The “Resistance” Is Desperate To Hide The Fact That Their Attempted Coup Is One. Don’t Let Them Get Away With it.

“A coup by any other name would still be a coup, and would still stink” WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. (Well, he said something like that….)..

Just for the record, I’ve been calling this a “coup” all along. For some reason Facebook yesterday was stuffed with the specious and technical arguments that the Democratic Party/ “resistance”/mainstream media alliance’s efforts to find a way to remove the elected President literally from the moment he was elected (bringing those objective TV anchors and reporters to tears), and now finally culminating in a contrived impeachment hearing, is not accurately called a coup. “But it’s not through military violence!” “But if Trump is removed, it would make Pence President, so there’s no regime change!” I’ve explained before that what is being attempted meets the exact definition a “soft coup,” and thus that saying this isn’t an attempted coup is like saying a scrambled egg isn’t an egg.

This side of the ideological divide, as we know, thrives on word games and deceitful framing: heaven forbid that the public grasps what is going on under their noses.

It is particularly annoying when I am told that by one of the Facebook Borg whose understanding of the traditions  and institution of the Presidency extends to what they have been told by Rachel Maddow lectures me that by using “coup” I am mouthing Fox News “talking points.” First, I don’t watch Fox News; second, Fox News has its share of pro-impeachment fans (making it more balanced than any other network, all of which appear to lack any prominent on-air employees who are not coup-collaborators), notably fake “judge” Napolitano,  and third, most notable of all, Ethics Alarms began using the term “coup” while most critics (and Presient Trump) were throwing around “fishing expedition” and “witch hunt.”

Maybe the pundits who are suddenly using coup secretly read Ethics Alarms. That would be encouraging.  In that spirit, here is a summary of Victor Davis Hanson’s ten reasons (to which number he adds “at least”) the current impeachment effort is in fact a coup, in a column yesterday in the New York Post adapted from a piece in the National Review:

1) Impeachment 24/7. The “inquiry,” supposedly prompted by President Trump’s Ukrainian call, is only the most recent coup seeking to overturn the 2016 election….

2) False whistleblowers. The “whistleblower” is no whistleblower by any common definition of the noun. He has no incriminating documents, no information at all. He doesn’t even have firsthand evidence of wrongdoing…

3) First-term impeachment. The Clinton and Nixon inquiries were directed at second-term presidencies, when there were no more electoral remedies for alleged wrongdoing. By contrast, Trump is up for election in less than a year. Impeachment, then, seems a partisan exercise in either circumventing a referendum election or in damaging a president seeking re-election.

Excellently and concisely put.

4) No special-counsel finding. In the past, special counsels have found felonious presidential behavior, such as cited in Leon Jaworski’s and Ken Starr’s investigations. By contrast, special counsel Robert Mueller spent 22 months and $35 million, and yet his largely partisan law and investigative team found no “collusion” and no actionable presidential obstruction of that non-crime.

5) No bipartisanship. There was broad bipartisan support for the Nixon impeachment inquiry and even some for the Clinton impeachment. There is none for the Schiff impeachment effort.

6) No high crimes or misdemeanors. There is no proof of any actual crime. Asking a foreign head of state to look into past corruption is pro forma. That Joe Biden is now Trump’s potential rival doesn’t exculpate possible wrongdoing in his past as vice president, when his son used the Biden name for lucrative gain…

7) Thought crimes? Even if there were ever a quid, there is no quo: Unlike the case of the Obama administration, the Trump administration did supply arms to Ukraine, and the Ukrainians apparently did not reinvestigate the Bidens.

8) Double standards

…as Ethics Alarms has been pointing out repeatedly.

9) The Schiff factor. Schiff is now de facto chief impeachment prosecutor. He has repeatedly lied about the certainty of impending Mueller indictments or bombshells. He flat-out lied that he and his staff had no prior contact with the whistleblower. He made up a version of the Trump call that didn’t represent the transcript, and when called out, he begged off by claiming he was offering a “parody.”…

10) Precedent. The indiscriminate efforts to remove Trump over the past three years, when coupled with the latest impeachment gambit, have now set a precedent in which the out party can use impeachment as a tool to embarrass, threaten or seek to remove a sitting president and reverse an election. We are witnessing constitutional government dissipating before our eyes.

There is a memorable moment in the musical 1776 when Pennsylvania delegate John Dickinson demands that the newly drafted declaration be edited to omit a reference calling King George a tyrant.  (Dickinson did not do this, and while he opposed independence, believing that the effort would end in disaster, he was not a loyalist as the musical presented him. The plot needed a villain, and Dickinson, a true patriot and an important Founder, was libeled to make him one. ) Thomas Jefferson retorts, “The king is a tyrant whether we say so or not. We might as well say so.”

This is a coup attempt whether we say so or not. We might as well say so

71 thoughts on “The “Resistance” Is Desperate To Hide The Fact That Their Attempted Coup Is One. Don’t Let Them Get Away With it.

  1. Can the entrenched position of the resistance, the primary national news media outlets and a fairly solid 44% (perhaps more) of the electorate be brought to see what they are doing to damage (and eventually destroy) our representative republic? Many among them are actively seeking our destruction, so they are lost.

    How do we bring this point home without having it devolve into violence?

    Keep waiting for them to arrive at an aha moment, but it hasn’t materialized. Instead they seem to almost mindlessly and automatically double down on their prior mistakes. It almost seems they operate the way compulsive liars compound their errors with bigger less credible whoppers. Their detachment from reality is truly frightening. Does anyone see an aha moment on the horizon before the election?

    Have recently been subjected to long streams of MSNBC reporting and find myself astonished at how it appears to be news from an alternate reality. Does anyone there recognize this?

    Total despondent about our future as a nation because it seems we haven’t one anymore.

  2. Literally none of those reasons reinforces labeling this process as a coup – it’s neither illegal nor unconstitutional. You have a list of reasons why you don’t like the process or reasons why you don’t think he should be impeached. You don’t have to agree or like it, but calling it a coup is hyperbolic & diminishes your credibility.

    • It is illegal, because it is not following the Constitutional definition of what is impeachable. That makes it also unconstitutional. It is also illegal because the “crimes” being claimed are not crimes by any previous precedent.

