A PRIVATE POLL FROM ABOUT 1,000 ‘FRIENDS?’

Rampaging curiosity is stirring with the news that Mueller is just about finished, that Cohen WILL testify next week and that Roger Stone has been cornered — leads one to ask what can we all expect to see before April Fool’s Day?

I have my own guesses, but I want to hear first from y’all.

None of the details will ever be revealed, but your overall views could be quite instructive and interesting and you will, of course, get the full feedback.

  1. Trump’s base will shrink by at least 1/3 effectively likely ending his reelection ambitions.
  2. The House will get his tax returns and financials which may insure that he will get some jail time like his buddies.
  3. The Republican Senate leadership will fairly quickly abandon Trump for fear that he will take them down too.
  4. The House will likely move toward an Impeachment indictment. Despite all, the 2/3 vote in the Senate to vote to convict impeachment may be beyond reach.
  5. Despite that, a criminal indictment of Trump is likely, though it is unlikely that he would be tried until his Presidency ends.
  6. A sane person in his position would use what little remaining leverage he might have to negotiate with the Congress a peaceful ending NOT in jail.

I know a lot of you do not agree with me about Trump and I hope that we all learn more from what the group as a whole thinks???

**For example, your response could be “Agree (or Disagree) to X, Y, & Z” OR if you prefer to remain invisible, respond with “3 Agrees/2 Disagrees” (or, obviously, any other combination that suits your views).

TRUMP’S BIGGEST, PERHAPS FATAL MISTAKE

I never thought that Trump could make me feel better and younger. But he finally has by transporting me back to the 1950’s and my days at Harvard Law School when I studied Constitutional law. Those were the good old days — when it was all just theoretical!

I will spare you a blog in lawyer’s language, so here is what I learned—in plain English.

The overwhelming concern of our Constitution’s authors was to not recreate the monarchy they were then violently [militarily] opposing.  Whatever else America might be, or become, the Founders were united in their determination that there would never be anything like a KING ruling over its people.

That was why they created 3 – yes, THREE— separate branches of government: legislative; judicial and executive. By carefully allocating power amongst them — the famous “checks and balances” of our constitutional system – the Founders aimed to keep each of the three branches free from undue influence or encroachment by the others – particularly the executive branch President. One needn’t have attended Harvard to understand this; every high school civics class is drilled on this relationship. Congress makes the laws, the Executive executes and carries out the laws, and the Judiciary says what the law is, or was.


The Founders also empowered the Congress [importantly with the power of the purse], because they were believed to be the closest to the people whose money it was to be spent. Only Congress can provide and allocate funds (through its normal appropriations process or special legislation), and the President (or members of the Executive branch reporting to the President) can NOT legally spend a penny unless and until it is appropriated by Congress. The Constitution gives the executive branch a single mechanism to reject Congress’s decisions in this regard (the veto), but not the power to ignore or override them. In the absence of an appropriation, the executive may not act.

History is, of course, full of horror stories of how democracies in the past century have slipped into autocracies under leaders who illegally usurped existing legislative powers until ‘the people’ were essentially subjected to dictatorial whims. It is hard to believe that even the most distressed Americans today could possibly want THAT!

Now we have Trump –like it or lump it—insisting that he will spend billions more on his beloved wall across the southern border than the amount Congress has finally, after serious and due deliberation, authorized as appropriate and necessary. To do so, he claims that by simply declaring ‘an emergency,’ he can not only accept the monies Congress allocated for this purpose (some 1.3 billion dollars) but also take other money allocated by Congress for other purposes and put it toward wall construction.

Such an approach, using a spurious determination of an ‘emergency’ at the southern border at the same time as he was accepting Congress’s number by signing the bill they sent him, is in blatant contempt of his Constitutional rights. The cooked-up, and self-admittedly fake emergency is, on its face, a gross violation of the Constitution.

The reason that this may be his biggest and fatal mistake is that it is highly likely that he will unite the Court System with Congress in stopping this imperial fiat!

