Nov 142019
 November 14, 2019  Posted by at 1:30 pm Primers Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Rembrandt van Rijn Jeremiah lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem 1630


Watching Day 1 yesterday of the impeachment inquiry that isn’t one, I was thinking about an old children’s game, which is just as useful for adults, in which, in a wide circle of persons, no. 1 tells no. 2 a story, no. 2 tells no. 3, and so forth. If the total numbers of persons in the circle is large enough, it’s certain that the story, if it has enough details, will have changed unrecognizably by, say, no. 20.

That little game is a nice illustration of why you’ve all heard the words “Hearsay, Your Honor” spoken by some lawyer or another in 1000+ movies and TV series. And hearsay was all there was yesterday from “witnesses” Bill Taylor and George Kent. They are both “witnesses” who didn’t witness anything related to the hearing in course and neither ever met or spoke to President Trump, but both claim to know exactly what he was thinking, why he did what he did, and said what he said, based on things they heard from third parties, quite a few of whom remain anonymous.

Little of what they said would therefore be ruled admissible in a court of law. But the House inquiry is not a court of law. It can probably best be compared to a grand jury, a very one-sided format designed to let a prosecutor find and present enough evidence to let a case go to court. If Taylor and Kent had been in a court room, you would have heard “Hearsay, Your Honor” about once in every ten seconds. That gets old fast.

So why do we have this circus going on when it is obvious that round 2 (or 3, if you think the basement hearings were round 1), the Senate trial which must follow if the Dems decide to impeach Trump, has to acquit him because the House based its entire case on hearsay? I don’t know, but perhaps we see some of it in Democrat Rep. Mike Quigley (IL)’s statement: “Hearsay can be much better evidence than direct … and it’s certainly valid in this instance”

Note that Quigley in that little video got shut down very rapidly in his enthusiasm for using hearsay by someone (I can’t see who) saying none of the exceptions he seemed to refer to applied to “this testimony”. And that’s the crux here: courts may have in the past, after much deliberation, allowed hearsay in specific cases, but Quigley tries to make it look as if that is now some general rule, and that is certainly not true.

Before I forget, something that struck me at the start yesterday was how both Adam Schiff and Bill Taylor in their openings emphasized their focus on Russia, while this case is not about that, but about Ukraine. And Russia Russia Russia has been shot down along with Robert Muller in his memorably awful “defense” of his failed report a few months ago.

Schiff’s opening words:

In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation’s embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin’s desire to rebuild a Russian empire. In the following years, thirteen thousand Ukrainians died as they battled superior Russian forces.

There is so much wrong and debatable and leading and what not in just those few words, I don’t even know where to start. I guess perhaps I should be shouting out “Hearsay, Your Honor” at the top of my lungs. Then there’s Taylor:

After his opening statement, Taylor answers questions. He tells committee members: “If we withdraw or suspend or threaten to withdraw our security assistance” to Ukraine, it sends a “message to Ukrainians, but its just as important to the Russians who are looking for any sign of weakness”. “That affects us” he adds. It affects the world that we live in; that our children and grandchildren will grow up in,” he adds, appearing to become emotional. “Ukraine is on the front line of that conflict,” he concludes.

These statements are important because they tell us that Schiff and Taylor both see the world through the same glasses. The Russians are looking for signs of US weakness that they can use to advance their grand plan to (re) build a grand empire. That comes with the idea that the US didn’t cause the mayhem in Ukraine in 2014 with their coup, no, it was Russia which reacted so it wouldn’t lose its only warm water port.


Back to the hearing. Taylor said it was his “clear understanding” that President Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine until the Bidens and other matters were investigated. At the very least there is no proof of that. It’s much more likely from what we know today that Ukraine didn’t know Trump withheld the aid until after the July 25 phone call this whole thing rests on. It was suggested yesterday that they didn’t know until the end of August, but I’ve seen people claim that they knew a few weeks earlier. But Zelensky didn’t know on July 25, that we can agree on.

