Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The Impeachment was Real. The Trial was a Hoax.

         Our Country?  Victory?  Impeachment Hoax?

75% of the American public wanted to hear witnesses at the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump.

            But Republican Senators voted that no witnesses would be permitted  to testify.

57% of the American public wanted to give the House Managers the opportunity to present new evidence at the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump.

            But Republican Senators voted that no new evidence would be allowed to be presented.

Donald J. Trump withheld military aid to the Ukraine in exchange for help in the 2020 election.

            Republicans voted that Donald J. Trump was not guilty of Abuse of Power.

Donald J. Trump ordered his cabinet officials not to testify at the House Impeachment Hearing.

Moreover, he directed government agencies to ignore subpoenas for evidence relevant to the impeachment investigation.

             Republicans voted that Donald J. Trump was not guilty of Obsrtruction of Congress.

             The Impeachment was Real.  The Trial was a Hoax.

Monday, January 6, 2020

The Imminent Threat is Donald Trump

     Make no mistake about it.  The imminent threat to the United States of America is Donald Trump.  Whatever is in his best interests is the course of action he will take for the nation, regardless of the consequences.
     The Trump Administration has said that the assassination of General Soleimani was justified because he was an imminent threat to American lives.  Yet, the Administration has not provided Congress with any evidence to show that Soleimani's killing was justified.  Nor did it brief Congress before the assassination.  And I wonder if Trump thought thru the consequences of his action.
     Before the election in 2012, Donald Trump predicted that Barack Obama would start a war with Iran before the election.  He believed that was the only way President Obama could be reelected.
      Now we are really on the brink of a war with Iran, not only before another election, but while Donald Trump is facing an impeachment trial.  He has already tweeted that the Impeachment HOAX needs to be over and done with because he has more important matters to deal with –– matters of his own doing.
     Donald Trump has already said that the United States will attack 52 targets, including Iranian cultural sites, if Iran retaliates to the Soleimani killing.
    No one seems to have mentioned what Russia or China will do if Trump follows through on his threats.  I doubt that either Russia or China will stand idly by while Trump annihilates Iran....
    So what must Congress do?
    Congress must decide if Donald Trump himself is the imminent threat.   Congress needs to demand to see the evidence from the Trump Administration that the killing of General Soleimani was justified.  What was the imminent threat? If there was not an imminent threat, then Congress needs to include the additional facts into the articles of impeachment:  That in authorizing the assassination of General Soleimani, Donald Trump compromised the security of the United States for personal political gain.
     And then Congress must impeach the President.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence on Impeachment

This business of high crimes and misdemeanors goes to the question of whether or not the person serving as President of the United States put their own interests, their personal interests, ahead of public service.
         Michael Pence, House of Representative, July 25, 2008

     Mike Pence's words on impeachment are one of three epigraphs that Neal Katyal quoted in the beginning of his book,  Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2019.

     Katyal calls Pence's words the "Pence Standard," and cites it several times in his book, all the while making the case why Donald Trump needs to be impeached. Katyal believes that Pence's quote "perfectly distills why our founders believed Congress has an obligation to hold accountable a President who abuses the power of his office."

     Pence's quote is actually a statement he referenced from a witness's report during a congressional hearing on July 25, 2008.   The hearing was entitled "Executive Power and its Constitutional Limitation," and is well worth revisiting, as is Pence's reasoning for using the quote.

     The Democrats controlled the House in 2008, and the July 25, 2008 hearing was the second session of the House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Executive Power and its Constitutional Limitations.  John Conyers, Chair of the Judiciary Committee, called the hearing to  discuss the separation of powers and the perceived excesses of the executive branch of President Bush.

     The Judiciary Committee previously held 45 separate hearings on perceived executive abuse of power, including the manipulation of intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the ordering of the illegal use of torture, the outing of Valerie Plame, the firing of U. S. Attorneys for political purposes, and the obstruction of congressional oversight by ignoring subpoenas of witnesses called to appear before Congress.

     It should be noted that the House never voted to authorize a hearing of the Judiciary Committee on the topic of Impeachment. Nevertheless, that's exactly what the July 25, 2008 hearing was about under the guise of another name.

