Tag Archives: impeachement

Journalism Matters: F&O’s fresh sheet, from Newfoundland to Israel

Palestinian visitors gather at a look-out point on the Armon Hanatziv Promenade in Jerusalem May 11, 2017. Picture taken May 11, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Commentary:

Broad alliances trump Trump for Israeli security, by Jonathan Manthorpe  Column

Israel lives in a hostile neighbourhood, and has always had trouble making and keeping trustworthy friends.

Nothing’s Happening, by Jim McNiven   Column

There’s an old saying around the stock market: ‘Sell in May and go away’. Basically, it means that usually nothing much financial happens in the summer. This year, that might also be the slogan for a lot of other parts of society.

Roger Ailes’ special place in hell, by Tom Regan  Column

When Roger Ailes died this month, response was mixed.It was Ailes’ personal foibles that led to his downfall. But I want to concentrate on his legacy in journalism, where he left a very dark mark, called “thug journalism.”

Why Donald Trump won’t be impeached, by Tom Regan   Column

For all the bad news that Trump faces, he will not be impeached: his fellow Republicans control both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

India’s Maoist uprising morphs into women’s armed insurgenc, by Jonathan Manthorpe   Column

Women guerrilla fighters are at the forefront of an emerging insurgent war in India aimed at protecting women from sexual violence and human rights abuse.

Why Ramadan is called Ramadan, by Mohammad Hassan Khalil

The Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, started Friday, May 26, 2017. Professor Mohammad Hassan Khalil  answers six questions about the significance of this religious observance. The Conversation

Reports:

Newfoundland’s fourth offshore oil project set to sail, by Greg Locke

While Canada’s oil sands projects and the North America fracking companies are under scrutiny and financial distress, Newfoundland prepares to bring its fourth major offshore oil project online.

Israel marks 50 years of struggling, “United Jerusalem” by Maayan Lubell

A half-century after Israel captured East Jerusalem, the holy city remains deeply divided by politics, religion and ethnicity – and struggling with grim economic realities.

Real-life “Iron Man” has high hopes for jet suit, by Mark Hanrahan

The British inventor of an “Iron Man”-style jet suit has lofty hopes that his project, which started out as fun experiment, could become a practical tool for industries ranging from entertainment to the military.

Gulf States Curbing Opposition, by Sami Aboudi

Since the 2011 Arab Spring, Gulf states have stepped up efforts to curb dissent with tough new cybercrime laws, sentencing offenders to prison terms for Web posts deemed insulting to rulers or threatening to public order. But in the past two years, unnerved by low oil prices and the slow progress of a war in Yemen targeting the influence of arch foe Iran, Gulf authorities became even less patient with dissenting voices in the media, analysts and rights groups say.

UK investigates use of personal data in political campaigns, by Reuters

Britain said it was investigating how politicians and campaigners use data to target voters with online advertising to make sure they comply with electoral laws and do not abuse people’s privacy.

NOTEBOOK:

For some perspective on what will matter long after the latest political outrage has faded in Washington, London, or Moscow, set aside time, soon, for the sobering interactive feature by the New York Times on the melting of Antarctica —  and how changes to its vast ice sheets will affect the world. World leaders are urging the United States to stay the course on tackling climate change. But one academic has an interesting contrarian’s view of the Paris Agreement: the world would be better off if Trump withdraws from the Paris climate deal, argued Luke Kemp, of Australian National University, in Nature Climate Change. He explained his view here, in The Conversation: “Simply put: the US and the Trump administration can do more damage inside the agreement than outside it.”
Recommended read elsewhere: Kafka in Vegas, by Megan Rose, ProPublica/Vanity Fair

Fred Steese served more than 20 years in prison for the murder of a Vegas showman even though evidence in the prosecution’s files proved he didn’t do it. But when the truth came to light, he was offered a confounding deal known as an Alford plea. If he took it he could go free, but he’d remain a convicted killer.

Misc:  As the Cannes Film Festival wraps on May 28, check out stories on France24. For an “odd news”break, the BBC reports on “Why humans, chimpanzees and rats enjoy being tickled.”

