Today is the start of the Senate Trial of the Impeachment of Donald John Trump, President of the United States. An the American people have fallen down the rabbit hole into the trial of the Knave of Harts where we have the Verdict first then the trial. I say this because of the trail rules initially proposed by the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last night. With some thought and consideration given to quick mods made just before things got started.
Like Alice I expect most Americans who follow the Trial will be quite perplexed by what they see and hear. First because the Senate method of operations is often arcane in the extreme. This is especially true when many of the Senators are worried about their electorate and just what they will think. It is a grand old Senate tradition obfuscate in hope the people back home will not notice what just happened. The rules for the trial, as they currently stand, go a good way towards this goal. An just like Alice the American people just get to watch and wonder.
I do not envy Senator McConnell the job he is facing. He has to, first, keep Pres. Trump happy/pleased. If he doesn’t there is no telling what Pres. Trump might do but a roaring tirade is not off the table. Next he must insure that Pres. Trump is not only not convicted by 67 votes but that it is done in such away that Pres. Trump can say he was 1) exonerated and 2) found innocent. All the time making the trial look fair and honest. The one thing the GOP does not need is to go into the election year tarred with a trial seen as rigged and/or unfair. When you start a trial with the verdict already decided by the jury it is often quite hard to look fair, even when it is.
I wait with baited breath to see how this plays out.
Well, it looks like the Senate Trial of the Impeachment of Donald John Trump is moving again with the vote to name the House Managers and to send the Impeachment Articles to the Senate scheduled for Tomorrow (15 Jan 2020). I can’t wait to see what will happen in the Senate. While I’ve been reluctant since 2016 to make any predictions in politics I’m going to make some now.
First an easy one: What every happens in the Senate in the coming weeks it is going to be historic. Yeah, I know, it is kind of a given but I don’t mean historic in the since of this being only the third trial of an Impeached President in our history. It is going to be historic because of the actions taken by Majority Leader McConnell. So on to my second prediction.
The use of Republican Newspeak is going to be on display before the general public like never before. Weather you support or oppose Pres. Trump it is very important to pay attention to what is being said and how it is being said. Unlike Pres. Trump and those around him most of the Senators do care about being caught in an out right lie. Especially on camera. Even those Senators in safe states and who aren’t up for re-election for four years from now care. This trial has a very long half-life and everything they say and every vote they cast will be fodder for campaign aids.
Majority Leader McConnell will do everything in his power to minimize the damage done to him and the Republicans in the Senate. An most if not all of his actions will be off camera and out of sight. Yes, I know there will be no way to check this for years to come but I like making it anyway.
My last prediction: No mater the outcome of the Trial every Senator, Republican or Democrat is going to have unholy hell rain down on them from Trump and his people. An not just the people in the US, I’m including in this everyone he, Trump, can convince to take action. This is because Donald J Trump is know not only for being a Golf Cheat, and lier, he is also know for someone who seeks retribution on any and everyone who he thinks wronged him. He even brags about it.
Before I start let me open with the acknowledgement that I can be hypocritical. As a devout and practicing Christian I know I can and do sin. I just attempt to acknowledge it and work to be better in the future. That said lets get started on the great age of Hypocrisy Signaled by the election of Pres. Obama.
I bet you thought I was going to say Pres. Trump, didn’t you? “Sherman, to the Way Back Machine!” Hypocrisy is one of the oldest human failings in history. The problem is we now live in the age of video recordings and the Internet. This means, quite simply, that all of our leaders need to remember that what we said 21 years ago can, and will, come back to haunt them. This is of particular importance to some of the leading members of the U.S. Senate.
Just over 21 years ago several leading members of the Republicans in the Senate were members of the House of Representatives working to impeach Pres. Clinton. In this effort they took to the airwaves to stand on ‘High Principals’ to that end. Unfortunately they are now taking the exact opposite positions in the Impeachment of Pre. Trump. An not only does the opposition have the videos, they are playing them on all the TV outlets they can get to show them. What is worse this is not the first time this has happened in the Impeachment Hearings.
