How to Watch the Show
In olden days, kingdoms and countries held public executions to show the citizenry who was in charge. Today in the United States, we hold public hearings. The first suggestion I have is for all of us is to focus on the word HEARING when watching the testimony this week.
My first impeachment hearing was Watergate, which took place in early in 1973. Richard Nixon had just been reelected and only 19% of America thought the man should have been impeached. If you are old enough to remember, you’ll recall that the hearing made household names of Sam Ervin, Howard Baker, Fred Thompson and John Dean. To be clear, this was a Senate Committee hearing into Watergate, the scandal that involved a break-in of the Democratic Headquarters in the Watergate apartment and business complex in Washington, DC. The House never brought charges of impeachment, but there was a partisan uprising that forced Nixon to resign. I’m fairly sure that will not happen this time.
I also watched the Clinton Impeachment hearings, which lead to impeachment charges. Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives on December 19, 1998 on grounds of perjury to a grand jury (by a 228–206 vote) and obstruction of justice (by a 221–212 vote). Bill Clinton was acquitted in the Senate trial by the slightest of margins. On the perjury charge, 10 Republicans voted against, while in the obstruction charge, it was 50-50. Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania voted “not proven,” which Chief Justice Rehnquist decided was a vote against. So, you see, these things can get complicated.
The hearings we will see this week are the first steps in a long process, which the Democrats in the House are trying to speed up to keep the nation’s attention on the alleged misdeeds of Donald J. Trump. They also don’t want this to interfere with campaigning for the next election.
You will hear Republican members of the committee attempt to discredit the witnesses and possibly intimidate them on live TV. That is my opinion, but the central focus in this case is simple. Did President Trump use his office and power to extort a foreign country to discredit his political rival?
Under federal law, the offense of extortion typically requires the use of interstate communications to make a threat (using a phone or mail across state lines). Threats to federal or foreign representatives in order to obtain an official benefit may also be prosecuted as extortion under federal law. The law is very clear and what President Trump did is a prosecutable offense, but his supporters will say that this happens all the time and that Trump should be held to the same standard we used to determine the intent of past administrations. Okay, so two wrongs make a right?
Here’s a puzzling question. Why did Trump release the transcript? Why did he self-incriminate? Some people say that the Donald truly believes he did nothing wrong and that he released the partial transcript to show everyone the innocence of his conversation.
Trump keeps saying it was a “perfect call.” A good drinking game for those watching the hearings tomorrow might be taking a swig each time a Republican uses the word “perfect.” If that call was so damn “perfect” then why was it so ineffective? Trump did not get the public announcement of a Ukrainian probe and the extortion of not releasing the foreign aid was foiled by the press. You know, the “enemy of the people.” When word got out that our president was shaking down Ukraine, he released the funds on, of all dates, 9-11. If that’s perfect, I have some swamp land here in Florida to sell you.
So, the Republican party line is this. Nothing bad happened, therefore this is a non-event and not an impeachable offense. Even those who will openly admit that the call was questionable and inappropriate, will swear on a stack of Holy Bibles that nothing was wrong with Trump asking but not getting.
This impeachment rile reminds me of Albert Camus’ book The Stranger, in which the main character, Meursault, is on trial for killing an Arab. His trial quickly shifts away from the murder itself to Meursault’s attitudes and beliefs. The fact that he’s an atheist and didn’t cry at his own mother’s funeral play a greater role in his conviction than the murder. Within his life and presidency, Donald Trump has done many things that are more than offensive and detrimental to our country. Even seasoned politicians secretly admit that Trump is not a very good president, but in impeachment you must stick to the charges and attempt to prove them.
When watching the hearings, keep in mind that each side has a game plan and they will attempt to discredit and defend. Here’s my key question. Why are elected officials in the minority defending this president? Why won’t they cross examine the witnesses and attempt to find a deeper truth? I guess they feel a greater loyalty to their party and the man in the White House than the good of the country. But we already knew that. The major effort of each side will be making sure these hearings do not hurt their political brand. We will not see a kangaroo court, a “witch hunt” or even a camouflaged “hoax.” No, we will witness a GOOFBALL COURT, where in the end no opinions will change but the news networks will have plenty to talk about for a week.
Despite my suppositions and musings, you should watch the hearings because you never know what might happen. On Friday, July 13, 1973 (yes, Friday the 13th) Alexander Butterfield was asked whether there was a taping system in the Oval Office. Things quickly got interesting. Butterfield revealed to the public on TV that all Oval Office conversations were recorded. Once the committee knew that tapes existed, Nixon’s defenses and defenders dissolved in the bright lights. You never know what might happen and what people could say under the pressure of testimony. This could be fun to watch!
Read About The Country We Love
The book that tells it like it is…
Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs shows how we’ve wasted our GOLD on bad wars and corruption. While GOD is there for many people as a spiritual enrichment and the provider of glowing feelings, the truth is just praying and believing will not change our major arc. We don’t determine who gets a GUN. We aren’t sure if we have paramilitary groups ready to storm the White House or a White Castle. There is no control of weapons. The GOOFBALLS with the power constantly try to manipulate us into spending more money on bombs and tanks and wars. When all of our institutions are infected with neglect and fall in disrepair, we will only have ourselves to blame. This book is not an antidote for the left or right, it’s an accelerant to move the middle off their collective asses to go do something positive for America.