This is all so embarrassing—as an American and an advocate of Constitutional government, I’M embarrassed, and those perpetrating this fiasco have more to be embarrassed about than I do by far— and ridiculous that I am at a loss to describe it fairly. My head-exploding graphics don’t do it justice, and a mere train wreck photo is inadequate. I’m not even certain where to place the focus.
I was tempted to concentrate on the now not rationally disputable fact that if you can read Pelosi’s comments yesterday and consider Greg Sargent’s and Brian Klaas’s columns in the Washington Post and not think, “Holy Cow! These people have completely lost their minds!” you have passed, as the Phantom of the Opera was fond of saying, the point of no return, and your Trump hate and derangement have digested your brain.
This is so, so obvious now, but that’s not an ethics framing, and I’m looking for that. I was thinking about designating the entire Democratic Congress as “Incompetent Elected Officials Of The Month,” but that doesn’t quite encompass the enormity of what we are witnessing. Similarly, calling the Post’s self-evident decision to put bringing down Trump over all professional standards as well as law, justice and common sense is minimized by calling it mere “mainsteam media bias,” as the Ethics Alarms tag would have it. This is more than that. This is a public display of insanity by those incapable of realizing what craziness is any more.
Did Donald Trump really drive them to this? “Mr. [Trump], are you that smart?”
Let’s start with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said
“Don’t tell anybody I told you this: Trump is goading us to impeach him. That’s what he’s doing. Every single day, he’s just like, taunting and taunting and taunting…We can’t impeach him for political reasons, and we can’t not impeach him for political reasons.We have to see where the facts take us.”
I could have made this gallactically unethical statement an”Unethical Quote of The Month,” but again, that would trivialize its significance. Of course, the statement begins with a “Comnnie Chung,” an intentionally contradictory “don’t tell anyone I told you this”–what is that? A joke? A signal that Pelosi doesn’t take her own party’s impeachment mania seriously? I have no idea.
I do know, however, that the statement that the President is goading and taunting Democrats into impeaching him is as close as we will ever get to an outright admission that the President’s “high crimes and misdemeanors” consist of his being himself, daring to win the office, and existing on the planet. I’ve checked the POTUS twitter feed: he’s not talking about impeachment “every day” or saying anything that could rationally be interpreted as aimed at trying to goad Congress into taking that step. “The resistance” regards the President’s existence as enough to justify impeachment. This is Pelosi’s Impeachment Plan P, a Mobius strip, alternate universe theory that says, “We have to impeach him because he’s daring us to and if we don’t, we let him win, but we can’t, but then he’ll win!” [You can find and review Plans A-O here.]
Who in their right mind says things like this in public? It’s like saying “I am Monga, Empress of the Eels!” You only say it if you are confident your audience thinks you ARE Monga, or you risk a visit by the men in white coats.
Yet Pelosi’s statement gets worse. “We have to see where the facts take us”—what “facts?” An excessive, disruptive, falsely-reported and dubiously executed investigation provided the facts, and because they do not support impeachment, the Democrats want to look for more “facts,” they don’t know what, but they are sure they’ll justify impeachment. “Fariness, justice and competence” left the Democrats’ building long ago.
I’m now giving a spoiler on a post I’m working on about impeachment ethics, but this is not how impeachment works, was intended to work, or can work.
What the Constitution says and the Founders intended is that when a President, in office, commits “high crimes and misdemeanors” (“high” refers to crimes relating to the President’s high office, and also modifies “misdemeanors,” meaning that some acts by the President, because of his office and power, may be impeachable even if they are not technically crimes. They are misdemeanors in the general sense, not the legal sense: literally bad acts.), then it may be necessary to remove him from office because those acts make him inherently untrustworthy.
What the Democrats and “the resistance” have been trying to do since the 2016 election is the Bizarro World version of impeachment. Deciding immediately in the wake of their candidate’s defeat (based on no new information that the public didn’t have when it duly elected Trump) that the new President is untrustworthy and dangerous, they have been looking for something that could be used to impeach him. This was essentially what the post-Civil War Radical Republicans tried to do to President Andrew Johnson, and their near-miss failure has been interpreted by many historians (as well as “Profiles in Courage”) as saving the office of the Presidency and maybe the nation itself.
Pelosi’s statement has been mocked in various forums as “we have to pass a bill of impeachment to see what’s in it.”
