the soldier as some sort of ancillary punishment however they are stopped by JAG. No violations on occurs.
But again, it’s not clear that withholding aid is illegal. As for the charge that he was doing it to further personal political aims, Mike’s own argument stands: Hunter and Joe Biden either committed acts of corruption or they did not. Trump’s nefarious intentions are neither here nor there.
an impeachable offense either happened or it didn’t.
Sorry, can’t even agree with this. Based on the blatherings of the last few years, it seems the term ‘impeachable offense’ has no meaning. It’s whatever congress, or the tiniest majority of voting representatives in congress, at any given time want to say is an ‘impeachable offense’. There’s no consensus on the meaning of those words. So to say that either an impeachable offense happened or didn’t, might as well say either the sun rose this morning or it didn’t.
Regarding corruption however…well even that can get dragged down with the abuse of language. People need to understand that when/where the chips are down we no longer live in a society of laws. What we have is a nebulous collection of words that mean whatever those with power want them to mean. For laws, or especially the words by which they are defined, to have any meaning, parties on both sides of an issue must agree on a strict meaning of those words. Standards are evil white male things though, so they are being purged from society. For the good of all, you understand?
Absolutely agree. Brings me back to my sophomore year in college, Constitutional Law 101: I began debating with the professor about what a “constitution” really meant. I told we there was nothing on a piece of paper that compelled people to obey what was written on it. Her argument was basically that the US Constitution was magical and people MUST obey. I told her people wouldn’t do what it said unless they wanted to or were forced to. She eventually stormed out of the classroom and slammed the door. At some point it just becomes war. And that’s what it is or is on the verge of here. One of the reasons I stopped blogging and using social media. The manipulation of language, the insincere logic, the lack of good faith. The idealogical thinking reaching levels of never seen before on my life. I basically concluded that I had to simply decide for myself what I was willing to live with and what I would not allow to be be taken away. There would be no arguing. It was a Molon Labe moment. I do not find the left can be reasoned with. They are oversocialized and totalitarian and streaked with a deep resentment that they have been denied the greatness they believe they deserve. It is a psychology not a well developed political theory. The first Leftist was Cain: someone got praise for doing something well, so he smashed that person in the head with a rock. The instinct is to destroy success, and then set themselves up as heroes of the “weak”. In reality I believe that they merely don’t see the weak as stealing their fame, the weak don’t challenge their ego.
One of the reasons I stopped blogging and using social media. The manipulation of language, the insincere logic, the lack of good faith.
Heh. I thought maybe the upstairs bathroom finally stopped working also, and your wife had a change of heart and decided to pay the ransom. Sometimes I misinterpret things.
Funny about your professor. I’m guessing you were one of the older students at the time and less likely to be manipulated. This is what scares me about our education system. People go to college trusting that those of us in the older generation got all this stuff sorted out such that they don’t need to think for themselves about the subject matter. Once you get out in the real world and try to get real things done, you realize how you were suckered. That is, if you ever do find the moxie to challenge the narrative.
It’s interesting that you would accept the two articles of impeachment as the result of a legitimate constitutional process with no bias or partisan politics whatsoever. You seem to hold Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and other House Democrats harmless and apolitical in their pursuit of impeachment – thus paving the way for your accusations against Mitch McConnell, Lindsay Graham and others as partisan, biased, and in violation of their oath to serve the cause of justice in the Senate trial.
It’s not really surprising, though. You repeatedly abandon any and all tenets of critical thinking and unbiased inquiry when it comes to politics; you wear your partisan prejudice on your sleeve. Of course you accept the result of the House proceedings as true and just, thus presenting a moral, ethical, and professional obligation on the part of the members of the Senate to treat this impeachment as a legitimate judicial process in an unbiased, apolitical fashion.
United States Senators take an oath of office, just as members of the House of Representatives and the President do. This oath requires that they swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, etc, etc. So if Mitch McConnell believes (as he is quoted to say in the article cited in your post) that this process is political in nature, that it is a partisan process, and that there is nothing judicial about it, what, exactly, is his primary obligation?