     Each member of the Judiciary Committee was permitted to make an opening statement, and in his Pence began by addressing the elephant in the room:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I note this hearing is entitled "Executive Power and Congressional Limitations." And I want to say that I accept the Chairman's assurance that it was not his intention to convene a hearing today on the topic of impeachment. But I know that many here on both sides of the rostrum and many looking in are anxious to debate whether the 43rd President of the United States should be impeached. And I would like to address myself to that issue in my opening remarks.
     Pence went over the reasons why a President could be impeached: for treason bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.  Pence immediately ruled out treason and bribery, and that left high crimes and misdemeanors.  He then referred to the testimony of Stephen Presser, Professor of Legal History at Northwestern University School of Law, who testified that high crimes and misdemeanors pertained to actions where "the President put his personal interests above the Constitution and the laws of the Nation, thereby violating his oath of office."  Pence maintained that since 9/11 President Bush always put the country's interests ahead of his own.

     Later, when it was Pence's turn to question the witnesses,  he directed his questions solely to Presser. In his report to the Committee, Presser elaborated that James Madison and George Mason argued about whether the term malAdministration, differences in the administration of and pursuit of different policies, should be included as a basis for impeachment.  Madison won the argument and the term malAdministration was not included in the Constitution.

Pence then asked Presser this rhetorical question:
It seems to me, though, you make a point in your report that this business of high crimes and misdemeanors goes to the question of whether or not the person serving as President of the United States put their own interests, their personal interests, ahead of public service.

     Pence then recounted Presser's testimony ten years earlier in the allegations against President Clinton.  Presser had testified that if the allegations against President Clinton were true, that Clinton engaged in deception, lied under oath, concealed evidence, tampered with witnesses, and, in general, obstructed justice, that it showed that President Clinton put his personal interests above public service.  Pence then continued:
Mr. Pence: Do you see any evidence of any of these policy differences with the current Administration the same types of -- same type of conduct that would be high crimes and misdemeanors?
Mr. Presser: No, sir.
Mr. Pence: That is the briefest law school professor I have ever met in my life....
Fast forward to January 2020 and the Impeachment Trail of President Donald J. Trump.  If 100 Senators of the United States applied the Pence Standard, that the President of the United States put his own personal interests above the country's interests, would President Trump be found guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors and removed from office?

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Moral Code of John and Joan Q. Citizen: Impeachment, The Final Roll Call

     "Duty, Honor, Country' – those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be...

     The code which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral law and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promoted for the uplift of mankind. Its requirements are for the things that are right, and its restraints are from the things that are wrong...

     Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men's minds. But serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the Nation's war guardians, as its lifeguards from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiators in the arena of battle.

     Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our process of government: whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing indulged too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as firm and complete as they should be; thse great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a tenfold beacon in the night: Duty, Honor, Country...."

    Douglas MacArthur, Farewell Address at West Point

     In this current crisis, it is time for civilian voices to be heard. No matter what party they belong to, John and Joan Q. Citizen must echo the moral code of the soldier:      'Duty, Honor, Country.'  As citizens, we have the responsibility, no, the duty, to hold our elected officials to the highest standards – to perform their duties in accordance with the rule of law.

     John and Joan Q. Citizen know what needs to be done.  But do they have the honor, the integrity, to say and do what's right for the good of the country?  The soldier has to say, "Mine is not to reason why; mine is but to do or die."  Our Congressional Representatives must pledge allegiance to their party or they may not get re-elected.  Half of them say, "Impeach! Impeach! Impeach!"  The other half says, "Yes Sir, Yes Sir! Three Bags Full," while thinking, "Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!"  What do John and Joan Q. Citizen have to say?  What should they say?

     Clearly, we are in a crisis! These are the times that try men's souls....  

     We, as citizens, must strip away our party affiliation, re-examine our own moral code, and apply it to the situation at hand.

     If President Obama, or any other President, solicited foreign interference to help win a Presidential Election, would we impeach him?

     If President Obama, or any other President, withheld military aid to a country at war with Russia until that country investigated a political opponent in an upcoming election, would we impeach him?

     If the President obstructed justice while impeding an investigation of his actions, would we impeach him?

     Civilians have a moral code they must abide by too.  Most Democrats, I believe, would choose country over party.  And if President Obama did all the actions above, Democrats, I believe, would still want him impeached;  no one, not even  President Obama, is above the law.  The question is, do Republicans have that same moral code.  Will they choose country over party?

This is the final roll call.  Let your voice be heard.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot Gate

Donald Trump had it made in the shade!  Robert Mueller couldn't prove that Trump colluded with the Russians in interfering with the 2016 Presidential Election.  And Attorney General Barr absolved Trump of any wrongdoing in obstructing the investigation.  All Trump had to do  now was to keep from incriminating himself!  But he couldn't do it. Or rather, he did do it; incriminate himself, I mean.

