Modern societies are ignoring laws. That leads to raw power.

President Duterte, Lawman-in-Chief

By JoeAm

Have you noticed, laws no longer mean much? They are ignored (EJKs) or trashed (good bye to early prison release) or weaponized (opposition is ‘seditious’ and tax laws are used to silence troublesome journalists).

What are laws, really?

Laws are contracts between people. They define what is right, what is allowable, what is wrong, what is not allowed. They give us equality and fairness. They punish people who damage others.

When laws no longer mean much, the substitute is power. Impunity. The person or institution with the most sway says what the laws mean, and when they can be applied.

We see this in the Philippines which is on the slippery path to complete lawlessness. The weak have no power in a lawless society. In a lawful society, they are equal.

In the Philippines, no one challenges a seven-hour glich during election vote-counting. No one in the opposition is like the powerful Marcos who persists in challenging results. The weak can’t win in COMELEC or the courts. No one challenges the President’s claim that he has ordered the ambush (and murder) of a mayor. The President is very powerful and legislators or anyone else would never, never, never use the laws to confront him. They issue statements if they are bold. That’s all.

“Be vigilant!” people say . . . which to me means absolutely nothing. It does no good to stand idly by being vigilant as the crooks rummage through the house and steal the valuables, beating grandpa on the way out. In fact, I recoil at that statement.

“Don’t be vigilant!” I’d scream, if I were Filipino. “Hit the streets!”

But I’m not Filipino, so I don’t say that. I just cringe at how weak “vigilance” is as a position of defiance.

I hope there are candidates in 2022 who will propose that laws become honorable once again. Cleaned up. Used.

I hope they will preach that rules keep us safe, equal, and free. I hope they will demand that those who have damaged the Philippines and Filipinos need to go to jail and never, never ever serve in public office again.

Our government likes lists.

The opposition needs one, too. It ought to list all the people in the current government who will be investigated and jailed if the evidence shows that they abused their positions and the laws. If there is evidence of damage.

  • Like Chinese ships stealing Filipino resources.
  • Like thousands of dead, without a presumption of innocence or check on unreasonable use of police force.
  • Like Chinese workers taking Filipino jobs in a cash-for-visa scam.
  • Like early release of rapists and drug lords.
  • Like weaponizing the law for political purposes (dengvaxia, Trillanes, Sereno, De Lima).
  • Like red-tagging people as authorization for abuse by AFP.
  • Like withholding funds for rebuilding of Marawi, as if residents were not citizens worthy of compensation for the bombing of their homes and businesses.

Laws are what keep us civil. Honorable. Respectful.

Without them, we are dog eat dog.

Clean the laws up. Enforce them. Do not offer forgiveness as a political favor. It never works out right.

As you can see by just looking around.

 

Comments
191 Responses to “Modern societies are ignoring laws. That leads to raw power.”
  1. karlgarcia says:

    As I said before, Filipinos should not allow a repeat of 2018, glitch or no glitch.
    When Duterte steps down file cases left and right.
    We should reclaim the Palace, the courts and the Institutions.

  2. Ancient Mariner says:

    Agreed. In my opinion the only likely way we can enforce the law is starting at the bottom. When jeepneys, tricycles, motorcycles, buses and trucks are forced to follow all road traffic laws and penalized for not doing so, they will start thinking, “Why only me”, they will start looking around and upwards.
    Enforcing road traffic laws will require a C change in PNP. If the PNP is forced to clean up its act they will also think, “Why only me”. Watch the snowball effect.

  3. NHerrera says:

    Law-abidingness / law-breaking by government officials especially by the top honcho or by the citizens — a whale of a difference.

    • NHerrera says:

      Which brings us to the factors involved in being law-abiding: the laws some of which are in need of change or are obsolete; the culture; the discipline that the officials require of the citizens but undisciplined to require from themselves.

      That is a drop in the bucket. I remember edgar who can make an exhaustive list of such factors and their relationships.

  4. karlgarcia says:

    https://opinion.inquirer.net/124142/last-chance-for-the-bus-rapid-transit-solution

    In the Twitter exchange about BRT, I think I was talking like Tugade that that there is no space for BRT.
    I guess if you encourage people to ride the BRT then it would be very different. But, they have to build it first.

    • I think it goes past “encourage” to “mandate”, because there are no other ways to get around. Private car owners form an interest group that has run infrastructure and poisoning of the planet since 1900. Time they started bearing the costs of repair.

    • NHerrera says:

      Again, my thanks to karl, our TSH Chief Librarian for the Bus Rapid Transit or BRT described in the link.

      Segundo Eclar Romero described that in July 2012 — in his then Inclusive Mobility Project Team at the Ateneo School of Government — his Team brought a number of PH mayors and top officials concerned with the traffic problem in NCR on a study tour of the Guangzhou Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in China. The tour was taken in partnership with the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, the US-based NGO that convinced the Guangzhou mayor to adopt the BRT.

      The look-see-tour gave some on-the-ground details of the BRT system.

      It’s adaption to PH NCR may be counter-intuitive because of different critical variables different from the Guangzhou case.

      But it seems to me, with the power of computers circa 2017-2019, the data accumulated, and the capable analysts in Ateneo-UP-La Salle along with those in DOTr and MMDA, Simulated Computer Analysis — or what is known as Monte Carlo type of analysis — can help in illuminating if a BRT system in NCR can work or not. The expense for such analysis is a drop in the bucket.

      The throwing out of such an idea based only on Tugade’s judgment seems typical of what happens in a lot of Departments, including the Presidency.

      • Yes. Rigorous and informed, things are not.

      • karlgarcia says:

        The decision making of this admin is for the pits.

      • This is how Istanbul MRT works.

        Population is similar to Metro Manila.

        • chemrock says:

          Irineo

          The problem with BRT is dedicated lanes. Almost impossible in old cities that’s already built up. Consider the inefficiencies of lanes not utilised per time bases.

          But I like having dedicated lanes in the middle. This way seems more workable than having dedicated lanes on the extreme left and right.

          • EDSA is now getting two bus lanes on the right, making it hard and even dangerous in places for cars who want to turn right.

            Middle lane BRT might be hard on EDSA also due to underpasses and flyover which sometimes only have two lanes, so either C5 BRT or Joe’s more radical plan.

            Given the density of MMs population it is already too late and any solution has to cut through or things will get even worse.

        • Micha says:

          @Ireneo

          “Population is similar to Metro Manila.”

          Not quite.

          Metro Istanbul pop. : 15 million
          Metro Manila pop. : 24 million

          Metro Istanbul area : 5,343 sq. km.
          Metro Manila area : 619 sq. km.

          In Istanbul there are only 2,800 people in every square kilometer, whereas in our Metro there are 38,700 gasping souls packed in every square kilometer.

          If you include tourists, visitors, and non-resident kamag-anaks from the province, daytime people movement to schools, workplaces, or the ubiquitous shopping malls chokes the Metro arteries like crazy. Most of those movements will inevitably have to converge in that dense and choking madness called EDSA.

          • True, Metro Manila has grown enormously but I didn’t realize it until now. Also the density, highest in the world for some of it’s cities but ten times Istanbul which is also crowded and IS (and probably always was since the time of Emperor Justinian) the most populous city in Europe:

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_cities_by_population_within_city_limits

            In that case – and also because areas like Malabon, Navotas and Caloocan are pretty much floodlands by now – a strategy like Indonesia moving the capital out of sinking Jakarta is needed. But I forgot that you are Filipinos who deal with problems when they are there, you are resilient, who needs strategy that is for Indonesians and Turks.

            • https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-world-s-most-densely-populated-cities.html

              Nr. 1 (yehey, say the DDS) – Manila: 41515 people / square km
              Nr. 2 Mumbai, used to be called Bombay like Filipinos call Indians
              Nr. 3 Dhaka
              Nr. 4 Caloocan 27916 people/ sq. km
              Nr. 5 Chennai
              Nr. 6 Kolkata
              Nr. 7 Kathmandu
              Nr. 8 Subang Jaya (Indonesia)
              Nr. 9 Paris 21498 (but they have small cars and an excellent 119 year old subway, so good in coverage that most adresses include the “Metro” stop not only street and number)

            • Micha says:

              Our cities are choking with people. Life is cheap, bastardized.

              That extends to world population in general.

              We can’t continue the madness of an economic system that is obsessed with infinite growth using finite resources on a finite habitable space.

              To restore planetary health and prevent more burning of the Amazon, de-growth, meaning global economic recession, will have to happen. And that is assuming massive population displacement due to climate change can be averted.

              Most likely though we will have a Mad Max dystopian world in 10 years.

              • How to cut 8 billion to 2 billion is the question, Micha.

                Who gets to do it? and on what basis will it be done???

                Of course, God can do it using the Sun another Carrington event, make the Earth explode Yellowstone volcanic caldera, or send a big Asteroid from space ala dinosaurs.

                But we can’t wait for God, He’s on his on schedule.

                So how would you do it, Micha??? Round up all the rich folks like Jews? Shoot drug addicts???

              • The reason i’m asking you, Micha

                is because the very economic system you are criticizing is the same reason why we are now pushing 8 billion in a couple of years— if that’s not a metric of success i dunno what is.

                So another system has to be stood up to cut 8 billion to 2 billion. What system do you propose???

