Politics 101: Defusing Trumpism? Jungle Primaries

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The conundrum of the problem we now face appears when the next election rolls around. No Trumpist can be allowed to regain power. Not in 2022, not in 2024, not ever. They will never surrender power again, so it would be senseless to ever let them have it again. Who is anti-democratic when that situation occurs? The people who know the other side won’t surrender power, or the people who know the other side doesn’t merit power, because they won’t draw blood to keep it?

In order to head off this impasse, it becomes imperative that we break the calcification off of every state we, the people, control. Here. Now. Today. What we need to head off the Trumpists at the national level is a viable third party, fourth party, fifth party, or maybe no parties at all. There is a fresh thought to contemplate. Here in the United States we only allow two parties to compete unless we want to self-destruct the entire system.

This fact was proven to me over the course of the years I spent working in the Libertarian Party. We could get on the ballot here in Texas and in most other states, but none of our candidates ever made it into office because they were hobbled by the system that requires members of the two major parties to win elections at anything above the local level. In the end, the knowledge that the candidate would be hobbled without party support at the national level, the active discrediting of candidates from outside the two party system that is present in any media coverage of election events meant that if the candidate didn’t have an R or a D in front of their name, they wouldn’t matter anyway.

It is also true that math itself defeats minor party candidates for high office. Game Theory has long established that plurality voting, winner takes all general elections between more than two candidates, yields the least favorable electoral outcomes. Game Theory essentially predicted that we would have the least favorite candidates in competition with each other at the end of the 2016 election. Does anyone doubt that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump did not together represent the least favorite candidates in competition?

In Oklahoma you had to be a Republican or a Democrat to be on the ballot back when I was a libertarian. Oklahoma wasn’t the only state that so baldly proclaimed the primacy of the two major parties in the past, but they were the last holdout state that refused to concede that government endorsement of particular private parties establishes a monopoly on ideas which is a clear violation of the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In 2020 Oklahoma was finally forced to admit that the Libertarian Party was a real party, twenty years after the LP had been on the ballot in the other 49 states pretty routinely. That is the pace at which political change has moved in the past in the United States, in all fifty states. That is the first thing we have to adjust, the pace of change.

Before the next election we must take apart and reassemble the election systems in 47 states. This is the first major imperative. Only California, Louisiana, and Washington conduct jungle (blanket) primaries, and jungle primaries are how to decouple party and plurality from the results in the general election; and we have to decouple both of those things from the general election results if we want to make democratic inclusion the goal of our election process. This has to be the goal because it can’t continue to be the race to the bottom that has dominated our politics since 1980.

We have functionally hit bottom now. When the power goes off in your house and stays off for three days, and the leaders of your state aren’t even slightly embarrassed by this event occurring, don’t even think to apologize for the deaths that occurred because of their negligence, your modern government has just moved back a thousand years in history. Without electricity there is no modern civilization. Without electricity there is nothing but the means of survival left to calculate, and that doesn’t take much ability in math to achieve.

So we have hit bottom, democratically, republic-ly. If we continue the two party monopoly, the duopoly, the Trumpists will reclaim the government in less than a decade and create a hereditary dictatorship to take the place of the democracy we’ve enjoyed since we were all born. The Republicans are openly adopting the methods of the White Nationalists who dominated politics in all the years leading up to the election of Richard Nixon. When Nixon invited the Southern Democrats into the Republican party, he set the party on the course it has been on ever since. Republicans win by excluding the votes of minorities and undesirables. They do this by wielding law enforcement as a club, to turn potential voters into undesirable felons who can be excluded at the ballot box. They do this by stacking and packing, gerrymandering districts so as to render their opposition effectless.

This was done to the Democratic party in Texas more than a decade ago, and we have yet to emerge as a viable state-wide party since that time because of the gerrymandering and the division that it forces on political entities that should naturally be united. Austin is effectively without a national voice because Austin doesn’t have a set of representatives that speak for it. That is what Greg Abbott’s Republicans think of opposition to their unquestioned rule in Texas.

Presidential dictatorship has been the trend for decades, and it became obvious in the Bush vs. Clinton battles that seemed preordained from the perspective that the media took in 2016. It had to be Bush vs. Clinton in the eyes of the media because those were the two family names that were most important to politics, the two names that everyone knew. The Trumpists have now confirmed that this is where they think US politics is headed, as they continue to back their loser president even as his crimes go public, and his transparent coup attempt is revealed to be exactly what it seemed to be at the time. They think coups are fine as long as they are the ones that have power afterwards. This is a complete abandonment of everything our country has meant to ourselves and to the world at large since the founding of the United States.

Party is not family, and party shouldn’t even equate to cheering on your local sports team. Party will always be ideological, which is why party seems to be turning into religion for some people. Trumpists are overwhelmingly evangelical and salute their leader as a god-king. At CPAC this weekend, they had a golden calf made in the likeness of Donald Trump to worship right in the conference hall. These people seem incapable of understanding hypocrisy, irony, or tradition. They can’t be allowed to win an election ever again, and that means we have to break the country out of the binders that the duopoly put it in over the course of the last one hundred and twenty years, and we have to do it in less than a decade for it to be effective.

Jungle (blanket) primaries is where we have to start. Some form of the California model should be adopted in the 46 states who have yet to embrace this approach to winnowing the field of candidates, and any new states that we create over the next decade need to also embrace this approach. The top two vote getters will have, by definition, some form of a majority behind their candidacies.

Jungle primaries will break the stranglehold of there being two parties and only two parties represented in the system and the worst of those two parties coming out on top. Expanding jungle primaries will continue the process of opening the door to new ideas being able to be incorporated directly into the systems we govern with without requiring the leadership in a particular party to endorse those ideas.

What I am interested in is seeing the government act on the best ideas; and the only way to get the best ideas to rise to the top of the structure and get acted upon is to engage the wisdom of the crowd. Notice that I say best ideas and not correct ideas? Correct is subjective. Best is, or can be, objectively defined. This should not be a right/left issue or a conservative/liberal issue. This is an issue of good governance and only a fool or an authoritarian would want to make sure that the country continues to have bad governance through the enactment of bad ideas. This is why the jungle/blanket primary is the first thing we need to see established, nationally. It will take away the power that enables Trump because his ideas are demonstrably very bad and very unpopular.

Let us not abandon representative democracy and one person one vote. Not after all these decades of work that we have put into this cause. Let us continue the work that the framers phrased as creating a more perfect union.

This is the story of a political party that is right now this very moment, OPENLY rushing to pass election reform legislation in nearly every state they control, making it difficult or impossible for people of color to vote, to be actively part of this Republic.

