Monthly Archives: October 2019

Once More Into the Breach

Chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee Sam Ervin sits with Chief Counsel Sam Dash, Senator Howard Baker, Staffer Rufus Edmiston and others as they listen to a witness during the Watergate Hearings.

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.

An American Crisis

Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine

These are the times that try men’s souls.

These are the words that started one of the most famous Agiprop works of mankind, Thomas Paine’s The American Crisis. It was written in the darkest hour of our, the American War for Independence. In December 1776 everything seemed to be going the British way. Boston and New York lost to the British Army and the American army defeated at Harlem Hights and almost totally captured just before escaping across the Hudson River to the wilds of New Jersey (yes, New Jersey had wilds in 1776).

While I know it doesn’t’ sound positive, as promised in my last two postings (the Nightmare twins) I will now write a positive piece this week. Unlike 1776, the United States of America is not in danger of being destroyed. No mater what happens in the 13+ months there will still be a country called the United States of America and it will, most likely, still be the same territory as it is now. What crisis faces us is it will not be the land that I have loved and fought for the past 54 years. We still might have the same written constitution but it will be greatly changed. It just might become just words written on a page, nice to look at but no one takes seriously.

The summer patriot and the sunshine voter may shrink from the call of there country; but he that comes out to the call of our nation and stands with the Constitution and all it stands for will be worthy of the praise of all, man, woman, and child. We now face a open and blatant move by those forces that have never accepted the dream that is the USA. Yes, they mouth the words and wrap themselves in the flag but we know them by their deeds.

They tell us they are Legion and that we are weak and can not win the day. They say that even if we do win the election they will rise up and ‘take the Country back’ with fire and furry. An we have heard this all before, time an again. An it is just like three plus years ago when HE started talking about MAGA (Make America Great Again). It was all advertising gobbledygook signifying nothing. We are now at a time to face the Spam Artist, the Snake Oil Salesmen, the Flim-Flam men and the pyramid scheme artist that we know who and what they are selling. They are trying to frighten us with how great and powerful they are and how weak and helpless we are. They want us to be so scared that we don’t vote.

Cross Burning

So they tote out all the old tried and true symbols, like the burning cross on the hill top before Election Day. But now is the time to show just what true love of Country and Our Constitution means. Just like back in the 60’s we need to organize and stand up and say “No, I maybe afraid but I will not be prevented from my right. You will not prevail.” Just because I prefer to be polite that doesn’t mean I don’t no that what MAGA stands for is ”despicable”. I say load a clear that anyone who supports MAGA is Despicable, because they are promoting that which is Despicable. I don’t judge you by your words, I judge you by your actions and the actions of those who you support. If the action is Deplorable, then they are Deplorable. If those you support are Deplorable, then you, by your own willful actions of associations are deplorable.

As Thomas Paine called out in 1776, I call upon all who do not wish to be counted as a Sunshine Patriot to stand up! You don’t need to do much, but it will be hard. An as for some of the most patriotic acts it is quite simple to state but hard to do. Don’t listen to the AltNews flackery. When you read something check up on the source. If you don’t know how, ask for some help (yes I know it is hard to ask for help but you could be surprised by how willing people can be.). My recommendation is don’t accept anything from a self proclaimed think tank. That is more likely as not more option than hard fact. See if you can find the same reported facts from multiple sources across the political spectrum. Then make up your own mind. The one thing the MAGA flack machine fears is the ‘informed’ voter. So get informed and go out and vote. Vote in the primary, if your state has one, or go to your local Caucus, but go. Stand-up and be counted.

Now is the time for all good men & women to come to the aid of their Country!

Nightmare on Pennsylvania Av.

Some horror stores are for real.

In just over 13 months the United States may just be starting a great national nightmare. A horror store of Edgar Allan Poe proportions. We may see the ‘re-election’ of an impeached and convicted President in the person of Donald J Trump. An this may happen not only because of the devotions of MAGA but also the machinations of Russia, Iran, ISAS and other international actors in our elections.

Like most of the great horror stores this will come about despite the actions and intents of the heroes and the ‘good’ people in it. It will be seem avoidable, “If Only” was this or that done. But it will not be done. The villains and ‘bad’ people will go about their nefarious actions mostly ignored and unopposed. The majority of people effected will do nothing till too late and will stand around blaming the Heroes for not preventing it from happening. An like most of Mr. Poe’s horrors, there will be no ‘happy’ ending. Just the post credit scene where it all starts again.

