Snarky Snippets: Filosofa Growls

I awoke this morning to an odd noise that I couldn’t seem to pinpoint.  At first I thought it was a car motor outside, but everywhere in the house I went, the noise stayed the same.  I asked the girls if they could hear the noise (my hearing is strange … I don’t hear what is there, and I often hear that which doesn’t exist), and they said they heard it only when I was near.  Hmmmm … a mystery.  Well, we finally figured out that it was a low, growling sound emanating from somewhere deep in my throat.  Well, you all know what that means, right?  It means that it’s time for … Snarky Snippets!


Donald Trump, whose claim to fame is firing people, who even had a television show that was based solely, from what I’ve heard, on him screaming, “You’re Fired!” every week, is in firing mode this month.  The latest in a series was Matthew Doherty, who until last week served as executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.  What, you may ask, did Mr. Doherty do wrong?  Nothing, as far as I can discern, but the timing is interesting.

The council was created in 1987 and is supposed to coordinate the government’s approach to tackling homelessness. It is unclear who will lead the organization now.  Trump has recently promised to take action against California’s homelessness problem, arguing that homelessness hurts the quality of life and the “prestige” of some of its largest cities. One measure that has been discussed is razing the tent camps that house many homeless.

Did Trump fire Mr. Doherty because Doherty is a man of integrity and refused to go along with Trump’s inhumane ideas?  And think about it … what does Trump plan to DO with the homeless people?  Remember, we are talking about people here, not just some things that are lying about detracting from the “prestige” of the cities.  Will he throw the children in cages?  Since for the most part these people are citizens, not immigrants, he cannot send them “back where they came from”, so will he throw the adults into the Pacific Ocean and say, “Sink or swim”?

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


Remember those tax cuts for the wealthy that Trump & Congress so generously approved in December 2017?  One of the beneficiaries of those tax cuts came onto my radar just this morning.  In 2017, the year prior to the implementation of the new tax cuts, FedEx paid $1.5 billion in taxes.  Last year, however, was a different story … last year FedEx paid -0- in taxes.  That’s right, folks … almost ever single person reading this post paid more taxes in 2018 than the corporation that saw a net income of $4.57 billion in fiscal 2018.  Let that one sink in for a minute.

Now, the rationale for the tax cuts on corporations was that the companies would use the extra money they had on investments that would create more jobs … you know, that ‘trickle down’ theory that has never worked and never will work.  Well, the company spent less in the 2018 fiscal year than it had projected in December 2017, before the tax law passed. It spent even less in 2019. Much of its savings have gone to reward shareholders: FedEx spent more than $2 billion on stock buybacks and dividend increases in the 2019 fiscal year, up from $1.6 billion in 2018, and more than double the amount the company spent on buybacks and dividends in fiscal year 2017.

In a nutshell, the country’s national debt is higher than ever before, the budget deficit (you remember, the one that republicans were so concerned about when Obama was president?) is in the tank, but a lot of rich people got even richer, thanks to their rich friends in the U.S. Congress and in the Oval Office.

Oh, and one last thing … this year, FedEx cut back on employee bonuses in an effort to reduce labour costs.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


Just so you know, my friends, Attorney General William Barr says that We the People (those of us who still use our brains to think) are “undermining the rule of law”.  Yes, that’s right.  Trump can break the law, trample the Constitution, and even shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, but it is those of us who disagree with him that are undermining the rule of law!

“Immediately after President [sic] Trump won election, opponents inaugurated what they called ‘The Resistance’ and they rallied around an explicit strategy of using every tool and maneuver to sabotage the functioning of the executive branch and his administration. The fact of the matter is: that in waging a scorched-earth, no-holds-barred war of resistance against this administration, it is the left that is engaged in the systemic shredding of norms and undermining the rule of law.”

He forgets that after Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, it was the right that formed the Tea Party movement, and republicans in Congress who conspired to oppose every effort put forward by the incoming administration.  He forgets that the Koch brothers initiated the “Tea Party” movement immediately after Obama’s election, to shout down democratic lawmakers, protest in the streets and at state capitols across the nation, and even protest violently outside of the U.S. Capitol building. Some of them reportedly spit on lawmakers as they were walking into Congress to vote on healthcare legislation, and some called black lawmakers the N-word.

Yet it is those of us who want the madman out of the Oval Office, who wish to restore some integrity and intelligence to the position of president, who are “undermining the rule of law”???????

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


Okay, folks, I think I’ve growled so much that my throat hurts, so I’ll stop here and leave you with a bit of humour.

