Why Have No Republicans Turned On Trump? – By Thom Hartmann | Economy For All

It’s all about the bucks, in this post-Citizens United America.

By Thom Hartmann | Economy For All

There is a very simple reason why some Republicans voted for the impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon, but none have so far broken ranks against Trump.

That reason is a corrupted U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1976 (Buckley v. Valeo) and 1978 (First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti), the Supreme Court ruled that when corporations and billionaires purchase their very own politicians, it is constitutionally protected “free speech” rather than “bribery”, which is how we defined it from the beginning of our republic until 1976.         

In 2010, the Supreme Court doubled down on its betrayal of American democracy with its Citizens United decision.

After those twin decisions in the 1970s, money from corporations and the morbidly rich began to flow into the coffers of the Republican Party, hoisting Ronald Reagan into the White House. Democrats were then still largely funded by unions, and thus not so easily up for sale.

The spigots of cash never turned off; the 2016 election was a $6.5 billion affair.

As a result, today’s Republican politicians are wholly owned agents of corporations and the billionaire class, stoking extreme anger over a few social issues: immigration, guns, God, gays, race and using it to bring in the Fox rubes that the billionaire Murdochs kindly handed them.

Prior to this betrayal of America by the Supreme Court, politicians generally felt a need to respond to the wants and needs of their constituents. From Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s people-powered election in 1932 to Reagan’s inauguration in 1981, politicians’ proposed legislation and votes tended to reflect what the people in their districts or states wanted.

Nixon’s impeachment hearings happened in 1974, before the Supreme Court legalized bribery — and so the Senate voted 77-0 to forward the investigation, and the House voted 412-3 to accept the Judiciary Committee’s report showing “clear and convincing evidence” of Nixon’s corruption. Republicans were more concerned about their VOTERS than about their DONORS back then.

From the 1980s to today, though, as a study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page shows, the political desires of the economic bottom 90 percent of Americans are completely irrelevant to the introduction or passage of legislation. But the desires of the top 10 percent of Americans are consistently passed into law and policy.

Republicans don’t want the money to stop, so they have to keep supporting Trump as he pushes the corporate and billionaire-friendly policies of deregulation and tax cuts supported by their donors.

When the billionaires abandon Trump, so will the GOP.

It is really just that simple.

As long as the Supreme Court continues to assert that there is absolutely nothing wrong with billionaires and corporations owning politicians, the GOP will continue to be an extension of the lobbying industry and the morbidly rich. In exchange for deregulation and tax cuts, that bunch would work to keep a gerbil in the White House, if that’s what it took.

And as long as their owners and funders continue to pay Republicans to keep Trump in office, they’ll continue to say, “How high?” every time Trump yells, “Jump!”

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  • Clyde Duncan  On December 6, 2019 at 3:06 am

    What’s It Like to Stand Stark Naked on the World Stage? Ask Donald Trump

    Richard Wolffe | The Guardian UK

    The expectation that Trump will embarrass himself does not make his nakedness any less shocking

    You know that classic nightmare where you’re at work and everyone is talking but none of them say the obvious: YOU ARE STARK NAKED!

    Donald Trump is living that hellacious dream every time he steps in front of the women and men who make up the world’s leaders.

    Stripped of his usual protections inside the White House, Trump exposes himself on the world stage at every conceivable opportunity. This week’s NATO summit in London was no exception, adding itself to the long list of denuded nonsense that erupts in front of every international figure.

    First, he attempted to joke with President Emmanuel Macron of France about ISIS. “Would you like some nice ISIS fighters? I can give them to you. You can take everyone you can,” said the man pretending to be the leader of the free world.

    “Let’s be serious,” said Macron, dispensing with a translator as he shut down the clown show. “The very large number of fighters you have on the ground are ISIS fighters coming from Syria, from Iraq, and the region.”

    You don’t have to be a world leader at a NATO summit to know that ISIS fighters and jihadist sympathizers pose a serious threat to the streets of Europe’s capital cities. You just have to be a grownup who pays attention to the news, such as the fatal stabbings on London Bridge just last week.

    But that may be asking too much of the man-baby who watches TV somewhere close to the Oval Office.

    The widespread expectation that Trump will embarrass himself does not make his nakedness any less shocking. Even after all these years of bare-faced tomfoolery.

    So, it was Macron and his French-speaking ally Justin Trudeau, accompanied by a jolly-hockey-sticks Boris Johnson, who all seemed to be dumping on Donald at Buck House on Tuesday.

    “You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor,” Trudeau said, dropping his hand towards the floor in a performance that also seemed to involve a glass of beer.

    It was hard to know what Trump-induced jaw-dropper he was talking about. There are so many to choose from:

    Was it the head-wrenching answer a few minutes after his comments on ISIS fighters, when Trump was asked if he supported the protesters in Iran?

    “I don’t want to comment on that. But the answer is no. But I don’t want to comment on that,” said Trump, contradicting himself twice in the space of just 20 words.

    Then again, maybe Trudeau was talking about the way Trump explained how he betrayed his Kurdish allies in Syria by pretending that “we’ve captured the oil and taken the oil”.

