"No Crime Required for Impeachment" Dem Says
This week's "plea bargain" in which former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen confessed to the non-crime of paying "hush money" to two women alleging trysts with Donald Trump more than ten years ago has created an impeachment frenzy in media and Democratic Party circles. Under normal circumstances, a threat to expose embarrassing information unless a payment is made would be considered extortion. That would make the person demanding payment the criminal party in the transaction.
But, as Rep. Al Green (D-Tex) says, "normally, a person being victimized by a blackmailer would deserve sympathy. However, when that victim is Donald Trump we need to consider the totality of the circumstances. By seeking to suppress negative information during an election campaign Trump has conspired to influence the outcome of an election. That is enough to justify removing him from office."
"Even if the allegations against him are untrue and he never had sex with these women offering them money to withhold their allegations from the media and the voters is behavior unworthy of a president," Green argued. "If Trump isn't ashamed enough to resign on his own Congress should impeach him."
Green sought to differentiate the current situation from that faced by former President Bill Clinton, saying that "as I recall, Clinton tried to persuade his accusers rather than bribe them to keep silent. It was only afterwards that he agreed to pay Paula Jones $850,000 to settle her sexual harassment lawsuit against him. So, I'd say the two cases are completely different."
"Besides, Bill Clinton's term saw some of the best governance in American history," Green remembered. "The federal deficit plunged. North Korea was paid to discontinue its nuclear program. The Branch Davidians were wiped out. Elian Gonzales was returned to Cuba. Trump's record pales in contrast. His tax cuts may have sparked a private sector boom, but government deficits are higher. Fewer Americans are receiving unemployment benefits and food stamps. A distressing number of African-Americans have been induced to forgo the security of these benefits and venture into the treacherous waters of owning and operating small businesses where the risk of failure is high."
In related news, Cohen's lawyer, former Clinton apparatchik Lanny Davis, avowed that his client "would neither seek nor accept a pardon from President Trump. Michael is a changed man. He's determined to do the right thing no matter what the cost. He's even willing to go to prison if that is what it takes to rescue the nation from the clutches of the evil Donald Trump. That's the kind of integrity his prosecution has inspired in him." Meanwhile, Davis asked donors to be generous on Cohen's GoFundMe page "so he will have enough money to pay for my legal services."
Senator Lectures Parents of Slain Co-ed
The discovery of the body of missing Iowa college student Mollie Tibbets brought a tragic end to a month long search. The arrest of Cristhian Bahena Rivera, an illegal immigrant, for her murder inspired Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) to urge Ms. Tibbets' parents to "focus on the bigger picture. Sure they have lost a daughter, but this loss must be weighed against the suffering of the much larger contingent of immigrant parents who have been separated from their children merely because they've entered the country illegally."
"I mean, I'm sorry Mollie Tibbets is dead, but she was just one person," Warren pointed out. "Hundreds, if not thousands of immigrant children have been separated from their parents. The aggregate pain of these separations easily exceeds the few moments of pain Mollie experienced as she was stabbed to death. Her pain will be balanced by the pain her assailant experiences when he spends a couple of decades behind bars. His 'American dream' has likely come to an end. However, this doesn't justify trampling on the dreams of immigrants whose only 'crime' is illegally crossing the border."
Rivera admitted dragging her body out of the trunk of his car and burying it in a shallow grave in a cornfield not far from where he lives, but claims to have no memory of actually killing her. "I went to put some groceries in my trunk when there was this dead girl in there," Rivera recalled. "I panicked. All I could think to do was bury her and hope the body was never found. But I was unlucky and the police found me. Now I'll probably be deported. I'm a hard worker and I've never done anything else wrong. It doesn't seem fair."
In related news, the ruling Social Democrats are irate over the decision by Sweden's public broadcaster (SVT) to air crime statistics showing that foreign-born men (mostly Muslim immigrants) are responsible for 58% of the rapes committed in the country. Party Leader Stefan Löfven complained that "the introduction of this statistic into the public arena during an election campaign is very disruptive. The average voter is not competent to assess these data. The result will be confusion that will undermine their faith in our Party's ability to govern. Obviously, after we win we'll be looking into ways of preventing the release of embarrassing information that might influence future elections."