Robert Reich And The Founding Fathers Speak

Many people who support Trump, both in and out of government, claim that what Trump has done is not an impeachable offense.  Some even go so far as to claim his extortion of the Ukrainian president, holding up much-needed military support in exchange for President Zelenskyy announcing he would investigate Trump’s rival Joe Biden, is “business as usual”.  I can talk until I’m blue in the face, and those people will say I’m just a sore loser, still angry because Hillary Clinton didn’t win in 2016.  They’d be wrong … Hillary actually did win by nearly 3 million votes.  The unfair skewing of districts in many states, however, handed Trump enough undeserved electoral votes to carry him into the Oval Office.

But, about impeachment … though I studied Constitutional Law for two years, and have read the Constitution probably 30-40 times, I am not an expert on Constitutional Law.  But I know of someone who is.

Robert Reich-4

Robert Reich

Robert Reich is an American economist, professor, author, and political commentator. He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. He was Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997. He was a member of President Barack Obama’s economic transition advisory board.

Reich has been the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley since January 2006. He was formerly a professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and professor of social and economic policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management of Brandeis University.

Suffice it to say that this man knows how government works, and knows the Constitution far better than, say, a president who has never read the short, 8.000-word document.  So, let’s hear what Mr. Reich has to say about whether what Trump has done is impeachable.

A Chef Who Cannot Cook?

What would you think of a bartender who has never mixed a drink, or a chef who has never cooked a meal?  Or how about a judge who has never tried a case?  All pretty unqualified for their jobs, wouldn’t you say?  Oh wait … or how about a president who has never read the Constitution, who has lied, cheated and stolen, and who has never held a government position?  Seems we’re on a roll here, folks!

But, my point today is the third one … a judge who has never tried a case.  That would be Judge Steven Menashi, whom the Senate just confirmed to a lifetime appointment on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.  Let’s look at a summary of Menashi’s experience …

  • In 2001, Menashi earned a Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from Dartmouth College.
  • He then worked at the Hoover Institute for three years as a public affairs fellow and an associate editor of the institute’s Policy Review.
  • From 2004 to 2005 he was an editorial writer for The New York Sun.
  • In 2008, he graduated in 2008 with a Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School.
  • He served as a law clerk to Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit during the 2008–2009 term, and to Associate Justice Samuel Alito of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 2010–2011 term.
  • From 2011 to 2016, Menashi worked in the New York City office of Kirkland & Ellis, where he became a partner.
  • From 2016 to 2017, Menashi was an assistant professor of law at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School.
  • In September 2018, Menashi moved to the White House to become a Special Assistant to the President and Associate Counsel to the President.

Th-th-that’s it, folks … the sum total of Mr. Menashi’s career in eight short bullet points.  Never sat on a judicial bench, never tried a case … and now he’s a lifetime, high-ranking judge.  Well, I think I’ll just run for U.S. Senator next year … I’m as qualified for that as Menashi is for a judgeship!

Menashi

Steven Menashi — what a look, eh?

But this is an interesting appointment and sped-up confirmation folks.  You see, his confirmation hearing was on September 11th, more than two months ago, and there were objections from both sides of the aisle, in part because he refused to answer their questions regarding the role he played in shaping the Trump administration’s immigration policies.  Another point of contention was about an article he had written in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law about ethnonationalism and Israel.

In addition, Menashi has a history of speaking against women’s rights, as well as LGBT rights.  And, when he was sent a letter by the Senate Judiciary Committee asking about his knowledge of Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Menashi refused to respond.

It is interesting, as well, to note that on Wednesday, the same day the Senate invoked cloture, putting an end to further debate about Menashi’s nomination and forcing a vote, a federal appeals court ruled against Trump’s claim that his financial records should remain closed, upholding last week’s ruling by the very court Menashi has been confirmed to, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.  Perhaps if Menashi’s confirmation had not been held up for two months, he would have already been on the bench last Monday, November 4th, and Trump might well have won his case.  Think on that one for just a minute.  As it is, he is now appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court, begging them to ‘shield’ his tax returns being released.  In other words, begging the Court to affirm that he is, in fact, above the law of the land.

Trump’s argument was that U.S. presidents are immune from investigation while in office. A district judge and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled against him, saying that the subpoena was proper and that the president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, must comply.  If there is any integrity left on the Supreme Court, they will rule in favour of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and against Trump’s desire for secrecy and dishonesty.  Don’t hold your breath.

Another seemingly unqualified nominee, Lawrence VanDyke, who Trump nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  His confirmation hearing was held on October 30th, and the Senate is expected to decide on his nomination on November 21st.

VanDyke

Lawrence VanDyke

A couple of things go against Mr. VanDyke … he has taken an anti-LGBT stance in the past, and initially refused to state that he could and would be fair to LGBT people who came before him in the courtroom.  The second thing is that the American Bar Association (ABA) has rated him “not qualified”.  As there is some dispute about the fairness of the ABA rating, and I haven’t as yet had time to do sufficient research, I will withhold my judgment, but just warn that this is one we should keep an eye on.

