'Normal' Life, Impeachment Examples

–IF THERE WERE SUCH A THING? —

The big question many are asking today is why Republicans – and a fair number of independents – have failed to climb on the impeachment bandwagon despite overwhelming factual evidence of the President’s “arms for investigations” shakedown of Ukraine for his personal political benefit.  In my view, the problem is getting Mr. and Mrs. America to understand and grasp, in terms they can personally relate to simply and easily, what impeachment means and how it works.

Impeachment resembles a trial in our criminal justice system. But it is NOT the same.

The procedural similarities are obvious: The House functions as a grand jury, investigating and, ultimately –when and if sufficient grounds are established – “indicting” (impeaching) the official in question (the Vice President and members of the Cabinet can also be impeached by the House of Representatives). From there, the matter goes to “trial” – the U.S. Senate, with all 100 Senators constituting the jury, and a 2/3rds vote (67) required to convict. Upon conviction, an impeached official is removed from office. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court acts as the presiding Juror in the Senate’s deliberations, though it is not clear who prevails in procedural matters??

The standard for impeachment and conviction is defined in Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution and reads, in its entirety, “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

The intentions of the Founding Fathers around impeachment are clear: it was intended primarily to guard against kings or other foreign powers from interfering in U.S. affairs – especially against interference in elections.

In the only two previous cases of impeachment — where there was an indictment by the House followed by acquittal in the Senate – the accusations were well understood. In the case of Andrew Johnson, the crime was simply Johnson’s appointment of a person to a government post ‘solely’ on political grounds —more easily understandable today.  In Bill Clinton’s case, the crime was based on improper sexual behavior; also easily understood today.

The current case against Trump is based on a simple scheme to withhold U.S. taxpayer dollars authorized and intended by Congress for Ukraine’s defense in an explicit exchange for Ukraine investigating Trump’s likeliest political opponent in the upcoming 2020 election, Joe Biden.

The Johnson case was simply a political fight carried to extremes. With hindsight it failed correctly.

The Clinton case was improper personal sexual misbehavior by Clinton, which also with hindsight failed correctly.

Trump’s Ukraine transgressions came to light in the midst of a confusing mine field of Trump’s aggressive mistakes domestically and abroad, along with his trampling of democratic norms, Western alliances, and seeming inability to speak truthfully a lot of the times.

In short, today’s impeachment boils down to Trump putting his personal political future before U.S. national security by demanding something of value (investigations) in exchange for an official act (releasing the already appropriated funds). It really is a simple case, if one looks at the facts and evidence and puts aside the obvious partisan differences.

The facts are not in dispute – Trump and his minions (including personal hand puppet Rep. Devin Nunes) have not introduced a single piece of evidence that counter the allegations. Instead, they are trying to hide behind complaints about “process” and ludicrous legal arguments of “absolute immunity” from Congressional oversight to prevent officials at the center of Trump’s scheme from testifying.

So, to better understand this case, IMAGINE the mayor of your town,  your boss at work using other peoples’  money to tarnish the reputation of someone competing for his job and at the same time seeking to extend his own contract; or the head of your labor union telling a business she will launch a strike unless the business provides certain perks and a new contract to the union chief; or an unethical relative holding your child’s allowance – paid by you — hostage until that child cleans the relative’s garage!

If you can think of Trump’s behavior in those terms – regardless of all other considerations— it should be obvious that Trump’s scheme is a serious affront to America’s national interests (Ukraine, a U.S. ally is, after all, at war with Russia). More important, it becomes clear that impeachment and conviction are essential to ensure that no future president can place their own interests ahead of their oath of office to put the public interest first.

 Mr. and Mrs. America our precious democracy demands nothing less from you and all your neighbors.

Buttigeig For President?

IS THAT POSSIBLE IN TODAY’S WORLD?

“Mayor Pete” is an amazing person. He has a lot of the charm, warmth and brilliance of President Obama. By all accounts, he would restore integrity, honesty and true patriotism in the White House. The attached write-up highlights the possibilities of a “President Pete.” I find myself drawn to his candidacy based entirely on his potentially outstanding competence.

But…

But what? Some will immediately focus on his issues with the African American community, borne in part of racial tensions in the city he governs. Others will wonder, as I do, whether America is ready to elect a gay man with a ‘husband’—does that imply he will be the first ‘wife’ who is also the President?