Typically, the Supreme Court prefers to avoid adjudicating disputes between the other branches of government, properly believing that a political process is the best and proper forum for resolving such issues. This case is likely to be seen as truly exceptional for the simple reason that such a blatant power grab poses a serious danger to the basic Constitutional separation of powers – and, very  importantly, to the Court’s own independent authority.  If the Court were to stay on the sidelines in this instance, who’s to say that next ‘emergency’ won’t be invoked to overcome a Court order or decision that the President finds ‘inconvenient?’ There are several such really serious cases out there to worry about: health care; the special counsel; and Roe v Wade, for example.  

Now that he has just invoked this loaded word –emergency–there will surely be emergency litigation that will move like lightening through the court system and reach the Supreme Court in short order. And, (I am obviously sticking neck out here) this Supreme Court is VERY LIKELY to unanimously say NO to Trump. He personally helped that along by saying – in publicly announcing his own emergency! — “I don’t have to do this now, but I want to do it now.”

What are even the most ardent Trumpistas going to think and say when ‘his court’ and both houses of Congress reject this blatant power grab?

 It could all well come together at the same time Mueller’s report is finally being published, adding fuel to an already blazing bonfire.

Perhaps that will finally be the moment to use the 25th Amendment (the provision for dealing with illness and  incompetence not the politics of impeachment) before Trump can do even more devastating and lasting damage to our precious country.

If anyone ever had any doubt about Trump’s mental health and competence, this totally self-inflicted wound makes it clear as crystal now to the world at large.

TIPS FOR STAYING YOUNG!

My recent piece on dealing with aging produced a tidal wave of interest and amusement. The main return theme was the question ‘how to stay young?’

That is a lot tougher than how to age! Time is against us all. Let’s give it a try anyway.

First, (and this can be done) find, make and keep younger friends. I have seen this done –and deliberately—many times. It may be the most important tip of all.

Second, think well ahead. If you are making plans for 10 years out, you likely want to see them happen. That contributes to the will to survive.

Third, think young. I am not sure what that is, exactly, but it likely includes exercise, sex and learning. As people lose interest in those subjects, they gradually stop thinking young. The fact that you may do less does not mean you have lost interest.

Fourth, imagine things that might happen in the future and look forward to seeing them unfold. For instance, what and who might follow Trump is a subject that could keep you up at night, or give you the best night’s sleep you’ve had in years.

Fifth, keep an eye on cultural shifts, such as in fashion, art and music. Taking an interest in what is going on around you all the time contributes to being young.

Sixth, do not plan your investments on a statistical estimate of your life expectancy. Plan like you will live forever. Your heirs will appreciate it even if you do not!

Seventh, look for humor in everyone and everything. It is there and when you sense it, laugh out loud. Laughing is the best exercise for youth.

Eighth, do not go to class reunions. You are bound to find yourself surrounded by a bunch people you used to think were your age but who now look ancient and who are wondering how you got in the wrong room!

Ninth, dress young. Do not stay stuck in the style that was fashionable in your younger years. Looking young is being young.

Tenth, read the obits regularly and feel good that you out-lived that SOB you have hated forever but thought better not engage in a fight.

These tips, plus my curiosity, have served me well for 87 years. Your performance surely will vary.

TIPS FOR GROWING OLD

No advice; just tips for navigating the golden years.

1-DO NOT FALL! Great advice but how? Hold on to everything you can grab, but never “grab ‘em by …”, well, you know.

2-DO NOT FORGET YOUR IPHONE: You never know when God may try to reach you. Best to talk to her when she calls!

3-DO NOT FORGET YOUR NAME: The person at the front desk probably will not know it either.

4-DO NOT WORRY ABOUT LOSING YOUR HEARING: Most of what you were hearing was not worth it—learn to nod knowingly and dream on.

5-DO NOT LET SOCIAL MEDIA INTRUDE ON YOUR PRIVACY: Just kidding! You already haven’t had any since 2005.

6-DO FORGET WHAT YOU WERE TRYING TO REMEMBER: It is the quickest way to remember.

7-DO NOT TRY TO REMEMBER WHAT YOU WERE GOING TO DO NEXT: Simply do something else and you will remember it at an inconvenient moment.

8-IF SOMETHING LOOKS UNFAMILIAR: It probably really is.

9-IF EVER YOU FEEL WOBBLY: Sit down and drink a glass of whiskey.

10-IF EVER YOU DREAM OF DEATH: Wake up right away.