Now let’s look at the Post’s pundits. Believe it or not, Greg Sargent makes this argument: The Democrats want to get Trump’s tax returns so they can look for something that might justify impeachment, but Trump might prevail in the courts and keep them private, because the courts could hold that Congress was “just rummaging through Trump’s returns to embarrass him and not for a legitimate legislative purpose.” That’s because this is exactly what Congress wants to do. (I think that the courts rejecting the House’s subpoena is more than possible; it’s virtually certain.)
Democrats dare not take the chance that a court would reject its demand for Trump’s tax documents, because that loss would make Democrats look bad right before the 2020 elections. Ah, but if the Democrats start proceedings to impeach Trump first and then demand the tax returns as part of the inquiry, then they have a “legitimate purpose” to seek the returns!”
There it is: Impeachment Plan Q! Impeach Trump to get his taxes, and then use those taxes to impeach him! Brilliant!
Sargent says, in full derangement mode,
“Not getting Trump’s returns would allow him to get away with one of his most blatant acts of contempt for transparency, for the separation of powers and for the notion that basic accountability should apply to him at all.”
What? When did not providing the public with tax returns become an impeachable offense, since every President before Nixon did exactly that? Accountability for what? The IRS under multiple administrations examined Trump’s returns, and did not find any crimes. Sargent is just giving us “resistance” blather. Ann Althouse calls it “histrionic,” also a good word, and nicer than “nuts.” She writes,
“If the courts took the position Sargent is afraid of, it would be because the court was enforcing separation of powers, limiting Congress to the legislative role and protecting the Executive power from encroachment. Trump isn’t showing “contempt” for separation of powers. He’s taking a position on separation of powers. That position would either win or lose in court, and the court would give the final answer on the meaning of separation of powers.”
Greg Sargent is the model of rationality, however, compared to colleague Brian Klaas, who issues one false theory after another:
“So here’s a question for congressional leaders: Precisely how many crimes does someone have to commit before impeachment hearings are warranted? Does the person in question get a pass if it’s three or fewer? Was there some clause in the Constitution that I missed that says it’s okay for the president to direct a criminal conspiracy in certain circumstances? Is there a Federalist Paper that says the president can commit tax fraud so long as it was years ago, or that obstruction of justice is fair game so long as it happens on Twitter? To oppose impeachment hearings now, you have to believe that the president allegedly engaging in three separate categories of criminal acts isn’t serious enough to even consider impeachment. Really?”
How did a Post editor let this get published? There was no “conspiracy”; the Mueller report was unambiguous on that accusation. The “resistance’s” response is denial at this point, and to keep repeating Big Lies.
Where’s the “tax fraud”? The IRS’s job is to find tax fraud, and didn’t. Trump doesn’t fill out his own returns, and they were presumably examined with unusual care by the agency charged with that responsibility. How dare this hack state as fact that Trump engaged in tax fraud? Oh, he just “knows.” How many times have I heard that justification for impeachment?
And the obstruction claim…there’s no precedent in law or history for punishing opinions, tweeted or otherwise, as “obstruction of justice.” The Justice Department reviewed the evidence and determined that the obstruction theory was weak, ergo no obstruction of justice. Nor was there any underlying crime to try to cover-up by obstruction, and the investigation was not, in fact, obstructed in any way.
It is true that “the resistance” has become completely unhinged gradually, and it may be difficult to see the exact moment of complete detachment from reality, since the movement was hardly rational to begin with. Nonetheless, that moment has definitely arrived
24 thoughts on “And “The Resistance” Jumps The Shark! Pelosi Announces Mind-Bending Impeachment Plan P, and The Washington Post Launches Plan Q”
Jack wrote, “Ann Althouse calls it “hsitrionic,” also a good word, and nicer than “nuts.””
Along those lines…
I have alreday fixed the spelling of “histrionic”—
I didn’t even notice it.
On the other hand, I prolably won’t correct “alreday”….
Stop it. You know I find great delight in people misspelling words while correcting misspelled words.
Brian Klaas wrote, “To oppose impeachment hearings now, you have to believe that the president allegedly engaging in three separate categories of criminal acts isn’t serious enough to even consider impeachment. Really?” (Bold Mine For Emphasis)
It’s my personal opinion: that line of thinking alone is proof that Brian Klaas is an imbecile.
This is the United States of America; we do not condemn someone because that person has “allegedly” engaged criminal acts, we condemn someone because it’s proven using evidence that that person actually committed criminal acts.
Brian Klaas seems to think that people are guilty simply because they are accused.
