How Much Trouble?

I recently saw an opinion piece musing whether Americans know how much trouble they’re in. Read on. This is how much. I read this morning that Nancy Pelosi, who is reluctant to impeach, appears all-in on issuing contempt citations to Trump’s people who do not comply with subpoenas. Sounds good, right?  Yay. Go, Nancy. Rah rah rah.

But wait a minute. I managed to control my enthusiasm and stop doing cartwheels long enough to look up just how that whole contempt of Congress thing works. I needed to read this article about contempt of Congress in Wikipedia twice to be sure I understood it.

How the House enforces a contempt citation, From Wikipedia:

“Following a contempt citation, the presiding officer of the chamber is instructed to refer the matter to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia;[15] according to the law it is the “duty” of the U.S. Attorney to refer the matter to a grand jury for action. However, while the law places the duty on the U.S. Attorney to impanel a grand jury for action, some proponents of the unitary executive theory argue that the Congress cannot properly compel the U.S. Attorney to take this action against the Executive Branch, asserting that the U.S. Attorney is a member of the Executive Branch who ultimately reports only to the President and that compelling the U.S. Attorney amounts to compelling the President[citation needed]. They argue that to allow Congress to force the President to take action against a subordinate following his directives would be a violation of the separation of powers and infringe on the power of the Executive branch. The legal basis for this position, they contend, can be found in Federalist 49, in which James Madison wrote “The several departments being perfectly co-ordinate by the terms of their common commission, none of them, it is evident, can pretend to an exclusive or superior right of settling the boundaries between their respective powers.” This approach to government is commonly known as “departmentalism” or “coordinate construction”.[citation needed]
Others argue that Article II of the Constitution requires the President to execute the law, such law being what the lawmaker (e.g. Congress, in the case of statutory contempt) says it is (per Article I). The Executive Branch cannot either define the meaning of the law (such powers of legislation being reserved to Congress) or interpret the law (such powers being reserved to the several Federal Courts). They argue that any attempt by the Executive to define or interpret the law would be a violation of the separation of powers; the Executive may only—and is obligated to—execute the law consistent with its definition and interpretation; and if the law specifies a duty on one of the President’s subordinates, then the President must “take care” to see that the duty specified in the law is executed. To avoid or neglect the performance of this duty would not be faithful execution of the law, and would thus be a violation of the separation of powers, which the Congress and the Courts have several options to remedy.
The criminal offense of “contempt of Congress” sets the penalty at not less than one month nor more than twelve months in jail and a fine of not more than $100,000.[16]”

So the bottom line is that if Congress holds any of these people in contempt, they must instruct the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to convene a Grand Jury.
*Guess who the U.S. Attorney works for? Righhht.
*Guess who is ultimately responsible for making the U.S. Attorney do this? Righhht again.
So the House tells the U.S. Attorney to convene a Grand Jury. But that individual works for Donald Trump. The task of making it happen, or not happen, ultimately rests with Donald Trump.

The further we are dragged down this road into full fledged fascism—and extreme lunatic theocracy—the more I realize that the founding fathers, in twisting themselves into pretzels trying to ensure that no branch of the government trilogy ‘had an unfair advantage’ over the other two, created instead an almost perfect recipe for a person exactly like Donald Trump, with the Senate in his pocket, to become a dictator while the House dithers and scrambles about mice in a maze without an exit.

In order to get the money to build their houses, the three little pigs had to float a loan from the wolf.

How much trouble are we in? As many of us have long been saying, one whole hell of a lot.

# # #

House Majority Leader threatening to hold all Trump allies who defy subpoenas in contempt of Congress: ‘This is a huge cover-up’

 