And anyway, this is merely Taylor’s opinion. Based on hearsay. Based on what some guy told him some other guy told him etc etc. And though Taylor never met Trump, the very idea of withholding aid to one of the most corrupt nations on the planet scares the heebees out of him because Russia Russia Russia.

Taylor is a career diplomat who has bought hook line and sinker into established US policy in the region, and who will defend it until his dying breath. And if that means going against the president of the country he allegedly serves, who has every right to rebalance that policy, Taylor will do it. That is what he was saying.

Taylor came close to matching Mueller’s uber-bumbling performance the other day, though he didn’t quite get there. Kent was not quite that bad, but he’s in the same camp, the same career field, and the same deep state, FBI-CIA controlled policy-making no matter who gets elected president. And looking at Bill Taylor, how can one not question the wisdom of people like him making decisions on matters such as that?

Republican counsel Steve Castor started off strong, at least from what I saw, but seemed to fizzle out a little because he became lost in his own one question every five seconds model. Perhaps it was the format, maximum time limits etc., which you don’t have in a courtroom. Jim Jordan did well, he just got named to the committee, but he could have been more effective as well. Still, this part was strong:

You didn’t listen in on President Trump & Zelensky’s call?

Taylor: I did not.

Jordan: You’ve never talked with Chief of Staff Mulvaney?

Taylor: I never did.

Jordan: You’ve never met the President?

Taylor: That’s correct.

Jordan: And you’re their star witness.

All in all, if you thought yesterday was a good day for the Democrats, for the inquiry, or for Adam Schiff, you really need to check a few fundamental issues. All Schiff managed to bring to the table was hearsay. And it’s only because of the grand jury-like format that he even gets to start day 2. No judge would have let him. But there is no judge, and there is no jury. There’s only an executioner.

PS I found this thing from the BBC intriguing and illustrative:

Bill Taylor, the acting US ambassador to Ukraine, said a member of his staff was told Mr Trump was preoccupied with pushing for a probe into Mr Biden. He was speaking at the first public hearings in the impeachment inquiry.

[..] During a detailed opening statement, Mr Taylor said a member of his staff had overheard a telephone call in which the president inquired about “the investigations” into Mr Biden. The call was with Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, who reportedly told the president over the phone from a restaurant in Kyiv that “the Ukrainians were ready to move forward”. After the call, the staff member “asked ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine”, Mr Taylor said. Mr Taylor said: “Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden.”

First, it argues that a member of Taylor’s staff was told something by a third party, but later it changes to him/her hearing the president “live”. Albeit through an allegedly private phone call in which Trump may have sounded a bit loud. You want to impeach your president on the basis of a maybe overheard phone call that someone told you someone told someone else about?

By the way, that phone call allegedly was between Trump and Gordon Sondland, hotelier cum US ambassador to the EU, the same person who testified in the famous Schiff basement and whose laywer at some point contested Taylor’s statements about what Sondland told him, after which the latter went back to the basement to change his testimony. He said she said but then he said and then she said and so on.

What’s on the schedule for the circus today, is it the clowns or the elephants? I may take a day off. We have weeks more of this. And already I have no idea left of who told whom what.


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Home Forums Hearsay, Your Honor!

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    Rembrandt van Rijn Jeremiah lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem 1630   Watching Day 1 yesterday of the impeachment inquiry that isn’t one, I w
    [See the full post at: Hearsay, Your Honor!]


    I still can hardly believe I just posted my perhaps favorite painting in all of history with an article about a bunch of no-no’s. But I did. Rembrandt was all of 23-24 years old when he painted Jeremiah. Do click the picture to go to the Rijksmuseum site, where you can see it screen wide, it deserves all the attention you have in you. Nowhere else can you a see a worried man painted like this, let alone painted by an almost kid. And then there’s Jerusalem burning on the left, and the gold and jewels shining in the center, and the foot and carpet at the bottom, and the texture of the mantle he’s wearing. I can look at it for hours.