Since his inauguration, Trump has been stacking the courts with ultra-conservative candidates.  As of November 14, 2019, the United States Senate has confirmed 162 Article III judges nominated by President Trump, including 2 Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, 46 judges for the United States Courts of Appeals, 112 judges for the United States District Courts, and 2 judges for the United States Court of International Trade.  Only a relative handful have been rejected by the Senate, or are on hold pending further consideration.

The U.S. Constitution calls for a separation of powers between the three branches of federal government, it calls for a system of checks and balances to ensure no one branch oversteps its bounds, and it calls for the Judiciary Branch to be non-partisan and independent of the other two branches.  More and more, that independence seems to be slipping away, just as do the separation of powers and the checks and balances.  There are enough boot-lickers in both branches of Congress to ensure that almost no legislation is enacted … and now, it appears there may be enough in the judiciary to ultimately ensure that Trump will, indeed, always be above the law.

Funny, isn’t it, how Mitch McConnell blocked so many of President Obama’s nominees, the most notable being the nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the shoes of the late Antonin Scalia?  Ah well, I guess if you’re rich and powerful, you don’t need to be fair and just, but can make your own rules, eh?

Public Impeachment Inquiry Begins-Will America Care?

Tomorrow begins the public phase of the impeachment process and it will be widely televised. But, will anybody be watching? Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters ponders this, and his words are astute and well worth sharing. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Starting this Wednesday, November 13, 2019, the public portion of the impeachment inquiry of President Trump will begin. Will the American people care?

It’s an open question.

For a while, I wondered whether the major networks were going to cover the hearings. Much to my surprise, they indeed will be covering the event. Scheduled to appear Wednesday are Ambassador William Taylor and Deputy Assistant for European Affairs George Kent. ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS will preempt regularly scheduled programming for live coverage. It was music to my ears.

I knew for sure that the major cable news networks and CSPAN would be covering the hearings, but now that the major networks are in the fray, there are no excuses for the American people. If you want to watch the proceedings, you can do so in multiple ways. If you can’t watch them live, you can undoubtedly tape them, or watch…

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separation of church and state

Separation of church and state … a simple concept, right? The government will not support one religion over any other. And yet, as Larry tells us, down in Florida (and other places as well) they are attempting to do just that, by trying to pass legislation that would make the study of the Christian bible mandatory in schools. What about Jews? Muslims? Atheists? Hindus? This nation is only about 70% Christian, so … why should they dominate? Please take a few minutes to read Larry’s excellent post. Thank you, Larry, for permission to share your work!

QUEST

Living as a Democrat in rural, Republican Florida challenges one’s sense of inclusiveness and social propriety.  A recent controversy in local politics regarding funding our library’s request to make the New York Times available online to library cardholders is a case in point. My friend at BY HOOK OR BY BOOK has shared a great post regarding this issue.  It is indicative of a population which refuses to leave the 1950s.

On Florida’s horizon is a bill filed by a State Senator which would require courses be made available in our public schools at taxpayers’ expense providing studies of the Bible.  The following is the letter which I have submitted to our local newspaper.

State Senator Dennis Baxley, a Republican representing the Ocala region, has filed SB 746 to be considered during the 2020 legislative session. The bill would require courses providing studies of the Bible’s Old and New Testaments…

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Snarky Snippets ‘N Mini Rants

Filosofa may have mostly come out of her funky mood, but now she’s just flat-out mad.  Why?  Most everything, that’s why!  We still have the Oaf in the Oval spouting inanities, the unconscionable members of Congress who are too dedicated to their own self-interest to be concerned about ours, California is being devastated by horrible fires while our government fights for the right to further destroy this planet we call home.  And that’s just for starters …


Profit over the environment — Again!

Donald Trump and his band of merry republicans have been robbing from the poor and giving to the rich for long enough now.  Remember the Keystone Pipeline?  In a nutshell, it has been one of the most controversial infrastructure proposals in the history of this nation, largely over environmental concerns.  The main issues are the risk of oil spills along the pipeline, which would traverse highly sensitive terrain, and 17% higher greenhouse gas emissions from the extraction of oil sands compared to extraction of conventional oil. In 2015, President Obama, caring about the environment, vetoed the bill allowing construction to proceed pending further environmental studies, and it has been a battleground ever since.  Last fall, a federal judge in Montana halted the project, after finding that Trump’s administration had not done the proper environmental reviews.

