Thursday, December 26, 2019

Impeachment Panel on The Critical Hour (12/18/2019)

Impeachment: Is it a Winning Case Against Trump or Sinking Sand for Democrats?

The US House of Representatives has held a historic day of debate Wednesday, which is likely to conclude with US President Donald Trump’s impeachment. If the House votes in favor of the two articles of impeachment, one for abuse of power and the other for obstruction of an investigation by Congress, it will make Trump only the third president in US history to receive such a sanction, with Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson being the other two. As we sit here now at 6 p.m. EST, it looks like the time is nigh. What are we to make of all of this?

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi began Wednesday's session by saying, “Today, as speaker of the House, I solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the president of the United States… If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty. It is tragic that the president’s reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gave us no choice.”
(My segment begins at 28:05)
[Related articles: Defeat or Impeach? The (Il)Logic of ImpeachmentDead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment GambitImpeachment: What Lies Beneath?]

Impeachment Panel on Loud & Clear (12/18/2019)

An Impeachment Road That Leads to Nowhere

On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books; Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net; Lee Camp, host of the comedy show “Redacted Tonight” and whose work is at leecamp.com; and Sputnik News analysts Walter Smolarek and Nicole Roussell.

The House of Representatives is nearing the end of its debate on impeachment, and President Trump will likely be impeached in the next several hours. The battle lines have been drawn strictly along partisan lines, with almost all Democrats supporting impeachment and all Republicans opposing it. Once impeachment is approved, it will be sent to the Senate, where President Trump will stand trial. A two-thirds vote there to convict him his unlikely.
(My segment, first hour)

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Impeachment: What Lies Beneath?


 
Reuters

The Raw

The Democrats have now revealed the hand they're going to play for impeachment.  I have been vehemently arguing against playing this game and pointing out how futile it is, but, seeing the two cards actually laid out on the table, even I am gobsmacked at what a loser of a hand they’ve got.

Of course, we have to recognize Gerald Ford’s correct point that “An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history,” and accept that the Democratic majority in the House at the present moment will determine that their two charges against Trump are impeachable offenses.

But it's equally true that an acquitable charge is whatever more than a third of the Senate considers it to be, and the issue will finally be decided by the political support the charges can muster from Republican senators and their constituents. 

Given the ideological disposition of those senators and constituents, as well as the widespread reluctance of Americans generally to impeach a president—an act that does annul an election—over any but the most serious offenses, it is hard to believe the Democrats think they will sway anybody with the thin gruel they are serving up.

Week in Review Discussion on Loud & Clear (12/13/2019)

Labour Suffers Catastrophic Defeat in UK Election

On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party won British elections yesterday in the biggest landslide since 1987, guaranteeing that Brexit takes place on his terms next month. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said that he would not head the party in the next elections, but he has not yet set a resignation date. Meanwhile, the Scottish National Party won broadly, perhaps enough to push another referendum on Scottish independence.

The House Judiciary Committee this morning voted 23-17 in a party-line vote to impeach President Trump. The two articles of impeachment now go to the floor of the House, and the entire body will vote on impeachment on Wednesday. Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at www.rall.com, joins the show.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (12/13/2019)

House Dems Ready for Impeachment, While Senate GOP Commits to Knocking it Down

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time.

"The House Judiciary Committee quickly approved two articles of impeachment Friday against President Trump on party-line votes accusing him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress," the Washington Post reported. "The full House is expected to vote to impeach Trump next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said there is 'no chance' the Senate will vote to remove Trump from office." Trump is now on his way to becoming the third president in history to be impeached, after Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson.
[Related articles: Defeat or Impeach? The (Il)Logic of Impeachment,  Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

"Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on Friday for 'closure' over the Brexit divisions that have riven or split the United Kingdom, saying his election victory provided an overwhelming mandate to take Britain out of the European Union on January 31," Reuters reported. "Johnson, the face of the victorious 'Leave' campaign in the 2016 referendum, fought the election under the slogan of 'Get Brexit Done,' promising to end the deadlock and spend more on health, education and the police." Now that the votes have been tabulated, the die has been cast. What does this mean going forward?

