Talking to Chuck Todd About Impeachment

Talking to Chuck Todd

At least half of America has watched Donald Trump, our president, sworn to uphold the US Constitution, abuse our nation’s laws and act as if the Constitution needs to be rewritten according to Trumpian requirements. We have watched Trump call the media “the enemy of the people” except for any media outlets that refuse to call out his lawlessness, who praise and appease him. We have watched him hire and fire people until he found someone who he felt could be absolutely loyal to him. And these people are only there on sufferance because as soon as they defy him in any way they will also be gone. Almost all the top people on Trump’s 2016 campaign committee are in jail which suggests that the only reason Trump is not in jail is because he is the president. Now that he has William Barr as his AG, the Justice Department has been coopted and will no longer deliver justice for we the people and Trump’s power seems formidable. William Barr believes a president’s power is absolute, that patriotism requires unquestioning loyalty to the Chief Executive and that he cannot be indicted or even investigated as long as he is president. We know this is against the entire concept of our republic, we know this gives permission to monarchy or autocracy.

We are fairly certain that Russia interfered more deeply than usual in the 2016 election by spreading disinformation and that they used data about the Democrats that they had hacked from the DNC to help Trump’s team plan election strategy. We can’t be absolutely certain because of presidential obstruction, Justice Department obstruction, and obstruction by the Republicans in Congress. We can’t be absolutely certain because the Grand Jury testimonies, which would normally be made available to Congress, are still being kept secret. These events do not represent business-as-usual in America. And all Trump’s loyal toadies can say is, “Prove it,” while they make very sure that nothing can be proven.

So, yes, Chuck Todd, we do have many more reasons to impeach this president than the Democrats are citing in their Impeachment Report, but we can’t prove them. However, for once Democrats caught Trump making a boo-boo. He lost his deniability. His coded language was not coded well enough. On the telephone with the new Ukrainian president Zelensky, he happened to say, “I need you to do me a favor though.” This request perked up a number of ears of a number of staffers, both in the White House and abroad. This single sentence reeks of bribery even if it could not be proven that $400,000 in military aid was withheld to make sure the fix was in. And all Trump expected to get from this was dirt on a political opponent. It had nothing to do with American foreign policy. He did not need to win anything for the American people. And no matter how many times Trump says it was about Ukrainian corruption, Trump was the corrupt actor in this affair.

Even when Trump forbade testimony from his toady-peeps, America’s civil servants defied the prohibition and came forward. And while the deliberately obvious activities of Rudy Giuliani, who was all over Ukraine supposedly doing one piece of legitimate business while he was actually involved in extortion and bribery on behalf of the president, have been harder to pin down, they certainly look awful (because they are). They look clandestine and lawless to us because a personal lawyer for a president has no place in conducting the foreign affairs of this nation unless Congress is also involved, and Congress was not involved. So on this one unconstitutional presidential scheme, Trump has slipped up and he has been caught and people are willing to testify to that.

Chuck Todd says that this is rinky-dink. He scoffs at the Democrats all the time for being too timid and he is doing that very same thing now. He is doing it tonight after the Impeachment Report has been written, when a vote will be taken. He says that the Democrats should have waited until they could get the goods on everything Trump has done that puts our democracy/republic in danger of becoming something our forefathers tried to protect it from, the plaything of a monarch or a dictator. The Democrats should wait and play hardball until they can go really big.

Well that would be very nice, Chuck Todd, but given the obstacles Democrats face; Trump, the toadies, the Justice Department, the State Dept., the Senate firmly in the hands of Republicans probably for the foreseeable future, the lawyers who back Trump’s claims of “executive privilege” and who suddenly claim absolute power for the executive; and a president whose whole life taught him how to get away with small crimes by using mafia magic, I don’t think piling on is helpful. The Democrats are being demonized by everyone who is not a Democrat and even some people who are. When the media piles on in a situation like this they do the work of the devil. Do Democrats have to stop at one Impeachment? Can’t they go again and again if they can get the goods?

Photo Credit: Esquire

Who’s Coup-ing Who?

Who’s ‘Coup-ing’ Who?

Often we think of a government coup as a revolution, an attempt by one ideological group to wrest the reins of government from those currently in power. We see it as a quick bloody battle where the perpetrators run a risk of death or imprisonment if they don’t succeed. If those in power lose then a new leader sits in the seat of power and sets policy. Those who rise to power can execute, imprison, or exile the ousted leader and his/her followers.

