Pelosi Rules

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives … some love her, some hate her, but love or hate her, she knows her job and does it like a pro! Our friend Jeff has summarized her most recent accomplishment … impeaching the most corrupt president in history! Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

And Trump can’t stand it

A few weeks ago, I wrote about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s all-in decision to bring articles of impeachment against President Trump. She spoke loud and clear then, and she spoke loud and clear last night as the House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against the president. Speaker Pelosi is, without a doubt, the most powerful woman in the United States of America. And it drives Donald Trump crazy.

The way she’s handled the whole process, from beginning to end, should be a lesson for all future Speakers. In my lifetime, I don’t know that there’s ever been a Speaker with her skills. Some describe her as being like a conductor of a symphony. Considering the whole process took less than three months, the speed and precision of her rule certainly deserves high praise for such a virtuoso performance.

But it’s not just the…

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Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

“I have no intention of doing the job for which I am being paid.  I have no intention of being honest.  I will shred my oath, even as I utter the words.  I am pond scum, but … I am in Congress and you aren’t … nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.”

Yep, folks, these are the words, almost verbatim, of two of our esteemed senators, Mitchell McConnell, Senator from Kentucky since 1985 (34 years) and Lindsey Graham, a Senator from South Carolina since 2003 (16 years) and before that, a Representative in the House from 1995 ‘til 2003.  They have plainly stated that they do not care one whit about the ‘will of the people’, about the best interest of the nation, nor about their oaths of office.  Both have made it abundantly clear that they will do everything in their power to ensure that Donald Trump is not convicted and thus not removed from the office he so wrongly holds.

Lindsey-Graham-2Lindsey Graham:  “I am clearly made up my mind. I’m not trying to hide the fact that I have disdain for the accusations in the process. I think what’s best for the country is to get this thing over with. This thing will come to the Senate, and it will die quickly, and I will do everything I can to make it die quickly. I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.”

Mitch-McConnellMitch McConnell: “Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with White House counsel. There’ll be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this. Exactly how we go forward, I’m going to coordinate with the president’s lawyers. The case is so darn weak coming over from the House. We all know how it’s going to end. There is no chance the president is going to be removed from office. My hope is that there won’t be a Republican who votes for either of these articles of impeachment.”

If you aren’t growling yet, you should be.  These are two elected officials, our employees, saying in a nutshell that they are going to do whatever Donald Trump wants, regardless of what is right and just.  Note to the good people in Kentucky and South Carolina … if you don’t get rid of these two jackals next year, then you deserve whatever you get!

Prior to an impeachment trial, according to Article I, section 3, clause 6 of the Constitution, the senators serving as a jury “shall be on Oath or Affirmation.”

“I solemnly swear (or affirm) that in all things appertaining to the trial of ____, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help me God.”

IMPARTIAL justice.  Given what Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and others have said, it seems to me that they have broken their oath before even taking it!  It seems to me they should be disqualified to even attend the trial, let alone conduct it and then vote.  It seems they have absolutely zero intention of taking this process, this legal process defined by the U.S. Constitution, seriously, but rather plan to turn it into a circus!

It is likely that tomorrow, Donald F. Trump will become the third president in this nation’s 232-year history to be impeached.  This is a serious stain on his reputation that, regardless of what the Senate does or doesn’t do, will remain the most notable part of his legacy.  And yet, in the past 48 hours, Trump’s approval rating has jumped nearly 2% to 43.2%, the highest it has been since March 2017.  WTF???  Are the republicans actually proud of what this asshole has done?

Maybe the House should not send the impeachment to the Senate for a few more months, since the Bobbsey twins, Mitchie and Lindsey, are so eager to get it over with.  Let them cool their jets and cry in their beer.

Now, here’s the thing, folks.  We all either work for a living, else did until we retired.  We pay taxes, we are good citizens, we obey the law (mostly), and every November we do our civic duty by going and voting.  We vote for the people we believe share our values and will work for the best interest of this nation and all of its people.  We have been cheated.  We are still paying our dues, but they are going to support these corrupt members of Congress who could care less about ethics, who don’t give a royal damn about the people of this country, who have no values. Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham are poster boys for why we need term limits.

We the People of the United States of America have been robbed.  We have zero representation in our federal government, yet we are paying their salaries and paying for them to jet set all about the globe … on our dime.  Every time I hear somebody speak of “democracy” in the same sentence with the U.S., I scoff, for there is not so much as a shred of democratic principle left in our government if Donald Trump is not to be held accountable and our duly elected members of Congress think it’s funny.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m sick and tired of the corruption and blatant disregard for the law in Washington, and I’m sick and damn tired of the people who still sing the praises of Trump & Co.  I’m sick and tired of being expected to obey the law and be held accountable for my actions, while our elected officials thumb their noses at us and treat us all as second-class citizens.