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Featured image: screencap from Khan Academy – Open primaries, closed primaries, and blanket primaries

The Enron Legacy

there were many factors that went into creating the energy disaster with which Texans are now dealing. But at least in one respect, the problems in Texas are a product of an approach to the energy business that Lone Star State companies like Enron pursued at the end of the 20th century.

wapo

Ken Lay was George Bush’s best friend, back when George Bush was governor of Texas. That was what Ken Lay would tell you, if he was still alive today. The story is more slanted now that Ken Lay has been convicted of felony crimes and his flagship business, Enron, went bankrupt and took $40 billion dollars and the fortunes of thousands with it. Also, Ken Lay is conveniently dead of natural causes, so it is easy to blame him for all of the greed that was behind the drive to deregulate the energy sector in the United States.

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (book) (movie)
Movieclips Classic TrailersEnron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005) – Nov 20, 2013

It is because of Ken Lay’s friendship with Governor and then President Bush that the Texas and California electrical grids ended up being the mess that they are today. It’s just taken longer for Texas’ grid to fall apart than it did California’s, which has been on the ropes since Enron arranged for it to start suffering rolling blackouts back at the turn of the century.

I watched/read The Smartest Guys in the Room when the movie/book came out back in 2005. The story itself was just another nail in the coffin of my belief in market solutions, the death of my libertarian delusions. Every time that the fraudsters finally convince someone in authority to deregulate, it doesn’t take long to prove that government regulation had been there for a very good reason after all. Enron bought energy companies and then created energy markets for their power to be sold on. That was what those regulations stood in the way of, huge profits on Wall Street.

One of the last acts of desperation in the failing business that Enron became after its meteoric rise on the stock market was to turn off power generation in California’s electrical market in order to drive up the price of electricity and put money in the pockets of Enron executives and traders. Enron created rolling blackouts on purpose in order to profit from the suffering of California citizens. One of the last acts of desperation of the Texas Public Utility Commision during the recent winter storm was to set the price of electricity high enough on the Texas market to inspire power generators to turn on their excess capacity and flood the Texas power grid in their time of need. It’s just too bad that there wasn’t any capacity to be had because the power generators hadn’t bothered to insure against freezing by weatherizing their supply systems. Just too bad that electric energy generators and their investors were more interested in profiting off of the suffering of Texas citizens than they were in spending money weatherizing against winter storms that they hoped would never show up, but still manage to show up about every ten years anyway.

KUT 90.5 – Texas’ Power Grid Was 4 Minutes And 37 Seconds Away From Collapsing. Here’s How It Happened – February 24, 2021

kut.org

Shares of Macquarie rose 3.4% in Sydney on Monday after the company raised its profit outlook. They are now down 2.8% over the past 12 months.

One customer told the Dallas Morning News that his electric bill for five days stood at $5,000, the amount he would normally pay for several years of power. Another told the Dallas-Fort Worth NBC affiliate that he had been charged more than $16,000 for February.

wsj.com

It is also too bad that Texas’ hostility to federal regulation caused it to seek an isolated grid through ERCOT, which meant that most of Texas went without power when it’s isolated grid went down and no one could send it power to keep it afloat. Unless you were lucky and lived around El Paso, which (along with Amarillo and the panhandle) are not under ERCOT and consequently only saw minor interruptions in service.

This is what happens when you make the essentials for survival into profit-driven commodities; commodities that no one can understand how to profit from unless they are scarce enough to drive demand over available supply. When there is more demand than there is supply of the essentials some people won’t survive. The death toll across Texas due to the winter storm and resulting power outages is still unknown but is likely to be well over 100 people, and a bank in Australia made 200 million off of those deaths.

Texas is misnamed. Texas (tejas) supposedly means friend or ally. Nothing could be further from the truth than seeing Texas as your friend or ally. That is the ploy of the confidence man, the demand to trust him even though he seems to be oilier than all get out. The Texas mascot should be the irresponsible teen who wants to shirk all the day long because he can. It should be the grasshopper that whiles the summer away instead of storing food for the winter. Like the grasshopper and the irresponsible teen, Texas is always unprepared for adversity because of these infantile behavior patterns. Texas is a great place to be young and healthy, because there are no worries about tomorrow here, and no requirement to save anything for that day of need. Texas is a horrible place to be old or sick in because there is no place to go when you reach your hour of need. No allowance for the slackers that we pretend to be fond of, but throw out in the cold the minute that things get tough.

The true beneficiary of Texas largesse is the corporate raider, the false priest, the con artist. Texas is made for thieves. Personal and corporate greed are rewarded here, rewarded more highly than any human virtue. Just look at Ken Lay. He understood what Texas was for. He rode that pony hard and put it up wet counting on not being there when the tax man came for his cut. He died a millionaire, of the diseases of old age he could have avoided if he had straightened up and flown right. Why bother? No one gets out of this life alive.

The Enron legacy is ERCOT and every other Texas boondoggle ever hatched. Every scheme that amounted to nothing more than stealing from public coffers and crafting a golden parachute for yourself. If we had those billions that Enron stole from us, that the deregulation scheme stole from us, we wouldn’t need to go without water or power, the average Austinite wouldn’t have to be out there hand-delivering necessities to people on the verge of death during a pandemic. This lunacy has to stop. The question is, will we pay attention long enough to make it stop?

Featured image from twitter.com/austinenergy

Immigration Still?

facebook.com/RBReichnytimes.com

By the time October of last year rolled around I had already stopped commenting on immigration stories anymore. It was just too painful, too hard to follow and pretend that any of this shit was normal, should be considered normal. I have long considered myself the brother of my hispanic friends. My father’s service station in our hometown in the middle of the great plains was staffed with hispanics, men with brown skin and Spanish surnames. Their children were my friends. They occupied the same social status that I had in school. Not athletic and not masculine in the traditional sense, I was never going to be first class when it came to social standing. I was always a misfit; and as a misfit, I tended to group with the minorities who were generally outcast everywhere I went.

Watching hispanics tormented as the other among us is something that makes me physically ill. I can’t do it, tolerate the inhumanity of tormentors, and I don’t understand people who can, much less the people committing the inhumanities that I’ve been forced to witness these last four years.

The Wife’s foster mother is a Tejano. She married a police officer in the small Texas town where they lived, and she considers herself a part of his social standing as a white law enforcement official in their small town. Being from a small Texas town it is almost a given that the two of them supported Donald Trump when he declared himself for office. The Wife and I tried to talk sense into both of them the few times we’ve visited with them over the last four years, but that effort was fruitless. The signed color photo with the bulbous orange face and fake hair hangs in a location of pride in their living room.

She supported Donald Trump even after she had to avoid detention and deportation from the country, when it was discovered that her birth certificate came from a hospital where it was known that birth certificates were forged. There was no doubt she was born in the country because her parents were not immigrants. They were Tejanos.

Her parents and their parents before them had simply lived in a Spanish speaking area of the state that had never acknowledged the United States absorbing their Mexican state after it was severed from the mother country, and that area had remained a backwater that eventually dried up and blew away because of its disconnection from the current reality in Texas, like a lot of places have done in different states over the years, as fortunes changed and trade changed and people changed or didn’t change.