So just what is the horror I see coming? Just this. For the past year many many people have been trying to get the Congress to act on the proven interference in the 2016 election by Russian national operatives. Everyone of these actions has died in the Senate where the handmaiden of MAGA and President Trump, Majority Leader McConnell has refused to bring them up for even debate. Efforts to show new efforts by Russia, Iran and others are currently being ignored. MegaCompanies like FaceBook are doing nothing to prevent any effective action to stop these activities in social media so we can not look to them for any significant action.

I see coming a wave of false and misleading social media swamping anything the mainstream Medea can report. (By the way has anybody but me ever seen the play “enemy of the people”? It seem quite appropriate for today.). I can see it now, lowest turnout in a Presidential Election in history. MAGA, the GOP and Donald J Trump swept in the largest landslide ever. Followed by the biggest crackdown on ‘illegals’, ‘sectarians’ and other ‘bad’ people by Homeland Security. Not good white Christian folk like you or me but all those ‘others’. Those LBGTQ’s who aren’t really Americans. I can see it now: everyone being sure to ware their MAGA hats, buttons, etc. Every business with it’s framed autographed picture of the Great Businessman Donald J Trump.

And times will be good in the Stock Market, of course it won’t be so great in the farm belt, or in manufacturing. An the pharmaceutical s will start hurting when most people can’t buy any of the meds they need. But it will make a nice little boom in the mortuary business. An construction will be booming once Southern Florida start really flooding. Not sure what will happen once President Trump dies in his second or third term, or will we have terms by then? It shouldn’t be. Too hard to get an amendment thru to make the Presidency a life term. Just look at how much easier things will be when the Congress gets to select who the V.P. Will be every time the President dies in office, no more Presidential Elections, ever.

An of course we will have to do something about all the ‘Fake News’ out there. Maybe we will set up a Department of Real News, or maybe Truth, or Altnews? Yeah, Department of AltNews, that’s the ticket.

Nightmare After Christmas

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.

A Modern Trail of Tears

It has taken me some time to come to grips with my feelings today after I heard about the ‘deal’ we have cut with Turkey over the lands of the Kurds in Syria. I was of many mixed emotions and was quite puzzled on what to say. Finally it hit me that for even poorer reasons than just hating ‘Injuns’ like Pres. Andrew Jackson, Pres. Trump has started on the way of having the USA to have a new ‘Trail of Tears’.

Like many many Sooners (or Okies), that is people born in Oklahoma and have much family still there. I have a strong family tradition of having Native American heritage. Also like them I have no sold ‘proof’ of this heritage. But I was raised by a wonderful woman who instilled in me a strong love my my mixed heritage. She thought me to take pride in my Scots heritage and, at the same time take pride in my Cherokee heritage. She instilled in me a bias against the wrongs done to all of the Native American peoples. A bias is so strong that I still consider Pres. Andrew Jackson a genocide in a time that he was looked upon as one of the ‘Great’ Presidents.

Like many Americans I thought that we had been making progress in not only acknowledging the wrongs done but making what little amends that can be made. I hope and prayed that we had left this kind of action behind us. Congratulations Pres. Trump, congratulations MAGA, you have ended that dream. With the agreement you have made with Turkey you are setting up a new trail of tears, this time for the Kurds. You have show once again just what the word of American is worth. It is worth nothing.

So my fellow Americans you now get to join our ancestors in bearing the guilt for the actions our government is doing in our name. An what do we, as a nation get out of it? NOTHING. What does Donald Trump get out of it? EVERYTHING. For that is the true America tragedy of the Indian Removals thru all our history. Be they land speculators, gold hunters, railroads, or Real estate developers, the many suffer and die for the benefit of the few. All we are missing are the classic Indian Agent and I’m sure the Russians are working on it as this is written.

So thanks you MAGA, thank you Pres. Trump for one more stain on American history. Your place in history is assured.

The Munich Effect

Yes, I know I’m breaking the ‘sacred’ rule of not citing Nazis in internet post if I’m not to be considered a nut case. But as we learned in school, sometimes break a rule is the best way to make a point. My point here is not what you may think it is. I’m not saying anyone is a Nazi. I’m saying the USA is going to be look at as trustworthy as France and England after they threw Czechoslovakia to the wolves in 1938.

What our government has done, and even though I don’t support anything that the current administration has done, it still is MY government of MY country. What Pres. Trump has done to the Kurd’s in our name is totally despicable. The Word of the United States means Nothing now. No Nation, no people, no person can take anything this government says valid. We will only stand behind our promises if and only if we loose nothing and gain something.