”I solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, So help me God.”
How does one “do impartial justice” in a proceeding that one believes is not a judicial process, that is entirely partisan in nature?
I suppose that given this very reasonable and widely held belief, and in keeping with his oath of office as a senator, he should have sought to throw the entire case out. After all, if the process itself was unconstitutional, and the result was constitutionally unsupported, it would be his sworn obligation to do just that.
Ah, but the political theater and potentially huge outcome from holding a trial and calling witnesses is just too damn tempting for any politician.
I personally don’t believe that the Democrats have any faith in the strength of their accusations, nor do they hold to even the most remote fantasy that a conviction will ensue. For months, they have made headlines claiming “smoking gun” testimony that would expose a litany of indisputable high crimes and misdemeanors that would make a clear case for impeachment; in the end they settled for two articles with extremely weak foundations.
“Obstruction of Congress” is a made-up hybrid charge that is mentioned nowhere in the constitution and that has no judicial precedent whatsoever. The House of Representatives issued a subpoena to Trump and the White House to submit documentation that would aid them in their prosecution of him; Trump refused to comply. Courts have found that Congress can issue subpoenas if they are part of their regular judicial process, but they have also found that executive privilege can be grounds for noncompliance if that privilege is in the national interest.
Put very simply, the challenge issued by the House was, “Either help us impeach you or we’ll impeach you for refusing to help us.”
On the other hand, Trump’s defiance of the subpoenas goes far beyond traditional claims of executive privilege—essentially saying, “sorry, no” without any further attempt at a legitimating explanation. Again, this is a legitimate legal question that has no precedent, no answer.
Were the subpoenas issued by the House legal and legitimate? Was the Chief Executive obligated to comply? At most, this should have been settled in a lower court.
Instead, the Democrat-controlled House chose to just unilaterally consider their subpoenas to be legal and valid, and to conclude Trump’s noncompliance to be obstructionist and criminal. Without judicial review, without established precedent, without even a valid definition of “obstruction of Congress” or so much as a hearing, simply decided that this fell under the framers’ definition of a “high crime and/or misdemeanor” and therefore was an impeachable offense.
Others on this forum have addressed the details of the second charge – that Trump abused the power of the presidency by going after his political rivals; I would only add a common sense approach to this charge. The charge was levied by an unnamed “whistleblower” who was overheard in 2017 discussing with colleagues their perceived need to “Take Trump Down” – which casts a substantial amount of doubt on the veracity of his accusation. But what makes no sense to me at all is that this charge hinges almost entirely on the famous phone call between Trump and Zelensky, and the opinions as to the intent of this call by the nearly two dozen people listening in and taking notes.
Got that? TWO DOZEN PEOPLE listening in and taking notes! I know that the Democrats believe that Trump is an idiot, an ignoramus, a fool – but do they really think he would play so easily into their hands in a phone call of this nature, knowing as he did that any of them (and more likely all of them) are hanging on his every word, just waiting for something they can use against him? Sorry, but you can hate Trump all you want, you can disparage his intellect, you can call him a rogue – but to assume this level of blind ignorance is simply beyond the pale.
And with all of the transcripts, conversations, meetings, and behind-closed-door discussion, the best evidence that can be brought to bear against him is hearsay. “Witnesses have testified that in his pursuit of corruption in Ukraine, Trump has remained focused solely on those aspects that will help him politically”. Any first-year student of law or forensics knows that without factual data to back up the allegation, this is a completely meaningless statement. And yet, it is at the core of the articles of impeachment.
This kind of vague and poorly defined charge was actually considered by the framers of the Constitution, which is why they were so specific about the concept of “high crimes and misdemeanors”.
This accusation, along with that of “Abuse of Power” are so vague and open ended that they could be applied in partisan fashion by a majority of the House against almost any president from the opposing party. Both are precisely what the Framers had rejected at their Constitutional Convention, fearing what they called “the greatest danger”. What was this great danger, as the framers saw it? Alexander Hamilton expressed it thus:
”that the decision to impeach will be based on the comparative strength of parties, rather than on innocence or guilt”
This proceeding in and of itself is, to me, a crystal-clear example of exactly what the framers feared, and saw as the greatest danger to the process. Nothing more than a partisan power-play.