But then Donald Trump and his White Nationalist agenda came along, and suddenly a person with brown skin who never had a reason to worry about being deported because she had never been out of the country had to face that reality even when she didn’t think of herself as Tejano anymore. She was a Texan and an American and why are you treating me like I was ever a Mexican? That was the reality that Stephen Miller created through the vehicle of Donald Trump and his accidental presidency.

Administration will house migrant kids in tents in Tornillo, Texas
nbcnews.com – Administration will house migrant kids in tents in Tornillo, Texas

…and that has been the United States that we have lived in for the last four years under Donald Trump’s almost dictatorship. The Wife’s foster mother supports the former president to this day as far as I know, and the immigration nightmare continues.

Through putting children in cages, pointing fingers at Barack Obama for putting children in cages (he didn’t. But he didn’t do enough, either) Letting these poor people languish and die from lack of care along the border. The lies about the border figured largely in the 2018 recapturing of the House of Representatives by the Democrats. Trump had gone too far and it was obvious to anyone who was paying attention that he was lying his ass off about immigrants. Then COVID happened and everything went to shit:

All Things Considered – Marisol Mendoza Has Been In ICE Detention Since 2016. Now, She Has COVID-19 – June 21, 2020

COVID spelled doom for Donald Trump. Anyone who follows politics should have understood this fact, but apparently a lot of people didn’t, including a lot of his supporters. Joe Biden won because he wasn’t Donald Trump and the United States wanted Joe Biden back in the White House, like it was when everything was better than it has been for the last four years.

Over the last year of COVID the immigration problem has just gotten worse. Now we have people trying to escape from disease as well as trying to escape from terrorism and poverty in their home countries. We have a different president but largely the same government, and everyone expects miracles right now. They expect miracles even when Texas has torpedoed Joe Biden’s lukewarm migration agenda that simply reverts to the Obama White House status quo of four years ago:

Texas thinks that’s going too far. We Texans apparently like being able to rough up anyone we don’t think belongs here and then send them back across the Mexican border whether they even immigrated from there or not. We push people back across the border and then say “What? His legs were fine when we dropped him off:”

So let me get this straight, CPB. You are saying they broke their own legs after you dropped them off across the border? Are you sure that is the story you want to stick with? What, exactly, are you trying to say?

This is the atmosphere that heralds the return of the god-king Donald Trump and his head White Nationalist Stephen Miller to the evangelical tent circus that Donald Trump has been fleecing suckers with since 2016:

Beau of the Fifth ColumnLet’s talk about Trump and Miller coming back this week – Feb 24, 2021

When Beau says that Biden isn’t going to propose anything remotely close to being up to his standards, I’m right there with him. There isn’t any way that what I think justice for these people will look like legislatively will ever be proposed or make it through congress because congress doesn’t understand what its job is. That is the first point that needs addressing.

I don’t understand why the representatives who stood up and said “Biden didn’t win fairly” were even seated in Congress. Their credentials should have been rejected and their states should have been sanctioned until they managed to send representatives that were willing to work within the system as it has been created. If the 117th legislature had done this, policed their own bodies as they have the right to do, then the policies that Biden wants to pursue would be achievable because the states that don’t want to be part of the process would have no voice in the process.

Saying that immigrants can’t come here is an unenforceable position unless the people who want to keep the immigrants out are willing to kill them themselves; and if they do kill them then we have some nice murder charges that will fit them perfectly. Please step over here now, sir. The immigration issue is just the most visible of the festering sores on the body politic. Unless we get a Congress that is willing to do the work that needs to be done, there will not be an end to the sickness that is killing our country.

What would justice look like? Green cards for everyone with a clean background that wants to work. Let’s start there. Citizenship for every person who works here and doesn’t have citizenship anywhere else. If you work here, pay taxes here, have children here, you are an American. It is time we accepted this fact.

But justice goes deeper than just being humane to our immigrants. We need to acknowledge that poor people have the right to continue to live, not just the immigrants but every single American. We can’t very well expect Americans to care about immigrants when their country demonstrably doesn’t care about them, either. Those festering sores will kill our country sooner than the immigration problem will, and will sabotage any attempt to reform the immigration system if they aren’t dealt with at the same time.


Here is a baseline position to start from when it comes to immigration. How about we not let the White Nationalists that run Texas today set the terminology for the people they want to put in concentration camps or kick out of the country? The unaccompanied children who are the majority of immigrants who are showing up at the border; or if they aren’t the majority they are the ones that are causing the most trouble. Those are not migrants. They are refugees. They are asylum seekers. They are not drug smugglers or disease carriers or any one of the dozens of demonizing labels that are thrown out by the hateful governor of our state. They are children who have no one to turn to, and they are looking for family in the United States:

Consider This – What’s Behind The Increase In Migrant Children At The Southern Border – March 16, 2021

…even that hotbed of socialist dogma, NPR, can’t seem to stop parroting the hateful labels applied by people who want these children treated as criminals. Not migrants. Refugees. Asylum seekers. Children. The solution to the problem at the Southern border is going to take some actual thinking, some actual investment, and some actual work to enact. Work that the Republican leadership in Texas will not do correctly if it is left to them. They will fuck it up and the problem will get worse.

Here’s hoping that Biden’s goal of setting up intake locations in these asylum seekers home countries will work out the way we all want it to. That is probably the best way to short-circuit the wave of unaccompanied minors showing up at the Southern border, give them another way to get to their relatives already inside the United States.


The crisis at the Southern border has been all over the news this week (March 22-26) There is just one or two problems inside the narrative that the Trumpists want to overwrite the actual problem at the border with. There is no crisis at the border at the same time as there has been a crisis at the border for as long as we have tried to stop migrants from moving back and forth across the United States / Mexican border. It is a crisis that we created, like so many of the crisis that we have artificially created:

On the Media – A Predictable Time at the Border – March 26, 2021

The annual migration trend is completely within the bounds of prediction to anyone who is paying attention to the seasonal migration across the border. The only part of the increase that isn’t predicted is the increase in unaccompanied minors at the border, a challenge that was going to be presented to any president that succeeded Donald Trump. There is nothing that an administration that has only been in office for three months could have done to address the influx of children. Nothing.

The only people who could have addressed this problem are the Republican Senators who are currently, ridiculously, pretending to tour the border areas out of concern for the children that their president would have shamelessly sold to US families at a profit. They failed to do the job that existed for them then because their way to fix the problem was to let Trump do whatever horrible thing he wanted to do next in order to make us look more ruthless than the criminal gangs destroying Central American countries. Go back to Cancun, Ted. You can put on your creepy speedo and cruise the resort pool looking for children to abuse. Leave the suffering people at the border alone. They’ve already suffered enough.

Listen to this episode of Vox Conversations to get a real feel for the problem we are facing:

spotify – Vox Conversations – Aarti Shahani – The border, explained by someone who knows it intimately – Mar 25, 2021

That Aarti Shahani feels betrayed by his father and the United States now is completely understandable. I would feel the same way were I to be walking in his shoes. El Paso relies on the metro area across the border just as certainly as those communities rely on El Paso. The way to solve the border problem is to let those people who live on the border tell us what they want done to make them feel more secure. It won’t be better, taller walls, that much is certain.