      You want more? As one legal commentator (and I) pointed out, this process has violated the prohibition against bills of attainders. New laws and new interpretations of laws have been contrived to “get” this President. Here was a passage from an excellent legal analysis I referred to a while back:

      “There is no evidence on the public record that Mr. Trump has committed an impeachable offense. The Constitution permits impeachment only for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The Founders considered allowing impeachment on the broader grounds of “maladministration,” “neglect of duty” and “mal-practice,” but they rejected these reasons for fear of giving too much power to Congress. The phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” includes abuses of power that do not constitute violations of criminal statutes. But its scope is limited.”

      Andrew Johnson was railroaded, but at least he technically defied the law, though it was an unconstitutional law. Nixon engineered a cover-up of a an unquestioned crime. Clinton lied under oath and also engineered the cover-up of evidence, and lied to a grand jury, also under oath. All of these justified impeachment inquiries, and I believe Presidents who commit impeachable offenses should be impeached, if not convicted in every case. But the crime comes first, not the determination to seek some pretense for removal. That’s abuse of the law and constitution, That’s a coup.

      And it’s not hyperbolic. Calling Trump’s conduct impeachable is hyperbolic…and dangerous.

      • And what do YOU think “high crimes & misdemeanors” means? There’s certainly not a consensus. Are you arguing that the process is illegal based on Jack Marshall’s definition? From your own response “The phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” includes abuses of power that do not constitute violations of criminal statutes. But its scope is limited.” Scope is limited to what? Who gets to say? Again, you are in disagreement with an interpretation – doesn’t make it illegal. Doesn’t make this a coup.

        • As I have said, it is an interpretation that suddenly calls typical and common Presidential conduct that many, many MANY previous Presidents have engaged in—including Obama–without serious objection or consequences. Yes, I object to floating and double standards contrived as a political ploy to “get” any President. Not using variable standards to undo elections isn’t “my” subjective vlues, it is basic justice, fairness and legal integrity. I’m not in disagreement with an “interpretation,” because it isn’t a good faith interpretation. The problem is the bad faith.

          And denying that bad faith, frankly, is itself evidence of bias and corruption—or deliberate dishonesty.

          • Well, I’m not going to touch “typical & common conduct”, because, respectfully, I think you’re out of your gourd on that one.

            You didn’t give me your definition of high crimes & misdemeanors (there isn’t one!) and you still aren’t giving any evidence that anything is illegal except by trying to claim that precedence creates an ironclad definition of what you’re calling legal integrity. That’s not a legal argument and is not supported by anything I can find beyond, again, opinions. Facts don’t care about your feelings, as some like to say.

            But let me try a different question: Let’s say that tomorrow, Trump came out and said “Alright, you got me – I admit that I held up aid appropriated by congress in hopes that I could get Ukraine to publicly open an investigation into the Bidens, and I did it because I thought it would help me secure reelection.” Obviously that won’t happen, and obviously you don’t believe that to be the case. But go with me here – IF we knew that was exactly what had happened – would you consider that an impeachable offense? It’s a simple yes or no – what do you think?

            • I’ll answer your question in one word: no.

              A few more words:
              Vice President Biden threatened holding up actual aid to the actual Ukrainian government in order to get them to shut down an actual investigation into the Bidens, probably because Joe Biden needed it closed down to possibly help secure his own election in the future. That’s extortion. Then the Vice President came home and told everyone how he gave an ultimatum to the Ukrainians and threatened them to get what he wanted.

              If Vice President Biden can actually commit the same “crime” for which our President is being accused and Democrats say “nothing to see here”, then they have created a double-standard with regards to the law. Democrats simply want to remove a President they hate and they will do anything to accomplish that. “Soft coup” is a most appropriate term.

              • So we’re OK with a president using all the powers at his discretion in order to maintain said power? There are some mighty big implications to giving that a pass.

                Also, your statement about Biden/Trump is logically inconsistent (and factually incorrect).

                • “So we’re OK with a president using all the powers at his discretion in order to maintain said power?”

                  Weren’t you the one complaining about “hyperbole”?

                  Every President uses his power to “maintain said power” and has a duty top do so when the opposing party is illicly, cynically and abusively attempting to make wielding that power impossible.

                  • The scenario I described is a president doing just that – I hope we can agree on that, can’t we? That a president holding up appropriated aid in order to get a foreign government to do his political bidding is using his power to maintain his power? So are you going on record saying that you’re ok with that? Are there any limits to how a president can his use his power to benefit him or herself politically?

                    It you haven’t reviewed your own list of “Unethical Rationalizations and Misconceptions” in awhile, you should take a fresh look. It’s a good list! But your rationalizations are running afoul of a good number of them.

                • What Joe Biden did is exactly what he said he did…it’s been recorded. He told the Ukrainians that unless they fired the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Burisma Holdings (and by extension, his son Hunter), they weren’t getting a billion dollars in aid. For all intents and purposes, this is precisely the “crime” for which President Trump is being investigated – withholding aid in order to gain some advantage. If it isn’t a crime for the VP to do it, it’s not a crime for the President, either. My answer remains “no” – until such a time as Democrats in the House open an investigation into Joe Biden – then my answer may change.

                  • “until such a time as Democrats in the House open an investigation into Joe Biden – then my answer may change”

                    Well, at least you’re honest about your lack of principles! Don’t worry, according to Jack what Biden did is OK because it wasn’t illegal and it doesn’t matter why he chose to do it – it’s all good!

                    • You are wrong. I do not lack principles, though I admit to being a flawed.

                      What I have been suggesting all along is that the laws should be applied to both sides of the political aisle equally. Crime for one side is crime for the other. A crime leveled against the President should be leveled against the VP for what amounts to the same activity. If you believe the President committed a crime in his dealings with Ukraine, you pretty much are in a position of having to say the VP did as well.

                      I believe that’s being principled and applying law equally.

                      In truth, I believe that what Vice President Biden did was, in fact, not illegal on its face, though there are certainly questions that could be asked because of the linkages to his son. Had President Trump actually done the same thing as the VP – and Democrats are tying themselves up in knots trying to say he did – it would have been alright for him, too.

                      I believe that’s also being principled and applying law equally.

                      Nearly every form of aid given by one country to another comes pre-wired with an implicit notion that the country giving the aid will receive something in return – whether it’s stated or not. People don’t always give charitably with an expectation of receiving something back – nor should they…countries?…not so much.