              • karlgarcia says:

                Micha will say wtf if I suggest Dan Brown approach.
                Particle accelerator bomb
                Poisoning the water supply
                Bioterrorism…

              • Micha says:

                @Lcplx

                When the planetary climate crisis is in full swing you’d be lucky to have few thousands hominids left.

              • Yep. No planned reduction is needed. It will take care of itself, as water always flows to a natural height.

              • Metro Manila residents will have less time left to reproduce as they are always in traffic. I can also imagine that stress reduces sperm count. Even at some point among super resilient Filipinos.

              • Micha says:

                @Lcplx

                We’re facing a very near possibility of the next great biological extinction caused by this extractive, untrammeled, and predatory economic system and you call that a “success”?

                Success in what? And success for whom?

              • We’re pushing 8 billion , Micha.

                Now I agree with you whether you can call that success or failure is unimportant. But 8 billion is a lot of people surviving and thriving and enjoying life, many are just doing shabu too, but pound per pound, 8 billion people is a lot. That’s gotta count for something no? 😉

                say it, 8 billion people.

              • Micha says:

                @Lcplx

                If breeding is the only metric for “success” then that’s a really low bar for success. Other species like ants, fish, birds, mosquitoes, and cockroaches were also able to bred by the billions. And they were able to do so independent of any humanly devised economic system.

                Humans successfully breeding by the billions makes the earth sick in the same way that successfully breeding mosquitoes bring in malaria, dengue, and yellow fever.

                Invoking capitalism as the causality for human’s success in breeding is a fallacy. Chinese population were already in the billions even before they go full throttle on western induced capitalism.

              • Interesting discussion. I agree that capitalism in an end-of-earth scenario is a disaster. But until, oh, 1960, it made the human species smarter and more well-fed and entertained, and better able to live in a world with ample resources and no global warming. We were like the dinosaurs before feathers. Now we damn well better adapt . . . or go the way of the dinosaurs. We don’t need feathers. We need character.

              • You’ve caused me to shift my thinking on this, Micha.

                come to think of it, capitalism HAS NOTHING to do with population expansion. you’re right , the effect of capitalism should be the opposite, 1st world, less babies; 2nd world, so-so; 3rd world where less capitalism happens more babies.

                So 6 to 10 babies or more average per female happens when there’s less capitalism to be enjoyed, not when there is more. When there is more capitalism, less babies are produced, because women have better things to do that spread their legs for losers, like having a job, going to Zumba, or simply enjoying walking around in Yoga pants.

                You’re correct, capitalism has nothing to do with population explosion, but capitalism does have something to do with population decline. So in that perspective capitalism is good. More abortions in 1st world country too. Women screw and get rid of their babies just as much.

                Which brings us back to the story of Onan in the Old Testament. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onan#Biblical_account , karl mentioned all sorts of mass murder ideas, when in actuality no need, just ensure the sperm has no chance.

                Capitalism good for having less babies, but it might take too long to take affect, thus let’s all follow Onan’s directive. sperm and egg shalt not meet.

                karl, forget about Dan Brown approach, Onan’s approach will yield better results.

  5. Planktrooper19 says:

    Nice article Joe. As a once member of the private sector this truly hits us in the heart hehe. Even company laws are not enforced as much. When offering corrections, they will do everything in their power to put the spotlight on you. I wish to trade it for a fireman’s hose to douse water on me instead. I consign to the fact that private sectors are just a reflection of what truly happens in the public sector. Hope more people will read your blog and be enlightened. Thanks!

  6. NHerrera says:

    A CURIOUS THING

    I find very curious the 25 September 2019 article of Robert Delaney in the South China Morning Post concerning DFA Secretary Locsin’s statements:


    – Beijing seeks a code of conduct for the South China Sea that “is all about how Southeast Asia and China will engage with each other and no one else. … [Such an agreement would be] implicit recognition of Chinese hegemony. In short, a manual for living with a hegemon or the care and feeding of a dragon in your living room.”

    – [On the other hand,] Locsin emphasized Manila’s relationship with the US, which he called “the eternal engine of endeavour and invention”, during a discussion with former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd. … Locsin refuted suggestions that gains made by Duterte-backed candidates in May’s midterm elections represented a “mandate for China”. … “It’s very clear that the people are pro-America and so is the army,” he said. “Eighty per cent of the Filipinos are nuts about Duterte; 90 per cent of Filipinos are nuts about the United States. … “[The military alliance with the US is] rock solid, we hope not just in words but in material commitments. We cannot see any way forward and an Asia with any promise of freedom without American military help.”

    If such statements were uttered by VP Leni Robredo, the Palace would have reacted quickly with verbal violence or insulting words at the very least.

    So what is the game or strategy here? Surely Sec Locsin would not have made those statements without the Palace’s go ahead.

    Is this a later-day realization that China is treating the PH like a fool in spite of the statements and actions of the Administration — in favor of China at the expense of the US and other countries the country have had cordial and beneficial relationships — from Day 1 of the current Administration?

    Craven words and actions by a slave usually result, not in kindness and due consideration, but in the utter contempt of the master towards that slave.

    Not too late then to employ a variation of what is said in the local parlance as: “mamangka sa dalawang ilog.”

    • kasambahay says:

      bong go is always within arm’s length of the president, kahit senador na buntot pa rin ni duterte, whisperer pa rin. locsin’s foreign affairs on one hand, xenophilic bong go on domestic affairs and duterte in between them. locsin knows who best to neutralize but is reluctant to go one step further. and between locsin and bong go, duterte navigates on: protected? enabled? buffered? albeit on both domestic and international front.

      china’s status could well change, still classified as developing nation and still receiving economic international aid despite now being the 2nd biggest economy in the world and much richer than most countries.

      there is now a move to update and make china a fully developed nation, a 1st world nation and instead of receiving aid, china will be the one obligated (much!) to give aids to poorer nation, economic and others.

      • Interesting on both counts, the bongo-locsin shield and China’s ridiculous classification as a developing nation. Here’s to imposing some international obligations on the monster in our living room.

        • kasambahay says:

          I dont know how xi could sikmura it, china still putting its hands up for handouts when it’s already a highly industrialized nation, rich beyond measures and able to stand on its own. china is long due for upgrade, the sooner the better. no more free lunch for china, no more handouts.

          foreign sec locsin is good at playing the fool, japan kuno gives more aids to pinas than china. what locsin failed to mention is that unlike japan, china is still classified as developing nation, eligible for handouts, and not required to give aid to poorer nations.

          once china is upgraded to 1st world status, it would have to behave like a 1st worlder and not as conniving thief and usurer, respectful of other nation’s borders and boundaries.

          • sonny says:

            Thanks, kbahay. Your observation is food for thought. I have some dots I’m trying to connect:

            “… china still putting its hands up for handouts when it’s already a highly industrialized nation, rich beyond measures and able to stand on its own. china is long due for upgrade …”

            A long time ago, I stopped by the US Library of Congress and browsed some shelves of books, periodicals, etc. I picked a pamphlet which listed the number of post-graduate degrees (MAs, PhDs) granted for periods of times. Chinese degree-holders far outnumber those other foreign countries may be 2 to 3 times than the 2nd biggest number. Philippine holders were significant but nowhere close to China’s. I wonder where those Chinese graduates are now. Somewhere I read that a big accomplishment claimed by the Chinese gov’t is the number of advanced-degree holders that have been repatriated. Also speculate on who and how many are involved in industrial espionage. Just wondering, purely conjecture.

    • Good questions and we can only guess. We can also factor in China’s demand to stop the gambling casinos and Duterte’s refusal. Also Carpio’s warning that China will likely develop Scarborough during the Duterte term, then do a Code of Conduct that effectively seals their ownership of the seas. Perhaps people have had enough of China’s one-way approach.

  7. I agree with Joe that a lot of reforms are needed:

    1) legal reform
    2) justice reform
    3) penal reform

    4) admin reform
    5) police reform!
    6) customs reform (resisted in PNoy’s time)

    7) BIR reform already partly done PNoy’s time
    8) education reform partly started with K-12

    Get the country working again.

    But it is a tall order and the self-dealers WILL resist even harder.

    • karlgarcia says:

      If anyone would have the initiative to do peoples initiative then we can get moving.

      The information agencies must do a massjve education campaign and the legislators must not feel bypassed and threatened.

      I guess once this is started, a lot of changes will happen.
      But studies show that people do not want frequent elections even if it means more power to the people.
      People fear what they do not understand.

      • Good political parties have staff to create proposals and know how to discuss them with the people. This is what real Representatives should be about, like lawyers acting for the people.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Power politics will just proliferate, propagate political butterflies.
          Who has the power rules no party loyalty.

          Represntatives can’t receive letters from constituents.
          People rather fall inline in senate offices, what are the district offices for?
          The higher IRA must make pork barrel illogical.
          Higher IRA must be a tool for more devolution.

  8. NHerrera says:

    “THE GODFATHER” REWOUND

    Adam Schiff
    @RepAdamSchiff

    The transcript of the call reads like a classic mob shakedown:

    – We do a lot for Ukraine
    – There’s not much reciprocity
    – I have a favor to ask
    – Investigate my opponent
    – My people will be in touch

    Nice country you got there.

    It would be a shame if something happened to her.

    Additional notes:

    Fired former FBI Director James Comey: noted that Trump’s way of doing business and demands for loyalty have similarities with the loaded language of a mafia don.