I maybe one of the few ‘lay’ people to watch the house hearing where the Constitutional Law experts testified. But I did watch and I did hear Prof. Turley testimony. He was well spoken, clear and concise in why Pres. Trump should not be Impeached. He stuck to all of the Pres. Talking Points in his defense. The problem is it can be shown he was functioning as a paid hack.
21 years ago Pros. Turley took the nearly exact opposite position in the Impeachment of Pres. Clinton. Now while it is perfectly acceptable for a scholar to argue in favor of a cause he personally does not support it does bring into question the veracity of his arguments when it is shown that the same person has taken all sides on an issue. It is particularly bad when the person in question is put forward as a principled, and unbiased scholar just putting forward a principled position. From now on Prof. Turley’ s scholarly Veracity will be questioned. He will have to work hard an long to regain it.
I have no doubt that there are plenty of people on the Democratic side of the House and Senate who are all to often hypocritical but that is not the point here. The point here is that bald faced lying of the Trump Administration has already thrown a lot of tar on the Republican Party. The House Impeachment hearings has thrown even more. An if the GOP Senate runs the Trial of Donald J Trump like they are promising it is going to be eye deep in tar and other lest lovely detritus. The party may never recover.
In the lore of Psychohistory and Sheldon Crisis’ there come a time in every crisis commonly known as the Crux. Simply put the Crux’s is the point in the crisis where one and only one decision can be made and it will force all human history down the path desired by the Psychohistorians (or Robots). Unfortunately for us our crisis as another kind of crux. Ours will have basically two major paths, not one.
Sometime in the next few months the GOP in the Senate is going to have to decide if all there is, is support of Donald J Trump or to the Ideals of the United States. The Crux isn’t the conviction of Donald J Trump but rather the kind of trial the GOP controlled Senate will give him. If the trial is not up to the basic ideals of fairness of this country the American people will know it. The range of possibilities for the trial are shrinking as I write this.
We seem to be coming down to either having a Pro forma trial where no witnesses are called. Where we may not even have any open/closing statements made by the House & the President. All me may have is a reading of the Impeachment Resolution and then a call for the question (vote) and then 51+ Senators vote to “acquit” Donald J Trump.
The other Choice is to have a full trial with opening statements, the calling of witnesses with questioning by both parties, closing statements followed by the Senate voting on each article of impeachment and we will either have 67 votes to convict or we won’t.
In either case both the American people and the World will know just what kind of trial was held. An this will set this country, irrevocably on one of two paths to the future. Both paths will be hard to walk, but one will lead us to a day of new light, the other of to a day of darkness.
Donald Trump is a golf cheat. This is a well known and given fact. Now I now that the MAGAs will say this is slander/libel/fake news but it is none the less a fact. Knowing this we can make some extrapolations of just what is going to happen next year now that the Impeachment is well on it’s way to being based in the House of Representatives.
To make my extrapolations I’m going to make two assumptions:
The impeachment resolution will be passed in the Houese
The Senate will vote not to convict on a straight party line vote
Given these two assumptions we can make some fairly safe extrapolations. The first is based off of Pres. Trump being a “Golf Cheat”. He will be emboldened to cheat in 2020. Why shouldn’t he? Nothing bad happen to him and that is all that matters. Also all that is wining.
Next is that anyone and everyone who works from the principle of “Wining isn’t everything, it’s the only thing!” will also emboldened to also do what ever is necessary to win their own elections. Worse, they will be emboldened to not hide what they are doing because they, too, will suffer no punishment. This will not just be at the national level, it will be at the State and local levels. Senate, House of Representatives, Statehouse, and City Halls, all will be up for grabs by the most ruthless.
Finally we will enter an era of only Party Loyalty will mater. An that only as long as fear of those above is greater than anything else. Loyalty will be based solely on fear of retribution an nothing else. In politics and government you will be able to buy what ever you want as long as you are powerful enough to make your will felt. So loyalty to an individual or an ideal will go the way of the Dodo for years to come. Loyalty will only last. As long as the individual benefits from supporting someone. Once gone, people will do what ever is best for themselves and no one else.