So I say to all the MAGA Trump supporters out there something my mother used to say to me when I had done something particularly bad. “Now aren’t you just so proud?” Look at just what you have done. It is all yours and we, the other people of this nation are going to remember just what your ‘Great Leader’ has done to the rest of us. So don’t come crying that you are ‘misunderstood’ or your ‘being picked on’, or “didn’t know”. None of that maters now. It ‘Fish or cut bait’ time for you all. Does your word mater to you at all? If it does you have to MAKE your Representatives and Senators know that they will be held both culpable as well as responsible come the elections. Not only the one coming next year but for all those Senators who ‘Know’ they are safe because they aren’t up for re-election for 2 or 4 years. Remind them that sometimes the electorate remembers. Sometimes it rejects bald faced lairs.

Or you can keep on supporting Pres. Trump and we will have Hard proof that all your cries of Love of Country and of your Undying Patriotism are no more true than the lies your ‘Great Leader’ tells you and tried to tell us. We don’t believe you any more and we are not buying it any more. You’ve had it. We are done.

For all those ‘Conservatives’ who left the Republican Party when Donald Trump was Elected, or even those who left when he was Nominated. It is time to act or everything you thought you stood for has been shown to be nothing but dross. Not worth the paper it is printed upon. You thought the wilderness that the party faced after Nixon was bad? What is coming is going to be much worse. An don’t go thinking you will get another RR to save you. Where are you going to find him? Non of the current crop of GOP/Conservative up and comers has shown even half the backbone RR had. Trust me when I say this, I was a Regan Democrat, both for Gov. and for Pres. We might disagree with his position but we knew his word was good. At least for a while. Now, who among you has any kind of word anyone take. Just name one who could run in 2024? Just one.

For all the rest of America, now is our time! We know what to do. We know how to do it. We have done it before and we can do it again. Countries in far worse condition have show just what an aroused electorate can do. To my fellow Baby Boomers, remember 1968 and what we did when we had enough of a war we didn’t understand and were lied to about. When we had had enough of the hypocrisy of the ‘establishment’ we did something. It took a little time to figure out what, but we talked and organized and marched and finally protested. An all before the internet and social media. So what if we have a hard time getting out? So What! If your reading this there are things you can do. You can find out who to send a letter to, or you can send an email. You can notice and correct false postings and demand citations for fact checking. You can become a volunteer fact checker.

MAGA has had everything it’s own way so far. It thinks it owns the old white vote. Well this is one old white male they don’t own. Not even close. I stand with the teenagers and twenty somethings of today. I will not let MAGA make the word of America mean ‘nothing’. America stands for something. It stands for ideals so great we have yet to be worthy of them. It challenges us every day in every way to live up to what being an American means. Our honor has been sullied and it is up to each and every one of us to do our bit, no mater how small, it all maters.

They say to Make America Great Again. They used it as a marketing slogan…that was their mistake. America is Great because Americans are great and it is time to show these snake oil salesmen just how a a rail feels to ride.

Libertarianism & Me, Part II

MrPooter Image
The Richest Man in Bedford Falls Owner of half of the town

One of the great pieces of poor logic of the rightist libertarian philosophy is it’s relationship with government power. To put it in it’s simplest form, they seem to want the government not to interfere with anything they are doing, or want to do, but they do want it to keep others from doing things they don’t want done. One of the first examples of this occurred to me in a conversation with a door-to-door canvaser for the American Libertarian Party about 30 years ago. I asked her just what the Party would do for me if they were elected and she told me they would get rid of zoning laws.

Intrigued I asked her just what that would do for me and she cheerfully responded that with out all those bothersome zoning laws I would be able to do anything I wanted with my property. Anything I asked, anything she said. Even starting my own in home business? She brighten even more and said yes, that is exactly what they were after. How about my own fireworks factory? She looked a bit troubled but nodded yes. Even though fireworks can not be sold in L.A. City? She asked if I would sell them out of my home and I said no, I’d transport them to where it was legal to sell. I smiled and said this sounds great as I have a storm drain just one house over where I can dispose of all the chemical wast I produce and if it explodes or catches fire I’ll wont need to worry about my home exploding. At this point she decided to move on to the next house.

