Moscow Mitch thinks we don’t need to investigate the January sixth riot:
This really doesn’t merit a lot of thought. I’m just going to cut and paste what I said here after the first impeachment started against Donald Trump:
I don’t know what the hurry is. Why do we have to have this all done by the end of the year? now? Why not investigate side by side with the police efforts to uncover the depths of crime involved in the attempted coup? Let’s be sure to get every single gory detail on the record for the Republican party to wear to the end of its days.
Republicans were happy to pretend nothing was worth worrying about for two five years while Trump stole the nation blind and Moscow Mitch shoehorned every judicial nominee he stole from Barack Obama through an otherwise catatonic Senate. Republicans were happy to talk about #Benghazi for three years. What’s the rush? I say we keep the impeachment hearings January 6th inquest going until November 3rd, 2020 November 8, 2022. I suggest they hold hearings on election day, even. Draw it out. Reveal the crimes of all of Trump’s yes-men as well as all of his 40 years of financial and real estate crimes. and his instigations to riot in the streets of Washington D.C. after telling black people they couldn’t riot in the same city streets six months earlier.
Paint it all in glorious technicolor detail, for all the world to see. The damage has been done already, anyway. No one will trust the United States again. Not for a generation. I have now given Moscow Mitch’s dismissal of the bill all the thought that it deserves.
One hundred and seventy-five Republicans voted against the January 6th investigation bill. Those seditionists (to use Stonekettle’s term for them) should never have been allowed to sit in congress. Anyone that wasn’t willing to state in advance that the election that put them there was a valid election should not have been seated. This action was permitted by the rules of the House and the Senate and should have been enforced:
If the election that put you here is in question then you shouldn’t be in a body that represents the people. Plain and simple. Congress chose to go this route instead, seating representatives that declared their intentions to muck up the works as much as possible. Now we have seditionists in Congress. I don’t see how this scenario is better than the outrage that would have been engendered when the 175 seditionists were not seated in the first place. This may be complex political maneuvering, but I don’t see how the Democratic strategy is going to win the next election for them.
…which is the only point that matters on this subject. Making sure the Republicans never see power again on the national level. They have made themselves the enemy of democracy. They should be declared a terrorist organization if they don’t change their tune.
The district went Trump +3 in 2020. Who was dumb enough to think it would go Democratic? That it would go Democratic without the DCCC taking an interest in the race? Every seat in Texas is rigged for Republicans. Rigged. They cheated a decade ago and they’ve yet to be punished for this transgression. That is the fact that you should takeaway from the election. The panel says a lot of stuff about the election and what that means to the nation, stuff that really shouldn’t be applied broadly. Texas Republicans are not like Republicans in other states. Texas politics is not like politics in other states.
As far as the opening segment on the census goes, the states didn’t choose to undercount. Donald Trump chose to undercount while appealing to his White Nationalist base. The real question there is “why did Trump pick up Latino votes in 2020?” I will bet you that this is because a certain portion of the Latino community thought that Trump was talking to them. They don’t know that he’s talking about them when he talks about illegal votes. They are all illegal voters in Trump’s eyes and Trumpist eyes. They need to understand this fact about Trumpismo.
The Republican base has committed political suicide with their support for Trump. The corpse of the Republican party simply hasn’t stopped twitching yet. Give it time. Eventually rigor mortis will set in. I hope.
Part three, because the current efforts at voter suppression are merely an extension of what Donald Trump and the Republican party have been engaged in since it became clear that the Southern Strategy was no longer going to allow them to keep winning elections as it had done in previous decades.
It was 2010 when a nationwide effort to gerrymander the state houses that Republicans controlled was rolled out:
The plan, which its architects dubbed REDMAP for Redistricting Majority Project, hinged on the fact that states redraw their electoral maps every 10 years according to new Census data. REDMAP targeted states where just a few statehouse seats could shift the balance to Republican control in the crucial Census year of 2010.
…so this crusade against accurate and democratically represented constituencies predates Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican party. But it has only gotten worse since he forced his way into office using voter suppression tactics handed to him by Russian operatives. Trump’s voter suppression task force lead by Kris Kobach spawned part one and part two of this series. That effort didn’t last very long, like most things that are Trump-inspired.
In the 2018 midterms it became clear that the precisely gerrymandered legislative districts were starting to turn more blueish that Republicans were comfortable with, and the shellacking that Republicans received in 2020 proved to them that they were going to have to keep certain classes of the population from voting if they wanted to retain national power in any real way. They have come out four-square in favor of keeping everyone who isn’t old, white and male from the voting booth, in as many ways as they can possibly arrange, in as many statehouses as they can force legislation through:
In 43 states across the country, Republican lawmakers have proposed at least 250 laws that would limit mail, early in-person and Election Day voting with such constraints as stricter ID requirements, limited hours or narrower eligibility to vote absentee, according to data compiled as of Feb. 19 by the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice. Even more proposals have been introduced since then.
This continued drive to keep people from participating in their government will not end well for those in power when the breaking point comes. This is a truth that has been illustrated time and again throughout history. When the people decide they don’t want to follow a leader any longer, and that leader will not surrender power, the leader doesn’t live very long.
Put bluntly; this issue of voter suppression is going to come to civil war if it isn’t solved with federally mandated voter guarantees. We don’t have two or four years to wait for these guarantees either. They have to be instituted now so that they will be solidly in force by the time the next election period rolls around. The Democrats in the Senate had better get their shit together and do that soon, or we are going to be spending blood and treasure killing our own people in the next election. An outcome that could have been avoided had two Senators had the balls to stand up to their own constituents in defense of the state that they claim to represent.
