Three Thoughts about Impeachment

This one will be short, but definitely not sweet.
 There are three things that are obvious to anyone with eyes, ears, and a brain.
1. Of course Trump is guilty. He’s as guilty as were Bonnie and Clyde. All of the evidence is clear on that. Donald Trump is the most monstrous criminal who ever stepped foot in the White House.
2. The Republican Senate knows he’s guilty as well as you and i do. They. Do. Not. Care.
Trump is their leader, their Hitler.
3.The GOP is interested in only one thing: completing and solidifying their coup and destroying democracy. The GOP as a body is the greatest traitor our Republic has ever seen.

Time for Bernie and Liz to come together

I’m going to keep this one short and very much to the point.

It’s time for a dual ticket.
It is time, I believe, for two Democratic candidates to come together and campaign as a president/Vice-President combination. Those candidates are Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Liz and Bernie would need to reach an agreement with Bernie at the top of the ticket, I think, with Elizabeth primed to succeed him. I base this strictly on Bernie’s age.
Yeah, I know campaigning as a pre-set ticket ‘just isn’t done,’ but it’s time to change that. A fully-formed ticket would remove the Bernie vs Liz dilemma going into into primaries.  I think that if they came together like this, a Sanders/Warren duo would set up a powerful vision of continuity for America. It would could unite the supporters of each, and the entire progressive movement. I don’t think Trump and his corrupt Republican party could stand against it.

Could it backfire?  Possible. But here’s the thing. We have reached the point, in terms of a crumbling environment and insane level of wealth distribution  that the only way we can save both the planet and our society is with aggressive, unified action. Any move toward centrism is doomed to be too little, to slow and too late.

 

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.

Abortion, Don Trump, & Me vs. the Right

   I need to clarify something.  I frequently tell right-wingers that they cannot escape responsibility for supporting Donald Trump by saying they voted for him for this reason or that reason, but don’t agree with every awful thing he does. This brings me to abortion, and my views on it.
   Abortion, and to a lesser degree birth control, are two very key reasons a lot of religious conservatives voted against Hillary Clinton and not actually ‘for’ Donald Trump, they say. I tell them “When you vote for a person, you vote to accept all that they are, and all that they represent. You have responsibility for their actions whether you want to accept it or not.” I stand by that. So I feel the need to be clear about my stance on abortion vis-à-vis my vote for progressive candidates..
  I believe that a woman’s body is her own, but that she has certain responsibilities in how she uses it in regard to her amazing facility to create life. I believe the same about men. Clearly, it’s much more complicated for women, because men cannot conceive. They do, however, provide half of the conception formula.  Sadly, a man who doesn’t care about his responsibility can walk away from the consequences of his actions.
   It’s a much heavier responsibility for women because they can’t just walk away. I understand that. Here are my core beliefs.
   1.  I do not believe in abortion for convenience. Abortion is
not acceptable to me as an alternative to exercising responsibility. Don’t tell me you forgot, you were just so overwhelmed by passion you (male & female both) couldn’t control yourself. If you have that little self-control, perhaps you shouldn’t live around other people.
   1a  I understand there is now, or soon will be, an effective ‘morning after’ pill for such situations. By all means, use it.
   2.  I believe in birth control, birth control, birth control. Don’t even try to preach to me against abortion and birth control at the same time. Sexual attraction is one of the most intense connections between people. If you deny both abortion and birth control, you are irresponsible and naïve. And don’t get me started, here, about how important birth control is world-wide, as humans continue to multiply and multiply. Guppies beware.
   3.  I believe in abortion in instances of rape, incest, and when the mother’s live is in danger. In these cases, the final decision MUST rest with the woman.
   3a  I confess I have no clear thoughts of how to proceed re cases in which the child is going to be born severely deformed and/or disabled. I can say this. This decision, again, must be made by the woman, and I hope with much loving, compassionate counseling.
   4.  I believe in Planned Parenthood. Every statistic shows that abortion, and deaths from abortion, are much lower thanks to Planned Parenthood.
   5.  Keep religion out of it. If you can’t make a good moral, responsible, constructive decision on your own, without looking at what some local community “prophet” claimed was “God’s law” two thousand years ago, I’m not sure I trust you to go for pizza. I believe in God (Goddess, Creator, the Force, however we refer to it). But I do not ascribe to neatly packaged ‘religions’ that love, above all, to proclaim that ‘their’ view of God is the only one. I think we are supposed to learn, to be responsible toward each other, the other life with which we share this incredible planet, and the planet itself, without passing the buck to page 71, or chapter 28, or verse 8 in paragraph 16 of section 49, etc. If we can’t practice decent morality and responsible and stewardship and kindness because it is in our heart, we are already lost.
   Summary:  Abortion for convenience, no, I don’t like that.
   Birth control, and Planned Parenthood, yes and yes and yes and yes again. Abortion when the mother’s life is in danger, or the child may be born severely disabled, has to be totally up to the woman. Competent, compassionate (as opposed to brow beating and bullying and religious book thumping) is vital.
   If you disagree, fine. That is your prerogative. But if you think your feeling on this particular issue justifies your support of a criminal, corrupt, authoritarian, anti-Constitution fascist Hitler wanna-be, of neo-Nazism, anti-immigration white supremacy racists, of a sick “nationalism” that spawned both World Wars, of treating women as second class citizens and virtual serfs,  of total disregard for the very air we breathe and water we drink and animal life with which we share this place, I probably wasted my time here, starting with “I need to clarify…”
   I think I can justify my feelings about abortion in the framework of how I vote, and still hold you responsible for your support of a man who is all of the above.

