#COVID9Chronicles-294: January 26, 2021-Heading to the second Trump impeachment trial

The article of impeachment of Donald J. Trump was walked to the Senate by the House impeachment managers, yesterday evening:

It was delivered:

It was read:

It will not be presided over by the Chief Justice, as it involves a former president:

The trial will begin on February 8:

Many are concerned that as time passes, the natural pressure to see conviction will abate. it will be difficult to see where 17 Republicans will vote for that, fearing backlash as well as some concerns about the legitimacy of the process. But, in the minds of many politicians and the public, the question will always be that if the actions that can be laid at the feet of the former president do not amount to impeachable events, what does.

Each day, brings out more evidence of a larger conspiracy to overturn the legitimate election results, driven directly by Donald Trump, so his intent to subvert the democratic process is clear.

#COVID19Chronicles-287: January 19, 2021-Almost there; the final day of the Trump administration

Reports are that President Trump will leave the White House tomorrow, January 20, early in the morning, before the Inauguration, and have a farewell ‘ceremony’. He will not attend the Inauguration (and president-elect Biden rebutted that he was glad about that). He has recorded a farewell address, which will be released during the day:

It will be another demonstration of narcissism as he tries to upstage the new president and keep attention on himself, even though he could just go quietly. He’s refused to act like a graceful loser and may never utter the words of concession that almost all of his recent predecessors have. He will not have shown the simple grace and good manners extended to him and his wife by outgoing President Obama and his First Lady by welcoming them to the White House.

He displays many traits of toxic masculinity that feeds on the idea that displays of strength, rudeness, disrespect for others, especially those weaker and unable to defend themselves are what ‘make a man’. ‘Weakness’ in this optic captures all the things that represent empathy or a hint of caring for others.

He will go down as a sourpuss. He will go down as rude. He will go down as a hypocrite. He will go down as a terrible president. A man who openly said he finds losing hard will show that he actually doesn’t know how to lose. Yet, if you look you’ll see that he’s actually been a serial loser, with business failures far exceeding real business successes, and a list of grifting activities.

He’s a serial liar! It’s on record, so you can see, read and hear it for yourself.

He’s shown he’s a really bad judge of character, if only because so many of his choices are soon dismissed by him! The rate of turnover in his Administration is enough to make desserts for all for life. 🙂

He’ll probably rue the fact that he could have won the election handily had he grasped the ‘Hail Mary’ pass tossed to him by a pandemic, where he could have done all the things that make someone look like a leader. Instead, he fumbled it (extending the American football analogy), by denying it was a problem, recovered it when he was struck by the virus, and then ran it back the wrong way by readily discarding his mask and holding ‘super-spreader’ events at the White House to score for the opposition.

He got more votes in 2020 than he did in 2016 and far outstripped the total votes for any loser. He was more unpopular than any president in recent history, but still amassed 74 million votes out of about 150 million. He wasted the support he has, whether we like to acknowledge that his base is huge (to use one of his favourite terms). The presidential election was actually his to lose, and he lost it! He probably right to think he couldn’t lose, except for the Trojan Horse that was his own set of personal failings.

He will go down as a divider, not a uniter. He could lead, if it was the rabble.

In the end, he also divided the party he leads, resulting in the previously unthinkable of Georgia voting against him as president, and eventually voting in Democrats as Senators, and leaving the Senate tied, not with its previous Republican majority. He burnt down the barn!

For his departure, the Pentagon had already indicated it would not be giving the traditions Armed Forces Farewell tribute:

The White House announced that last weekend Vice President Mike Pence delivered “remarks to sailors on the Trump Administration’s historic foreign policy achievements at Naval Air Station Lemoore,” and then to the 10th Mountain Division, in Fort Drum, New York.

The First Lady gave a farewell speech, yesterday:

It was filled with platitudes that were at stark variance with what her husband had espoused for four years. In that sense, it’s par for the course: living in an alternative reality, where truth is what the White House want to make it.

