Tag Archives: gurvey

Twice Impeached

Another record for the man who is everything. Donald Trump is now the only person to have been impeached twice by the House of Representatives. And whether or not he is found guilty when tried by the Senate, he also has the distinction of being a president of the United States accused by a bipartisan coalition. Ten Republican House members voted to impeach the titular head of their party. Four others abstained from the vote.

It is not difficult to see why. The impeachment came one week after a violent mob, encouraged by Trump, came to Washington and attacked Congress in an attempt to keep it from counting the certified election results sent in by all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Trump, leader of the executive branch of government, was demanding the mob stop the legislative branch from performing its constitutional and statutory function and instead disenfranchise millions of voters and install Trump as a literal dictator for another term as president.

“The president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack…. There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Not my words. Nor those of a Democrat. Those are the words of Representative Liz Cheney, the third-highest-ranking Republican in the House.

And why not? Just before the mob broke through the police lines surrounding the Capitol, Trump himself had addressed them outside the White House, “We’ve got to get rid of the weak congresspeople,” Trump ranted, “the ones that aren’t any good, the Liz Cheneys of the world, we got to get rid of them. He urged his followers to march on Congress “Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”

Trump also told the mob how disappointed he was in Vice-President Mike Pence, who had promised to fulfill his constitutional duty and announce the election of Joe Biden as the next president. By the time the mob was marauding through the Capitol halls, they were chanting, “Hang Mike Pence” and “Where’s Nancy,” a reference the Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House. They got within 100 feet of where Pence and his family were being guarded by the Secret Service.

Why Bother?

No sooner had the halls of Congress been secured than Trump loyalists, more than one hundred in the House and a handful in the Senate, voted to reject the ballots on the false assertion that they were invalid. Passionate speeches were given by these insurrectionists contending, as Trump had been falsely asserting since before the election, that he could not lose unless the election was “stolen.”

So for those who ask, “Why Bother?” to impeach a man who will be out of office before he can be tried, the first answer is to show the world that the liars and seditionists both outside and in the government did not succeed. The indictment in the House speaks for itself. And even if it proves impossible to muster the 17 Republican votes in the Senate to produce the first conviction of a treasonous president in the nation’s history. The crime is too severe to be dismissed without taking action.

And there is another matter. Trump loyalists argue that the Senate trial, coming after the end of his term, is unnecessary, “moot” in legal terms. That expression is used for a case before a court where the decision of the court will have no impact. But while it is true you cannot remove from office a president whose term has already expired, there is a second consequence to an impeachment and guilty verdict. Only after a guilty verdict can a second vote be taken barring Trump from ever holding federal office again. For Trump, insisting he has been cheated and floating a trial balloon about running for a second term in 2024, this second punishment is necessary and remains relevant even after the expiration of his first term. A guilty verdict is also required to deny Trump a taxpayer funded retirement. And to deny Trump access to classified materials, something a cash short former president might be willing to pass on to enemies of the United States.

These votes will also put Republicans on record, and that record will be a great value to Republicans as they contemplate the future of their party.

What’s Next?

“Difficult to see,” said the great sage, Yoda. “Always in motion is the future.”

First and foremost, we have to get through Inauguration Day, January 20th. With 25,000 national guard soldiers, many carrying live ammunition, deployed around Washington, it seems unlikely that a mob of insurrectionists will get close to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Although there are some footnotes here that give one pause. We have heard that the guard members will be carefully vetted after reports that past and off-duty servicemen and women were in the mob that attacked the Capitol. And we have all read the extraordinary letter written by the generals in command of our armed forces, reminding the rank and file of their responsibility to defend the Constitution and reiterating that Joe Biden is the legally elected new command-in-chief.

But beyond that, the investigation into the January 6th mob attack must continue. While many, probably a majority, of the mob were Trump supporters driven to attend individually, there were also organized groups involved. Some of these are the usual domestic terrorists who surface from time to time in America, the Weather Underground (1969), The Symbionese Liberation Army ( 1973), the Unabomber (1978), Waco (1993), Oklahoma City (1995), I’ve given up trying to remember them all.

But others are established Republican organizations, The Republican Attorneys General Association, Turning Point Action and Tea Party Patriots. At least six current or former members of the Council for National Policy (CNP), an influential group that for decades has served as a hub for conservative and Christian activists, also played roles in promoting the rally.