You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do

Among my favourite columnists is Eugene Robinson, writing for The Washington Post.  He is a seasoned journalist with over 30 years at The Post, and his opinions are most always thoughtful and well-reasoned.  His column of last Thursday is no exception and summarizes nicely the reason that the impeachment cannot be allowed to fail.  As of this writing, 158 House republicans have said they plan to vote against impeachment, and the 39 who have not yet opined are likely to vote against.  Among democrats in the House, 165 have affirmed that they will vote for impeachment, 19 are sitting on the fence, and 48 have yet to say.  Oh, and let us not forget Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey who has noted that he will be voting against impeaching Trump.  So, the full House vote is as yet uncertain, but I believe that there will be a majority and that Trump will be impeached, despite objections and moronic outcries by the republicans in Congress.  Anyway, I digress … here is what Mr. Robinson has to say on the subject …

The full House has no choice but to impeach Trump

Eugene-RobinsonEugene Robinson

Columnist

Dec. 12, 2019 at 7:37 p.m. EST

You gotta do what you gotta do. The choice that faced the House Judiciary Committee throughout Thursday’s endless debate was a simple one: Either we believe in democracy and the rule of law, or we don’t.

The president’s defenders are correct when they say “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” are not statutory crimes. They are, in fact, worse. The stripped-down impeachment articles against President Trump go to the heart of his blatant misconduct, which poses a direct challenge to the Constitution. I know that sounds grandiose to describe the offenses of such a small man as Trump. But it is true.

One could make the case that many of our presidents have abused their power in one way or another. I believe the framers of the Constitution would be appalled, for example, that since World War II, we have sent so many troops to fight and die in so many conflicts without a formal declaration of war by Congress. I believe they would be outraged that presidents can make so much law, unilaterally, by calling it regulation. But then again, maybe not. Perhaps Madison and Jefferson would approve of the way the presidency has evolved. We really have no way of knowing.

We do know, however, that the founders worried a president might corruptly misuse the powers of his office to keep himself in office. That is a principal reason the impeachment clause was written. And it is precisely what Trump tried to do.

Not just in one phone call but over a period of months, Trump tried to coerce a foreign government into fabricating a scandal that would tarnish former vice president Joe Biden, the potential rival who most threatened Trump’s reelection. Trump conditioned official acts — the release of nearly $400 million in military aid, along with a desperately sought White House meeting — on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s compliance with his demands.

Incredibly, this was after the conclusion of a two-year investigation into whether Trump and his campaign had solicited the help of another foreign government, that of Russia, to win the 2016 election. The probe by former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III proved that Trump welcomed and encouraged Russian aid but not that he or his campaign participated in a conspiracy. Mueller did turn up reams of evidence, however, that Trump had obstructed justice in trying to shut the investigation down.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) adamantly refused to open an impeachment inquiry after the Mueller probe. “He’s just not worth it,” she said, meaning that holding Trump accountable for the crimes Mueller uncovered was not worth the trauma that impeachment would inevitably put the country through.

When Trump’s Ukraine bribery scheme came to light, however, the opening of an impeachment process went instantly from impossible to inevitable. It was indeed bribery, by the way, both as I believe the founders understood the crime and as the current federal bribery statute defines it. But Pelosi and the House impeachment managers decided to charge Trump instead with abuse of power, because that is a more grievous injury to the Constitution. Trump was elected to be a public servant, and he is acting like an autocrat.

Trump and his defenders have made a lot of noise but have not even produced quasi-plausible Trumpian “alternative facts” to dispute the real ones. Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said we should all just “get over it.” Unfortunately for Trump, the Constitution does not allow that option.

The Constitution gives the House the “sole” power of impeachment. Yet Trump, unlike prior presidents who faced impeachment inquiries, has brazenly ordered the White House and the rest of the executive branch to refuse to provide documents and witnesses the House has demanded. Hence the charge of obstruction of Congress, which is another grave offense.

The separation-of-powers framework ensures that the three equal branches of our government will be engaged in a permanent struggle, preventing any one from obtaining primacy. But it does not allow Trump to avoid impeachment and removal from office simply by refusing to give the House access to the information it needs to decide whether to impeach. Any future president who committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” would surely do the same.

The Senate may fail to take the charges seriously, but House members will have done their duty. It is a constitutional imperative that Trump go down in history as one of just three presidents to be impeached.

