A lot of airtime has been spent over whether or not Donald Trump offered a quid pro quo to the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. Many astute commentators, however, have pointed out that a quid pro quo is not necessary in this case and, in any event, the real criminal activity here is either bribery or extortion. I would argue that it’s actually both. Let’s look at the elements of bribery.
The individual being bribed is a “public official,” which includes rank-and-file federal employees on up to elected officials; [President Zelensky is most definitely a public official, as is Donald Trump.]
A “thing of value” has been offered, whether it’s tangible (such as cash) or intangible (such as the promise of influence or official support); [Lots of cash was offered to Zelinsky. This is the “Quid.”]
There’s an “official act” that may be influenced by a bribe (such as pending legislation that may have a direct impact on the party offering the bribe); [The Ukrainian government was to make an official announcement it was conducting a corruption investigation into the Bidens and the DNC server. This is the “Quo.”]
The public official has the authority or power to commit the official act (for instance, the official is a senator who is voting on a particular piece of legislation); [Two Presidents . . . duh!]
There must be the establishment of intent on the part of the bribing party to get a desired result (the intent to sway the vote by handing over an envelope full of cash); [The “transcript” of Trump’s call and plenty of testimony], and
The prosecution must establish a causal connection between the payment and the act meaning there must be more than just a suspicious coincidence. [Again . . . lots of testimony from highly credible witnesses to the ongoing attempt at extortion].
It’s become quite clear the American public is a bit uncomfortable with the Latin phrase, quid pro quo and, in fact, as previously stated a definitive “this for that” offer isn’t necessary. Given the totality of the evidence so far, it’s quite clear to anyone who is really paying attention—and understands how the law works—Trump was using the threat of Russian violence to extort an announcement of (at the minimum; actual investigation as they real object) an investigation into Burisma and Hunter Biden.
It can also be argued, at the very least, that Trump was also soliciting a bribe from Zelensky before he would release the money Congress had already authorized for military aid to the Ukrainians. Also offered, in exchange for such a bribe, was a meeting at the White House for President Zelensky.
What’s important to realize is there is no reason to dwell on whether or not there was a specific quid from quo (an offer of something in exchange for something else) to find Trump was engaging in extortion and (as previously noted) at the very least solicitation of a bribe.
That Trump is a common criminal and con man, who has managed to grift his way into the highest office in the land, should be quite obvious to all but those who are now deeply enmeshed in his cult of personality. What this says about that swath of the populace supporting him is quite uncomfortable to fathom. Regardless, I’m looking forward to his impeachment and, if we’re fortunate, removal from office of this deeply deranged and hateful man masquerading as an actual President of the United States of America.
no mistake. Trump, Barr, Pompeo, Graham, and numerous others are not
merely corrupt. They are enemies of the United States of America.
Despite cries of “America First” and assertions they are working for us,
they are financial internationalists. They don’t give a rip about
anything other than their next grift and they will sell us down the
river if there’s anything to be gained for them. We will continue to
decline as long as they hold the reins of our—repeat, our—government.
I’m happy impeachment hearings are finally under way, but we need to
pay close attention to everything that’s going on, and we need to be
ready to take matters into our own hands. I’m taking about organizing,
demonstrating, marching, striking, boycotting, and whatever it takes to
fight back. Our health, our wealth, our freedoms, and everything we hold
dear are being slowly eroded by people who have neither the right, nor
the desire, to be public servants.
Eyes on the prize, my friends.
And make sure you elect progressives to every local office you can:
Park Board; Board of Education; City Council; Mayors, etc.
Capitalism means money (specifically investment, not wages) is society’s primary consideration. Socialism means people (workers, humans) are society’s primary consideration. I know what I prefer. How about you?
Sure . . . there are thorny issues of ownership and incentivization, what deserves to be nationalized and what can remain in the private sector, but they will be addressed with people, not capital, foremost in mind. And don’t come at me with that tired old trope that socialism has been tried and it’s failed. That’s not even close to the truth. Most examples given are usually of a country that attempted to go straight from feudalism to socialism, without experiencing capitalism at all.