    The President’s jailed former lawyer Michael Cohen: “He doesn’t give you questions, he doesn’t give you orders, he speaks in a code. And I understand the code, because I’ve been around him for a decade.”

    • Yes, it is fairly clear what was going on, even if there were no signed agreements. I’ve been reading about what the impeachment charge would be. He probably broke no laws, but may have violated the ethics of the office by using state business to go after information on a political opponent, for personal gain. It will take months to play out. It is meaningful that several republicans find his act unacceptable. The idea of using foreign sources to investigate someone who is not under criminal indictment (Biden’s son) is abhorrent to defense-minded patriotic souls, which Republicans used to pride themselves on being.

    • chemrock says:

      Adam Schiff as chair of intel committee lied a few times in congressional inquiries. It’s jailable offence.

      If Trump said you investigate Biden then I release aid, then it’s Impeachable. That’s the quid pro quo Dems mentioned several times when they declare impeach impeach before transcripts were released. After transcript was made public, there is no mention of quid pro quo. Because there isn’t any.

      • I google “Adam Schiff lied” and come up with Fox news saying the Russia/Trump investigation was a hoax. Is there a more intellectually rigorous examination of Shiff’s performance than Fox news pundits?

        • Ancient Mariner says:

          Try typing, “Adam Schiff lied” the inverted commas tighten the search

          • Just link me to a credible, apolitical assessment if you can.

            • Adam Schiff IMHO didn’t lie, he’s just a patsy just like Devin Nunes was, they are meant to chase around stuff like cats with flashlight.

              Notice the timing of all this.

              The Dems are realizing that hey they just might lose the 2020 election again. Harris and Booker weren’t what they hoped for. So this Ukranian stuff is actually a Hail Mary toss of sorts for the Dems. IF

              They ‘re successful. They’ll take the WH in 2020.

              If not. Trump gets a 2nd term.

              What they failed to calculate is that just like the Mueller stuff, there’s a lot of grey areas. People have never realized that the executive branch is really this powerful. To curtail said branch is what I hope will happen in all this.

              But from my vantage, Trump looks like he’s getting a 2nd term— like his 1st term, all handed over to him by the Dems and the liberal media.

              • I watched both Schiff and Nunez do their interrogations yesterday and, from that, conclude you are right. Both are political one-siders, or patsies, pawns, players, and disingenuous, but not liars. It is outright comical how intelligent, grown men, can focus so ardently on not being honest, earnest, and goal-minded, with truth and good deeds as the goal. I’ve concluded Boy Scouts have failed the US mightily and I’m never going to climb Mt. Baden Powell again.

        • chemrock says:

          Adam Schiff lied at FBI hearings. You can’t google this because the media is quiet about it.

          Go back and watch Schiff’s opening address at the DNI hearing. It was an anachronistic version of the transcript. His was a twisted version, designed for the media’s attention. His line of questioning was all meant for media sensationalism.

          I cannot comprehend why an investigation into corruption at the highest level in the Obama admin is wrong.

          I cannot understand why an investigation into “Crowdstrike” is wrong. Getting to the roots of the Russian collusion conspiracy is wrong?. Shouldnt all Americans be interested in that?

          • FBI hearings. Ah, so he lied but you can’t show it, we have to take your word on it.

            DNI. What was Nunes’ line of reasoning and approach? I watched the hearing livestream. Schiff was doing his job, akin to the prosecuting attorney. Nunes did his as defense. It was not lying in the sense of mistruths, but the kind of angling that lawyers are inclined to do to favor their case. The judges are the people. The media the stenographers.

            I’m not sure what Obama corruption you are referring to. Believe me, the Trump rednecks would prosecute him if they could. Uppity black president thinking he is better than them. I’m also not familiar with crowdstrike, so you’d have to outline the case. All Americans are interested in dining well and hating on people on the other side. Rather like anyone anywhere.

            • chemrock says:

              Schiff was quoting a fake dialogue in his opening at the DNI inquiry. Trumps call did’nt go the way he explained.

              Obama corruption — don’t tell me he was not aware of Biden’s mis-step in Ukraine. Biden practically boasted about how he threathened the previous Ukraine president to get rid of the prosecutor who was investigating the most corrupt company in Ukraine – Burisma. Biden basically said he is withholding $1.5B, he’s got 6 hours before his flight back to US, get rid of the prosecutor or the money is going back with him. Then he boasted amidst laughter that the ‘son-of-a-bitch’ (Biden’s words, not mine) fired the prosecutor. This is out in the open, and Obama does not know? That’s the real quid pro quo.

              US$1.5B was released to Burisma — into a bank owned by the owner of Burisma. A couple of weeks after that, Hunter was appointed to Board of Burisma. He was supposed to be the expertise to help Ukraine in developing technology for the gas industry of which his expertise is maybe a peek at Wikipedia on gas industry.

              Long before Trump got pally with current Ukraine president Zelensky, Dems were pally with the previous corrupt Ukraine admin. That’s when the Russian collusion scam was hatched. Google ‘Crowdstrike’. Dems did with Ukraine what they are accusing Trump now. Dems asked Ukraine to dig up Russian dirt on Trump so that he will loose the election 2016. But they got suckered by Russian dis-information.

              About Schiff lying at FBI investigation — will revert when I locate where I saw it. My browser history cleared.

              • I’d like to see sources for the accusations. They seem wild to me. I’m not inclined to run around trying to do that myself. You believe Trump was set up on the Ukraine call that will get him impeached? I think he was just doing what he does as President and businessman. Dealing low and dirty.

              • That Red State publication is not a reputable source of information in my book. If whistleblower rules were changed, it still begs the question, did Trump betray his office by using the power of government for personal benefit? The Trump appointee who heads Intelligence said the whistleblower was honorable in his complaint. Not political. Schiff got him to say Trump’s harsh characterization of the whistleblower was not accurate. It was quite a dramatic moment for us John Grisham fans.

              • chemrock says:

                I don’t think it’s a set up job.

                It is known there are some unseen hands that reward White House staff for anything juicy. I’m sure this has been around pretty long time in past admin as well. However, Trump’s admin is different now. People are extremely polarised. So some staffers with biased political views will jump on the opportunity to leak. Now whether this is profit motivated or not is besides the point, because we just don’t know. But it has to be factored in. Of course it could well be the staffer has a committed sense. He/she thought his leak is in the best national interest. It is in this light the DNI director said he believed the whistleblower was honorable in his complaint. He was just conceding to a forced point by Schiff. How could he have known anything when no one knows who the whistleblower is. He must take a neutral stand, that’s his job.

                My thoughts are that in this polarised era, there are political enemies that seek anything they can find. It may well be they seek our sources in the WH. Now why is it liberal press can get access to the news? It reeks of a group play. Remember the phone calls with the presidents of Mexico and Australia were also leaked. I don’t see anything wrong when a president says he has to find the rats in the WH.

                As to the corruption of Biden and John Kerry’s adopted son form an investment firm. 10 days after Joe Biden’s trip to China, the 2 boys reportedly clinched a $2.5 B fund from the Bank of China (at a time when both their fathers were in office). There is a book that recently came out on this. I like to see Joe Biden sue the author for libel.

              • Several issues here.

                1) Journalists in the US commonly work inside sources who give them information on the record, off the record, source revealed, source not revealed. No payments are made.
                2) The Trump Administration has had a hard time stopping leaks from disloyal sources. He’s had a hard time finding and keeping loyal staff, and even the loyal ones like Bolton have a hard time of it and leave. Trump is loyal to no one but his family, so he gets what he dishes. That’s on Trump entirely, not any political enemies.
                3) The whistleblower is not a political player. Take that as a given until there is evidence to the contrary. So far, there is none.
                4) The liberal press is not liberal, I think. It is aggressive people with a job to do, to challenge the existing establishment. Alan Robles (Raissa’s husband) made the point on Twitter. Journalists dig. Obama, Clinton, Trump, Nixon, all the same. It’s what they do. The Philippines could use some of that rather than the shy, respectful or tabloidian methods used here.
                5) Biden and Kerry’s kids. I know nothing about those cases. I’d like to know the book or other sources that put this in the realm of objective understanding. I’m wary of political advocates pushing half-truths.

              • I’ve read several articles about the Ukraine case this afternoon, and at least three of them said “There is no evidence of any wrongdoing by Joe or Hunter Biden.” That is the offset they provide when citing the call transcript in which Trump suggests there are wrongdoings.

              • chemrock says:

                Agree with most part.
                But on liberal press being aggressive I never see that with Obama and Clinton. Not even with destruction on 30, 000 classified documents.

              • Perhaps they liked the narrative of a successful black president and an aggressive woman candidate. Preferred to an establishment cowboy like Bush Jr or a showman like Trump. Or dullards like Gore and Kerry, or religious extremists like Romney and others. I dunno. But American press is aggressive.

          • chemrock says:

            If you are following the Ukraine fiasco, here’s the latest.

            In a court of law, heresay is not allowed. In congress, this is allow. Why? Because its nothing about breaking laws, it’s politics.

            The whistleblower heard something, probably in the CR, and reports what he heard from A what B said to C who said to A.

            The DNI complaint form originally had a stipulation. That only first hand info is allowed. Then a couple of days before the whistleblower filled in his complaint form, the DNI Form was revised. The first hand info requirement was gone.