Friday, December 13, 2019

Loud & Clear Discussion of Inspector General Report (12/10/2019)

Inspector General report heightens controversy over 2016 FBI spying

Attorney General William Barr and US Attorney John Durham publicly broke with Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz yesterday, disputing the IG’s conclusion that the FBI acted without political bias in initiating a counterintelligence investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign. Media reports say that FBI Director Wray’s days in office are now numbered, and the report also raises serious questions about how the FBI uses informants and the FISA process. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, which is where you can find his latest article titled “Defeat or Impeach? The (Il)logic of impeachment,” also on Counter Punch, joins the show.
[Related articles: Defeat or Impeach? The (Il)Logic of Impeachment,  Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

Listen to "Inspector General report heightens controversy over 2016 FBI spying" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (12/06/2019)

Will Democrats be Cut by the Same Sword They are Preparing for Trump?

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi compared President Donald Trump to a despotic tyrant in a press conference Thursday and announced she has asked House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler to prepare articles of impeachment," Common Dreams reported. "'The facts are uncontested,' said Pelosi, a California Democrat. 'The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security.'"
[Related articles: Defeat or Impeach? The (Il)Logic of Impeachment,  Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

"The proposed Trump administration changes to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) could strip 3.7 million low-income Americans of their food stamps and slash benefits for millions of others," Business Insider reported Tuesday, citing a November study by the Urban Institute. The institute said of the proposed changes: "Sixteen percent of households with no children, no adults age 60 or older, and no one with a disability would lose eligibility under the proposed changes to the ABAWD [able-bodied adults without disabilities] regulations. Nearly 12 percent of households with an adult age 60 or older would lose eligibility under the proposed changes to broad-based categorical eligibility (BBCE). Households that include someone age 60 or older or someone with a disability are most likely to be affected by the proposed changes to the SUAs [standard utility allowances], although a larger absolute number of households with children would be affected than for either of these groups. Non-Hispanic white and Asian households would be somewhat more likely than other racial and ethnic groups to lose eligibility or benefits under the proposed changes to BBCE and SUAs. The estimated likelihood of eligibility loss from the proposed ABAWD changes differs little among racial and ethnic groups."

Loud & Clear Discussion of Biden's and Buttigieg's Problems (12/06/2019)

The 2020 Race: Biden Yells at an Iowan While Buttigieg’s Background Emerges

Impeachment hearings continued this week, but that wasn’t the most interesting political news. Joe Biden took the opportunity yesterday to call an Iowa farmer “fat” and “a damn liar” when the man asked him about Hunter Biden’s role in a Ukrainian energy company. And the media are now telling us that Pete Buttigieg is “surging” in California, where the latest polls have him going from 10 percent to 6 percent and then back up to 12 percent. Meanwhile, the same media largely ignore the fact that Bernie Sanders is leading the race in California. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, joins the show.
[Related articles: Defeat or Impeach? The (Il)Logic of Impeachment,  Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]


Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Monday, November 25, 2019

Defeat or Impeach? The (Il)Logic of Impeachment

Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
I've had the displeasure to watch some hours of the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry. It’s an excruciating spectacle, alternately boring, confusing, and infuriating.
Where have the Democrats set the high-crime-and-misdemeanor goalpost today? Is it the “Russian collusion” for which Adam Schiff had “direct evidence” even before the Mueller investigation? How about the “10 different episodes of presidential obstruction of justice” for which Jamie Raskin told us “the evidence is overwhelming”? No, really, they got him on “quid pro quo”!  Or is it “abuse of power”? Wait, it’s “bribery.” Final answer. (They focussed-grouped it!) Bombshells all.
I have no interest in parsing the minutiae of the purported case Schiff is now making against Trump. (I’ll leave that to Aaron Maté, who does it so well.) I’ve said before that I think it’s political folly. Here, I would like those who are enthralled by the ongoing impeachment frenzy to focus for a moment on one glaring contradiction in the logic of the Democrats’ position—a contradiction that reveals that the Democrats are speaking with forked tongue about what they are actually trying to do.