If Karl Marx was correct, and I believe he was, economies need to develop and evolve through various stages, and attempting to circumvent one of those developmental stages isn’t a good idea. This is why I believe the U.S. economy is ripe for becoming socialist; it already is to some extent. Our economy is, if not the most advanced, one of the more advanced capitalist economies in the world. Yet, many of its sectors are—or have been—treated as worthy of receiving benefits in the form of subsidies, grants, and tax breaks that are tantamount to them being socialized.
Most importantly, many larger sectors of the economy are highly developed, with a few being in nearly monopolistic control of their market. This is what Marx called late-stage, monopoly capitalism. It suggests that larger industries, which have become monolithic, are ripe for worker ownership and a more equitable distribution of their profits to the people who actually make those profits happen.
Let’s stop treating the concept, let alone the word, of socialism as if it’s still some sort of disease or bogeyman. The forces of reaction and fascism have long told us to be afraid . . . be very afraid . . . of socialism, but they’re crying wolf and their arguments are dishonest and disingenuous. That is to say, they’re fucking liars and can’t be trusted. They don’t care about you and me. Don’t expect them to be helpful, unless they’re helping themselves.
I serendipitously came across this photo a few days ago and shared it with a group that’s fighting the recall of our very first progressive Latina elected to our City Council. I shared it with them not because of the irony (which is substantial) but because the guy with the Latinos for Trump sign has shown up at our City Council meetings to agitate in favor of recalling her. I’m told he’s from Apple Valley, which is well over 100 miles from Simi Valley. There were at several other “protestors” at these meetings that are from nowhere near Simi Valley.
I only recently learned the Republican Party, recognizing they can’t win control of many Western States via fair elections, have taken up this tactic of recall, which they time to occur when voter turnout is historically likely to be comparatively light. One of the primary organizers of this effort is a contributor to Red State and other right-wing publications and many believe one of her goals to be self-promotion.
Simi Valley suffers from an unfortunately deserved bad reputation for racism, thanks to the Rodney King trial which, if unfamiliar to you, you should Google. When I first retired from Rocketdyne, in 2010, I did some research on Simi. At the time, a Google search turned up essentially three things the city is known for: The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the worst nuclear reactor meltdown (at SSFL) in U.S. history, and the Rodney King trial. The trial was the most frequently appearing result of the three.
I tried to get some of the city’s leaders to support doing something about it via targeted blogging and social media campaigns, but they didn’t understand what I was getting at, and they weren’t really interested. Now they’re doubling down on their deep animosity for anyone who doesn’t buckle under to the weight of their limited vision.
Simi Valley’s leadership is, for the most part, highly conservative. I would label them reactionary. I’m told they’re corrupt as well, though I haven’t enough knowledge to make a judgment call on that issue. I will, however, be well-educated on it soon. Stay tuned.
If we’re ever to truly deal with the legacy of racism in American, white people—especially white men—are going to have to step out of their comfort zone and learn a little more about history and the trappings of power, which lie at the root of our racist past . . . and present. One of the best ways to do this is to listen to Black people; listen to their stories; listen to their description of how the world works, because it doesn’t work the same for them as it does for us white folk. It just doesn’t, and it really needs to for all of us to enjoy peace and a modicum of safety and security. This Medium essay is a wonderful example of a piece from which we can glean some incredibly important lessons. Check it out . . .
White men who shoot up schools and workplaces are not murderous monsters, or mindless thugs. They are “lovesick” or “misunderstood” or “tragic.” Hundreds of thousands of words are dedicated to finding the reasons why someone with so much promise could have fallen so far.
But how much promise was there really?
How much promise is there in a life where you are told that all you have to do is exist in order to inherit a kingdom. How much promise is there in a life where your mediocrity is constantly applauded and every hero looks like you and every love interest is a supermodel, but at the end of the day you will be working in a cubicle with everyone else and your only consolation is that you will be making $1.50 an hour more than the women and people of color in your office?