                    • It Biden did what he appears to have done, the only reason it isn’t illegal is because the Executive Branch’s ethics regulations don’t officially apply to Vice Presidents. In principle, it is much closer to a bribe from a foreign power than anything the President has been accused of.

                    • Check the commenter rules above: putting words in my mouth is not appreciated, and may have serious consequences. Biden’s conflicts of interest and facilitating his son’s enrichment might have been serious corruption, and the US has every reason to investigate it. Why he did it—he loved his son! Or something—indeed does not matter; its too bad you don’t comprehend this principle. However, if you bothered to do your homework here (or read the masthead), the fact that it’s legal doesn’t make it “OK.”

                      But impeachment is too momentous and nationally shattering to base on the grays of leadership ethics, as the last three years should easily prove to an objective observer. Trump isn’t “OK,” and I’ve never said or believed he is “OK,” but not being “OK” isn’t impeachable. That, however, is essentially the standard the Democrats are pushing, and you, foolishly, are supporting.

            • “typical & common conduct” is 100% accurate. All Presidents used implied threats and pressure to get results they want from foreign governments, and all President’s mix their own political goals and interests with national goals.All. If you don’t realize this, then you haven’t studied Presidential history sufficiently to have this conversation.

              I don’t deal in dumb hypotheticals: 1) There is nothing illegal about “holding up” funds, as long as the funds are delivered, and they were. 2) In ethics we don’t generally don’t play the motives game. Most acts have mixed motives. If there was a legitimate reason to investigate the Bidens, and there was, and is, then why the President wanted it done is irrelevant, and certainly can’t make a legal act impeachable. What the President did is the issue. It didn’t matter why Nixon conspired in Watergate, he did. It doesn’t matter why Clinton lied under oath. He did. This is the illicit argument made in the Comey case—if Trump fires someone who deserves to be fired, it’s impeachable. If Trump uses pressure to get a foreign country to do what is in the nation’s best interests, it’s impeachable because it helps Trump.

              • “In ethics we don’t generally don’t play the motives game.” See: Marion Barry’s Misdirection, or “If it isn’t illegal, it’s ethical.“ How someone who is a self-proclaimed ethics expert thinks that motivation is not relevant is rather mind-boggling.

                I understand that you’re very mad at the democrats, but take a step back and look at the arguments you are making. They’re not great – they’re still primarily based on a personal perception & feelings. There’s no objective measuring stick on “what is in the nation’s best interest.”

                • 1. First warning: Do not call me a “self-proclaimed” ethics expert again, and you’re lucky I don’t suspend you. I am a recognized ethics expert; I am paid to be one; and it is my profession. That’s an ad hominem attack.

                  2. Motivation, I said, generally is irrelevant, and you picked a poor rationalization to argue otherwise. What Marion Barry did was 100% unethical, and he argued that it was not because it was LEGAL. This has nothing to do with motive. Whether someone is breaking a particular law often hinges on motive. Read a bit more, and you’ll hit “The Road to hell.’ Good motives do not make unethical conduct. ethical.

                  3. I don’t mind ethics ignorance from commenters, but you better not be snotty about it, at least to me. Goals and objectives matter in all ethical systems. Motives for pursuing those do not.

                  • “Whether someone is breaking a particular law often hinges on motive.” Well, I’m glad we can agree on something. Goals and objectives don’t exist in a bubble, and can’t exist without motive. When determining whether the use of powers as expansive as presidential powers are in fact abusive, you don’t think intent matters? If only goals & objectives should be considered – how do you take them into consideration? Who gets to define what an objective is based on an action taken? Your entire post is premised on the notion that you believe that the objective of investigating the president and holding him to account if the evidence unveils corruption, is being done in bad faith – that’s a motive-based argument. When it comes to corruption – is intent and motivation relevant or not?

                    • You’re wandering in the thicket of mind-reading and consequentialism. The only way to judge whether an act is right or wrong is to examine applicable ethics systems and determine if any of them, all of them, or none of them hold an act to be consistent with ethical values. A leader always is operating under some version of utilitarianism, usually a pretty extreme version by necessity. How do we “know” goals or intents? We often don’t, and won’t, except by the plain evidence of the act itself, and the stated purpose of the leader involved. If a law is clearly and obviously broken, that’s certainly a very strong, but not necessarily irrefutable, indication that an act was wrongful. Motives are personal needs and desires, what we call “non-ethical considerations.’ They tend to pollute all of our decisions, but their existence alter change the nature of an act itself.

              • Those seeking to impeach and remove choose to see the Trump’s intent of asking for an investigation as that of trying to improve his election chances.

                The same people also choose not to consider that the Executive Branch has a Constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws of the US as well as a fiduciary duty to ensure appropriated funds are not just expediciously distributed but also in accordance with all conditionalities, and not diverted to illicit purposes.

                Biden’s defenders claim the demand to fire the prosecuter was predicated on the above Constitutional fiduciary duty and backed up other European leaders. My question to them is why can they not give Trump the same benefit of the doubt. My conclusion is that they see it in their best political interest to dirty the opposition as much as possible through these taxpayer finded hearings. And now who is abusing their office?

                This is the most confounding problem in having a rational discussion . It is also contrary to our concept of innocent until proven guilty. By taking the position that Trump’s intent was to protect his personal interest without any direct evidence one pre-supposes guilt. Imagine if we started pre-supposing guilt on black suspects or assuming all males are probable rapists. It is not that far fetched that this could occur because it already is occurring.

        • And to answer your question, whatever it means, it does not mean “We really hate this guy’s policies and manner, and the fact that he defeated our incompetent and corrupt candidate pisses us off, plus we think his voters were racists and morons, so whatever he does, it’s per se impeachable because HE is doing it, even if other Presidents have routinely done the same thing” And, again, since you obviously haven’t been keeping up, here’s the full list of all the successive “crimes and misdemeanors” and legal contrivances that have been tried since November 2016:

          The List:

          Plan A: Reverse the election by hijacking the Electoral College. Theory: The elected President is unfit for office and the Founders would have hated him

          Plan B: Pre-emptive impeachment. Theory: The elected President had already committed impeachable crimes before he even ran for office, and also while he was running for office.

          Plan C : The Emoluments Clause. Theory: An obscure constitutional provision that had never been used, never been understood to apply to businesses owned by the Chief Executive, and which should have been raised, if at all, during the campaign, now disqualified Trump from the Presidency.

