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.

The Deep State bites back

Finally, a few people associated with the Trump administration are beginning to defy Trump. Two women have testified before the House committees investigating Trump with an eye toward impeachment, and I understand there will be more. Our friend Jeff has written about these two trailblazers who put country and law before loyalty to the Oaf in Office. Hopefully there will be more soon. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

It’s notable that in the last few days, we’ve seen two women, Marie Yovanovitch and Fiona Hill, come forward to testify before the various committees conducting an impeachment inquiry into the actions of President Trump, surrounding his phone call to the Ukrainian President.

By all accounts, even though we haven’t seen the transcripts, they’ve given powerful testimony, both exhibiting a full grasp of the issues commensurate with their long histories of serving at the State Department and the National Security Council. In other words, here are two powerful women, intelligent and patriotic, who’ve served with distinction and honor for the United States government. Not only that, but both are experts in their particular field of foreign diplomacy, invaluable resources in how we relate to various situational hotspots around the world.

Is it any wonder that the President doesn’t care for either of these two brave women? Of course not. It’s…

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A Day In Honour Of Indigenous Peoples

Today in the nation’s capital, there is no Columbus Day. The D.C. Council voted to replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day in a temporary move that it hopes to make permanent. Several other places across the United States have also made the switch in a growing movement to end the celebration of the Italian explorer in favor of honoring Indigenous communities and their resiliency in the face of violence by European explorers like Christopher Columbus.

The simple facts are that Christopher Columbus did not ‘discover’ the Americas … the indigenous people were always here.  And, at the hands of Columbus and those Europeans who would come after, the indigenous people, aka Native Americans, suffered greatly from being enslaved, diseased, dispossessed of their land, and slaughtered.  So, over the past few decades there has been a growing movement to alter the holiday to honour those who first occupied the country.

The movement is controversial, for we tend to cling to the traditions we have known all our lives, but it is a growing movement, with a number of states and cities doing what D.C. did, replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.  Thus far, the states of Minnesota, Alaska, Vermont, Maine, Louisiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Oregon, have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. Hawaii celebrates Discoverers’ Day on this date, and South Dakota celebrates Native American Day, as have many cities too numerous to list here – more than 130, in fact.

Trump, however, instead has issued a formal proclamation recognizing Columbus Day, citing Columbus as a “great explorer, whose courage, skill, and drive for discovery are at the core of the American spirit,” calling the two-month journey across the Atlantic a “watershed voyage” which ushered in a new age.  But then, in this I consider him to be rather irrelevant.

So … how did this all start?

In 1977, the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, sponsored by the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, began to discuss replacing Columbus Day in the United States with a celebration to be known as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

1992 would mark the 500th anniversary of the voyage of Columbus, and there was a “Quincentennial Jubilee” planned to mark the date.  In San Francisco, the day was to include replicas of Columbus’ ships sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge and reenacting their “discovery” of America.  It was then that the Bay Area Indian Alliance was formed, and they created the “Resistance 500” task force, promoting the idea that Columbus’ “discovery” of inhabited lands and subsequent European colonization of these areas had resulted in the genocide of indigenous peoples by decisions of colonial and national governments.

The group convinced the city council of Berkeley, California, to declare October 12 as a “Day of Solidarity with Indigenous People” and 1992 the “Year of Indigenous People”. The city implemented related programs in schools, libraries, and museums. The city symbolically renamed Columbus Day as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” beginning in 1992 to protest the historical conquest of North America by Europeans, and to call attention to the losses suffered by the Native American peoples and their cultures through diseases, warfare, massacres, and forced assimilation.indig-peoples-day.jpgIn the years following Berkeley’s action, other local governments and institutions have either renamed or canceled Columbus Day, either to celebrate Native American history and cultures, to avoid celebrating Columbus and the European colonization of the Americas, or due to raised controversy over the legacy of Columbus.

Let’s take a look at just a few of the many contributions indigenous people have made to our world:

  • indig-peoples-day-3Constitution & Bill of Rights: According to Benjamin Franklin, the “concept” for the federal government was influenced by the Constitution of the Iroquois League of Nations.
  • Sign Language:  Today, hand signals are used to communicate with those who are deaf and/or mute. A similar system was originated to facilitate trade between Native Americans and early trappers/traders.
  • Products:  Native Americans are credited with introducing such diverse products as snowshoes, moccasins, toboggans, buckskin jackets, Kayaks, cradle boards, tomahawks, rubber, cotton, quinine, tobacco, cigars, and pipe smoking, among others.
  • Military Service:  The participation rate of Native Americans in military service is higher than for any other ethnic group in the U.S.  Members from many Indian nations have served with distinction and in a way that helped the U.S. win World Wars I and II… through the use of their various Native languages.
  • Conservation:  The Native Americans have always held a deep respect for the land and for our connection to this planet known as “Mother Earth.” They have always striven to live in harmony with the seasons and the land, to take only what was needed, and to thank every plant, animal, or thing that was used.
  • Art/Design:  The traditional and contemporary music of Native Americans have become integrated in many other cultures and musical styles. Indian artwork such as paintings, beadwork, totem poles, turquoise jewelry, and silversmithing, all remain beautiful and unmatched in this society.