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (11/22/2019)

As Dems' Impeachment Marathon Wraps Up, the Counterattack Begins

On Thursday, House Democrats concluded their 72-hour impeachathon with testimony from two witnesses: Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council adviser on Russia, and David Holmes, a counselor in the US Embassy in Ukraine, who backed up the allegations that US President Donald Trump conditioned military aid and a White House meeting for Ukraine on Kiev opening an investigation into former US Vice President Joe Biden, who may face Trump in the 2020 US presidential election, and his son Hunter. Have the Democrats been able to present a case to the American people that will impact how they vote in 2020? Has the needle been moved, or without a conviction in the Senate, will they have shot themselves in the foot? Does Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani need to look both ways twice before crossing the street so he can avoid being hit by the bus they are trying to throw him under? Is it possible that when this gets to the Senate that former National Security Adviser John Bolton will flip on the president and spill the beans?
[Related articles: The Empire Steps Back: Trump Withdraws From Syria – Impeachment Now PossibleDead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Loud & Clear Discussion of Netanyahu Indicment (11/22/2019)

Netanyahu doubles down on own defense following indictment

The Israeli media are weighing in on the indictment yesterday of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on three felony counts of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. Most of the reporting so far has been factual, with outlets going to lengths to explain exactly what the charges are. The debate now is whether he can remain Prime Minister while under indictment, whether he can maintain his parliamentary immunity, and if he can’t, how he can fight the charges in criminal court. Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net.
[Related Article: Sacrificing Gaza: The Great March of Zionist Hypocrisy]

Listen to "Netanyahu doubles down on own defense following indictment" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Loud & Clear Discussion of Vindman, Williams Impeachment Testimony (11/19/2019)

Vindman, Williams testify as second round of open impeachment hearings commence

impeachment hearings continued today with the Intelligence Committee hearing testimony from two National Security Council staff members--Jennifer Williams, a Foreign Service Officer assigned to Vice President Pence’s staff; she was listening in on the now-famous phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky; and Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the NSC’s top Ukraine specialist. Vindman has been the subject of recent attacks from Republican lawmakers, particularly Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson. Vindman was also on the call and raised concerns with the White House Counsel. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, whose latest article on CounterPunch and The Polemicist is “Trump’s Syrian See-Saw: From Pullout to PIllage”, joins the show.

[Related articles: The Empire Steps Back: Trump Withdraws From Syria – Impeachment Now PossibleDead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

Listen to "Vindman, Williams testify as second round of open impeachment hearings commence" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (11/15/2019)

Another Of Trump's Men Falls: Roger Stone Found Guilty, but Based on What?

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time.

Roger Stone, a longtime political operative and associate of US President Donald Trump, was found guilty of federal charges on Friday. "The panel of nine women and three men deliberated for less than two days before finding Stone, 67, guilty on all seven counts," the Washington Post reported. "A judge set Stone’s sentencing for Feb. 6 and allowed him to remain free until then. Stone faces a legal maximum penalty of 50 years in prison — 20 years for the witness tampering charge and five years for each of the other counts, although a first offender would face far less time under federal sentencing guidelines."

Loud & Clear Discussion of Tulsi Defamation Charge, Bloomberg & Patrick Entering Primary (11/12/2019)

Gabbard’s letter, Bloomberg, Patrick: New 2020 Democratic primary developments

Attorneys representing presidential candidate and Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard have sent a letter to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanding that Clinton retract a statement she made several weeks ago calling Gabbard a “Russian asset.” When challenged about the assertion, Clinton responded, “If the nesting doll fits..” Gabbard’s lawyers say the statement was defamatory, and they want a retraction. Meanwhile, two new likely entrants are trying to upset the Democratic presidential primary. Jim Kavanagh, editor of thepolemicist.net whose latest article is “Trump’s Syrian See-Saw: From Pullout to Pillage,” joins the show.
[Related article: Hunting 250s: “We’re going to go out there, and we’re going to violate some rights.”]

Listen to "Gabbard’s letter, Bloomberg, Patrick: New 2020 Democratic primary developments" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Trump’s Syrian See-Saw: From Pullout to Pillage