Central to both concerns, of course, is simply winning in 2020. The paramount issue for Democratic primary voters is “electability,” so evaluating the many candidates is less about comparing policy points than gauging their appeal to the much broader swath of voters who will cast ballots next November.

Elizabeth Warren provides a useful example here. She rose to the top of the primary heap, then fell quickly back to earth after outlining a $30 trillion health care plan. That doesn’t mean primary voters don’t want Medicare for All – many, many of them do, even at the cost of private insurance. What it does reflect is voters’ real-time assessments of electability. Whatever I might think of the plan, I don’t for a minute think it’s a smart pitch to general election voters.

Mayor Pete has three big “buts” sowing doubts about his electability:

  • Lack of support from Black and African American voters. Turnout in swing states will be key in 2020, and it is simply unknown whether voters of color will show up in numbers sufficient to drive the outcome. So far, Buttigeig has failed to spark any passion from this community. Will their disdain for Trump be enough to drive them to the polls, if he’s the nominee?
  • Doubts that America is ready for a gay President. Roughly half of voters say they’re OK with a gay president. That’s a thin margin to start with. But, again, primary voters are thinking more about the country writ large than their own personal comfort with the idea of a gay president. And only 40 percent of them believe the country is ready.
  • The idea that many black people won’t support a gay candidate. Recent press reports around this subject have largely debunked the canard that older black voters are “anti-gay.” But to the extent this stereotype persists in primary voters’ minds, it adds to the perception of un-electability.

I, too, am in the camp that is unsure that America is ready for a gay President. But I’m also troubled by the emphasis on winning at all costs. One suspects, after all, that a lot of Republicans in 2016 came around to Trump through much the same process.

The idealist in me, moreover, wants to believe that it’s always right to support the candidate you would choose if you were able to choose the winner. And I’m troubled deeply by the idea that ignoring my own values and focusing solely on the electability of a candidate simply perpetuates the hate. Shouldn’t we be better than that? Yes!

BUT, what is clearer still is that we’re not better than that – at least not yet.

Mayor Pete is, therefore, a VERY BIG gamble in 2020.

I will appreciate all your feedback!!

Deplorables!

That one deplorable word lost the 2016 Presidential election.

And that same deplorable word is at the root of today’s Impeachment debate!

And, that word also describes the essence of a colossal revolution brewing in our democratic country.

We must face up to the issue honestly and frankly. And we must develop a practical strategy and tactics to defuse and deflect the problem, if we’re to get back on our 200-year track record toward a lasting democracy with a diverse population which shares liberty and respect for all in common!

When Hillary Clinton used the word ‘deplorables’ to describe her opponents in 2016, she stupidly and inadvertently revealed that she saw herself ABOVE the rest of the world. It was an attitude apparent in other ways – most famously her use of a private email server. Though Clinton was never, in my opinion, truly an elite in the best sense of that word, she has long sought to flaunt her status and privileges as if she were.

Hillary’s deplorable “deplorables” comment cemented in the minds of many who would ultimately vote for Trump the stereotype of elites looking down their noses at “middle America.” Today there are literally tens of millions of Americans who believe that most politicians and elites think of them the same way as Hillary let slip.

Hillary’s comment literally pushed these people into Donald Trump’s hands, where they’ve firmly stayed despite … everything. Even today, Trump’s support among Republicans exceeds his support during the 2016 Republican primaries. Most Republicans loathed him, but he managed to emerge from a crowded field. Hillary’s tongue took care of the rest.

But whatever the political ramifications of Clinton’s remark, when 300 plus million people start to split over who in America is deplorable and who is admirable, big dangers lurk in the cracks that our democracy is beginning to show.

We can NOT allow her state of mind to take over our world today simply because she was NOT elected. And it’s quite possible that Hillary’s superiority complex might have been as bad for the country (albeit in different ways) as Trump’s inferiority complex has proven to be.

My suggestion on how to deal with this new obviously deplorable problem is that we must ALL get openly angry with Hillary. The fact is, most elites today DEPLORE her because she was and is so selfish and wrong. 

We should show how we feel by appearing to lock our arms in unity and say, “Hillary was never speaking for us!!” and pass that message with appropriate photos around that point.

Now, together we must take our country back from the man who IS the epitome of deplorable, who also has a dangerous inferiority complex to make it even worse.