Time For ‘Toons!

‘Tis time for a few ‘toons to lighten things up, don’t you think?  I sometimes wonder, once Trump is gone and hopefully out of our lives forever, will half of the political cartoonists be in line at the unemployment office?  For today, though, they have plenty of fodder for the grist mill.

Starting, of course, with Attorney General William Barr …

Bruce Plante Cartoon: Mueller's letter to BarrBarr-2barr-3

This week, Trump hit the 10,000 mark on the lies he has told since taking office.  Now, we all know he’s told more lies than that, but those are just the ones that are confirmed by The Washington Post’s Fact Checker.

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Also this week, Trump announced that he plans to change the rules for asylum seekers.  He plans to charge them money that they don’t have, and limit their rights to work to earn money — in other words, he is essentially halting any migrants from seeking asylum in this country.  It is, in my book, an illegal move, but when has legality ever been a problem for him?

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Robert Mueller’s investigation confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt, that which we already knew — that Russia did interfere with our 2016 election for the purpose of getting Trump elected, knowing he could be played like a puppet.

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I’m retired now, but back when I worked, this was always how I felt among my coworkers …

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I’ve made the point numerous times in the past few weeks that Trump is trashing the rule of law in this country.  He and William Barr, among others, seem to feel that the laws of the land do not apply to them.

rule-of-lawrule-of-law-2Question of impeachmentrule-of-law-4

And finally … just a few bits ‘n pieces I found …

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A Little Dose of Snarky Snippets …

The big news of the day, of course, is that Robert Mueller let Attorney General Barr know more than a month ago that he was displeased with Barr’s 4-page summary of Mueller’s report, when Mueller had provided summaries for Barr to use.  And today, as I write, AG Barr is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and methinks he has much to answer for.  I peeked in on the hearing and saw Barr chewing his lower lip and looking downright unhappy.  Serves him right … his lies are catching up with him.  Anyway, since I’m not prepared to write about that whole situation today, but as it has left me in a state of some angst, I am bursting forth with more snarky snippets!Barr-toon.jpg


Trouble brews over at Fox …

Just as Hermie, in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer did not want to make toys, apparently some of the talking heads over at Fox ‘News’ don’t want to tell lies!  It is reported that Fox’s Corporate CEO Lachlan Murdoch has quite the task on his hands to keep Donald Trump and the White House satisfied with regards to loyalty and coverage. They also have to keep advertisers happy. Lachlan also has to deal with the internal conflicts between Fox’s rank and file journalists and the prime time hosts who are the faces of the network.

According to one source …

“Reporters are telling management that we’re being defined by the worst people on our air.”

Ya think?  Golly gee.  You lie down with the dogs, don’t be surprised to get up with a bad case of fleas!

CEO Lachlan Murdoch is in a bit of a tough spot here, for the people who see themselves as journalists, such as Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith don’t appreciate the image the network has taken on, that of being more of an entertainment venue rather than a news station.  And, to further complicate Murdoch’s life, advertisers have begun boycotting some of the more offensive Fox personalities such as Tucker Carlson, Jeannine Pirro, and Laura Ingraham, costing the network money.

Perhaps, however, Murdoch’s biggest worry is that Sean Hannity is said to be leaving when his contract expires in 2021 (Oh yes, please, GO!).  According to one of Hannity’s staffers …

“Sean doesn’t feel supported,. He has no relationship with Lachlan. Sean thinks, Wait a second, I was hired to get ratings and I get ratings, but now people are embarrassed about me? He feels Fox spends a lot of time supporting Shepard Smith but his show makes no money. That’s annoying to him.”

Awwww … poor li’l fella …


Donnie’s mad at the firefighters …

The national firefighter’s union, International Association of Fire Fighters, has given their endorsement for the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden, and little Donnie is none too happy.  To let the world know just how unhappy he is, he tweeted no less than 60 times about it this morning.

“I’ve done more for Firefighters than this dues sucking union will ever do, and I get paid ZERO!”

“The Dues Sucking firefighters leadership will always support Democrats, even though the membership wants me. Some things never change!”

Trump mafiosoIn addition to his own juvenile tweets, he re-tweeted some 53 tweets by others who claimed to be firefighters in support of Trump.  All this in a 30-minute span … wait, is this what we are paying him to do???

He also said that Biden is “not the brightest lightbulb”.  Ahem … do I even need to point out the irony here?

There is a bright side, however, and that is that within a short time after his ‘tweet storm’, people began ‘unfollowing’ him and within an hour and a half,  he had lost 1,150 Twitter followers!  Is it just possible that people are finally getting sick and tired of his crude language, his lies, and his promotion of hate?  We can only hope.


