Lazy linking – the Trump circus

Impeachment

The open hearings in the impeachment inquiry have started, and despite the orders from Trump of people not participating, some key people have already been in and have given some pretty damning evidence.

So far we have heard career diplomats like William Taylor, George Kent, and Marie Yovanovitch speak about what they experienced, and it has been pretty damning.

For a full transcript of the testimony by Taylor and Kent see: Read George Kent and William Taylor’s Full Opening Statements at the First Public Hearing in Trump’s Impeachment Inquiry

As for Marie Yovanovitch, this is an article worth reading.

“This Is the Way Gangsters Operate”: A Hero Is Born as Yovanovitch Gives Voice to Widespread Rage at State

The diplomatic rank and file believe Mike Pompeo has allowed Trump to pollute the State Department with politics. Marie Yovanovitch made their case. “I think people are feeling huge pride in Masha,” says a former ambassador.

While the testimony of the three career diplomats have been very damning, things are going to be much worse for Trump. Coming up are witnesses like State Department official David Holmes , US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, Defense Department official Laura Cooper, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, and National Security Council staffer Fiona Hill. And many more are probably to come, including John Bolton and Mick Mulvany, especially if the courts find that the House’s subpoena overrules the orders from Trump (something which would be obvious in any other timeline).

Roger Stone found guilty

It hasn’t gotten much notice, but Roger Stone has been found guilty on all counts, making him the 6th Trump Associate Convicted Under Mueller Probe.

Giuliani is in trouble

Or so it would seem

Giuliani ‘is potentially in a heap of trouble’ and could be indicted today: ex-prosecutor

On MSNBC’s “AM Joy,” former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade suggested that President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani could be indicted today, based just on the facts that are already known about his involvement in the Ukraine plot.

The idea of Giuliani going to jail is bringing me great joy.

Trump pardons war criminals

Trump uses his presidential power to grant pardons – and unsurprisingly he pardons the worst sort of people.

Trump Clears Three Service Members in War Crimes Cases

Top military leaders have pushed back hard against clearing the three men. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy have argued that such a move would undermine the military code of justice, and would serve as a bad example to other troops in the field, administration officials said.

It is not like US soldiers often get prosecuted for their actions in war zones, and even rarer they get found guilty. In these cases, there is clear evidence that they killed unarmed civilians – often the witnesses were their fellow soldiers – yet Trump decides that he knows better, and pardons them.

A reversal of roles in India

India is a country with a huge problem with inequality between the rich and the poor. If you look at the list of countries by inequality-adjusted HDI, India appears as number 99 on the list. Much of this is caused by the caste system, but other related factors, such as widespread nepotism and corruption also plays in.

In an attempt to root out the problems of unaccounted wealth and corruption, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has scrapped the 500 and 1000 rupee notes overnight. People in possession of such notes, have to deposit them in banks by the end of December (though I have seen news reports, that indicate that the exchange might continue after this). Of course, the tax department is keeping a keen eye on these deposits, and any unaccounted money will be hit with taxes and a heavy fine.

Not everyone in India thinks this approach is the right one, but it does look like it has some effect:

For the first time in India, the rich beg the poor to help them

Driver Rahul Sharma, 25, remembers the exact day when his employer turned from a wolf into a lamb. It was November 9 when his employer called him  beta  – Hindi for “dear” – for the first time. The maid was asked to give him a cup of tea, for the first time.

“I was shocked at his sudden niceness. It went on for two days,” said Sharma. For the past three years, his New Delhi-based employer has been abusive, bad-tempered, and imperious, often demanding that he turn up for work at 6am after finishing work at midnight.

“He didn’t even bother to remember my name. When he wanted to summon me, he’d call out ‘driver!’,” Sharma said.

“On the third day, the penny dropped. He asked me to deposit 250,000 rupees ($4900) in my bank account on his behalf so that he could get rid of his black money.”

According to the article, a lot of poor people employed by rich Indians, are getting approached by their employers in order to help them whitewash their money. This certainly indicates that there is some kind of effect. I am cynical enough to think that the rich people will find ways around the barriers (if nothing else, then through bribery), but in the process, there might be some benefits for the poor.