https://www.salon.com/2019/11/14/impeachment-day-one-republicans-weaponize-nihilism-defend-trump-destroy-reality/

(Read the attached article. It’s good. I strongly agree that the destruction of “meaning,” and “belief,” are key to “the Agenda;” and would add that to minimize and dilute is vital to that effort. Trump’s crimes are bribery and extortion. ‘Quid pro quo’ is yet another smokescreen.)

A nationally and internationally published news magazine relayed today that a witness denied, near the end of his testimony in the Trump impeachment inquiry, that there had been, “quid pro quo;” a fancy name for “bribery. But if they call it “bribery,” then they run slap into the Constitution, where bribery is specifically enumerated as forbidden. And boy, they really hate the Constitution.

“Quid pro quo” usually referred, in Imperial Rome, to the thing exchanged for political (actually governmental or police) favors. It was probably originally intended to be catty, and sarcastic. It’s a pretty low blow to be called, or have your pet idea reduced to: “the thing exchanged.”

See, they mean the same thing; but one refers to the thing exchanged or offered, and the other references the illegal act itself. If you prove one, you prove the other.

I doubt that the witless witness knew any of this. He was just following orders. Had he known, he would have realized that he was simply declaring that nothing of value was exchanged or offered, which is not only disingenuous, but illegal. He knows that something of value was offered and exchanged; and he committed perjury when he denied it; and again when he predetermined his testimony in conference and didn’t report it in detail.

“Impeach” is a pretty vague word. And, possibly a very deceptive one. It means to question someone’s honor, and answer negatively; and declare the person unfit to hold any office. And that’s about all! There’s a noticeable omission though: Redress or even correction is hardly mentioned; in the instance, or in the general. Only the weak declaration that criminal charges, subsequent to his term, are not precluded. And that’s about all.

But, they are all sworn to defend the Constitution of the the United States. And you know: that means that there are a lot of traitors running around in this country. A lot.

When we set up shop on the rocky, thunderous eastern shore of an unknown continent, some hundreds of years ago, we started with almost nothing (less than we knew, in fact). But we had used the dreary days of the passage to begin our Constitution. Little did we know, it was our most valuable possession. It was all we had then, it seems; that, and strong backs and willing hands. It was all that we had.

It still is! If you perceive flaws in the Constitution, and many do right now; then turn and look in the mirror.

Don’t you see, the Constitution is a brilliant, hurried attempt to encapsulate Democratic principles in the offing for centuries, then still in the borning. It was a truly heroic, and gigantic effort unequaled in human history.

They left a lot of work, though. It’s still going on. That was obviously intended. And, what we do too will affect every person, even the planet – forever.

“It’s going to take all of us, working together.”
-Steppenwolf-

“The road goes ever on.” -Frodo-

“Stand Up!”

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Air Force brat. My dad was shepherd to a bunch of B-52's; the GI's called that place "20 Minutes From Armageddon;" because a missile launched in East Germany would pop over our heads twenty minutes later. That put me in some of the best schools anywhere. I wrote in the Press Office of a powerful, charismatic Midwestern Governor. I dabble in graphic arts. My 50+ entertainment sites get a few million visits, and I have stopped counting the fans, likes, and shares, per year. I've rambled the world, hitched around the continent (counter-clockwise). Climbed a couple of teeners, been to a couple of thousand rock, blues, and jazz concerts. I was at a free concert on Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, CA with about 350,000 freaks and hippies; and other festivals. I won a writing contest when I was six. It was a Poe-like horror story taken from an account of a mining disaster. I had already been reading Edgar Allan Poe (which may explain a lot). I could read before I could talk. I implemented some of the first client/server, TCP-IP networks (the Internet) at many of the world's largest corporations. I know a half-dozen programming languages, and have implemented and administered many network operating systems. Right now I build ebikes, and lithium batteries from scratch. I was taught that race and ethnicity don't set us apart. I think that the best thing that could happen in this country would be if a woman were to be elected President of the United States. I admire President Obama more than any man in history, save one.

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twilson117
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I had to do a little pre-reading before I felt comfortable in offering my comments on your excellent article Steppenwolf. In particular, I needed to reacquaint myself with the Frankfurt School.

Must admit Mr. O’Hehir has nailed Jorden and Nunes for their outlandish and radical behavior in the Impeachment hearings. If one is looking for definitions of lickspittle and jackanapes, their pictures provide the only explanation one needs.

I wanted to do some pre-reading on the subject of impeachment and came across the following Law Review Article by Josh Chafetz Assistant Professor at Cornell Law School, entitled: Impeachment and Assassination.

Must admit Prof Chafetz’s article has a provocative title based on comments Benjamin Franklin made at Constitution Convention:

“History furnishes one example only of a first Magistrate being formally brought to public Justice. Everybody cried out, angst this as unconstitutional. What was the practice before this in cases where the chief Magistrate rendered himself obnoxious? Why recourse was had to assassination in which he was not only deprived of his life but of the opportunity of vindicating his character. It would be the best way, therefore, to provide in the Constitution for the regular punishment of the Executive when his misconduct should deserve it, and for his honorable acquittal when he should be unjustly accused.”

The issue of how to remove the President came up during this convention. The examples the Founders had were based on Roman and English History. With the assassination of Julus Ceasar and the execution of Charles I.
How to remove an “obnoxious magistrate” was clearly a vexing problem for the delegates. Franklin and others understood those in power would subcum to that power. They only had to look at their own history to understand they required something other than assassination to remove an obnoxious leader, so the settled on impeachment.

