The Banter Brief: Betrayal, Watergate, And The Peaky Blinders

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s edition of The Banter Brief! Before we get going, make sure you get your Banter Subscription today so you can read our Subscriber only posts. It’s free for 14 days so there are no risks!. Here’s what you missed out on:

Democrats Must Fight Clean. It's The Only Way To Beat Trump. - Bob Cesca on not listening to Never Trump conservatives goading Democrats into fighting dirty.

Matt Taibbi Finally Goes Off The Deep End- Justin Rosario on the sad decline of once great journalist Matt Taibbi

GOP Unveils New Trump Impeachment Defense: 'He Was Only Joking'- Ben Cohen explains why the consequences for this new line of defense has terrifying implications for US democracy.


Here’s what you need to know about the week that was:

1. Most important story of the week

Trump betrays the Kurds

In what can only be described as a shocking display of callousness and folly, Donald Trump declared on Twitter that he would be abandoning Kurdish-led SDF allies and allowing Turkey to invade the Kurdish led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria (AANES). The consequences of this move are sure to be disastrous and have been condemned by Republicans, Democrats and global leaders around the world. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had asked Trump for the favor, and in his infinite wisdom, Trump complied, paving the way for a immense amount of bloodshed and the almost guaranteed resurgence of ISIS. “Well, they’re going to be escaping to Europe. That’s where they want to go.” Trump said of ISIS fighters who will be escaping from Kurdish held prisons.

Why did Trump do this? As is almost always the case, Vladimir Putin stands to benefit. “A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran and the Assad regime,” tweeted Mitch McConnell.

Who would have guessed?

2. Poll Analysis

A Fox News poll has shown “record support” for Donald Trump’s impeachment:

Just over half of voters want President Trump impeached and removed from office, according to a Fox News Poll released Wednesday.

A new high of 51 percent wants Trump impeached and removed from office, another 4 percent want him impeached but not removed, and 40 percent oppose impeachment altogether. In July, 42 percent favored impeachment and removal, while 5 percent said impeach but don’t remove him, and 45 percent opposed impeachment. 

The fact that Trump now believes Fox News is “Fake News” makes the latest poll all the more credible. It also means Trump is extremely worried about the numbers on both his popularity and his impending impeachment.

In other news, the Democratic 2020 field is becoming increasingly competitive, with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren rapidly catching up with Joe Biden. Biden is still in first place taking 26% of the potential vote, but Warren is at 23%, and Sanders at 16%. Pete Buttigieg is also raising an astonishing amount of money ($32.3 million compared to Biden’s $22 million) despite lagging in the polls.

3. Quote of the Week

“We, former members of the Watergate special prosecutor force, believe there exists compelling prima facie evidence that President Trump has committed impeachable offenses. This evidence can be accepted as sufficient for impeachment, unless disproved by any contrary evidence that the president may choose to offer.”

- 17 former Watergate special prosecutors writing in the Washington Post

4. What to watch on Netflix

Peaky Blinders

Set in the aftermath of World War 1 in Birmingham, England, the BBC drama follows a notorious criminal gang led by the charismatic Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy). Based loosely on a real gang notorious for hiding blades in their caps, Peaky Blinders is a bleak, stunningly shot series that captures the grim reality of industrial life in one of England’s most populous cities. The Peaky Blinders are engaged in perpetual turf wars with other gangs, love triangles, family dramas and Machiavellian political struggles. It’s television at its absolute best, and completely engrossing. Cillian Murphy is captivating in his portrayal of Tommy Shelby, a complex, violent, yet vulnerable man brutalized by a war that destroyed millions of lives. The other characters are equally fascinating, and the writing absolutely superb. Season 5 is now out on Netflix.

5. Good news

Joe Biden has officially called for Donald Trump’s impeachment. Why is this good news? Because when the leading Democratic candidate for 2020 comes out for impeachment, it sends a strong signal to the country that the allegations are very, very serious. When it comes to speaking out about impeachment, the more prominent the politician, the harder it will become for Republicans to remain unified. Biden is respected and well liked across the aisle, so opposing him is going to up the stakes dramatically. Elizabeth Warren has also made clear that she believes Trump should be impeached, so Biden’s voice adds even more power to the growing chorus.

See you next week!

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For Banter Subscribers:

Democrats Must Fight Clean. It's The Only Way To Beat Trump. - Bob Cesca on not listening to Never Trump conservatives goading Democrats into fighting dirty.

Matt Taibbi Finally Goes Off The Deep End - Justin Rosario on the sad decline of once great journalist Matt Taibbi

GOP Unveils New Trump Impeachment Defense: 'He Was Only Joking' - Ben Cohen explains why the consequences for this new line of defense has terrifying implications for US democracy.