Impeachment Redux, 2019

Trump/Nixon Parallels

Obstruction of justice was first, abuse of powers was second, noncompliance with subpoenas was third. Those were approved. One on emoluments and income taxes was rejected.

Sound like someone in power today? Not yet, but getting close. All four image.jpeg(plus one more) were the articles of impeachment proposed and voted on by the House Judiciary Committee’s inquiry into the impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon nearly 45 years ago.

Each began with this opening or very similar:

“In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, contrary to his oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the law be faithfully executed….”

Apparent Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi has rejected the idea of impeachment when Democrats take control of the U.S. House of Representatives at noon on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. But, nearly 50 new members (one from Hawaii returned after having served more than a decade ago) are together now going through orientation, and they not only may not agree with Pelosi, they may not favor her return as Speaker.

The new member who has served before is Ed Case, who served between 2002 and 2007, when he ran unsuccessfully for Senate. While in the House, he was a member of the Judiciary Committee, the panel that would initiate impeachment proceedings to remove Donald Trump from office.

New York’s Jerrold Nadler, who is in line to be chairman of the panel in January, campaigned for re-election in part on his qualifications to run impeachment proceedings. The new chairman of the committee next door, Oversight and Government, is Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who has made no secret of his plans to use the panel’s broad subpoena power to investigate Trump’s emoluments and taxes.

Trump already has knocked over the first domino that led to the Saturday Night Massacre that kicked off the Nixon impeachment proceedings on October 20, 1973. Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor looking into the White House cover-up of the June 22, 1972, break-in of the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate Office Building.

Nixon ordered Cox’s firing after the prosecutor issued a subpoena for the White House to turn over 64 tapes of Nixon’s conversations with his aides involved in the cover-up. Another aide, Alexander Butterfield, had revealed the existence of tapes to the special Senate Watergate Committee. The best Nixon was willing to do was to turn over summaries of the nine tapes, claiming executive privilege and asserting the tapes were classified. Cox was prosecuting a grand jury case involving a related aspect of the many-pronged Watergate fiasco that he also was probing.

Richardson, who had promised the Senate at his confirmation for the job that Cox would be totally untouched. Nixon fired Richardson and now Trump has fired his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from any involvement in the selection of Robert Mueller to serve the Cox role in investigating Trump’s involvement in Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

After Richardson declined to fire Cox, Nixon ordered Justice’s deputy attorney general, William Ruckelshaus, to fire him. Loyal to Richardson, Ruckelshaus declined and he was fired. His equivalent today is Rod Rosenstein, who was responsible for appointing Mueller, so he would be highly unlikely to be the one to fire him.

Rosenstein may not even get the chance, however. Trump named Session’s top aide, Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, even though he has never been vetted by the Senate, as required in the Constitution. All Cabinet officers are required to get the advice and consent of the Senate, not necessarily for a new post. Rosenstein has already received that vetting for his current job. Trump also has signaled to Whitaker that he would not interfere if Whitaker fired Mueller. All of that is now the subject of a pissing match that promises to carry over to the new term.

Back in 1973, after Ruckelshaus, the firing of Cox fell to Solicitor General Robert Bork, and he finalized the “massacre,” lighting the fire for impeachment proceedings to begin. Today, the No. 3 person is the associate attorney general, a position inserted above the solicitor general post three years after the Nixon impeachment. Today’s holder of the job is Jesse Pannucio, a GOP loyalist from Florida whose personal views about Trump are unknown. He was, however, chief counsel to Rick Scott, Florida’s current governor who was declared winner of a hotly contested Senate race, ousting Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. Scott has patterned himself after Trump in terms of style.

In other words, Pannucio likely would follow Bork’s lead and carry out Mueller’s firing, a move that almost definitely would trigger impeachment proceedings, which Pelosi would have no choice but to endorse.

Less than two weeks after Cox was fired and the special prosecutor job was abolished. The elimination of the job was rescinded, however, and Cox was replaced by Leon Jaworski, a registered Democrat who nonetheless was a Nixon supporter. Bork also reasserted the special prosecutor’s independence.

In the end, the special prosecutor submitted all of the evidence, along with witness testimony, to the grand jury whose work was considered a good road map of what happened and how, and was delivered to the Judiciary Committee for impeachment, but never made public. It sat sealed in the National Archives until recently, unavailable (even if it would have been followed) for the Newt Gingrich-prodded flash impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

Now, the road map, ”Grand Jury Report and Recommendation Concerning Transmission of Evidence to the House of Representatives” is available to the Nadler-led Judiciary Committee, should Trump ape his predecessor and carry out whatever day and time of day “massacre” he may have in mind.

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RETURNING TO THE KILLING FIELDS

Back in March, 2018, not long after the Parkland High School mass shooting in Florida, we made the case for complying with the intent of the Second Amendment (all of it) by locking up all guns in National Guard armories to be lent to their owners as the guard decides to do so.

Since then, according to GunViolenceArchive.org, there have been 147 deaths fromGUN2 shootings in which there were at least four casualties Those qualify as mass shootings, and is a rate of about one death a day due to a shooting in the United States. Actually, there were 175 mass shootings during that period, just not all of them led to a fatality. (That’s out of total 9,217 gun deaths this year through Aug. 18.)

During the first half of this year, 154 deaths were attributed to school shootings (including three or fewer casualties, not qualifying as mass shootings). That’s 154 in 181 days, and suggests schools have become the nation’s favorite killing fields. If the trend of the first half of this year continues September through December, we can expect more than 100 more deaths in school shootings, despite the fact they’ve already become Fort Knoxes.