thegrayzone.com
To withdraw, or not to withdraw? That is the question Donald Trump, in his own inimitable way, has answered both ways.
First came the withdrawal. It was real, and had a significant effect. Trump ordered the removal of US troops from Kurdish areas, putting an end to the prospect of an independent Kurdish statelet, split off from Syria. Such a partition was always implausible, given the general balance of forces in the region and the specific refusal of NATO-member Turkey to accept any such thing. (Turkey had already invaded Syria in 2016, and the Obama-Biden administration ordered the Kurds to accept it.) It was also a lynchpin of the longstanding Plan B for dismembering the Syrian state. As I argued in a previous article, agreeing with ”the entire spectrum of US-imperialist politics and media,” Trump’s withdrawal decision “marked ‘a major turning point in Syria’s long war’ and has, indeed, ‘upended decades’ of imperialist and Zionist plans for the Middle East.” 
But, as I also noted, Trump is impulsive, shallow, and weak, and “surrounds himself with neocon deep-state actors on whom he depends and who often ignore or actively oppose…his non-interventionist instincts,” and who “may yet get him to reverse that [decision] or over-compensate for it.”
And thus it came to be. Kinda-sorta.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (11/8/2019)

Bloomberg Plans to Jump Into 2020 Race: Is He Being Pushed?

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is planning to join the Democratic presidential primary campaign. The decision is a shift in direction for Bloomberg, who said in March that he wouldn't be running. Is there a path here for Bloomberg? Is this a public rebuke of the performance so far of former US Vice President Joe Biden, who has attempted to build a coalition of the same moderate Democrats that Bloomberg would court? Will this inflame the populist wing of the party? Where does he pull votes from?

"House Republicans’ latest plan to shield President Trump from impeachment is to focus on at least three deputies — US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and possibly acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney — who they say could have acted on their own to influence Ukraine policy," the Washington Post reported Thursday. Is this a plausible defense?
[Related articles: The Empire Steps Back: Trump Withdraws From Syria – Impeachment Now PossibleDead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

Loud & Clear Discussion of Burisma's Use of Hunter Biden (11/6/2019)

New reports show Hunter Biden’s political value to Ukrainian Burisma company

A lobbying firm representing Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian energy company that famously had Hunter Biden on its board of directors, referenced Biden’s role in the company when it contacted the State Department in 2016 to downplay concerns about corruption. The revelation, so far published only in the conservative media, is important because the lobbying took place at almost exactly the same time that then-Vice President Joe Biden was pressuring Ukraine’s president to fire a prosecutor in order to secure $1 billion in loan assistance. Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net.
[Related articles: The Empire Steps Back: Trump Withdraws From Syria – Impeachment Now PossibleDead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

Listen to "New reports show Hunter Biden’s political value to Ukrainian Burisma company" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Monday, November 4, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (11/1/2019)

Contrary to Mainstream Media Reports, Slowdown Begins: Are We Close to Recession?

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported, "The US economy cooled over the summer, growing at a 1.9 percent annualized pace from July through September, the latest sign that the slowdown is deepening. Economists anticipated slightly weaker growth following President Donald Trump’s decision to dramatically expand his trade war with China." On Friday, the Post reported, "The United States added 128,000 jobs in October as the jobless rate ticked up to 3.6 percent, outperforming analyst forecasts during a month in which one of the largest private-employer strikes in recent years weighed on the economy."

Friday, November 1, 2019

Loud & Clear Discussion of House Impeachment Vote (10/31/2019)

It’s Official: Impeachment Goes Forward with Newly Passed Rules

On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jim Kavanagh, editor of thepolemicist.net.

The House today voted to move forward on a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump. The inquiry will include public hearings and will end with a formal vote on impeachment. Meanwhile, Republican senators are adopting a more sober tone on impeachment.

[Related articles: The Empire Steps Back: Trump Withdraws From Syria – Impeachment Now PossibleDead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

Listen to "It’s Official: Impeachment Goes Forward with Newly Passed Rules" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Discussion of Brexit Delay and Syrian Situation on The Critical Hour (10/28/2019)

John Conyers Jr., Longest-Serving African American Congressman, Dies at 90

Former Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr., a liberal Democrat from what is now Detroit’s 13th Congressional District, has died at the age of 90. Conyers was first elected in 1964, becoming one of five African Americans in the House of Representatives. His overwhelmingly Democratic constituents reelected him 26 times over a period spanning 10 presidents, from Lyndon B. Johnson to Donald Trump. He passed Sunday at his home in Detroit.

US President Donald Trump confirmed that Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died. He was killed during a US military raid in northwest Syria on Saturday. Trump announced Sunday that al-Baghdadi died after running into a tunnel, where he detonated an explosive vest, killing himself and three of his children.