For those who don’t understand these things, this is classic for autocracy.

Since, the election on November 3, 2020, the vast majority of Americans have believed that Joe Biden won:

Sadly, many Republicans didn’t and don’t and now does Donald Trump. He said he’d accept the results and at every deadline to do that, which confirmed him as the loser, he’s refused to accept the results.

Also, what we’ve seen played out with Trump and the presidential election in 2020/21 is exactly what he promised would play out in 2016/17, if he didn’t win. That much has been a consistent stand. The fact that he said in October 2020 that he was prepared to accept the result, so long as it was not “fake” seemed to miss people and a clear indication that he believed only his winning would not be fake. His true position had been stated back in July—that he won’t agree to accept 2020 election results because it’s “fake”:

The snake oil salesman has to make his sale and he’ll make his pitch, and if you buy the pitch and the products you’re likely to end up with a pig in a poke.

A BBC news reporter pointed out this morning that Trump got his wall, except it’s a series of barricades around Washington DC. That about sums it up.

Finally, to anyone who thought Trump was fit for office or doesn’t think he deserves to be impeached and convicted, I offer one simple observation. When the mob was laying siege to the Capitol, he was again handed the moment to show that he should be president. President-elect Joe Biden went on television and social media and demanded that Trump appear on national television to “fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege.” Instead of grasping that moment, he doubled down on rejecting it. He was essentially missing in action. The worst of it was that his Vice President and the leaders of Congress were on the verge of being attacked and maybe assassinated. However, you play that, here was a potential win-win to ‘save’ Congress, quell the riot, show the world that you are the one who can hold the nation together. Instead, a series of huffy tweets and an insincere call to quell activities. Again, that only makes sense if you see that Trump is only about himself.

At some future date, I hope Mike Pence explains what he thought and why he did not immediately resign, knowing that the president never checked on his or his family’s welfare (as they were also in the Capitol to witness the certification of votes). What we know, too, though, was at those crucial moments, the decision-making was done by the Vice President, not the President. When you keep dropping the ball, it’s best to just leave the field and go sit on the bench.

#COVID19Chronicles-284: January 16, 2021-The deeper plot behind the US insurrection?

More than a week on from the insurrectionist siege of the US Capitol (and I’m sure that the historical term has still not yet been set), we’ve learned a lot about the events of January 6, 2021 that are disturbing and suggest a deeper plot was in play and that the political divisions that were behind it are not going to subside quickly. This is just a sample of what has surfaced.

The timeline looked like this:

It shows that credible and disturbing evidence existed within official security circles to have forwarned of the violent events, but a serious lack of coordination of that stopped mobilization of personnel to at least suggest these were credible threats.

On the day, after others speakers (especially Rudy Guiliani and Don Trump Jr.) had done and while President Trump was making his remarks to the rally, the mobs were on their way at about 1pm. President Trump finished his remarks about 1.15pm, then spent some two hours berating his VP and complaining about the election being “stolen”.

At about 2:25 p.m. Trump tweeted criticism of Vice President Pence: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”

Around 4.15, Trump tweeted a video downplaying the events of the day, repeating false claims that the election was stolen and sympathizing with his followers, saying: “I know your pain, I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. … You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel, but go home, and go home in peace.”

This was while the mob was laying siege to the Capitol, not acting to put in place resources to quell it. His ‘calming’ tweet at 6pm is damning: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”

The policy vacuum and failure to anticipate the disruption are now part of the focus of various government agencies:

What also needs to be established, but for a different set of investigations–maybe, if/when the Senate looks at the impeachment charge–is what the president knew (from official briefing and other sources-phone and messaging logs) and how did he act ahead of, during and after the siege of the Capitol. Reports are that at the time he was watching it play out on TV–apparently pleased with what he saw. What he didn’t do was issue orders to quell it–in fact, refusing to approve National Guard responses. His actions were late and too little, and reports suggest that he was not in favour of doing the little he did with ‘softer’ tweets and scripted videos. He issued a denunciation only after being impeached.