Nitpicking words

After the Easter Sunday bombing attacks on hotels and churches in Sri Lanka that killed hundreds, public figures expressed condolences.  Three such people were former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former HUD Secretary Julián Castro.

  • The attacks on tourists and Easter worshippers in Sri Lanka are an attack on humanity. On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka. – Barack Obama
  • On this holy weekend for many faiths, we must stand united against hatred and violence. I’m praying for everyone affected by today’s horrific attacks on Easter worshippers and travelers in Sri Lanka. – Hillary Clinton
  • On a day of redemption and hope, the evil of these attacks on Easter worshippers and tourists in Sri Lanka is deeply saddening. My prayers today are with the dead and injured, and their families. May we find grace. – Julián Castro

Note the common denominator is that they referred to the victims as “tourists and Easter worshippers”.  Not a problem, right?  It was Easter and they were in church, presumably ‘worshipping’.  Unless, of course, you are a right-wing evangelical, and then it becomes a problem, apparently.

Fox ‘News’ hosts and other conservatives took this opportunity to rant that it was an attempt to avoid using the word “Christian”.

“How do President Obama and Secretary Clinton both come up with Easter worshippers in their tweets about the murders in Sri Lanka? To have both of them use the same term the same day is strange. Is Easter Worshipper the left’s new way to avoid the word Christian? Pathetic.” – Newt Gingrich

Seriously, Newtie?  Have you nothing better to do than nitpick the verbiage of a condolence message?  Even Kellyanne Conway jumped on this bandwagon …

“I think there’s anti-Christianity. That’s why the Sri Lankans were gunned down. They’re not Easter worshippers, Obama and Hillary Clinton. They are Christians.”

Nearly 300 people were killed, and all these fools can do is nitpick the words from well-intentioned people who happen to be democrats.   I think this speaks for itself.


Well, that’s all I’ve got time for today folks.  Have a happy evening!

Happy National Honesty Day!

I began getting a daily email of the “National Day” events a few months ago, for our friend Ellen occasionally teased me for not knowing that it was a certain “National Day” on the calendar. It has become a nightly ritual for me to read off the many national days on a nightly basis, to my girls, and we have a bit of fun over such things as National Hug-a-Plumber Day, National Shrimp Scampi Day, etc.  However, as I was reading off the National Days last night, one in particular caught my eye.  I pondered, and daughter Chris said she could smell the wheels turning (a bit of rust … the wheels need to be oiled).

National Honesty Day is celebrated on April 30 in the United States to encourage honesty and straightforward communication in politics, relationships, consumer relations and historical education. It was invented by M. Hirsh Goldberg, who chose the last day of April for two reasons. First, since the first day of that month, which is April Fools’ Day, celebrates falsehoods. Second, it is the anniversary of the First inauguration of George Washington on April 30, 1789.

Trump-pinocchioBy now, I’m sure you know where my mind is headed, yes?  Interestingly, this month, according to The Washington Post Fact Checker, Trump logged his 10,000th lie since taking office!  I debated writing a little made-up conversation with Trump in which I asked questions and he answered honestly, since it is Honesty Day, but even when I allowed my creativity to flow freely, I simply could not imagine him telling the truth.  So, instead I thought I’d feature a few ‘toons related to the subject.  But first, a bit of related trivia I came across:

  • According to Times Dispatch, a recent Gallup poll found that nurses are the most honest people. In contrast, lobbyists, salesmen, and members of Congress are supposedly the least honest people. (This was from 2012, in the ‘pre-Trump era.)

  • Book-of-LiesAccording to Goldberg’s book The Book of Lies: Fibs, Tales, Schemes, Scams, Fakes, and Frauds That Have Changed The Course of History and Affect Our Daily Lives, the average person lies about 200 times a day with lies including omission and white lies.  (Seriously???)

  • According to a poll conducted by London’s Science Museum upon 3,000 British citizens, the average British man tells three lies a day, while the average woman tells two lies a day. The average lie for a man is “I didn’t drink that much!” and for a woman it is “Nothings wrong, I’m fine”. Also according to the poll, people are more than likely to lie to their mothers.

Trump-lie-1trump-lie-2Trump-lie-3Ed Wexler / Cagle CartoonsBruce Plante Cartoon: Trump's "Best People"Donald Trump lies

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And my own personal favourite …

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Above The Law???

Trump says the Mueller report exonerates him, that it proves there was ‘no collusion, no obstruction’.  Those of us who can both read and think know better.  We know the Mueller report, in fact, proves that at the very least, Trump did attempt on multiple occasions to obstruct justice, to interfere with an ongoing investigation.