            How timely the form revision. Trump has roque elements in his Security agency for sure. The whole damn Uraine fiasco is scripted.

            https://www.redstate.com/bonchie/2019/09/27/breaking-intel-community-secretly-changed-whistle-blower-rules-allow-trump-ukraine-complaint-just-days-filed/

            • Micha says:

              @chempo

              “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.

              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 but because he made the fatal mistake of trying to take down a fellow member of the ruling elite.”

              https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-problem-with-impeachment/

              • chemrock says:

                I have to agree. A non-establishment dares to touch an establishment case.

              • A tweet that said: “KellyAnne Conway trying to stop leaks out of the White House”:

              • Micha says:

                @chempo

                This is an intra-elite, intra-establishment squabble. To say that Trump is outside of the establishment is a joke.

                He is very much in the center of it.

              • Micha,

                There are political elites and there are elites by way of inheritance, hard work and/or luck (like winning the lotto).

                Political elites are the Clintons and the Obamas. the Bushes are technically both, because of oil (they are also of old money), that converted their wealth to political wealth. like the Kennedies.

                Trump isn’t political elite, not just yet.

                and the push back you’re experiencing since 2015 is from both the political elite and industrial elites (like the Kochs). Trump is real estate money (not oil, not finance, etc.) it is an industry still very much connected to unions and people (unlike finance and oil, much of which is mechanized).

                that’s Trump in the 90s, then pivoted to being just a brand (like many in the entertainment industry and the sports industry here). So he’s not really construction and real estate anymore not since the 90s (think house flipping in small scale).

                So he is not part of the elite per se, he is part of the industry that funds political elites, that was the extent of his exposure to the political elite. Just like Soros and Kochs. Seldom do these guys want to play politics, politics is a dirrrty game.

                Your “ruling elite” is very nuanced. not monolithic at all, Micha. There’s Buffett, and the new billionaires from Silicon Valley and tech, and they don’t see eye to eye with former big industries like oil , etc.

                re Hunter Biden, I would agree with you that, getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar was in the past something massaged in some back room somewhere, a gentlemen’s agreement. Trump took that tradition and turned it upside down, now it’s for all to see.

                in that regard he’s gone against the grain of all elites of all types. he’s aired dirrrty laundry. and keeps airing them. LOL! that’s why the elites both political and industry, hate him and why they’ve gone after him since, but nothing seems to be sticking.

                the Why… is what’s interesting.

            • Here is the latest on the Trump-promoted lie that whistleblower rules were changed to permit second-hand knowledge:

              https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/09/30/politics/donald-trump-inspector-general-whistleblower-complaint-conspiracy-fact-check/index.html

              • Joe,

                There’s hearsay and there’s hearsay,

                In court, only certain hearsays are admitted, like dying confessions, things blurted out under stress, etc. etc.

                Then there is hearsay that’s for the purposes of expanding investigations. Goes from one, to two, then to three and four.

                So if the whistleblower names who he heard it from, and so on and so forth, that’s legit use of hearsay.

                When you get to the horse’s mouth, that’s not hearsay anymore. Now if the horse says, I never said that, then the whistleblower is in trouble, he shoulda done what Monica Lewinsky did and saved the stain for posterity. 😉

                No stain, no luck.

              • The point was very specific. chemrock had echoed the Trump line that the democratic plan to impeach Trump was in the works long ago, that’s why they changed the whistle-blower regulations. To allow second-hand testimony. Not true. That is the point. The whistle-blower changed the gameplan and made impeachment necessary, not democratic scheming.

              • NHerrera says:

                Thanks for that link, Joe. This is from one who has been following the Ukraine Affair and the associated Impeachment Inquiry.

                I am amazed at the order/ suggestion of Trump to try to get the identity of the Whistleblower and the suggestion by some of his allies to punish him. It runs counter to the spirit and intent of the Whistleblower Program.

                THE OBVIOUS UNLESS ONE IS VERY DENSE. Trump and his official allies themselves may not do physical harm to the WB, but with the Identity of the WB known and cyber search identify his address, etc. the crazies out there with AR-15 may just do what the Administration hope will happen.

              • Right, he is a classic totalitarian who wants to punish critics. But he is just digging himself a hole on obstruction. He said impeachment would bring about civil war. A Harvard law professor said that it an impeachable offense in itself because he is trying to prevent Congress from doing its constitutional duty.

                He seems to be getting wilder every day. The statistics are moving against him in a significant way, with a lot of Republican voters wanting impeachment, too. Most democrats do.

              • NHerrera says:

                Amazed = Horrified [in the context of my note above]

              • NHerrera says:

                LAST ONE ON THIS THREAD

                I am very glad to observe the important role US Media is playing in the political dynamics surrounding the — and in the wake of — the Ukraine Affair, in behalf of the citizens, through reasoned discussions among the talking heads, quite a few of who are very knowledgeable sources invited to discuss the matter. [No Gordon, Sotto, Panelo type of logic being used there.]

                I am impressed too by the tough US Lady Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, who has cautiously, deliberately shepherded his Democratic Teams in finally approving the formal Impeachment Inquiry — using the layman-understandable issue associated with the Ukraine Affair as the trigger and after seeing the tipping point on the Inquiry from the Polls.

              • Republicans are revealing themselves as gameplayers, distorting and trying to diminish what the President said. Pelosi wants a serious affair. We’ll see how it plays.

              • “chemrock had echoed the Trump line that the democratic plan to impeach Trump was in the works long ago, that’s why they changed the whistle-blower regulations. To allow second-hand testimony.”

                Joe,

                sorry, I wasn’t more clear, but my point was in support of said article. the whistleblower is simply there to blow the whistle, the IG or other investigative entities do their thing if they decide to take up the complaint (ie. the complaint is legit, there is grounds),

                the whistleblower isn’t necessarily expected to “prove” anything (thus any sort of hearsay goes, my point above), though he/she is expected to give enough to the investigators for them to be able to investigate and follow leads.

                Snowden and others like him were essentially denied their protection because it was deemed that the stuff they were whistleblowing about was in fact more important than their complaints.

                This is nothing like policy whistleblowing ala Snowden, Joe. This Biden/Ukraine stuff is more like sexual harrassment whistleblowing, ie. “He said something ‘inapproriate'”, thus the standard for whistleblowing should be considerably lower than say Snowden-type, policy whistleblowing.

                that’ s my point, Joe. So i doubt any changes were made by Dems, since it’s such a basic whitleblowing complaint. Nothing policy related. Technically nothing Top Secret. no programs involved, no people endangered, just what the President said is the issue.

              • But I do agree with chemp, that the Dems have had a hard-on for impeachment (i dunno why they wanna go this route, the election was legit), it is not very wise, they wanna impeach Trump do it thru ballots. Make it a referendum, not impeachment. Kick him out via national election.

              • A lot of Republicans also are concerned that Trump used the power of a foreign government for political advantage so to characterize it as political rather than substantive is incorrect. To permit such indiscretions and abuse of office is to put bad behavior into the ethical mainstream and erode ethical boundaries, to the detriment of the nation. Imagine the great power of the presidency used, not for national well-being, but to work with and favor foreign governments, with taxpayer money, so that they will support the President’s personal domestic political agendas. Horrifying abuse of trust.

                You will return with your “yeah but” arguments to point out that politics is already played that way, and I’ll say it ought not be played that way.

                The point being that power is favored over institutional integrity, the point of the blog article. Ethics matter. Laws matter.

              • Granted this was about Biden and son, thus political. I agree.

                But that aside, a call to Ukraine asking to re-open or furnish more info on questionable activities on any other individuals, is well within a President’s right , Joe. He is the executive branch, thus can execute the powers of the stick as well as the carrot.

                Because this is about Biden and son, w/ Biden as possible presidential contender, I welcome impeachment procedures, but like I said before the Senate has final say.

                My money’s on all this fizzling out, once it goes to the Senate. That, OR who ever this whistleblower said he heard all this from, says, “I never said that!!!” (assuming the released transcript is the redacted version).

                In the end, I scratch your back, you scratch my back is part of diplomacy, any relationship for that matter, whether personal or professional, though I’d agree with you not literally “my” back (which Trump tends to do, ie. over personalizes stuff).

                But he did get elected, and won the election fair and square, with people all knowing what he was all about. This part the Dems are miscalculating. But it’s their show now. So we’ll see…

              • Right. We’ll see.

                Here are some demographic insights from CNN:

                https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/30/politics/cnn-poll-impeachment-ukraine/index.html

                Republicans favoring impeachment up to 14%.

              • NHerrera says:

                Lance,

                I am changing my mind on what I wrote above — saying that it is my last item on the thread [sorry, Joe].

                Here is an opinion as long as we are writing opinions on the subject:

                Who is to say that the moves by the Dems toward the Impeachment Inquiry — not yet the Impeachment, although I believe the Dems are committed to that and will follow through or lose some face — is not part of the Dems Strategy to win over Trump in 2020, especially since they have now found a rich gold vein to exploit?

              • NH,

                You can’t say you ‘re going fishing and not come back with a fish. You see my point?

                All the Dems had to do was put up someone electable, better than Trump. For me, that’s Bernie.

                Instead , they are promising the American people another steak dinner which they’ll not be able to produce, same as last time with the Mueller investigation.

                Like I said to Joe, the President can conduct foreign policy however he wants, barring any actual crimes. So far all you have is “can you do me a favor?” , which isn’t a crime.

                Think about it, that is essentially all the hoopla, a “favor”. it’s semantics!!!

