Nation Can Not Understand Senate Republicans During Trump Impeachment Trial

There is no way to start out this post concerning the impeachment trial of Donald Trump with anything other than the harsh truth.

It is a very sad statement for the nation as we absorb the low regard Senate Republicans have for democracy, decency, political institutions, and the common sense values they purported to have on the campaign trail. All those things they wish to be associated with as they seek votes, are the same ones they now find so hard to embrace at this most critical juncture in our nation.

Readers know where I stand on the matter. The same place as the majority of the citizenry, according to the polls. Trump should be convicted in the United States Senate.

The evidence from January 6th has been most clear and obvious. We watched it minute-by-minute play out on the live television feeds on every major network. Trump used violent rhetoric to foment anger in his base of supporters, urging them to march to the Capitol. He knew the type and caliber of people who had streamed into Washington. These were not the valedictorians of their classes. These were the dregs of society who bitch and complain about every facet of life and claim no responsibility for their own destiny. Trump knew exactly what type of person he was addressing with his words. These were not the type who would grasp nuance of any kind.

As a result of the rampage at the Capitol three law enforcement officers died and over 140 were injured.

This ramped-up anger was all created in the weeks leading up to the coup attempt as Trump lied, continuously, about a stolen election. So when the cretins he manipulated so easily with his lies showed up in D.C. he lit the fuse by inciting a riot. Clearly, this was treasonous behavior and must be dealt with in a mature and reasoned fashion as the Framers laid out with an impeachment process. The evidence is solid and sadly, voluminous. But the partisan stripe that runs deep and wide up and down the backs of Republican Senators will result in no willingness to convict.

Ethical behavior is something most Americans want in their elected officials. Yes, in some cases over the decades we are let down by the lapses in judgment, the power of greed, or the dark character that lurks in some who served in that chamber. But those times and this moment are starkly different. This is not a dark night with ginned-soaked lobbyists pushing some money in an envelope. Instead, what is presenting itself is front and center with the whole world watching. There is no doubt about the ethical road to take.

Rarely does such a hugely consequential vote on a matter that is so lopsided with evidence demonstrating unacceptable and seditious behavior present itself for a vote by a senator. When this vote can not be correctly exercised by a senator one must then conclude there is a moral vacuum; an ethical chasm that can only be dealt with by voters forcing a recall.

When any elected official, and certainly one dealing with treason by a president, can not and will not show courage and vote for a conviction then how can anyone fathom they will make the correct call about any other issue facing our nation? If Republican Senators can not and will not convict Trump then, they too, are needing to be held for their culpability in the coup attempt on January 6th.

Let me end with something I have mentioned often with commenters on Facebook. When it comes to any senator–regardless of party–who votes to acquit they will then have broken their oath of office to uphold the Constitution.

And so it goes.

Magnitude Of Moment Demands We Learn Lessons With Second Trump Impeachment Trial

We are living in a national moment that hundreds of years from now people will study and reflect on regarding how we did our jobs as citizens and caretakers of our democratic republic. We are engaged with only the fourth presidential impeachment trial in history, and the first time a president was impeached twice and sent to trial in the senate. I am not expecting a conviction verdict in the Republican-controlled Senate, but that does not mean the rest of the nation can not learn the lessons that present themselves. On that score, it is vital that our nation pay attention in the days to come and grasp the fragile nature of our democracy when determined ones wish to undermine and destroy it.

I do not subscribe to the view this impeachment trial would impede the work of the nation when it comes to a COVID-relief package or starting the work on immigration policy. Rather, I argue the trial is also the work of our time, and in fact, a priority. When a president seeks to undermine the legitimacy of the election process, the outcome of the counted ballots and urges and foments insurrection there absolutely needs to be a national response.

I realize that for a long time our society views most things in 30-minute segments, akin to a sitcom where all the loose ends are wrapped up by the bottom of the hour. The attention span of people dwindles but the gravity of the issues that present themselves do not. I am aware that most Americans have decided on Trump’s guilt as polling data continues to show a majority saying Trump should be convicted and barred from holding office again. But there is still more of the nation that needs to be brought into the light and educated about the attempted coup on our national capitol, as well as the weeks leading up to that awful day when death and mayhem were unleashed by Trump supporters.

The fact that impeachment is not an ordinary event underscores the gravity of the matter and why we should pay heed. For such an event to occur means a president behaved so recklessly, dangerously, and in Trump’s case, we can also rightly argue outrageously, that the trial now underway not only has merit, but also powerful evidence for a finding of conviction. (Forget for the moment that Trump failed to learn anything from his first impeachment.)