Today, Trump is still obstructing justice with his refusal to turn over his tax returns or financial records, his threatening and bullying those who have been subpoenaed by congressional committees, and more.  As usual, Robert Reich chimes in with words of wisdom …

In Fighting All Oversight, Trump Has Made His Most Dictatorial Move

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich

The president is treating Congress with contempt. This cannot stand – and Congress must fight back

Sun 28 Apr 2019 01.00 EDT

“We’re fighting all the subpoenas,” says the person who is supposed to be chief executive of the United States government.

In other words, there is to be no congressional oversight of this administration: no questioning officials who played a role in putting a citizenship question on the 2020 census. No questioning a former White House counsel about the Mueller report.

No questioning a Trump adviser about immigration policy. No questioning a former White House security director about issuances of security clearances.

No presidential tax returns to the ways and means committee, even though a 1920s law specifically authorizes the committee to get them.

Such a blanket edict fits a dictator of a banana republic, not the president of a constitutional republic founded on separation of powers.

If Congress cannot question the people who are making policy, or obtain critical documents, Congress cannot function as a coequal branch of government.

If Congress cannot get information about the executive branch, there is no longer any separation of powers, as sanctified in the US constitution.

There is only one power – the power of the president to rule as he wishes.

Which is what Donald Trump has sought all along.

The only relevant question is how stop this dictatorial move. And let’s be clear: this is a dictatorial move.

The man whose aides cooperated, shall we say, with Russia – the man who still refuses to do anything at all about Russia’s continued interference in the American political system – refuses to cooperate with a branch of the United States government that the Constitution requires him to cooperate with in order that the government function.

Presidents before Trump occasionally have argued that complying with a particular subpoena for a particular person or document would infringe upon confidential deliberations within the executive branch. But no president before Trump has used “executive privilege” as a blanket refusal to cooperate.

How should Congress respond to this dictatorial move?

Trump is treating Congress with contempt – just as he has treated other democratic institutions that have sought to block him.

Congress should invoke its inherent power under the constitution to hold any official who refuses a congressional subpoena in contempt. This would include departmental officials who refuse to appear, as well as Trump aides. (Let’s hold off on the question of whether Congress can literally hold Trump in contempt, which could become a true constitutional crisis.)

“Contempt” of Congress is an old idea based on the inherent power of Congress to get the information it needs to carry out its constitutional duties. Congress cannot function without this power.

How to enforce it? Under its inherent power, the House can order its own sergeant-at-arms to arrest the offender, subject him to a trial before the full House, and, if judged to be in contempt, jail that person until he appears before the House and brings whatever documentation the House has subpoenaed.

When President Richard Nixon tried to stop key aides from testifying in the Senate Watergate hearings, in 1973, Senator Sam Ervin, chairman of the Watergate select committee, threatened to jail anyone who refused to appear.

Congress hasn’t actually carried through on the threat since 1935 – but it could.

Would America really be subject to the spectacle of the sergeant-at-arms of the House arresting a Trump official, and possibly placing him in jail?

Probably not. Before that ever occurred, the Trump administration would take the matter to the supreme court on an expedited basis.

Sadly, there seems no other way to get Trump to move. Putting the onus on the Trump administration to get the issue to the court as soon as possible is the only way to force Trump into action, and not simply seek to run out the clock before the next election.

What would the court decide? With two Trump appointees now filling nine of the seats, it’s hardly a certainty.

But in a case that grew out of the Teapot Dome scandal in 1927, the court held that the investigative power of Congress is at its peak when lawmakers look into fraud or maladministration in another government department.

Decades later, when Richard Nixon tried to block the release of incriminating recordings of his discussions with aides, the supreme court decided that a claim of executive privilege did not protect information pertinent to the investigation of potential crimes.

Trump’s contempt for the inherent power of Congress cannot stand. It is the most dictatorial move he has initiated since becoming president.

Congress has a constitutional duty to respond forcefully, using its own inherent power of contempt.

I leave you to ponder.

I Just Couldn’t Resist …

… Concluding the week with a few little tidbits.  A couple may border on being ‘snarky snippets’, but I did not start out with that intent.


Another one  😞

Another synagogue shooting.  Another death.  More injuries.  Why?  Because we are becoming a nation of haters.  We are becoming a nation of people who think that the lighter their skin, the more worthy and deserving they are.  We are becoming a nation of “Christian” vs everybody-else.  We are becoming a bunch of jerks.  The latest in the long series of jerks is John T. Earnest, age 19, who entered Chabad of Poway synagogue north of San Diego, California, on Saturday while about 100 people were inside celebrating the final day of Passover.  He opened fire, killing Lori Kayne, age 60, and injuring four others.  One of the injured was Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who was leading the service, and bullets penetrated both hands, shattering the bones.  Among the others injured were Noya Dahan, age 8, and Almog Peretz, age 34.