Based on McConnell’s full statement as quoted in Newsweek, and statements made by Lindsay Graham and others, it seems obvious that this is their opinion as well.
Which is not to say that they are “above the fray”, unwilling to dirty their own hands in the messy business of politics – and that’s exactly what they are doing.
If we can set aside the judicial legitimacy of these proceedings for the moment, and assume that both the Democrats and Republicans have ulterior motives in an election year (is that really so much of a stretch?), what might those motives be?
Well, the first one is pretty obvious – to keep the impeachment in the news as much as possible, to ensure that the most egregious allegations and accusations against Trump, along with hyperbolic opinion remain in the public eye for as much of the duration of the campaign as possible.
A secondary goal is exemplified in the kind of article that appears in Newsweek, linked by this essay. Regardless of their intent, regardless of legal precedent or justification, and regardless of any nuance, opinion, or legal analysis on the part of any Republican, the goal here is to claim any kind of partisanship, bias, violation of a sacred oath, or other malfeasance on the part of the opposition. Hence the ridiculous claims that accusations of corruption against Biden or his family have been “debunked”, which lead of course to the (hopefully) believable claims that Trump is “out of touch” by continuing to pursue these accusations.
McConnell is not without his own political agenda, of course. In his procedural chess match with Nancy Pelosi, he is playing a poker hand in hopes that the Senate will be able to call a long list of witnesses that keeps Pelosi up at night – but it’s a risky game of brinkmanship. Starting with the “whistleblower”, the Senate would love to pursue Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, and even Barack Obama in their pursuit of the reasonable justification for Trump’s actions. Whether or not any of these witnesses can provide exculpatory testimony is irrelevant – the threat is exposure, embarrassment, scandal, shame and even indictment.
But (in my own opinion) given the level of corruption in Washington on both sides – the threatened exposure of the left by the right can easily be met in kind by the left against the right.
But this game is played out all the time in Washington. Whether it’s the impeachment of the president or the passage of a healthcare bill, this is what they do. But what’s the real prize here?
Obviously, it’s the presidency.
We’re in an election year, and the Democrats have no policy platform on which to stand.
The economy is doing very well; lending is eased, interest rates are low. Unemployment, especially among minorities, is at an all-time low.
Trump is starting to chip away at the African American and Hispanic voting blocs.
The stock market is at an all-time high, tax cuts are putting more money into the pockets of Americans.
The USCMA is in place, and is seen as a much better agreement for the US than its predecessor NAFTA.
The threat of tariffs in trade deals with China are starting to show signs of success. US intellectual property and manufacturing are gaining protections under these agreements.
Even in the face of this impeachment trial, Trump’s support among his base is unwavering at 49%; on a same-day comparison his approval rating is a few points ahead of Barack Obama’s.
The best bet for the Democrats is Joe Biden – he is a moderate in a field of leftist extremists that just do not represent mainstream America.
Mainstream American voters are not worried about men using women’s bathrooms.
Families who have struggled and taken second jobs to pay for college resent the idea that their taxes may go up to pay for others’ education.
Trust in government to handle single-payer healthcare is undermined by the clear and obvious failures of the VA.
The “Identity Politics” of Elizabeth Warren, claiming to be an American Indian, has been exposed as a ridiculous lie.
Outside of his fiercely-loyal-but-too-small base, Bernie Sanders is nothing more than an old, white Socialist.
I repeat – Democrats have no policy platform on which to stand. And their unwavering party unity that results in their reluctant but necessary support of Ilhan Omar, AOC and the rest of the extremist “squad” is contributing to the erosion of their base support.
Enter “Amtrak Joe”; a “Man of the People”. A “Regular Guy”. An experienced politician, vice-president in the historic Obama administration. He is clearly the guy – as long as no one reads beyond the headlines.