Nations that do not change, stagnate and die. Those that welcome new life and embrace new ideas, thrive.

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Filibuster? Blame Aaron Burr

It’s 1804. Aaron Burr kills Alexander Hamilton but he’s still the vice president, runs out of town. Back, 1805, he’s in the chamber. He’s still dispensing advice in the Senate. And Burr says, you’re a great deliberative body but a really great chamber has a very clean rulebook and yours is a mess. And he singles out that previous question motion. They get rid of it in 1806, not because they wanted to create filibusters, right, not because they saw the great deliberative body of the Senate and they needed a right way to protect the rights of minorities. That rule was gone because Aaron Burr told them to get rid of it and it hadn’t been used yet.

Sarah Binder
On the Media – The Filibuster: Protection or Obstruction? – Apr 6, 2017

Robert ReichThe Only Way Democrats Will Get Anything Done – Feb 25, 2021 (facebook)

The Senate isn’t a democratic body. It is a body created to ensure that states had a voice in the federal government. That is its reason for existing and that is why it is made up the way that it is. But that doesn’t mean that the rules that govern the Senate should be broken in such a way that it can’t get business done because the minority wants to roll around on the floor like a temperamental child that doesn’t get what it wants (Yes, Ted Cruz. I’m imagining you with chocolate smeared on your face and wearing an OshKosh jumper rolling on the Senate floor right now, destroying my fond memories of Green Eggs and Ham. Petulant. Small. Child. Ted Cruz) The Senate simply needs to restore the motion to call the previous question that still exists in the House rules and in the basic parliamentary rules that govern most legislative bodies (Robert’s Rules of Order) Striking that rule in the Senate is what has lead to the impasse of the filibuster.

It is amusing to me that the rule was originally struck because it was thought that Senators were too civilized to need to end debate with a vote since no Senator had ever refused to stop talking when it was clear that he was not convincing anyone. Had the original Senators known the future, known that John C. Calhoun would use the filibuster in defense of slavery to bring the United States to the brink of Civil War, that Mitch McConnell and his Republicans would use it to stop the Senate from being able to get anything done, they would have left the ability to call the previous question in place. If we could talk to them today they would probably marvel at our inability to simply set the filibuster aside as a bad idea that has long outlived its usefulness. They had just voted themselves as no longer subject to the King of England a few decades earlier. Don’t like the rules? Change the rules.

Editor’s note

This was originally published as a quote from the episode of On the Media that tops the article, near the date when the episode released. Since this is a problem that we are still talking about four years later, I have moved it forward to today and added more of my thoughts on the subject, like I had originally intended to do when I set the quote aside to be published later, and then published even later after my thoughts evaporated.

Eliminating GIGO

When I wrote:

…I think I got the most volume and some of the most varied feedback I’ve ever gotten for any post I’d ever written before. It ran the gamut from “this is easy to do and Facebook can’t seem to do it, so they must not care” or “Facebook is in bed with X group, their behavior demonstrates this.” to “Any attempt to moderate speech violates my freedom of speech.” When I queued up this episode, one of the first things that the guest says on mic is that she figured that the Facebook Supreme Court was just a way to get Facebook out of the crosshairs for making the decisions that need to be made, content-wise:

Radiolab – Facebook’s Supreme Court – February 12, 2021

…and by the end of the episode I was where Jad was “we have to ban Facebook, don’t we?” But then I thought some more about the varied responses to the tests that were put forward to illustrate just how hard it is to make judgements about what is or isn’t acceptable on social media, and I started to realize that what Facebook will ultimately achieve, if it succeeds, is some form of internet protocol for allowing the greatest amount of speech possible without misleading the populace or allowing for the targeting of segments of the population. I wish them luck with their supreme court experiment. Hope it all works out.

Tangentially, there were two more episodes later in my podcast feed that dealt with the same conundrum. Speech, the freedom and limitations of:

Amicus With Dahlia Lithwick – First Amendment Fallacies – Feb 27, 2021
What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law – Deplatforming and Section 230 – 02.27.21

If I were to craft a tweet for this episode of Trumpconlaw, as I have tried to do for it’s 49 brothers (failed at a few) It would run something like “Section 230 allows your internet to serve you the porn you want on demand, it does not enable Facebook to silence your god-king, no matter what he says about it.” The #MAGA remain MAGA no matter how many times they mash their faces against the screens, though.

…which reminds me. While #48 about pardons was largely a rehash of the previous pardon episodes of Trumpconlaw, #49 speaks explicitly to the title of this article because:

What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law – Incitement – 01.30.21

Incitement is by definition GIGO that should be eliminated. “Trump’s behavior since the November election proves that his intention was to incite violence on January 6th. He would have caused more violence on January 20th if he had not been deplatformed.”

The First Presidential Impeachment

I queued up the latest episode of Throughline when it came out on the 14th of January, and I wondered what take they would give on the subject of impeachment now that we were in the second impeachment for Donald Trump:

Throughline – Impeachment – January 14, 2021

The episode turned out to be a rebroadcast of a previous episode (High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Feb. 28, 2019) but as I was listening to the episode I was thinking “yeah. I wrote an article about my experience reading this book. What happened to that?”

After looking through my online drafts, I can tell my self from the middle of January what happened to it. I flushed it. I flushed the whole article. I was so disgusted with the results of President Trump’s impeachment in 2019 and trial in the early months of 202o (what feels like a decade ago now) that I didn’t see the point in adding an article about this book to the blog. I mean to say, the book and the first impeachment of a President in United States history had no bearing on the results of this modern President’s flirtation with perhaps being punished for his infractions by being impeached for some of them. The tale had no bearing other than that he was left in office just as Andrew Johnson had been, to the disgust of everyone who cared about the future of the country and the plight of the former slaves who were betrayed by Andrew Johnson.

Because I’m fanatical about saving everything I write somewhere, it turned out that there still was a draft of the article sitting in my backups waiting to be dusted off and revisited. Since President Trump has been so enormously stupid as to attempt to overthrow the United States government and not even understand that he should probably run away after failing so spectacularly to do even that job correctly, he has been impeached for an unprecedented second time, almost exactly thirteen months since he was impeached for the first time. Impeached for sedition. That’ll look good on his resume. What follows is an amended set of thoughts on the subject of the book and the relevance of the first impeachment of a sitting President with the current governmental tragedy that we are witnessing.

Impeaching a President implies that we make mistakes, grave ones, in electing or appointing officials, and that these elected men and women might be not great but small—unable to listen to, never mind to represent, the people they serve with justice, conscience, and equanimity. Impeachment suggests dysfunction, uncertainty, and discord—not the discord of war, which can be memorialized as valorous, purposeful, and idealistic, but the far less dramatic and often squalid, sad, intemperate conflicts of peace, partisanship, race, and rancor. Impeachment implies a failure—a failure of government of the people to function, and of leaders to lead. And presidential impeachment means failure at the very top.