Loud & Clear Discussion on Release of Maria Butina (10/25/2019)

Political prisoner Maria Butina released from prison

Political prisoner Maria Butina has been released today after serving over a year in prison, most of which was in solitary confinement. She was accused of failing to register as a foreign agent and slandered by the corporate media. Her case became a main component of the now-debunked Russiagate narrative. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net whose most recent article is “The Empire Steps Back,” which is at Counterpunch and thepolemicist.net, joins the show.


Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Friday, October 25, 2019

Loud & Clear Discussion on Bill Taylor Testimony re Ukraine (10/23/2019)


Impeachment battle rages on in Washington

Ambassador Bill Taylor, the US Ambassador to Ukraine, testified on Capitol Hill yesterday and made explosive charges against President Trump, including that the President directed officials to withhold aid to Ukraine over demands that the Ukrainian government open an investigation of the Biden family. Taylor said that he was convinced in July that the White House was withholding aid for electoral purposes. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, whose most recent article is “The Empire Steps Back,” which is at Counterpunch and thepolemicist.net, joins the show.

Listen to "Impeachment battle rages on in Washington" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (10/11/2019)

Trump Claims Victory Trade Deal, Did Xi Give Sleeves From His Vest?

US President Donald Trump said Friday that the US and China have reached what he called a substantial “phase one“ trade deal in which Beijing agreed to limited measures to improve trade ties between the countries. In exchange, Trump will not move forward with another round of tariff increases against roughly $250 billion in Chinese goods that had been set to take effect on Tuesday. Who really won in this deal?

Week in Review Discussion on Loud & Clear (10/18/2019)

Week in Review

Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the Turkish invasion of Syria, the impeachment probe, and the possible breakthrough in UK-EU negotiations over Brexit. Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net whose most recent article is “The Empire Steps Back: Trump Withdraws From Syria – Impeachment Now Possible,” and Sputnik News analysts and producers Walter Smolarek and Nicole Roussell.


Listen to "Week in Review" on Spreaker.


Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Empire Steps Back: Trump Withdraws From Syria – Impeachment Now Possible


Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai
What everyone is most upset about with regard to Syria isn’t the bloodshed or anything having him do with human rights. It’s the decline in American control of the Middle East. This is 100% about US imperialism taking a hit.
A series of Donald Trump’s decisions, culminating in the decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, has set off a cascade of effects that are dramatically changing the geopolitics of the Middle East and the internal politics of the United States.
Two months ago, I wrote an article opposing the impeachment drive and stating that Donald Trump is not going to be removed from office by impeachment proceedings. I said: “Donald Trump will be removed from office one way: by an election.”
At that time, in the wake of the fizzling out of the Mueller Report and testimony on Russian “collusion,” the new smoking gun was “obstruction of justice.” “The evidence is overwhelming,” Jamie Raskin said, echoing more than 90 of his Democratic colleagues, “10 different episodes of presidential obstruction of justice.” Walls closing in.
Somehow, even after Mueller’s “very, very painfultestimony, the impeachment drive by the Democrats had intensified to the point that it was de rigueur for every major Democratic presidential candidate, and for anyone calling themselves “progressive,” to demand impeachment proceedings. Because “obstruction of justice.”
Of course, the Democrats were not going to create an irresistible political tide that would get enough Republican senators to vote to oust Trump with that “obstruction of justice” issue, and they knew it. The chance of that was effectively zero.
The odds on that are now changing significantly. What happened to change the impeachment calculus? That might move enough Republicans?

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (10/4/2019)

Will the Ukraine Scandal Turn Out to Be a Double-Edged Sword for Dems?

It's Friday, which means it's panel time!

On Thursday night, investigators from the House of Representatives released a trove of text messages obtained from former US Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, in which US State Department officials and Rudy Giuliani — US President Donald Trump's personal attorney — negotiated with a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The texts show that US officials felt Trump would not agree to meet with Zelensky at a summit unless the Ukrainian president publicly promised to investigate both the 2016 US presidential election and a Ukrainian energy company that employed Hunter Biden, the son of current Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden. As this continues to play out, where’s the leverage? Who has the advantage?

