Category Archives: Congress

A Clear and Present Danger

I’ve been avoiding this issue for months. I just got tired about writing about Donald J. Trump. Somewhere in the back of my mind was the thought that he simply could not keep up the pace. He could not commit, every single day of his administration, a bigger travesty than the one he had committed the day before.

I was wrong.

So here is the first of what will be a long stretch of blogs on Trump and the nation. The Trump reaction to a week of protests is just the latest manifestation. The groundwork had already been laid and was in the open for everyone to see. Take a look at April 17, 2020, the day a sitting President of these United States incited violent revolution. Here were Trump’s tweets:

Three calls to arms, to “LIBERATE,” one invoking the 2nd Amendment on gun ownership, all directed at states with popularly elected Democratic governors, who just happened to offend Trump in one way or another.

In the last week of May the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by police in Minneapolis led to protests which led to looting and arson. When the nation needed a calming voice, this is what Trump and then the official White House Twitter account tweeted:

Trump’s comment, “When the shooting starts…” is a 1967 quote from white Miami police chief Walter Headley, who targeted blacks ahead of the Republican convention. The words were repeated in 1968 by George Wallace, the staunch segregationist who was four time governor of Alabama. With these words Trump threatened to shoot his own citizens. A week later, he did just that.

Twitter initially blocked Trump’s tweet for “glorifying violence.” When the official White House account repeated the tweet, Twitter flagged it with the warning seen above. In response to Twitter’s decision to flag these tweets and others from Trump which the company believes promote lies or violence, Trump issued an executive order asking the Justice Department to look into legal remedies. Just what Trump’s lap dog attorney general will do is anyone’s guess. But while most legal scholars do not see the government having grounds to interfere with a private company such as Twitter, with the right wing zealots Trump and his Senate henchman Mitch McConnell have been putting on the federal bench in recent years who knows what will happen in the courts.

Remember, before he was elected Trump is the guy who bragged about having a concealed carry permit and often carrying a firearm although he was always in the company of a bodyguard who was built like an NFL defensive lineman. Now of course tough guy Trump is surrounded by the U. S. Secret Service. Typical of hypocrites, people who attend Trump rallies are not allowed to bring guns. Nor are visitors to the White House or the Senate’s public gallery. In fact, you can’t bring any guns to Capitol Hill.

But the Trump mob protesting state lockdowns to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 have no problem bringing assault rifles to the capitols of Michigan and Kentucky. Trump has repeatedly encouraged them and also supported protestors carrying guns and Nazi symbols because, in his mind, some of them are “good people.”

Trump is the guy who called out reporters during his campaign rallies and pointed them out to the crowds, prompting the Secret Service to escort the reporters to their cars after the rally to protect them on several occasions.

Even now, after the Secret Service had to temporarily lock down the White House because of unruly crowds gathering outside to protest Floyd killing, Trump was almost drooling at the thought of the agents engaged in violent confrontation with the protestors.

These are not the writings of a sane man. These are graphic descriptions of what he likes and how he would like things to be. This is not hyperbole, or speech uttered with a wink and a nod meant to solidify support from his “base.” This is “inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action,” which the Supreme Court says is not entitled to free speech protection.

The current massive mobilization of the innumerable Federal agencies authorized to physically enforce their own “rule of law” on the general population goes beyond anything a so-called government of the people has a right to implement.

Trump is a clear and present danger to the Constitution and the nation.

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And So It Goes….

US Senate

It is over now. In the 241 year history of the United States there have only been three impeachment trials of a president. The impeachment of Donald J. Trump ended just as expected, with his acquittal by the United States Senate. The Senators sat as jurors but heard no live witnesses and read no documentary evidence other than that gathered by the House of Representatives. That was a marked departure from all other impeachment trials in the Senate.

What have we learned? We have learned that our government process has devolved into one where only party loyalty and raw political power counts. The House, with the Democrats in the majority, did not allow Republicans to call witnesses. The Senate, with the Republicans in the majority, blocked witnesses and documents and considered voting to “dismiss” the charges without even allowing the House managers to present their case.

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I Have a Dream….

My dream is that Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Republican Leader of the Senate, solemnly announces that he has received from the House of Representatives Articles of Impeachment of Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, and that as detailed by the Constitution and the rules of the Senate he is turning the gavel over to the Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts, who will preside (Article I, Section 3, Clause 6).

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L’état n’est pas Donald Trump

L’affaire Trump has entered a new stage. In a scathing eight page letter to Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives, White House counsel Pat Cipollone declared that Donald Trump “cannot participate” in the House’s impeachment inquiry, complaining the “inquiry lacks any legitimate constitutional foundation, any pretense of fairness, or even the most elementary due process protections.”

The Trumpies of course love the letter even though it reads like Trump himself sketched it out, filling it with his long list of lies and manufactured grievances, and then handed it to Cipollone. I can imagine Cipollone struggling to take out Trump’s usual adjectives like, “lil’ Adam Schiff,” and adding some legalese. The resulting argument would get a failing grade in anyone’s first year Constitutional Law course.

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The Whistle Blows for Trump

I won’t even try to fight it, as I did in my last blog. Now the whistleblower’s complaint has been released and so was a summary memo describing the telephone conversation Donald Trump had with the President of Ukraine.

Please, I beg you. READ the complaint and the telephone call memo. Make up your own mind. Beware the pundits and the spinners. Even me. It remains both inexplicable and frustrating to me that two people can look at the same material and come to different conclusions. But that’s life. What I can’t abide is people voicing an opinion without having read the material. Each document is only a handful of pages long. Make the effort.

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Why is it so hard?

I think I’ve figured out why it is so hard to get these blogs written. I have a routine. I’ll have an idea, spend half a day thinking about it and doing any necessary research. Then I’ll spend the afternoon writing. Then I sleep on it and the next morning, edit it with fresh eyes and look for a visual or two to insert. Easy, right?

The problem is I keep writing about Donald Trump. He dominates the news and my thoughts. I simply can’t believe what he says. I can’t believe what he does or tries to do. I can’t believe how many people passively remain quiet or openly support his actions. So I write. But overnight, he does something worse. Day in and day out. Now, come the morning, I’m faced with the dilemma, finish the piece from the day before, or drop everything to tackle the latest horror? I’m frozen in the headlights of Trump.

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Parliament: At Least Debate

One of the more esoteric debates in academia for those studying politics is the contrast between the American form of government, with a strong executive and an elected legislature wielding equal power, with the democratic parliamentary system in which the elected legislature is the ultimate power, the head of state subservient to it and the executive chosen by it. In other words, America v. England.

I frequently got into this debate with my father, a true Anglophile, and we never resolved the issue. The compare and contrast form of discussion was, in many way, ironic because of the historical circumstances. England had a strong executive at the time of the American revolution. King George III reigned at that time, had considerable real power compared with today’s Queen Elizabeth II, and was for Americans the perfect example of a leader to be avoided.

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