What possessed John T. Earnest to do this horrific thing?  John Earnest posted an anti-Jewish screed online about an hour before the attack. He described himself as a nursing school student and praised the suspects accused of carrying out deadly attacks on mosques in New Zealand last month and at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue Oct. 27 last year.

I. Don’t. Get. It. What the Sam Heck makes a Jew or a Muslim any less worthy than a Christian? What makes a black man less valuable than one with lighter skin?  What makes a man more important than a woman?  What makes people hate based on nothing more than superficial differences?  We may be African, Israeli, French, or Iraqi … it does not matter!  We are all a part of the human race!!!  Isn’t it about damn time people wake up and realize that???


Update on the migrant children …

I haven’t written lately about the migrant children who, upon crossing into the U.S. at the U.S.-Mexico border, had been separated from their parents.  Other things have occupied space in my mind and on my blog.  But, last night I decided it was time to check in and see what, if anything, had been happening since my last post on the subject, the one where I reported that the government had said it would take up to two years to reunite these children with their parents.  Quite by accident, my timing was good.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, the same one who ordered the children be returned to their parents in June of last year, gave the administration exactly six months, not one day more, to straighten out the mess they have made.  I really like Judge Sabraw!

“It is important for all government actors to have a time frame, a deadline. You tend to stand on it.”

I will make a note to re-visit this one each month, for this is too important for us to let it fade into the background.  Trump claims there is a ‘crisis’ at the border.  Yes, there is a crisis … a humanitarian crisis in the form of potentially 2,800 children who cry for their mamá every night.


Finally, a bit of justice

The song, Too Much, Too Little, Too Late comes to mind.  Trayvon Martin’s murderer got off scot-free.  Philando Castile’s murderer got off scot-free.  Alton Sterling’s murderer got off scot-free.  Samuel DuBose’s murderer got off scot-free.  Freddie Gray’s murderers got off scot-free.  And more.  What did these have in common?  The victim was an unarmed black man, and the killer was a white police officer.

On Thursday, however, the tables turned for once.  Former Florida police officer Nouman K. Raja was sentenced to 25 years in prison for each of two counts:  manslaughter by culpable negligence and attempted first-degree murder with a firearm in the shooting death of Corey Jones.

On the night of Oct. 18, 2015, Mr. Jones was on the side of an Interstate 95 exit ramp in Palm Beach County at about 3:15 a.m. calling for a tow truck, as his vehicle had broken down. Mr. Raja, an officer with the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department who was on duty in plainclothes, approached Mr. Jones’s SUV in an unmarked van.  Mr. Raja did not identify himself as a police officer. Within moments of approaching Mr. Jones, Mr. Raja fired six shots and struck Mr. Jones three times, killing him.

Mr. Raja’s defense team tried to invoke the infamous “Stand Your Ground” law, but after listening to a recording of the incident by the tow-company’s dispatcher, that argument held no water.  This is the first time since 1989 that an officer has been sentenced for an on-duty killing in Florida.  It’s about time.


And just a few mini-snippets …

  • Attorney General William Barr is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, May 2nd, regarding the Mueller report in general, and also over those portions he, Barr, chose to redact.  But apparently Mr. Barr did not like the format that committee chairman Jerry Nadler plans, and is now threatening to ignore the hearing.  Mr. Barr seems to think that, just as he believes the president is above the law, he himself is also above the law.  I hope he is proven wrong, and quickly before his ego has a chance to grow any bigger.

  • It is just possible (highly unlikely, but possible) that in some states next year, Donald Trump’s name will not be on the ballot!  Fourteen states are attempting to pass legislation that requires every candidate to make public their tax returns in order to qualify to be placed on the ballot.  If the legislation passes in those states, and if Trump continues to hide his tax returns, he might find himself out in the cold in states like North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Arizona, all states he won in 2016.  Just thinking about this makes me smile.

  • As our friend Gronda noted in a recent post, Fox ‘News’ commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano wrote a piece earlier this week that was fair and honest, therefore not kind to Donald Trump.  Napolitano opines that Trump is, in fact, guilty of obstruction of justice which we know to be an impeachable offense.  He concluded by saying, “… ordering obstruction to save himself from the consequences of his own behavior is unlawful, defenseless and condemnable.”  As you might guess, Trump didn’t take kindly to his own personal media venue allowing such a voice to be heard, and he came back with … what else?  Tweets, of course!Trump-tweet-1

Well, that’s a wrap, folks.  Enjoy the last few remaining hours of your weekend, and I’ll be back with Jolly Monday in the morning!