Week in Review Discussion on Loud & Clear (10/4/2019)

The Week in Review

Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the new details in the impeachment inquiry and the US’s longer-term relationship to Ukraine, plus the protests in Iraq and Hong Kong. Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, editor of thepolemicist.net, and Sputnik News analyst and producer and Nicole Roussell.
[Related article: Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

Listen to "The Week in Review" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Friday, September 27, 2019

Loud & Clear Discussion on Trump-Zelensky Call (9/25/2019)

Impeachment Fever: What Trump Said to the Ukrainian President

On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net.

At least 200 Democrats have now said that they support impeaching President Trump for abuse of power after he apparently pressured Ukrainian President Zelensky to assist in an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. But the White House released what it says is a transcript of that call. And the accusations against Trump are now not so clear.


Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (9/20/19)

If Ukraine Connection With Trump Is True Could This Be The Real "Russiagate"?

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time.

A battle between Congress and the White House, set off by an anonymous whistle blower and believed to involve the government of Ukraine, according to two former US officials who spoke to the Washington Post, has moved into the public eye. The whistle blower, an intelligence official who worked at the White House, said US President Donald Trump made a "promise" to a foreign leader, which the official found sufficiently alarming to alert Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson. Atkinson found that the complaint reached the threshold of an "urgent concern," which would require him to notify congressional oversight committees on the matter. However, Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, has been unwilling to provide Congress with the details of what Trump allegedly did, causing some to charge that he is improperly protecting the president. What happened?
[Related article: Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

The Pentagon said Thursday that the US will leave it up to Saudi Arabia to decide whether there is sufficient proof accuse Iran of being behind the drone strikes that hit two Saudi Aramco oil facilities last weekend. “We'll wait until the final assessment's completed with the Saudis and that they've made the declaration,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters. Really? Well that’s a change of tone. “This was an attack on Saudi Arabia. We're supporting their investigation. We have teams on the ground working with them, but we're not going to get ahead of their conclusions.” What are we to make of this?

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned Thursday that if the US or Saudi Arabia attacks Iran, an "all-out war" is sure to follow. "We don't want war, we don't want to engage in a military confrontation," Zarif told CNN, noting that any conflict would result in "a lot of casualties." The latest source of tension between the three nations is last Saturday's drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities, which temporarily halved Saudi Arabia's oil production and for which the Yemeni Houthis have claimed responsibility. However, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the attacks were "an act of war" against Saudi Arabia, and that they involved not just drones, but cruise missiles, pointing the finger at Tehran. President Trump tweeted September 15 that the US military was "locked and loaded" to respond against the perpetrators, though he said the following day that the US would prefer not to go to war. Where will all of this tension lead?
[Related Article: Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back]

"Californians, the Trump administration said Thursday, breathe the same air, and live in pretty much the same environment, as the rest of the country. Their vehicles spew the same gases. So their emissions standards should be the same as everyone else’s," the San Francisco Chronicle reported in August 2018 on the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to revoke federal waiver under the Clean Air Act allowing the state to enact more demanding vehicle emissions standards than the rest of the US, colloquially known as the tailpipe emissions waiver. On Thursday, the administration officially revoked the waiver, but a legal battle is sure to ensue.

In an attempt to keep the economy from faltering, the US Federal Reserve lowered interest rates Wednesday from 2.25% to just below 2%. While President Trump has called for the Fed to cut rates, the reduction is much more modest than he might have liked, emphasizing the gap between how the Fed and the White House view the American economy as the 2020 elections loom. Is this effort to keep the economy strong being made because of the projections of a recession and the data that continue to point in that direction?

All those stories and more!

GUESTS:

Caleb Maupin — Journalist and political analyst who focuses his coverage on US foreign policy and the global system of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.

Dr. Jack Rasmus — Professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of "Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression."

David Schultz — Professor of political science at Hamline University and author of "Presidential Swing States: Why Only Ten Matter."

Jim Kavanagh — Political analyst and commentator and editor of The Polemicist.


Listen to "If Ukraine Connection With Trump Is True Could This Be The Real "Russiagate"?" on Spreaker.

The Critical Hour is a daily 60-minute news analysis and talk radio program on Radio Sputnik hosted by Dr. Wilmer Leon. Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.

Week in Review Discussion on Loud & Clear (9/20/2019)

Why is the New York Times Begging Trump for a War Against Iran?

On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jim Kavanagh, editor of thepolemicist.net, and Sputnik News analyst Walter Smolarek.