Brenda Wineapple

The Impeachers (2019)

I picked up The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation by Brenda Wineapple  after hearing her interviewed on several podcasts over a few weeks in August, 2019. I listened to it over the course of a month or so in fifteen minutes stretches as I got ready for bed and then tried to go to sleep. When I dusted off the first abortive attempt to write an article about this book, I decided to listen to it again while editing this article and adding to it. I have now been listening to the book for two days straight and finished it on the morning of the third day. It is much better than I originally thought, and it is packed full of relevant details about the current president and his predicament.

It isn’t the most sleep inducing of books, which is a point in its favor, but I have to keep relistening to chapters in order to try to keep all the players straight. This is a flaw in the narrative that has been constructed for the story of the impeachment of Andrew Johnson to be told in. I have read better histories over the course of the years, but there is nothing particularly bad about this one. It flows well from chapter to chapter, I simply can’t keep all the names straight because I don’t understand their place in the overall story. In case anyone else is having this problem, I’ll attach a list of the obscure characters that the author seems to insufficiently touch on at the end of this article, as well as include a few quotes from them interspersed in the text. I looked them up out of curiosity anyway, I might as well list their names and what I took away from stumbling across them online here in this article. However, the best way to learn about the subject of the book, Andrew Johnson and his direct impeachers, is to just read the book or read one of the numerous other books that have been written about him and them.

Here’s an example of why this book is relevant today:

I cannot believe there is really any danger of armed resistance to impeachment. The force which Johnson could command is so small and the suicidal folly of the course so evident. Still, Johnson is an exception to all rules.

Moorfield Storey

Andrew Johnson and Donald Trump resemble each other in character. Vain, narcissistic and borderline sociopaths, with a certain kind of charisma that they both used to raise crowds to their defense when they were speaking extemporaneously, but when looked at later in the cold light can be seen to be voicing sentiments that are almost completely without merit. They are cut from very similar cloth and neither of them should have ever been allowed near the levers of power, and abused their power when it was given to them.

The story of the first presidential impeachment stems out of the first assassination of a United States president, which followed directly on the heels of the Civil War, a conflict that finally put to rest the question of slavery that had badgered American reality and morality since the founding of the United States following the separation of the American colonies from Great Britain.

I recommend that anyone interested in this subject also read Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin or at least become passingly familiar with the subjects that swirled around in political circles of the day. Because, while the book is entertaining and self-contained from the perspective of explaining most of what you need to know about the subject of the first impeachment of a president, it isn’t going to tell you just how embedded the common notion of white supremacy was, a concept that was later scientificated into eugenics, which in the modern day is inseparable from white supremacy itself, even though it is still an active science in several countries.

Without that understanding, you will not be able to credit just how hard it was to find enough people of power to make the kinds of changes in the South stick that needed to stick without turning the entire project into another form of genocide:

Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

Abraham Lincoln – Second Inaugural Address – Saturday, March 4, 1865

Threading that needle, avoiding the mass slaughter of the plantation owners for the purpose of providing property and means for their now freed slaves, while at the same time allowing the former slaves enough space to be able to exercise their newly-granted legal rights, was the task before the country when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, the task that Andrew Johnson was not capable of executing. A fact that he demonstrated many times before the House of Representatives was forced to impeach him for his transgressions of the law.

I especially loved the explanations that Benjamin Butler came up with to explain what it is that falls within the realm of ideas encapsulated by the phrase High Crimes and Misdemeanors:

An impeachable misdemeanor might be an act that subverted the principles of government, such as one that violated the Constitution or that flouted an official oath or duty or law. It could be an act that abused or usurped power.

The Senate was bound by no law, either statute or common, that should limit your constitutional prerogative. The Senate, acting as a court, was a law unto itself. Bound only principles of equity and justice where the laws of the people was supreme.

The Impeachers, Chapter Twenty-Two

The Senate is not required to be certain beyond a reasonable doubt in order to hold the president accountable for the crimes he has been charged with, an idea that is also encapsulated in this article from The Atlantic, as well as my own article on the subject. These definitions did not stand in the way of the president’s defenders then and now, insisting that there were no laws broken so the impeachment could not be a valid one but only a political one. Even a political impeachment is valid, if the reasons for the impeachment are dire enough.

If there was a movie made of what happened after Lincoln was assassinated its title should be Betrayal. Betrayal is what Andrew Johnson did to the visions of Abraham Lincoln. A betrayal of the formerly enslaved people in favor of the wealthy white landowners. If these downtrodden people had been given the voice they were promised back in 1865, we wouldn’t have needed to impeach a white supremacist president in 2019, and then impeach him again in 2021.

Andrew Johnson not only deserved impeachment, he should have been impeached sooner. Andrew Johnson was not the first president that should have been impeached and removed from office. Andrew Jackson should also have been impeached and removed because of his unwillingness to enforce and abide by the decisions of the Supreme Court. He was not impeached because he had a House of Representatives and a Senate that agreed with his treatment of the native peoples in Georgia. These supporters did not mind that he enriched himself by stealing the natives land and selling it through authorized representatives, selling it to whites that wanted to possess the land. (Jacksonland)

Mitch McConnell comparing the Republicans who impeached Andrew Johnson to the Democrats who have impeached Donald Trump did get one thing right. Both impeachments were undertaken late, and both impeachments will likely end with injustice done to the Constitution and the ideal of the rule of law. In the case of the impeachment of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell is already on record as being intent on doing injustice.

The modern record should not distract from the historical though. It is the process of following the trends through history that provides the illumination for current events, not the other way around. Andrew Johnson never did get the justice that he so richly deserved, and that is yet another reason why we remain in this quandary today.

Putting aside such causes of the Senate’s action as women, whiskey, cowardice, greenbacks, Free Masonry, Negro-hate, offices for one’s sixteen pine-tree cousins, a diseased Chief Justice, spite, dyspepsia and noodleism – It is evident, on the face of things, that while a very large majority of the people, and specially of the Republican party, wished its success, there was a very strong doubt among the party leaders whether such success would help the party.

