The Problem With Impeachment

“Any excuse will serve a tyrant.” – Aesop
“In international conflicts, the truth is hard to come by because most nations are deceived about themselves. Rationalizations and the incessant search for scapegoats are the psychological cataracts that blind us to our sins. But the day has passed for superficial patriotism. He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), US civil rights leader.
“The two parties have combined against us to nullify our power by a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ of non-recognition, no matter how we vote … May God write us down as asses if ever again we are found putting our trust in either the Republican or the Democratic Parties.” – W.E.B. DuBois

By Chris Hedges

September 30, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –   Impeaching Donald Trump would do nothing to halt the deep decay that has beset the American republic. It would not magically restore democratic institutions. It would not return us to the rule of law. It would not curb the predatory appetites of the big banks, the war industry and corporations. It would not get corporate money out of politics or end our system of legalized bribery. It would not halt the wholesale surveillance and monitoring of the public by the security services. It would not end the reigns of terror practiced by paramilitary police in impoverished neighborhoods or the mass incarceration of 2.3 million citizens. It would not impede ICE from hunting down the undocumented and ripping children from their arms to pen them in cages. It would not halt the extraction of fossil fuels and the looming ecocide. It would not give us a press freed from the corporate mandate to turn news into burlesque for profit. It would not end our endless and futile wars. It would not ameliorate the hatred between the nation’s warring tribes—indeed would only exacerbate these hatreds.

Impeachment is about cosmetics. It is about replacing the public face of empire with a political mandarin such as Joe Biden, himself steeped in corruption and obsequious service to the rich and corporate power, who will carry out the same suicidal policies with appropriate regal decorum. The ruling elites have had enough of Trump’s vulgarity, stupidity and staggering ineptitude. They turned on him not over an egregious impeachable offense—there have been numerous impeachable offenses including the use of the presidency for personal enrichment, inciting violence and racism, passing on classified intelligence to foreign officials, obstruction of justice and a pathological inability to tell the truth—but because he made the fatal mistake of trying to take down a fellow member of the ruling elite.

Yes, Trump pressured Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to give him dirt on Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, and there probably is some. Yes, it appears the U.S. president withheld roughly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine in order to exert leverage over that government. Yes, he attempted to block the release of the whistleblower report that detailed his conduct. Yes, this is a violation of the law, one that many Democrats in Congress see as an impeachable offense.

But this kind of dirty quid pro quo is the staple of politics and international relations. Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence official, was hired to dig up dirt on Trump and Russia by Fusion GPS, a research and intelligence firm under contract to investigate Trump by Perkins Coie, a law firm working for the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Four decades ago, Ronald Reagan’s campaign manager, William Casey, asked the Iranians not to free the American hostages held in Tehran until after the November presidential election to hurt incumbent Jimmy Carter, according to Gary Sick, Carter’s chief aide on Iran. The American hostages were released the day Reagan was inaugurated, in January 1981.

Hillary Clinton, as far as we know, was never on the phone to Steele. Reagan, as far as we know, was never on the phone to the Iranian president. Trump’s fatal mistake was that he was overt in his request and he made it himself. This kind of underhanded pressure to damage political opponents requires skillful hints, secret meetings, carefully calibrated pressure and total deniability. Trump is too clueless to play the game. Because of this he looks set to join the exclusive club of presidents who were impeached—Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.

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Trump, however, will not go quietly into this good night. He will attempt to bring the whole rotten edifice down with him. And he may succeed.

“The Democrats thrive on silencing and intimidating his supporters, like YOU, Friend,” reads a fundraising appeal for Trump that was sent out immediately after the impeachment inquiry was announced this week. “They want to take YOUR VOTE away. President Trump wants to know who stood with him when it mattered most.”

But fundraising from a looming impeachment proceeding will be benign compared with what I think will come next. Trump’s rhetoric, as the pressure mounts, will become ever more incendiary. He will, as he has in the past, openly incite violence against the Democratic leadership and a press he brands as “the enemy of the people.”

There is no shortage of working-class Americans who feel, with justification, deeply betrayed and manipulated by ruling elites. Their ability to make a sustainable income has been destroyed. They are trapped in decaying and dead-end communities. They see no future for themselves or their children. They view the ruling elites who sold them out with deep hostility.

