The GOP’s hearing strategy? Same old scheisse

If the current pattern continues, this is going to be a long, painful impeachment for the GOP. If you liked the OJ trial, then you’re gonna love these open impeachment hearings. They are educational if for no other reason than to show what a steaming pile of shit most television courtroom dramas are. On TV, there is a breathtaking, bombshell revelation from the stand preceding every commercial break, to milk interest. In real life, as both the OJ trial as well as these hearings are showing, actual trials or hearings are dry affairs, with controlled questions and dry, scripted answers flying back and forth. That is not to say that there were no revelations in today’s first open hearing. So far, as they revolve into the 5 minute cameo session, the biggest revelation I’ve seen so far is that Ambassador Taylor testified that on the day after the Trump-Zelensky phone call, EU Ambassador Sondland, during lunch at a Kiev restaurant, had a personal phone call with President Trump, on his open cell phone. Taylor expressed astonishment that any US Ambassador would have an open channel directly to the President, as opposed to having to go through the normal State Department channels. He also expressed concern that Sondland was such a moron that he held a diplomatic phone call with the president over a personal, open channel cell phone, subject to signal interception. Not a bad tidbit for the opening day. The Democrats are sticking to the plan. It is now obvious why the Democrats released the transcripts, and in the order that they did. They took a 10 day period when congress was off, and let the media hit all of the high points in their deposition testimony. And now, they are calling the witnesses, and rather than have everyone trying to key on shocking new details, they are asking questions that everybody who is paying attention to the media already knows, and letting the viewers instead spend more time noting the probity, earnestness and sincerity of the witnesses. In other words, letting the viewers come to know and trust the witnesses. And so far, so good, in my opinion. The Republicans on the other hand, are replaying the Conspiracy Theory Band’s greatest hits on their golden oldie network. And just as it appears happened in their questioning in the deposition hearings, they keep stepping on their crank over and over again. To open his 45 minutes, Ranking Wienie Devin Nunes went off on an extended pissy fit about low level Ukrainian embassy staff working with the Clinton campaign to trash Trump, Ukrainian officials from the previous administration flaming Trump’s ass on social media, and ending with a righteous rant about how Trump was totally justified in wanting to have the Ukraine investigate this obvious corrupt behavior. Nunes is missing one simple point. Trump fucking won! Who cares what the Ukrainians did or didn’t do, it didn’t work! This is like a football coach bitching about a missed holding call in a 45-0 win. The GOP’s staff legal beagle picked up on this in his questioning. He hammered away at the Ukrainian treachery in opposing Trump, up until Taylor related a statement from Trump during the campaign, saying how the people of Crimea really wanted to be a part of Russia, and if […]

