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The New Yorker And Caffeinated Politics Agree That 25th Amendment Needs To Be Used To Remove Donald Trump

February 20, 2017

Last week I made it clear where I stood in relation to the removal of Donald Trump from the Oval Office with the use of the 25th Amendment.

I do not post this lightly as the political process is a treasure to me. I have a deep regard for the will of the voters.  History has proved the durability of our nation even in the most stressed of times.  But nothing from our long narrative as a nation comes close to the severity of the problem that we now confront.

Each American needs to ask if they have lying eyes after watching Thursdays display by Trump?  If they know what they witnessed can not to be tolerated for the best interests of this nation there is only one way to proceed.  That route takes this country to the 25th Amendment.

Today The New Yorker makes the same argument, but they feel the spineless Republicans are too cozy with their power and will not make the move that would be in the best interest of the nation.  George Packer writes a powerful piece.  It is such importance that I take the liberty to post the entire article.

Section 4 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the Constitution allows for the removal of a President who can no longer discharge his duties but is unable or unwilling to say so. It empowers the Vice-President, along with “a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide,” to declare the President unfit and to install the Vice-President as Acting President. Section 4 has never been invoked. In 1987, when Ronald Reagan appointed Howard Baker to be his new chief of staff, the members of the outgoing chief’s team warned their replacements that Reagan’s mental ineptitude might require them to attempt the removal of the President under Section 4. Baker and his staff, at their first official meeting with Reagan, watched him carefully for signs of incapacity—but the President, apparently cheered by the arrival of newcomers, was alert and lively, and he served out the rest of his second term.

After a month in office, Donald Trump has already proved himself unable to discharge his duties. The disability isn’t laziness or inattention. It expresses itself in paranoid rants, non-stop feuds carried out in public, and impulsive acts that can only damage his government and himself. Last week, at a White House press conference, the President behaved like the unhinged leader of an unstable and barely democratic republic. He rambled for nearly an hour and a half, on script and off; he flung insults at reporters; he announced that he was having fun; and he congratulated himself so many times and in such preposterous terms (“this Administration is running like a fine-tuned machine”) that the White House press corps could only stare in amazement. The gaudy gold drapery of the East Room contributed to the impression that at any moment Trump might declare himself President for Life, and a flunky would appear from behind the curtain to pin the Medal of National Greatness on his suit jacket, while, backstage, officials and generals discussed his overthrow. Trump experienced such a deep need to get back on top by lashing out that he apparently overrode the objections of his advisers, felt much better afterward, then prepared to go to Florida to sustain his high at the first rally of his reelection campaign.

While the White House isolates itself in power struggles, the Administration is in nearly open revolt. Career diplomats are signing statements of dissent or leaving the State Department, while key posts remain unfilled. Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency fought to stop Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pro-industry nominee, from taking over as their new boss. And other government officials, after weeks of hearing Trump belittle their agencies, are feeding the press information about Russian involvement with his campaign.

Foreign leaders, depending on their orientation, are watching this spectacle with disbelieving alarm or with calculating interest. Allies such as Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau, of Canada, and Shinzo Abe, of Japan, flatter the President in order to avoid the fate of Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull, whom Trump first berated and then hung up on during their get-to-know-you phone call. Vladimir Putin is already testing Trump, by sending Russian fighter jets to buzz a U.S. Navy ship. Xi Jinping is positioning China to fill the void in the Pacific Rim which will be left by Trump’s policy of America First. Pragmatists in Iran are trying to judge whether the new American government can be counted on to act rationally—exactly what U.S. officials always wondered about the fractured leadership of the Islamic Republic.

It won’t get better. The notion that, at some point, Trump would start behaving “Presidential” was always a fantasy that has the truth backward: the pressure of the Presidency is making him worse. He’s insulated by sycophants and by family members, and he can still ride a long way on his popular following. Though the surge of civic opposition, the independence of the courts, and the reinvigoration of the press are heartening, the only real leverage over Trump lies in the hands of Republicans. But Section 4 won’t be invoked. Vice-President Mike Pence is not going to face the truth in the private back room of a Washington restaurant with Secretaries Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson, and Wilbur Ross, or in the offices of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Republican leaders have opted instead for unconstrained power.

They need Trump to pass their agenda of rewriting the tax code in favor of the rich and of gutting regulations that protect the public and the planet—an agenda that a majority of Americans never supported—so they are looking the other way. Even the prospect of Russian influence over our elections and our government leaves these American patriots unmoved. Senator John Cornyn, of Texas, the Republican whip, made it plain: Trump can go on being Trump “as long as we’re able to get things done.” Senator Rand Paul, of Kentucky, explained, “We’ll never even get started with doing the things we need to do, like repealing Obamacare, if we’re spending our whole time having Republicans investigate Republicans.”

