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Skoo

Are we already living in a dictatorship?

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25 minutes ago, jm192 said:

There are several levels of "worse" beyond what Trump did. 

Good point. And if Trump gets re-elected I suspect we'll discover at least three or four of those levels.

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1 minute ago, zftcg said:

Good point. And if Trump gets re-elected I suspect we'll discover at least three or four of those levels.

I guess you'll see next year.  *shrugs*

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I don't believe we're living in a dictatorship. I think Trumps very much the style of candidate who COULD push down the path of dictatorship.  I do think though that the ability to implement a dictatorship has been made easier in this country  by:

A) A lack of proportional represenation in the House.

B) The 17th Amendment and the removal of a filtration level in regards to U.S. Senators

C) The increase in Executive Power over the past number of years.

 

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30 minutes ago, jm192 said:

We're getting too far away from the Constitution!  So let's change something in the constitution!

I don't think anyone argued that we are too far from the Constitution. 

however, I have two points:

  1. dictatorships often have constitutions. A constitution doesn't prevent a de-facto dictatorship.  NKorea has one, as does Russia.  They also have extreme loyalty to the party, and especially the head of the party.  Note: I am definitely not saying we are the same as Russia or NKorea - lets just nip that strawman right in the bud.
  2. Our constitution seems to have a flaw in that it was written under the assumption that there would be multiple political parties (or, no parties, I guess) - having only two viable choices seems to have thrown a lot of the checks and balances for a loop.  It hasn't manifested in the prior 200 years because no one had the balls to exploit the weakness, but it's there none the less. 
Edited by moleculo
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not even close but, in a phrase i have used many times on this board, we are indeed rehearsing tyranny. whether fascists v communists 2.0 escalates far enough to achieve same depends on when & how the guns come out, which could happen as soon as 1/20/21

Edited by wikkidpissah
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10 minutes ago, jm192 said:

We're getting too far away from the Constitution!  So let's change something in the constitution!

Considering that the bastardized electoral college functions nothing like the deliberative body envisioned by the framers, yeah let's go ahead and change it to something that doesn't negate the vote of about half of American voters.  

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44 minutes ago, Max Power said:

I'm more saying that if 2/3 of population make it known to their senators that they support removal, I'd hope the Senate would strongly consider that when voting.  

2/3 of the population wanted witnesses and we saw how they voted on that.

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Yes, we are definitely living in a dicktatorship. 

Both sides - buncha greedy #####.

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no not a dictatorship.

no not a democracy.

we are encouraged to believe in what appears to be a democracy like children are with santa claus, and it is apparently working very well.

if push comes to shove (unlikely, but becoming ever more so), this will become somewhat more obvious to those paying attention.

power is held in many places, mainly centered around money/greed.

unorganized, unmotivated individuals (like myself) have very little power.

i have no links.

i have eyes and ears and an awareness that's been processing what i see and hear for a good while now.

my two cents.  i know i sound paranoid/ crazy.

oh well.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, moleculo said:

Our constitution seems to have a flaw in that it was written under the assumption that there would be multiple political parties - having only two viable choices seems to have thrown a lot of the checks and balances for a loop.  It hasn't manifested in the prior 200 years because no one had the balls to exploit the weakness, but it's there none the less. 

Actually, it was written under the assumption that there would be no political parties, only shifting factions. Which is kind of the same thing as multiple parties, I guess.

But yes, you're absolutely right that the Founders had a huge blind spot about how the system they created would be warped by a two-party system. I used to think our system wasn't particularly to blame, and the only difference between a two-party and multi-party system was that one formed coalitions before elections, the other afterward. But the past few years have forced me to reconsider.

First, compare our 2016 election to France's in 2017. Republican voters/officeholders who hated Trump nonetheless felt compelled to support him, whether due to judges or hatred of Hillary or whatever. Meanwhile, in France, the other right-wing parties felt no similar obligation to support Le Pen, since they had no institutional relationship to her. (It also didn't hurt that her opponent ran as a technocratic centrist representing a newly formed party, rather than the traditional opposition they had spent their whole lives fighting against.)