Thank you Nancy Pelosi — NOT

Like it or not, the simple fact is that Donald Trump is proving Congress to be as impotent as a eunuch. You’ve probably already read, or heard, that now he has ordered Hope Hicks not to turn over documents to Congressional investigators, even though, as one legal expert said, he has no authority to do so since she no longer works for him.
     So far—and this is only a sampling—Trump has refused to show his tax returns, refused to conform to the emoluments clause, made every possible attempt to obstruct the Mueller investigation, lied to Congress (and the people) time after time after time, refused to obey subpoenas and told everyone in the administration to do the same thing, kidnapped thousands of children, favored foreign dictators over the American people, etc.
     The Senate, of course, is controlled by the Republican party, which has sold any genuine morality it ever possessed in order to genuflect for Trump. But what about the House of Representatives, now under Democrat control?
     It turns out that Nancy Pelosi is the fly in Sam Houston’s buttermilk.  After standing up to Trump about funding for his wall, she has become indecisive and—something we would never see from her—frightful. She is afraid to impeach. Whereas Mitch McConnell runs the Senate like a son of Heinrich Himmler, Pelosi wrings her hands and tries to say meaningful things while not allowing the House to take any concrete action about Trump’s multitudinous dictatorial acts. Day by day she behaves less like the leader of the very body which is supposed to provide oversight on the Executive, and more, much more, like Margaret Mitchell’s Melodie Hamilton.
     I and many others have said before, here and everywhere we can raise our voices, that Donald Trump is leading the United States straight down the road to a full fledged fascistic dictatorship, ala Adolf Hitler. The Republican party is riding his coattails in hopes of achieving what is, in effect, a coup. Look at McConnell’s iron fisted patently immoral manipulation of the entire legislative process in the name of stacking every federal court possible, not just with Republicans, but with conservatives so far to the right, both politically and religiously, that they qualify as cultists.
     Seventy-five percent of America fidgets. We scream and wring our hands while Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic House cower behind procedure and fear of making a misstep.  We the people are left bemoan the loss of liberties and basic rights, one by one, group by group: LGBTQ Americans because they “are different;” progressives and the ‘educated elite,’ because they are the dreaded “socialists,” Christians who don’t believe the same demented way as evangelicals; anyone who would threaten the greedy power mongers.
     But short of armed revolution, that seventy-five percent is helpless, dependent on the separation of powers which the forefathers built into the Constitution but didn’t build well enough. Seventy-five percent of America is steadily slipping under the jackboots of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the rabid minority made up of religious and social cultists and corporate controlled rapscallion Republicans no longer possessing any moral compass.
     The 25% is winning, and turning America into a fascist regime shaped by theocratic lunatics and greedy oligarchs, one of whom defiles the highest seat in government just as Hitler once did in Germany. The election of 2020 is too far away and too tenuous. If the collapse of our Republic isn’t already complete by then, it surely will be a certainty if Trump cheats his way into re-election.
     And why shouldn’t he? The system of checks and balances intended to prevent what we are seeing has so far proven completely ineffective. He lies, and defies anyone to do anything about it. He breaks the law, and dares anyone to stop him. He kidnaps children and says “So what.” And he gets away with it. Every. Time. Because half of the legislature is in on the takeover, and the other half is afraid.
     The Republic is falling, and it is as much the fault of the cowardly defenders as of the aggressors. If we are waiting for the Nancy Pelosi led Democratic House to save us, we might as well start shopping for white flags.

They fear Ocasio-Cortez; and they should

The ultra conservative gang is pulling is afraid, and they are pulling out all the stops. In this case, it’s Ben Stein. He was funny in some movies because his mode of speaking was about the same as his mode of thinking. Now he’s the latest wealth-is-for-the-wealthy striking out at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He’s out of his depth. He is attempting to compare her to Adolf Hitler because she promotes social programs, a socially responsible government, and a more equitable distribution of wealth in our country. She—gasp—actually believes things like: millionaires and billionaires ought to pay their fair share of taxes; people who work full time should earn a living wage; every American should have affordable health care; LGBTQ Americans are people too and should be treated equally.

Let’s be VERY CLEAR. What Ocasio-Cortez is talking about is a reasonable and responsible combination of government and social consciousness as a government and nation. The GOP has done all it could to enrich the richest and destroy the middle and lower economic classes. they like it that way. And now they have given us Donald Trump. We have already seen the fruits of Trump’s Hitler-like promises and psychosis—as discussed by MANY historians, sociologists, psychologists and psychiatrists who have a much firmer grip on the subject than Mister Stein. Ocasio-Cortez is nothing like either Hitler or Trump. She is the direct opposite. Remember what Joseph Goebbels said, to always accuse the other side of that which you are guilty of yourself. He also applauded lying your way to power, and advised to make the lie a big one, and keep saying it, until you convinced people to believe it.  These happen to be two of the most prominent, and effective, tools in Trump’s crooked bucket. Now Ben Stein has bought in.

Ben Stein is attacking Ocasio-Cortez for one reason and one reason only. He supports the concept of very small government and is dedicated to the trickle-down economic theories the GOP has used since the Reagan era (that’s 40 years), to continually unbalance the economy and the social strata of America. Ben Stein is a believer of the concept that, as Al Capp put it so eloquently in “Li’l Abner,” what’s good for General Bullmoose is good for the USA.” He supports the belief that 1% of the people should have all of the money, all of the political power, and all of the control.

General Bullmoose is in the White House right now. We can see how that’s working out.

And about that “small government” thing. It was feasible and reasonable in 1790 (the year of the first official census), when the population of the country was under 4 million. In a nation of 300 million plus, a nation in which 99% of the people are more in danger from their own country’s massive corporations than any outside threat, the government must be large enough to stand up for that 99% against the 1%, as well as the threats posed by racism, white supremacists, and rampant, vicious religious cultism. Think far-right evangelicals. Social responsibility maintaining stability through equity in the economic system are vital necessities for a government that represents ALL of the people, as opposed to the wealthy few and the violent cultists.

That is the kind of government Ocasio-Cortez is talking about. Ben Stein should be ashamed to even attempt comparing her to Hitler. But then, he believes the 1% should rule. They’ve been consolidating their wealth and their power for four decades. Ocasio-Cortez is talking about restoring the political and economic balance all Americans deserve, and all of America needs. The far right white supremacists don’t like it. More importantly, the 1% doesn’t like it. To make things more awful for them, she is tough. She isn’t going to politely sit down and let the old guard on either side of the aisle tell her to be quiet. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is also smart, and determined to get a fair shake for all Americans. She is a Tigress. Put her and Mitch McConnell in a locked cage WWE event, and she would have the old traitor on the mat begging for mercy with his last breath in seconds. I doubt she’d even work up a sweat. Donald Trump’s bone spurs start acting up almost as bad at the mention of her name, as they do when he hears the word Pelosi.

That’s why the wealthiest among us hate Ocasio-Cortez. It’s why they fear her. And they should.