And still others are active Republican public officials, including members of Congress itself! Mikie Sherrill , Democratic Representative for my New Jersey district and a 10 year veteran of the United States Navy, in a 13-minute Facebook video  directed to her constituents, said she witnessed colleagues escorting people through the Capitol on Jan. 5 for what she described as “reconnaissance” ahead of the next day’s violent insurrection that left five dead. She says she has turned over her information to investigators.

And she is not the only member of Congress to suspect some of her colleagues of assisting the insurrectionists. In the aftermath of the mob attack, several Republican members protested increased security. Many went around the metal detectors installed at the door of the House chamber, defying the orders of the Sargent at Arms and the Capitol Police.

Lauren Boebert, a gun-rights activist and devotee of the conspiracy theory QAnon organization, won election to Congress from Colorado’s 3rd district. Boebert owns a restaurant where staff openly carry weapons. She also has a rap-sheet for multiple arrests. She has sworn that she will carry her Glock pistol into the Capitol, and the day after the mob attack, she went around the metal detector after refusing the request from Capitol Police officers that she allow them to inspect her purse.

As fearful as I am of Biden being shot from the crowd in front of him during the inauguration, I am equally afraid he will be shot in the back by someone in the distinguished guests seating area behind him.

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alex trebek

It is interesting how some things get to you. In the midst of all the election news, not be mention a bunch of other items going on in my life, I am deeply saddened to hear the news that Alex Trebek, who has been the host of the syndicated television game show “Jeopardy” since 1984, has died at the age of 80. He had been fighting advanced pancreatic cancer, which he revealed to his audience in March of 2019.

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The TRUMP VIRUS

There is perhaps nothing more shocking than the lies Donald Trump and his surrogates on the campaign trail tell about the administration’s disastrous response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The virus has crippled the nation and killed at this writing 230,000 Americans. For the latest in the death toll, check the site of Johns Hopkins University Medicine.

The Covid Disinformation Campaign

On March 26, 2020, Trump said, “Nobody would have ever thought a thing like this could have happened.” But the record shows he was warned repeatedly, first about the generic pandemic threat and then about this specific threat itself. You can watch his string of denials as they happened for yourself.

Trump was handed a pandemic game plan by the Obama national security team titled, “Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents.” The Obamas even staged a crisis management exercise as part of the transition. Trump ignored the drill and the plan. Trump disbanded the national security team in place to handle just this kind of crisis. Trump withdrew American epidemiologists already on the ground in China who could have provided early intelligence on the spread of the virus. Trump ignored a 2017 Pentagon report on the impact a pandemic could have on American military readiness.

How do you feel?

Frightened? Anxious? Confused? All of the above? Join the club.

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Updates and tidbits

Back from Space

SpaceX’s Dragon Demo-2 flight has ended with the successful return to earth of NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley after spending more than two months on the International Space Station. As I wrote at the time of their launch, this flight marks the return to America of the ability to send humans into space.

After the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2000, Americans who wanted to go the the ISS had to buy a seat on a Russian rocket. NASA began, during the Obama-Biden administration, what is called the “Commercial Crew” program effectively outsourcing this task to private industry. SpaceX is the first to successfully demonstrate this capability. This flight was named “Demo-2.” The first regularly contracted flight of the Crew Dragon is set to take four astronauts, three Americans and one Japanese, to the space station later this year.

As they left the capsule Behnken and Hurley thanks the SpaceX team. The SpaceX communicator said, “Thanks for riding SpaceX.” For America’s space program, a new day has begun.

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apple 1 – eu 0

It was a win for Apple. A loss for the European Union. And a case study for the rest of us.

The news story itself is simple. In 2016, the European Commission ordered Apple to pay Ireland 13 billion euros ($14.9 billion) for ten years of back taxes. The Commission claimed Apple benefited from illegal state aid via two Irish tax rulings that artificially reduced its tax burden for over two decades, to as low as 0.005% in 2014.

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Trump’s gestapo comes to portland

Hard to believe but the fears I raised in my last column have now been realized and the situation is far worse.

The headlines exploded around the world on the morning of July 15th, summed up best by this Oregon PBS report, “Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles to Grab Protestors Off Portland Streets.”

It is positively frightening. And it can happen to you. It can happen to me. It can happen to any one of us.

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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.

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