Impeachment is another example: Whether you want to attribute Republican Senators unwillingness to break with Trump to cowardice or desire to reflect their party's base or genuine belief, the fact remains that there were huge structural incentives for them to vote for acquittal (and for Dems to vote to convict). We are rapidly reaching the point where the individual elected as representative or senator is irrelevant; the only thing that matters is the letter after their name. And our structures are not set up to handle that new reality.

As to the question in the OP, I would say not yet, but there are some worrying signs as a result of the pressures I described above together with a president who has zero reverence for our constitutional system and will always choose his own selfish interests over protecting democratic norms. The danger won't end if he's defeated this fall, but it will absolutely accelerate if he wins a second term.

 

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2 hours ago, toshiba said:

Maybe I am wrong on this, like I was in 2016 about Republicans being a stop to Trump's deplorable actions, but I really think Trump loses some of his base if he tries to do this.  Granted not all, which is a scary proposition, but enough where he wouldn't have much power.

I doubt it.

We would have said the same thing 4 years ago about how the GOP would have reacted to Trump firing the AG for not being loyal enough to him and replacing him with someone that would do his bidding.  We would have said the same about how the GOP would have reacted to him openly using the office to solicit election aid from a foreign government.

That's the problem with this scope creep.  Every year something a little bit worse goes by without any real repurcussions and suddenly the next thing, that would have seemed like a huge deal several years ago, is only a little bit worse than the last thing and close enough that it can be blown off.

5 years ago there would have been no doubt in my mind that GOP base would never support a president trying to exceed the two term limit.  Now there is little doubt left that if Trump came up with some flimsly excuse or technicality to make it possible that they would support it full stop.

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The President was impeached and not a single defense witness was allowed to testify. Not one.

the “news” networks virtually all controlled by special interests

truth is derided as “conspiracy theory” and conspiracy theories are peddled as news

real whistleblowers like Julian Assange are silenced and jailed.  
 

people are banned from social media if they post information outside of the accepted narrative.  The government continues to pressure FB and TWTR to abridge free speech,

John Brennan and James Clapper and Comey lie repeatedly to Congress and are hailed as heroes, while a guy who screws up a date gets indicted.

i could go on and on

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1 minute ago, Sam Quentin said:

The President was impeached and not a single defense witness was allowed to testify. Not one.

You should raise your complaint with McConnell and the rest of the Senate for not allowing witnesses at the trial.  

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6 minutes ago, Sam Quentin said:

The President was impeached and not a single defense witness was allowed to testify. Not one.

the “news” networks virtually all controlled by special interests

truth is derided as “conspiracy theory” and conspiracy theories are peddled as news

real whistleblowers like Julian Assange are silenced and jailed.  
 

people are banned from social media if they post information outside of the accepted narrative.  The government continues to pressure FB and TWTR to abridge free speech,

John Brennan and James Clapper and Comey lie repeatedly to Congress and are hailed as heroes, while a guy who screws up a date gets indicted.

i could go on and on

Physician, heal thyself!

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17 minutes ago, song said:

no not a dictatorship.

no not a democracy.

we are encouraged to believe in what appears to be a democracy like children are with santa claus, and it is apparently working very well.

if push comes to shove (unlikely, but becoming ever more so), this will become somewhat more obvious to those paying attention.

power is held in many places, mainly centered around money/greed.

unorganized, unmotivated individuals (like myself) have very little power.

i have no links.

i have eyes and ears and an awareness that's been processing what i see and hear for a good while now.

my two cents.  i know i sound paranoid/ crazy.

oh well.

 

 

I don't think you sound crazy, because I'm pretty much in the same boat you are.

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1 minute ago, parrot said:

You should raise your complaint with McConnell and the rest of the Senate for not allowing witnesses at the trial.  

It was the Democrats that refused to “trade”

it was already 18-0.  I don’t see how 19-0

would have been more fair...19-1 and you are getting closer.

If the Ds wanted Bolton to testify, they should have adjudicated executive privilege months ago. They did not.

i fail to see how their hearsay case would have been enhanced anyway. Ukraine was blissfully unaware of any internal discussions anyway.  It’s a sad excuse for botching the ultimate remedy permanently.