A Terrorist By Any Other Name …

On February 15th, just over two months ago, Christopher Paul Hasson, a U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and white supremacist was arrested after federal investigators uncovered a cache of weapons and ammunition in his Maryland home.  His plan was, in his words …

“I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth.”

Christopher-Hasson

Christopher Hasson

Hasson had a ‘hit list’ that included almost every journalist who has been critical of Donald Trump, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and most of the democratic candidates for president in 2020, among others.  He had been searching the internet for the home addresses of two Supreme Court justices.

Now, if Mr. Hasson had been an immigrant from anywhere in the Middle East, he would have been labeled a terrorist and treated accordingly, right?  But … Hasson is Caucasian, and thus rather than calling a spade a bloody shovel and charging him with domestic terrorism, what did the Department of Justice do?  They charged him with weapons and drugs violations … not plotting to murder, not terrorism, just weapons and drugs.  But wait … now for the really great news …

Judge Charles Day

Judge Charles Day

On Thursday, United States magistrate Judge Charles Bernard Day of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland decided to grant bail to Mr. Hasson and release him from jail pending trial.  If he had been charged with domestic terrorism, as would have been right and proper, he would not be eligible for bail or release, but since he wasn’t, his public defender argues that her client hadn’t made any direct or specific threats to harm anyone. She said prosecutors are seeking to punish Hasson for “private thoughts” that he never shared.

“They have not come forward with evidence that Mr. Hasson is a domestic terrorist because he is not.”

But listen carefully now to a part of her reasoning … she compared Hasson’s racial slurs and targeting of Democrats and the media to similar views that Trump has taken and said his hit list “looks like the sort of list that our commander in chief might have compiled while watching Fox News in the morning.”

Does anybody care to give me that argument again that Donald Trump’s horrendous attacks on those he perceives as his ‘enemies’ are not causing harm?  NEVER in the history of this nation have we had a president who bullied as he does, who referred to our free press as “the enemy of the people”, and who threatened any and all who cross him.  NEVER! 

When Trump was asked his opinion of the Hasson case, he replied that he thought it was ‘sad’.  When asked if he believed some of his harsh language might have played a part in Hasson’s plot, he replied that his “language is very nice”.

Joe Scarborough of Morning Joe is one of the names on the list.  His wife and fellow anchor, Mika Brzezinski, is understandably upset, saying …

“I think Trump’s doing this. How can I not do that math in my mind that the attorney general is making a clear decision here to make sure the lives of people who are being targeted continue to be in danger because they will not put together the pieces of this case? A stockpile of weapons, a list of people that he wants to kill. Are you serious? There’s no way not to let this guy walk? You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Oyer also said Hasson has had a lifelong interest in firearms and likes to hunt and target practice. She said the number of guns he owned isn’t unusual in North Carolina, where he lived for years before moving to Maryland.  Oh for Pete’s sake … give us credit for not being totally stupid, Ms. Oyer!

Hasson-stash

Part of the stash found in Hasson’s home

And thus, because Hasson was not properly charged, he will likely walk out of jail one morning next week, a free man, at least until his trial.

Hasson pleaded not guilty last month to charges of illegal possession of firearm silencers, possession of firearms by a drug addict and unlawful user, and possession of a controlled substance. He faces a maximum of 31 years in prison if convicted of all four counts in his indictment.  Thirty-one years.  And a conviction on all counts seems unlikely at this point, even though the evidence is plentiful.  But think about something else.  Even if Hasson is sentenced the full 31 years … wait for it … Donald Trump could pardon him.

I shall leave you to ponder on that one.

Something To Consider …

I first saw Fareed Zakaria several years ago on George Stephanopoulos’ Sunday morning show, This Week. The man impressed me with his intellect and reasonableness at the time, and he still does, although I frequently disagree with him on certain issues.  Mr. Zakaria is a journalist, political scientist and author whose political ideology defies description, as he is mostly considered to be a centrist, but has in some cases been labeled a conservative, and at other times a liberal.

The word ‘impeachment’ has been bandied around a lot lately, and I am one who has used it more than a few times.  I have urged caution, but since the release of the Mueller report am leaning more toward the idea, though I still believe it is prudent to take time, for it’s a one-shot thing, and right at this moment, I believe it would be destined to fail.