The idea that accused is tantamount to actual guilt has been popular for quite some time now. “If he wasn’t guilty, the DA would not have charged him” is a steep hill for defense council to scale. Its even tougher to deal with in the political arena.
…and is a socialist hallmark
And its corollary: if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.
I think those that are actually innocent should ask for a bench trial in most cases. I do not think most juries apply beyond a reasonable doubt like they should. Too often it’s only the “probably did it” level applied far too often.
But wait — didn’t you say that “high crimes and misdemeanors” had to be done while in office? That leaves like one year of tax filings which would be relevant to an impeachment investigation, if your reading of the clause is correct (and I think it is).
So as evidence for impeachment, none of the pre-election “crimes,” assuming they exist and can be proven off tax return information to at least a preponderance of evidence standard, would be relevant in an impeachment inquiry, would they?
Well, also, I can’t remember when Congress passed a law or regulation making the release of tax documents required. So it’s hard to see under what rubric this could be described as a “high crime or misdemeanor.” And from an ethics standpoint, isn’t this just a derivative of the “everyone does it” rationalization?
When all you have is a hammer…
I think this disaster deserves its own category, one which quite possibly (hopefully!) will have only one entry. You could call it, “The Ethics 9th circle of Hell.”
Once a friend called me to confess he had been cheating on his fiancee. He wanted to know what I thought he should do. I told him, life, as near as I can tell, is about redemption. I counseled him to confess and, by their mutual faith in a Redeemer, beg her to allow him a lifetime to penitentially prove his remorse. He did what I recommended. She agreed and they have been happily married to this day.
Why the story?
I regularly wonder if the resistance will ever be remorseful or seek redemption. I’m not sure how much further they can carry on this mentally ill charade, inciting followers to perpetrate evil upon any who dare disagree. They already have congressional blood on their hands. Do they need to reach the Oppenheimer moment before realizing what they have wrought?
I think what we’re seeing is the result of spending far too much time in an echo chamber. The narrative, the Big Lie, has been repeated so often and is so firmly affirmed in the leftist arena that I honestly think they truly believe the Big Lie themselves. The reverberations then continue to propel them forward, emboldening them as they continue to mistake the echoes for reality. The louder they shout, the louder the echoes come back to them, encouraging them to shout even louder. As long as any opposing opinion is sufficiently muted, there will be no dampening effect on the echoes. At some point, everything will spiral sufficiently out of control that reality will reassert itself, but the only question is when.
I didn’t think we’d seen the last plan with Plan O, and I’m willing to hedge that P and Q are not the penultimate and ultimate schemes that will be concocted in the months to come.
If so, Plans R and S will seem like they came from Oz, “the Upside Down” or Cloud Kuckoo Land.
That’s the nature of defying reality. Eventually you’re forced to adopt increasingly bizarre ideas to explain why your theory keeps failing to match reality. Of course, I’m thinking in terms of scientific theories that eventually went the way of the dodo, like phlogiston or the epicycles used to explain the retrograde of Mercury. With those, the defenders of those theories were forced to stretch time and again to produce ad hoc explanations as new evidence kept mucking up the scene. I’m particularly fond of scientists theorizing that, since some burned material weighed more than the material they started with, phlogiston must have negative mass. Yeah, that makes sense, right?
I’m just wondering if the next step after this supposed Constitutional crisis is that the Divine is demanding the removal of Trump from office, or if there are still intervening steps. I would think psychologist would be having a heyday with this clinical study evolving before their eyes.
Jack wrote: If so, Plans R and S will seem like they came from Oz, “the Upside Down” or Cloud Kuckoo Land.
Just imagine what things will look like once we’ve rolled through the alphabet and reached Plan CC.
Ryan Harkins wrote, “I think what we’re seeing is the result of spending far too much time in an echo chamber. The narrative, the Big Lie, has been repeated so often and is so firmly affirmed in the leftist arena that I honestly think they truly believe the Big Lie themselves. The reverberations then continue to propel them forward, emboldening them as they continue to mistake the echoes for reality. The louder they shout, the louder the echoes come back to them, encouraging them to shout even louder. As long as any opposing opinion is sufficiently muted, there will be no dampening effect on the echoes.”
PRINCIPLES OF PROGRESSIVE GOEBBELISM
Dang, that didn’t nest under Ryan’s comment properly. Arrgh!
Zoltar, does Progressive Goebbelism this address the case when you tell a lie often enough, you start to believe it?