              • Yours is the Republican argument, to the letter. The power of the presidency is not unlimited as a dictator would use it. It is restrained by laws and ethics and moral judgments as to what Americans expect, as Americans. And getting foreign powers to influence elections is not considered appropriate. The Russian investigation was undercut by Mueller’s high-minded waffling. The test of what Trump said about the Ukraine is available, and we will learn more as to why extreme efforts were undertaken to make sure the document was off on a secret server, and what in the world the Justice Secretary had to do with it. My point is that there IS substance. It is not just political. There is a legitimate, rational reason to not allow foreign interference in American politics. And the same thing applies to the Philippines where China will certainly try to intrude. Remember all the Chinese trolls who visited here in 2016? Hahahaha. They went away after the election.

              • This isn’t Russian collusion and election meddling anymore, Joe– that’s the Mueller report. This one’s about the President asking for some leverage on Biden’s son in Ukraine, it’s about what transpired in Ukraine.

                Granted such findings could help Trump over here. But without making that connection just yet , I’m simply saying, it’s about Hunter Biden in Ukraine. period. Can the President ask his Ukrainian counterpart, to re-examine, re-open, re-investigate Hunter Bidens dealings there?

                in Ukraine.

                And I’m saying as president, Yes Trump is well within his powers to do so. Seems like a waste of energy and effort if you ask me IMHO, but hey he’s the President, and he’s well within his powers.

                As for obstruction and cover-up, that’s a different matter, sure if it rises to the level of criminal then ding him for all that. But the Ukrainian president obliging our president, so long as it’s within Trump’s powers and within the law, is fine.

                Ukraine is fine.

                That should be the focus. Joe Biden as political contender is another matter, obstruction and evidence tampering are another, those are two separate things. But absent of additional info, let’s just focus on whether or not Trump was within his rights?

                I say YES. if you say NO, why not? don’t give me ethics & morals too interpretive, if laws is your argument which laws specifically did he break?

              • That’s your personal opinion, fine. But you characterize the case wrongly when you try to diminish its importance. The Ukrainian leader was blackmailed with taxpayer money to gather dirt on an American who by all accounts is not dirty, but who happens to be the top Trump opposition candidate’s son. By withholding approved military funds for malicious intent and personal gain, the President exposed the Ukraine and US interests to possible damage. This is lousy, stinking, dirty business. That’s the Democratic view, and the view of an increasing number of Americans.

                As for laws, he possible broke none. But that, too, is a diversion because the real issue is abuse of power. It is a fallacious argument being used by Trump backers. Impeachment is not a case of law, it is a case of trust, or trust broken.

                But you are right. We’ll find out more in the coming weeks and months.

              • I suppose the case could be made that impeachment is a non-parliamentary way to exercise a vote of no confidence. It does not have to be criminal.

              • I actually love this stuff. It is dramatic. It is comedic. Like the President wanting to arrest Schiff for Treason:

                https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/30/trump-asks-if-schiff-should-face-arrest-for-treason-over-impeachment-probe.html

                Talk about the breakdown of governance into nasty politics. I’m not sure who is more negligent about their President, Filipinos or Americans.

              • “The Ukrainian leader was blackmailed with taxpayer money to gather dirt “

                By definition it’s not blackmail , joe, maybe extortion is the word you had in mind. But even extortion is not quite it either. Just a head of state, asking another head of state, for a favor. All requests of favor I know of (unless the other party is just altruistic) requires a favor in return, so yes Quid pro Quo– this for that.

                But Quid pro Quo isn’t this, ooooops, can’t have this now. The phrase closest to what you’re characterizing what happened then is Indian Giver. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_giver

                So far the Ukranian president hasn’t confirmed that what you’re describing was indeed what happened. And no I’m not saying this isn’t important, just that it’s a tempest in a teapot. As such, it’ll fizzle.

                I am now more curious about Hunter Biden. I know Trump; I don’t know this Hunter fella. And I’m sure plenty are thinking , thus now googling the same. We’ll see…

              • Yes, it is very entertaining indeed,

                and like I said before the value of Trump whether you like him or not, is that he’s made a whole lot of people now interested in politics and in civics. Before Trump people couldn’t even list members of the Cabinet or National Security council. Now everyone’s an expert, Joe. This same discussion we’re having I could easily be doing on the bus or the train or at work.

                I couldn’t say that in 2015.

              • NHerrera says:

                I no speaka da inglis well.

                But Schiff paraphrased the admittedly rough transcript of the call between Trump and Zelensky rather well. As I said, I no speaka da inglis well.

              • NHerrera says:

                You finally said it Joe: The Americans are as intelligent as the Filipinos. 🙂

              • NHerrera says:

                You finally said it, Joe.

                The Americans are as intelligent as the Filipinos. 🙂

              • NH,

                Remember, the call transcript is either redacted and/or mere summary of the actual conversation. We’ll have to wait for more.

                But like I said to Joe, just focus on the Ukraine ask. In Ukraine, by our President to their president. Was that legal and within the purview of Presidential powers.

                Joe’s characterizing it as extortion, we’ll know more either with the rest of the conversation and/or with the Ukrainian president’s own narrative.

                RE:

                Extortion there has to be a victim (Ukrainian president) and a crime (the extortion itself, Gimme this!!!). Keep that in mind.

                IMHO, the reason why all this was time sensitive was precisely because the Ukrainian president was more than happy to oblige.

                Thus it goes back to Hunter Biden. Without the Hunter Biden stuff, then the “extortion” is left uncompleted. Eventually , the Dems will have to uncover the “extortion” situation they are describing, and discuss Hunter Biden.

                Remember I was right with Russian collusion all along, a big nothing awhile ago– so my forecast has been spot on. 😉 Mueller found nothing. But there was obstruction.

                For sure there is obstruction here too (Ukraine/Biden), but if the original crime is unwarranted, is there really??? it kinda nullifies it if no crime uncover, no? goes back to the the Mueller stuff again.

                And that is exactly why the Senate will NOT do anything.

              • chemrock says:

                1. This Ukraine thingy is a set up and the whole play was scripted. Did you guys heard what Pelosi said in 60 minutes before the transcript was released?

                “He told me it was perfect, that there was nothing on the call,” Pelosi said on CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” referring to a conversation she had with President Trump before the Trump administration released either a transcript of his call with Ukraine’s leader or the whistleblower’s complaint.

                “But, I know what was in the call,” Pelosi continued, before quickly adding, “I mean, uh, it was in the public domain.”

                Because she had read the script. Unfortunately for her, it went off script because what the whistle blower said, which was scripted, was not in the transcript:

                – no mentions of Biden’s name 3 times
                – no quid pro quo
                – no threats by Trump.

                2.There was nothing in the transcript so Schiff had to do a parody, putting tons of words into Trump’s mouth. It was a shameless opening speech if you had read the transcript and heard him explain.

                3. Pelosi will not call for a vote at this point. WHY? Because they control the narrative, on who to sunpeona. If it goes to vote, the minority members will have the right to subpeona whoever they want.

                4. There are 3 aspects to this Ukraine thing:
                -a. A quid pro quo by Trump — which is considered serious because he enlist a foreign govt assistance to dig dirt on political opponent, thus foreign interference in US election.
                -b. Investigation into the origination of the Russian Collusion scam which was hatched in Ukraine. Trump was trying to investigate the very thing the Dems accused him off — who came up with the plan enlisting Ukraine govt assistance to get the Russian collusion scam to influence election 2016.. This is the real reason for the Dems action in congress now. To get Barr’s investigation on this Russian plot derailed. Because the Dems are deep into this Russian plot.
                -c. Biden’s corruption. Actually legally speaking, Biden was not corrupt — because his name is never linked to anything. It’s his son and John Kerry’s step son Chris Heinz. But Hunter and Chris were never far behind in their dads’ travels. Apart from Ukraine national gas company Busrisma, where Hunter received a few hundred thousand dollars in director fees, the big money was in China. Chinese deals go into the realm of treason. Oh boy is it juicy. Just to cut short — They boys set up a Chinese based venture capital fund, funded billions from a Chinese Bank subsidiary, bought into a high tech Chinese firm which owns the Face++ app, which the Chinese govt use for secret surveillance on their muslim citizens in Uighur. All these Chinese involvement very messy, it involves a company called HND which has a mission of buying foreign politicians. Couple of Obama appointees ended up in the Board. All these while, Biden has been soft on China. Go and dig up his description of US_China relationship.

                All these info were out there in early 2019 put out by investigative reporters but never hit the mainstream media. Liberal media will never print this.

                Of course my words can’t be trusted. Do your research, but don’t look at the liberal media, you won’t find it.

                Soros’ money has a lot to do with the Russian collusion mess. That’s deep state money.

                To propagate their narrative, liberal media threw the camera in front of a Ukrainian prosecutor who said they investigated Burisma but found no dirt on Biden. That’s the corrupt one. They won’t interview Viktor Shorkin, that’s the prosecutor who did the investigation and was sacked by Biden’s quid pro quo with the previous corrupt president.

                Congress has subpeoned Guillaini. That will be interesting because Guillaini has Viktor Shorkin’s affidavits and who has said he is willing to testify in US.