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6 minutes ago, Sam Quentin said:

The President was impeached and not a single defense witness was allowed to testify. Not one.

There are no “defense witnesses” in an inquiry because there is no defense. There are also no “prosecution witnesses” because there is no prosecution. It’s an inquiry. The witnesses say what they’ve seen and heard whether it ends up benefitting one point of view or the other.

The prosecution and defense happen in the trial, not in the inquiry. It is true that no defense witnesses were called during the trial. I suggest voting against Republicans in 2020 if you are displeased about that.

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1 minute ago, Sam Quentin said:

It was the Democrats that refused to “trade”

it was already 18-0.  I don’t see how 19-0

would have been more fair...19-1 and you are getting closer.

If the Ds wanted Bolton to testify, they should have adjudicated executive privilege months ago. They did not.

i fail to see how their hearsay case would have been enhanced anyway. Ukraine was blissfully unaware of any internal discussions anyway.  It’s a sad excuse for botching the ultimate remedy permanently.

Trade what?  For witnesses irrelevant to the case?
There wasn't a single relevant witness  refused in the house.

 

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1 minute ago, Sam Quentin said:

It was the Democrats that refused to “trade”

it was already 18-0.  I don’t see how 19-0

would have been more fair...19-1 and you are getting closer.

If the Ds wanted Bolton to testify, they should have adjudicated executive privilege months ago. They did not.

i fail to see how their hearsay case would have been enhanced anyway. Ukraine was blissfully unaware of any internal discussions anyway.  It’s a sad excuse for botching the ultimate remedy permanently.

Why should there be a "trade"?  Let the prosecutions call their relevant witnesses and let the defense call their relevant witnesses and see how it shakes out.  That's how it would work if you or I were on trial.  

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Not a dictatorship, but the closest we’ve been to one. This administration has shown a pretty clear roadmap on how to get there.  I have no doubt Trump wants to be one

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13 minutes ago, Maurile Tremblay said:

There are no “defense witnesses” in an inquiry because there is no defense. There are also no “prosecution witnesses” because there is no prosecution. It’s an inquiry. The witnesses say what they’ve seen and heard whether it ends up benefitting one point of view or the other.

The prosecution and defense happen in the trial, not in the inquiry. It is true that no defense witnesses were called during the trial. I suggest voting against Republicans in 2020 if you are displeased about that.

So they ran an inquiry that wasn’t very inquisitive and failed to get a full picture. That makes it worse.

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1 minute ago, Dickies said:

Not a dictatorship, but the closest we’ve been to one. This administration has shown a pretty clear roadmap on how to get there.  I have no doubt Trump wants to be one

This. Trump is definitely an authoritarian with no respect for checks and balances or separation of powers.  How long voters and other politicians are going to continue to support his impulses is going to tell the tale.  Unfortunately, being anti-brown people, anti-abortion, pro-gun, and pro trickle-down is probably about all it's going to take.  

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11 minutes ago, parrot said:

Why should there be a "trade"?  Let the prosecutions call their relevant witnesses and let the defense call their relevant witnesses and see how it shakes out.  That's how it would work if you or I were on trial.  

Nobody could agree on that. The defense wanted to call Hunter Biden and because the Democrats didn’t want that, witnesses were off the table.

we had already heard the testimony of 17 witnesses, while Schiff is still hiding the testimony of an 18th witness.

Edited by Sam Quentin

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Just now, Sam Quentin said:

So they ran an inquiry that wasn’t very inquisitive and failed to get a full picture. That makes it worse.

What percipient witnesses should “the defense” have offered?  I’m sure any testimony by Rudy, Mulvaney, Trump, Parnas, Bolton, or Cippolone would have been welcomed. 

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1 minute ago, Sam Quentin said:

Nobody could agree on that. The defense wanted to call Hunter Biden and because the Democrats didn’t want that, witnesses were off the table.

The defense did not want to call Hunter Biden. This is evident from the fact that the defense did not call Hunter Biden. If they wanted to, nothing was stopping them.

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Just now, Sam Quentin said:

Nobody could agree on that. The defense wanted to call Hunter Biden and because the Democrats didn’t want that, witnesses were off the table.