The “Message” Pivot Begins. With A Passion

The song begins   Herman X   Whats the Worst That Could Happen The Great Message Pivot kicked off with a bang on Sunday. Democrats appeared on the normal Sunday morning blatherfests on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC with a singular purpose in mind. ll of them used the words quid pro quo, but now with an equally important word preceding it, the word forget. That was the mantra of the day, forget quid pro quo, and instead they started solemnly started uttering the words extortion and bribery. The Democrats have spent 6 weeks tying the GOP up in quid pro quo, and now they’re gonna hang ’em high with it in a classic bait and switch. The Democrats are now going to agree with the GOP that in fact there was no quid ro quo, simply because that’s too artsy-fartsy a term for a good old fashioned strongarm extortion plot. And they’re already selling the mechanics of it to the people who are going to be tuning in on Wednesday and Friday. This is important because a whole lot of the people who are going to be force fed these televised hearings are not like Ursula, Jason, and I, or even a lot of you. Their favorite part of a political story on the news is that it gives them a chance to hit the can before the funny Allstate “mayhem” commercials come on at the break. Can’t miss those! Their definition of quid pro quo is a lot of fancy political bullshit. But they all know what the word extortion means. After all, you show me 10 people who have never seen at least one Godfather movie, and I’ll show you 10 people nobody wants to know anyway. These people also know what bribery means, although the Democrats are being very careful to explain it in the context they want it thought of in. If a normal, non politically savvy person hears a Democrat accusing Trump of bribery, their natural inclination is going to be to think that the Democrats are accusing Trump of using the defense funds to bribe Zelensky into starting the investigations in to the Biden’s and 2016. In fact, the exact opposite is true. What the Democrats are claiming, and now patiently explaining to people is that Trump was using the defense funds to extort Zelensky and the Ukraine into bribing him with the investigations to get him to give them the money. As I predicted, the Democrats are leading up to the start of the actual open hearings by moving the issue of the impeachment out of the more problematic political context, and firmly into Trump’s criminal acts, which is sexier, and sells better. And I think it’s going to work, if for no other reason than because the GOP is so goddamned incompetent at this shit. And now, because I’m on a roll these days, here’s another prediction for ya. Because bribery and extortion can sound serious, but not necessarily familiar to nebbishes like us in a personal sense, here are two more simple phrases I think you can safely watch for in the upcoming days and weeks. And those phrases are one hand washes the other, and you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. Both of those are common, everyday phrases that are universally recognized, and while both of them could have perfectly innocent inferences in them, to most people they are instantly and irrevocably linked to shady, underhanded, criminal behavior. Which is exactly what the Democrats want viewers to […]

What I’m Watching For In The Hearings

I’ll be back in the high life again. All the doors I closed one time, will open up again   Steve Winwood   Back in the High Life The first thing to realize about the open impeachment hearings beginning on Wednesday morning is that they’re not going to be like the congressional hearings you’ve become used to. For 8 long years, from January of 2011 to January of 2019, a congressional hearing consisted of a bunch of ill tempered sots in in hand me down suits screaming, deriding and insulting a person sitting in a chair who thought that they had gone there to answer questions. It was pure political theater on the part of the GOP, meant not to inform, enlighten, or uncover some greater truth, but to spread propaganda. Starting on Wednesday, the difference in watching the Pelosi-Schiff run hearings is going to be like the difference between watching college courses online versus the latest episode of the Jerry Springer show. Personally, I’ve been greatly amused through this process, watching the GOP stumble around like a drunk walking into his dark house, hoping not to wake up the wife. The GOP, and especially Trump, are used to bullying the Democrats around. First they bellow that these closed door depositions are a mockery of process, and must be open to the public. Now they piss and moan that open hearings are defamatory, and should be behind closed doors. They keep expecting the Democrats to accede to every demand, but don’t notice that the Democrats are waling around like the kid who got Tae Kwon Do lessons from Aunt Sylvia last Christmas. Let’s do a quick run through, and see how this can fall apart quickly for Trump and the GOP. I haven’t been able to find an actual, set-in-stone program for the hearings, but here’s my understanding of how they will run. The witness will be called in and sworn in. Chairman Schiff will then make an introductory statement. Then the ranking member, presumably Jim “He groped me Coach!” Jordan will get equal time for his statement. Then Schiff will have up to, I believe it’s 45 minutes to question the witness, followed by the ranking member having equal time. Then the staff lawyer for the Democrats will get a similar block of time, followed by the staff lawyer for the GOP. If Trump and the GOP are behaving themselves, I believe there is time set aside for Trump’s lawyer as well. Then, at the end, I believe there are accommodations for the standard 5 minute block of time for individual member questioning. While this process is scrupulously fair, it doesn’t seem very likely to be favorable to the GOP. Schiff is going to be running these shows strictly as fact finding and fact exposing hearings. Schiff is a seasoned veteran former prosecutor who, pardonez moi Francais, looks like he’d be a motherfucker on cross examination. Schiff is going to elicit nothing but facts, and phrase his questioning so that the witness ends up putting those facts into a crystal clear context. This is how competent prosecutors win cases. Jim Jordan on the other hand, is a lazy, arrogant, dismissive blowhard who can’t be bothered to do any more prep than bone up on the latest Trump talking points. If Jordan […]

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