The growing Russian scandal will challenge the willingness of the Party to hold the President accountable. So far, the situation is not encouraging. The heads of the key House and Senate committees are partisans who are doing as little as possible to expose corruption and possible treason in the White House. The few critical Republican voices—Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Susan Collins, and Representative Mark Sanford—are ineffective. Perhaps Party leaders are privately searching their souls; perhaps, as with the old Bolshevik Rubashov, in Arthur Koestler’s “Darkness at Noon,” ideology and power have rendered them incapable of independent moral judgment. Whatever the case, history won’t be kind to them.

An authoritarian and erratic leader, a chaotic Presidency, a supine legislature, a resistant permanent bureaucracy, street demonstrations, fear abroad: this is what illiberal regimes look like. If Trump were more rational and more competent, he might have a chance of destroying our democracy. 

Carl Bernstein: Democracy Challenged By Attacks On Free Press

February 20, 2017

It goes without saying that a free press is a vital component to democracy.   Freedom of  the press and free speech along with a free and unfettered vote are the foundati0ons of democracy.   Authoritarian figures like Donald Trump pose a danger to democratic institutions.   That has been evident in just one month of Trump’s administration.

The attack on the free press by Trump is noted for the way it fits a pattern with other chapters in history.  One can rightly claim that Trump is an ignorant man.  He may not understand what he is doing.  But it also can be said with accurateness that Trump is using a tactic of Stalin and Hitler when it comes to undermining democratic institutions.

This week on Reliable Sources Carl Bernstein was asked what impact Trump’s anti-press attacks are actually having on the nation.

BERNSTEIN: I think it’s working in the sense of playing to his base and further dividing the country. Is it working in terms of also scaring the hell out of a lot of Republicans on Capitol Hill who think that he is off on a ride that is dangerous to American democracy and are they quaking? Many of them, without speaking out, yes.

We are into terrible authoritarian tendencies that we are seeing in the new president of the United States. We’ve never seen in an American president such open authoritarian moves and rhetoric. This is a terrible time we’re living in.

And the press — look, when the press was reporting on Hillary Clinton server and the Clinton Foundation, the same people who he is now calling enemies of the American people, Donald Trump thought we were patriots. So, the hypocrisy of this aside from the lies that underlie the president’s words.

We are doing our job. That is what we’re there to do. We need to find out all of what this president is doing. What his administration is doing — nothing more, nothing less. And that’s what we’re doing. We are not enemies of the American people. In fact, we’re the last  resort of the American people to a dictatorial and authoritarian inclined president.   

Look, Trump is an enemy of the truth. That is what we know from his presidency thus far. He’s not interested in the truth. He’s not interested in the best attainable version of the truth, which is what real journalism and reporting is. He’s not interested in a fact-based debate. What we are seeing already are actions at intimidating the press, which means the people lose and intimidating those in the American government who talk to the press.

We need to be, all of us, focus on attacks on the First Amendment, on the Constitution, free press and how it reaches the people, especially when we have an authoritarian president who seems not to understand the Constitution. Nixon understood the Constitution. This president does not.
We already, as in the Nixon years are watching Trump initiate a leak investigation of draconian threats, it’s already under way. That is the threat to the American people. We don’t need, the press, to be self-centered about attacks on us. 

Senator McCain Stresses Need For Free Press–Dictators Start with Curtailing Press

February 19, 2017

In an exclusive interview with Meet the Press Senator John McCain strongly defended journalists’ freedoms and a correctly stated a the press makes for a strong democracy.    The need to state the obvious comes following Donald Trump’s frequent attacks on the fourth estate, including a tweet last week that certain media outlets are ‘the enemy of the American People.’ Without a free press, McCain said, ‘I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started.’

“They get started by suppressing free press,” McCain said of dictators. “In other words, a consolidation of power when you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press. And I’m not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I’m just saying we need to learn the lessons of history.”

Naked Donald Trump Political Cartoons

February 17, 2017

I really hope this is not a trend.  Have we not enough reasons to already weep in this land?  Hat Tip to Christine.

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Trump’s Chaotic White House

February 17, 2017

A great read and all too true.