Yesterday, I came across an editorial written by Mr. Zakaria in The Washington Post that gave me food for thought.  I have not yet decided to what extent I agree with him, but … I think it’s important for us to keep an open mind and I must admit that much of what he says is valid and makes sense.  So, I share this with you today in hopes you will at least give it a bit of thought.


Democrats, There’s A Better Strategy Than Impeachment

Fareed ZakariaBy Fareed Zakaria

Columnist

April 25 at 5:34 PM

Consider, for a moment, what the growing talk of impeachment among Democrats sounds like to the tens of millions of people who voted for President Trump. Many of them supported him because they felt ignored, mocked and condescended to by the country’s urban, educated and cosmopolitan elites — especially lawyers and journalists. So what happens when their guy gets elected? These same elites pursue a series of maneuvers to try to overturn the results of the 2016 election. It would massively increase the class resentment that feeds support for the president. It would turn the topic away from his misdeeds and toward the Democrats’ overreach and obsessions. And ultimately, of course, it would fail — two-thirds of this Republican-controlled Senate would not vote to convict him — allowing Trump to brandish his “acquittal” as though it were a gold medal.

I know, I know, many argue passionately that this is not a political affair but rather a moral and legal one. After reading the Mueller report, they say, Congress has no option but to fulfill its obligation and impeach Trump. But this view misunderstands impeachment entirely. It is, by design, an inherently political process, not a legal one. That’s why the standard used — “high crimes and misdemeanors” — is not one used in criminal procedures. And that is why the decision is entrusted to a political body, Congress, not the courts.

In 1970, when he was House minority leader, Gerald Ford provided the most honest definition of an impeachable offense: “whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.” Of the three cases in the United States’ past, history’s judgment is that only one — the impeachment proceedings against President Richard M. Nixon — was wholly justified. President Andrew Johnson’s decision to fire his secretary of war — clearly lawful — should not have led to his impeachment. The same is true for President Bill Clinton’s failed Whitewater land deal, which triggered an independent counsel inquiry that went into completely unrelated arenas and used questionable methods of investigation.

Harvard Law School’s Noah Feldman points out that neither history nor the framers’ intent yields clear lessons on the topic. “It’s quite possible that many founders would have supported impeachment for serious substantive matters like the usurpation of power by the president. By that standard, would [Abraham] Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, FDR’s internment of the Japanese Americans or [Lyndon] Johnson’s massive expansion of the Vietnam War all have been impeachable offenses? Possibly.” But these presidents were not impeached because Congress and the country exercised political judgment. And that is why it is entirely appropriate for Democrats to think this through politically.

For some Democrats, impeachment talk might be a smart, if cynical, short-term calculation. If you are running for the Democratic nomination and languishing in the polls, it is a way to get attention. If you are consolidating your support with the party’s base, the more fiercely anti-Trump you are, the better. But all these moves work only as long as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) slow-rolls the process and stops it from getting out of hand. Others can be irresponsible on the assumption that Pelosi will be responsible. But what if things snowball, as they often do in politics?

The Democrats have a much better path in front of them. They should pursue legitimate investigations of Trump, bring in witnesses and release documentary proof of wrongdoing, providing a national education about the way Trump has operated as president. But they should, at the same time, show the public that they would be a refreshing contrast to Trump — substantive, policy-oriented, civil and focused on the country, not on their narrow base. America is tired of the circus of Trump. That doesn’t mean they want the circus of the House Democrats.

The president is vulnerable. With strong economic numbers, he has astonishingly low approval ratings. He will likely run his 2020 campaign on cultural nationalism, as he did in 2016. Democrats need to decide what their vision will be. That should be their focus, not the unfounded hope that if they pursue impeachment, somehow a series of miracles will take place — a deeply divided country will coalesce around them, and Republicans will finally abandon their president.

The real challenge the Democrats face goes beyond Trump. It is Trumpism — a right-wing populism that has swelled in the United States over the past decade. Surely the best way to take it on is to combat it ideologically and defeat it electorally. That is the only way to give the Democrats the real prize, which is not Trump’s scalp but the power and legitimacy to forge a governing majority.

Text dividers

Be Angry … BE VERY DAMNED ANGRY

A day or two ago I received the following ‘breaking news’ update from Politico:breaking-news

I impatiently cleared it from my phone, saying, “Yeah, yeah, I already figured that”.  And then today, Robert Reich posted this on Facebook:

breaking-newsSure, it came as no surprise, for it has become obvious that the congressional investigations are not being taken seriously by Trump and his minions. But, if we keep doing as I did, treating it as just another day, another abomination, ho-hum … then we have lost, and he has won. And the result of his winning will be that the United States of America will become yet another dictatorship in the Western world, like Turkey, like Russia.  Perhaps we are already on the brink … it very much feels as if we are.

