Joe Biden

Should Trump be indicted?

A fundamental norm of a democratic state governed by law is that the authors of serious crimes must be prosecuted and sent to prison if found guilty. This rule should apply no matter who they are.

Both President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland have solemnly stated (Garland under oath) that they would not let political considerations influence Department of Justice decisions on whether or not to prosecute individuals.

Both Biden and Garland have violated these promises, in a most egregious and blatant manner, by refusing to prosecute Donald Trump and his co-conspirators.

There appears to be an iron-clad agreement between President Biden, Attorney General Garland, and Democrats in Congress, not to raise this issue, that is, not to even talk about it.

What, indeed, might be the arguments against prosecuting Trump and his Republican co-conspirators?

As there has been virtually no public discussion of the reasons that have led the Democrats to refrain from indicting Trump and his co-conspirators for their apparent crimes, the disadvantages of this course of action have not been articulated or discussed seriously in the media.

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Biden’s disastrous decision to withdraw all troops from Afghanistam–with links to best opinion pieces

The decision to surrender to the Taliban and abandon our Afghan allies and supporters is among the most craven and dastardly decisions in U.S. military and foreign policy history. One searches in history for a decision of such dishonorable magnitude.

The comparison that comes to mind is the agreement by Neville Chamberlain of England and Ėdouard Daladier of France with Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgaden in Bavaria in October, 1938. The agreement, known as the Munich Pact, has become synonymous with betrayal and appeasement

That will be Joe Biden’s legacy, unless he changes course, which seems unlikely.


Afghanistan: Biden’s Achilles Heel

More fundamentally, his failure to replace Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad as head of the peace negotiations reveals he is inclined to continue Donald Trump’s “cut and run” policy, embodied in the February 29, 2020 surrender and withdrawal agreement in Doha, Qatar with the Taliban.

The Agreement does not provide even the slightest fig leaf to conceal the abject nature of the surrender to the Taliban.

By proceeding with the May 1, 2021 withdrawal date established in the Doha Agreement, or even postponing it by months, Biden would fail to recognize that the Taliban have not seriously engaged in “intra-Afghan” negotiations aimed at a peace settlement, and establishing a viable cease-fire, as called for in the Doha Agreement.

Biden is the prisoner of his 2009 thinking. He doesn’t recognize that conditions have changed. He doesn’t recognize that the current U.S. force posture and mission is essentially what he was arguing for in Barack Obama’s 2009 Afghanistan policy review.

If Biden continues on Trump’s “cut and run” course, he will be responsible for Afghanistan becoming another Iran, with the people–including those we have nurtured as advocates of democracy and the rule of law for the last 20 years–living under the harsh dictatorial rule of Islamic religious extremists, as in Iran.

Moreover, surrender in Afghanistan is not likely to enhance his negotiating position with Iran.

Biden must replace Khalilzad immediately, and conduct a fresh and new review of U.S. military and policy options in the region. He should listen to his democratic allies and, above all, to the people of Afghanistan as represented by their elected leaders.

He needs to develop a policy based on the facts on the ground today, and set aside the idea that the U.S. goal should be just to get out of Afghanistan.


China and Russia form common front against the West

One such mistake has been to grant unscripted interviews on television. In his interview with George Stephanoupoulis, on ABC-TV, Stephanapoulis asked him if he thought Vladimir Putin was “a killer”. Biden, unaccompanied by his handlers and off-script, naively answered, “Yes.”

The answer enraged Putin, who at a press conference, said,

“What would I answer him? I would tell him: be healthy,” Putin said. “I wish him good health. I say this without irony, no jokes. This is first of all.”
CNN

So, Biden’s first big mistakes vis-à-vis Russia and China were to publicly call Putin a “killer” and to adopt a confrontational attitude at the first bi-lateral meeting between foreign ministers with China.

In both cases, Buden and Blinken were playing primarily to their domestic audience. The point is not that Biden and Blinken should not have spelled out in detail their criticisms of China. The point is this was the wrong time and the wrong place.

The common front against the West should come as no surprise. Its timing has at least symbolic significance.


Khashoggi assassination: To really sanction MBS, minimize U.S. and allied dealings with him

Now, the U.S. can send a subte message to King Salman and the Saudi Royal family by having minimal contact and interaction with the Crown Prince.

The Saudis can choose whoever they want to be King.  But they should know that Americans will never forget or forgive the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi.

If the Saudis enthrone MBS they are likely to have one kind of relationship with the United States. 8ut if they choose someone else to be King, they could have another kind of relationship.


SECRET BALLOT: Potential Democratic maneuvers to secure a secret vote in Impeachment Trial

The Senate Democrats have the power to establish by a vote of 50+1 that the vote on whether or not Donald Trump is guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors” shall be taken BY SECRET BALLOT.

But Article I of the Constitution provides that 1/5 of the members present can require a recorded vote. So even a Democratic-imposed secret ballot might not really provide a secret vote.

No one said any of this simple. Nonetheless, Democratic Senators need to figure these details out, and use them to their full advantage.

Democratic Senators need to overcome their fear of Trump and his supporters, and USE THEIR RAW POWER TO ENSURE A SECRET BALLOT on the vote to convict or acquit Trump.

A SECRET BALLOT could give Republican Senators an opportunity to rid their party of Trump, to redeem their party from its current position of being THE PARTY THAT IS THE ENEMY OF DEMOCRACY, and to start rebuilding a Republican Party based on principles of democracy and the rule of law.


The Democratic base must push back on impeachment trial against weak-kneed Democratic Senators

The Democrats in Congress now propose to hold a quick trial in the Senate which will neither convict ex-President Trump nor educate the American people as to the nature of his crimes, and his attempted coup d’état.

What will future authoritarian leaders learn from the Senate trial, and the zeal with which the Democrats prosecute the case against Trump?

The Republicans’ greatest weapon over the years has been the stpidity and cowardice of their Democratic opponents, who never seem to lose an opportunity to seize defeat from the jaws of victory.

Any Democrat who supports a motion of censure against Trump to hold him to account for his attempted coup, and the numerous crimes that it involved, should never be re-nominated or re-elected to legislative office.

Real Democrats need to stand up and call out the stupidity and cowardice of Democratic colleagues who support censure or a quickie trial that fails to present the evidence, educate the American people, and burst Trump’s propaganda bubble for what it is: Appeasement of the fascists* in our midst.



Unity with fascists? NEVER!

Should Democrats compromise their core values in order to achieve compromises and “bipartisanship” with Senate and House members of the fascist* Republican Party?
The fundamental division in American politics today is not between Conservatives and Liberals, or even between all Republicans and Democrats.

It is between Insurrectionists and Constitutionalists, between those who believe in democracy, the Constitution, and the rule of law, on the one hand, and those who support fascist ideas and fascist leaders, on the other.
We should never forget, not even for a moment, the true nature of the fascist threat we face, the true nature of the current fascist Republican Party, and the true nature of the fascist Senators and Representatives who have participated in Trump’s crimes, including his attempted coup, and who acting in bad faith refuse to hold him to account.



Three immediate steps to stop threats of assassination and other acts of political terror

We have witnessed in the last few months numerous acts of political terror, from threats to harm election officials, legislators and their families to the…


Contingency planning for military-style commando action to arrest Trump–Part One

Preliminary Draft–sources being checked See, 1) Peggy Noonan, “Liz Cheney Shows What Leadership Looks Like; The sooner Republicans demystify Donald Trump, the better for them…