Biden, if he can keep from exposing himself as a senile idiot, and if Pelosi and Schumer can run interference for him in the impeachment trial and successfully prevent any questions as to how every member of his family has become a multi-millionaire since his vice-presidency, is the clear front-runner in this race.
But what to do about the popularity of Bernie Sanders? How to deal with Elizabeth Warren? Amy Klobuchar? These are the real threats to Biden’s run for the nomination.
Here’s an idea – present a couple of bogus articles of impeachment against Trump to the US Senate, and goad the Senate into calling a list of witnesses. This will drag the trial out for months, and guess what? Sanders, Warren, Klobuchar – all senators! Forget travel. Forget stumping. Forget “town halls”. They all have a primary responsibility to remain with their Senate colleagues and hear all witness testimony in the most pressing issue of the day – the impeachment trial of Donald Trump that everyone knows is going nowhere.
Does anyone really believe that the DNC and the power brokers on the left don’t exert a tremendous amount of manipulative power over this race, bolstering the candidate they want, the candidate they think will win? Does anyone really believe that this is an honest process, decided upon by the voters? (I’d refer you to Hillary Clinton for the answer to that one. Anyone remember the Democrat nominee of 2008?)
The Democrats have wanted to remove Trump from office since before day one. They have made no secret about this – they continue to throw stuff at the wall to see what might stick. It makes no sense for them to go through the process of impeachment (especially without strong evidence) unless they can leverage that process to sway public opinion against Trump and eliminate (or reduce) the threat of front-runners who might challenge their own heir apparent, Joe Biden.
The fact that the impeachment trial revolves around the corruption allegations against Hunter Biden makes the whole game that much more interesting. Does anyone really believe Joe when he says (as he did on PBS News Hour on 11/2/2019) that he had no idea that Hunter was on the board of Burisma?
Actually (and quite sadly), the answer to that is “Yes”. Which is why Joe is the Democrat’s best bet.
But let’s not kid ourselves. McConnell is absolutely right – this process is anything but a judicial process. As such, it would likely be a strategic error on his part to meet such a blatantly partisan effort on the part of the Democrat-controlled House with the pretense of some fabrication of a non-partisan judicial review on the part of the Senate. His strategy is to try or not to try, whichever puts the Republicans on top. And to excoriate him for this gamesmanship exposes a gross misunderstanding of how this country is truly run.
Thanks for that. Greatly appreciated. Though it will fall on at least one set of deaf ears. One quibble…
The USCMA is in place, and is seen as a much better agreement for the US than its predecessor NAFTA.
It’s really a better agreement for ALL parties involved. Which is what trade deals ultimately should be. It is a more FAIR agreement than NAFTA. And we all know how important it is to be fair. Unless it’s philosophically inconvenient for certain academics. Then we must either pretend or ignore.
The best way to fight it all is by showing things like this over and over. Aesthetics rule the universe and few want to be associated with such unaesthetic people:
Meh. That’s LA. Pretty much another planet to begin with. This, the one in DC I find more damning and funnier. Go to the Women’s March and ask the women there at the Women’s March how women define what a woman is.
Also, “men jump in front of me to lift things…” heh
Yeah but where are the attractive women here? I cannot help but notice this trend throughout Leftism.
Some of my time recently has been devoted to considering the statement ‘Truth is what you know’ by applying it to differing circumstances and people. In that respect it does appear to me that people do not generally seek any particular of truth, but prefer to espouse what they know as the truth. Because of that the debates and perspectives become skewed, reality gets viewed as fiction, and vice versa, while truth becomes associated with controlling a narrative; and any seeking for an advancement in knowledge becomes lost. Of course concrete conclusions are possible, but if found they seem to create their own gravestones.
In that respect it does appear to me that people do not generally seek any particular of truth, but prefer to espouse what they know as the truth.
Do you find this observation convenient or inconvenient?
Let’s apply “Truth is what you know” to some different circumstances and people.
1) I know Fred. Does that make Fred Truth?