8 Points: Free Market Capitalism

Donald Trump has doubled down on his statement that American wages are too high. Here are 8 points about free market capitalism that I think you need to understand.
 
This view of Donald Trump’s actually represents the corporate view and Republican philosophy of economy. Some points, as briefly as I can phrase them.
The job of a teacher is to inform, explain, and clarify. That’s what I’m doing here. I have to believe that there are vast numbers of Americans who voted for Trump, who have for years voted for Republicans, who, if they understand how all of this really works, would cross the street,
instead of continuing to elect the very people who hold them down and
think no more of them than the cost of the office coffee maker.
 
1. Trickle down economics are INTENDED to benefit the wealthy, the
     largest investors because they “create jobs.” Any benefit to the
     average worker is purely incidental.
2. The amount that trickles down is left to the discretion of these
     wealthy, large investors.
3.  One of the most fundamental business philosophies since, well,
     since there has been business, is that LABOR is a COST, to be
     controlled and held to the lowest level possible in order to maximize
     profit. In fact, it’s generally regarded as one of the MOST controllable
     costs.
4.  As competition from other countries rose during the 1990’s and the
    21st century, these large, wealthy investors and the companies they
    control saw that their only way to compete with countries whose labor
    forces made much less than American workers, WITHOUT
     LOWERING THEIR PROFIT, was to pay American  workers less as
    well. If they could pay a dollar an hour, they’d happily do so.
5. Republican philosophy has ALWAYS been based on points 1-4. It has
    also ALWAYS been based on pay your own way without assistance,
    and the government should have no part in helping you. Theirs is a
    fully Darwinian philosophy. Only those who can keep up, on their own
    without assistance, DESERVE to continue. Those who can’t,
    regardless of whatever may prevent them from doing so—loss of their
    income due to technology or shifting markets, health emergencies,
    business downsizing, etc., are not the problem or responsibility of the
    society or the government. If they starve, they starve. If they die of
    illness because they can’t afford treatment, they die.
6. It all boils down to one thing and one thing only: Provide profits. It’s
    ALL about feeding the profits. It has ALWAYS BEEN about feeding
    the profits of the wealthiest. If you don’t believe me, you have not
    been paying attention.
7. Donald Trump’s belief that wages are too high is an expression of
    common corporate—and REPUBLICAN— belief that American
    workers at the employee level have no right to any wage other than
    what businesses wish to pay them.
8. It is the full expectation of the corporate, and Republican mind, that
    the employee class should be satisfied and happy with whatever they
    are given, and no matter how small the wage or how high the costs
    living, provide for their family and education and retirement.
 
It’s worth noting that this philosophy has always been the #1 feature of free market capitalism. It is also the #1 NEGATIVE feature . Why did the Republicans, starting with Reagan, start embark on a campaign to destroy unions? Because unions benefit the common worker, and in doing so, reduce profits. Minimum wages, livable wages, health care benefits (which are necessary because of the “pay as little as possible” rule of business), pensions…all of these things lower profit. In a free
market capitalist society, there is NO bigger sin.
 
 
Final note: This isn’t Marxist stuff. This isn’t dreaded Socialistic ravings. It is, simply and factually, a description of how free markets and capitalism work. This is also why it is the responsibility and necessity of a democratic, capitalistic, free market government like ours, to step in and ensure that the working class, which makes up the VAST majority of American citizens, and not victimized by the richest (the 2%) as they expand their own wealth. This isn’t Socialism. This is Socially
Responsible Government.