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Thoughts on Events the Week of February 8

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on February 16, 2021

Impeachment Redux: If the second impeachment of Trump proved anything, it is that the Impeachment clause is another one the founding fathers did not think through sufficiently. It was naïve to think the Senate could hold a trial involving the president of one or another party. Senators are not jurors, they’re politicians and politicians are going to act like politicians, not impartial jurors.

In the more than 230 years of our country’s existence, there have been four impeachments – Johnson, Clinton, Trump, Trump – three in my lifetime, all in the last quarter of a century and the last two within a year of one another. The pace is picking up. Soon, we will be impeaching presidents on Inauguration Day.

(Nixon would have been impeached and convicted – there was bipartisan support for it. Republicans were capable of shame back then – but he resigned to avoid it. Then President screwed up the accountability by pardoning him.)

The trials and verdicts were political and predictable, and none of the defendants was convicted. In each case, the presidents were obviously guilty of something, but unlike a courtroom, there is only one possible punishment option – removal from office – and the politicians were unwilling to go there, as were the people, except in the case second trial of Trump.

The clause should have read that the House could impeach, and the trial would be held before the Supreme Court, or an ad hoc tribunal of impartial jurists, using judicial standards. Since the Constitution doesn’t read like that, we might as well scrap their use altogether and go to Plan B, which is to have the Justice Department rescind its policy not to prosecute sitting presidents for true crimes. This probably wouldn’t work either, but it might be a stronger deterrent to future presidents and an available remedy is necessary.)

One of the reasons Democrats wanted to impeach Trump was to be able to ban him from running for office again. This is an unnecessary concern. Trump will not run again – he’s more likely to be dead or in jail – and if he did, he would lose, but make life hell for other Republican candidates.

Still, the impeachment trial had some utility. It exposed the Republican Party for what it has become, which is anti-democratic, for which they will pay a heavy price, I hope, I hope. Either way. political theater is going to be interesting to watch over the couple of years.

President Biden’s highest priorities: Were I advising the president, I would recommend that his first priorities should be, after any necessary Executive orders to reverse everything possible from Trump’s orders, the following four, in priority: (Spoiler alert: my list will be different than many others, and different from Biden’s at this point. I hope he listens to me.)

  1. Covid-19: This must be, and is, Biden’ first priority. The economy cannot completely recover until the virus is wrestled to the ground. This includes the financial stimulus necessary to keep the real economy sustained until then.
  2. Voters’ Rights: Since John Roberts screwed the country over by ruling cynically that voter suppression no longer warranted regulation, voter suppression has run rampant. Since they lost the election, Republicans are trying to suppress voters’ right even more to insure as unfair
    an election as they can, since they can’t win a clear and fair one.

Voter suppression has no place in a democratic society, which, at least at this moment, we have in this country. Biden should rewrite the bill, make it stronger, bronze it, stick it in Roberts’ ear and dare the Supremes to mess with it, and then wage serious prosecution on offending states.

Among the most egregious suppression tactics is gerrymandering, by both parties. I don’t know how this obscene practice can be stopped, but it must be. My suggestion would be to take all redistricting out of the hands of local legislators and establish a board of independent, non-partisan experts to draw them. This is done in some states, including Arizona, and it seems to work better.

  • Immigration reform: We must come to grips with this chronic, toxic issue and create a comprehensive plan. It must resolve, if not solve, all issues – status, who, how many, the Dreamers, everything. This will take some compromise, but it must be done. It will take this issue off the table and prevent it from causing so much rancor, not to mention hypocrisy.
  • Gun Control: The carnage has got to stop. Perhaps Congress, having looked down the barrel of a gun itself recently, will have some incentive to take this issue seriously and more rationally.

Worst state: Has there ever been a more cynical, hypocritical smarmy pig part than South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham? Don’t bother to answer; it’s a rhetorical question. Though Graham has some close competitors, such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Let’s let Texas and South Carolina split the cup this week. I’ll deal with disgusting wannabes Hawley and Cotton later.

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