Federal judges in four courts froze a hastily issued Executive Order barring certain immigrants from entering the country. Intelligence officials leaked descriptions of classified intercepts in a winning attempt to force Trump to fire his National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, who had misled the nation about his ties with a Russian diplomat. Then more leaks came, from current and former officials to the New York Times, asserting that Trump campaign aides and senior Russian intelligence officials had been in contact during the 2016 presidential campaign. And the President of China, Xi Jinping, successfully pushed Trump to retreat from his pledge in December to give more recognition to the government in Taiwan.

At the center of this tempest of confusion Trump has continued to hold court and set the tone, doing things as he has always done them, in his own way. Without his wife or family in the residence, he calls friends late at night and rings up offices through the White House switchboard early in the morning. He invited his daughter Ivanka, an amorphous adviser without an official title, into sensitive meetings, and cheered his policy aide Stephen Miller when he went on television to peddle baseless conspiracy theories about phantom Massachusetts residents voting illegally in New Hampshire last fall.

While support for Trump remains strong among his voters, there has been a clear erosion of his national popularity, which the President has noticed. Disapproval of his job performance, as tracked by Gallup, rose from 45% of the country on Inauguration Day to 53% in mid-February. At this point in their presidencies, Trump’s predecessors going back to 1981 enjoyed a honeymoon of being favored by a net 17 to 49 percentage points. Trump has tweeted that the negative numbers are fake.

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Constitutional Process Must Be Used To Remove Donald Trump From Presidency

February 17, 2017

There are no words to describe what the majority of the nation is feeling 24 hours after witnessing the most unstable person ever to sit in the Oval Office coming unglued in front of the nation.  And doing so for over 70 minutes.  It is not like this nation was not warned.    America was told what would happen if they voted for Donald Trump.  There is fear and alarm from coast to coast and throughout international capitals following the most unhinged and shocking display to ever come from the White House.

The New York Times  is reporting that even some of the unseasoned staff who now work in the White House attempted to stop the train wreck from taking to the podium.  But there was no stopping a man bent on his own destruction.   That type of personality is dangerous to himself and this nation.

“For days, a frustrated and simmering president fumed inside the West Wing residence about what aides said he saw as his staff’s inadequate defense and the ineffectiveness of his own tweets. Over the objections of some top advisers who wanted to steer him away from confrontation, Mr. Trump demanded to face the media, determined to reject the narrative that his administration is sinking into chaos, scandal and incompetence.”

There is no doubt, after watching the press conference, that one can only conclude there is a serious level of instability and mental disorder within Trump.  He needs to be removed from the presidency through a constitutional process so he can receive the medical care he needs and also to make sure the nation is not placed in further danger.

Therefore, less than a month into office there is a need to consider using the 25th Amendment to save this nation. 

The 25th has been invoked only twice, each time for a matter of hours while a president underwent a colonoscopy. Reagan had one in 1985, and chose to have a pre-cancerous polyp instantly removed.

But also in the 25th is Section 4, which reads as follows: “Whenever the Vice President and a majority [of the US cabinet] transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

Under this clause, the vice-president and a majority of the 15 cabinet officers can stand down a president whose mental capacity they doubt. Recall that late in Reagan’s second term, when his attention span had become negligible, his inner circle seriously considered this option.

Should this action be used, and should the President challenge it, the VP and the cabinet send the ultimate decision to Congress. If two thirds of each House votes that the President is unfit to govern, the VP continues as Acting President.

I do not post this lightly as the political process is a treasure to me. I have a deep regard for the will of the voters.  History has proved the durability of our nation even in the most stressed of times.  But nothing from our long narrative as a nation comes close to the severity of the problem that we now confront.

Each American needs to ask if they have lying eyes after watching Thursdays display by Trump?  If they know what they witnessed can not to be tolerated for the best interests of this nation there is only one way to proceed.  That route takes this country to the 25th Amendment.

How To Think About Trump Voters (And Being Unfriended On Facebook)

February 16, 2017
So I was unfriended on FB this evening by a right-winger for beating back on a posting that attempted to explain how Donald Trump did not really mimic a disabled person.  My lying eyes!  Yet this priggish personality beats the drum for denying women the right to abortion.  Life issues for me, and most normal people, expand all the way to defending those who have disabilities. As I did.
The only disability I can not accept is the lack of energy to be educated to cast a vote for president.  Those who undermined our nation by voting for Trump can not now pretend it was just another election with no consequences.
He even allowed a video to be posted on FB that tried to spin Muslims in New Jersey as marching in support of the Twin Towers falling on 9/11.
You damn right there are two Americas and I am glad to be with the educated majority!  BTW, being unfriended on FB is like not being allowed to join the baseball team for 3rd grade recess.   Wow–the underside of this nation has a real troubling bunch of people.
And so it goes.
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