    Or maybe he was talking about the way Trump explained at a NATO summit that he understood why Turkey was buying Russian missiles.

    “So, you know, there are two sides to the story,” claimed the president who consistently prefers the Russian side of the story.

    Of all the threats facing the world – the climate crisis, the rise of Putin-style politicians, refugees, terrorism – none have played on Trump’s mind quite as much as the thought that the world might be laughing at America.

    “We need a President who isn’t a laughing stock to the entire World,” Trump tweeted two years before he became just that. “We need a truly great leader, a genius at strategy and winning. Respect!”

    Sadly, Trump never became the second half of his own tweet, no matter what he sees in the mirror each morning.

    Instead he became the kind of leader who bragged to the United Nations how awesome his administration was. To be specific, he told last year’s general assembly that it was more awesome than “almost any other administration in the history of our country”. At which point, the massed ranks of world leaders started guffawing.

    “I didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s OK,” he said.

    IT IS NEVER OK FOR THIS FRAGILE SNOWFLAKE of a tough guy. When asked about Trudeau’s laughter on Wednesday, Trump melted once again.

    “Well he’s two-faced,” he said. “And honestly with Trudeau, he’s a nice guy. I find him to be a very nice guy. But you know the truth is that I called him out on the fact that he’s not paying 2%. And I guess he’s not very happy about it.”

    Yeah, that must be it. Totally nailed him on that one.

    Sitting beside him, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, was surely impressed with the savage indictment of the size of Canada’s military spending. But she subtly masked her admiration by looking like an anxious patient expecting a bad prognosis.

    There was plenty to feel queasy about. Trump once again heaped praise on himself for carving up the Kurds, in alliance with the Russians, Syrians and Turks.

    “Maybe someday they’ll give me credit, but probably not,” he whined. “But that worked out well. They’ve been trying to do this for a hundred years. That border is a mess for a long time.”

    It worked out less well for America’s Kurdish allies – but hey!

    Perhaps someday they’ll also give him credit for his Greenland gambit, which he suggested would be part of his forthcoming talks with the Danish prime minister.

    “Do you still want to buy Greenland,” asked one cheeky reporter.

    “She must be in the real estate business,” said the non-laughingstock president. “That’s a very good question.”

    After all those good questions about his genius at strategy and winning, Trump wimped out of his final press conference. “I think we’ve done plenty of press conferences,” he said. “Unless you’re demanding a press conference, we’ll do one, but I think we’ve answered plenty of questions.”

    For a split second, Boris Johnson gulped hard at the thought of one more chance for Trump to blow the British general election.

    Therefore, the naked emperor declared he would get dressed, unless you thought he was already wearing something fancy, in which case he would stay happily inside his birthday suit. RESPECT!

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 6, 2019 at 8:27 am

    Trump’s True Betrayal: A Pattern of Soliciting Foreign Interference in US Elections

    Kate Brannen | Just Security

    Since the impeachment inquiry began in September, a central question has gotten lost amidst the cast of characters, Republican members’ obfuscation and weeks of witness testimony:

    DID PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SOLICIT FOREIGN INTERFERENCE IN THE UPCOMING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS?

    THE ANSWER TO THAT HAS BEEN CLEAR since the White House released the call record of Trump’s July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

    During the call, Trump asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

    It was this solicitation — not any quid pro quo — that so alarmed the whistleblower and pushed him to file an official complaint at great risk to his personal safety and his career. He wrote:

    In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. elections.

    Trump’s ask of Zelenskyy was so grave that both the CIA general counsel, Courtney Simmons Elwood, and the general counsel at the National Security Council, John Eisenberg, decided the accusations had a “reasonable basis” and together called the Justice Department on Aug. 14 to discuss how to handle them.

    ELWOOD REPORTEDLY INTENDED THIS CALL TO BE A CRIMINAL REFERRAL ABOUT THE PRESIDENT’S CONDUCT. Later in August, the Acting Director of National Intelligence and Inspector General for the Intelligence Community referred the allegations to the Justice Department as a possible criminal matter.

    This means that upon learning of Trump’s ask alone – FORGET EVERYTHING ELSE WE HAVE LEARNED – multiple senior government lawyers, all appointed by Trump, were worried the president had committed a crime.

    WHAT CRIME DID THEY HAVE IN MIND?

    Federal law prohibits a person from soliciting, accepting or receiving a “contribution or donation of money or other thing of value” from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election.

    But, Trump’s Justice Department, after receiving the criminal referrals about Trump’s conduct, determined there was no criminal case because, apparently, A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT CONDUCTING — let alone publicly announcing on CNN — THAT IT WAS INVESTIGATING BIDEN FOR SUPPOSED CORRUPTION IS NOT A QUANTIFIABLE “THING OF VALUE”.

    On that, the Justice Department is almost right: IT WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT TO PUT A PRICE ON SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE SO VALUABLE TO THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN.

    That said, generating negative publicity about one’s opponents is something for which lawyers and lobbyists regularly charge their clients large amounts, as the Harvey Weinstein story taught us.