The Measure Of A Man …

In my 68 years, presidents have come, and presidents have gone.  Some have been better than others in one area or another.  None have been perfect … nor will any ever be, for it is a job in which decisions must be made without having perfect information, leading a nation of people with differing opinions in many areas.  Harry S. Truman was president when I was born, and there have been eleven since, not counting the current office-holder, whom I refuse to refer to by that title.

But never, since the founding of this nation, has there been such a corrupt, power-hungry president than we have today.  Making it worse, however, is that in the second line of defense, the U.S. Congress, we also have far too many corrupt senators and representatives. When I say ‘corrupt’, in this case, I mean selfish, greedy, putting their own best interests ahead of those of the nation and the 330 million people living within its borders.

Donald Trump is facing impeachment in the House of Representatives.  I won’t argue that there could have been many more articles of impeachment than the two that have been issued, for that was a strategic decision and I can both understand the reasoning behind it, and on the flip side, rue an opportunity missed.  A few short days ago, I would have said that every single democrat in the House of Representatives would vote their conscience and it was a sure bet that Trump would be impeached.  Today, it is somewhat less certain.

Mind you, I am still 90% certain that Trump will be impeached in the House, but it seems that some of the democrats in the House are putting their own political future ahead of what is right and just, namely impeaching a corrupt president in order to protect the democratic principles outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

It seems that democrats who represent districts that Trump won in 2016, fear losing their seat in next year’s election if they vote to impeach.  Some have said they will vote for only one of the two articles of impeachment, in an attempt to show their constituents that they are operating independently of the party.  Others are considering voting against both articles.

Yes, it is almost a certainty that some democrats in the House will lose their bids for re-election next year as a result of the impeachment.  But, there is a greater purpose here that must be considered.  If Donald Trump is not held accountable for his actions, his horrific behaviour toward the people of this nation, of the entire world, will continue.  If his nearly unlimited power is not checked, then not only the United States, but every nation on this planet will become a little less safe.  But there is still yet an even wider consequence.

If Donald Trump is not impeached for his actions, then what is to stop the next president, and the one after, and the one after that, from acting out of self-interest to the detriment of the nation?  We are at a crossroads in this nation where we must decide whether we wish to continue as a democratic republic, even with all its inherent flaws, or if we are willing to hand over the reins to corrupt politicians who will, no doubt, act as autocrats.

It is up to us to ask our elected officials if their intent is to make this a better nation, a team player in the bigger world, or if it is to further their own self-interests.  I have asked this of my representative, Warren Davidson, and his response was, in essence, that he will follow those things that will secure his own wealth.  I have asked it of others in the republican party, who have assumed me to be a rather stupid being, hence they attempted to convince me that their own net worth and that of the nation are one and the same.  Pity those who mistake me for an idiot only because I have wrinkles and grey hair.

Martin Luther King once said …

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

This is where this nation stands, my friends. This is the test our elected officials in Congress must either pass or fail.  The ‘man’ who sits in the Oval Office has already failed the test … what will the rest do?  What will your senator or representative do?  Ask them!  Let them know your opinion!  Challenge them!  They are, after all, our employees, not Donald Trump’s!  Hold. Them. Accountable.  We may not get another chance, my friends.

Nancy Pelosi Spoke Today-Loud and Clear

Our friend Jeff at On the Fence Voters has done it again! I wish I had his way with words. This post is an excellent summation of the events yesterday in the House of Representatives, and he reminds us why the impeachment process is not only justified, but essential to the principles of the Constitution. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Nancy Pelosi spoke today, and Donald Trump’s day of reckoning fast approaches. For only the fourth time in the history of this republic, articles of impeachment were submitted against a sitting president of the United States of America. Two articles, one for abuse of power, the other for obstruction of Congress, were released by the House Judiciary Committee. You can read them here.

In all, the document consists of only eight pages, a nod towards an increasing attention-averse population. The entire inquiry proceeded in this manner. Just short of 80 days, we’ve seen the committee do its work in swift and sweeping fashion. The Republican Party is left with no other option than to whine and complain to whoever is within shouting distance. President Trump is about to be impeached. As Trump’s Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said in his press conference weeks back, “Get over it!”

There’s an…

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House Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment

Today marks the next stage in the Trump impeachment process. Fellow-blogger Brosephus has some thoughts on the process thus far, the evidence, and the fiasco that is certain to ensue as the republicans continue to attempt to defend the indefensible. He also provides a link to the live coverage and other valuable information. Thank you, Brosephus, for all this valuable information!