          Plan D: “Collusion with Russia” Theory: The Trump campaign, with his knowledge, had a deal with Russia to sabotage Hillay Clinton in exchange for policy rewards after Trump’s election.

          Plan E : ”Trump is mentally ill so this should trigger the 25th Amendment.” Theory: The old Soviet theory that anyone who disagrees with the authority, in this case, progressives, must be crazy.

          Plan F: The Maxine Waters Plan, which is to just impeach the President because Democrats want to, because they can. Theory: “Orange Man Bad!”

          Plan G : “The President obstructed justice by firing incompetent subordinates, and that’s impeachable.” Theory: An intentionally distorted version of “obstruction of justice.”

          Plan H: “Tweeting stupid stuff is impeachable.” Theory: “Orange Man Bad!”

          Plan I: “Let’s relentlessly harass him and insult him and obstruct his efforts to do his job so he snaps and does something really impeachable.” Theory: Self-explanatory.

          Plan J : Force Trump’s resignation based on alleged sexual misconduct that predated his candidacy. Theory: Orange Man Bad!”

          Plan K: Election law violations in pay-offs to old sex-partners. Theory: A creative and unprecedented interpretation of election laws,

          Plan L: The perjury trap: get Trump to testify under oath, then prove something he said was a lie. Theory: It worked with Clinton!

          Plan M: Guilt by association. Prove close associates or family members violated laws. Theory: Orange Man Bad!”.

          Plan N: Claim that Trump’s comments at his press conference with Putin were “treasonous.” Theory: Presidents can be impeached for what they say in a diplomatic context.

          Plan O: The Mueller Report proves the Trump is unfit for office even if it did not conclude that he committed any impeachable offenses. Theory: Orange Man Bad!”

          Plan P: “We have to impeach him because he’s daring us to and if we don’t, we let him win!” Theory: Orange Man is SO bad, that any reason to impeach him is good enough.

          Plan Q: Impeach Trump to justify getting his taxes, and then use the presumed evidence in his taxes to impeach him. Theory: Salem, Massachusetts Bay colony, 17th Century.

          Plan R: Rep. Adam Schiff announced on July 24 that President Trump should be impeached because he is “disloyal” to the country. Theory: “Orange Man Bad, and we’re getting desperate!”

          Plan S: Trump should be impeached because his call to Ukrainian President Zelensky was really an effort to shake down the Ukraine and force it to “find dirt” on Joe Biden, thus “interfering” in the 2020 election even though Biden hasn’t been nominated (and won’t be), even though a President has every justification to seek evidence of a prior administration’s wrongdoing in foreign relations, and even though there isn’t a whiff of a threat of quid pro quo in the only transcript of the call, and though such implied Presidential pressure for favors large and trivial are standard practice. Theory: What other Presidents have done for over two-hundred years are impeachable when Trump uses his power similarly.

    • Go ahead, explain this statement: Impeachment “is not just about something that has occurred, this is about preventing a potentially disastrous outcome from occurring next year,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) told CNN yesterday.

      How does that comport with a legal impeachment process?

      • I generally don’t defend AOC, because I disagree with her quite frequently, but you left out the preceding part of the quote: “We also need to move quite quickly because we’re talking about the potential compromise of the 2020 elections” – so she wasn’t talking about Trump’s reelection as being “a potentially disastrous outcome”, but the likelihood that he will again petition foreign gov’ts to help him in said election. Because….why wouldn’t he?

        If you’re gonna celebrate dunking on AOC, at least make sure the ball went through the hoop – she’ll give you plenty of opportunities.

        • “…but the likelihood that he will again petition foreign gov’ts to help him in said election.”

          I see what you did there with the word “again”. You are already assuming he actually petitioned the Ukrainians, using promised aid as leverage, to try to hurt a political foe and help his election chances.
          You’ve already judged in the matter.

          Presumption of guilt.

          • I’ve come to a conclusion based on the evidence presented (“I’d like you to do us a favor”), along with this from then-candidate Trump: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

            See also:
            “What you’re describing is a quid pro quo,” asserted a reporter. “We do that all the time,” replied Mulvaney. “Did he also mention to me the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about it. But that’s it. That’s why we held up the money … I have news for everybody: Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy.”

    • Note how joey repeats the device we frequently see from alleged dissenters: denial without substantive argument. “Literally” none of the substantive points raised support the coup argument, he says. Except they do, which is why, I’m guessing, he won’t venture to argue against them. Let’s just take one, Hanson’s first, and the one underlying the Ethics Alarms A-S plan list:

      1) Impeachment 24/7. The “inquiry,” supposedly prompted by President Trump’s Ukrainian call, is only the most recent coup seeking to overturn the 2016 election….

      That is indeed strong evidence of a coup attempt, and Joey doesn’t try to rebut it, he just denies it, and attributes the argument to bias.

      Here’s an analogy: if someone tried to kill an individual 18 separate times, would that be strong evidence or not that his real goal was to kill his target after he tried a 19th time, succeeds, and claims self-defense?

      MY credibility? Why isn’t Joey concerned about the impeachment mob’s credibility, when leaders like Maxine Waters have maintained that a mere House majority was all that was required for impeachment, along with the assertion that a President was “unfit”? After claiming falsely, and failing to make a persuasive case, regarding 18 previous forced and contrived impeachment claims, why would anyone begin with the assumption that #19 was magically legitimate and compelled action, rather than being a last ditch Hail Mary attempt?

      • So because people have previously said he is unfit, have called out previous corruption, have said that they want to use their constitutionally appointed powers to end said corruption, etc – that makes the yielding of the constitutionally appointed power….illegal? By calling it a coup you’re maintaining that something illegal is being done, and then using emotional arguments and weird non-sequitur to back it up.

        Furthermore, in this case, you’re using the same term you are trying to define by using the term itself. THIS is a coup because its ALWAYS been a coup. Do you see the problem there? It’s a coup because it’s not bipartisan! OK….and that makes it illegal how? One of the reasons cites the completely unrelated special counsel investigation! You want me to take the list seriously but I’m sorry, I really am having a hard time doing so.