    Trump’s solicitation of Zelenskyy is clearly an astonishing abuse of power and quite likely a crime all on its own. But it is also not a one-off incident.

    Trump has a pattern of asking foreign governments to interfere in U.S. elections to help him win. But, so far, there have been zero consequences for Trump’s actions, despite the Mueller Report and the chair of the Federal Election Commission making it clear that accepting or soliciting foreign interference in the election is a serious crime. This has left Trump undeterred from doing it again with just under a year to go before Election Day.

    A Pattern of Behavior

    In July 2016, Trump famously asked Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s “missing” emails. When asked if he was making a joke, Trump said no. Later that same day, Russian intelligence made its first effort to break into the servers used by Clinton’s personal office.

    According to the Mueller report, the Trump Campaign also tried to obtain Clinton’s emails via Russian hackers through the work of Peter Smith, an investment adviser active in Republican politics. Smith kept Michael Flynn and Trump Campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis updated on his efforts. BUT, WAS THAT DIRECTED BY TRUMP HIMSELF? The Mueller report stated:

    “After candidate Trump stated on July 27, 2016, that he hoped Russia would ‘find the 30,000 emails that are missing,’ Trump asked individuals affiliated with his Campaign to find the deleted Clinton emails. Michael Flynn — who would later serve as National Security Advisor in the Trump Administration — RECALLED THAT TRUMP MADE THIS REQUEST REPEATEDLY.”

    Trump has said that he would have no qualms accepting “foreign dirt” on an opponent if it would help him win AND WOULD NOT ALERT THE FBI. And even after his call with Zelenskyy was made public, Trump once again suggested a foreign government should interfere in the election; this time, asking China to investigate the Bidens.

    Republicans, looking for anyway to defend the indefensible, said Trump’s comments were just a joke.

    But, during the same week as the President’s remarks on China, Michael Pillsbury, an informal White House adviser on China, said that he’d pressed Chinese officials for information on Hunter Biden and he also told the Financial Times that he’d received information about Biden during a recent visit to Beijing.

    Meanwhile, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro declined to answer questions about whether he’d asked Chinese officials about the Bidens during trade talks. Instead of saying “No, that never happened,” Navarro said any questions about this were “inappropriate”.

    And, China didn’t view Trump’s request as a joke. “We have no intention of intervening in the domestic affairs of the United States,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement in October.

    The pattern is more than clear:

    Trump has repeatedly asked foreign governments to interfere in U.S. elections to help him maintain political power. And there is no reason to expect him to stop.

    THIS IS WHAT IS AT STAKE IN THE IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS.

  • Jasmine  On December 6, 2019 at 9:47 am

    I cannot fathom how corporations (billionaires) owning politicians is considered legal and that such a law was passed in the first place. The Supreme Court is stacked with GOP Judges so it’s going to be very hard to get them to vote for impeachment nor will they vote to allow the Trump’s financials to be given to Congress or the Judicial Committee or whatever body is requesting it.

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 6, 2019 at 10:23 am

    Jasmine wrote: The Supreme Court is stacked with GOP Judges so it’s going to be very hard to get them to vote for impeachment ….. [they don’t have a say]

    Jasmine: There are no judges or judicial appeals to the impeachment process. It is fundamentally a legal process seated upon a political conclusion.

    In other words, the decision or an appeal will NOT be heard in the Supreme Court

    The Chief Justice sits in the Senate during the proceedings – and it is whatever the elected politicians, in the House or Senate, say it is. [No Court – No Vote]

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 6, 2019 at 11:51 am

    • Kman  On December 8, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      But since the Republicans control the senate, nothing will be done to this clown.

      And America wants to instill democracy in other countries, what a joke.
      America is only surviving because it prints its own money.

      Go back to the gold standard that Nixon abolished, and the world went along with, then good ole America would flop and WWW 3 will happen.

      America is a bully acting as a good guy. America has military bases all over the world, but there is not a single foreign military base on American soil. Think about
      it!

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 7, 2019 at 2:44 am

    What is the role of the chief justice?

    It is limited. The Senate has not adopted rules of evidence, but the rules give the chief justice the authority to decide on all evidentiary questions. He can also put the questions to the full Senate for a vote on admissibility.

    Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who presided over the Clinton impeachment, quoted from Gilbert and Sullivan in responding to a letter inquiring about his time as presiding officer:

    “I did nothing in particular, and I did it very well.”

  • wally n  On December 11, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    CHEW ON THIS GUYS GOOD BYE CHINA?
    Trump Shuts Down WTO Appeals Court, Sending EU, China Scrambling For ‘Plan B’
    xios certainly has the best intro to today’s bombshell development: “Internationalists have always dreamed of a court with jurisdiction over all the countries of the world. In 1995, the World Trade Organization was created — allowing the world’s countries to press claims against one another for the first time.”
    But it won’t survive the Trump presidency as on Tuesday his administration has effectively brought it to an end, neutering its ability to intervene in trade wars, having blocked all new appointments to its dispute-resolution court.

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