Thursday, April 25, 2019


Oh my, it’s been a good long while since I last posted anything. What happens when someone as corrupt as Trump remains ever-present on the horizon of consciousness.  He really does seem to simply suck the air out of our world.  And the Mueller report on our End Times finally came to a close, revealing the awfulness that is within the White House. He chose not to indict on obstruction, and left that chore to Congress. But is Congress a functional body?  Could our Congress act even if Trump took out a gun and shot someone on Fifth Avenue?  Actually, it seems unlikely.
So, what is all the talk about Impeachment?  First, let us look at the reality facing the nation.  How does this impeachment thing actually work? Well, impeachment is an investigatory process carried out by the House of Representatives. If a President (other officials, including judges can be impeached) is impeached, the matter then proceeds to the Senate which carries out a trial, which either acquits or convicts the person being impeached.  Several presidents have been impeached—Andrew Johnson for serious issues involving the post-Civil War Reconstruction efforts, Richard Nixon for, among other things, obstruction of justice, and, of course, William Clinton, for obtaining a blow job while talking on the phone (surely multitasking’s first ever impeachment).

Impeachment is not reserved to presidents—a cabinet official, William Belknap was impeached in 1876 for bribery, and several judges have been impeached.

Representatives have been bringing various articles of impeachment against Trump from very early in his term of office.   But it is the content of the Mueller report that now prompts great attention.  The report documents instances in which Trump campaign staff, private lawyers, or even White House officials report behavior that seems to cross the line of acceptable behavior by a sitting President.  Even if the investigation could not conclusively prove active collaboration by the President with a hostile foreign power, his campaign benefited from that foreign power’s efforts to elect him.  And one might then ask, why did that hostile foreign power act so as to help elect Donald Trump?

But even beyond the Russian connection, so many of his underlings are now headed for prison because of illegalities committed in support of Trump that the president seems implicated almost by definition.  At the least his actions are now worthy of further investigation, which seems to be what Mueller’s report suggests should happen.

In addition, there seems at least a plausible case for violation of the foreign emoluments clause. Trump has never placed all his holdings in a blind trust, so he continues to reap large sums from foreign governments for their representatives staying at his various hotels. His children continue to pursue business deals that will involve him in some way.

And then there is the issue of Trump actively appointing and involving his family in official government business, which, at the least, is frowned upon, especially when his family has no plausible experience in the fields to which they have been appointed.  His appointments in general seem shady at best, since he continues to appoint people to positions of power and influence over agencies in which those people have competitive private interests, people who seem actively opposed to the basic missions of the agencies they would be heading.

All of this suggests strongly that Trump is a powerful threat to the very integrity of our government. The longer he is in office, the greater threat to our government he poses.  And then, speaking of threats, there is the seeming unhinged outbursts from the president, in the form of his daily twitter tirades, his constant threats to foreign powers, up to even the potential threat of war that seems to characterize his daily public utterances to the point that many observers believe he demonstrates almost daily a psychological incapacity to govern. Is he sane? Is he capable mentally of carrying out the daily duties required of a president?  Does he in fact have the mental capacity to understand what he is doing and what are the potential effects on our country and the world of his daily actions and his daily utterances? He is like a walking psychobabble.

So a reasonable case is already staring at us in the form of his daily performance for an impeachment inquiry. At the least, a failure to begin such an inquiry and to carry it out in a public manner, is to suggest that Trump is somehow above scrutiny, and even, above the law.  A new standard is being set on a daily basis for presidential behavior that everyone involved may well regret in the future.  Mitch McConnell may in fact be setting new standards for how a political party performs its responsibilities as an oversight agent. We have three distinct and independent agents in our system of government: an executive branch which is responsible for executing the laws of the nation, a legislative branch, with its own twin chapters, namely the Senate and the House of Representatives, which devises our laws, and the judicial branch which is responsible for overseeing the constitutional adherence and faithfulness of the other two branches.  Each of these branches provides a check on the performance of the other two branches.  If our legislative branch defers to the executive to the point that no oversight and no check on performance is occurring, then that branch is failing in its fundamental responsibilities. McConnell seems to have crossed that point in the Senate, perhaps even to the point that one might reasonably ask whether impeachment proceedings should be launched to investigate whether McConnell is breaching his fundamental responsibilities.  But that is for another day perhaps.

I realize that, however strong is the case for impeachment, many people oppose such a move, fearful perhaps of the divisive nature of such a proceeding. This country seems now poised at the edge of a literal Civil War, which impeachment could open. It is by no means clear what Trump would do were he to be impeached. In fact, his behavior is so bizarre that it is unclear, at least to me, what Trump would do were he to be defeated at the polls in 2020.  Most presidents simply set aside their anger in defeat and allow the new force to take charge. Even someone as obviously angry as Richard Nixon, stepped aside and allowed the nation to move beyond him.  I can imagine a scenario in which a defeated Trump would declare the election fraudulent, and refuse to hand over power. He routinely advises his followers to engage in violence, and I have no doubt he would do so again. Hence the potential for a Civil War. Donald Trump is an existential threat to our nation.  He needs to be disarmed. Congress, it is your turn at the helm here. Do your job.  And America, lay down your arms. Let our established processes occur. We do not need armed intervention, which could lead to the end of our republic, a bloody end at that.  Let us see what kind of nation we actually are.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Might is Right