2) I know how to hammer a nail. Does that make hammering a nail Truth?
3) I know some quantum mechanics. Does that make quantum mechanics Truth?
I fail to see how “Truth is what you know” offers any philosophical insight whatsoever.
Ian, what am I missing?
Michael LaBossiere says
The old Justified True Belief (JTB) model in epistemology has it that if you know P, then P must be true. But this just applies to propositional knowledge, rather than skill or acquaintance knowledge. Knowing a person or knowing skills would be another sort of knowledge.
WTP asked Convenient or inconvenient? Neither – It just is. Sometimes think sad, but that does not correctly fit either.
TJB asked What am I missing? – Nothing, beyond the use of the word. To create an example using a scientific truth confronting a social truth:- If the leading scientists say they have found that proposition p results in new q then that truth supersedes their old truth even though that truth may be contrary for the flat earthers who know the earth is flat and will continue arguing their cause because it is written on a stone which they can display to prove it.
One group of worldviews prefers challenging things in a way which does not directly damage others, but does offer potential for people to learn different views. Yet others think differently and prefer confrontation and conflict because that fits within their worldviews. It does seem that among all groups there are those who move from any truth to the management of the narrative they know to be true. The interesting things are; what respect, if any do they maintain for others; And, what depth of knowledge informs them about both sides of any debate. Do they merely abide by the stones or do they attempt a broader understanding. Also do they comply with a more violent worldview from a consequential fear, or any other reason which may be pertinent for them. Are they driven or do they direct themselves. That old freedom argument, choose as you do, will, or have done.
Neither – It just is.
And this is precisely what I’m talking about. Above it all. Not like the mere mortals. No sides taken. None at all. Because:
One group of worldviews prefers challenging things in a way which does not directly damage others, but does offer potential for people to learn different views. Yet others think differently and prefer confrontation and conflict because that fits within their worldviews.
And which of the two groups mentioned here is the group the author supports but is pretending not to support by abstracting the discussion to two unnamed groups? Of course, the author definitely does not view one group with the biases of the other. Not at all. Because he is pure. And above it all.
See, crap like this works with the naive and ignorant. High school and college kids. The author himself may be so far within the Narrative that he doesn’t see his own biases and thus is much more convincing when speaking to the young (or even old) and naive. The only question I have is does the author actually think that more worldly people don’t see through this? Assuming he is not so far within the Narrative that he doesn’t see his own biases.
Here’s a biased opinion which I find very balanced. Balanced but biased. Can you process that?
WTB – And this is precisely what I’m talking about. Above it all. Not like the mere mortals. No sides taken.
Nothing seen… Abstracting as you term it is used as a method of reducing aggressive or violent instincts by including the other with the self, without loosing recognition of agression or violence. If the result of that is perceived as biased; the eye of the beholder…
An example which may assist:
In a past time and place, whaling was a major business within a small community, providing jobs, income, food and oil for many people. Whalers were proud pillars of the community. The last living open boat harpoon whaler who personally had the only remaining international licence (which are a necessity for that job), had in his old age got into trouble for responding to troublesome local youths in his community with a firearm, shooting it into the air to calm them down. Later he had taken local youths under his wing, trying to give them something to do which might increase their feeling of value and self worth. He had chosen to teach them the skills and discipline he had learned in whaling, presumably because it was something he was good at and had the skills for. He was pilloried internationally by the green lobby for teaching the young in his community. Clearly stopping whaling was more important to them than teaching skills and discipline to the young in this case. Being politically correct was better than improving the community, a concern you appear to concur with, but a matter which you would appear to prefer to progress in a similar way as the whaler initially did and the green lobby later did, in a different form.
Time has clearly come on many old practices, but were they wrong in their own time if they had never previously been challenged? I would agree that resentment to corruption would probably indicate wrongness. But looking at a few of the arguments presented in Trumps favour it appears many would rather his actions continue not to be seen as corrupt today. Do those preferences make certain behaviours acceptable to a whole community, or merely impose that preference as a veneer/wedge to be exploited later.