    Jeremiah lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem 1630
    The more you have the more you stand to lose.
    He got out with some wealth.
    Jeremiah is still wealthy. He still has more to lose.
    We are not that stupid, we can see the lipstick on the pig. (hearsay) (conspiracy theory) (collusion)


    I used to read TAE regularly, but haven’t in quite a while. It’s sad to see that it’s become a rehash of right wing talking points.

    Dr. D

    The wealth is what strikes me in that painting, as that is opposite to the way I think of Jerry, town crank, soon to be living in a basement.

    Endless millings barely worth a breath of time. They said yesterday, they “Mostly didn’t coordinate their testimonies.” Please go on. Tell me more. So…you, Kent, Vindman, Schiff, Charlie DID coordinate your testimonies, but realized it was completely illegal, witness tampering, and just didn’t do it “too much”?

    So this is their BEST testimony, as Jim says, your “Star witness”? That is to say, “not a witness”, witnessed nothing, nor did the people who told him witness anything, while WE, the people, already witnessed the whole transcript for ourselves. You know the one Vindman says he tied to hack in and edit for us.

    Take the week off, there’s nothing going on here.


    I used to read TAE regularly, but haven’t in quite a while. It’s sad to see that it’s become a rehash of right wing talking points.

    I’m sorry to see things like this moonraker, but I don’t think they’re justified. There’s no doubt TAE would have done a lot better financially if I had just followed the NYT WaPo CNN line that started in 2015, but that’s exactly when I thought I can’t do this. And I get a lot of people thanking me, both here and in private mails, for just that, for trying to insert some balance into the entire discussion.

    But I am not right wing, and I will never be. That is not the issue, it’s that whatever is left of left America has become this huge anti-Trump no matter what else machine, thinking that they can control people’s opinions and votes by repeating incessantly how bad the man is, without referring to what Hillary and Obama and Biden et al were responsible for during their time in office. It lacks any form of balance, and I think we need that badly.

    As for the inquiry itself that I commented on in this article, I’m sorry but it was terrible. The only people who could have thought it was something positive for the aforementioned NYT WaPo CNN line must have their heads up their behinds big time.

    But even then, none of it has any bearing on either left or right wing. The US had lost the distinction between the two ages ago. I can see Bernie and Warren drawing the Dems back to where they belong, but not in 2020. I think AOC will be a force, but that will take a while. I sympathize with both them and their followers, but I don’t think it’s a good idea if their identity is solely being anti-Trump.

    The DNC in their Hillary power grab did more damage to America than Trump ever could have, if they would have just left things run out the way they were going. As things stand, Hillary, Biden, Sanders and Warren are mere petrified leftovers from days gone by. And who else is there that the equally petrified DNC holdovers can support without losing their plush seats?

    John Day

    Ilargi’s not right-wing, and you seek comfort and solace where none is to be found.
    The world will never again be as you fondly recall it, no matter who you blame.
    Get to work, Amigo!

    Gathering in Groups as Society Falls Apart (harder than it may sound)
    “Everyone wants community. Unfortunately, it involves other people.” I used that line in lectures on frugal living when talking of the loneliness of consumerism and the benefits of sharing resources. We idealize the good old days of people helping people out. But can we live them, given who we have become?
    Individualism is one of the many privileges of ‘the privileged’ in Western society. We have options and choices about where we live, with whom, of what genders, ages or races, whether we are child-free or have a brood, what we eat, what we believe, jobs we’ll accept, and on and on and on. As people look at civilizational breakdown in detail, though, they realize that to survive, other people might not be optional – joining a group, a farm, a small town might be necessary.
    Survival is not a solo sport. If it happens, it will happen in community – intentional, multi-generational family, accidental – where we can share the work, grow food, trade, defend ourselves, socialize, learn, teach, repair. Civilization, it turns out, has a lot of services built in that will need to be maintained as long as possible or created anew… or done without.