Donald Trump tried to get Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 Presidential Election!  Specifically, Donald Trump tried to bribe President Zelensky into announcing that the Bidens were being investigated.  If Ukraine did that, Trump would release the $400 million dollars in military aid that Ukraine needed to defend itself against the Russians.  And when a whistle blower sounded the alarm, Trump released a transcript of his July 25th phone call with  President Zelensky, saying his phone call was "perfecto" and that he did nothing wrong.  Mick Mulvaney, Trump's Chief of Staff, then told the world, "to get over it."

But everyone couldn't get over it. And now we have the impeachment hearings.  Witnesses are coming out of the woodwork. History will record what happens: whether Donald Trump is impeached, or whether the Republicans can keep him in the White House until the next election.

Impeachments, thank God, don't happen too often.  Only three Presidential impeachments have occurred: Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon (Watergate) and Bill Clinton (Blowjob-Gate).  There's no term for Andrew Johnson's impeachment. If there were, Tenure-of-Office Gate might be the best term for him.  As for Trump, Ukraine-Gate appears to be what history will record for Trump's current difficulties.  As for Republicans, they may want to call it Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot Gate, WTF-Gate, or simply What-the-Fuck Gate.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Turks, the Kurds, and the Turd.

The Turks and the Kurds have been fighting each other for centuries. But both the Turks and the Kurds were our allies, particularly the Kurds, who were fighting ISIS in Syria.  For months President Erdogan of Turkey has threatened to invade northern Syria, and displace the Kurds who were living there.  Erdogan wanted to create a safe zone to resettle two million refugees of the Syrian War, while at the same time annihilating his mortal enemy, the Kurds.

Until Sunday, October 6, 2019, the United States had demanded that Erdogan keep his troops north of the border.  And to help defuse the situation, the United States even convinced the Kurds to move their defensive placements further south and away from the border.

However, on Sunday, October 6, 2019,  Donald Trump, the President of the United States, called President Erdogan of Turkey.  And during the phone call, Donald Trump inexplicably gave Erdogan the green light to invade Syria.  President Trump ordered American forces to retreat from the area.  He ordered American forces to stand down while Turkey invaded Syria and began killing Kurdish fighters and civilians.

The European nations appealed to the United Nations Security Council, but Russia AND the United States refused to join in a statement condemning Turkey's action.

Donald Trump now has Kurdish blood on his hands.  The United States of America, you and I,  and all of our elected representatives now have Kurdish blood on our hands.   What can we do about it?

Why? Why did Trump abandon the Kurds?  What kind of dirt does President Erdogan of Turkey have on King Donald the Turd?

Sunday, September 22, 2019

De Lolme, Cassius, and Publius on Impeachment

     With the current interest and yes, disinterest, in the topic of impeachment, I decided to open the pages of three books on Constitutions in my library.  I wanted to see what our forefathers might have been thinking regarding impeachment when the Constitution of the United States was being discussed in 1787 and 1788.

     The Constitution of England by J. L. De Lolme was first published in Amsterdam in French in 1771.  De Lolme was born in Geneva, but had to emigrate to England because one of his political writings upset the leaders of Geneva.  An enlarged English edition of his book was first published in London in 1775, with new editions in 1777, 1781, 1784, 1800 and several more afterwards.  Elbridge Gerry, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson had copies of De Lolme's book on the Constituion.  Elbridge Gerry was a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, but refused to sign the United States Constitution because it did not contain a Bill of Rights.

     The following paragraphs were extracted from the 1800 edition of The Constitution of England.  The words in each paragraph were identical to those printed in the 1777, 1781, and 1784 editions.

     ... But who shall be the judges to decide in such a cause?  What tribunal will flatter itself that it can give an impartial decision, when it shall see, appearing at its bar, the government itself is the accused, and the representatives of the people are the accusers?
     It is before the house of peers that the law has directed the commons to carry their accusation; that is, before judges, whose dignity, on one hand, renders them independent, and who, on the other, have a great honour to support in that awful function, where they have all the nation for spectators of their conduct.
     When the impeachment is brought to the lords, they commonly order the person accused to be imprisoned.  On the day appointed, the deputies of the house of commons, with the person impeached, make their appearance: the impeachment is read in his presence; counsel are allowed him, as well as time to prepare for his defence; and at the expiration of this term, the trial goes on from day to day, with open doors, and every thing is communicated in print to the public.
     But whatever advantage the law grants to the person impeached for his justification, it is from the intrinsic merits of his conduct that he must draw his arguments and proofs.  It would be of no service to him, in order to justify a criminal conduct, to allege the commands of the sovereign; or, pleading guilty, to produce the royal pardon*.  It is against the administration itself that the impeachment is carried on; it should therefore by no means interfere: the king can neither stop not suspend its course, but is forced to behold, as an inactive spectator, the discovery of the share which he himself have had in the illegal proceedings of his servants, and to hear his own sentence in the condemnation of his ministers.
     An admirable expedient!  which, by removing and punishing corrupt ministers, affords the immediate remedy for the evils of the state, and strongly marks out the bounds within which power ought to be confined: which takes away the scandal of guilt and authority united, and calms the people by a great and awful act of justice: an expedient, in this respect, so highly useful, that it is to the want of the like that Machiavel attributes the ruin of his republic (92-94)....
*In a note De Lolme recalled that the Earl of Danby pleaded the king's pardon during his impeachment in 1678.  It caused such a ruckus that parliament was dissolved.  A law was since  enacted which said "that no pardon under the great seal can be pleaded in bar to an impeachment by the house of commons."