              • Thanks for your opinion, which is consistent with LCX, which is consistent with the Republican line. For me, I read the transcript and it is pretty clear what is going on. I didn’t read or hear Pelosi’s talk so don’t know what that is about. Schiff exaggerated. Nunes exaggerated. It’s their role. Anyone can read the call transcript and decide what they think about this, on their own. It is peculiar to cast judgment before witnesses have testified. The hearings will be fun.

              • Here’s what I mean by fun. Secretary of State Pompeo objects to his staff being asked to do depositions. He is a possible participant in the phone call session, and therefore a “witness of fact”. So he is like a crook failing to cooperate with police, so the Committee knocked him upside the head with the threat of “obstruction of justice” and the threat that non-compliance would certify that the whistleblower’s complaint is true. I love it when attorneys get snitty with one another. It brings out my John Grishom sense of amusement at certain legalistic contortions.

                https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-whistleblower-congress-idUSKBN1WG4L7

              • Oh, my, and the most senior Republican senator has come out in defense of the Whistle-blower and the legitimacy of second-hand information:

                “This person appears to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and ought to be heard out and protected. We should always work to respect whistleblowers,” Grassley said. “Complaints based on second-hand information should not be rejected out of hand, but they do require additional leg work to get at the facts and evaluate the claim’s credibility.”

                https://www.politico.com/news/2019/10/01/grassley-trump-whistleblower-014715

                The relevance of the Whistle-blower case to the Philippines is that it shows US institutions at work, constructively. There were no institutional challenges of the witnesses against Senator De Lima, for instance, in the Philippines.

              • Mercy me. How can so many different people have different knowledge about the same thing, which is in the public sphere of information????

                “Poll: Only 4 in 10 Republicans think Trump mentioned Biden on Ukraine call even though he acknowledged doing so:

                The answer, of course, is they fit the facts to their pre-defined bias, they don’t adjust their knowledge to fit the facts.

                https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/10/01/poll-gop-doesnt-believe-trump-talked-biden-ukrainians/3829338002/

              • chemrock says:

                Oops… no mention of Biden’s name 8 times.

              • NHerrera says:

                MOVING AT SUPERSONIC SPEED

                There are two aspects of US polls on Trump:

                – Support for Impeachment Inquiry
                – Support for Impeach and Remove

                My recollection of the numbers from today’s CNN Program may be somewhat faulty but notionally it is this:

                The numbers for the first one has more than reached the tipping point (about 55% for vs 45% against) compared to a few months ago (when it was something like 40% for vs 60% against).

                On the more important second one — Impeach and Remove — it has reached near parity (about 47% for vs 47% against, with 6% undecided) compared to just a week or two ago (when it was less than 40% for vs more than 60% against).

                The direction and momentum of the numbers must be troubling.

                No wonder Trump, the Whitehouse and his Allies in the House and Senate are getting wilder by the day.

              • chemrock says:

                There is some similarity here:

                Trump points to 2016 in Ukraine — look there was some evil plot going on, there was some corruption going on. He gets clobbered for what A said B told him C said to him, and nobody knows the agenda of the whistleblower.

                DeLima points to lots of killings, lots of things some bigshot needs to answer both in recent times and way back when in Davao. She gets clobbered for what some bigshot said he heard from foreign sources, from criminals….

                Strange both countries prefer to go after the more petty issues than the dark evils that lurked.

              • NHerrera says:

                From a Talking Head on CNN (a paraphrase):

                THEORY OF POLITICAL ACCOMMODATION

                One starts accommodating a person like Trump and follows through. Then when Trump becomes unbearable, it becomes difficult to stop or reverse because then one gets to be embarrassed about past contrary statements or actions.

                But then there is the bizarre case of Senator Lindsey Graham who to me is a poster boy of what we call in PH as tuta. Compare his vociferous statements for the Impeachment of Clinton versus what he is saying now about the Impeachment of Trump. Compare too his even more embarrassing turn-around from calling Trump “crazy” and a “jackass” [to which Trump then responded with: “This guy Lindsey Graham, he’s one of the dumbest human beings I have ever seen”] to his equally vociferous defense of Trump now.

                Oh, well. Difficult not to be disoriented in politics. Same same everywhere.

              • Superb case study of the undermining of national values. One can only laugh at the ridiculousness of developments, although the erosion of values is really quite tragic.

              • Comparatively speaking, Obama also has a bunch of troubles with whistleblowers and as such went after them (but not on Twitter) with prejudice, but done on the sly…

                Ironically, the one whistleblower that got pinched (and actually served time) was https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Kiriakou#Veteran_Intelligence_Professionals_for_Sanity who I’m sure Obama would’ve agreed with.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden#NSA_sub-contractee_as_an_employee_for_Dell Snowden was another, because he was stymied, he took off and shared what he knew regardless.

                So there are whistleblowers like the above with legit grievances, and there are whistleblowers who are essentially just snitching— IMHO, not as legit. Either way, both types of whistleblowers need to be afforded their time in the sun (but not necessarily in public, unless you want whistleblowers coming out for every measly gov’t thing to complain about… there ‘s a balance here).

                For sure not all whistleblowers are the same, and must not be celebrated thus. Kirikou had a good cause for complaint, torture; Snowden was online spying ala dragnet, both legit complaints.

                What exactly is the Ukraine call whistleblower’s complaint here, it’s not quid pro quo really , it’s election tampering by a foreign gov’t (same stuff really as Mueller’s Russian collusion ) only the foreign gov’t now is Ukraine.

                Somethings not quite right.

              • NH,

                I wouldn’t put too much weight on these polls. These typa polls are political, thus you get the whole fad, fair weather what’s new for the week typa data.

                When #BlackLivesMatter in 2015 hit its high point, you’d think it was the 60s again in the US. Why??? because the liberal media, CNN, MSNBC and yes Fox News too, jumped in the bandwagon of blacks being hunted down by cops. granted FOX News was the first to dial it back.

                But CNN and MSNBC ramped up their coverage. During the Russian collusion investigation it was later uncovered that Russian bots and trolls were the ones fanning the flame, creating meet-ups and flash mob protests in malls and closing down main thorough fares.

                So public opinion is easily swayed. It helps to just focus on one thing, ie. the Ukraine ask… is it legal or not— before jumping on the bandwagon. Like I said, the whistleblower needs to come forth first.

                It’s all semantics right now, don’t get caught up in the hoopla, NH. the coverage right now is design for you to get riled up, with ethics and morals and stuff, oooohh tsk, tsk, tsk… shame shame… stick to facts, like Ukraine, can a Ukrainian president upon US president prompting rekindle an old investigation.

                Yes. is the answer. So,

                chemp may be prone to conspiracy theory, kinda like Micha, I’m more of an Aliens guy myself, so weigh your biases accordingly, NH. Personally, I’m more interested in Trump’s involvement in the Kashoggi murder by Saudi Crown Prince, now that’ s a call that is worthy of a whistleblower. 😉

                “Crown Prince, get rid of this dude because he is anti-Trump” (not actual transcript , Lol !!! )

              • chemrock says:

                @ NHerrera

                Re Lindsey Graham

                During election, you fight like hell.
                After election, the people has spoken. For Graham the 2016 election is over. You get behind the President and manage the country. No crime has been committed by Trump in office.

                For Dems, the election 2016 is still not over.

              • chemrock says:

                @ NHerrera

                On the CNN polls:

                Reliability is dependent on 2 things:
                1, Respondent bias — CNN never mentioned the percentages of Liberals and Conservatives of the first and 2nd polls. If they are different, then the conclusion is not valid.
                2. Pollster bias — CNN used the SSRS polls. You might want to read this –
                https://www.trigtent.com/usa/biased-ssrs-poll-tries-show-low-trump-approval-rating

                US is terribly divided now. We can trust anything in media. Hollywood has the liberal mafia — Robert de Nero makes a fool of himself at every opportunity. Any celebrity that says they are Republican or attend any GOP or donate to GOP is screwed. Their career is done. Even the tough Iron Man Robery Downey had to walk out of an interview when the interviewee tried to get him to talk about his past when he said he was a conservative. The divide is also getting into malls. Some chains boycott Ivanna labels. Some won’t service conservative customers.

              • Is “liberal mafia” ad hominem? It suggests illegal and brutal. I don’t see Steven Spielberg at all that way.

                I wonder what the division is about, at it’s roots. I’ve not paid a lot of attention to it. There is social belief (socialism vs capitalism), religious belief (reason vs faith), ethnicity (non-white vs white), economic (poor vs rich), military (peace/compassion vs war/guns), education (common joe vs intellectuals), and some others, too, I suppose. In my iterations, the former in each case tend to be democratic and the latter Republican. It is a fallacy to make the division political, I think, but that’s how it rolls up.

                For myself, Trump has made me a lot richer, I like his China trade war and opposition, but I detest what he is doing to political ethics, inciting Americans to hate Americans. As in the Philippines, I’m loyal to the office of the President, not the man. For the man, I have to add up a lot of factors and make a determination.

              • NHerrera says:

                [Don’t] put too much weight on these [political] polls. … public opinion is easily swayed.

                Hey, Lance. I take that as an axiom and I agree.

                It is consistent with the common understanding that polls even when taken randomly among the respondents and undertaken scientifically, is a picture in time. The results in Week 1 is not expected to yield the same or similar results in Week 2.

              • But they are instructional for that point in time, and compared to prior periods for trend lines. My axiom would be “Only a fool ignores the facts in favor of his personal guess.” Maybe it was Sal who said that. He mumbled something about assuming valid methodology and asterisks if I recall correctly.