The point to all this is that looking to many more major issues of a not dissimilar nature and change happens, often violently as people attempt to defend their own ways. Should aggressivve or violent confrontation be an accepted or promoted way of life, certainly the response in the whaling example (and violent incidents elsewhere) would deny that because, unless controlled, violence breeds violence. And it is necessary in this to remember violence conducted from a distance remains violent.
Politics is about getting people engaged, and there is no doubt of your deep engagement. But is there a need to aggressively engage, or has that, unrecognised, now become part of a defensive act. After all conflict and violence is seen as the final failure of politics.
Moby Dick aside…
Being politically correct was better than improving the community, a concern you appear to concur with, but a matter which you would appear to prefer to progress in a similar way as the whaler initially did and the green lobby later did, in a different form.
You are unloading a considerable volume of your own prejudices, not just here but within virtually every response to both myself a TJ, whilst trying to bury your biases with considerable obfuscation and excessive verbiage. And as typical of people who attempt to make a point without really saying anything, over use of the passive voice. Yet through it all you fail, yet again, to see your own biases. Because above it all.
After all conflict and violence is seen as the final failure of politics.
True. Though shortly before conflict and violence is the undermining, by one or the other or both parties ,of objective meaning. Especially when one side, the left, defines speech as a form of violence.
WTP – ‘You are unloading a considerable volume of your own prejudices,’
Now progress; And yet any ideological base held is not seen and the objectivity mentioned struggles to reach first base; continuing towards control of the narrative rather than an achievement of understanding. That confusion could arise out of sophism (the glass ceiling of philosophy), which politics appeared to take to heart.
The use of ‘Moby Dick’ seems to be a misinterpretation of the example given, although that whaler had many stories some of which could have been out of Herman Melvilles book, which was a credit to the authors research. ‘Moby Dick’ did lead me to conjecture if there was perhaps too much focus on the I in your interpretation as the emotive content, social interactions and outcomes were the intended focus; Although my choice of subject did leave potential for ambiguity.
‘Especially when one side, the left, defines speech as a form of violence.’
Can words not be violent! Do violent words not exist! The poets are probably most capable of answering that one as it seems to me nonsensical to say speech cannot be violent and promote violence.
It is agreed that communications is much broader and would be a more appropriate form.
In that multiple layered sense, is not politics purely about bias, prejudice and ideology.
Is the impeachment itself not at least partially driven by those things. Are Trumps every day responses additionally and visibly driven by ego. Ego, bias, prejudice and ideology, a potentially explosive mix.
Thanks for the responses, it may be we will not agree, but we may eventually understand.
When you ever start thinking like that, remind yourself that abstractions do not exist. It helps.
“Truth” does not exist.
“Beauty” does not exist.
“Redness” does not exist.
“Bias” does not exist.
It’s a shortcut of the human mind to see similarities and analogies, which is very handy to suggest responses, but then it is too easy to reify them, and try to reason about them as oif they had an independent existence.
I propose we Make Dueling Great Again. Hamilton and Burr were onto something. Intellectual dishonesty tends to melt away when one is faced with dishonor, dismemberment or death.
Yeah, but IMNSHO the wrong guy won that one. How about short of violence, we simply expect that people behave in an intellectually honest manner and cut out the airy-fairy relativism? I’m not proposing an illiberalism in laws or thought, but certainly we can stop rewarding failure and dishonesty out of fear that other people won’t like us. If a non-violent culture of political correctness can undermine our society to the degree it has done over the last few decades, surely a reversal of these perceptions of acceptability and propriety, and by reversal I mean mostly just a return to the pre-PC norms…perhaps with a tweak here and there in the spirit of classical liberalism, can put things back on the road to real progress. I’d say at the least it’s worth a shot.
Michael LaBossiere says
Clown nose on or off, an interesting reply from a philosopher.
I’m coming around to WTP’s view that the root of most of our problems can be found in academia.
Michael LaBossiere says
Academics are mostly harmless.
I’m confused. Clown nose on or off here?