But, not to be outdone by a mere court order, last March Trump signed one of his infamous ‘executive orders’ allowing the project to move forward, despite protests by environmental groups.  Well, guess what, folks … on Tuesday that pipeline sprung a leak.  It happened in North Dakota where some 383,000 gallons of crude oil is now covering a half-acre of wetlands, killing whatever wildlife called it their home.  Way to go, Trump … another epic failure in your [lack of] environmental policy.

In the words of Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders …

“This is what happens when we have a president who ignores scientists and puts short-term fossil fuel profits ahead of the environment and the future of the planet.”


Your tax dollars … buying religion whether you want it or not

paula-whiteHer name is Paula White and she is a televangelist located in Florida.  Well, she was located in Florida … now she is located in Washington, D.C., working at the White House, her salary paid by our tax dollars!  I am not religious, certainly not a believer in that which Ms. White calls ‘faith’, so why should I have to pay her salary?  Has nobody in this bloody administration read the U.S. Constitution???  You know, that document that effectively calls for a separation between ‘church’ and ‘state’?

According to a “White House official”, White will work in the Office of Public Liaison, which is the division of the White House overseeing outreach to groups and coalitions organizing key parts of Trump’s base. Her role will be to advise the administration’s “Faith and Opportunity Initiative”, which Trump established last year by executive order and which aims to give religious groups more of a voice in government programs devoted to issues like defending religious liberty.  Again … where is the separation between church and state???  Religion is not supposed to affect public policy!  Government programs are supposed to represent and assist ALL people, not only those of a specified religion!  What about Hindus, Jews, Muslims, agnostics, and atheists???  And what about those groups who are determinedly discriminated against by the religion Trump & White are pandering to, such as members of the LGBTQ community?

Political analysts see this move as Trump trying to ensure he keeps his evangelical base happy in the months leading up to the 2020 election.  He has taken repeated steps to ensure they turn out for him again — by issuing executive orders, making cabinet appointments, and nominating federal judges that pass muster with the religious right. On a range of issues from abortion rights to tax exemptions for churches, Trump has tried to grant Christian conservatives their policy wishes whenever legally and politically feasible.

But what about the rest of us?  Evangelicals do not constitute a majority in this nation, and the rest of us pay taxes too!  I want my money back, for I am getting literally not one damn thing in return for it.  Ms. White isn’t too bright, either, for here’s what she says of Trump …

“He’s in total control. He’s not at all impulsive — he’s so far ahead of everyone, very much a strategic thinker.”

What a crock of you-know-what!


Reverse Robin Hood … again!

Remember December 2017 and the tax cuts that benefited the wealthy and corporations?  As a result, companies like Exxon-Mobil, Amazon and others pay less taxes than you do.  As a result, our national debt is now a staggering $22.9 trillion, and the national deficit was, as of September 30th, just shy of $1 trillion.  Way to go, Trump …

Well, it doesn’t end there.  For you see, the tax cuts were structured in such a way as to help only the wealthiest in the land, but he sold the public such a snowjob that his base genuinely believed that he was doing it to help them.  And they still largely believe it, even though they have hard proof in front of them that they did not, in fact, benefit.  So, since that worked so well, and since Trump is heading into next year’s election with several strikes against him, he has decided to re-play December 2017 with yet another round of tax cuts for the wealthy sometime ahead of the election.

Now, here’s the thing … even if the tax cuts were to help the lower-and-middle income groups, it is a bad … really, really bad idea.  We owe money … trillions and trillions of dollars … more money than you and I could even imagine.  And, we are spending more than we are taking in.  WHO in their right mind thinks the best idea is to cut our revenue???  Au contraire, we need to be raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy, not cutting them for anybody.  If you or I managed our budgets and debt as poorly as Trump is managing this country’s, we would be in debtor’s prison!  It is poor stewardship, it is … it is stupid!  But then, look who we’re talking about.


And then there’s …stage-hook

… wait … I’m not dooooonnnnne

First Amendment Run Amok

Rick Wiles is an American non-denominational senior pastor at Flowing Streams Church in Vero Beach, FL, radio host and pundit. He is the founder of TruNews, a website known for promoting racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Mr. Wiles came onto my radar yesterday when I saw this …Wiles-tweetHe went on to say …

“If they take him [Trump] out, there’s gonna be violence in America. That’s all there is to it. However he leaves, there’s gonna be violence in America. I believe there are people in this country, veterans, there are cowboys, mountain men, I mean guys that know how to fight, and they’re going to make a decision that people who did this to Donald Trump are not gonna get away with it. And they’re gonna hunt them down. The Trump supporters are going to hunt them down. It’s going to happen, and this country is going to be plunged into darkness and they brought it upon themselves because they won’t back off.”