What does it take for this country to wise up? Fortunately, school was out for half that time, but they are reopening their now well-guarded doors to hundreds of thousands of children who can be mowed down any minute.

Perhaps those who want GUN2Agun controls should make a major point of it to the candidates who are running for office in this fall’s election. That’s the political side. Economics is a far more powerful driver and perhaps we should take note of where the most deaths and casualties are and boycott them personally and as organizations holding meetings or conventions in those cities states, especially the ones that maniacally allow open carry and “stand your ground.” The list of mass shootings includes half the states and the District of Columbia, so you can choose one of the states from the other half.

Having said that, one might have to leave the United States entirely to avoGUN2Bid a state lacks a common-sense safety attitude when it comes to guns. Only California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, New York and South Carolina do not allow open carry at all. Honing it down further, however, California allows open carry in rural areas and has no law against stand your ground. Florida, of course is a notorious stand-your-ground state, but so is South Carolina. Illinois does not ban it, and New York has the castle doctrine, which allows a person to blow someone away as long as he or she is at homeGUN2C.

That leaves only DC as a safe haven against guns, if one measures safety by local laws and not the reality of the free flow of guns across state lines. But, to get into D.C., one must travel through an open-carry state—Virginia with no permit required, or Maryland, where a permit is required. One could helicopter in or hang on for dear life from a drone without touching gun free-for-all state, but that would still be a violation of the state’s air space.

Since the Parkland school mass shooting in March, absolutely nothing has been done to curtail the easy access to firearms. The solution instead has been to attempt to secure the schools, complete with armed guards and screenings, and to show ways for teachers and students to try to save themselves. The incredibly stupid National Rifle Association would have teachers carrying sidearms as a solution. Brilliant, place the kids in the middle of a shootout, that’ll solve things.

No matter what figures you use or arguments you make, all those deaths and injuries that go on and on and on share one common fact: a gun was involved.

As we wrote before, the Second Amendment is based on the existence of militias, which are today’s National Guards. That means, all guns could be required to be kept locked up in National Guard armories without violating that amendment. Lock them up! Lock them up! Lock them up, and save our kids from the killing fields.

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You Are What You Sell

In one recent news cycle, we had four stories that said it all.

A Walgreens pharmacist refused to sell miscarriage medication to a woman because it “goes against his ethics.” He was selling more than a drug.

The U.S. Supreme Court kicked the can on a baker who refused to decorate a wedding cake for a gay couple. He was selling more than a cake.

A Las Vegas self-described successful pimp runs for office in opposition to a Trump-backed candidate. He was selling what Stormy Daniels sells.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders is told to leave a chain restaurant. She was selling….”

In this world, you are what you sell.

Along comes Sanders eating in a cheesy rural restaurant despite her combined family income of half-a-million dollars, and she’s asked to leave. Why? Because of what she sells.

You have to be sleazier than your boss to sell what you don’t believe in, and she sells: racism, abject cruelty, uncivility, hate-mongering, more lies than even Fox News can keep up with:trumphobi

xenophobia (made obvious more times than we can count),

atychiphobia (failure, which he has experienced many times),

gamophobia (no, it’s not about female legs),

hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia  (because of his Twitter addiction, probably associated with somniphobia),

probably vehophobia at this point, assuming he would be capable of it,

basiphobia, if you notice how he negotiates stairs,

metathesiophobia (we’d be surprised if he could change his shorts at this point),

philophobia (he buys his wives),

gynophobia, a.k.a. misogynist, enough said,

athazagoraphobia, a reality-star addiction,

allodoxaphobia, what his twit tweets are all about,

and probably chaetophobia, unless it’s many hair plugs and extensive combovers.

For just one of those things, the Red Hen owner took action and expressed what she apparently sells.

She had more reasons for shunning than an Amish caravan.

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Parallel Universe Descends on White House

It finally happened. We should have known this day would come.

President Donald J. Trump finally lost track of his lies when he made a surprise appearance in the White House press room and strode to the podium where he turned his back on the reporters and addressed the wall.

He said, “All my lies have been lies.” Then he left the room, backing out and slamming into the door before turning and heading back to the Oval Office.

Everyone in the room was dumbfounded. How were they to interpret what he just told them.

Heretofore, all he ever uttered was a lie. Now he was telling them that his lies were lies. Logically, that statement also is a lie.

But, that would mean that all his lies have been the truth. Constant fact-checking, however, had shown them to be untruths. He said Canada burned down the White House in 1812, but it didn’t; the British did. His assertion was a flat-out lie.

Arguing among themselves, some of the reporters suggested that maybe for the first time ever, Trump had told the truth. The rest of the reporters broke out into unrestrained guffaws at the ridiculous idea.

Yet, they could not offer a counter-argument.

Just then, Sarah Huckabee Sanders entered the room for her daily press briefing.

Asked about the President’s statement that “All of my lies have been lies,” Sanders denied that he said Sanders2it. Then she added with characteristic snideness, “What he said was all of his truths had been truths. You biased bastards are just trying to twist his words again.”

When the reporters almost as one offered to play back his statement for her, she said not to bother, she would still deny it.

“Does that mean you won’t deny it?” shouted one of the reporters.

“Watch FOX news, they’ll straighten it all out for you,” she said, slamming her folder and walking out of the room.