And then this, from Amy Siskind, also on Facebook …

“Okay folks, the FBI is heading to meet with Gov Scott about Russia having hacked at least on [sic] county in Florida during the 2016 election and this story isn’t even trending or getting attention. This is how our democracy gets extinguished in the chaos and broad daylight.”

She is right.  Spot on, in fact.  This is how democracy dies.  We tune it out, we turn it off, we close our eyes and our minds, for it is too much, just too much.  Surely the dam that was built in 1787 to protect us from evil fascist leaders will hold, right?  We can simply go on playing games, posting pictures of our regurgitatable lunches on Facebook, and let the politicians deal with it all, right?  Yeah, right … that was what the German people thought in 1933, too, and look how well that worked out.

Not only has Trump blocked the release of the six years’ worth of tax returns requested by Congress, but he has filed a lawsuit against the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Elijah Cummings, in order to delay or block the release of his company’s financial records.  He has ‘forbidden’ former White House security official Carl Kline from answering the subpoena serviced upon him.  He is currently threatening …

“If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Which just proves what I have said for two fucking years now … the ‘man’ does not even have the foggiest concept of how our government operates!!!  Nothing in the Constitution or American legal history gives the Supreme Court a role in deciding whether Congress has misidentified what counts as a high crime or misdemeanor for the purpose of impeachment.  It matters not how many of his sycophants he has managed to insert into the Supreme Court, by law … BY LAW … they cannot quell a Congressional move to impeach!

But folks, the law only applies to the extent that We the People give it legitimacy.

Thus far, I have urged caution on the impeachment path, felt it was better to have our ducks in a row first.  But, my patience has run out, for Donald Trump is attempting to poison the ducks before we can bring them into the row, and it appears the only means for obtaining the information the Congressional committees are seeking is going to be via the impeachment process.  He is forcing our hand … he has made his own bed.

Robert Mueller himself, and former White House attorney Don McGahn are expected to testify within the coming month.  Trump has zero control over these two, for they no longer work for or owe allegiance to the administration.  Their testimonies will likely remove all doubt that Trump has obstructed justice, but even if they don’t, he is blatantly obstructing justice today … now … right this minute, by interfering with a legitimate investigation by Congress.  He claims “executive privilege”.  There is no such thing when it comes to treason, when it comes to turning a democratic republic into a dictatorship.  No, Donnie, you have no fucking executive privilege!

Per our friend Gronda, from the articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon in 1974:

Article 3: Contempt of Congress.

In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, contrary to his oath faithfully to execute the office of the President of the United States, and to the best of his ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, had failed without lawful cause or excuse, to produce papers and things as directed by duly authorized subpoenas issued by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, on April 11, 1974, May 15, 1974, May 30, 1974, and June 24, 1974, and willfully disobeyed such subpoenas. The subpoenaed papers and things were deemed necessary by the Committee in order to resolve by direct evidence fundamental, factual questions relating to Presidential direction, knowledge or approval of actions demonstrated by other evidence to be substantial grounds for impeachment of the President. In refusing to produce these papers and things, Richard M. Nixon, substituting his judgement as to what materials were necessary for the inquiry, interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, thereby assuming to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the sole power of impeachment vested by Constitution in the House of Representatives.

In all this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial and removal from office.

(Approved 21-17 by the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, July 30, 1974.)

Can we re-write this for our current situation?  I think so … what do you think?  Need I say more?

We must not, under any circumstances, become complacent to the atrocities being committed by not only Trump, but his hired thugs such as Stephen Miller, Steve Mnuchin, William Barr and others.  We must not turn the page of the breaking news update with naught but a sigh and a roll of our eyes.  We must demand an accounting in the press, we must stay on top of the day-to-day atrocities, and we MUST make our voices heard, else all is lost.

Lawsuits, Obstruction, and a Blimp

Robert Mueller’s report clearly shows a number of times that Don Trump attempted to obstruct justice, such as telling his White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller.  There are at least 10 such instances documented in the report.  And yet, Trump and his minions claim the report exonerates him.  It does not, but setting that aside for the moment, today he is obstructing justice yet again!  He is digging his hole deeper and deeper, and I sincerely hope he falls into it very soon.

First, it was announced yesterday that Trump and his business organization are suing the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Elijah Cummings, in an attempt to block the subpoena the committee issued requesting information from Trump’s accounting firm about his financial records.  Now, this subpoena would not have been necessary if Trump had been forthcoming with his tax returns, as every other president since Reagan has done.  When one refuses to answer a question, it throws up red flags and becomes obvious one has something to hide, and it is glaringly obvious at this point that Donald Trump has a heck of a lot to hide.