Yes, before you beat me to the punch, I know this is just ignorance and hatred talking, I know that Mr. Wiles is but a gnat on the posterior of humanity.  But … I propose that his speech is classified as hate speech and as incitement to violence and must be stopped.

I’ve said this at least a thousand times before on this blog … ‘Rights’ come with responsibilities.  Rights are not unconditional.  Those who cannot use their rights judiciously, who continually abuse them, who cause harm to others by invoking their own rights, must lose those rights.  I’ve spouted endlessly about the Second Amendment, how it does not give the right to unfettered and unconditional gun ownership, nor the right to own an unlimited number of guns with the capability of killing hundreds within minutes.  I don’t think the gun advocates or NRA supporters have heard me, but … know that someday, somehow, somebody will figure out how to shut the gun lobby down and inject common sense into the interpretation of the amendment.

The First Amendment is no different.  Contrary to popular belief, it does not give people the unlimited right to say whatever pops into their mind, in any venue, and at any time.  Mr. Wiles is a public figure, and as such, he has even more responsibility than the rest of us.  He has a history of racism and anti-Semitism.  He frequently referred to President Obama as a “demon from hell”.  He has asserted that the effects of Hurricane Harvey on the city of Houston, Texas resulted from Houston’s LGBT community; has described Judaism and Islam as “the Antichrist”; has called Central American immigrants a “‘brown invasion'” being used by God to punish American whites because of abortion; has claimed that the Las Vegas massacre was conducted by government death squads; has asserted that Antonin Scalia was murdered; and, in July 2018, predicted an imminent coup that would result in the nationally televised decapitation of the Trump family on the White House lawn.

There are those who would say all of the above fall under the protections of the First Amendment right to free speech.  I disagree.  Remember when Alex Jones claimed that the Sandy Hook school shooting was all a hoax and that the grieving parents were paid actors?  Some parents are still being threatened by the fools who bought into his theory. Remember when the same Alex Jones bought into the theory that Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were dealing in human trafficking and child sex slavery in the basement of a local pizzeria?  Yes, folks, words have consequences.

Do you seriously believe that the framers of the Constitution would endorse or support a man calling for the death of members of a political party solely because that party followed the mandates of the Constitution?

I think we have long passed the point where we need to codify the limitations on certain ‘rights’, starting with both the First and Second Amendments.  For far too long, it has been open season … people claiming that they have a right to say whatever they wish, whenever and wherever, and damn the consequences.  Mr. Wiles presents a clear and present danger to all of us who do not sing the praises of the Oaf in the Oval, and this is not … I repeat … THIS IS NOT the idea upon which this nation was founded.  The right to free speech was intended to provide people the ability to engage in political discourse, to state opposing viewpoints without fear of repercussions.  It was never ever intended to be a tool given to those who would incite violence for any reason.  This nation was once a hell of a lot better than it is today.  Think about it.

WTF???

My jaw dropped and for a moment I was unable to breathe this morning when the first headline of the day read …

Trump compares impeachment probe to ‘lynching’

This is a new low, even for the ‘man’ who has re-defined such words as ‘crass’, ‘vulgar’, ‘immoral’, and more.  This is … beyond anything that can be defined by words.  And this, folks, is the so-called “president” of the United States.  Here’s what he said … er, tweeted  …

“So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching. But we will WIN!”

Even despots who rule third-world countries with an iron hand and where corruption is rampant have more sense than to make such an utterly stupid and offensive remark!  These are the words of a person who is cruel and ignorant, not the words of a person who is ultimately responsible for the lives of 330 million people.

Never mind that the impeachment process is only at the inquiry stage, that Nancy Pelosi and the committees investigating are, wisely, doing everything by the book, and that Trump will get his “due process” and “legal rights” when the Senate holds his trial, as is set forth by the U.S. Constitution.  The bigger issue, besides his whining and lying, is his use of the word ‘lynching’ to describe the investigations.  Nobody has placed a noose around his neck, and in fact, he is more than welcome to simply pack his bags and GO!

It was bad enough when he referred to the impeachment investigations as a “witch hunt”, his favourite word for the Mueller investigation.  It was even worse when he referred to it as a “coup”, which would indicate that he was being illegally unseated by a violent group of people physically forcing him to leave.  But lynching.  That one … takes the cake.  It is a slap in the face to every single person in this nation, whether they realize it or not.  No, Mister Trump, nobody has tied a rope around your neck. Nobody has set out to kill you because of your skin colour.  You are being investigated because it appears quite likely that you have broken the law, failed to uphold the Constitution you took an oath to defend, and abused the power of your office.

Joe Walsh, former GOP congressman who is now running against Trump in the republican primary said it best …

“Again, I apologize. I apologize for voting for Trump in 2016. I apologize for the role I played in helping to put this horrible human being in the White House.”