First, by thinking the thoughts that I think when I notice certain things that are written here on this blog, I admit to feeling a type of guilt. The reason I feel this guilt — as if I am doing something wrong — is that often I receive condemnation (and of course insult) for mentioning the things that I do. But, I resolve each time (and more and more) to keep expressing what I think and against the opposition I receive.
What I notice in the above paragraph is a clear and lucid description of how The Other (the one that is not our own self) is involved in deception and lie. It is clearly seen and clearly described. It is also seen and understood as a psychological condition:
“I would think psychologist would be having a heyday with this clinical study evolving before their eyes”.
I remember when I first came on this Blog that Spartan, after a routine interrogation of me (having to do with my views about race and also about sexuality), quickly decided that I suffered psychological problems and should seek treatment. It was not a joke, because this is actually how many people actually see things. To put it in stark terms it goes like this: These people are not seeing the world (life, value, ethics, morals, etcetera) as I do and this is because of a psychological and perceptual defect: a mental illness that could, if *treatment* were provided, ‘get better’. At every juncture, over a period of 5 years, one person or another makes the same assessment as part of their (er-hem) *argumentation*. These are the Big Armaments that are brought out against the enemies of a particular groupthink.
It seems to me that simply by stating what I just did, and making it plain, that no more commentary would be needed. That is, a thoughtful person would recognize the implications. But this is not the case. Here, a sort of groupthink operates, and the platform upon which it is constructed in a sort-of form of American Conservatism. I do not know how else to define it and am forced to employ an imperfect generalization. Yet, this so-called ‘Conservatism’ is not really conservative. It is more properly a form of Progressivism. And having already explained why this is so (ten dozen times) I will avoid spelling it out, again.
Echo-chamber did you say? That means a space in which one only hears, and only subjects oneself to, the views and ideas one has accepted as ‘correct’.
The Big Lie did you say? Over the last year or so — if I may be allowed to speak topically — Zoltar has developed a critique of the American Left based on a Nazi-condemnation structure. Progressive Goebbelism! It is a seductive trope, and what he means by it is not lost on a thinking person, and yet it is based in a sort of absolutist perspective (and for that reason is especially seductive). I suggest that the problem with that absolutist reduction is that it shields the one who uses it from the necessity of self-examination. The enemy is seen clearly and condemned in absolute terms. But one’s own self, and one’s own complicity, is kept hidden from oneself. Therefore: self-deceptive.
Now comes the really hard part for dyed-in-the-wool American Conservative patriots! The suggestion that what America has become, from top to bottom, is a complex, interwoven, maddeningly complex System of Lies through which a kind of Big Lie is perpetrated. Whew! There! I said it. It did not burn my lips nor did Zeus strike me down with a fiery bolt! I stand! I speak! The Media Systems, rational propaganda, the presentation of distorted truths, unscrupulous war-making, collusion between business and government, social engineering: all of these things can be brought out, viewed & discussed. And one of the primary areas where a specific form of ‘Big Lie’ can be discussed is in the contrast — the gulf — between Constitutional Value and how such essential values have been subverted through processes of corruption. I suggest: if one cannot see this even as a possibility, one is blinded, and thus under the spell of (a form of) Big Lie.
So — and this is interesting to me — the statement that Ryan makes can be *turned around*. That is, the ‘lens of examination’ can be moved from the external object to the internal subject.
Where am I ‘locating’ myself (one might ask…) if I am not definitively taking one side nor the other? That is, if I am not agreeing with the general platform of American Conservatism and coming out with an open condemnation of American Leftism? Well the answer is not complex: both are part-and-parcel of a corrupt and corrupting system; a system entering a decadent stage. One could refer to the Spengerian notion of Caesarism (this can be googled for a fuller picture, I include here a reference to Caesarism taken from a Ha’Aretz article):
I deliberately chose a left-leaning quote because, as I see things, each side is peering at the other with squinting, paranoid eyes, projecting onto them and failing to see their own self and their ‘complicity’.
America quite some time ago became an Empire and sacrificed itself as a Constitutional Republic. Anyone who has read what I write (my ‘pseudo-intellectualism’ as Dragon recently referred to it!) will know that I view this as coming about through a military-industrial subversion of republican forms. We now live in the result of that process and under a sort of régime. What this régime is and how it subsumes us all requires effort to describe.
Few I take it will understand what I try to point to here. But I am ‘duty-bound’ — as a citizen — to force myself to express myself.