In losing, be up lifted in spirit for what I have predict here will not last. It has happened before in human history and it as always destroyed itself in the end.
An so our Sheldon crisis continues on. I do not believe what I am seeing take place. The MAGA in control of the Republican Party are certainly following party line as spoken by Donald Trump. In all of the hearings I have either watched or listened to not once have I heard any one challenge any single fact given. The best I have heard is that it was that the fact was hearsay. An when witnesses of fact testify about what was labeled by the MAGA members of the committee we hear nothing.
For those of you who are not familiar with the “Foundation” trilogy (written by Dr. Issac Asimov), a Sheldon Crisis is a socio-political crisis for seen by Hari Seldon that is totally unavoidable that is meant to drive the Foundation toward creating the 2nd Galactic Empire. In each of the crisis’ the freedom of action of the leaders of the Foundation, and their Opponent is progressively limited till one one course of action is available. When ever anyone attempts to deviate from the path things spring up to thwart them. Just like the people attempting to defined Pres. Trump.
In this Sheldon Crisis the single major thwarting item is Donald Trump himself. It is his steadfast refusal to acknowledge the facts of the case as currently presented and his holding to his beloved ‘sure fire’ tactic of “Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?” that Is the largest roadblocks. That an his demand that he hear his supporters/defenders use the prescribed tactics and verbiage that seems to be preventing any effective defense.
Yesterday with the first hearings of the House Judiciary Committee we got are first, if weak, effective defense of Donald Trump. Unfortunately for Prof. Turley fact checkers were able to find video of him arguing the exact opposite back in 1998(?) in the Pres. Clinton impeachment. An while it is perfectly acceptable for a lawyer to argue both sides of an issue in a trial it does not stand a witness, who is testifying to his own personal beliefs and opinion, well to do so. It is perfectly acceptable for us to ask, “What does he really believe? An what does he stand for?”
What is even sadder is that not once did Prof. Turley ever say that the actions that Pres. Donald J Trump is accused of doing are or are not worthy of Impeachment. At the most all he said was that the process if flawed and going too fast. An even in this he did not address the issue that makes moving as fast as we are. The simple fact is if we don’t settle this issue before the next election and take action to insure that there is no foreign interference in the 2020 Presidential election there will be good reason to doubt the results, no mater what your political persuasions.
So our crisis progress with are freedom of action becoming narrower and narrower. Where will it end?
After watching the House Intelligence Committee for the past two weeks I feel safe to say the the Republicans of 2019 have remembered well the lessons of the McCarthy era (1947-195?). Senator ‘Tail-Gunner Joe’ McCarthy must be very proud about how the current crop of Republican Representatives and Senators are dealing with the Presidency of Donald J. Trump. He just might be a bit confused about how they can be accepting support from Russia, but I’m sure it can be explained to him that while it is the Russians they are no longer Communists. I’m sure he is hoping for some new neighbors to talk with soon.
Yes, that was snarky. Truth be known the not all of the Republicans in Congress are on board with what Majority Leader Sen. McConnell And ranking minority member Rep. Nunes. But way to many of them are and way too many are intimidated into silence. We have seen Rep. Nunes bring out all the old McCarthy Era tactics to obfuscate, deflect, and intimidate anyone who would dare oppose their agenda.
Even before the hearings started they were attempting to rest control of the hearing from the Majority with a great long list of witnesses that have nothing to do with the subject of impeachment. Save one, they wished to call the ‘whistleblower’ even though his/hers anonymity is protected by law. When this failed they cried that the President was being denied the right of facing his ‘accuser’ even though the hearing is an investigation is not a trial.
Once the hearing was called to order they tried and true ‘Point of Order’ tactic to attempt to interrupt and control the hearing, again even though it was against the rule(s) passed by the House. When this tactic backfired (the most likely candidate to challenge Rep. Stefanik raised over a million dollars in the day(s) following) they moved on to the one tactic the chair had to allow. Attacking the witnesses. The attacks range from the petty, calling an officer in uniform ‘Mr.’ instead of by his rank (the rank was shown on his name card) to personal and professional attacks. But mostly they stuck to speaking lots and lots of nonsense about the Bindens, Hillary, the Muller report, and any and all conspiracy Theories to distract.