End the filibuster. It should never have been allowed in the first place and wouldn’t have been tolerated by the senators who removed the rule that kept it from happening. The arguments about allowing it are pointless. End it already and pass the For the People Act so that we don’t have to fight these damaging battles all across the nation in 43 different state Houses.
The set of bills that are up in Texas:
Following committee approval, HB6 by state Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, now must be approved by the full House. The Republican-dominated Senate has already passed its own voter suppression bill, SB7. Together the bills would impose a slew of restrictions that would make voting harder especially in large, densely populated counties where many Texans of color live. The bills would bar many measures local leaders also promoted to make voting safe and secure during the pandemic, including curbside and drive-thru voting, mobile voting locations and 24-hour voting centers.
Texas freedom network is a nonpartisan watchdog group. I have followed them for years, for longer than I have been siding with Democrats politically. Even they understand the problem with what Texas Republicans are trying to force through the Texas legislature right now. I have a simple observation to make on this subject. Those who make it impossible to govern through social engagement with our neighbors, make the resultant change that much more violent. Make no mistake, Texas. Change is coming. Embrace it while you still can profit from it. If you don’t, it will simply be that much more expensive to clean up after the change is effected. The one constant in life is change. Depend on it.
If Democrats don’t end the filibuster and do the things that need doing including push back Republican power grabs and voter suppression laws, then they will fail and there will be no reason to hope for any better future in this country. It really is that simple. Do the work that needs to be done, or admit that the American experiment has failed. Pick one.
Republicans have stacked the deck in their favor for a long time and have come to rely on that unfair system, rather than policies that appeal to voters, to retain power. Now that Democrats are trying to level the playing field, they howl that the Democrats are cheating.
When Bundy declared his unwillingness to acknowledge the federal government, we should have went in there and taken everything from him and his family, killing every single adult that took up arms against the United States government and refused to recant their rebellion. If we had done that, we’d be in a different place right now.
I don’t know if it would have been a better or worse place, but with Bundy’s sovereign movement crushed into dust, his ranch auctioned to the highest bidder, his family dead or penniless and homeless, there would have been no Trump presidency. There would not be a world-wide retrenchment of White Nationalism.
Instead of doing that, the government paused before using force. Right or wrong, the 76 dead Branch Davidians caused the government to pause before doing what it should have done, and because of that we find ourselves where we are now.
The government is not required to be pacifist in order to be effective, it is only required to be just in its use of force. Justice now requires that White Nationalism be as determinedly destroyed as Black Nationalism and black rights, minority rights, have been destroyed since the creation of the United States. White Nationalism should have died with the Confederacy in 1865. It is long past time we killed the zombie that the Confederacy left behind.
One way to look at it is this – a small minority now has the ability to hijack public health policy by waging their own shadow campaign on social media. They are accountable to no one. They can force the expenditure of limited public health dollars just to minimize the effect of their own campaigns. This is also an asymmetric campaign, because it is much easier to spread fear than proper information. At the very least it is reasonable to filter out their harmful misinformation from private platforms. Panels of experts can be used to provide the filter, and fair processes can be made available for appeals. At the very least these options need to be explored.
This article was about Gardasil. The vaccination worked, but social conservatives hated it because it gave women permission to be promiscuous. Think about what that means. They wanted people to suffer and die from a preventable cancer rather than vaccinate them against the cause of that cancer on the grounds that sex outside of marriage is bad and should be discouraged. They used vaccine fear to wage a war against this vaccine, and this isn’t even the first time, nor was it the last.
That is the Conservative-Republican-Trumpist line now about the coronavirus vaccine:
Oh, we’re not anti-vax. We just don’t think vaccines work.
…Strangely, it is the same argument they offer about their obvious racism. What their resistance is about now is still religion. Their religion of conservatism. Their invented Republican Jesus, the one who loves capitalism and profit more than he does the poor and the sick. Their belief that government can’t do anything good in the world.
I’ve heard this pushback from dozens of sources now. They just object to this one vaccination, not the general idea that vaccinations work. Either the science is real, or it isn’t. Either we have stopped Small Pox, Polio, etcetera through vaccination, or the entire business is a sham. A con job. Pick one side people, because it can’t be both sides at the same time. The vaccine works. It works and you should get it.
This was originally posted as a quote on January 11, 202o, I have advanced and appended the quote with the current coronavirus crap.
Rumor has it that the twice impeached disgraced former president Trump is planning on starting his own social network since his deplorable behavior got him kicked off every online platform he doesn’t own.
Anti-Trumpists are busy trying to imagine correct names for his new service. Names that are allusions to Trump’s treasured voter base, White Nationalists. Most of their attempts to name this proposed service are depressingly predictable.
The service will be called Trump, obviously. Everything the guy does has his name on it, usually in gold capital letters. The service will end up going the same way that all of Trump’s other businesses have gone. Just like Trump streaks and Trump vodka and Trump casinos this business will also fail. Calling the network Trump is all that needs to be done in order to correctly name the disservice it will attempt to perform before it goes out of business.
Let’s be honest here. Coding is hard work that people legitimately expect to be paid for. Trump doesn’t do hard work or pay for things you do for him, so the chances that he can keep contractors on the project long enough to even have it see the light of day is an iffy prospect. Never mind that his floating this particular turd of an idea in the news pool is probably about as real as any of the other bullshit he’s floated over the last fifty years.
…Which means he’ll probably deny even suggesting it a few days from now.
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.
…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:
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:
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:
…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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.”
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
On January 6, President Trump left everyone in this Capitol for dead.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.