        To quote noted liberal resistance front man David French: “Words have meaning, and impeachment isn’t a “coup.” A coup is an unlawful (often violent) seizure of power. Impeachment is a constitutional process that can’t succeed without the affirmative votes of, first, a majority of the House, and then, a supermajority of the Senate—and every person voting is a person who won an election, also according to constitutional process. Impeachment isn’t the dissipation of constitutional government, it’s the exercise of constitutional authority. “

        • JS, I refuse to believe you can’t distinguish between accepting a leader’s legitimacy and right to office, and then, when the elected leader’s unequivocal engagement in conduct meeting the Constitutional standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors” on the same scale as taking a bribe, taking the step of beginning the process of removing him from office, as a bipartisan measure in keeping with the duties of Congress, and deciding at the outset of a President’s term in office that one is committed to removing him without an election, and will constantly search for any pretense or justification for doing so on the assumption that he should never have been elected.

          The first is the Constitutional process, the second is an abuse and a distortion of it. “People have previously said he is unfit, have called out previous corruption, have said that they want to use their constitutionally appointed powers to end said corruption’ is an intellectually dishonest characterization. The proper analogy is a prosecutor: a prosecutor who began with the presumption that a citizen is a menace and sets about to find some way to justify an indictment is engaging in abuse of his or her powers. Once known, such an attitude would properly mandate a prosecutor’s removal from involvement in that individual’s matters because of a conflict of interest and bias. Any prosecution of the individual would be tainted and presumably invalid. That’s why Pelosi initailly said the impeachment would only proceed if it were bi-partisan (and then she broke her word.)

          It is said the impeachment is a political process, not a legal one. But the Founders who wrote the Constitutional provision didn’t assume the existence of political parties, and a purely partisan use of impeachment to remove an elected President was not in their thinking. You cannot deny that (foolishly, stupidly, dangerously), the same people seeking impeachment now signaled they would try any legal interpretation and any framing of this President’s actions, including acts traditionally accepted as within an elected President’s powers, to somehow, some way, justify removing him. That is an abuse of the Constitutional process. Since a Presient is sworn to protect the Constitution, any President facing this strategy has a duty to fight it. If it could be shown that this latest (Plan S) was not developed, conceived of and contrived not a means to remove an opposing party’s President, but was rather a fair reaction to a clear and undeniable violation of the Constitution and powers of the office that would trigger the need for impeachment in a Presidency operating under the assumption of good will—which all Presidencies must be granted by Congress in order to function—then it could not be called a soft coup.

          But it wasn’t, and it must be.

          • Your analogy is convenient for your argument and again based on your interpretation. Rather than “the presumption that a citizen is a menace” the prosecutor has reasonable suspicion (even admissions!) that abuses have been, and continue to be committed. You’re projecting what you believe to be bad faith motivation (which, according to you is not relevant when applying an ethical framework). And again – using words like “fair” weakens your argument because in this context its an emotional plea. And there are plenty of other legal analyses that argue what is being investigated here would be considered “clear and undeniable violation of the Constitution and powers of the office”. Just because Jack Marshall thinks those analyses & interpretations are “not fair” to the president, doesn’t make this illegal. If violating norms & “fairness” could rise to the level of criminality, Trump & many of his Republican buddies would have been convicted a long time ago. The powers of impeachment are being wielded legally & constitutionally. If the public ends up agreeing with you that they’re also being wielded “unfairly” then a political price will be paid.

            • No, the analogy is useful and clarifying, because that’s what is going on, however you deny it. The distinction that you “conveniently” choose to ignore is that between suspicion that a citizen is “bad” and thus should be harassed, surveilled, and presumed guilty of “something”—this is obviously and self evidently the approach of the Democrat/”resistance”/news media alliance—and suspicion, based on facts, law and precedent, that a specific wrongful act has taken place.

  3. If the Democrats are somehow successful, what will they have accomplished with their soft coup? Here are several undesirable things:

    1. Validating impeachment as a legitimate “out party” partisan move (already mentioned) and inviting a retaliation in kind at the next available opportunity;
    2. Demonstrating abject contempt for America’s electoral process that goes far beyond a desire to change it into their preferred method;
    3. Rejection of any precedent as binding on them;
    4. Further attempting, by extraconstitional use of a Constitutional means, to change the separation of powers in order to make the executive subject to the whims of the legislative. The chilling effect on the Presidency is bound to be severe, and debilitating;
    5. Rejecting the “norms” of Constitutional government in order to correct the perceived “Norm busting” of the President. In other words, fighting fire with fire or evil with evil. This never works.
    6. Forcing to Supreme Court to consider restoring the balance of powers by refereeing a political dispute in direct contradiction to their desire. Is there any doubt a removed President Trump will attempt to sue Congress for an illegitimate impeachment process lacking a viable “high crime or misdemeanor?”
    7. Rejecting the will of the American people as illegitimate because of 1, 2, and 6 above, to an end no one can foresee. Would a civil uprising to “altar or abolish” this attack on the Constitution be justified by our founding documents? I think so.

    I could go on, and in the end, most of this probably won’t happen because the coup is bound to fail. Still, it’s troubling to say the very least.

  4. Napolitano’s behavior is evidence that Trump chose wisely when he did not choose him.

    Actually, the vote to proceed with the inquiry was technically bipartisan. Two D’s sided with the R’s not to move forward with the inquiry. The D’s got no such support from the R’s to proceed.

    The vote was bipartisan as Nancy said it must be but the vote did not go the way she wanted it to go. Nonetheless they still had enough votes for the partisan game.

    I still have to ask, why do the D’s suggest the Bidens are to be shielded from any legitimate investigation of what is obviously an appearance of impropriety. Is Joe above the law? If there is no wrongdoing by the Bidens they have nothing to fear (snark) by cooperating and being fully forthcoming – right?

  5. This will end badly, as many actually believe in the logic free, precedent free, change the rules (and laws!) after the fact to make political opposition criminal like joey does above.

    joey is an object lesson: you are not allowed to disagree with the progressive narrative, and to do so must be gaslighted, as joey demonstrated above.

    • who’s on criminal trial?

      And I never advocated changing any rules – my entire point was that when it comes to impeachment, there are very few “rules” or “laws” to guide the process – and what does exist is highly subject to interpretation. So calling the impeachment process a coup is silly, and up to this point only emotional arguments have been made to support such a claim.