In some cases they fell back on the old courtroom tactic of attempting to harrass the witness. This was done mostly by Rep. James Jordan in his most supercilious voice. In no case did it seem to work and in one case, with Dr. Hill, it seems to have backfired badly. In fact the whole Republican defense strategy seems to have failed. These passed two week we got to see dedicated people give the facts, as they know them, to the appropriate authority, the House of Representatives and the American People.
It is now up to us to be as brave as they and to send this current crop of Republicans to join their ‘godfather’ in the “Ninth Circle of Hell”.
With less than 24 hours to go before the first open testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on possible impeachment of Pres. Donald J. Trump I will take some time to point out what is obvious to any with eyes to see. Unfortunately in this new Partisan age I fear there are few eyes willing to see. Anyone who has even the most cursory acquaintance with how Donald Trump has dealt with being on the loosing end of a legal battle recognizes the current tactics he and his are employing.
When it becomes obvious to him that he will loose his case, Donald Trump attempts to do one of two things. If he can, he settles out of court, failing that he goes to cut a deal. Just like he did with the his Trump Foundation fraud case. It is a given that with impeachment there is no settling out of court as this is not a civil case. Therefore he is now maneuvering his assets to enable him to cut a deal with the American electorate.
First and foremost he is trying to “run the clock out” by putting everything off as long as possible. This is why, more than anything, he has ‘ordered’ everyone involved to not testify and to fight all subpoenas in court. Ideally he want’s the House to go to the DOJ, as has been the way for almost 100 years, to get it’s subpoenas enforced. With the current AG this is a total non-starter and could waste years if work correctly. Unfortunately the House leadership was on to this tactic and has chosen to just add the refusal to honor the subpoenas as just one more count to the “Obstruction of Congress/Justice” charge in impeachment. A small thing granted, but not insignificant.
The next tactic is to obfuscate the issues. So far, it is change use of change the subject and admit the act but deny the criminality. And finally we are now seeing the use of ‘Not me, they did it.’ All of these are being mixed together into a Goulash of epic proportions. We have yet to see just what effect this will have. This Goulash has two goals. The first is to give the Republicans in the House talking points that have some semblance of respectability. This they dearly need at this time. How do we know this, simply because they keep changing their objections to what the House Committee is doing. Until last week it was all about transparency and procedures. Now that both the depositions are being made public and the public hearing scheduled they are complaining about the rules of the hearing trusting that the average voter will neither know of care that the Committee is using the rules crafted under Republican leadership. (Personally I thank it is crass of the Democrats to use the rules that the Republicans crafted. Don’t they know it is just not done? The principle is I get to use ‘These rule and you get to use those rules’. Really now, how low can you go?)
The goal here is two fold. First is to take so long in actually passing the Impeachment in the House that the Senate Trial will not start until spring of 2020 or later. Then Trump and the Senate can say “Let the people decide.” Failing that, and so far it is looking like it is failing, have enough fog and smoke that the Republican Senators who are up for re-election in 2020 have some effective cover when they vote for acquittal. So far this looks to be on track. After all the last thing the Republicans need is a ‘smoking gun’ like what took out Pres. Nixon.
On this last point I have little hope for anything happening like what took out Nixon. This is not the 1970’s and the Republican Party of 2020 is not the Republican Party of 1970’s. I see no Howard “Henry” Baker, nor Barry Goldwater in this Senate. At this time we need people, in all parties, who can stand above Partisanship and put the Country and Constitution first. But maybe they are there in the Senate they will stand up and be counted. I hope and pray it is so.
46 years, 5 months ago on 17 May 1973 the Senate Special Committee on Watergate started holding open hearings. This was just the start of the public investigation that lead to the Impeachment of President Nixon. It would be many many more months before the House Judiciary Committee would start hearing on impeachment after a great many shocks and revelations of truly stunning and shocking things. Like many Americans I watch as much of all the hearing as I possibly could. I remember clearly coming home from morning classes and being glued to the TV watching the Senate hearing with my mother and my friends.