Trump, however incompetent, at least expresses this rage. And he does so with a vulgarity that delights his base. I suspect they are not blind to his narcissism or even his corruption and incompetence. But he is the middle finger they flip up at all those oily politicians like the Clintons who lied to them in far more damaging ways than Trump. Trump was weaponized to stick it to the man. Polls in the 2016 presidential election showed that 53 percent of Trump supporters were motivated by dislike of Hillary Clinton and only 44 percent said they were motivated by support for Trump.

“People no longer voted for candidates they liked or were excited by,” Matt Taibbi writes in “Insane Clown President: Dispatches From the 2016 Circus.” “They voted against the candidates they hated. At protests and marches, the ruling emotions were disgust and rage. The lack of idealism, and especially the lack of any sense of brotherhood or common purpose with the other side (i.e., liberals and conservatives unable to imagine a productive future with each other, or even to see themselves as citizens of the same country), was striking.”

Impeaching Trump would be seen by his supporters as an effort to take away this primal, if ineffectual, form of defiance. It is yet another message to the disenfranchised, especially those in the white working class, that their lives, their concerns, their hopes and their voices do not matter. This huge segment of the population, as Trump is aware, is heavily armed. There are more than 300 million firearms in the hands of U.S. civilians, including 114 million handguns, 110 million rifles and 86 million shotguns. The number of privately owned military-style assault weapons—including the AR-15 semi-automatic rifles used in the massacres at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.—is estimated at 1.5 million. The United States has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world, an average of 90 firearms per 100 people. Mass shootings in the U.S. take place at a rate of one or more per day on average.

Economic, social and political stagnation, coupled with a belief that our expectations for our lives and the lives of our children have been thwarted, breeds violence. Trump, fighting for his political life, will use rhetorical gasoline to set it alight. He will demonize his opponents as the embodiment of evil. He will seek to widen the divisions and antagonisms, especially around race. He will brand his political opponents as irredeemable enemies and traitors. He will demand omnipotence, the power of a dictator. Many of those for whom he is a cult leader will seek to give it to him. For when the magical aura of Trump’s power is attacked, those in the Trump cult feel attacked. He is an extension of them. Trump embodies the yearning by millions of Americans, especially those in the Christian right, for a cult leader.

The efforts by the Democratic Party and much of the press, including CNN and The New York Times, to remove Trump from office, as if our problems are embodied in him, will backfire. Our social, cultural, economic and political crisis created a demagogue like Trump. These forces will grow more virulent if Trump is impeached. The longer we fail to confront and name the corporate forces responsible for the misery of over half the U.S. population and our broken democracy, the more the disease of cultism will spread. It was the seizure of power by corporations that vomited up Trump. And it will be only by freeing ourselves from corporate rule, by rebuilding our democratic institutions, including the legislative bodies, the courts and the media, that we can roll back from the abyss.

If we do not succeed in overthrowing corporate power, the explosive devices mailed to Trump critics and leaders of the Democratic Party, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, along with George Soros, James Clapper and CNN, allegedly by Cesar Sayoc Jr., an ex-stripper and fanatic Trump supporter who was living out of his van, will become an acceptable form of political expression. Such assassination attempts will, if left unchecked, eventually succeed. Anarchic lawlessness and tit-for-tat forms of political murder will swiftly turn the United States into a failed and terrifying state.

Chris Hedges, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years. https://www.truthdig.com/author/chris_hedges/

This article was originally published by “Truthdig“- 

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Watch new & revealing universal reading for the collective: TIMELESS SPIRITUAL MESSAGES October 2019!

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Great News! My New YT Channel is Expanding! New Reading: NEW MOON IN LIBRA ~ HARVEST SEASON!

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What I learned from having my mind manipulated this weekend

There are few times in life when you have the opportunity to witness a master at work… someone who is truly the best in the world at what they do.

Whether it’s the world’s greatest chef, a champion athlete, a master pianist, or even the guy who holds the world record for being able to recite the first 70,000 digits of Pi, it’s always exciting to see the best at work.