Wendell Phillips, The Impeachers, chapter 27
Characters

Roughly listed in the order that they appear in the book:

  • Edwin Stanton – Perhaps the most famous of Lincoln’s cabinet. You see a different side of the man in this history than you will see in other histories.
  • William Seward – Secretary of State under both Lincoln and Johnson. A much more despicable figure than I had understood him to be from other histories I have read. What a strange man he must have been.
  • Thaddeus Stevens – Leader of the abolitionists in the House. Played memorably by Tommy Lee Jones in the movie Lincoln, he has never been treated more kindly as a character anywhere other than in that movie, and that is a shame on our nation and what our nation means. Stanchly even handed, but willing to manipulate the rules of the House of Representatives to serve the needs of the nation itself, we need at least one legislator equal to him in today’s Congress. Unfortunately we don’t seem to have any of them.
  • Charles Sumner – Leader of the abolitionists in the Senate. No one seems to like him, and there is little of him in this book. Still, we should understand who he was if we are to understand his place in history. I’ll have to try to find more to read about him.
  • Lyman Trumbull – Coauthor of the thirteenth amendment. Author of some of the freedman’s legislation. Senator from Illinois.
  • Thomas J. Durant – Former federal officer and an attorney in New Orleans where he witnessed the sadistic massacre there in 1866.
  • George Boutwell – Former Democrat turned radical abolitionist Republican.
  • James Mitchell Ashley – Proposed the resolution to impeach Andrew Johnson. For this and for his stance on educating the populace (including former slaves) he was soundly defeated in 1868 and never held elected office again.
  • Benjamin Butler – Benjamin Butler would open the House Manager’s prosecution case against Andrew Johnson in the Senate. More should have been written about the history of this man, given how important his role is in the impeachment trial. Butler provides the definitions for the offenses that Andrew Johnson was impeached for, quoted above.

Guaranteed City Services

The power went off about 2am while I was having a soak in the tub before heading to bed. I grumbled and then rinsed and dried myself off in the dark and climbed up out of the tub to get dressed again so that I could go find the flashlights and the hurricane candles and make sure the house was set up for several hours of life without electricity in the middle of a nearly unprecedented winter storm.

This is the second time in a month that the power has gone off here at the house. It’s off at the school across the street too which has never happened before, and that bothers me. The school is on a seperate grid set aside for essential services. Most Texas schools were built to be shelters for harsh weather as well as their main purpose as schools, and they are largely self-sufficient architecture if properly maintained. The power being out there was a signal that this was not the ordinary squirrel chewing on transformer wires kind of problem.

The power stayed off until 4:38am. It came back on while I was washing dishes by candlelight. Weirdly that is the same thing I was doing the last time there was a power outage. The power stayed on for ten whole minutes and then it went back off again. I’m going to start a fire in the fireplace soon and start cleaning the shotgun in preparation for the zombie hordes that should be milling about by the time everything thaws in a week. I hope all of you have your zombie plans ready.

This is getting to be a too frequent problem. If I wanted to be on my own for power I would live out in the country. I don’t live in the country because I want services from the city to work when I need them too. I’d like to not have to buy solar cells, a battery backup and a generator just because I as a homeowner can’t rely on the city to keep the power on. This is why we pay taxes. We pay through the nose so that the services we need are there when we need them.

Yes, this is unprecedented weather, a never-before seen type of winter storm for this area. I get that. But this is the second time in a month, and that time the weather was normal and the power was still off all day. The city needs to start making sure that basic services stay on all the time, and just FYI that also includes the internet in this day and age. It’s time for a rethink, as the saying goes. Let’s start getting the city to pay attention to what is really important to us as citizens. What is that?

  • Shelter for everyone.
  • Clean water for everyone.
  • Food for everyone.
  • Electricity for everyone.
  • Healthcare for everyone.
  • Information services for everyone.

When it became clear to me that climate change was a thing some time around 2010, I started thinking that the municipalities and states needed to start making plans to deal with unexpected weather conditions in the future, because we really don’t know what will happen as the planet warms up. Winter storms stalling out in the Southern regions of the United States are perhaps a completely unlikely event to contemplate, but that is what the word unexpected means, and that is also why they changed the nomenclature from global warming to climate change, because the net effect may have been hotter temperatures worldwide, but the individual weather patterns will include things like what we are seeing right now. We need to be planning for this kind of event in the future, and we should have started these plans twenty years ago or even earlier.

We’ve waited too long and now it is time to play catch up, and we’d better start doing the planning in earnest or we’ll be seeing rolling blackouts all summer and winter in the years to come. People dying to unforeseen climate events is something that we should not just be accepting blythely like we are doing right now. How many homeless will freeze to death tonight? How many of them have died so far this year?

In a year marred by uncertainty and loss, homeless Austinites and advocates gathered Sunday morning to remember and read the names of the 256 homeless Austinites who died in 2020 – an increase of more than 70 deaths compared to last year.

Along Auditorium Shores, dog tags representing each life lost were nailed to a memorial live oak on the banks of Lady Bird Lake. The silver tags fluttered and jangled with each gust of wind on the blustery morning, while Austinites on the Roy and Ann Butler Hike and Bike Trail went about their Sunday exercises largely unphased.

kut.org

Will it top 400 in 2021? 500? When will we say enough?

February 18, 2021 – I wrote the original portion of this article Sunday night, early Monday morning, by copying parts of text that I had written on Facebook and Nextdoor earlier in the day Sunday. I was using my phone as a hotspot while typing on my laptop and it was the only connection to the outside world that we had in the house at that time. Not too long after my 5 am post, the phone and then the laptop went dead, and I had no power to charge either of them (other than sitting out in the SUV we borrowed from a friend due to the terrorist squirrels attack on our car. I’ll be writing that article shortly, I’m sure. If the power stays on) until Wednesday afternoon when we were woken up from the pretty poor sleep we were getting without our cpap machines, woken up by the sound of the high temp alarm going off on the chest freezer that sits just the other side of the wall from our bedroom. So that makes just under four full days without power for us here in Austin.

Most of the food in the chest freezer will be of questionable safety and will have to be thrown out, and that goes double for the contents of the refrigerator. We moved most items that we needed to keep edible to the porch, which remains colder than the refrigerator even today, Thursday the 18th.

That is 59 hours without power thanks to the Texas electric grid manager’s (ERCOT) unwillingness to provide or find additional power to keep the electricity on for most Texans. The death toll from freezing will not be known for some time (90 days per the Statesman article quoted further down. -ed.) and the cost of life among the homeless population may never be known. Nor is this winter storm over. I noticed flakes of snow falling again today as I washed dishes in my freshly boiled tap water this morning.

Boiled tap water? The boil water notice was instituted yesterday as the assessments of the damage that the lack of electricity for four days has had on our local infrastructure revealed that the power had been turned off at Austin’s largest water treatment plant, and that water pressure remains under low pressure conditions. Low water pressure means that contaminants can be siphoned off of toilet tanks or leaks in cracked water lines, rendering the once potable water in the lines potentially life-threatening. The boil water notice will probably remain in effect here for several days.

I’m still no more confident the power will stay on than I was when it came back on the last time. It may be still on now, but how long will it be before ERCOT or the PUC once again screw up and Texas is subjected to blackouts because of it? This has happened several times, pretty much every time that the weather goes below freezing for long enough for the non weatherized portions of the electricity grid to freeze and then fail to provide power.

When I wrote about this issue on Nextdoor several people displayed a complete lack of knowledge about the subject of the electric power grid in Texas. People like this guy:

So you’d like Texas to invest hundreds of millions (or possibly billions?) of taxpayer dollars to expand capacity to meet the power needs created by a single day of once in a century weather?