From Wikipedia:

Might Is Right, or The Survival of the Fittest, is a book by pseudonymous author Ragnar Redbeard. First published in 1890, it heavily advocates egoist anarchismamoralityconsequentialism and psychological hedonism. In Might Is Right, Redbeard rejects conventional ideas of human and natural rights and argues that only strength or physical might can establish moral right (à la Callicles or Thrasymachus). The book also attacks Christianity and DemocracyFriedrich Nietzsche's theories of master–slave morality and herd mentality serve as a clear inspiration for Redbeard's book written contemporaneously.
Individualist Anarchist historian James J. Martin called it "surely one of the most incendiary works ever to be published anywhere." This refers to the controversial content such as the viewpoint that weakness should be regarded with hatred and the strong and forceful presence of Social Darwinism in the text. There are also controversial parts of the book that deal with race and male–female relations, claiming that the woman and the family as a whole is the property of the man and proclaiming the innate superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race. 
I looked up this title, because, increasingly, I have become aware that our President, and his supporting cast (the old, now dead GOP) seem to be advocates for this concept.  Nothing seems to matter either to Trump, or to idiots like McConnell beyond gathering and using power. The more power, the better.  Apparently, they have now exposed the Evangelical Christians to this mindset, and those folks agree. Power is all.  All, repeat ALL, moral or ethical principles have now been shunted aside in favor of power.
Lately, I have begun to wonder whether Donald Trump has broken into some time machine, and he is busily carrying us all back to the 15th or 16th centuries, or even earlier.  We have a Constitution, and a Bill of Rights, and we have laws and rules that govern the operation of our government and the relationships among the three nominal branches, but all those rules and laws seem to have been swept away, and we now operate with one rule: whatever Donald Trump says or does is correct, and no other views are acceptable.
We had rules on presidential appointments and the right of Congress to approve, but they seem no longer to exist.  He simply makes temporary appointments and all is well.
We had rules about emoluments, but our president simply ignores those rules and goes about continuing to enrich himself at our expense and at the expense of logic and honesty and the wishes of the people.
We had rules about the ability of presidents to hire family members into government, but Donald Trump ignores those rules, so apparently they no longer exist.
We had rules about who can enter our country and how they are to be treated, but our president wants all agencies to ignore those rules and adopt savage behavior to all incoming people of color, or religions other than Christianity.
And on and on. He lies with impunity, even when it is patently obvious to all and sundry that he is lying. He cares not, because he never thinks before speaking. He says whatever is on his mind at that moment. If it is found to be a lie, by comparing it with something he said ten minutes ago, that is fine with him.  We are to say nothing.  There apparently are no rules that attach to him. None.

And so, I see us all being dragged back into the dark recesses of history to periods when absolute monarchs were the rule everywhere.  This is how he sees himself, and, worse yet, his supporting cast, sees him in the same way. They support his every move, however awful be that move.  Oh, the opposition, Democrats, and the actual news networks, yell loudly, but he simply ignores them, and nothing happens.  Curiously, he just suggested that we (the nation formerly known as the USA) need a government news agency, because all the private news agencies are so biased and fake.  He ignores apparently the fact that he already has a government news agency, called Fox News, or The Faux News Network.
And it is a curious fact about his behavior that he always ascribes to his opposition the very faults of which he is guilty. If he is lying about something, he accuses his opposition of lying. He has always routinely described the real news networks as “fake news”, ignoring Fox, the real fake news.  I still await him describing a shooting out on Fifth Avenue . . . we will then know he has carried out the wishes of his faithful followers.
And, as we are all dragged back into that 15th century, I find myself wondering how this will all turn out. Will he begin executing his opposition? Will he begin an actual war somewhere (Iran, Mexico, North Korea), just because he desperately wants to be a war-time president? Will he simply join forces with Vlad the Impaler and forge a new Alliance of Evil?
And while he goes about his merry way, doing whatever the hell he wishes, I observe other dark forces at work, often of a Christian origin. Think Texas and their law punishing women with Death should they dare to abort a pregnancy.  Think Florida and its “stand Your Ground’ law that has already resulted in the death of a person of color.  The KKK, the Neo-Nazi’s, the Christian Taliban are all hard at work to legitimize their dark principles of horror. They wish America to be a different place, perhaps a 12th century Christian place ruled by an absolute monarch who obeys their dark principles. And America just goes rolling merrily along.  If only I were, say 30, instead of 85, I would now be scrutinizing the principles evident in other nations, and readying myself to emigrate. Much as my ancestors decided to leave their countries of origin and migrate to this once proud nation, I might emulate their fierce determination. And in their honor, I end this rant with that original poem: The New Collossus, by Emma Lazarus, 1849 – 1887.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Remember please, what we once were: a proud and welcoming nation. When you vote, never forget.  We need to rid our nation of the dark forces that now inhabit the pinnacles of power.