As information emerges, there are clear signs that ‘inside’ help was involved, not least in knowing the layout of the complex Capitol building. The matter has led to an Inspector General review.

Wider spread disruptions happened on January 6 and are likely for the near-term. Already, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have warned about potential violent and armed protests in all 50 state capitals.

Arrests and charges are beginning to flow in as culprits are identified. More than 200 case files have been opened. According to the FBI, more than 100 arrests have been made in connection with the Capitol siege. The F.B.I. has received more than 100,000 tips, including photos and videos, and that number does not include tips that people have submitted by phone; the number of arrests is expected to “geometrically increase.” He noted that some defendants had been charged with misdemeanor crimes so they could be quickly arrested, but those people could be indicted on more significant charges, including sedition and conspiracy.

Planning for the presidential inauguration is now seeing a series of cancellations as the security threat widens; the rehearsal, due Friday, has been postponed till Monday, due to security concerns. President-elect Biden will not travel to Washington DC by Amtrak due to similar concerns.

DC has already gone into lockdown ahead of the presidential inauguration:

The National Guard has been deployed in large numbers (20,000+) to DC, with many camped out at the US Capitol:

This response reflects a serious under-estimation of the risks that were emerging last week.

Businesses nearby are also taking precautions and trying to do things that won’t feed the needs of potential troublemakers. For instance, AirBnB has cancelled all existing bookings and blocking any new bookings in metropolitan DC area for inauguration week.

Airlines have invoked ‘don’t fly’ rules for people seen and identified as participating in the insurrection.

Lawmakers are also openly expressing fears for their lives, including risks that may come from Congressional colleagues!

Those who have opposed President Trump in recent days have found themselves harrassed when trying to travel and some report death threats at their homes and offices. Add to that growing evidence that the insurrectionists included people whose intent was assassination.

Retired and current members of the military and police forces are being identified amongst the insurrectonists.

Political fall out for some who supported protests on January 6, continues to be heavy, especially for Senators Hawley and Cruz.

#COVID19Chronicles-271: January 4, 2021: He said what? Washington Post publishes recording of Trump pressing Georgia officials to overturn election

Washington Post has shared an hour long phone call of President Trump talking to Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, on Saturday, and pressing him to overturn the election results: “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.” It sounds like something that’s impeachable as an abuse of power and more. To his credit, Raffensperger held his ground and responded calmly and politely, rebutting the president, as did his State General Counsel, ending with the words “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true.” These two quotations may be the political citations of the century.

The media has few doubts about the serious legal and constitutional problems the president might have created for himself:

#COVID19Chronicles-255: December 19, 2020-New NIDS Bill Tabled in Parliament

Yesterday afternoon (December 15, 2020) the new National Identification System and Registration (NIDS) Bill was tabled in Parliament. The NIDS Bill …

New NIDS Bill Tabled in Parliament

#COVID19Chronicles-250: December 14, 2020-Electoral collage

For much of the past four years, I’ve tried to explain to people that Hillary Clinton did not lose the 2016 presidential election: she won the election (popular vote) by a sizeable margin (>2 million), but the important thing was the popular vote does never determines the winner in presidential elections: that’s the role of the Electoral College. She lost that vote by 304-227. (Trump won States covering 306 votes, but 2 of those were not cast for him, finally.)

I do not like the Electoral College system, which seems to up-end the basic democratic practices of a country, where the popular vote settles electoral contests, for the single purpose of deciding the presidency. If it’s so vital to that position, why not cascade the principle down throughout the whole electoral process?

A recent survey suggests most Americans don’t like it, either.

That dislike is important, because today, December 14, is when the Electoral College will vote to decide the 2020 presidential election.