Any reading of our history will demonstrate the high degree of scandal during the presidencies of Ulysses Grant and Warren Harding. But there is nothing in the past that mirrors that total lack of regard for the Constitution or political institutions such as what we witnessed from Donald Trump. Without doubt, the most historically corrupt period in our history.

While many Republican senators and, sadly, a sizable swath of that party’s base ignore the substance of the charge being pressed—a president citing insurrection–the rest of the citizenry must watch, listen, and find a national bond and commitment to work at strengthening the foundation of our democracy.

Trump’s lawyers will treat the nation as if we all are of the mental aptitude of the ones who voted so rashly in 2016. They will try to spin their limp legal theory that every time Trump lied about the election results and recklessly urged his followers to “fight like hell” that was nothing more than a president exercising his free speech rights under the First Amendment. Well, from the desk of this blogger I can assure my readers that inciting lawlessness and violence is not protected speech.

The madness that was unleashed on the 6th must not be viewed as just another episode in our political narrative. It was not! We have seen in the 21st century how a lie repeated again and again had dire consequences. Telling Americans that Iraq had a role in 9/11 was more than a lie, it then turned into an international calamity when we invaded and toppled their government. Similarly, the lies Trump told and pressed over and over resulted in his base going bat-crap crazy.

As too many in our nation watch one sitcom end, and another begin, so too does their ability to look at the bizarre and totally unacceptable capitol riot but shake it off as another headline replaces it. Except that in the real world the grave consequences of not meeting this moment in time with justice and firmness will only allow for a degree of tolerance so to allow it to happen again.

In our national story there has never been a more clear and vivid example as to the utter betrayal by a president to the oath of office. Never before has the very foundation of our nation been so at peril. Republicans may take a knee to their cult god, but the rest of the nation needs to hear every word of the trial and feel every slam that our nation absorbed during the coup attempt, and then vow to meet this moment in time with a deeper resolve to stand up for our national values and common ideals.

And so it goes.

Historic Second Trump Impeachment Makes Memorable Front Pages Of Newspapers

Never in my memory has the front pages of newspapers, following a major and momentous event, had such a rich diversity of images and formats when writing the first narrative of history as we witness today. I have an interest in newspapers dating back to my childhood when the Stevens Point Journal arrived daily in the mailbox. Over the decades I have sought out for viewing the front pages of papers, as it is a clear barometer on how the news was not only presented, but understood. Today I was truly amazed at how varied with photos, headlines, and in some cases formats the newspapers reported the news of Donald Trump’s second impeachment. In over 14 years this blog has existed I have often posted the front pages so to explain a story or showcase the national mood. Today’s effort is the longest such post as the front pages below demand to be seen and placed in our national conversations.

Removing Donald Trump From Office Is National Necessity

No one can take any pleasure in the requirement this nation needs to undertake in the following days. There is no partisan delight, no glee or lightheartedness, no winning or gloating when the process is concluded. The removal of Donald Trump from office for insurrection and sedition is the most sober-minded and serious action any congress in our history will need to do.

On Wednesday our home had the coffee and tea made with certain work projects completed so we could watch the congressional process playout for the counting of the Electoral College votes. I told James again of my fond memory during a vacation of coming across the wooden box for the Electoral College votes that finalized the 1968 election and formalized the outcome for Richard Nixon. It was housed in the museum located under the United States Capitol. I am fully aware that many other Americans hold their own separate and powerful recollections that are touchstones to our past and feel deeply about our nation.

So when the news started to be reported during the congressional coverage of our Capitol being breached by terrorists I was absolutely stunned. While I knew there were many who had taken to the streets that morning the attempted coup was surreal. The stoking of the anger by Donald Trump with the continual lies about the election outcome through social media had been called out by millions of Americans. The power of such rhetoric, however, has long been known throughout history.

That a President of the United States would have such disdain for the core values of the nation, have such a thirst for power and advantage, and use the most easily swayed in the nation to stage a coup is more than we can tolerate. It simply can not be allowed to happen without a powerful rebuke of the kind that history will not forget.

Donald Trump’s incitement to violence against our government must be answered swiftly and decisively. There is a duty of the nation for a consequential reaction equal to the weight of the crime. Trump must be removed from office by impeachment. While I would prefer the use of the 25th Amendment as the process for his removal it would require more honor than currently exists within the present administration.