The problem is not capacity that needs to be built into the system. The problem is weatherization. Weatherization that has been pointed out as being needed before, but that Texas’ electricity council has never done anything to address:

Morning Edition – What Went Wrong With The Electric Grid In Texas? – February 17, 2021

So this is a very frustrating narrative, and largely because it is true that some of the solar and wind farms were producing less than you might have expected because of the extreme cold, but a lot of them were actually overperforming expectations as well. Simultaneously, almost an order of magnitude or almost 10 times as much of the thermal system – so coal, gas and nuclear – actually shut down because of the extreme cold, due to things like instruments freezing, et cetera. So I think the overall point here is all of the fuels were really, really struggling. And as the governor mentions, renewables being about 10% of the grid, the other 90% of the grid was not available in the way that we expected to, either, and in a way that was very, very far outside of what we expected to see fail.

NPR.org

The weatherization issue is a known problem and it is an old problem. In 1989 Texas faced power outages due to freezing weather impairing the electrical grid. It happened once again in the 1990’s and in 2011. Now it is happening again because ERCOT and it’s member corporations have still not complied with suggestions made by the national electrical regulating body more than a decade ago.

As another commenter pointed out on that thread on Nextdoor, this is because ERCOT was set up specifically to allow Texas to avoid federal regulation. This is possible because all of ERCOT’s activities are inside Texas, which means its activities are not interstate commerce and thusly cannot be regulated by federal authorities. ERCOT passed on the recommendations from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to their participating electrical power generators, but few if any of them were followed:

Moreover, some of the same equipment, the report noted, had failed during previous cold snaps. One in December 1989 prompted the state’s grid operator to resort to system-wide rolling blackouts for the first time.

“Many generators failed to adequately apply and institutionalize knowledge and recommendations from previous severe winter weather events, especially as to winterization of generation and plant auxiliary equipment,” the 2011 report said.

The failures have already spurred a tangle of finger-pointing, with Texas Governor Greg Abbott calling on leaders of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s grid operator, to resign.

bloomberg.com

The wikipedia page I linked under the acronym ERCOT above appears to have been written from press releases and from ERCOT’s own website. It is pretty hard to find any information on this obscure agency that isn’t filtered through their own internal lens. A local news station has just recently published a story that claims that several board members don’t live in Texas and one board member purportedly lives in Canada:

A KXAN analysis of ERCOT’s board revealed a total of five members do not live in Texas. Along with Telberg and Cramton, board members Vanessa Anesetti-Parra, Terry Bulger and Raymond Hepper do not appear to live in the Lone Star State.

Anesetti-Parra’s professional social media account shows her location as Canada, Bulger’s ERCOT biography lists his home as Wheaton, Illinois and a University of Pennsylvania law school biography shows Hepper calls Maine home.

kxan.com

What is clear is that ERCOT has proven that it can’t manage Texas’s electrical generating grid with any reliability and needs to be scrapped and replaced with another organization that is mandated with ensuring that power stays on for the average Texan even when inclement weather is affecting the region.

This is not a big ask. This is not asking the government to invest billions of dollars providing excess capacity, although re-investing the millions of dollars of profit that these corporations have taken out of Texas in the future of Texas and in Texas’ ability to sustain the necessary systems for power generation and delivery would be a completely justifiable demand.

I’ll start simple. I’d like the state to stop denying that climate change is real. It’s all around us and affecting us more and more each day. Stop pretending that science is political. Science is real and climate change is real and we are just going to have to learn how to deal with this new reality that we have created. I would like a task force to be set up to spitball and then solve similar issues to this one we are living through now, and then they need to set up preparations to deal with similar crisis in the future.

There will be another crisis this summer from the heat and there will likely be one next winter from the cold. Once in a century storms seem to happen every other season these days. It is time to get off of our collective asses and go about setting up the systems we will need to survive this new and rapidly changing climate we find ourselves in. Austin should probably increase their investment in the South Texas Nuclear Generating Station, and possibly start backing current plans to expand that station to generate more power. That would be a good place to start. On the other end of the spectrum Austin and Texas should allow and/or encourage households and businesses to install battery backup systems for their solar power systems, so that households and businesses can draw on their own power during peak demand cycles. Completely the opposite direction from where Governor Abbott is currently agitating energy to go, demanding a reinvestment in oil and natural gas:

Beau of the Fifth ColumnLet’s talk about windmills in Texas and cars on Mars – Feb 17, 2021 (I’d like to thank Facebook for making it so buttfucking hard to link videos inside Facebook that they’ve forced me to go out and subscribe to Beau’s Youtube Channel that I didn’t even know he had in order to get a working link to this video that I originally found on Facebook. Facebook video, a major driver of video subscriptions for Youtube. Google should be paying you. -Ed.)

(When South Australia Went Dark, Some Politicians Blamed Wind Turbines. They Were Wrong, Too.)

In the meantime we still don’t have running water. Luckily we started having drinking water delivered a few years ago because Austin tap water had started tasting weird and didn’t look to be improving anytime soon. At least I could still wash dishes and clothes in it, as well as cook with it, while it was running. I really miss water at the taps that we could drink as well as do all those other things we need water to do in the average human home. Looking forward to the time when we can once again take basic necessities for granted as being guaranteed by the governments we elect to make sure we have what we need to survive.

If you elect people who hate and fear government to run government, you get bad government.

Bad government has consequences. Bad government can’t handle a crisis, won’t help its citizens (not can’t help its citizens, won’t), and can only blame others for its endless failure.

And you don’t have to look any further than what’s happening in Texas right now to see it.

facebook.com/Stonekettle

We made the Rachel Maddow Show and The Last Word on MSNBC Feb. 18th & 19th . A clip from Rachel’s show is the featured image. Here are some links to the screenshots (Instagram link 1 and link 2) I took from the Thursday Feb. 18, 2021 show.

The last commenter on the Nextdoor post I cribbed a portion of the text for this article from kept passively/aggressively implying that we had better shut up about wanting the power to stay on if we didn’t want to pay more for our electricity here in Texas. After about the fifth version of this reply being posted in the thread, I asked her to answer the question “is it a prosecutable crime to allow someone to freeze to death in their house by turning off the electricity? Yes or no?” She never responded to the question.

Hector Nieto, public information officer for the county, said the medical examiner’s office was busy processing at least 86 cases from Feb. 13-20 to determine the causes of death. 

statesman.com

Here is a story from the Feb. 25th Texas Standard:

texasstandard.org

Tap water was declared safe to drink citywide in Austin on the 25th. There were three other stories about the aftermath of the storm in this episode of the show.

Laïcité

Laïcité provokes a lot of incomprehension outside of the country, which isn’t surprising given the current financial globalization trend that privileges individual rights over collective fraternity. Yet, in France, the political community takes precedence over subjective communities, as it is the only body able to guarantee both freedom and equality. And a community transcending particular interests cannot exist without universalism, the founding principle of laïcité.

institutmontaigne.org
The Daily – France, Islam and ‘Laïcité’ – February 12th, 2021

A tragedy for a teacher leads to a teaching moment for the rest of us. We would do well to internalize what we call secularism but the French understand is much, much more than that.