The point here is she had no real idea of just what the zoning laws did, she just knew that they kept people from doing what they wanted to do and therefore were ‘bad’. Like most people, myself included, she had not given much thought to the why and wherefore of the laws. This is not a characteristic isolated to Libertarians, this is an all too human characteristic. It is why we have had leaders and wise men and women to take counsel together and make rules to live by. We trust them to consider the effects, the consequences, of actions of the group and not do things that will hurt more than they help. Sometimes they fail, rarely they fail spectacularly and we do suffer greatly.

A here is the problem faced by the Libertarian philosophy, it is just a collection of very simple maxims. The number and composition of the collection of maxims changes from time to time and wither it is right or left based but all in all it is a nice set. But that is the problem. They are simple in form but we now have to come up with rules on how to actually apply the maxims in real life. With real situations involving real people. Now things get complicated. If for no other reason you are going to have to deal with people who don’t like the maxims or want to use them in ways to their own advantage and not in the way intended.

Next time: Libertarianism and the Logical extreme.

What May Come

With all the ‘talk, talk, talk’ going on about the Impeachment investigation I thought it would be nice to lay out the possible paths we may be fallowing in the near future. I’ll start with where we are now, with the Secretary of State Pompeo not honoring the House subpoenas for depositions by State Department employees. We can now ignore, or prune, that branch of the tree that starts with full cooperation.

What are the possible actions now? In no particular order of preference there seems to be three possible branches. Branch one: Increased resistance by the Executive branch. The next Branch is that the resistance stays as low key as possible and the final branch is acquiescence to the subpoenas.

I do not find the third Branch likely but it is the cleanest/simplest. What can follow it is that the House Committees either find sufficient evidence to recommend to the House to vote Impeachment or It doesn’t. If the person(s) being investigated are truly innocent of any impeachable actions this would be the best course for everyone concerned. Given the current evidence available to the public this does not seem likely as it does seem to show that Donald Trump did, in fact, attempt to get a foreign government to provide a thing of value for his upcoming campaign. Of course it is possible for the President to argue that Op Research is not a thing of value. Also it can be argued that he really didn’t ask for this. The problem is both arguments are quite thin and really don’t play well with an impartial jury.

So let us take on the first Branch of the tree, complete non-compliance subpoenas has and total resistance to giving evidence to the House Committees. This branch leads very quickly to either the House caving in and waiting to see just what the election in 13 months brings. Or the house can attempt to use it’s more usual method of enforcing it’s subpoenas by asking the Justice Department to bring criminal contempt charges. This would lead to another set of branches, the JD could honor the request or just ignore the request or responded that they see no merit in the request.

Let’s look at this last one first. Finding that the request for criminal contempt was with out merit would force the House to either just cave in or move quickly to using inherent contempt. More on inherent contempt later. Just ignoring the request has the advantage of burning time while leading eventually to the same two branches of finding no merit. As far as honoring the request for Criminal Contempt this leads to the problems of having the Attorney General go against the wishes of the President, something the current President doesn’t take well. Look for this to happen if Pres. Trump has found a way to get someone else to take the fall. In any case this path leaders inevitably to either the House passing/not passing a bill of Impeachment.

So now let us look at the possibilities of those branch’s above that lead to the use of inherent contempt which will entail having the House Sargent at Arms arresting the person or persons. As inherent contempt has not been used since 1934 (85 years) it is almost anyone’s guess on just how it will be worked now. Something to what for is actions taking place in the House Sargent at Arms office and in/around the cells in the House basement. This action by the house could quite easily lead to one of two events/branches. First, and most likely is that the person or persons peacefully submit to arrest. They also could resist the arrest. The resisting could take many forms, all the way from just not letting the persons from the House Sargent at Arms into the building the person to be arrested is in all the way up to having the persons own security detachment forcefully protecting their charge from the people attempting to make the arrest. This last would be very bad for all concerned and while possible I really don’t see it happening.

Let us look at the breach that leads to the person or persons who are defying the Congressional Subpoena(s) being taken into custody. The House would have to hold a trial and this trial could be long or short depending on the House Membership and just how strong the person(s) being held is. It is customary to drop the Contempt Charge(s) if the person so charged takes action to make amends. If the House does find them in Contempt they have several options ranging from fines to imprisonment. This can last till the current congress expires in just over a year from now. It is also possible that if these persons are of sufficient rank, that is they hold a non-selective service job (and in some cases even if they do) they too can be impeached and removed from office. (Please note that being removed from office by conviction on impeachment is tantamount to being fired for cause and you loose all benefits etc.)

That is all I can foresee for now. More later as thing become either more murky, less murky, or stay the same.