Saturday, February 1, 2020

Last Call For Peace In Pieces

The Trump/Netanyahu "Peace plan" is the peace of the Palestinian grave, and the Palestinians are done bothering with Jared Kushner and his "just accept your fate" plan.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday the Palestinian Authority has cut all ties with the United States and Israel, including those relating to security, after rejecting a Middle East peace plan presented by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Abbas was in Cairo to address the Arab League, which backed the Palestinians in their opposition to Trump's plan.

The Arab League rejected Trump's plan, saying in a communique it would not lead to a just peace deal and adding it will not cooperate with the United States to execute the plan.

The ministers affirmed Palestinian rights to create a future state based on the land captured and occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, with East Jerusalem as capital, the final communique said.

Israeli officials expressed hope Saturday that the League's rejection could bring the U.S. closer to green-lighting unilateral annexation of parts of the West Bank, in light of the fact that Jared Kushner opposed immediate steps toward annexation because he thought the Arab League might support the plan.

Abbas, who said “a thousand no’s” to U.S. President Donald Trump's proposal, spoke at the gathering: "We requested this urgent meeting to put a halt to the consent bound up in the U.S. plan on everything related to the Palestinian issue, and we will fight to prevent a situation in which the plan will become a legitimate formula that is adopted by the international community."

"We told Israel and the United States that we will not have any more ties with them, including on the security level," Abbas said.

So now the new apartheid will begin as Israel's tanks and soldiers will come in and take the West Bank and then the Gaza Strip, and there will be nothing left but a wall and ashes.  The 20's are going to be a brutal decade for the world, and it will start with the end to any hope for a peace process in the Middle East.

Impeachment Reached, Con't

There is no question, Sen. Lamar Alexander said, that President Donald Trump actions were “inappropriate” when he asked Ukraine’s leader to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden.

But not bad enough, he said, to warrant Trump’s removal from office, or even to hear from witnesses or other evidence.
That distinction has been embraced by other Republicans as the trial moves toward a near-certain acquittal of the president in the coming days. It’s also in line with arguments from Trump’s legal team, which after initially asserting that the president did “absolutely nothing wrong” moved toward insisting that Trump had done nothing impeachable — and attacked the trial as a partisan exercise.

The evolving arguments have allowed Republicans to cite political and historical grounds for acquitting Trump without feeling compelled to condone his behavior, a split-the-difference judgment that avoids a clean break with the president as he stands for reelection.

Alexander, who is retiring from office at the end of the year, was the most vocal, saying he did not need to hear more evidence to conclude that Trump was wrong to ask a foreign leader to investigate a rival.

“But,” said Alexander, “the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate.”

Similarly, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican whose opinions have been closely watched because of her centrist reputation, issued a five-paragraph statement Friday that declared her opposition to witnesses without mentioning Trump once or registering any support for his actions.

“Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate,” Murkowski said. “I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything.”

Trump has repeatedly called his July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy “perfect,” but a drumbeat of revelations that continued even after the trial started made that claim harder for even staunch allies to sustain.

The latest revelation came courtesy of an unpublished manuscript from former national security adviser John Bolton, who writes that Trump tied suspension of military aid to Ukraine to the country’s willingness to undertake the investigations the president wanted.

Inside and outside the chamber, the president’s allies spent more time questioning the relevancy of the book’s content than disputing its accuracy. Republican senators signaled through their questions at trial a willingness to concede certain basic facts of the case, which made it easier them to brush off calls for more witnesses. They insist they already have the information they need to make a decision.

“For the sake of argument, one could assume everything attributable to John Bolton is accurate and still the House case would fall well below the standards to remove a president from office,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a vocal defender of Trump’s, said in a statement.
One question this week from Sens. Susan Collins and Mitt Romney, two Republicans who on Friday joined Democrats in seeking witness testimony, and Murkowski who voted against witnesses, asked whether Trump could be guilty of the abuse of power count if he was motivated by both national interest and “personal political advantage.” It was a clear indication that the trio did not dispute that Trump had in fact, been inspired by the pursuit of a “personal political advantage.”

Nor did Trump deputy White House counsel Pat Philbin, when it came time to answer the question. He simply suggested that a president cannot be removed from office for having mixed motives.

“There’s always some personal interest in the electoral outcome of policy decisions,” Philbin said, “and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Dick Cheney's "plenary executive" era has arrived.  The White House has unlimited, unchecked power as long as it can keep either 34 Senators or 218 House votes to support it. Our system of checks and balances were ready for Trump.  They were not ready for Mitch McConnell and a Senate openly colluding with a criminal president.

As we open Black History Month, the final vote won't be until Wednesday as slimy GOP senators want their time to explain to voters just how great our new autocracy in service of white supremacy is.  Keep that in mind when the truly unleashed, unrepentant, unstoppable Trump regime changes all the rules and does so in an openly brazen fashion just to laugh at us.

That phrase, Trump regime, is now a reality.

Ukraine In The Membrane, Con't

Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman and Trump';s Ukranian "plumbers" team didn't just get rid of US Ambassador Marie Yovanovich as envoy to Ukraine, they ran her out of the State Department and out of foreign service entirely to boot.

The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who accused the Trump administration of a "smear" campaign against her has retired from the foreign service, NPR has learned.

The career diplomat was abruptly forced out of her post in Ukraine amid accusations of disloyalty in a scheme allegedly involving President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and two of Giuliani's associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were arrested and charged with campaign finance violations in October.

After her recall in May, Yovanovitch remained on the State Department payroll, teaching at Georgetown University. But sources tell NPR that she has officially left the department.

Yovanovitch had served presidents of both parties during a 33-year career in the foreign service, which included posts in some of the world's most challenging countries.

Her ouster has become a key topic in the president's impeachment and Senate trial. In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment inquiry in November, Yovanovitch accused Giuliani of leading an "irregular channel" of diplomacy between the U.S. and Ukraine that was driven by the business interests of private individuals.

"These events should concern everyone in this room," Yovanovitch said. "Shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want."

She added that in the days leading up to her removal, she was told to "watch my back"

In excerpts from the now-infamous July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the president called Yovanovitch "bad news."

"She's going to go through some things," Trump added in the call.

Yovanovitch testified that the State Department said she was being recalled over concerns about her security.

A federal indictment, unsealed in October, alleges that Giuliani associates Parnas and Fruman met with a congressman with the aim of removing Yovanovitch from her post. According to the documents, the two committed to raising $20,000 for the unnamed congressman.

In an interview earlier this month, Parnas said Trump pushed to fire Yovanovitch four or five times. Parnas also handed over text messages to Congress suggesting that Robert Hyde, a retired Marine running for Congress as a Republican in Connecticut, had the ambassador under surveillance in Kyiv.

The State Department says it is investigating the possible surveillance of Yovanovitch

A 30-plus year career evaporated due to the shady cartoon villainy of Rudy and his goons, all working for the most corrupt man on earth in Donald Trump.  Marie Yovanovich came forward and put her reputation and career on the line to save this country and to tell the truth, and she paid dearly for it.

The truth about Trump will continue to leak out between now and November.  Whether or not it's enough to break his hold on the country is up to us.

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