              • chemrock says:

                @ NHERRERA

                Sure the population of respondents in a poll is random, but surely if week 1 respondents are say 100% liberals and week 2 are 100% republicans, how would you view the data?

              • NHerrera says:

                @chemrock

                I happen to have probability-statistics as a minor expertise and feel comfortable answering your question. Randomness is essential and the mechanics for taking a scientific random sample is a well studied subject in statistics. Typically polls are taken with 1000 to 2000 respondents, so that the standard deviation or “error” is 3% for 1000 respondents and 2% for 2000 respondents. [You can see from that that because of the economics of the survey or the law of diminishing returns that most surveys are closer to 1000 respondents than it is to 2000 respondents.] With such sample size and sampling done appropriately your scenario can happen only in an extremely low probability bordering on zero.

                Now take the case of a population of 4 in a room with 2 liberals and 2 non-liberals and a random sample of 2 respondents are taken. In this case your scenario becomes more probable.

              • NHerrera says:

                @TSH

                I lean towards that. The trend is the important item here, probably more so than the numbers themselves. That is why, to repeat myself, Trump is going bananas. Today’s tirade alongside the Finnish President tops the previous ones.

                Sal is one cracker-jack cookie — that is why I am an admirer [unlike Lindsey Graham’s admiration now on Trump; oops, sorry the mere comparison verges on blasphemy].

              • Yep. Agree on all counts.

      • he represents Burbank by the way, Joe. old military town, with military folks still as homeowners. the fact that he’s still in office means, Burbank likes him. Schiff s okay in my book.

  9. Manila is on the list of fastest sinking cities, but don’t worry resilient Filipinos will mutate to become amphibious when it happens.

    https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/climate-weather/blogs/these-sinking-cities-are-most-risk-being-swallowed-rising-seas

  10. NHerrera says:

    ON WHETHER OR NOT THERE WAS A QUID PRO QUO DEMAND BY TRUMP ON ZELENSKY

    There is such a word/ concept as implicit versus explicit.

    In fields such as Mathematics or Science, implicit is not something that is usually treated with some weight when discussing among peers. However, I do admit that a scientist or mathematician may start his foray into new areas or theories on the basis of his implicit view of certain things.

    But I wonder what happens to the future of an employee who acts only on the basis of explicit instructions or events.

    We have of course politicians here and abroad who cannot see or refuse to see even those things that are very explicit.

  11. NHerrera says:

    US’ SNL MINES RICHLY THE GOLD IN THEM DAR HILLS

    The SNL (Saturday Night Live) Show is a hit again — mining effectively the gold gushing out of the Ukrainian Affair.

    Methinks the Democrats and their media allies do not fully realise that SNL is worth its weight in diamonds.

    https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/29/media/snl-trump-baldwin-impeachment/index.html

  12. NHerrera says:

    Re TSH tweet:

    Am I the only guy who things Giuliani has lost his marbles? Like, he is detached from cause and effect. His own.

    I believe that is shared by many.

    In addition, the way Giuliani looks and talks reminds me of Chicago top mobsters from the movies. Not to mention Guiliani’s Boss himself who talks and acts like one too.

    ADDENDUM

    For fans of gangster-type movies, there is a movie, “The Irishman” scheduled to be shown on November 1 in movie theaters and on November 27 in NETFLIX. The film is directed by Martin Scorsese and acted by Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Pesci.

    Regarding the latter date, strangely and coincidentally, US media talks about the Impeachment Inquiry of Trump to be finished at about the time of the 2019 US Thanksgiving day: November 28.

    Another Addendum Note. Re-coincidences, I recall a recent TSH blog discussion on Quantum Mechanics and Free Will. It seems that events are moving via forces in the past uncontrolled by the Will of Trump, Pompeo, Giuliani?

  13. caliphman says:

    I find it difficult to engage in an argument on whether Trump’s Ukraine machinations rightfully deserves the impeachment inquiry launched by a Democratic Congress. In my view, the only viable Democratic strategy is one that removes Trump from office.Trump is like Duterte who by their unpredictability, questionable character, willingness to bend and break the law to suit thei whims, lust for power, and general lack of fitness for the office of presidency, poses huge risks to their countries if not the world the longer they stay in power. However the impeachment inquiry is of little strategic and political value as there is little chance that the Republican Senate will vote to remove an impeached Trump from office. The key question is whether a failed impeachment process is most likely to help or hinder Trump in his bid to win reelection. My sense is Trump will use a failed impeachment against the anti-Trump vote and distract Democrats from campaigning based on a coherent policy platform.

    • Exactly, caliphman. Thank you!

    • Yes, it is difficult which is why just letting it play out makes good sense, rather than try to prove the case here when we don’t even have all the information. Is the matter strictly political (2016 election redux) or values based (ethics of the presidency)? Well, it is both, it seems to me, and yet we are busy trying to make it one or the other. To win the argument.

      Which is a lot like arguing whether God exists, I suppose. It depends on what you believed before you started the argument because few enter the debate for knowledge.

      So you are entering the debate for knowledge, and good for you.

      • Of course, we’re all coming to the table with preconceive notions, no one here is a true tabula rasa really, joe. That would be weird. 😉 ooopps, here I am i was born yesterday, just yesterday no life experiences, tabula rasa.

        What’s fun, just as in the Bangladeshi bank heist, is we get to make bets, sure no one has to play the “see, I told you I was right!” game, but it’s fun and a healthy distraction. So echoing what caliphman said, I totally agree. i’ve said it from the git-go,

        from: https://joeam.com/2019/09/04/good-bye-hong-kong-it-was-good-to-know-you/#comment-309029

        • Bernie Sanders is in the hospital, did you hear? Guy’s a marketing genius. 🙂

          Yes, it is fun to project and make bets. It’s why I bring my bookie in from time to time to cast the odds. Discussion vs advocacy is the issue. What’s going on in this thread, do you think, if you spin through it?

          • In discussion, people tend to lead with their ears. In advocacy, they lead with their mouths. Or typewriters as a proxy.

            • It’s laying out bread crumbs, so I can say later, see I was right! and that’s how the game is played Joe. the opposite is also true, so it’s there for people to say, SEE you were wrong!

              Makes for good discussion regardless, Joe. Makes people get off the fence, and enjoy a good bet going.

              • A fundamental editorial policy for the blog is that comments are to be discussion rather than advocacy. It is the only way to stop the descent into name-calling and anti-intelligence of advocacy discussions which are based on fallacious, fake, or emotional arguments rather than information and insight. I understand that advocacy is fun, devils-advocacy even more so, but I have a blog to run and I believe discussion ethics are more important than the divisions inspired by advocacies. In this thread, advocacies are dominant, my own included. It is not fun to see us fail, in that regard.

          • ah, man. Make it to not be true, Joe. Shit.

            He’ll be fine, just a routine heart operation, like a new battery for car, ready for 2020-2024, Joe. 😉 he’ll be okay.

            Right , Micha?

            • Micha says:

              If the DNC fixers once again rig the primary and ram through a neoliberal tool such as Biden or Harris, progressive voters will sit 2020 out and hand over another term to the orange man if only to give Wall Street Democrats a lesson in ideological grounding.

  14. chemrock says:

    There is no smirk, just sadness, for me to say ‘there I told you so’.

    Adam Schiff is a snake and ought to sit in jail instead of the committee investigating Trump in the Ukraine fiasco.

    I had said so from the very beginning. The whole affair seems very contrived. So now we know, it’s scipted, plotted and directed by the Dems. The DNC has done irreparable harm to the party and thus the democratic institution of US.

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/lawmakers-erupt-after-report-reveals-schiff-knew-of-whistleblower-complaint-before-filing-this-explains-a-lot_3104294.html

    Yet as of now, NYTimes, Washington Post CNN, Huffington Post. MSNBC — these top liberal press — are still silent on it.

    • I’m growing rather fond of the guy myself. He did his little soft-spoken but somehow angry soft-shoe rendition of his interpretation of the President’s intent, which was followed by Nunes’ dark and angry belligerence which aimed insults directly at Schiff and spun the phone call as a trivial chat between diplomatic pals. A while later, when someone else was speaking, they could be seen chatting amiably about this or that. So your view of Schiff was adequately represented at the hearing, along with the gentle reminder that this is just what due process looks like as opposing views clash. There really are no liars, snakes, or other creatures in the room. Just politicians who are mostly lawyers trained to be snakes in situations that call for them.

      • The whistle-blower drove this deal, not Schiff. The whistle-blower was advised to get an attorney to protect himself because his first raising of the issue got to the White House who started to bury it. The whistleblower ‘got nervous’ about how his complaint was being handled. In movie terms, it went straight to the mob boss. The whistleblower did as told, got an attorney and followed the letter of the law to protect himself. The NY Times has a deeper discussion of the matter than your source.

        • The fact that the whistleblower had sense to feel out if there was consumers for his complaints just tell me that he’s a manager, someone pass GS 15 for sure. Not some grunt, or supervisor. Someone who’s familiar with the system, and one already knowledgeable of Kiriakou’s mistakes. That’s all, it doesn’t say much of Schiff or Trump or anything else really, just that the whistleblower isn’t some random turd in federal civil service.

          • By all accounts he is a respected and responsible CIA official. Any slandering of the man on rumor and conspiracy theory does not speak well of the way debate is done these days.