Ol’ Lindsey Graham, however, decided it was not only okay for Trump to have said what he said, but Lindsey reinforced it …

“So yeah, this is a lynching in every sense. This is un-American. I’ve never seen a situation in my lifetime as a lawyer where somebody’s accused of major misconduct who cannot confront the accuser, call witnesses on their behalf and have the discussion in the light of day so the public can judge.”

Just what the Sam Hell is “un-American” about it, Mr. Graham?  Read your damn Constitution … it’s right there in black and white!  As to “confronting the accuser” and “calling witnesses”, as a lawyer you must surely realize that comes later in the process.  Where did you get your license to practice law … from a box of Cracker Jacks? And, for you to defend the jackal in the Oval Office … I hope the people of South Carolina finally decide they’ve had enough of you!  I have certainly had enough of you and your bosom buddy McConnell!  It should be noted that Graham was an impeachment manager in the Senate trial of Bill Clinton two decades ago … methinks Graham has been in the Senate far too long!

Lynchings are a part of the darkest, ugliest time in U.S. history.  4,743 people were lynched between 1882 and 1968 in the United States, including 3,446 African Americans and 1,297 whites. More than 73 percent of lynchings in the post-Civil War period occurred in the Southern states, including 164 in Lindsey Graham’s own state.  To use the term to describe a fully legal and Constitutionally mandated process is far beneath the office of president.

It is past time to put an end to this fiasco.  There are serious issues in our nation that need to be addressed, yet not one damn thing is being done because the government has been dragged down by a monster … yes, a monster … in the Oval Office who is ignorant, who is self-serving, and who has no intention of serving this nation or doing the right thing for its people.  It is past time to rid ourselves of this disease.  Any republican who is still defending the indefensible deserves to be sent back home under a cloak of shame, for they have sold their souls upriver.

Why Impeachment? Because …

Ron-Chernow.pngRon Chernow is a presidential historian and biographer who has written excellent biographies of Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, and Ulysses S. Grant.  On Friday, Chernow wrote a piece for The Washington Post that gives some background and insight into the thought process behind the inclusion of impeachment in the U.S. Constitution.  I think you will be stunned by the prescience with which Alexander Hamilton predicted that Donald Trump would one day arrive on the scene.


Hamilton pushed for impeachment powers. Trump is what he had in mind.

He wanted a strong president — and a way to get rid of the demagogic ones.

By Ron Chernow

OCTOBER 18, 2019

Hamilton.jpgPresident Trump has described the impeachment proceedings as a “coup,” and his White House counsel has termed them “unconstitutional.” This would come as a surprise to Alexander Hamilton, who wrote not only the 11 essays in “The Federalist” outlining and defending the powers of the presidency, but also the two essays devoted to impeachment.

There seems little doubt, given his writings on the presidency, that Hamilton would have been aghast at Trump’s behavior and appalled by his invitation to foreign actors to meddle in our elections. As a result, he would most certainly have endorsed the current impeachment inquiry. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Trump embodies Hamilton’s worst fears about the kind of person who might someday head the government.

Among our founders, Hamilton’s views count heavily because he was the foremost proponent of a robust presidency, yet he also harbored an abiding fear that a brazen demagogue could seize the office. That worry helps to explain why he analyzed impeachment in such detail: He viewed it as a crucial instrument to curb possible abuses arising from the enlarged powers he otherwise championed.

Unlike Thomas Jefferson, with his sunny faith in the common sense of the people, Hamilton emphasized their “turbulent and changing” nature and worried about a “restless” and “daring usurper” who would excite the “jealousies and apprehensions” of his followers. He thought the country should be governed by wise and illustrious figures who would counter the fickle views of the electorate with reasoned judgments. He hoped that members of the electoral college, then expected to exercise independent judgment, would select “characters preeminent for ability and virtue.”

From the outset, Hamilton feared an unholy trinity of traits in a future president — ambition, avarice and vanity. “When avarice takes the lead in a State, it is commonly the forerunner of its fall,” he wrote as early as the Revolutionary War. He dreaded most the advent of a populist demagogue who would profess friendship for the people and pander to their prejudices while secretly betraying them. Such a false prophet would foment political frenzy and try to feed off the confusion.

So haunted was Hamilton by this specter that he conjured it up in “The Federalist” No. 1, warning that “a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that . . . of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.”

Throughout history, despots have tended to be silent, crafty and secretive. Hamilton was more concerned with noisy, flamboyant figures, who would throw dust in voters’ eyes and veil their sinister designs behind it. These connoisseurs of chaos would employ a constant barrage of verbiage to cloud issues and blur moral lines. Such hobgoblins of Hamilton’s imagination bear an eerie resemblance to the current occupant of the White House, with his tweets, double talk and inflammatory rhetoric at rallies.

