Home

By Robert A. Vella

It’s been quite a week, hasn’t it?  There’s impeachment in the U.S. of the most ethically corrupt and morally bereft president in the nation’s history, turmoil in the U.K. over Boris and Brexit, warmongering over Iran, real war in Yemen, upheaval in Hong Kong, escalating tensions over Kashmir, ethnic hostilities and disease outbreaks in Africa, economic uncertainty over trade and other issues, radiation in Japan and Russia, the abandonment of nuclear arms control, and rising global anxiety over climate change.  Remote observers from another civilization would probably think we humans are a bunch of irrational and destructive morons.  They might wonder how we ever rose to prominence on this planet.  They also might contemplate how much time we have left before our inevitable demise.  Seriously, what the hell is wrong with us?

I’ll let you answer that question.  Here are some relevant stories for this Friday:

White House panic

From:  ‘Total panic’ as White House struggles to find impeachment footing

There appears to be rising “anxiety, unease, and concern” — as one person close to the White House described the mood in the West Wing — that the whistleblower’s allegations could seriously wound the president and some of those around him. “There’s not a lot of confidence that there’s no there there,” this person said.

[…]

Another person familiar with the discussions described the mood inside the White House as “shell-shocked,” with increasing wariness that, as this impeachment inquiry drags out, the likelihood increases that the president could respond erratically and become “unmanageable.”

[…]

For a president whose brand is viewed as strength, Wednesday’s press conference made him look defeated, said one person familiar with the situation. While Trump relished questions on the Russia investigation, he seemed to be in no mood to answer questions about Ukraine.

[…]

… one Republican strategist close to the White House points out that the president’s base approval ratings are already sky-high — and impeachment will do little to win over new supporters.

How Trump learned of whistleblower

From:  White House Knew of Whistle-Blower’s Allegations Soon After Trump’s Call With Ukraine Leader

The officer first shared information about potential abuse of power and a White House cover-up with the C.I.A.’s top lawyer through an anonymous process, some of the people said. The lawyer shared the officer’s concerns with White House and Justice Department officials, following policy. Around the same time, the officer separately filed the whistle-blower complaint.

The revelations provide new insight about how the officer’s allegations moved through the bureaucracy of government. The Trump administration’s handling of the accusations is certain to be scrutinized, particularly by lawmakers weighing the impeachment of the president.

Mitch’s options

From:  Why Mitch McConnell Could Be Key In the Trump Impeachment Battle

… McConnell also allowed his caucus to back a resolution written by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer calling for the full whistleblower complaint to be released to Congress. McConnell signed off fast-tracking that resolution, which carried the day with unanimous support.

A McConnell aide said the decision to go full-speed-ahead with the disclosure resolution aligns with the office’s belief that obtaining that full document will help the Senate Intelligence Committee conduct its bipartisan oversight of the Administration. Not one Republican was ready to publicly align with the White House’s refusal to quash the complaint and block its release to Congress. While foreign policy is largely the purview of the executive branch, spending taxpayers’ dollars is a legislative power, and McConnell was still smarting about the aid delay.

[…]

… McConnell always has a way out. While he is bound to consider an impeach referral from the House, he also has in his back pocket a potential motion to dismiss. In 1999, Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia tried the gambit during Bill Clinton’s trial in the Senate, only to have it come up 10 short of the required 67 votes. It’s a long-shot, for sure.

Putin’s worry

From:  Kremlin says it hopes U.S. won’t release details of Putin-Trump calls

The Kremlin said on Friday that it hoped that Washington would not release confidential details of phone calls between President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the comment when asked about the White House’s release of a reconstruction of Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that has set off a U.S. domestic political storm.

U.S. inequality

From:  US income inequality grows to its highest level in 50 years

The gap between the haves and have-nots in the United States grew last year to its highest level in more than 50 years of tracking income inequality, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Thursday.

Income inequality in the United States expanded from 2017 to 2018, with several heartland states among the leaders of the increase, even though several wealthy coastal states still had the most inequality overall, according to the figures.

The nation’s Gini Index, which measures income inequality, has been rising steadily over the past five decades.