This presidential election has been extraordinary, most notably because the incumbent petulantly disputes the outcome and plasters the public with lies about the outcome of claims of “massive” fraud for which no one can evidence. Court cases arguing to contest the results so far returned a dismal 1 win versus 59 lost suits.

But, this has not stopped attempts to subvert the outcome. As the vote approaches–first being done at 10am ET today, in Indiana, Vermont and Tennessee–we need to watch carefully. (Extraordinarily, the voting will be covered completely live by CNN!) Why? As the ultimate deadline approaches, we have been warned that some will resort to desperate measures. The first glimmers of that was at the weekend when a some ‘million MAGA’ rallies in support of Trump ended in violence, in Washington DC and Washington State.

Threats of violence have already surfaced regarding the electors, trying to simply do their constitutional duty:

Procedures will differ from the past, in part due to threats, but also reflecting issues created by the pandemic, meaning fewer people in larger areas, but also some absences because officials are in quarantine.

But, amidst all that, the day will also be highlighted by the roll out of the first COVID vaccines. Major delivery companies have divided the country: UPS will take the east and FedEx dealing with the west:

#COVID19Chronicles-245: December 9, 2020-Reaching a safe harbour in the election saga

In most presidential election years, many people don’t focus on the arcane details of how the president is elected. Many probably know that the Electoral College (EC) actually elects the president not the actual votes in each state. That fact was clear in 2016, when Hillary Clinton won by over 2 million actual votes but Donald Trump got the EC majority.

Few note the steps to the EC decision—on December 14 this year. An important one is ‘Safe Harbour Day’, December 8, when States must conclude their official certification.

To that effect, one can see each State’s actual certification online:

Supreme Court ruled a harsh one-sentence dismissal to yet another attempt to overturn election results in favor of President Trump, this time concerning Pennsylvania: “The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice [Samuel] Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied,” said the court’s one-sentence order, which did not suggest any dissent among the nine justices.

This should put an end to any realistic legal challenges to the votes. Maybe, now, congressional Republicans can acknowledge reality.

But, it’s been a strange period during a strange year.

#COVID19Chronicles-244: December 8, 2020-PNP on the dilemma of a Horne 🤔😳 as Bunting is hung prematurely

Newly elected PNP President Mark Golding wanted to hoist the flags for his friend and former business partner and losing former MP Peter Bunting. He nominated him to the Senate to take what he assumed was a vacant seat. You see, former party treasurer Norman Horne had been nominated to the Senate by then-leader Peter Phillips and had said in October that he’d offer to resign when a new leader was elected. What a great gesture! You see, senators are nominated for a term, not at the whim of changing leadership. We’ve had a court case about pre-signed senate resignation letters involving the current PM.

However, Golding is now faced with the dilemma created by Norman Horne, who less graciously had not offered his resignation, and is now duly nominated to the Senate, with all the official writs. Yikes!

Why?

Well, money is the root of all evil, it’s said. It’s a J$10 million question.

Horne was sticking to a claim for substantial payments owed to him by the party. But was it a quid pro quo? (Get it?) Norman said no:

Whatever the truth, Norman can’t be forced to resign. He can blow his horn and no one can stop him.

Until he does, no Bunting will be flown. So, PNP will flag again as it trips itself up with another misstep.

The matter is in Horne’s hands, or on his head (Got that one?) and he said he’ll decide in coming days.

This is not Horne’s first rodeo: he’d been a JLP senator before and resigned. In fact, Horne is a serial flip-flopper, having been a PNP MP, then switching allegiance to JLP in 2002, but lost the seat. He was appointed to the Senate by Edward Seaga, but left the JLP in 2005 for PNP when it seemed Bruce Golding would be the next JLP leader. Horne had been on the campaign team for Pearnel Charles, who had withdrawn from the contest. Horne became an Independent before rejoining PNP. Phew! That’s a political chameleon.