UN Sec Gen Calls for More Aid to Fight Israel
Lamenting that "those who oppose Israel are not as well armed as the Jews," United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres called for "increased spending to level the playing field. The Palestinian quest to annihilate Israel is severely hampered by the superior fighting ability of the Israeli Defense Forces. Israel has sophisticated weapons, well-trained troops and pilots, and a sense of desperation that gives them no alternative but to courageously fight for survival. This puts their enemies at an unfair disadvantage."
"The $5 billion in US aid to the Palestinians over the past decade has been insufficient to give these oppressed people a decent chance of success against Israel," Guterres complained. "The weapons they've bought have been inferior. Their strategy has been chaotic. Their tactics of attacking civilians have failed to achieve the intended results. As a result the retaliation by Israeli Defense Forces has effectively thwarted any progress toward the ultimate goal of wiping Israel off the map. We need a redoubled effort."
Guterres said he was "pessimistic that we can count on the Trump regime to do the right thing," but held out hope that "perhaps if he is removed from office by Mueller or Congress his successor will be more amenable to the idea of funding a fairer fight between the two sides contesting for control over the land now occupied by the Jews."
California to Rescue 800,000 Welfare Recipients
As the Trump economic boom has pushed the state's unemployment rate to a low of 4.2%, the Brown Administration has applied to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a waiver of the requirement for 800,000 able-bodied and childless Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients in 55 counties to do some work in exchange for this government benefit.
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) defended the action calling it "an act of mercy. Most of these long-term welfare recipients have no work experience or aptitude. Demanding that they enter the workforce even on a part time basis constitutes an inhumane and traumatic culture shock. In theory, they might be capable of doing some work, but in reality they are habituated to an indolent lifestyle. Any tasks they might be induced to perform will very likely be done poorly. So, not only would forcing them to work destroy their way of life, the output of their efforts will almost certainly prove unsatisfactory."
Brown rejected even low-skill options such as picking up litter, calling it "beneath the dignity that every human being has a right to expect. It may not require skill to do such jobs, but that in itself is a humiliation that no one should be forced to endure. In my mind, it's preferable that those of us who are better off bear a higher tax burden than that we deprive those less well off pf the leisure to which they've become accustomed. Fortunately for our state, the bulk of the tax burden will be borne by the rest of the nation."
In related news, Gov. Brown was recently ordered by the state's 3rd Appellate District Court to repay more than $300 million in funds the state illegally diverted from a national fund intended to help homeowners struggling with foreclosures. In response, the State's Democratically controlled legislature has plans to legalize the illegal transfer by statutory means. Assembly member Philip Ting (D-San Fran) boasted that "AB1829 will use the sovereign power of the State under the US Constitution's 10th Amendment to overrule the court's decision. Since the federal government lacks the enumerated Constitutional authority to bail out home mortgages we have the right to divert the federal money as we deem fit."
South Africa Government Protests Trump Tweets
South Africa's government has lodged a formal protest alleging that President Trump's tweet questioning its confiscation of the property of white farmers is "an inappropriate interference with the internal affairs of our country. We are a sovereign nation. Everyone living within our borders is ours to do with as we deem best. As recently as July of this year, American President Obama acknowledged that this property transfer is inspiring great hope in our country."
While the property seizures violate the country's current constitution, President Cyril Ramaphosa is asking the Parliament "to change the constitution and allow the government to seize the land without compensating the owners. We are not saying that the land has been mismanaged. It has been well-cared for and that is the problem. The wealth generated by the white owners is disproportionately higher than the wealth generated on farms owned by the black majority. This is unjust. The confiscation will rectify this injustice and allow blacks to own and manage these lands for good or ill. Either way, it will be blacks making their own future."
Trump isn't the only one to express concerns. The liberal-leaning South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) said the policy was causing damage to the country and would not bring about positive results. "President Ramaphosa's assertion that the expropriation of this private property will not adversely affect economic growth, agricultural production, or food security is contradicted by the history of similar property seizures around the world," according to a statement issued by SAIRR. "Trampling property rights weakens the incentive to use resources wisely. A regime that can seize land without compensating its owners will likely get poor results from the new owners it redistributes the land to. Not only do these new owners lack the experience that leads to good stewardship, they will also know that their ownership is insecure, which also tends to discourage good stewardship."