     In 1888 Paul Leicester Ford's Historical Printing Club published a collection of Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States Published During its Discussion by the People 1787-1788.  The reception the book received proved that the writings were only neglected because they were unknown.  In 1892, his Historical Printing Club published Essays on the Constitution of the United States Published During its Discussion by the People 1787-1788.  Ford reasoned that since the Federalist made the essays that were published in the newspapers of New York City popular, his book would make the essays that were published in the newspapers of other cities popular as well.

     One of the essays in Ford's book was written by a lawyer and politician who wrote under the pseudonym of Cassius.



Friday, December 21, 1787

For the Massachusetts Gazette.

To the Inhabitants of this State.

(Continued from our last)
     Section 1 of article II. further provides, That the president shall, previous to his entering upon the duties of his office, take the following oath or affirmation: I do solemnly swear ( or affirm) That I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States. Thus we see that instead of the president's being vested with all the powers of a monarch, as has been asserted, that he is under the immediate controul of the constitution, which if he should presume to deviate from, he would be immediately arrested in his career and summoned to answer for his conduct before a federal court, where strict justice and equity would undoubtedly preside....
     Section 4, of article II. says, The president, vice-president, and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of reason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.––Thus we see that no office, however exalted, can protect the miscreant, who dares invade the liberties of his country, or countenance in his crimes the impious villain who sacrilegiously attempts to trample upon the rights of freemen.
     Who will be absurd enough to affirm, that the section alluded to, does not sufficiently prove that the federal convention have formed a government which provides that we shall be ruled by laws and not men? No, surely but an anti-federalist (38,39)....
     Cassius, it turns out, was James Sullivan (1744-1808).  Sullivan shared John Hancock's political views, and Hancock rewarded him  by appointing him the Attorney General of Massachusetts in 1790.  Sullivan would later succeed Hancock as Governor.  On a side note, Elbridge Gerry unsuccessfully ran against both Hancock and Sullivan, but finally became governor in 1810.

     The Federalist was first published in 1788 in New York by J. and A. McLean.  It is No. 519 of Everyman's Library series, was first published in the series in 1911, and was reprinted twelve times.  My copy was reprinted in 1917.  The Federalist contains 85 essays, most of which first appeared in the newspapers of New York City.   Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison all wrote under the pseudonym Publius, and sought to persuade the people of the State of New York to adopt the Constitution.  Alexander Hamilton was the author of Federalist No. LXV.


From the New York Packet, Friday, March 7, 1788


To the People of the State of New York:

     The remaining powers which the plan of the convention allots to the Senate, in a distinct capacity, are comprised in their participation with the executive in the appointment to office, and in their judicial character as a court for the trial of impeachments. As in the business of appointments the executive will be the principal agent, the provisions relating to it will most properly be discussed in the examination of that department. We will, therefore, conclude this head with a view of the judicial character fo the Senate.
     A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offences which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions , and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.
     The delicacy and magnitude of a trust so deeply concerns the political reputation of every man engaged in the administration of public affairs, speak for themselves. The difficulty of placing it rightly, in a government resting entirely on the basis of periodical elections, will be as readily perceived, when it is considered that the most conspicuous characters in it will, from that circumstance, be too often the leaders or the tools of the most cunning or the most numerous faction, and on this account can hardly be expected to possess the requisite neutrality towards those whose conduct may be the subject of scrutiny.
     The convention, it appears, thought the Senate the most fit depositary of this important trust. Those who can best discern the intrinsic difficulty of the thing, will be least hasty in condemning that opinion, and will be most inclined to allow due weight to the arguments which may be supposed to have produced it (332,333)....
     On a side note, which is an end note as well, Alexander Hamilton cites De Lolme in The Federalist  LXX.