So, roll out the Constitutional ‘scholars’:

PNP are a seat light in the Senate, with JLP having a 14-7 margin. This could be awkward as it means a 2/3 majority exists—as needed to make Constitutional changes.

This all reflects badly on due diligence PNP-style. Not a new thing, but…

What also reflects badly is that it appears unknown whether Horne is a dual citizen, especially a US citizen. This could disqualify him automatically. No wonder he’s refusing to say 🤔 To a simpleton, like me, I don’t see why the party can’t confirm that, unless…they…never checked. Where have we had this story before? Remember the candidacy of Shane Alexis and his being not being a Jamaican citizen, but a Canadian (and Commonwealth citizens can vote and hold seats in Parliament, but the optics of his not seeing the need to be a Jamaican citizen didn’t play well)?

But, if he’s automatically disqualified that’d say much about his lack of integrity in not refusing the Senate offer in the first place.

Why doesn’t another senator resign? It’s clear that they didn’t have the same magnanimous view as Horne back in November and see no reason to be so now.

#COVID19Chronicles-241-December 5, 2020-Last one turn off the lights-‘Trump’ legal challenges going up in smoke

I wrote ‘Trump’ because some of the cases now being heard are filed by people dismissed from the official team of lawyers for President Trump, such as the rabid Sidney Powell, whose conspiracy theories are too whacky even for Rudy Guiliani. But, they are filed in the hope of overturning voting results in favour of POTUS 45.

Whether you take opinions from US media, such as Politico:

Or if they come from elsewhere, such as the UK’s Guardian:

The conclusions are the same: Trumpian legal attempts to overturn elections results have literally courted disaster.

Add to that, yesterday’s defeat over DACA:

Add recent news about the 2020 Census, which would sully the county and any attempt to rejig electoral districts:

Lawyers have fled with their feet much earlier in the affair, and presumably have some dignity in tact. However, many ask why Giuliani has not yet been disbarred. It’s been a shoddy show and the saving grace has been that many of the adverse judgements have come from conservative judges and most notably those appointed at the federal level by President Trump.

If this were a sporting outfit, with results like 2 wins and 40 odd losses, it would be certain relegation to lower divisions in some leagues and for sure the head of the ‘manager’ would be rolling in the gutter, by now.

To obvious questions like ‘Do these people have no shame, no sense of integrity?’ the answer is clearly ‘Not a drop!’ 😦 Did we read that Giuliani is pocketing US$20,000 a day? Talk about money for old (t)rope!

Thank you and good night!

#COVID19Chronicles-238: December 2, 2020-Arizona’s Governor ‘drops the deuce’ on POTUS

In urban slang, drop the deuce’ means going for ‘No. 2’. The ‘deuce’ may mean lots of other things, too, including, just playing cards with 2 images, eg the 2 of Spades, so could also refer to games of chance and gambling. However, I like the urban slang meaning for what took place, yesterday.

Arizona Governor, Doug Ducey was certifying his State’s election results on Monday evening, in front of TV cameras. He explained that as a result of the close support he’d gotten from President Trump and Vice President Pence for his State’s needs, he’d changed his phone ring tone to ‘Hail to the Chief’, so that he’d not miss any direct calls from The White House. Almost, on cue, his phone rang with that tone. But, he took it out of his jacket pocket and turned it over, to ignore the call. That seemed like a real deuce dropped from a great height onto the head of POTUS.

Trump was trying to get him to reconsider his timely certification of his State’s result, which would give former Vice President Biden 11 Electoral College votes and a Democrat win in a presidential election vote in Arizona for the first time in over 20 years. He was also inserting himself again into State voting processes.

But, the Governor bit back hard:

POTUS was upset at certification:

Governor Ducey was having none of it. His long defence of voting procedures was made in 9 succinct tweets:

In-fighting is now brewing amongst Republicans in Arizona, as it has done in Georgia, as Trump forces his party to start feeding on itself, which is the logical conclusion of all the disinformation spread about the integrity of the vote.