History shows that dictators and autocrats will do anything to further their agenda. History also shows that it is imperative that a message is sent that such actions will never be tolerated. The reason to impeach and remove Trump is not only to address his actions but to make it perfectly clear to any would-be future demagogue that America will not allow it to happen again. In this land, there must not be any allowance for a president to use seditious speech and undertake treasonous actions. It must not be tolerated.

Impeachment is a most appropriate action as insurrection, treason, sedition, and an attempted coup, as witnessed this week, is more than the nation should need to deal with from someone who has taken an oath, and sworn a duty, to uphold the laws of the nation. Such a move will have two goals. The first is obvious as it removes Trump from office, but it also makes him ineligible to ever hold public office again. A traitor should never be given a second chance.

I was truly saddened by the words from Trump to his followers just shortly before they started their march to the Capitol this week. What he said, and what he desired was painfully obvious. What the rest of us knew is that the words used by a president matters. While Trump abused the powers of his office to incite an insurrection I know full well how the power of a president can properly connect with our nation.

I was on-air at WDOR the night President Reagan spoke to the nation following the horrific explosion of Space Shuttle Challenger. In my lifetime there is perhaps no other speech that so clearly demonstrated the role of a president at times of national crisis, or the heights of rhetorical balm that can come with the office.  I sat in the broadcast studio and was moved to tears.  Contrast national moments such as that one to the current occupant in the White House who continually stokes the anger and resentment of people for partisan and seditious advantage.

Character matters.  We say those words often but also take the concept for granted.  When the lack of character is so obvious and smacks at us daily, it becomes a reminder of how much this nation lost when Trump stepped into the White House.

Now it is incumbent on the nation to see him removed through the impeachment process. It is a national necessity.

I wish to leave my readers with a photo of the wooden box that was used for the counting of the Electoral College Votes following the 1968 election. A peaceful transfer of power is the only acceptable way to proceed in our nation.

Trump Team Tries To Shift Blame For Their Incompetency Over COVID-19

The blame game in the spin room of the Trump White House is in full rotation as of late. Knowing the announcement today from Administration officials, that projects between 100,000 to 240,000 coronavirus deaths in our nation will send shock waves through the citizenry, efforts are underway to show why Trump should not be blamed.

Americans are fully aware of the haphazard, up-side-down, inside-out approach that has been the hallmark of the Trump White House from the start of this virus making headlines, as early as when cases were being first reported in China.   But to listen to the Trump spin room, one would believe that the impeachment trial was the reason that Trump could not fixate on the coming medical crisis.

First, and foremost, if one can not walk and chew gum at the same time they really should never have registered as a candidate for the presidency.   Secondly, the spin room is just plain wrong as they neglect to mention those pesky things called facts.

The urgent warnings about the virus were included in what news articles have described as the majority of CIA intelligence reports prepared for Trump.  But as we also know Trump is not able to sit down and digest information that is not contained even on a single piece of paper double-spaced, so whether impeachment was underway or not, if one does not care to be informed and educated, there is not much of a chance to learn what one does not know.

While the briefing papers showed the seriousness of the virus, Trump was pandering to the folks who watch FOX News, and stated the coronavirus was not worse than the common flu. In reality, it is about 10x worse, according to the CDC.

For Trump, or anyone in his orbit, to now claim that impeachment was an impediment to his dealing with the virus should be reminded that Trump made a big show of saying the trial wasn’t preventing him from doing work as president.  To prove his point he even made it known, in the midst of the congressional proceedings, he was having a meeting concerning the virus.  Was Trump lying then?  Or now?

It also should be stated that there was never a chance in hell Trump was going to be found guilty in the GOP-controlled Senate, so for the White House spinners to try and propel an idea of constant attention being required in the last phase of the process is absurd.

Impeachment was very much warranted, as history demands that misdeeds and affronts to our Constitution, as well as law and order, must be dealt with by those with such responsibilities.  Placing the word impeached into the opening paragraph of Donald Trump’s obituary was not a move taken lightly, but it was essential for the ones entrusted to uphold national ideals.   Accountability is needed at a time when so many of our fellow citizens acted rashly and without national regard based on the last presidential election.

When we consider the facts it might be that golfing and partisan rallies made more of an impact on Trump’s time that should have been spent on the lives and well-being of the citizenry.


Senator Susan Collins Is Truly A Stooge

Collins as Stooge

(Yes, that is my own photo creation.)

Once again Maine Senator Susan Collins is proving that being inept is the only strength she possesses.  She voted to not hold Donald Trump accountable in his impeachment trial.   While many truly amazing, and even stupifying comments, were made on the floor of the Senate perhaps none was more outlandish than what came from Collins.