      • Strip away the time Trump has been President to the time he was simply President-elect. I arrived at my newly purchased home to find a professionally printed poster pasted in my neighbor’s window in orange and white simply saying, Impeach Trump. Jack’s point is simple, impeaching Trump has been the goal from before day one and the many iterations of impeachment beginning prior to his inauguration are evidence of seeking the unethical overturning of the 2016 election.

        You don’t like the term coup? Fine. Whatever it is, it is not a real impeachment. How about predetermined political criminalization? After all, he was apparently judged to be guilty before he ever took office.

      • Joey writes:

        I understand that you’re very mad at the democrats, but take a step back and look at the arguments you are making. They’re not great – they’re still primarily based on a personal perception & feelings. There’s no objective measuring stick on “what is in the nation’s best interest.”

        It seems to me that you have hit here on discovering ‘motive’ in the extreme animus that has developed (been concocted I suggest) in a nation-wide effort to vilify President Trump. There seems to be a sense — to put it rather mildly — that the presidency of D. Trump is, more or less absolutely, ‘not in the nation’s best interest’, and on this assertion which has become a certainty, popular opinion is rallied against him, but then so too there seems to be a who series of ‘back-stage’ efforts to undo his presidency. To ‘undo a presidency’ through back-stage efforts — efforts and machinations that appear nefarious — is I think where the notion of a ‘coup-in-progress’ arises. If this is true — it appears to be true — then the real motive for attempting to undermine Trump’s presidency is to be found not in what they have concocted today, but in the machinations going on behind-scenes.

        If this is so then the larger issue is what it means for a republic and in a republic when powerful factions use their power and influence to subvert the legal foundation on which that presidency rests. This is where the real danger is located.

        But as this effort to subvert or undermine a presidency — and therefore the presidency of the republic — is carried out, I wonder if illegal acts have occurred in these back-stage machinations? Acts that violate laws. I suspect that no, nothing that is overt. For a conspiracy to do whatever is possible to take out a president, without breaking the laws, must be seen as part of the political struggle of a democracy, I guess.

        But I think that Jack’s larger argument is that the effect of this *coup-like* effort will have, and must have, dramatic effect in the long run. It amounts to a people seeming to agree to subvert their own Constitution because a (large) faction seem honestly to believe this presidency and this president are truly bad for the nation. (And their argument, it seemed to me, hinges on the idea that it is good and necessary to *take out* a dangerous leader, even in a democratic society, who may do some damage that they suspect will occur. This is ‘Trump-as-Hitler’ essentially).

        Note: I have reduced this post from its original 8,466 words which included hexameter Latin verse, to this abbreviated version. 🙂

          • And yet — this seems undeniable, at least in my view — the entire structure of the attempt to usurp a president, because he is seen as ‘not good for the country’ (which their core argument and has been from the beginning), can certainly result in undermining of a constitution and our Constitution.

            Therefore, the question arises: Is what the Democrats are doing (and an entire faction of the country, both of citizens and of power-factions, political and economic) in truth — itself — ‘good for the country’.

            Yes, they can use those powers in their effort to sully him or unseat him, and this is not illegal. But is it ethical? If it is not illegal, must it be seen as necessarily ethical?

            1) It is made to seem ethical and good, but in truth it isn’t.
            2) It really is ethical and good and honestly necessary.

      • who’s on criminal trial?

        Why, the elected Democrat officials! Name a civil case that involves jail time… it has been suggested that they want to imprison Trump on many occasions. Have you not been paying attention? Or are you simply attempting to gaslight the deplorables?

        And I never advocated changing any rules

        Bullshit. Ever heard of the rules about actually having evidence, not hearsay from a CIA Obama insider placed to spy on the White House, who did not actually hear anything himself, just repeated alleged water cooler talk about ‘Orange Man bad?’ How about including the minority party in House committee sessions while witnesses are coached to make the worst possible case? How about the right to confront your accuser? Democrats (and the Swamp) have twisted every rule they can, simply to persecute a politician they don’t like.

        very few “rules” or “laws”… highly subject to interpretation

        Remember these words when the GOP lowers themselves to do the same thing the Democrats have done, and the next Democrat POTUS is escorted from the building in disgrace. Remember the ‘Nuclear Option?’ Thanks to the Swamp, we now have this below sea level playing field with an open sewer running through it, and the Golden Rule has been modified to ‘Do unto others as has been done unto you.’ This is why we cannot have nice things, joey. Human Nature means that once you chase all the decent politicians away, the survivors must fight as they are being fought, or be eliminated as well.

        These new ‘interpretations’ of the Constitution threaten the balance of power… but you are just fine with that, as long as it profits your ideology and Trump Derangement Syndrome. Just remember that turn about will be fair play, unfortunately.

        So calling the impeachment process a coup is silly, and up to this point only emotional arguments have been made to support such a claim.”

        Res Ipsa Loquitur

        • I sense much anger in you. Your arguments and complaints are again emotional or otherwise rooted in debunked conspiracy theories and bad legal takes from right-wing pundits. You can Google whether Republican committee members were present during the closed door hearings and why the 6th amendment doesn’t apply to impeachment – that would be faster & easier than me trying to explain it to you here. I’d also ask you to ponder the paradox of insisting the evidence must be first hand while simultaneously blocking first-hand witnesses from testifying and ignoring subpoenas.

          • More dismissal out of hand and deflection. No anger, just objective analysis of the facts as presented.

            You are either willfully ignorant, or believe in the totalitarian dreams of the socialists running impeachment. So, useful idiot, or willing conspirator?

            • Did you Google the things I suggested? What’d you find out? If you have evidence that suggest Republicans were not present during the hearings, or a good argument on why the 6th amendment applies to impeachment I’d love to read it. Otherwise, yes, the rest of your comments I am going to go ahead and dismiss out of hand. Calling me an idiot, ignorant, a socialist, gaslighting – talking about “spies” and “the swamp”. Engaging with you just sounds super uninteresting.

              • Did you Google the things I suggested?

                Oh, you mean the progressive borg tool that alters reality by gaslighting their users? That Google? I should trust a tool proven to be manipulating search results in favor of the progressive narrative (like Facebook, You Tube, Twitter…) for my information?