Prof Chafetz’s provides an in-depth discussion on the topic of impeachment, and it’s worth reading. Here is the link if you’re inclined:

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1568950

I want to close by saying the following;
1. As a country, what we are going through – the impeachment process – is only the 4th time in the history of the country.
2. This is no joke, removing a president was a serious matter which the Founders thought long and hard on, but they understood there was a need for a process to do so.
3. The behavior of Republicans around this is similar to the Impeachment to Andrew Johnson.
4. As citizens, we need to pay attention, because we could get another Donald Trump-like individual only smarter and slicker.

TOCB
Member

Thank you for this very good piece. Trump is a conman. A crook. Not all conmen and crooks are evil, but Trump seems to be evil as well. However, Trump is ONE person. One person can’t ruin or destroy a democratic government, UNLESS a majority of voters support him/her.

MurphTheSurf3
Editor

Thank you for your thoughtful presentation. I read it and the Salon article. Who will stand up for the ideals of the Constitution is at the core of message in your essay and the Salon essay. But what if the problem at the root of all of the other problems is that we have a deeply, deeply flawed instrument of government.

Here’s the thing…..at the heart of much of this drama is a reality….our Constitution has enshrined a system that actually makes crises like these inevitable and provide very few tools for defusing those crises.

When the executive power is separated from and independent of the legislative and the judiciary tribal/partisan/single issue governance is virtually guaranteed when positions harden. We gave had a number of crises that nearly rent the union asunder (the Louisiana Purchase, the slavery/abolition saga, the Monied Powers Tyranny, the Great Depression, the Vietnam War/Cultural Revolution, and now the Age of Trump.

In each cases the nation was hobbled, political processes fell apart, civil society was upended, and what saved us were heroic and desperate actions that were outside of the tools provided by the Constitution.

It is important to recall that the Constitution was cobbled together in a sweat shop environment with delegates sworn to secrecy and led by a rather stern and draconian general. Why? The Articles of Confederation had proved a spectacular failure and the Confederation was in imminent danger of dissolution.

It was cobbled together to deal with the most pressing matters and delivered a rough skeletal structure which left extraordinary detail to the first generation of leaders who would, it was assumed, present working models to regular Constitutional Conventions. It never happened.

A couple of other interesting notes. The platform on which the Constitution was built presumed that there would be NO Political Parties, everyday citizens would have a body in the House of Representatives, and the leadership class would sit in the Senate. The President was understood to be the Leader of the Army, and the implementer of Congressional Action (which was to be very limited since the States would continue to serve as the primary wielders of governmental power.

It was not until the post-Civil War that this usage was accepted: “The United States IS….” Prior to the Civil War the proper phrase was: “The United States ARE…” in other words an alliance of independent allied states (the 19th century word for country).

I have written all of this before……..I believe that the seeds of chaos are actually sown with our Constitutional Common Ground.

TOCB
Member

Murph, the Constitution as originally ratified was a framework or a foundation. It was not intended to be written in stone. The framers provided an amendment process, albeit a very high hurdle.

Remember, in the beginning, MOST Americans were not allowed to participate in governing or even selecting those who governed them. SOME were not even considered citizens. Even today, our democratic republic is not run like a democracy. The president is not elected by the people, but rather by 538 electors. Nine people who are not elected, have the final say as to whether our laws are constitutional. At best, only 60% of us participate in electing our legislators (although that is not codified).

Ben Franklin said the Constitutional Convention gave us a republic, IF we could keep it. He meant a republic, as opposed to a monarch or a dictatorship. He didn’t even say what KIND of a republic. That is something we have yet to determine.

MurphTheSurf3
Editor

We are on the same page in this. I agree with all of your observations. Franklin also said that he, and many others at the Constitutional Convention, spoke openly of the need for regular conventions (one a generation was his framework…so every 35 years AFTER the original document’s framework was “filled out” in 10 years or so.)

TOCB
Member

Agreed. I think the Trump era has highlighted the NEED for another Constitutional Convention. Some warn against it out of fear of what change might occur.

MurphTheSurf3
Editor

And that warning is well placed…..given the tribalistic partisanship there will be little in the way of patriotic altruism in such an effort. Nearly everyone will work for “their tribe’s” short and long term patriotism. I have no idea how we get out of this. Save one….an informed electorate that casts scoundrels out….no chance.

TOCB
Member

I actually don’t subscribe to tribalism argument/excuse. I submit that Democrats by and large are NOT tribalistic, rather we are loyal to the country.

There is no doubt in my mind that if Obama, Hillary or ANY Democrat did the things Trump has done and is doing, the overwhelming majority of Democrats would be just as hard on them as they are Trump. Republicans use the tribal excuse when they cannot defend their actions. By claiming that “both sides do it”, they don’t have to defend their actions and simply make it the new normal. I have my preferences, no doubt. However, I am willing to put my preferences aside for the common good of the country. I HOPE I am not unique in that sentiment. The reason Democrats did not agree that Clinton should have been impeached was because lying under oath about a consensual extramarital affair does not rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. In fact, MANY of the people who were calling for Clinton’s impeachment were doing the same thing or worse. Both Gingrich and Livingston had to resign their posts because they were doing something similar while they were calling for Clinton’s impeachment. On the other hand, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that violating the Emoluments Clause violates the Constitution and so does bribing or extorting a foreign government by using the power of the office of the presidency to investigate a political opponent, or even simply by attempting to do those things are EXACTLY what the framers of the Constitution intended for impeachment and removal from office.