All that it would have taken for witnesses to be on the table was for the majority Senate Republicans to say witnesses were on the table.  They made the rules.  No one else had to "agree" to anything.  

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Just now, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

What percipient witnesses should “the defense” have offered?  I’m sure any testimony by Rudy, Mulvaney, Trump, Parnas, Bolton, or Cippolone would have been welcomed. 

We could start with the Bidens, Zelensky and Shokin and go from there...

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1 minute ago, Sam Quentin said:

Nobody could agree on that. The defense wanted to call Hunter Biden and because the Democrats didn’t want that, witnesses were off the table.

we had already heard the testimony of 17 witnesses, while Schiff is still hiding the testimony of an 18th witness.

What did Hunter Biden know about the President’s decision to withhold aid or the Administration’s representations to Ukraine?

Even assuming that Trump was properly motivated by a genuine concern about possible wrongdoing by Hunter Biden, what would Biden possibly know about what information motivated the President’s decision-making?

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4 minutes ago, Sam Quentin said:

Nobody could agree on that. The defense wanted to call Hunter Biden and because the Democrats didn’t want that, witnesses were off the table.

we had already heard the testimony of 17 witnesses, while Schiff is still hiding the testimony of an 18th witness.

Hunter Biden wasn’t relevant at all.  There is no argument in which he would be.  
But...it would have been up to the Senate to call witnesses...they chose not to.  What could democrats have done to have stopped Biden from being called?

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1 minute ago, Sam Quentin said:

We could start with the Bidens, Zelensky and Shokin and go from there...

I don't think Zelensky would have wanted to interject himself into American political matters, and the other two would have no knowledge of the impeachment charges.

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3 hours ago, toshiba said:

Maybe I am wrong on this, like I was in 2016 about Republicans being a stop to Trump's deplorable actions, but I really think Trump loses some of his base if he tries to do this.  Granted not all, which is a scary proposition, but enough where he wouldn't have much power.

https://www.khou.com/article/sports/mlb/mlb-to-look-into-umpire-tweet-referencing-ar-15-trump-critics/285-cad1aff9-9b7a-441f-836f-724214832e53

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1. Don't listen to a millionaire professional sensationalist establishment talking head for political opinion.

2. No.

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1 minute ago, Dickies said:

I don't think Zelensky would have wanted to interject himself into American political matters, and the other two would have no knowledge of the impeachment charges.

It’s even more evident than with Biden that the defense had no interest in calling Zelensky. They were allowed to admit public domain sources into evidence. Which means they had the “no pressure” statement already in evidence. 

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4 minutes ago, sho nuff said:

Hunter Biden wasn’t relevant at all.  There is no argument in which he would be.  
But...it would have been up to the Senate to call witnesses...they chose not to.  What could democrats have done to have stopped Biden from being called?

Saying Biden wasn’t relevant is a cop out.  Of course he’s relevant.  He is at the center of the alleged corruption that Trump wanted to get the truth about.

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Just now, Sam Quentin said:

Saying Biden wasn’t relevant is a cop out.  Of course he’s relevant.  He is at the center of the alleged corruption that Trump wanted to get the truth about.

No...its the truth.  The articles of impeachment and the claims made...Hunter Biden gas no knowledge of Trumps actions of withholding aid/abuse of power or obstruction.

Biden's innocence or guilt does not legally justify Trump’s actions

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2 minutes ago, Sam Quentin said:

Saying Biden wasn’t relevant is a cop out.  Of course he’s relevant.  He is at the center of the alleged corruption that Trump wanted to get the truth about.

The Hunter Biden investigation is likely to be dropped without a second thought as soon as Sleepy Joe is eliminated from consideration for the Dem nomination. If that happens, we'll know that a whole bunch of Trump supporters just had a big rug pulled out from under them.

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1 hour ago, Thunderlips said:

I don't believe we're living in a dictatorship. I think Trumps very much the style of candidate who COULD push down the path of dictatorship.  I do think though that the ability to implement a dictatorship has been made easier in this country  by:

A) A lack of proportional represenation in the House.

B) The 17th Amendment and the removal of a filtration level in regards to U.S. Senators

C) The increase in Executive Power over the past number of years.