Apollo Robbins is the best in the world at what he does.

Apollo has been called a lot of things: magician, illusionist, mentalist, and even ‘gentleman thief’. But he’s best described as a master of the human mind… and unparalleled expert in manipulating it.

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I’ll give you a great example—

Apollo was my personal guest at our annual Total Access meetup in Las Vegas over the weekend; and on Friday night during a cocktail reception, he wandered through the crowd performing various tricks to educate and entertain our members.

And in one particular case, I was the Guinea pig.

Apollo asked me to think of any four letter word, as well as the hour and minute of random time of day (like 2:15 or 11:40), and write both of them down on a piece of paper.

Now, there are approximately 5,000 four letter words in the English language, and 720 different timestamps I could have chosen from 12:00 through 11:59.

So between the two, that makes a total of roughly 3.6 million different combinations, meaning Apollo would have had a 0.0000277% chance of guessing both right.

Those odds are so low he had a better chance of being struck by lightning.

Apollo and I started talking about my selections and he asked me if I felt the choices were mine, and mine alone.

I absolutely did. I picked my word. I picked the time. In fact, just to be sure that I wasn’t being manipulated, I chose my word by selecting from random letters.

There was a tree nearby, so I chose a T. A hotel worker was carrying a bottle of water to one of our members, so I picked W. A person standing nearby me was named Steve, so I chose an S. I picked a random vowel (‘A’) and then arranged the letters into a word.

There’s no way Apollo would have known any of those things—where we would have been standing, who would have been nearby, or how I would have even randomly selected my letters. And he acknowledged this later… he had no idea.

As for the random time that I selected, I chose 7:22, based on dialogue in a scene from the movie Pulp Fiction (which was released 25 years ago today).

Again, there’s no way Apollo would have known that. We’d never discussed it, and I don’t think he had even seen the movie.

So I was convinced my choices were 100% mine, and mine alone.

Yet Apollo opened his wallet and pulled out a small, folded photograph of his bedside table.

Sure enough—the photo showed a notepad on his nightstand with a single, four-letter word written on it. And it was the one that I picked.

There was also a clock on the nightstand showing a time of 7:22. And it was seriously spooky.

Most people’s first reaction is to presume that Apollo is some sort of space alien, time traveler, or visitor from an alternate universe.

But he’s none of those things. He’s a practiced master of the human mind, including the ability to manipulate it.

Apollo is a man of high integrity, so he told me right away that, yes, he manipulated me into selecting those choices without my knowledge.

But it made me think– how many other times in our daily lives are we being manipulated like that—manipulated to think in a certain way, even when we’re 100% convinced that we’re exercising independent thought?

It’s scary to think about. Because in those instances, the people doing it don’t have Apollo’s integrity. They don’t tell us that we’re being manipulated. They let us continue believing that we’re in control.

I was on stage Saturday afternoon speaking with our Total Access members about one obvious example of this: banking.

Banking is pure manipulation. They’ve deluded us into thinking that ‘our’ money is safely interred in a vault watched over by responsible, ethical custodians who have our best interests at heart.

And they let us go on believing that fairytale, believing that we’re in control of our money.

But none of it is true. Hardly a month goes by without some major banking scandal, showcasing how they constantly cheat their customers.

And as I’ve written several times, as soon as you make a deposit, it’s not even your money anymore. It’s the bank’s. You’re nothing but an unsecured creditor.

They keep very little of your deposit in reserve, gambling away up to 97% of it on idiotic investment fads.

They can freeze you out of your account in their sole discretion whenever they want. And our reward for putting up with all this trouble is about 0.01% interest.

The reality is far different than what they’ve manipulated us into believing.

Several years ago I got so fed up with the banking establishment that I started my own bank… which is where I keep the vast majority of my own savings now.

But there are simpler solutions to reduce your exposure to this insanity.

As we’ve discussed before, it’s a great idea to keep at least some emergency funds outside of the banking system. You can do this by storing physical cash in a safe, buying short-term bonds, or even owning gold coins.

Each of these options eliminates an unnecessary middleman and reduces the amount of control they have over your wealth.

And there can also be some unique asset protection benefits that we’ll discuss later this week.