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded only by you, our readers. We are ad-free and spam-free, and do not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we need a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Visit our Subscribe page for details and payment options, or donate below. With enough supporters each paying a small amount, we will continue, and increase our original works like this.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

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Why Donald Trump won’t be impeached

TOM REGAN: SUMMONING ORENDA
May 20, 2017

Masks of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump are seen at Jinhua Partytime Latex Art and Crafts Factory in Jinhua, Zhejiang Province, China, May 25, 2016. There's no masking the facts. One Chinese factory is expecting Donald Trump to beat his likely U.S. presidential rival Hilary Clinton in the popularity stakes. At the Jinhua Partytime Latex Art and Crafts Factory, a Halloween and party supply business that produces thousands of rubber and plastic masks of everyone from Osama Bin Laden to Spiderman, masks of Donald Trump and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton faces are being churned out. Sales of the two expected presidential candidates are at about half a million each but the factory management believes Trump will eventually run out the winner. "Even though the sales are more or less the same, I think in 2016 this mask will completely sell out," said factory manager Jacky Chen, indicating a Trump mask. REUTERS/Aly Song

Masks of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at Jinhua Partytime Latex Art and Crafts Factory in Jinhua, Zhejiang Province, China, May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song

The story goes that, in the 1970’s days of the Watergate crisis,, the editor of the Washington Post, Ben Bradley, would walk around his newsroom yelling out loud to his reporters, “Don’t gloat, don’t gloat.”

It is tempting to fall into that trap today, with nonstop shocking headlines about United States President Donald Trump: the connections between Trump, his campaign team, and the Russians, the firing of FBI director James Comey, and the appointment of a special prosecutor, Robert Mueller. All of this has brought out a certain Captain Queeg (of The Caine mutiny) personality in Donald Trump, with wild claims about his being the most persecuted politician in American history.

Yet for all the bad news that Trump faces, for the long months of investigations ahead by the special prosecutor and by two Congressional committees into the Russian hacking of the United States election, for his decision to hire former Gen. Michael Flynn to be national security advisor when it seems he already knew that Flynn was under investigation for his failure to disclose that he was a foreign agent for the Turkish government, for all the times that Trump changed his story, he will not be impeached.

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The talk this week of impeachment by some Democrats was hasty, premature, and quite honestly just plain stupid. The only way that a president can be impeached, according to the U.S. Constitution, is for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” And that’s all that it says. It doesn’t define what high crimes and misdemeanors are. It appears the founders of the country left that open to interpretation for the generations that followed them. An American president has only been impeached twice: Andrew Johnson, the successor to Abraham Lincoln, and in more recent memory, Bill Clinton. While both were impeached in House of Representatives, the Senate failed to convict either man, and they remained in office.

The main reason that Donald Trump will not be impeached is that his fellow Republicans control both the House of Representatives and the Senate. And while there have been an increasing number of Republican voices calling for a more thorough probe into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, the majority of Republicans, and this is certainly true of their leadership, have adopted a “there’s nothing to see here, move along, move along” attitude towards the entire debacle. The closest thing that any Republican leader has come to even criticizing the president was when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Washington could do with a little less “drama” coming from the White House.

It is a pure political calculation. While it may be true that many of us on the left are fighting the temptation to gloat, as I wrote just last week, there are parts of the country where Donald Trump remains incredibly popular.

Americans who support him see the Russia investigation as a “witch hunt,” and believe the mainstream media’s only goal is to bring Trump down. They see every negative story about him as “fake news,” and believe he is doing a great job. In almost every poll that’s been taken since Trump assumed office, the number of people that support Trump has barely wavered, ranging about 38-40 per cent.

This may be one of the reasons why Trump occasionally flees Washington to a campaign event somewhere in “Trump country,” where he can be surrounded by the cheers of the adoring fans that he seems to desire so much.

The two words any Republican lawmaker, or any American lawmaker for that matter, fear most, are primary challenge. Currently Republicans in the house and in the Senate are weighing the political calculus of just how much they can criticize Trump without invoking the fury of his supporters and the resulting primary challenge — when an incumbent is challenged in an upcoming primary election by a member of his own party.