 

Term limits and Citizens United.  The only fixes we need.

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13 minutes ago, Sam Quentin said:

Saying Biden wasn’t relevant is a cop out.  Of course he’s relevant.  He is at the center of the alleged corruption that Trump wanted to get the truth about.

Why didn't the Republican Senators in charge of the Impeachment call him?

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54 minutes ago, FreeBaGeL said:

That's the problem with this scope creep.  Every year something a little bit worse goes by without any real repurcussions and suddenly the next thing, that would have seemed like a huge deal several years ago, is only a little bit worse than the last thing and close enough that it can be blown off.

Reminds me when Lamar Alexander said it was wrong for Trump to ask Zelensky to investigate Biden, and he should have asked Barr to do it instead. A few years ago, asking the AG to investigate your political opponent would have been considered a huge norm violation. Now it's the "moderate" position.

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8 minutes ago, sho nuff said:

No...its the truth.  The articles of impeachment and the claims made...Hunter Biden gas no knowledge of Trumps actions of withholding aid/abuse of power or obstruction.

Biden's innocence or guilt does not legally justify Trump’s actions

It absolutely does

we can’t have the President looking the other way on a clear corruption case and financial influence on US foreign policy.  We can’t have a message being sent to an ally that the current administration will be complicit in the corruption of past administrations and their abuse of said ally.

Legally, a President can investigate anything he wants.  Ethically, he should have a solid pretense.  He certainly did here. I can’t say the same for Schiff investigating Trump.

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I think we're closer to becoming a plutocracy than we are a dictatorship. Right now, Trump's the vehicle, not the driver. If he wasn't in line with what works for the people who own most of the wealth in this country (along with the mega rich in a few select foreign countries), he'd be out. But he is a plutocrat himself, with an appeal to a large enough segment of the population to endorse him unquestioningly, so he's a useful tool. If he were sharper, he could leverage that into a dictatorship, but he's not, so that's not really happening.

It's the same imperial presidency game the neo-con leadership has been playing for a while now - they consolidate power, control the strings, the figurehead in front is useful for 8 years, then discarded (see W.).

The effect for the rest of us though is roughly the same. The people have less and less power and influence the more those with wealth are allowed to play their game unfettered. We aren't citizens any more, just sources of revenue for those at the top.

Sanders gets it, Warren gets it, Yang gets it - but outside of them I don't see any candidates left who are really focused on trying to correct this. Vote accordingly.

Edited by Gr00vus
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2 hours ago, moleculo said:

removal has never happened.  This case was as strong as any presidential impeachment case ever tried, and came up far short of 2/3. 

Within the confines of a 2 party system, and acknowledging the fealty of senators towards the party,  removal by means of impeachment is not possible.

This is 100% fair and correct. 

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Remember how it seemed so strange that Trump fully embraced Dictators like Putin, Xi, and Kim, while constantly trashing our own democratic allies?

 

Doesn't seem so strange anymore.

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Just now, Skoo said:

Remember how it seemed so strange that Trump fully embraced Dictators like Putin, Xi, and Kim, while constantly trashing our own democratic allies?

 

Doesn't seem so strange anymore.

It didn't seem strange, it was totally predictable. Trump's personality failings have been on display for a while, it wasn't hard to see he pines to be one of those guys, even though he doesn't have the cognitive or emotional fortitude to pull it off (which makes his pining all the more pathetic to see).

It's depressing that his brazen desire to play strong man has such a wide appeal in this country though. That was a somewhat shocking revelation.

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25 minutes ago, Sam Quentin said:

It absolutely does

we can’t have the President looking the other way on a clear corruption case and financial influence on US foreign policy.  We can’t have a message being sent to an ally that the current administration will be complicit in the corruption of past administrations and their abuse of said ally.

Legally, a President can investigate anything he wants.  Ethically, he should have a solid pretense.  He certainly did here. I can’t say the same for Schiff investigating Trump.

It wasn't a clear corruption case though...there is zero probable cause about it...which is why there has been no legitimate investigation done.  It was a conspiracy theory of Trump's along with Crowdstrike which he brought up.  It was a joke.