Native-American-Day-Wampanoag-220px-SquantohowwellthecornprosperedAnd of course, a wide variety of foods, including potatoes, beans, corn, peanuts, pumpkins, tomatoes, squash, peppers, nuts, melons, and sunflower seeds.

We can never make up to the indigenous people in the Americas for what was done to their ancestors, but we can resolve to do better, and we can honour them in this way, by setting aside a special day of remembrance for all that they went through, and for all that they have given. celebrate-500-years-of-survival

Burning The Constitution

The United States is a secular nation, meaning that the government is officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion.  It means that the government does not favour one religion over another, that people do not have more or less rights based on their religion, that all citizens are treated equally, regardless of their religion or non-religion.

The United States Constitution is the foundation for the nation’s government.  It is the source of law and order.  It is the guidebook, so to speak, for how this nation’s governing bodies will deport themselves, and outlines the rights and responsibilities of each branch of the government.  While the Constitution does not use the phrase “separation of church and state”, what it does say in the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment is this …

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Now that I’ve made that perfectly clear, I hope, let us take a look at what Attorney General William Barr, the man who leads the Department of Justice, had to say on Friday, when asked to speak at Notre Dame University:

“We must be vigilant to resist efforts by forces of secularization to drive religious viewpoints from the public square and to impinge upon our exercise of our faith. This is not decay. This is organized destruction. Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion & traditional values.”

The head of the department tasked with overseeing the law and upholding the Constitution doesn’t even understand the Constitution?

Christians in this nation comprise some 70.6% of the population, down from 75% just two years ago.  Of that, evangelicals comprise 25.4% of the population.  Now, by Barr’s presumption, does this mean that our government only represents 70.6% of the people in this nation, and the other 29.4% of us are sh*t out of luck?  Now, if that be the case, doesn’t it follow that those of us in the 29.4% should not be required to pay taxes, since the government we are paying those taxes to does not represent us?

William Barr was far out of line in his speech and seems to have interpreted the Constitution according to his own values, or perhaps, like his ‘boss’, he has never read nor understood the document that he took an oath to uphold.

Barr, however, is not alone in cherry-picking the parts of the document he wishes to support, while ignoring the rest.  Take a look at Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, he of rather questionable morals whose nomination to the bench was shoved through at mach speed, despite credible allegations of sexual assault.

“But maybe Nixon was wrongly decided — heresy though it is to say so. Nixon took away the power of the president to control information in the executive branch by holding that the courts had power and jurisdiction to order the president to disclose information in response to a subpoena sought by a subordinate executive branch official. That was a huge step with implications to this day that most people do not appreciate sufficiently…Maybe the tension of the time led to an erroneous decision.” – Brett Kavanaugh, 1999

Say What???  It took away the power …???  Let’s be perfectly clear here … the president is not granted by the U.S. Constitution unlimited power to keep secrets and act on his own to make deals and agreements that are not in the best interest of this nation and its people!  The president is granted broad authority in certain areas, but … the legislative and judicial branches are not only granted the authority, but tasked with the responsibility, to provide oversight to the executive branch.  The purpose being to hold the president accountable for his actions.

“The House of Representatives … shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”Article I, Section 2, Clause 5

“The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States; but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.”Article I, Section 3, Clauses 6 and 7

constitution-dummiesI think that for a person with a law degree, as both Barr and Kavanaugh as well as all of Trump’s lawyers, many members of Congress and others in the administration have — including, believe it or not, Kellyanne Conway — this should be clear enough.  If you and I can understand it … why can’t the lawyers?

We have layer upon layer upon layer of corruption and dishonesty in our federal government in quantities never before seen.  Trump claimed he would drain the swamp, but instead he has further infested it with lethal, poisonous creatures … swamp monsters, as it were.  Being a republican or a democrat is largely irrelevant, but being dishonest, hiding things from the people they work for (us), and being self-serving are crimes.  It is time … past time … for us to hold these people accountable.