    Gathering in Groups as Society Falls Apart

    The technical starting point of any major war is, in fact, incidental. Most any excuse will suffice. What’s necessary is two opponents, each of whom accuses the other of attempting to foment aggression. At that point, all that’s needed to light the spark is a young soldier or agitator with an itchy trigger finger, or a politician with a show of bravado, or a military leader who chooses to break from his orders to stand down.
    In many cases, if the war does not start spontaneously, a false-flag incident suffices. One country creates an event which it purports is an act of aggression by its opponent. (The recent events in the Strait of Hormuz have a distinct false-flag odour about them.)
    Again, the actual catalyst matters little. Once the rattling of sabres begins, as it has, presently, in the Middle East, all that’s required to create a major war is a slipup or a nudge.

    All It Takes Is a Slipup or a Nudge

    Pipelines to Europe are a major physical asset under contention in global power games.
    Europe is quickly becoming one of the most important export destinations for gas exporters. Production is decreasing quickly due to political and technical developments. The next few decades are promising for exporters. Nord Stream 2 is arguably one of the most contentious projects currently under development. Denmark recently granted the last necessary permit to start construction activities in its EEZ and analysts now agree that the project’s completion is only a matter of time. In reality, the pipeline’s future was decided long before construction even started due to external factors such as Poland’s decision to diversify away from Russian gas and Western Europe’s determination to turn away from nuclear and fossil fuel production.

    Ousted Bolivian President Evo Morales has accused the US-headquartered Organization of American States of making a political decision in backing the right-wing opposition, saying the coup continues to wreak havoc after his exile.
    Speaking from Mexico a day after he fled Bolivia, Morales said: “The OAS is in the service of the North American empire.”
    Morales said he “could not understand” how his military commanders could show such “disloyalty.”
    “That confirms that my great crime is to be indigenous. It’s a class problem,” he said.
    The exiled president said that after freeing itself from the International Monetary Fund, the Bolivian economy was doing better.
    We had big plans in the field of exports.
    Yet, the coup plotters “do not accept the nationalization of natural resources,” Morales said.
    Morales also claimed that a mechanical failure on a helicopter he was traveling on in early November was “not accidental” and said he wants the incident to be investigated. The helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing just after takeoff due to a “mechanical fault in the tail rotor.”

    According to Max Keiser, there could be “a catastrophic trapdoor opening underneath the US economy.”
    When China announces as a surprise its 20,000 tons of gold and a gold-backed cryptocurrency that “will kill the US dollar deader than a doornail,” it will be a “Pearl Harbor-type event and it’s coming in the next six to nine months,” he predicts.


    Did you notice the name of the USA bank.
    The money trail is coming closer and closer.


    Hmm. Not sure what Max means or knows here. What gold?:

    According to Max Keiser, there could be “a catastrophic trapdoor opening underneath the US economy.” When China announces as a surprise its 20,000 tons of gold and a gold-backed cryptocurrency that “will kill the US dollar deader than a doornail,” it will be a “Pearl Harbor-type event and it’s coming in the next six to nine months,” he predicts.

    Daniel Lacalle has a slightly different view:

    Unfortunately for China, the idea of a gold-backed cryptocurrency starts from the wrong premise. China’s own currency, the Yuan, is not backed by either global use nor gold. At all. China’s total gold reserves are less than 0.25% of its money supply. Many say that we do not know the real extent of China’s gold reserves. However, this goes back to my previous point. What confidence is the world going to have on a currency where the real level of gold reserves is simply a guess? Furthermore, why would any serious government under-report its gold reserves if it wants to be a safe haven, reserve status currency? It makes no sense.

    Is China hiding its gold reserves at the same time it’s so terribly hungry for dollars? I don’t think so either.

    Dr. D

    No go.

    You can have crypto, or you can have gold, but if you join them, you only have the trust of the issuing bank, who’s a know pathological liar, and that’s the system we have now. Called “3rd Party risk”, not commodity-in-hand, which though unreal, is what a bitcoin is, surprisingly.

