Tag Archives: gurvey

Stormygate.

The headlines say it all. Donald J. Trump, the first American President to be impeached twice while in office, is about to be the first ex-President indicted for a criminal offense after leaving office.

The impending event has seen the chattering heads of cable television and social media wagging with speculation ever since the news, quoting “sources,” broke last Thursday. Trump and his lawyers confirmed the news Friday, announcing that the Donald would travel to New York on Monday and would report to court on Tuesday for his formal charging and arraignment.

As is tradition in New York, the grand jury’s formal accusation is under seal until the arraignment and the district attorney has said nothing, meaning all comment is made in the absence of any factual knowledge of the sum and substance of the charges. That hasn’t stopped the speculation. Nor has it stopped the clear calls for protest demonstrations, bordering on violence, coming from Trump and his acolytes. The New York Police Department is on full alert.

Much of what Trump’s fellow Republicans have argued in recent days amounts to total nonsense. The one factual observation is that this will be the first time a former president is charged with a crime. Trump’s apologists see that fact as evidence the indictment is ill advised. My first reaction was to observe that the fact this is a historic first simply means never in American history have we had a president who is so despotic, so blatantly criminal in his activities that it would be a grave dereliction of duty for the grand jury not to indict him.

But on further reflection I have come to realize we have been here before. Or, rather, one out of three of us has been here before. I was surprised to discover that only one-third of the U.S. population is old enough to have been around during the Watergate scandal which ended with the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974. Nixon is the only American president to have resigned his office.

Nixon had won reelection to a second term as president by an overwhelming margin. During the campaign, in June 1972, there was a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquaters in the Watergate apartment and office complex in Washington. It is from that event that the scandal takes its name. While the break-in had little effect on the election, details revealed over the next two years traced the planning for the break-in and a subsequent cover-up to the highest levels of the Nixon administration and to the president himself.

With the Justice Department and the FBI implicated, a special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, Jr. was appointed. Cox soon uncovered widespread evidence of political espionage, illegal wiretaps, and influence peddling. In July 1973 it was revealed that Nixon had secretly recorded conversations in the White House since 1971. Cox sued to obtain the tapes.

On October 20, 1973, Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson to fire the special prosecutor. Richardson refused and resigned; his assistant, William Ruckelshaus, refused and was fired. Finally, Solicitor General Robert Bork fired Cox. This became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.” It led to calls for Nixon’s impeachment, and the House of Representatives began an impeachment investigation.

I was a graduate student studying journalism on the night of the massacre. It is difficult to explain to those who were not alive at that time the emotions felt throughout the nation. I wondered if the country could survive the crisis. The impact of Watergate was so great for decades scandals were named by tacking the suffix “-gate” to a defining word.

Which explains my headline above, “Stormygate” for the current crisis, where Trump stands on the brink of being charged for his role in the payment of money to buy the silence of Stormy Daniels, an adult movie performer with whom he apparently had a sexual relationship, in the middle of his 2016 campaign for president.

Nixon resigned before the House of Representatives voted on his impeachment. Many leaders of the Republican party spoke out against him and encouraged his resignation.

There remained the question of whether Nixon should face criminal charges. The special Watergate grand jury, it was later reported, had named Nixon an “unindicted co-conspirator” because the Justice Department said they could not indict a sitting president. That remains a DoJ “policy”, not a court tested rule or law. Explaining that he believed the nation should be saved the turmoil and uncertainty of a trial for the former president, President Gerald Ford issued Nixon a full and unconditional pardon.

For decades I have thought this was a wise move, helping the nation move on, giving it time to heal. Now, faced with the questions of Donald Trump’s guilt or innocence at a time when great turmoil and divisiveness surrounds us, I’m no longer sure. If Richard Nixon had faced a jury, we would have had some clarity on the uncharted waters we now face.

Stay tuned.

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Our House is a Mess

For the first time in one hundred years, the House of Representatives could not elect a Speaker on the first ballot.

As the 118th Congress convenes, the first order of House business is the election of a new speaker — and current Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California is being stymied by a group of GOP hardliners demanding concessions.

To win the gavel, McCarthy needs a majority of the members-elect who are present and voting. But because the GOP holds only a five-seat advantage, a small number of defections is so far stopping McCarthy from gaining the office he’s long sought. In fact, on the first two ballots McCarthy lost his caucus by nineteen votes. That grew to twenty votes on the third ballot. The Democrats were united through it all, supporting minority leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York with their 212 votes.

The House can conduct no other business until a speaker is chosen. For the first time in a century, the vote is requiring multiple rounds.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The Republicans are too divided to govern, The Democrats are too stupid to get elected.

Updates as appropriate.

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How Could You?

If you are voting for Democrats, you can leave now. This isn’t for you.

If you are voting for Republicans, or not voting at all. Stick around. I have a question for you.

What the hell are you thinking?

Do you hear the words, “Democracy is on the line” and chuckle? Don’t. It is.

There are more than three hundred people running for election who believe the Big Lie that Donnie Trump won in 2020. He didn’t. Sixty judges and scores of election officials, many of them Republican, said he didn’t. There is hard physical evidence that HE knows he didn’t. NO evidence of improper voting that changed the outcome of the election was discovered anywhere.

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A Doolittle for Ukraine

What Ukraine could use is a Jimmy Doolittle. James (Jimmy) Doolittle was a pilot, a Lieutenant Colonel in 1942, when he led a bombing raid on Tokyo. It was just five months after Pearl Harbor, where the Japanese struck the American Naval base in a surprise attack.

Doolittle led sixteen stripped-down B-25 bombers carrying extra fuel and a reduced bombload taking off from the U.S.S. Hornet – a feat never attempted – and struck Tokyo. Fifteen of the planes then flew to the Chinese coast where they ditched and the crews were recovered by Chinese nationalist allies, while the other bomber landed in the Soviet Union.

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In Memoriam

Memorial Day, along with Veterans Day, are the days on which we honor the men and women in uniform who have given their lives to defend our nation. I have always had respect for those who wear the uniform. And I wonder if I would have been able to show their courage and dedication had I been called to do so.

I mean no disrespect, and I certainly hope our soldiers and veterans will not think ill of me, but I find myself moved to commandeer their day to mark another memorial and to write, for what seems the umpteenth time, about a mass killing in America. The twenty-one souls whose faces appear at the top of this columns died at the hands of an eighteen-year-old killer at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

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Guns for All!

I’m beginning to think I have been going about this the wrong way. I write about the never-ending string of mass shootings. I tell the history of the Second Amendment. I deplore the right-wing Republican judges who overturn even the most reasonable legislation designed to curtail the endless supply of weapons. But here we are with another mass shooting. And on the same weekend, a single killing which would have been worse had it not been for some heroism by a church congregation.

A majority of the American people favor placing stricter limits on the ownership of guns. But the political leaders do not.

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