He withheld congressionally approved aid (which the GAO found to be illegal) to try and get a country to investigate his rival without probable cause.  He never mentioned corruption...you know, actual corruption.  Ukraine had already been approved to have the aid released by congress.

His actions...no matter what Biden had done...were an abuse of power and beyond the scope of his duties...that was the crux of the matter.  What would Biden testify to?  He wouldn't be obligated to answer anything that would incriminate him if he was, indeed, corrupt.  As he was not on trial.

Schiff had probable cause to investigate Trump.  Based on the WB complaint that an IG stated was credible.

 

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2 hours ago, jm192 said:

This.  The founders wanted Removal to happen for something egregious and unquestionably removable.  Selling military secrets to China/Russia, for example. 

People rush to assert "If this isn't impeachable, then nothing is."  That would imply that there is NOTHING worse that Trump or any other President could ever do.  And that's ludicrous.  There are several levels of "worse" beyond what Trump did. 

The founding fathers were concerned with abuses of power that called into question the integrity of the government.  That corrupted the rule of law.  That went against the constitution.   The Virginia plan that was adopted.

This offense unquestionably was egregious in that subverted the enumerated powers in the constitution.   It brought into question whether the role of government is to serve "we the people" or the personal interest of the individual president at the expense of "we the people".  And the rule of law was certainly thrown out the window.   It certainly qualifies by all these standards.  And hardly anyone, including the GOP senators that voted against witnesses because they would just reconfirm that he did it and we already knew that.  So this case wasn't ambiguous, there were no reasonable question.  It warranted removal.

No one however is arguing that there are no levels worse than this.   In fact I'd doubt that you will find very many pro removal folks that believe that this is anywhere near the worse that Trump has done.   This was just the slam dunk!  Except for the goaltending that is.   

Edited by Bottomfeeder Sports
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5 minutes ago, sho nuff said:

It wasn't a clear corruption case though...there is zero probable cause about it...which is why there has been no legitimate investigation done.  It was a conspiracy theory of Trump's along with Crowdstrike which he brought up.  It was a joke.

He withheld congressionally approved aid (which the GAO found to be illegal) to try and get a country to investigate his rival without probable cause.  He never mentioned corruption...you know, actual corruption.  Ukraine had already been approved to have the aid released by congress.

His actions...no matter what Biden had done...were an abuse of power and beyond the scope of his duties...that was the crux of the matter.  What would Biden testify to?  He wouldn't be obligated to answer anything that would incriminate him if he was, indeed, corrupt.  As he was not on trial.

Schiff had probable cause to investigate Trump.  Based on the WB complaint that an IG stated was credible.

 

Save your breath. 

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2 hours ago, Alex P Keaton said:

Strongly disagree.  All citizens should have an equal vote.  Today they don’t.  

no

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25 minutes ago, sho nuff said:

It wasn't a clear corruption case though...there is zero probable cause about it...which is why there has been no legitimate investigation done.  It was a conspiracy theory of Trump's along with Crowdstrike which he brought up.  It was a joke.

He withheld congressionally approved aid (which the GAO found to be illegal) to try and get a country to investigate his rival without probable cause.  He never mentioned corruption...you know, actual corruption.  Ukraine had already been approved to have the aid released by congress.

His actions...no matter what Biden had done...were an abuse of power and beyond the scope of his duties...that was the crux of the matter.  What would Biden testify to?  He wouldn't be obligated to answer anything that would incriminate him if he was, indeed, corrupt.  As he was not on trial.

Schiff had probable cause to investigate Trump.  Based on the WB complaint that an IG stated was credible.

 

What's more, Trump (in the form of a DoD review did have the opportunity to review Ukraine's performance regarding corruption. DoD had certified that they were making progress and that the aid should move forward. Trump not only held back the aid, he refused to publicly admit what he was doing. The whole "investigating corruption" rationale only came about after he got caught.

56 minutes ago, Sam Quentin said:

Legally, a President can investigate anything he wants.  Ethically, he should have a solid pretense. 

What you left out is that he should also have a process in place. That's what gives the public confidence that impartial justice is being done, and that the president is not simply seeking to punish his enemies. (And no, "talk to Rudy" is not, in fact, a process.)

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