    If the world was going to trust China for anything, they’d already be buying harder into the Yuan and they’re not. Now why wouldn’t you trust an innocent face like Xi, dictator-for-life? He ain’t done nothin’ wrong.

    Now will they have a gold-clearing mechanism for trade? Probably. But we sort of have one now, however poor. We do have to go like-for-like before the world blows up. At the same time, we can have crypto settle trade in Uraguay as it already has, but that has to be open-source, independent, unconcentrated crypto or again no one will believe it or trust them.

    We already have both systems, and the gold/crypto clearing won’t be too different from now, but for the screaming coming out of the 10% vig the banks get x world GDP x turnover (time).

    Max is a smart guy, so I don’t know what he’s thinking here.


    The next thing up apparently is a bribery charge against Trump. Why? I guess perhaps because they think the Ukraine thing might fail like the Russia thing did without some aid, and you know you got to keep that wagon moving lest it gets stuck in the mud. This one comes from Pelosi, who somewhere in yesterday’s hearing heard: “The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections — that’s bribery,”

    Shoot me.

    V. Arnold

    The DNC in their Hillary power grab did more damage to America than Trump ever could have, if they would have just left things run out the way they were going. As things stand, Hillary, Biden, Sanders and Warren are mere petrified leftovers from days gone by. And who else is there that the equally petrified DNC holdovers can support without losing their plush seats?

    Great observation and summarizes the U.S. body politic quite well.
    I, for one, am pessimistic regarding the future of the U.S.; its status as a democracy is no longer valid. The only question remaining is, what form of government will/can, emerge from chaos and corruption?


    I googled judge Ronnie Abrams.
    Click on the keywords to get more info
    Lots to read and enjoy


    I, too, am not right-leaning, but am often accused as such for simply raising an objection or questioning some detail. More and more I simply nod in silence.

    Still pondering your piece the other day regarding a tendency to confuse the subjective with the objective. “Hearsay” would fall into the subjective camp. Evidence only in the court of public opinion, as Limbaugh and Hannity know and manipulate so well, those few times I try to listen.

    Sadly, I hear what I find to be biased presuppositions and assumptions in the analysis and reporting of my old “go to”, NPR as well. Much more subtle.

    Appreciate your take, and your questioning.


    One more thing, it seems John Michael Greer is also accused of being “right leaning”, when he’s simply applying (what I believe to be) critical thinking.


    RAY McGOVERN: Ukraine For Dummies

    RAY McGOVERN: Ukraine For Dummies
    November 14, 2019


    When looking at

    I noticed that these accounts were managed by a wealth advisor team

    I’m sure that these highly trained people were not aware of anything illegal and that there is no proof of wrong doing.


    From my Scandinavian perspective there are only two right wing parties in the U.S. The Democrats are far right of our biggest right wing party, or I have to correct mysalf since the former fringe real far right party the Swedish Democrats might now be the biggest party. I dont even understand how Bernie Sanders, AOC, Hillary and Biden can be part of the same party, makes no sence. After watching the first day of public hearings I understand Illargis standpoint better, the Democrats appear like insane clowns but I still think Trump is corrupt and tried to pressure Zelenski. They’re all corrupt to different degrees. While this spectacle is going on Trump and Bill Barr are continuing rolling out the totalitarian surveilence state all his predecessors have increased. Turning the patriot act on Americans with any history of mental illness, should be what 50% by now? And further militarizing the police and sending it to terrorize people of color calling it the surge, just like Bush called the push into Iraq. Seems like all roads lead to totalitarianism in the U.S now.

    V. Arnold

    Seems like all roads lead to totalitarianism in the U.S now.

    Agreed. I see no alternative any longer. Except for the name; it has largely already happened…


    Reducing the discourse and editorial opinions on TAE to some non-defined common denominator like “rightwing talking points” sounds indistinguishable to my ears from stereotypical “leftwing talking points”.

    Drivel, whether polarized toward today’s quasi-conservative or quasi-liberal asymptotes of ideology (anyone remember “nabobs of negativity”?;) ), is drivel.