The Mind of Brosephus

Today marks the first day of impeachment hearings being held by the House Judiciary Committee.  This committee would be the one responsible for drafting any articles of impeachment that would ultimately be voted on by the entire House of Representatives.  Since impeachment is typically a once in a lifetime event, today’s hearing is basically going to be a history lesson on impeachment.  There will be historians and scholars who will testify about the aspects of impeachment.  It will likely be a drab hearing, but I still expect Republicans to do what they do best, which is try to muddy the waters while defending Trump.

As I did for the Intelligence Committee, I’m providing a live-stream of the hearings for those who can’t access it otherwise.  This is a historical event regardless of where your politics reside.  I agree with Democratic members of Congress that these allegations need to be investigated. …

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Impeachment Thoughts

To date, I have not weighed in on the impeachment hearings, except for a brief mention here and there.  That does not mean that I haven’t been paying attention, or that I haven’t got thoughts about it all, but only that I wanted to let things play out for a bit before offering my observations.

There has never been a doubt in my mind that Trump has committed any number of impeachable, even criminal actions, despite the fact that Attorney General William Barr would say that, as president, Trump is above all law.  The United States Constitution says otherwise.  My own opinion was that the impeachment process should have had its formal beginning when Robert Mueller’s final report was issued, for that report contained sufficient evidence that Trump had acted from self-interest in attempting to obstruct justice and invite foreign influence into the U.S. election process.  Nancy Pelosi, however, thought it best to wait, and at this point, I would agree that she was probably right to do so.

Trump’s attempt at extortion, his blatant attempt to coerce the newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to announce a sham investigation into the man Trump believed would be his main competition in next year’s election, carries more weight than the ‘obstruction of justice’ charges would have.  That said …

I think too much emphasis is being placed on the “quid pro quo” … something for something … than is necessary, and I find it distracting.  Whether one can put one’s finger directly on the ‘quid’ and the ‘quo’ is irrelevant.  For the record, the ‘quid pro quo’ has, in fact, been proven by multiple witnesses, but again, that isn’t the point.  The point is that Trump broke the law.  Trump acted dishonestly and attempted, as he did in 2016, to manipulate an election.  Trump sullied the office he holds, and it will be many years, likely decades, before trust in that office will be restored.

Over the course of the past few weeks, numerous witnesses have provided corroborating evidence that Trump acted improperly and against the Constitution.  It becomes obvious that Trump is guilty and that his cohorts are fully aware of the level of his guilt by the fact that there are so many attempts to misdirect or even halt the impeachment proceedings.  They are tripping over each other trying to provide lame excuses or justifications for what he did, mostly pointing their fingers at “democrats” in general with some unclear intent.  An innocent man, or even one who felt his misdeeds were justifiable, would welcome the opportunity to air the facts, to present his own side of the story, so to speak.

Yesterday, however, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent a five-page letter to Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee saying that … well here, read the first two sentences for yourself …

I write in response to your letter of November 26, 2019, to President Trump regarding the purported “impeachment inquiry” currently being conducted by Democrats in the House of Representatives (“House”). As you know, this baseless and highly partisan inquiry violates all past historical precedent, basic due process rights, and fundamental fairness.

Leave it to a lawyer to take five pages to say what could have been said in a single sentence.  Notice his intentional scorn for the proceedings by placing quotation marks around “impeachment inquiry”.  And his reference to the process as being “baseless and highly partisan”, while there are nearly as many republicans on the committee as there are democrats.  And his claim that it violates historical precedent … well, all he has to do is remember Nixon, remember Clinton, and there is the precedent.

The letter speaks volumes, though not quite the volumes the letter-writer intended.  What this letter says to me is that there is no valid defense on behalf of Trump, and so the strategy of Trump et al is to merely distract from the process by denying the validity of it.  Trump & Co have done everything in their power short of murder to keep key witnesses from honouring the congressional subpoenas and testifying.  The few who have come forth voluntarily and in spite of Trump are to be applauded for their courage.

An honest man would not go to so much trouble, engage in all the drama and theatrics, to attempt to halt a proceeding that is supported by the U.S. Constitution itself, the very document Trump has taken an oath to uphold.  Neither Richard Nixon nor Bill Clinton went to such lengths, and in fact both cooperated with the impeachment process to a greater or lesser degree.

For more than a month, Trump has disparaged the impeachment process claiming he was not given an opportunity to tell his side, to defend himself.  He was given the opportunity to do so, to have his attorneys present if he could not be there himself, and instead he once again deflected.  It is the opinion of this writer that he has no legal leg to stand on, that both he and his team of lawyers know it, and that if for any reason he is not impeached it will be a gross miscarriage of justice and will end any remaining perception of democratic principles.  His lawyers, as well as Attorney General William Barr, claim that he cannot be investigated or charged with a crime while in office.  The Constitution, however, disagrees.

