Impeaching a president is one thing – getting rid of him is another

So, the impeachment process in the US has commenced against President Donald Trump.  In purely local interests – and forgiving the great constitutional issues involved –what does this mean for NZ and the prospects of a free trade agreement?.

Probably little.

Why? Because the great organs of the US state grind on. The president remains in the White House, all Cabinet officials remain in office, NZ’s trade guru Vangelis Vitalis is on his way.

At Monday’s meeting  with Trump in New York, PM Jacinda Adern reaffirmed NZ’s strong preference for an FTA and this was not denied by President Trump, nor by the Vice President, Mike Pence, a political pal of Foreign Minister Winston Peters in the presence of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Continue reading “Impeaching a president is one thing – getting rid of him is another”

Judge’s ruling in Boris case raises the idea of jailing all politicians who lie – but would this quickly fill our prisons?

The headline on an article in the New York Times a few years ago asserted:  “All Politicians Lie. Some Lie More Than Others.”

The article was written by a political fact-checker who – not surprisingly – found Donald J. Trump’s record on truth and accuracy was “astonishingly poor”.

At that time – when Trump was campaigning to become the Republican presidential candidate – her team had checked more than 70 Trump statements and rated fully 75% of them as Mostly False, False or “Pants on Fire” (the last category covered claims that were both inaccurate and ridiculous).

Trump has told many more lies since then. According to the tally published in The Washington Post in November last year, he had told 6,420 lies in his presidency.  In the seven weeks leading up to the mid-term elections, his rate increased to 30 per day.

The question we are raising at Point of Order today is whether political lying should be a crime and, if so, what the penalty should be.  Why not a stretch in prison? 

Our thinking has been triggered by Boris Johnson, Britain’s rumpled former foreign secretary, being called to answer for the lie at the heart of his Brexit campaign. Continue reading “Judge’s ruling in Boris case raises the idea of jailing all politicians who lie – but would this quickly fill our prisons?”