Overturning a leader through a democratic election usually is not considered a coup. Donald Trump is trying to change that. He claims that the Democratic Party is attempting a coup against him. The House is attempting to take over the executive branch, he says. Of course, in this case the Democrats in the House of Representatives are exercising legal prerogatives assigned to them in the Constitution of the United States. Congress is supposed to act as a check if the executive branch looks as if it has gone rogue. All that means is that they are allowed to ask questions and collect facts to make sure that a President and others in the Executive Branch are upholding their oath “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”. The Constitution and historical practice places few limits on the investigative powers of the House or Senate Congressional Committees. Congress has oversight responsibilities over the Executive Branch. Investigation is Congress’s superpower.

Trump is a master of the craft of twisting reason until our brains feel ready to explode. He is claiming that the Democratic representatives in the House are using (or planning to use) their investigative powers to take over the Executive Branch and thereby, take over the American government. They are using the Constitution to invalidate the Constitution. (Did your brain explode yet?)

It is possible to have a bloodless coup, a coup whereby one political party pushes another political party out of power through chicanery and rigging elections. This kind of coup can take some time. Coups are things that generally happen in what we once named “third world countries”, countries where democracy is ‘iffy’, in places that are now labelled “illiberal democracies”- democracies in name only. We are supposed to be a “stable democracy”, well-established; the democracy, against which all others are measured.

But we have a President who accuses the Democratic Party of being traitors to the nation, of trying to turf him out of office and take over the government through a legal procedure called “impeachment”. Or perhaps, he asserts, they want to damage him so badly that he loses the 2020 election ( while at the same time he claims this is impossible.) Yes, he is obviously a desperate man, but he is accusing the Democrats of being traitors, guilty of treason!, just to wiggle out of having the nation hear the possible proofs of his bad behaviors.

He says that the Democrats are partisan, so they cannot be objective. Well that’s when I have to ask, “who’s coup-ing who”? The Democrats only appear to be partisan because the Republican Party has put them in that position. When Mitch McConnell said that he would obstruct everything Obama did he meant it and the GOP was behind all the disrespect towards Obama and the Dems that people insisted on blaming on both parties. It was the GOP who refused to do the compromise negotiations that have made our basically two-party system work. With obstruction, if one party absolutely refuses to compromise the other party must either capitulate completely or join in the standoff. Which party is partisan? Both I guess, but one by design, and one by default. The Republican Party has not stopped opposing the Democratic Party to this day.

We are in a pitched battle. It seems to be about the size of government and whether or not government should pay for programs that benefit the American people. It now seems to be also about whether or not America will be, going forward, a white, Christian nation. We are in this battle because industry fled and money went to safe havens and all the blood (money) went to the head (the wealthiest). Do we keep wealth inequality because these wealthy people deserve what they have (according to them)? We know what happens biologically when our lower body is deprived of blood flow. Will the same thing happen if less and less money ‘trickles down’ to those who are not at the very top of the social heap? Will the society die from within?

This picture of the future does not bother the Republicans, in fact they seek it, they are trying to hold on to this lop-sided distribution of life’s blood (which sadly, right now, is money). The Democrats would like to be the party of balance, of restoring a democracy which is fast disappearing The Democrats are not the ones who denied giving even a hearing to a legal nominee to the Supreme Court. The Democrats are not the ones who keep trying to use the “I’m Rubber, You’re Glue” strategy to pin their sins on the other party.

If anyone is staging a coup it is the Republican Party (which is now headed by Donald Trump). The GOP has been attempting to ‘own’ the entire federal government of the US and they have not been the least bit worried about doing this by the book. Tinkering with elections has been the GOP’s favorite weapon to use in their coup. They almost succeeded. In 2016, using a number of voter suppression and voter propaganda techniques (and perhaps by allowing a foreign government to interfere in an American election) they succeeded in taking over all three branches of government. They haven’t been able to hide their game plan so they just blatantly get on with it. Dems argue against these tactics and the GOP just laughs.

Although the GOP lost the House in 2018 they do not consider this will end their plans. This is a war and they only lost a battle. There is always another election and they are still tinkering, tinkering away. And if rigged elections don’t get them what they want the takeover of the states which they have been conducting will eventually succeed in turning enough states Red to trigger a Constitutional Convention and allow them to put the GOP stamp on our Constitution.

Trump is using the coup accusations flying around the internet these days to turn him into a victim (“poor president Trump”) of a ruthless political takeover by a party that is supposedly wielding the Constitution like a club. Ironically Democrats have learned that there are almost no tools available to fight a President or a political party willing to ignore the rules set down in our documents. The Democrats have never called what the Republicans are up to a coup, but I have. Now the Democrats are being accused of perpetrating a coup against Trump (and by association the Republicans). But he has simply taken the truth and twisted it to his advantage. Don’t believe him. If you use your head it’s pretty easy to tell who’s coup-ing who/m.

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