We are very much aware that Trump is not someone who is willing–or let me be more clear–capable–of learning about how to better conduct himself in the Oval Office.  So when Collins stated why she would not vote to punish him it underscored how delusional she continues to be about her senatorial duties.

“I believe that the president has learned from this case” is the way she framed her reasoning to a reporter before the vote, and then added to this remarkable comment on the Senate floor with “​The president has been impeached. That’s a pretty big lesson.”

Really, Senator Collins?

To add to the glibness and silliness is her comment in Maine later in the week when she put her verbal foot down stating disapproval if Trump retaliating against anyone who came forward with evidence against him.

Well, I am sure with her stern look and forceful tongue it found its way to the conscience of Trump, and like Paul in the Bible, he saw the light.  Right?

The lesson that Collins had prattled on about was never to materialize.  Just 48 hours after being acquitted by the Senate, Trump fired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his twin brother, both decorated military men.  Then Trump fired  Gordon Sondland from his post.  Both men testified before Congress during the investigation that led to Trump’s impeachment.

There is clearly a payback taking place by Trump and Co. at the White House and without a doubt, Collins is firmly pounding a fist into her other hand and saying, “bad, bad man!”

That will teach Orange Mussolini!

Summing Up Trump’s Impeachment Trial

From The Economist.

The mail arrived minutes ago and this caught my attention in the magazine as it is all too true.


Nation’s Lowest Moments, To Our Greatest Strengths

We forged a nation–and proved, over and over again the one truth at the core of both the Revolution and America itself: 

That in our lowest moments, we can find our greatest strengths.

That is the closing line from The First Conspiracy, a book about the plot to kill Geroge Washington during his time in New York City while leading the Continental Army.   The historical account from newspapers, official documents, and dairies showcases countless reasons why it would have been most reasonable to have doubted the ability of the colonials to upend the British military forces.

Authors Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch provide a fast-paced narrative about this formative chapter in our national story, along with an understanding of what allowed for the creation of an intelligence-gathering and spy operation in our country.  But what stands out from the story itself, is what the episode underscores for the time in which we live.

The past two weeks have been dramatic ones as the impeachment trial for Donald Trump was presented via television for the nation to absorb.  The troubling part was that while the nation watched and took in the facts presented, the Republican Party asserted their partisan role was more important than their oaths taken upon being sworn into office.

I happened to encounter at a grocery store two former neighbors who moved from our area but still reside in the city.  Our conversation quickly moved from fast personal updates to hearing them express pessimism about the future of this nation.  While Senate Republicans concern themselves with power plays and not being ‘primaried’ the married couple at the market spoke about our Constitution, national institutions, and norms of a nation that have been tossed aside.  They were not only sad but sincerely worried.

While I was able to commiserate about the place we are now at due to the machinations of Republicans I am not one to stay in a place of despair.  My DNA is constructed to see light even if only a flicker beckons from a great distance.  I have experience with hope being somewhere down the road.

When age 18, and following the suicide of my best friend after years of his being bullied, and with my then not having further educational plans, not being employed, nor having a driver’s license, along with no one I could talk to in my rural conservative community, I slipped into what would be termed a state of depression.

During that time I recalled reading the accounts of Theodore Roosevelt losing his wife and mother on the same day in 1884.   While his Mom passed away from typhoid fever, his wife would die just a few hours later from Bright’s disease.   It was following this double tragedy that the future President retreated to the Dakota territories to find himself and start anew. I knew there was a lesson to be found in his life.  Rough times can be fierce, but there is always a new chapter to be written. The moral of Roosevelt’s story seemed logical and rational to me in my Hancock home.  TR came into his own, as did I.

But there is also a lesson, in all that, for our times, too.  The dark days of this impeached president must pass along for a brighter one so the country can emerge stronger.  One doesn’t fight only when one is optimistic.  One fights when the days are gritty and because it is the right thing to do.  We fight now for this nation because America remains, as Lincoln said, “the last best hope of earth.”

There is no way not to feel troubled and deeply saddened by the actions of Senate Republicans, and the ones across the nation who defend and rationalize those actions.  It is now that we must grasp the fact we still have our freedom, and so we must use it.  We need to be the light of our time just as George Washington and his army knew they carried the torch of their time.  They did not accept that tyranny would be their destiny, nor should we think these dark times are what we must accept. 

History repeatedly shows that when it looks the darkest is when we find the road that is required we travel to reach a place we were meant to stand.  That is true in our individual lives, and also most true for our nation.

Now lets us make it so.