19 thoughts on “White House panic, how Trump learned of whistleblower, Mitch’s options, Putin’s worry, & U.S. inequality

  1. I’m damned curious to find out what Trump and his master, Putin, talked about in those calls. Can you just imagine what this orange, treasonous bastard has told Putin? “Oh, you want our nuclear launch codes? Sure, here you go. Now tell me I’m a good boy, Vlad. Please, Vlad! Please tell me I’m a good boy!”

    Liked by 5 people

    • Absolutely! As we discussed yesterday, Trump’s egomania makes him largely oblivious to the consequences of his actions. But, Putin isn’t stupid like Trump is. He knows it would be very bad if the conversations between the two of them were publicly exposed.

      Today’s story on Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans shines more light on Trump’s actions. When he released the transcript of his phone call with Ukrainian president Zelensky, he pushed Republicans into a corner. They reacted angrily by unanimously passing the House resolution against Trump. That forced the White House to allow the release of the whistleblower complaint.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Yeah, but….but…vaping is protected by the Constitution in sentence five of the second amendment: “And beside having the right to have lots of guns, people also have to right to inhale gases as they see fit without fear of persecution from any orange President who might think otherwise” Gotta love that ole Constitution, eh.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. What’s wrong with humans…I think it’s a form of mental insufficiency for many people. Unable to really visualize or care about the future and some people are definitely ruled by their egos and money.

    Then there’s lack of good education, religion nonsense, and brainwashing at an early age.

    To me he number one thing is religion and the self righteousness that goes with it.

    I agree with Suburban tracks that we still operate with a primitive brain that is out of sync with reality.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Your introductory remarks are spot on! We are a complete mess as a species. I’m still struggling to understand what the hell is wrong with us. I think Isaac Asimov got it right when he said: “The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hello Rosaliene Bacchus and Robert A. Vella,

      The culture of expansion and exploitation as well as the ever-burgeoning population is the crux and bottleneck.

      Since the human species has not (always, adequately and/or consistently) been a good custodian of the environment and the Earth (not to mention countless wars, atrocities, resource depletions, species extinctions, environmental degradations and so on, plus an area of rainforest as big as 100,000 football courts is being cleared or destroyed everyday), there is no assurance that once the human species migrates to another planet, the same problems would not again surface and plague us, perhaps at an even quickening and/or devastating pace as a result of better and greater expansion, production and technology. We would indeed export our baggage and problems to other worlds!

      A friend of mine wrote to me:

      I think if we went to Mars, we’d deal to it the same way we’re currently dealing to Earth. Richard Attenborough summed it up when he referred to us as the ‘scourge’ of the planet. Caused an outcry, but it seems to be true. Jared Diamond has published a good analysis of it, if a little deterministic for my liking. The reason would seem to be a faulty survival mechanism – hard-wired techniques for maximising resources that worked when we were on the ragged edge of extinction in the ice age, but now serve to create problems.

      Perhaps we could also liken humans as cancer cells on the petri dish that is Earth.

      Extinction is a euphemism for extermination, considering how many and the manner in which members of many endangered species have met their fate and untimely end.

      99% of all species that ever appear on Earth are already extinct since life began.

      The average lifespan of a species is one million years. The human species (counting the early hominids) has lasted six million years. Extinction is the rule; survival is the exception.

      Even if humanity were to survive and later conquer other planets, there will be no guarantee that humanity will not repeat its mistakes and export its problems to other extra-terrestrial worlds.

      As you know, we are already in the midst of the Sixth Great Extinction. If you are interested, the main issue is twofold: speciesism and anthropocentricism. Until we critically deal with the main issue, even environmentalism in all its diversity may not suffice to turn things around, as discussed in my multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary post entitled “SoundEagle in Debating Animal Artistry and Musicality” at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/soundeagle-in-debating-animal-artistry-and-musicality/, which is simultaneously witty and serious about a number of outstanding issues.

      The said post actually ventures far beyond whatever its title may suggest or mean to any reader, especially in the very long “Conclusions” section. Please note the ISEA Model that I have devised to analyse and describe the Instrumental, Spiritual, Pro-Environment and Pro-Animal/Plant perspectives.

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s