Yet on the other hand, there are more than a few Republican congressmen and women who won in areas where Hillary Clinton was popular. They know that if they are seen as being too close to Donald Trump, those Clinton voters will turn out in droves and toss them out of office. Thus, we have the current  kabuki dance of Republican politicians, trying to walk a line so thin you need a microscope to see it.

But let’s hypothesize a bit.

Even if the Democrats took every contested seat in the House, and Nancy Pelosi again became speaker, there’s probably no chance the Democrats could regain control of the Senate considering the number of Democratic senators up for reelection in 2018.

The situation is so dire for Democrats that if they just maintain the current total of 52 Republicans, 46 Democrats and two independents (who caucus with the Democrats), it would be a minor miracle. So even if Trump were impeached in the house, if enough crimes and misdemeanors were found, there is very little likelihood that he would be convicted in the Senate.

So, love him or hate him, Donald Trump is here for a while.

On the one hand, as a journalist and columnist, this is the best of all possible worlds: there is never a want of controversial topics to write about.

For my country, on the other hand, it will be an ongoing nightmare. Seldom has there been a man so ill-prepared, so-ill suited, so wrong to be the president of the United States.

Yet in the end nothing can really be done about that. And gloating won’t help. It’s just temporary pain relief from a long-term headache.

Copyright Tom Regan 2017

Contact Tom Regan:  motnager@gmail.com

Correction: An earlier version of this column identified Andrew Jackson as a previously impeached US president. It was corrected May 21 to Andrew Johnson.

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Tom Regan Tom Regan is a journalist in the Washington, D.C., area. He worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and with the National Film Board in Canada, and in the United States for the Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, and National Public Radio. A former executive director of the Online News Association in the U.S., he was a Nieman fellow at Harvard in 1991-92, and is a member of the advisory board of the Nieman Foundation for journalism at Harvard.

Return to Tom Regan’s page 

 

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded only by you, our readers. We are ad-free and spam-free, and do not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we need a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Visit our Subscribe page for details and payment options, or donate below. With enough supporters each paying a small amount, we will continue, and increase our original works like this.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

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America: Andrew Johnson Rides Again

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears at a campaign roundtable event in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., October 28, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears at a campaign roundtable event in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., October 28, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

 

JIM MCNIVEN: THOUGHTLINES
January, 2017

By Julian Vannerson - Library of Congress, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44993463

Andrew Johnson, 17th U.S. President. By Julian Vannerson – US Library of Congress, Public Domain, via Wikipedia

Mark Twain liked to say that ‘History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often does rhyme’. Every hundred and fifty years, I suppose, history has to start to rhyme in the United States. In 1865, a popular President was succeeded by a President who had no clear mandate, who was blustery and not a part of the then Establishment. Sounds a bit like today.

The President was Andrew Johnson, who was Abraham Lincoln’s Vice President in Lincoln’s second term. He did not win the Presidency himself, but was Lincoln’s choice of successor if he could not finish his 1865-69 term of office. Shortly after being inaugurated for his second term, Lincoln was killed by an assassin and Johnson took over.

Johnson was a Tennessee Unionist who refused to resign his US Senate seat when that State seceded from the Union. Lincoln had supposed that Johnson would help in the reconciliation of North and South. The Congress elected in 1864 did not contain any Representatives from the Confederacy, for obvious reasons. Instead, it was dominated by the so-called ‘Radical Republicans’, who were committed to controlling the defeated South and to making sure that the former slave population was given its rights as citizens under the Constitution. It wanted to ‘reconstruct’ the South along its chosen lines.

While Johnson was a Unionist, he was not a radical Republican. He was not only not a Republican at all, but a Democrat, to boot. The Congressional leadership did not care for him and it did not take long for Johnson to reciprocate the feeling. He quickly wanted to re-establish State governments in the South, but the Congress wanted to wait until the ex-slaves could be organized by Northern political advisors. Johnson had no use for such people, black or white, and used Presidential Orders to enforce his decisions instead. Eventually, the Congress became so alienated that Johnson became the first President to be impeached. He was not convicted, when the vote fell one short of what was required.

