Nick Kristoff:  “My column explores the impeachment testimony but also considers: What would happen if President Trump were a high school principal who suspended the police chief’s son and then offered to take the boy back if the police department would investigate his ex-wife before an upcoming child custody hearing?”

Jonathan: “My Fidelity statement this month shows a $30 fee against my 1500 shares of CNF.  The rep explained that the bank holding the ADRs charges two cents a share each year.  I don’t think I’d want to pay these fees for twenty years waiting for this horse to come in.  (Right now I’m down 9 percent.)  Also, I’d be 93 by that time.”

→ True.  I forgot to warn you about those.  But five years from now you will have added a dime to your cost — which would be trivial if this worked out.  Earnings are growing at 20% a year, yet the stock sells at just 3.5 times those earnings.  Normally, a company growing that fast might sell at 20 times.  So imagine that five years from now the earnings had doubled and the market had come to accord the stock a still-modest 10X multiple.  Our $5 stock would then be more like $30.  So this dime in fees would not really matter.  This speculation could blow up in some way, for sure; so ONLY buy CNF with money you can truly afford to lose.  But don’t worry about the dime.

Now, back to the hearings.

In case you missed it when I offered this last week (forgive me, but I think it’s important):

Congress’s job is to make Americans’ lives better.  So far in 2019, the Democratic House has passed bills that would lower prescription drug prices, raise wages, fight government corruption, require universal background checks, provide for paper ballot backups, reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, prevent citizens from being fired for being gay, assure equal pay for equal work, fight climate change, restore net neutrality — and more.  That’s their job and they’ve done it.  Those bills are among the 250 that the Republican Senate refuses to consider.

But Congress has another responsibility.  Each member swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution.  If we had a president who – to take a ridiculous hypothetical example just to make the point – gave Russia all of Europe in return for a $10 billion personal bribe, not even Lindsey Graham would defend that as acceptable.  The House would vote to impeach; the Senate would vote to convict.  Clearly that is not what happened.  The purpose of the House proceedings is to find out what DID; and then to decide whether it warrants impeachment.

Ukraine is just one country in Europe, not all of Europe, after all.

And Putin has taken over only the Russian-speaking part of it, not all of it — that’s all he wants.

(There is precedent for this.  As Malcolm Gladwell recounts in Talking To Strangers, Neville Chamberlain assured England Hitler only wanted the German-speaking part of Czechoslovakia, the Sudetenland, not all of it.  But then, as keen students of history will recall, one thing led to another.)

However benign or justified Putin’s intentions may appear to Trump, Ukraine is under active military invasion by Russia.  Ukrainians are quite literally dying for their freedom from Russian domination.  The $391 million in promised military aid was desperately needed this past summer, when Trump — as has now been endlessly confirmed — held it up for personal gain.

And that’s what the hearings are about.

(Separately, 1,027 Republican and Democratic former federal prosecutors have declared Trump has committed multiple indictable offenses, which one might think would be enough to warrant impeachment — as would his shocking debasement of the office. But these hearings are about a months-long scheme to extort a struggling young democracy under lethal attack from Russia in order to improve Trump’s reelection prospects.)



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