                If you have evidence that suggest Republicans were not present during the hearings…

                ““Voting members of Congress are being denied access from being able to see what’s happening behind these closed doors where they’re trying to impeach the president of the United States with a one-sided set of rules,” Scalise continued. “They call the witnesses. They don’t let anybody else call the witnesses.”

                https://www.foxnews.com/politics/gop-lawmakers-in-blasting-secret-impeachment-probe-before-attempting-to-storm-the-proceedings

                https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/congress/gop-rep-matt-gaetz-ejected-from-secret-impeachment-meeting

                Calling me an idiot, ignorant, a socialist, gaslighting – talking about “spies” and “the swamp”.

                If the shoe fits…

                Engaging with you just sounds super uninteresting.

                Yet you continue to engage. Your condescension in this entire thread is despicable, and typical of self proclaimed elites who know better how to live our lives than we do.

                EA commenters will not allow the sort of rhetoric you are posting to go unanswered.

                (Dang, I must be channeling NJ Steve or Zoltar…)

                • your proof is quotes taken from Steve Scalise & Matt Gaetz? There are republicans on that committee that were in the room! you’re not going to go & move your goalposts on me are you?

                  “elite! condescending! despicable!”

          • I don’t. You keep trying to project emotion onto arguments you disagree with. I’m not “angry,” and I doubt slick is either. Anger doesn’t assist ethical analysis; like all emotion, it just gets in the way.

            • To be clear, the “anger” comment was specifically directed at slickwilly – not because I disagree but because we was accusing me of gaslighting, cursing, and frankly – ranting in a way consistent with angry TV pundits.

              Other accusations of emotionally driven arguments have been made because of an absence of logically driven arguments.

              • Cursing is used for emphasis… by intelligent people. You use loaded language (‘rant,’ ‘angry’ and so on) while calling out others for using loaded language: typical progressive, accusing your opponents of what you do.

                You are not engaging in discussion, you are attempting to ‘educate the deplorables.’ Guess what, skippy? Jack knows more about ethics than you do. He actually makes his living at it.

                I am referring to well known facts that anyone following EA would know. You are deflecting, once again, and adding ad hominem attacks to your straw man arguments.

                Ever read ‘Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals?’ You are following the script pretty well.

                I think your use of such rhetoric and debate tactics here is unethical, regardless of the content.

                Please stick around: most of the progressive ends-justify-the means commeters left months ago, being unable to bring facts into a discussion.

                We need a real time example of how unhinged the Trump Deranged have become. Thank you for volunteering.

                • Did you Google the things I suggested? What’d you find out?

                  “radical! unhinged! deranged! unethical! socialist! skippy!” I can take the other mud you sling at me, but skippy crossed a line.

                  • I have a feeling that if you spoke freely of your own view of this president, and at this juncture in American history, and about what Trump ‘represents’ to his constituency and his supporters and his base, and what may happen or what will happen under another 4-year Trump term, that independent of any possible wrong-doing in the Ukraine incident, you would likely say that Trump is a big and dangerous problem for America. Therefore it seems to me that everyone in this discussion — you included — about the Ukraine incident holds, in the background and perhaps unstated, very specific feelings and ideas about Trump.

                    As a way to illustrate what I mean there is in today’s NYTs an article about some emails that were released that suggest Stephen Miller’s association with certain websites and certain intellectuals that are considered very much on the fringe:

                    From the article titled: Stephan Miller’s Sinister Syllabus:

                    “In October 2015, while still an aide to Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Miller sent McHugh a story from VDARE, a white nationalist website named for Virginia Dare, the first English child born in North America. VDARE is preoccupied with “white genocide” — the myth that nonwhites are working to destroy white people through immigration and intermarriage — and Miller cited the website in response to McHugh’s concern that the government would grant temporary protected status to Mexican survivors of Hurricane Patricia.

                    McHugh says Miller also directed her to stories from the website American Renaissance, another white nationalist publication, this one focused on eugenics and anti-black racism. Its founder, Jared Taylor, has argued that “When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.” In 2013, he argued for a white ethno-state. “We want a homeland where we are a majority,” he said.

                    Miller is a predominant player in the Trump administration, along with Sessions of course. And then the Devil Bannon!

                    I am very aware of the American ‘Radical Fringe’ because I study their material and so I am definitely aware of the ‘white genocide’ argument and definitely about Jared Taylor and American Renaissance and dozens of other activists in that realm.

                    I think it might be helpful if I clarify for you that Jack is absolutely opposed to any of the ‘white nationalist’ arguments and if I understand him correctly he rejects them entirely and out-of-hand. And so does everyone, with the exception of a shadowy one or two, who writes on this blog.

                    Jack is, in the terms of today, a ‘civic nationalist’ and his views are undergirded by law and legal precedent. As he said recently the law, our law, is solidified ethics’.

                    He recognized, years back, that Trump would be a destructive influence if only because of his (many and blatant) personality defects. But all of his arguments revolve around respecting the office of the president, and of course also respecting the democratic process that brought Trump into the White House.

                    It seems that you do not — that you will not — come out and admit that the core reason *they* are trying to unseat Trump is because they really & truly feel that under his continued presidency that he will further take the country in dangerous and — maybe they see it this way? — irreversible directions.

                    Myself, I am an observer and not really an participant except intellectually and theoretically. I think it fair to say that I ‘don’t have a pony in the race’ in the same way that Jack or slick might (and many others here). My understanding about America itself is that there are people who have very very strong ideas about what it is, what it should be, and what it must not become. My understanding is that, in relatively recent history, the direction of the country was controlled by notable assassinations (yes, I accept those arguments because they seem highly plausible). So, with that said, I think I can say with certainly that we are at a critical point not only in the American democracy but in the American Empire (and I also understand that America has an empire but will not recognize, openly, that it does). Therefore, my argument is that a great but a GREAT deal now hinges on who will control the reins of America and its direction.

                    Is the notion of a ‘coup’ so incomprehensible to you? to anyone? (That is what the assassination of Kennedy was said to have been. Note that I do not think that Jack and possibly anyone else on this blog accepts that view, I think they regard it as an hallucination, a bizarre phantasy).

                    My reading is the following: Trump has been identified as a danger, and any and possibly all measures will be used to take him down (sorry for the dramatic way of putting it). But independently of a Trump of the Trump presidency — I think this can be stated and it is fair to state it — the Nation of the United States is in the beginning phases of a profound conflict.