Today, there is this rhyming thing going on. This time the problem person was elected in his own right, but in what has to be in historically a most ambiguous fashion, winning the Electoral College, but losing the popular vote badly. The only other time when a candidate lost the popular vote by any decent margin (not counting Bush’s victory by very few Florida votes in 2000, with a lot of non-recounted votes tossed out that may have sent the election the other way) came in 1876, and, not surprisingly, the close vote then threw the Electoral college into a tie that then threw the Election into the House of Representatives.

So the new President today comes into office with a tarnished victory and facing a Congress full of people who have shown they have little or no regard for him. They acknowledge his win and, as long as he gets along with the Congressional agenda and sticks to the ‘Bully Pulpit’ that he enjoys so much, they will largely leave him alone.

Somehow, I don’t think this is going to work out this way. The new President is not really a Republican at heart, first of all coming from New York City, a place where even Republicans are left-wing on a lot of issues. He plays the nationalist song, but it is not one favored by Congress, which knows this is anathema to the American multinationals, whose interests may or may not include those of Americans when it comes to exploiting business opportunities. He has little to offer the cultural right wing; his non-attendance at any church is something that was not discussed in the election campaign. His defense of Putin and the Russians in the hacking of American campaign bodies has to give a well-disguised frisson to any politician, left or right, who wants to keep his or her country on top of the heap. After all, if the Russians can get away with it, who’s to say the Indians, or Saudis, or whomever, won’t get the idea that American politics are now ‘free-range,’ and not just confined to the Washington lobbyists hired by foreign powers.

No, this is not going to work out well. At some point, the new President is going to, either unwittingly or not, step on a trip wire laid on the ground and set off a confrontation between himself and the Republican Congress. These are people with an agenda that is a combination of evangelicals, old-line fiscal conservatives, neo-con foreign policy people (who don’t like Russians), Breitbart-style nationalists, progressives, and libertarians, and I doubt God could avoid hurting some of these factions’ feelings. Like the Radical Republicans of the late 1860s, these guys are out to change America, and, if the leadup to the Republican nominating convention is any indicator, their ‘Great-Again America’ doesn’t look too much like the President’s.

Add to this the new President’s reluctance to shed almost any version of conflicts of interest in his business affairs, and the probability that some aspect of these affairs will get him entangled in a scandal or two. Like its predecessor of 150 years ago, the Congress will have to do something. Also keep in mind that incoming Vice-President Mike Pence is ‘one of them’, not one of the President’s long-time associates. All he has to do is stay loyal while keeping his nose clean, and the big prize might be handed to him.

Finally, within a couple of years from now, the Democrats should have finished whatever post-election bloodletting is necessary. They will be on the prowl for power. It only took two years after Obama was swept to power for the Democrats to lose the Congress. It may not take any longer for the obverse to happen if there is too much Congressional overreach and embarrassing Presidential silliness.

Not a repeat, but a rhyme…

 Copyright Jim McNiven 2017

Facts and Opinions is employee-owned and survives on the honour system: please chip in (suggest at least .27 per piece) or make a sustaining donation. Details here. 

Jim McNiven’s latest book is The Yankee Road: Tracing the Journey of the New England Tribe that Created Modern America

Who is a Yankee and where did the term come from? Though shrouded in myth and routinely used as a substitute for American, the achievements of the Yankees have influenced nearly every facet of our modern way of life.

Join author Jim McNiven as he explores the emergence and influence of Yankee culture while traversing an old transcontinental highway reaching from the Atlantic to the Pacific — US 20, which he nicknames “The Yankee Road.”

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Jim McNiven

James McNiven has a PhD from the University of Michigan. He has written widely on public policy and economic development issues and is the co-author of three books. His most recent research has been about the relationship of demographic changes to Canadian regional economic development. He also has an interest in American business history and continues to teach at Dalhousie on a part-time basis.

 

 

 

 

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by you, our readers. We are ad-free and spam-free, and do not solicit donations from partisan organizations. Real journalism has value. Thank you for your support. Please tell others about us, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

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