The panel takes a look at the biggest stories of the week, including U.S. war threats against Iran, the global climate strike, the controversy over a call between Donald Trump and a foreign leader, and the Israeli election.

[Related article: Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back]

Listen to "Why is the New York Times Begging Trump for a War Against Iran?" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Loud & Clear Discussion on Lesandowski Testimony (9/18/2019)

Addicted to Russiagate, Dems Make Another Huge Blunder with Lewandowski

On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net and whose latest article on the subject is “Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit,” on Counterpunch and thepolemicist.net.

President Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, testified before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday in what was a day-long, very heated, event. Lewandowski repeatedly invoked Executive Privilege, even though he has never worked in the White House, refusing to answer most questions put to him by Democrats. But many Democrats came off as angry, loud showboaters, more interested in getting on television than in finding the truth over whether the President committed obstruction of justice. The hearing puts committee chairman Jerry Nadler even further at odds with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  

[Related articles: Investigation Nation: Mueller, Russiagate, and Fake PoliticsDead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

Listen to "Addicted to Russiagate, Dems Make Another Huge Blunder with Lewandowski" on Spreaker.


Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (9/6/19)

The Complex, Wrongly Told Life of Freedom Fighter Robert Mugabe, Dead at 95

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time.
[I come in at 16:35]

The Washington Post reported it this way: “Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president who rose to power as a champion of anti-colonial struggle but during 37 years of authoritarian rule presided over the impoverishment and degradation of one of sub-Saharan Africa’s most promising countries, died Sept. 6 at a hospital in Singapore. He was 95.” That statement disgusted me - did not surprise me but disgusted me, because I know better. We'll discuss the man, the freedom fighter, the myth and how the US contributed to the reputation of Mugabe.

The US economy added a disappointing 130,000 jobs in August, the Labor Department said Friday, heightening fears that US President Donald Trump’s trade war is starting to bite. The jobs report has taken on greater significance as concerns grow that the US economy has entered a rough patch. Economists had predicted a gain of 160,000 jobs in August, but anemic hiring in manufacturing, mining, truck driving and retail — industries that are most directly affected by the trade war — helped drag employment gains down this summer. That 130,000 number is not truly representative of the strength of the economy, since hiring in August was boosted by the federal government adding part-time workers for the 2020 US Census. Without the addition of those temporary jobs, the new data reveals private sector companies added 96,000 jobs, the weakest total in many months.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Loud & Clear Discussion on Lawrence O'Donnell's Deutsche Bank Trump Loan Report (8/28/2019)

MSNBC’s Deutsche Bank loan conspiracy theory attempts to revive Russiagate

Deutsche Bank confirmed yesterday that it has a copy of Donald Trump’s tax returns responsive to Congressional subpoenas. But MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell went further than that and made some brash accusations on his show yesterday. He said that other Deutsche Bank loan documents show that Donald Trump’s cosigners are “Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin.” O’Donnell repeated the words “if true” multiple times. Even if it’s not true, he and MSNBC are doing what they can to keep the fake Russiagate narrative alive. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, whose latest article is “Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit” on Counterpunch and The Polemicist, joins the show.

Listen to "MSNBC’s Deutsche Bank loan conspiracy theory attempts to revive Russiagate" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Monday, August 26, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (8/23/19)

Trump's Twitter War Becomes Reality, China Imposes New Tariffs Starting September 1

On this episode of The Critical Hour, Dr. Wilmer Leon is joined by Dr. Jack Rasmus, professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California; Jim Kavanagh, political analyst and commentator and editor of The Polemicist; and Caleb Maupin, journalist and political analyst. 

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time. 

US President Donald Trump is raising the stakes in his trade war with China, tweeting Friday that he's increasing the tariffs scheduled to start next week from 10% to 15% on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods. Trump's comments came on a volatile day in his trade war. China started things off by announcing tariffs on $75 billion of US goods Friday morning. Just as the market was starting to calm down, Trump made two tweets that further rattled investors. The first ordered American companies to find alternatives to doing business in China, and the second wondered who is the bigger enemy: Chinese President Xi Jinping or US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Trump also tweeted his justification for taking on China over trade, saying it is something that was long overdue.

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Investigation Nation: Mueller, Russiagate, and Fake Politics

Washington Examiner So the Mueller investigation is over. The official “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2...