We discussed endlessly what we were seeing and just what it meant. Some of it serous and some of it not. (I remember quite clearly objecting to how John Dean’s wife (who was sitting directly behind him while he testified) was dressed (Mom thought she was shamelessly going Braless.). But just what does that have to do with what happened today? Simply put the first few days of the Senate Hearings nothing seemed to happen. But we were wrong. We started to see just how remarkable team Senators Evin and Baker were. Here were to dedicated Party Members, one Democratic and the other Republican but more than that here were two men totally dedicated to the Senate and the Constitution. These two men set the tone of the hearings and kept a firm hand on the rains so that most of the time no one fell into Partisan politics. What most people then, as now didn’t realize was that Senator Ervin was the Senate’s recognized Constitutional Scholar. An we would soon be grateful for were the words of Senator Baker “What did the President know and when did he know it?”
I do not hold out much hope that this nation will get as lucky now as we did then, but we can hope. Today we House of Representatives take the first steps to public hearings on the actions of President Trump and if they are worthy of impeachment. I do have a suggestion for the hearings. Let’s seek the answer to this question:
“What did the President do and when did he do it?”
Once we know the answers to these questions we can then move on to tacking the issue of if he has done something worthy of impeachment.
46 years ago we thought this nation was badly split between Conservatives vs Liberals but it was nothing like it is now. The GOP was able in the ensuing years split the conservative Democrats off from the party with it’s famous ‘Southern Strategy’. At the same time it drove the liberal ‘Romney’ Republicans from their party with the famous RINO drive. It is now next to impossible to find a Republican who is financially conservative and socially liberal nor can you find many Democrats who are socially conservative and financially liberal. Personally I’m in the school of Political Science thought that says this is why the two parties seem to be shrinking while independents is growing. In any case this is now that was then. We are facing a great political battle that will be fought out with the background of Partisan Politics and it is up to the American Electorate to slap members of Congress upside the head when it get too out of hand. We must remind them that the country and the constitution comes before party.
A lot has been said, on both sides of the isle, about getting the Impeachment investigation(s) of Donald J. Trump done by Christmas. Many reasons have been given. Some good, some bad, some reasonable, some not, but all have one thing in common. Most Americans aren’t paying the reasons any mind. Also most people are not paying any mind to what comes after. I hate to think the number of times I’ve heard people talk as if the Impeachment is an end in itself. It is not.
Impeachment is JUST an indictment. A formal accusation of wrong doing by a government official. We will still have to go thru a trial. An what’s more it has to be a public trial. It must also be seen to be a scrupulously fair trial. Why? Several reasons but for most to me is that not only will Donald J Trump be on trial but so will the House of Representatives that voted the Impeachment. If the people believe, even for a second that the impeachment was not fair and just, if it was brought for partisan and/or political reasons, then Donald J Trump and MAGA will win. They will win even if Donald J Trump is convicted and removed from office.
The Impeachment document must not only be legally valid it must be clearly understand able by the vast majority of the American people. The actions that Donald J Trump are impeached on must be simply and clearly seen to be wrong, but also corrupt and beyond the pale of any action of an elected official. It can not just be a ‘technical’ violation of some arcane election law. At best it should be shown that the actions were not only corrupt, but they were taken for corrupt reasons and that anyone with any decency would know are corrupt. People need to be able to not only put themselves in the position of the victim but also the perpetrator(s) and be able to say “Yes, that is corrupt, that is wrong. An I know it is corrupt and Wrong.”
Will this insure that the Senate will convict? No, It won’t. Nothing can ensure that. Given the current mood of the Senate Republicans I don’t think anything Donald J. Trump does, or can do (sort of selling part of the USA back to Russia) could get him convicted. But what it just may do is assure that the Donald J Trump, MAGA, and the Republican Party that supports him will pay the price come November.