While under siege from opponents as treasury secretary, Hamilton sketched out the type of charlatan who would most threaten the republic: “When a man unprincipled in private life[,] desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper . . . despotic in his ordinary demeanour — known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty — when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity — to join in the cry of danger to liberty — to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion — to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day — It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.’ ” Given the way Trump has broadcast suspicions about the CIA, the FBI, the diplomatic corps, senior civil servants and the “deep state,” Hamilton’s warning about those who would seek to discredit the government as prelude to a possible autocracy seems prophetic.

At the time of the Constitutional Convention, foreign powers, notably Britain and Spain, still hovered on America’s borders, generating fear of foreign interventions in our elections. Hamilton supported the electoral college as a way to forestall these nations from seeking “to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union?” He prophesied that competing countries would try to clip the wings by which America “might soar to a dangerous greatness.” That Trump was so cavalier about Russian meddling in the 2016 election and then invited Ukraine to furnish defamatory material about his political rival Joe Biden would have shocked Hamilton and the other founders, all of whom were wary of “the insidious wiles of foreign influence,” as George Washington phrased it in his farewell address.

In defending impeachment in two “Federalist” essays, one might have expected Hamilton to engage in close textual analysis, parsing the exact meaning of “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Instead he couched his defense in broad political language, stating that impeachment should “proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.” In short, the president didn’t need to commit a crime per se. “If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers,” the people must “take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.” Trump’s telephone call with the Ukrainian president would seem to suggest a clear abuse of power and possibly a campaign finance violation, although we will need a fair and impartial inquiry to confirm this. As Hamilton wrote, “Caution and investigation are a necessary armor against error and imposition.”

Knowing that impeachment would be divisive, arousing violent party agitation, Hamilton never wanted it used lightly or capriciously, but neither did he want it relegated to mere window-dressing. It was a tool intended for use as conditions warranted. “If there be no penalty annexed to disobedience, the resolutions or commands which pretend to be laws will, in fact, amount to nothing more than advice or recommendation,” he wrote. For Hamilton, each branch of government required a mechanism to check encroachment by the others. He discerned a perfect symmetry between the president’s veto over legislation, constraining congressional overreach, and presidential impeachment, curbing executive excess. In his notes for the New York state convention to ratify the Constitution, he jotted down: “Legislative in the Congress, yet checked by negative of the Executive. Executive in the President, yet checked by impeachment of Congress.”

Throughout his “Federalist” essays, Hamilton foresaw impeachment as a possible two-step process and noted multiple times that after removal from office, an impeached president would “be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law.” He was adamant that the Senate should hold a trial, with the chief justice presiding, and pointed out that other Supreme Court justices should be excluded in case the ousted president then became a defendant for his misdeeds in the regular court system.

Our constitutional system, with its separation of powers, is an exquisitely calibrated mechanism. James Madison, one of Hamilton’s “Federalist” co-authors, noted that no single branch of government “can pretend to an exclusive or superior right of settling the boundaries between their respective powers.” But that is exactly what the president is doing by trying to shut down Congress’s powers of executive oversight.

In the last analysis, democracy isn’t just a set of institutions or shared principles, but a culture of mutual respect and civility. People must be willing to play by the rules or the best-crafted system becomes null and void, a travesty of its former self. We are now seeing on a daily basis presidential behavior that would have been unimaginable during more than two centuries of the American experiment. Not only is Trump himself on trial, but he is also testing our constitutional system to the breaking point. In his worst imaginings, however, Hamilton anticipated — at least in its general outline — the chaos and demagoguery now on display in Washington. He also helped design and defend the remedy: impeachment.

Voices From Under The Hats …

I would like to make a disclaimer before I proceed:  I am not name-calling, and I am not generalizing in what I am about to say.  I do not include all republicans, nor even all Trump supporters, and I am stating a fact, not calling anybody names with the intention of being derogatory.  Please note that the word ignorance is defined simply as “lack of knowledge or information”.  

We keep reassuring ourselves that the Trump supporters are finally waking up, finally beginning to see the light of day, to see that the person they’ve been slavishly supporting is a narcissistic crook.  I have evidence to the contrary.

Trump, under a dark cloud of likely impeachment, weathering a number of scandals of his own making, was still welcomed with what can only be called mass ignorance when he held a rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota last week.  Listen to what one attendee said when asked his thoughts about the impeachment inquiry …

“They’re just making stuff up. He’s starting to fight back.”

Say WHAT???