            • So he / she is someone relegated to the NSC for sure, not some dude from Langley just enjoying a stint gig at the WH, thanks to a well-connected relative.

              i’m now curious if he’s an operations typa guy or an analyst like Jack Ryan, Joe. An operations typa guy would keep his mouth shut; an analyst will have all sorts of moral, technical, ethical issues.

              But then again post 9/11 you’d have a bunch of DST folks too in higher ranks, thus maybe a technical/science guy, but these guys don’t usually exhibit moral, ethical hang-ups. they keep their mouths shut.

              I’m really curious now if he/she will be another Kiriakou or Snowden type dude/gal. We’ll see…

              • Get your comments in now because I’m about to pull the plug on the blog. When the Society becomes a place for today’s modern wild-eyed slanders as a substitute for thinking, then we aren’t thinking. We are stinking like the rest of the world.

                Not gonna do it.

              • We’ll just wait now, Joe. Nothing more to add. But I have 2 more images of the Devil incoming, is that still good??? on the other thread.

        • chemrock says:

          Well if he with-held critical info, what are the chances he is not cooking cover ups now?

          Remember the boy who cried wolf?

      • As a side discussion, who do you consider to be trustworthy sources of news? Your sources seem to be little-known right-leaning publications. Why do you give them more credence than left-leaning majors? Wall Street Journal? Bloomberg? Are they acceptable? I ask because you really seem to have taken up the right-wing cudgel as an advocacy. It is a win/lose discussion, not a teach/learn discussion. I’d like to back away from that as it is not a constructive way to carry on.

        • The idea of ‘conspiracy’ runs through your various comments, even imputing the left media were not publishing the story in order to hide it? Maybe they were digging deeper. They have a lot of sources they reach out to.

          • chemrock says:

            “….you really seem to have taken up the right-wing cudgel as an advocacy…
            Surely you don’t mean that Joe? I’m issued-based. If it’s Trump dirt, I’ll call it what it is. Surely you are not going to suspend me for a contrary view?. I disagree with your points and I laid out the reasons for my disagreement. Pretty civilly if I may say so.

            “…even imputing the left media were not publishing the story in order to hide it?
            Come one, these are scoops to die for. I did’nt see the left media holding back to get to the truth before the blasted the whistlebolower’s claim of quid pro quo and Biden name mentioned 8 times, and Trump threatening Levensky.

        • chemrock says:

          There is no left or right in my ideology. It’s issue based. Certain issues certain side of the media presents a better picture. Fox or Epoch or Brietbart do not monopolise the truth. I take news from both sides, contextualise, look through motivations, check historical accounts, etc.

          Now I’m not one to say Trump is an angel. He too has lots of dirt. But I’m issue based, and here it is not about Trump dirt.

          I don’t know about you, but I would like to see the unravelling of the Russian delusion. As in most cases, the truth will unravel itself as long as dedicated people keep pushing in the right direction. Both Biden corruption and Russian delusion converge in Ukraine. That is the bigger picture for Americans and I do not understand you seem not wanting to go there, especially for all the good governance and anti-corruption that you stand for in this blog.

          I’m sprouting contrarian views, not conspiracies.

          • Where am I supposed to go? I say let’s let it play out. Information is coming out, why speculate so intensely on the scurrilous media, the game-playing whistle-blower, and the conniving democrats.

            Here’s the information from the whistle-blower’s attorney as to how the complaint was put together. Does it play into democrat hands? Did the Russia investigation?

            https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/whistleblower-contacted-house-intelligence-committee-filing-complaint/story?id=66013379

            “To be unequivocally clear, no Member or congressional staff had any input into or reviewed the Complaint before it was submitted to the Intelligence Community Inspector General.”

            If you don’t like what it says are you going to blame ABC, or the attorney for doing his job the wrong way? Maybe they are all lying, eh? Not an honest man in the house.

            • The biggest fallacy in the world is when people arguing substitute their opinion as fact.

              • I miss Edgar. He’d line this up, 1 through 5 and a bunch of sub-points and come out at the end with a rational conclusion. Not this emotionalized ranting that seeks to rule on the case before it has started.

            • chemrock says:

              Come on Joe, listen to yourself for a minute.

              You are saying left media news that you cut & paste here is fact.
              I counter left media news with other news (not necessarily right media because there are few) you say I’m inserting my opinon as fact?

              What I tried to share is there is a different narrative. We can agree to disagree. I have no advocacy.

              Chill, take your popcorns and watch Congress unravel the truth.
              We now know Russian collusion did’nt go as planned.
              Kavanaugh did’nt go as planned.
              Let’s watch round 3.

              • chemrock says:

                And so I am ranting now haha

              • Kavanaugh was so dirrrty, and he skated thru.

                Tells me that the Dems don’t have a lot of juice. But for some reason they think they do, all this THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD act, kudos to them for trying, but it will only hurt them in the long run.

                caliphman’s got it right. And he’s anti-Trump as can be. I’m a Bernie guy myself, but bow to Trump for being able to swat all this crap out. Trump’s been swatting.

                Trump will surely hang himself; but all this wasted efforts will only make him out to be a victim, thus lionizing him, why the Dems don’t get that, i dunno.

                Thus ensuring Trump’s 2nd term. Pelosi was right, lay off impeachment, but the Dems are pushing her. I don’t like Pelosi, but she’s thinking or was thinking like caliphman.

      • chemrock says:

        Joe
        Schiff has consistently said he has evidence on the Russian collusion. Just don’t know if he said that with a soft smiling face and a dark heart.
        Then he ought to be charged for obstruction of justice for not disclosing that evidence to Mueller.

        • Separate issue. He has done nothing illegal, and saying he belongs in jail is just ridiculous.

          • chemrock says:

            Yes, he broke no legal laws that I know of. But I think US constitutional laws are very strict covering congressional investigations. Maybe someone can input. Withholding info I would contend is contempt, jailable, or conflict of interest, shameable.

            He certainly broke serious moral laws. Imagine a judge who knew something and did not recuse himself?

            • Cripes sake. The issue is Trump misbehavior, not Shiff. Trump is blame-shifting and you are along for the ride? Give me sources that he broke laws or even moral laws. Facts. Evidence. Not opinion.

              • chemrock says:

                Well if the Epoch times headlines can’t tell you anything, I can’t move a mountain.

                Actually, to me it’s not Trump behaviour. That’s Dems narrative.
                As I said before, to me, what is more important is corruption and getting to the bottom of the Russian delusion.

                We obviously have a different perspective of what is the greater evil. That’s understandble. It’s difference in opinion, which is perfectly find.

                Pray read through all our comments and counter comments here — I have merely responded in opinion to the issue, never to your person. I can’t say the same of you though.

              • Headline reading and skipping the story is a sign of today’s lousy discourse. I read the article. Shallow, one-sided. I’ve never heard of the publication. It could be some Russian confabulation as far as I know.

                If I got exasperated, it’s because I don’t know how to argue against outlandish speculations that are not supported by the facts that are out there. I mean, I watched the fucking beginning of the hearing and know you are mischaracterizing it. I should commend you for your talents, or what?

              • Epoch Times is cray-cray, chemp.

                I stick to FT and Economist, and the Christian Science Monitor. American newspapers tend to be bias, except for CS Monitor. then of course the left and right leaning blogs for some color.

                But I have to agree with Joe here that you’re leaning conspiracy stuff, chemp.Which you haven’t before. so your pattern is off… not judging but just noticing.

              • chemrock says:

                Lance:

                “… not judging but just noticing…. ‘ (/b>

                Fair is fair. Sometimes one is unable to see what’s near.
                Just to insert the last words before lights out — I think the hearings will bear me out. That’s opinion, not fact nor conspiracy.

              • Epoch Times i’d lump together with Bible belt none sense, Joe, it’s Chinese-American but mainland China bent, but not pro-China, it’s actually really pro-Trump. it’s crap.

              • I’m with you with the hearings, and Ukraine call narrative fizzling out, chemp.

              • chemrock says:

                Stick to issues Joe, don’t kill the messenger.

              • chemp,

                To be fair, I see your critique of Joe as well, and it’s spot on, but Joe’s a preacher (of sorts) and he’s always been that way. hell, why do you think i’m on moderation. So no change of pattern for Joe, but you chemp, the guy that demanded from Micha over and over, modeling and methodology, you’re slipping. you’re out of pattern.

                You were our accountant here, hard nose, just the facts ma’am, and NH our statisticians, anything numbers run it thru NH.

                But I recognize what you’re espousing, it’s Bible belt stuff. nothing new really. Just not the deliberate chemp I’m used to, but then again maybe banking issues and politics are different. So i could be wrong, chemp, banking youre deliberate, but politics and conspiracy stuff not so.

  15. NHerrera says:

    LET US TAKE A BREAK FOR A LAUGH

    I was watching Trump live this morning. A journalist questioned Trump about the Ukraine Affair. Trump did a De Niro’s “Taxi Driver” character with the famous ‘Are you looking at me’ line. I did the association immediately and so did many I suppose. And thought Trump is a Scorsese or De Niro fan before De Niro started raking him over the coals. [It was Martin Scorsese’s 1976 film. So those younger than 40 who had not bothered with that movie may not know it.]

    But It took only about an hour or so for media to associate it — with a display of De Niro in the “Taxi Driver.”

    Ok. Back to the gladiatorial word-fight. 🙂