An honest man, one with nothing to hide, wouldn’t work so hard at hiding so many things.

Giving Thanks

Our friend Jeff takes this opportunity to tell us a little bit about how & why he and Greg started On the Fence Voters, and what direction they plan for the coming year. I am looking forward to working with Jeff on a project or two in the coming months … thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

With news coming at us at blinding speed, it’s tempting to do a rant on HIM today. I’m not going to do it, though. There will be plenty of time for that in the coming weeks. We have turbulent waters ahead, and it’s going to take all of us to stay focused so that we can exile the current President of the United States to one of his failing properties. We cannot allow the man to win a second term.

But today, I’d like to veer in another direction. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and well, I’d like to take the time to give thanks.

When my long-time pal Greg, aka Ohio Realist, called to ask if I’d be interested in doing this project in early 2018, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

Both of us had remained in contact with each other after I moved to the West Coast in 2004…

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Letter To Republican Senator

I think that if there is a chance that the U.S. Senate will remember their oath of office, will remember that their oath is to the U.S. Constitution, not the president, and that their loyalty damn well better be to We the People, it will only happen if we remind them.  Seems many of them have forgotten where to look for their conscience, their values.  I think the time has come to remind them.

Below is the letter I have sent to the republican senator in my own state.  Feel free to take any of the ideas expressed within if you write to your own senators.

Dear Senator Portman,

I am writing to you today, because as a resident of the State of Ohio, a citizen of the United States, I am very concerned about the actions of the Senate. 

First, I would like to remind you that you took an oath whereby you swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution.  Your loyalty is to the people of this nation, not the ‘man’ who sits in the Oval Office today.  We currently have the most corrupt president in the history of this nation, and frankly he has brought our reputation to its knees.  We are no longer regarded as a trusted ally by virtually any nation.  We have let the people of the entire world down with our complete disregard for the environment.  And all this has occurred in the last three years, and all because of the corruption that begins and ends with Donald Trump.

I believe it is a foregone conclusion that the House of Representatives will vote to impeach Donald Trump, possibly before the end of this year.  And then, Senator, the ball will be in your court.  The majority of people in this nation support the impeachment, conviction, and removal from office of Donald Trump.  Nothing less is acceptable, for the fate of not only this nation, but every nation in the world is at stake.  I firmly believe that within the next twelve months, Donald Trump will do everything in his power to ensure that next year’s election will be so dishonest and unfair that it will be a complete sham, a mockery of any democratic principles that remain in our nation.

I ask that you think long and hard about the actions of the Senate, search your own conscience and ask yourself if your loyalty to Donald Trump is of more value than your loyalty to the people who voted you into office.  Is your dedication to Donald Trump truly worth selling out your own values?  Is it worth risking your own career?  Can you look your three children in the eye and tell them how important it is to always ‘do the right thing’?  And perhaps for you the most important question:  Do you wish to be re-elected in 2022?  We the People have long memories, and if you fail us this time, I promise to do everything in my power to see that you never serve a third term in the U.S. Senate.

I think you know the right thing to do.  Please remember your oath of office, remember the people you are paid to serve, and do the right thing.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, voter/citizen/taxpayer

The Outcome of the Senate Trial is Not a Done Deal. Here’s Why.

I, like the majority of us, have been guilty of lamenting that though the House will almost certainly impeach the most corrupt president we’ve ever had, I was equally certain that the Senate would never vote to convict and remove him. My reasoning being that it will require 20 republican senators and every single democratic senator to achieve the 2/3 super-majority required and there are not 20 republican senators with integrity. While that may well be the case, I was wrong in that I forgot, briefly, what a powerful voice We the People can have when we work together to use it. Our friend TokyoSand reminds us …

Political⚡Charge

Screen Shot 2019-11-24 at 10.47.58 PM

Do you remember the days and weeks leading up to the Senate’s vote on the disastrous Republican “repeal and replace” healthcare bill during Trump’s first year as president?

I do. Thousands of everyday Americans called their Senators, and attended town halls, and demanded meetings in their local offices, and wrote op-eds for their local papers, and more. We demanded to be heard on this incredibly important topic and we did not give up. Back in 2017, we had no reason to believe that the Republican Senators would vote the way Democrats wanted them to. But we cared a LOT about this issue and nothing was going to stop us.

And then we won. The Republicans failed to get enough votes to pass their bill.

We’ve all seen the power of a motivated citizenry. So I’m very perplexed as to why everyone, and I mean everyone, says out loud that the…

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