Judging by the fact that Trump had been involved in some 5,000 lawsuits prior to becoming president, we should not be surprised by this latest, for suing someone seems to be his modus operandi any time things don’t go his way.  The argument in this one, however, is laughable.

“Instead of working with the President to pass bipartisan legislation that would actually benefit Americans, House Democrats are singularly obsessed with finding something they can use to damage the President politically.”

Trump’s lawyers are also seeking to block his accounting firm, Mazars USA, from providing any information to the committee.  There is small chance that Trump will win this suit, BUT … it is seen as mainly a delaying tactic, likely until he can think of something else.  Trump is wasting our money on efforts to hide his own perfidy.  Plus … he is challenging the U.S. Constitution that calls for a system of checks and balances, as he asks the judicial branch to stop the legislative branch from doing their job overseeing the executive branch.  Playing both ends against the middle, so to speak.

And about those tax returns … the Internal Revenue Service missed the first deadline to turn six years’ worth of tax returns over to the House Ways and Means Committee, and the deadline was pushed back until … today, and as of this writing there is no sign of any tax returns.  More obfuscation.

But wait … there’s more!

Former White House personnel security director Carl Kline received a letter directing him not to show up for questioning by the House Oversight Committee.  The letter came from White House deputy counsel Michael M. Purpura and claims that the subpoena for his testimony “unconstitutionally encroaches on fundamental executive branch interests.”  Kline’s attorney said he will abide by the White House directive.

Mr. Kline’s testimony was requested as the committee is investigating the security clearances that appear to have been handed out willy-nilly on Trump’s orders, even though investigations had shown those individuals to be a security risk.  Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was one of those individuals.

Every single one of the above instances are attempts on the part of Trump to obstruct justice by hook or by crook.  Obstruction of justice, by the way, IS against the law.  Imagine if you are summonsed to appear before a judge for some matter and you don’t show up.  Guess where you’ll be going?  But Trump is getting by with it because … he believes he is a king, not a president of a relatively democratic nation.  More and more, I am coming to believe that impeachment may be the only answer.  I had been of the opinion that we should wait until all these investigations were concluded, however it appears that they may not be concluded for years, as he and his lawyers continue meddling, obfuscating, interfering and obstructing the process of the investigations.


And in other news, I am distressed to read that in less than two months, on June 3rd, Trump will travel to the United Kingdom for a state visit.  The Brits do not want him there, and it is certain that he will only humiliate us in front of our UK friends.  There is no good reason for him to go … it is merely an ego trip.  Last July when he went to the UK amid many protests from the citizenry, it ended up costing the country £18 million, or about $23 million in security.  I have an idea … how about just not having security … let the chips fall where they may.

Trump baby blimp-1Some are predicting even more, larger protests this time … as I said, nobody wants him there.  On the fun side, however, they are getting out the Trump baby blimp and dusting it off to use again.  I read in The Guardian that they may even make a new one … a hot air balloon five times the size of the original!


And on that note, I think I am finished for now … have a great day, my friends!

The Mueller Report–First impressions

Jeff, over at On The Fence Voters, has been wading through the 448-page report issued by Robert Mueller regarding the Russian interference into our 2016 elections, as well as the involvement of Trump, his family, and his campaign. I, too, have been wading through the report, but I took yesterday off from it, for it was taking a toll on me both emotionally and physically. Not to mention that I had cleaning, shopping, cooking, baking, and Easter-egg dyeing that had to be done yesterday. Anyway … Jeff has shared a few of his thoughts and observations about the report, and they are well worth sharing with you. I will have my own thoughts at some point in the future, but truly, what Jeff has said here mirrors my own thoughts. Thank you, Jeff, for this excellent summation and for your generous permission to share!

On The Fence Voters

I’ve tried my best in the last 24 hours or so to read as much of the Mueller Report as I possibly could. While I haven’t completed this endeavor, I nonetheless have consumed quite a bit. Here are just a few of my thought thus far.

Robert Mueller has produced a report one might expect from a man who has spent a good portion of his life in law enforcement. It’s a thorough, fact-based account on what transpired between the Trump campaign and their alleged involvement with the Russians in the 2016 election, and an equally comprehensive look at the actions of President Trump after the appointment of Mueller as Special Counsel in May of 2017.

In no uncertain terms, Mueller lays out the facts of what the Russians did to try to sow discord in our democracy and help elect Donald Trump to the presidency. Their actions were systematic…

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