Nobody is making anything up … both Trump and his Chief of Staff have admitted that he tried to coerce a foreign power to interfere in our upcoming election, to undermine the very principles that make this a free nation, a republic!  Facts, folks … cold, hard facts.  But, though Trump is far from the brightest bulb in the pack, he does know how to rile the masses, how to play to the audience …Maga-1

“They want to erase your vote like it never existed. They want to erase your voice and they want to erase your future. But they will fail because in America, the people rule again.”

Ha ha ha ha ha … the people rule!  What a crock!  Donald Trump rules by bullying and threatening.  Period.  The people are the last thing he cares about, but they, in all their ignorance that they wear like a badge of honour, cannot (or will not) see it.  The more of these comments I read, the snarkier I became.

Another comment from a member of the maga-hat-wearing crowd …

maga-hat-2“I think it’s a witch hunt. I don’t think Donald Trump has done any impeachable offence that’s a high crime or misdemeanour. There was nothing wrong with their conversation. It seems to me they’re turning a Biden scandal into a Trump scandal. I think the phone call has been taken out of context. They’re making it sound like he was trying to take down a political rival. If Biden was using his position to further his son’s career, then that in itself is corrupt.”

Now, here is my evidence, the facts that back up my claim that the people who attend these rallies and cheer ‘til they lose their voice are ignorant.  The thing that matters here is that Trump attempted to coerce a foreign power to interfere in the election.  Period.  The fact is that Joe Biden has already been proven innocent of any wrongdoing, but that is not the point.  The point is that Donald Trump, acting as president of this nation, broke the law.  Broke. The. Law.

And yet another …

maga-hat-3

Yes, Pleeeeeease!

“It’s a joke. It really is. It’s not an official inquiry. It’s Pelosi, having her own private poll. She’s only asking the people she wants to ask. They produced the transcript. That’s the whole story. Trump never said he was going to withhold money. They’ve tried to impeach Trump since before he was in office. It’s not really the Democratic Party – it’s just anti-Republican. If they want an official investigation, they should just go to the courts and do it.”

Obviously, this person is beyond clueless.  Still more …

“We wanted to do our little bit. We wanted to show our support for the president we love and support our free country. We know what they’re investigating. But we know what we know. I’ve read the transcript and I didn’t find anything illegal in it.”

And are you, madam, a lawyer or Constitutional Law scholar???

maga-hat-1“I don’t think he’s done anything wrong. He’s nothing to hide. If there’s corruption, we need to know about it. It’s all a big scam and the Bidens are trying to cover their tracks.”

“All these channels except Fox – it’s the only one that speaks the truth – they’re trying to come up with whistleblowers that don’t exist. They try to change people’s minds with misinformation.”

“As a president, he’s supposed to be looking for corruption. He didn’t do a quid pro quo. He didn’t say ‘I’m going to withdraw funds’. He didn’t withhold anything at all.”

Maga-2Do you even know the meaning of “quid pro quo”?  We’re not talking about “withdrawing funds”, lady!

“I don’t know, like sneaking off with a billion dollars in cash, that might be something. It’s not even a crime, what Trump did. I wish they would take it to a vote. Then both sides would have full disclosure. But Democrats don’t want that to happen.”

Trust me, a vote will be taken, and Trump will be impeached.  Wait for it, madam.

maga-hat-4“I’ve been on the Trump express ever since he got going. If you read the transcript, which I have done, there’s nothing there which was bad. If Democrats want to impeach him, that’s their loss. What did he do that broke the law? The Democrats can’t answer that.  If Obama had that same conversation would any of this be coming up? The answer is 100% no. That’s all it is. They’re out to get him. The Russian election thing failed on them massively. And when this one fails they’ll move into the next thing. They’re going to have four more years trying to get rid of him.”

Yo, buddy!  You can read???  Wow, I’m impressed.  But let me set you straight here … if Obama had done any one, single thing that Trump has done, he would have been impeached, tried, convicted and removed from office within a week.  Can you spell r-a-c-i-s-t?

And lastly, this …

“If people were open minded about what he’s doing, and put aside what they think of him anyway, I think they’d find his views are a lot closer to theirs than they think.”

No, lady, I can guarantee you that there is not one single thing I would agree with him on.

So, there you have it folks … the voice of the 40%.  Differences in political opinion are one thing.  I can deal with someone having a different ideology than I have, being more or less liberal, etc., but I have no idea how to have a sensible discussion with those who are ignorant, and I think that all of the above comments bespeak of ignorance.  Lack of knowledge, and a disinterest in trying to learn about things they don’t understand.  One part of me wants to feel sorry for them, but … these are the very people who got us into this mess we’re in, the very ones that have elected and supported a demagogue who is shredding our Constitution.  Sorry, but I find I cannot dredge up a shred of empathy for them.