Alizia wrote “It is a seductive trope, and what he means by it is not lost on a thinking person, and yet it is based in a sort of absolutist perspective (and for that reason is especially seductive).”
You’re making a claim that I’m looking at the political left (I specifically talk about progressives and social justice warriors no blanketing the political left) from an “absolutist perspective”? I think that’s another one of your trolling type of twists on reality to suck people down your rabbit hole. What I’m seeing coming from progressives and social justice warriors is literally an “absolutist perspective” to the point of being totalitarians.
Here’s a fact for you Alizia; a lie about Trump is still a lie even if 100% of the anti-Trumpers believe it.
The extreme wing of the political left, progressives, have honed their skills at presenting their blatant lies in the form of innuendo infused propaganda and unethical rationalizations and their loyal followers swallow it up whole and believe it all hole-heartedly without a moment of critical thinking. That’s why I coined the phrase Progressive Goebbelism; if you want to challenge the core of that Progressive Goebbelism opinion then do so over where I posted it no sense in going down that rabbit hole on Jacks blog. Please try to challenge it without all your usual generalities, tangents and cosmic puzzles that you insert into the mix. Focus Alizia, focus.
where I posted
Alizia wrote “I suggest that the problem with that absolutist reduction is that it shields the one who uses it from the necessity of self-examination. The enemy is seen clearly and condemned in absolute terms. But one’s own self, and one’s own complicity, is kept hidden from oneself. Therefore: self-deceptive.”
That is a perfectly reasonable way to describe a huge swath of the political left but particularly accurate when it comes to progressives and social justice warriors. I don’t think that description comes even close to describing me and I discount the premise of the argument as an ad hominem; however, if you can prove it I’ll read it and I might even choose to reply to your proof.
It’s hard, I know. There is a cost involved in keeping on insisting. But I cannot turn away from it nor can I deny what I see. Unfortunately, the structure of this Blog is that it does not allow extended interchanges on one theme or topic. It is like writing on a swift-moving river! Every day brings new Images that glimmer on the Wall of the Cave.
I try to point out that the US (and also Europe) is approaching — and somewhat well into — a crisis. It is a shared crisis and not just a crisis on the Left or among SJWs. That is why I tried to point out that “absolutist reduction […] shields the one who uses it from the necessity of self-examination”.
I see a great deal of shielding from self-examination among those who are American Conservative patriots. And as you know I see American Conservatism as part of the problem that we are facing in the present. They are, on the whole, Progressives who are just somewhat right of the center, and the center is defined by American Progressives. So, in my own case and part of my own project is to attempt to define, to get clear about, what a real conservatism might be. I am not the first by any stretch to attempt to make this definition. All the ideas about it were dealt with (or put out on the table) in the early part of the 20th century. Therefore: the references to Oswald Spengler, Ernst Junger, Julius Evola, Alain de Benoist, and then on to Pat Buchanan, Jared Taylor, Alexander Dugan, Greg Johnson: these are the people who have taken it upon themselves to attempt corrections to the perversions of hyper-liberalism and the specific breed of it in American Conservatism (::: laughs :::)
Fake, pseudo-conservatives need to be ‘schooled’ — as Michael West arrogantly and snidely remarks — about what are the ‘real roots’ of real conservatism. It is not the war-mondering, Constitutionally destructive, self-deceptive subservience to the State and its machinations that is often broadcast here, but an intellectual undertaking that requires a profound moral and ethical initial stance. Something requiring spiritual and intellectual seriousness. Not brash and endless complaining and blaming. It is not a duty that I relish but to confront a certain kind of intellectual arrogance one notices in American conservative circles must be undertaken! It is not easy for me, but I do my best.
You are not the topic of my critique, Zoltar. You are just one of hundreds of thousands of people who seem to exist under a régime of thought. I mention you because you illustrate, rather starkly, a peculiar blind-spot. If you come to see it, that would be good I reckon. If not, it’s no big deal. All that you need to understand about what I do is simply that I am trying; trying to understand things that are difficult to see and understand. The things I say are offered in good faith. I regret that my ideas clash with some who write here. But such is to be expected in an intellectual environment and especially at such a startlingly dangerous juncture.
[I read your post on your Blog and it nicely illustrates the point I try to make. Don’t give up on trying to understand what I say, and I won’t give up trying to explain, though a dislocate my jaw and sprain my wrists with adamant gesticulations]. 🙂
Oops, I forgot to delete that extra “where I posted” where I created the text link to insert in the paragraph above it.