    Let’s form high school cliques and fling poo, shall we?

    I decidedly hail from the left-wing side of politics, and, like Raul, get sllimed with this ‘rightwing’ bullshit.

    Bullshit is bullshit, and such name-brand ad hominems as moonraker slung is not even bullshit. It’s steershit. TAE deserves better.

    Dr. D

    “If everyone’s thinking the same, nobody’s thinking.”

    Interesting but no. You know I criticize my country’s failure to adhere to our espoused and legal values every day, but I don’t think you’re getting a good news view from Sweden. And yes, Sweden, so of course it’s expected you’re further left than our leftmost party. America is notorious for conservative values of self-reliance and independence, despite 100 years of relentless attacks.

    And like all good propaganda, it’s not that what you’re hearing isn’t “true”, it’s that the events shown are tiny outliers they suddenly shine a spotlight on and make appear to be pan-national earthquakes, when it’s usually just some guy having a bad day. Like there are what? 12? 20? police on black shootings a year? You’re also more likely to be shot BY a black officer than a white one. They sure tell a story and keep it in the news, though, this “truth.”

    Sure Trump might be corrupt, but they’re forgetting it’s the JOB of all national leaders to arm-twist other national leaders to get their cooperation with policy. If not, we need to impeach every President since Wilson? Teddy? Taft? T. Jefferson? As an American, I know you need to investigate them all, I don’t care. However, we just DID investigate Mr. Trump, for two years, with an unlimited budget, by a hostile force, and found nothing. So fair’s fair: now we investigate Mr. Biden, for what seems to be pretty suspicious things, like the bank receipt of $2M from a place you’re overseeing, through a company run by the CIA. So? He might be innocent, let’s find out! But they only want to investigate Trump. It’s my side right or wrong. My little angel would never do anything. Conservatives put up with Obama and Mueller and didn’t like it much. But when they win an election, suddenly nothing can be put up with, nothing is allowed, everything is illegal and obstructed. That’s not democracy and will indeed lead to a police state because one side or the other will eventually turn to militarism to get things done. Now despite all press, that’s NOT happening. They are still askingbegging Congress for immigration reform, obeying judges, wrangling bureaucracies, finding other paths (like having Mexico guard our border, literally the only legal job of the $700B U.S. Army), INSTEAD of acting ANYTHING like a proposed dictator, rolling out the feds and arresting everyone, which thanks to 100-150 years of erosion, and said Patriot Act, the President now arguably has the legal precedent to do. And, um, why not? He has motive, means, opportunity. Is being attacked hourly. Supposedly is a dictator with a big ego and thin skin. Can anyone propose a theory on how a dictator does everything for three years but dictate?

    But: no one cares. Maybe they need to see a real dictator act in their lives before they can grok the difference between that, and bashing and obstructing the President every day, making $200,000 doing it, and camping out in front of his house to harass him and call him names on his front sidewalk under the 1A(yes, this is going on), and he shrugs and does nothing. Then lobbys for more free speech and gun rights.

    At the same time, although we remain in a police state since W.J. Clinton burned christian children alive at Waco, it’s not exactly a fascist goal to have MORE free speech, LESS book burning online censorship, MORE guns in the hands of the people, black, brown, gay, Asian, left, demand MORE transparency, ask for more declassifications, REMOVE yourself from foreign wars, REDUCE the merger of corporations and state, and REVERSE expansionism. Pretty sure not only have these been said, you can point to places where they were accomplished. The point being, yes Google and Facebook plan and are executing that police state, and are working feverishly with China to accomplish it– they’re CIA, what would you expect? — but the government (bureaucracy), although resisting every elected official like a stuck-up mule, is slowly reversing the police state here. Not much comfort, but a little.

    And we are DEFINITELY not “further militarizing the police and sending it to terrorize people of color” although the media will tell you so, just like they say Russia is running everything in the United States, and indeed the world, including bird-naming contests in New Zealand. RussiaRussiaRussia. I live here, and should they do that, I will resist that too.

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