Second Impeachment

To Senators Cruz and Cornyn

You were in the capitol that day. You know what the mob did. You know who sent that mob to the capitol, looking for your blood and the blood of your fellow legislators as well as the blood of the Vice President who loyally served him for four years. The guilty person I’m referencing is Donald Trump. In 2016 he said he wouldn’t accept a vote outcome that showed that he lost, even though he planned on losing. That is the poor excuse for a human being that Donald Trump has always been. He reiterated this unwillingness to accept defeat before the 2020 election was held, after the election results were known, and still refuses to allow anyone to call him the former president within his earshot.

He lost, yet he refuses to admit the truth of this to anyone, including himself. He is an active threat to all of us individually and to you personally as a locus of power inside the American government, power that can oppose his will and the will of the mob that he controls even to this day. He and they will come for you eventually. Sooner or later there will come a time when he and they draw a line that you won’t cross, and then you will be eliminated in your turn just as every person that refuses to back his play has been betrayed over the decades that he has been in business, let alone in power as the president. This is an unavoidable course once you start down the road to dictatorship, the kind of country that Donald Trump and his supporters want to remake the United States into.

There is only one way for you to avoid this fate, avoid it for all of our sakes. You must convict Donald Trump for the many, many crimes he has committed over the last four years as well as for the ones he committed since last November when he lost his chance to be president again. Convict him and then bar him from ever holding public office again. Only then will we be free from the fear and hatred that Donald Trump wields as a weapon. We may still have to fight the White Nationalists that his behavior and your blindness in supporting him have empowered over the last four years, but at least they will not have Trump to lead them anymore.

If you don’t convict him for his crimes and bar him from ever serving in public office again, you will have loosed the hounds of war as surely as if you released them yourself. The White Nationalists will be empowered, and Trump will lead them to take control of the United States government again, just as they are taking over the state governments under the colors of the Republican party right now, while you blindly continue to pretend that it isn’t happening.

Hell is coming, Senator. On February 5th of last year, when you didn’t convict Donald Trump at his first impeachment trial, you set us up to lose half a million lives to the coronavirus under his leadership. All that blood is on your hands. The death toll will be even higher if you fail to uphold the law this time. Millions will die as the country tears itself apart from within, killed by your willingness put party over country and not remove the threat that resides within your own political party. Killed by the enemies from within the country that back this cancerous growth in your party.

May the blood of your evil deeds ever lie heavily upon you for that vote last February and for the actions that your partisan blinders keep you from taking now. Hell is coming for us all, unless you act to convict this cancer named Donald Trump and bar him from ever holding office again. If you fail us, I pray that hell will find you and yours sooner than it finds me and mine. Hell may spare me and mine if I am clever enough to avoid the scythe that death wields, but it will certainly not spare you.

Convict Donald Trump and bar him from ever holding public office again. That is the right choice, and no one knows these facts better than you do. Back the prosecutions that are mounted against him and his supporters for the crimes that they have committed. Dedicate yourself once again to the country that you took an oath to preserve, and perhaps you will be spared like Scrooge on that fateful night when he saw the error of his ways. No one knows the future. The known acts of President Trump warrant his conviction and his demonstrated willingness to subvert the rule of law requires you to bar him from ever holding office again. These things we do know. They now require you to act.

A letter I sent to our Texas Senators

Here is a video of the first day of the House managers arguments as recorded on C-Span:

C-Span – U.S. Senate Impeachment Trial – Feb 10, 2021

On January 6, President Trump left everyone in this Capitol for dead.

Joaquin Castro (Heather Cox Richardson on Facebook)

Second day of the House managers arguments as recorded on C-Span:

C-Span – U.S. Senate Impeachment Trial – Feb 11, 2021

The defenses arguments and questions as recorded on C-Span:

C-Span – U.S. Senate Impeachment Trial – Feb 12, 2021

The lunacy of the defenses arguments is only outdone by the lunacy of the votes of the 43 Republicans that effectively shut down the bid to legislatively convict Donald John Trump for crimes he had been demonstrated to have committed by the House managers, and after that to have legislatively castrated any future Trumpist moves to make the United States a monarchy run by Trumpists in the future by barring him from holding future office, on their own stated basis of insisting, in contravention of their own oaths of office, that they still didn’t believe they had the right to sit in judgement of a president who had left office, a question that had been settled in day one of the trial, left me once again bereft of hope and vision for any meaningful future for this country.

Those of the forty-three Senators that openly stated that the question of the rightness of trial was their reason for why they voted to acquit, should be censured and removed from office for their violations of their oaths to the constitution. It can’t be more simply stated than that. If they cannot be bound to their own decisions of less than a week prior, then they have no moral backbone on which they can base future judgements. They should be replaced as soon as possible with people who can stand by their own decisions, and the decisions of their own legislative bodies. Yes. I am looking at you Ted Cruz and at you John Cornyn. You have disgraced your office, your state, and yourselves. You cannot justifiably presume to represent any Texas citizen in good standing, no matter what justifications you offer for your actions.

The Bulwark Podcast – David Priess on the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Impeachment – February 17th, 2021

Those were your people once, Mr. Cruz, Mr. Cornyn. The talking heads on the podcast and their audience of tens of thousands of subscribers. Now they are your opponents.

Traitor Trump

Just like the time he twisted the arm of the Ukrainian government. Just like all the times it has been demonstrated that he pressures people to alter the truth so that he can be seen as a winner. Over and over and over again since he started trying to gain the office of President of the United States, not to mention the entire time he has been in business, Donald Trump has been shown to be more than happy to bully people into telling lies on his behalf.

This recording is no different than the dozens if not hundreds of other pieces of evidence of Trump’s strong-arm tactics to make the machinery of the government serve his personal interests and not the interests of the people of the United States. (full audio and transcript of the phone call)

Washington Post – Audio: Trump berates Ga. secretary of state, urges him to ‘find’ votes – January 3, 2021

Coup d’etat. That is what this recording is evidence of. An attempted coup by the sitting President of the United States. The word we are looking for here is not coup, however, but traitor. Donald Trump is a traitor to this country and should be treated as such. He should have been treated as a traitor the moment that he attempted to make money off of running for office in 2016. Instead the Republicans of this country have fallen all over themselves to protect him and their perceived power through him. Those who side with him should all be called out as traitors as well. The evidence is undeniable now (has been undeniable to me for more than four years) To deny the evidence now, is treason. 

facebook

facebook.com/Stonekettle

Postscript

This article was/will be incorporated into an article I’ve titled That’s All Folks. Like all my articles on Trump, I’m just waiting for some kind of endpoint to work from that doesn’t feel imaginary. I am determined that I will not wait the two to four years it will take for his trials to wind their way through the judicial system.