                    [Again, this was shortened from a 11,000 word essay — with graphs and charts and some of my own free-hand sketches — in order to render it readable (sic).]

                    • wow, that was the shortened version? haha. I appreciate the well-reasoned response, clarifications, and questions.

                      “It seems that you do not — that you will not — come out and admit that the core reason *they* are trying to unseat Trump is because they really & truly feel that under his continued presidency that he will further take the country in dangerous and — maybe they see it this way? — irreversible directions.”

                      I sort of agree with this – I think it’s true that the people impeaching Trump truly feel that under his continued presidency he will further take the country in dangerous and irreversible directions. But I don’t believe the reason is that they simply don’t like the guy or are bitter about his election – I believe it’s because they (like me) have witnessed numerous and ongoing abuses of power that started pretty much from day 1. There’s a seemingly never ending train of criminal investigations and convictions of his associates. His own abuses have been well documented and, in at least a few cases, pretty much admitted to. So the reasoning lies in the duty to hold a corrupt man to account, and thus prevent further damage.

                    • Skippy is generally used as a mildly derogatory and condescending generic name, in the same vein as “Bud,” “Bevis,” “Sherlock,” “Grasshopper,” “Cletus,” “Bozo,” …there are a lot of them.

  6. Joey wrote:

    I sort of agree with this –

    “I think it’s true that the people impeaching Trump truly feel that under his continued presidency he will further take the country in dangerous and irreversible directions.”

    But I don’t believe the reason is that they simply don’t like the guy or are bitter about his election – I believe it’s because they (like me) have witnessed numerous and ongoing abuses of power that started pretty much from day 1. There’s a seemingly never ending train of criminal investigations and convictions of his associates. His own abuses have been well documented and, in at least a few cases, pretty much admitted to. So the reasoning lies in the duty to hold a corrupt man to account, and thus prevent further damage.

    My personal view — my personal approach — is to turn our perceptions about Trump and *what is happening* into questions that we ask. But I start with this: We cannot really see what is going on, or rather that we see it through a limited perspective. We are inclined to interpret what we understand of what is going on, but we only have access to so much information, and I think it has to be said that any information we encounter — that is provided to us — is slanted.

    That introduces the problem of, say, journalistic bias and the additional fact that *everyone is selling a perspective*. So, we are inclined to listen to and hear particular sources (you referenced the right-leaning news pundits) and we enter their ‘bias system’. However, the same goes on in the so-called ‘liberal’ perspective-purveying channels.

    Doesn’t it seem fair to say that what we are seeing is *spectacle*?

    Guy Debord: “The spectacle is not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.”

    “With the destruction of history, contemporary events themselves retreat into a remote and fabulous realm of unverifiable stories, uncheckable statistics, unlikely explanations and untenable reasoning.”

    Though neither of these quotes quite gets to the heart of the matter, perhaps you will get the idea, and perhaps you might agree: there really does seem to be a point where the *spectacle* and the *rehearsal of the spectacle* takes on more realness and thus ‘reality’ than reality itself!

    So, my questions are: Who really understands what is going on today, and who can present it coherently? For it seems that there are different factions who — indeed — have *ponies in the race*. What are those factions?

    1) The popular faction, but that must be divided into two, mustn’t it? Take for example *Trump’s supporters* as one pole in a popular faction. But they are white predominantly, and they are said to be mostly working class, as well as ‘Republican-supporting’. If you listen to Steve Bannon though he says that the traditional Republican Party had long ago sold them out. I.e. that the Republican Party represents elite interests, not popular interests. So: the Trump supporters are of a class of working-class American whites who feel they have been sold-out.

    But there is another popular pole: essentially, to indulge in generalities, a new(er) and rising class that represents the mixed demographic of a new(er) America. Note that this is where the issues of *race* and ethnicity come so strongly to the fore. There is an Old America — America’s old identification — but there is definitely a newer rising America of a very different identification. This is all very complex and sociological, but I assume that you understand my point: there is social conflict now as 2 polar Americas deal in issues of power-struggle.

    2) The faction of American industry & finance: the business powers that, essentially, own and run the country. I regret that my characterization sounds a bit Marxian, yet the real facts of the matter is that there is an enormously powerful business class in America. They own the structures — the media systems for example — through which *interpretation of the world* takes place. Thus: they mediate perception and understanding: they literally offer the perspectives through which *reality* is interpreted.

    But in regard to this it seems to me that it must be understood: these people, these interests, very definitely have a ‘pony in the race’. And only a very naive person would assume, could assume, that they will not act and are not acting now to preserve the structures that they have painstakingly constructed: our modern, globalized, mercantile system.

    Yet it must be stated: this ‘system’ is no longer the sole possession of ‘America’ nor of any popular faction within democratic America. That is one of the meanings of the Bannonesque crusade against ‘the globalists’ and certainly casts light on the machinations to take China down a number of pegs.

    So, moving away from *spectacle* it seems realistic and fair to assert that there are far larger struggles going on here, and for this reason the idea of a *Deep State* and the machinations of a deep state take on a more grounded and significant meaning. Like everyone, I feel I am viewing though a limited lens — a chink in the wall really — but it does clearly seem to me that “Trump” has far more significance than as merely a sort of spectacular buffoon who at the same time seems to have improved business and the economy in the US. And what he is and what he represents needs to be better understood.

    His populism and his American-oriented somewhat *jingoist* rhetoric is deeply disturbing to the foreign audience. This kind of ‘nationalism’ does not at all fit with the governing structures that had been established as a governing model … for the whole Earth.

    His seeming *awakening* of the white middle-class of America, with all the attendant echoes & invocations of ‘white nationalism’, white identity, European nationalism and chauvinism: all of this represents trends and tendencies that the Governing Elites had hoped had been defeated long ago. That is, turned under so to speak by modern propaganda and education-systems and curricula. Trump is bringing back into the *conversation* sentiments & notions that are of crimethink. And that is why the entire New York Intellectual Class brands him as a Nazi. (And that is why we still have to deal with the term and the loaded and powerful term ‘Nazi’, which is a whole other conversation of course).

    The final part of this 15,833 word document — which included some references to Haute Cuisine, Auguste Escoffier, and even model train collectables — I have decided to omit because of issues of ‘attention span’. I think that when we frame the issue correctly, and within a meta-political context, it can help us in our own *interpretation project*. 🙂

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