Donald Trump and his deplorable sycophants are trying desperately to pin the blame for this weekend’s tragedy in El Paso on anywhere but where it belongs. It’s not video games. It’s not the lack of prayer in schools. It’s not parents who aren’t paying attention. It’s the constant drumbeat of racist hatred toward (primarily) Latinx people and any form of immigration, no matter how useful or benign. Click on the below link to see where Robert Mackey of The Intercept lays out his analysis of how this rhetoric has created a climate of hate and fear that’s obviously toxic as hell.
El Paso Gunman’s Fear of a Migrant “Invasion” Echoes Donald Trump and Fox NewsRobert MackeyAugust 5 2019, 4:36 p.m.The white supremacist who killed at least 22 people in El Paso, Texas on Saturday appears to have been driven by a racist conspiracy theory — that the United States is under “invasion” by migrants and asylum-seekers from Central America — which has been repeated again and again on Fox News broadcasts, and amplified by that network’s most powerful viewer, President Donald Trump.
I didn’t really care for the visual I created and posted yesterday, depicting the four boxes of Liberty, so I created another one. I thought yesterday’s was OK in depicting the concept, but I used really simple graphics of the boxes themselves. Last night I thought maybe I should use pictures depicting people—at least for some of them. So . . . here’s the new graphic. It’s much larger than the one I posted yesterday.
PS – You can use all of these boxes simultaneously, save for the last one. Even during a revolution, though, civil life has to continue and it’s quite conceivable all four boxes could be in play at some time.
I hope it doesn’t come to that, but I don’t see the Republicans and white supremacists (I consider them synonymous today) just fading away.
Just came across a concept I was unaware existed, though I have often thought of all four of these “boxes” we must use to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” Although the phrase has, apparently, been used lately by right wing extremist groups, I believe the concepts it represents are useful and correct.
By engaging our fellow citizens in various ways and methods, e.g. newspapers, flyers, social media, blogs, and other methods of arguing our positions on issues, we are using the soapbox. When we vote, at least every two years, we are using the ballot box. When those who have attempted to usurp the people’s power or who have betrayed their oaths of office or otherwise show themselves unfit for office, we (sometimes) are able to use the jury box to convict and send them packing. Finally, should all other methods fail, as Americans (I would argue as humans) we are entitled; nay, we have no choice but, to bear arms in defense of our liberty and freedom.
You can read a little more about this concept here.
This weekend Trump is threatening mass deportations . . . again! It may not happen. However, if it does here’s some information you or someone you know may want to have available. One of the hallmarks of our nation is the concept of the rule of law, which means nobody is above the law; neither is anyone outside the law. Every “person” enjoys the rights afforded them by the Constitution of the United States. We’re all entitled to due process and the equal application of the law. Know your rights . . . and be thankful we have an organization like the ACLU that fights for them, incessantly. They’re one of five organizations I donate to monthly. Please consider sending them a few bucks to support their work. And please consider sharing this info with someone you know who might benefit from it. Thank you.
Born in 1947, I am an officially retired pensioner who still has two teenage daughters and a desire to contribute. I remain intensely interested in, and fascinated by, Systems Thinking, Machine Learning, Knowledge Management, Decision Intelligence, and Business in general. I am also conversant in such concepts as innovation and ideation, collaborative tools and strategies, crowdsourcing, and the use of social media to accomplish goals ranging from improving business processes to promoting small retail businesses. Since my "retirement" I have done a little bit of freelancing as an editor/proofreader, as well as some technical writing. I've also done a fair amount of Facebook marketing as well.
There's lots more where that came from. Need some help? Perhaps another set of eyes? Contact me. The first one's free! ;0)
The views expressed herein are those of the author. Any opinions regarding the value or worth of particular business processes, tools, or procedures, whether at his former place of employment, at a current client's enterprise, or in general, are his responsibility alone.