Witness to Three Impeachments

Zoe Lofgren is one of the impeachment managers who presented the Articles of Impeachment for Donald John Trump to the Senate and will be part of the prosecution of the Houses’ case for impeachment.

She was elected to the House of Representatives in 1995, and was on the Judiciary committee when the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton was being conducted.

She was an aide to Representative Don Edwards (D-Calif.), who sat on the House Judiciary Committee in 1973. She was sent to Washington to work on a bankruptcy bill but was swept up in the Nixon impeachment inquiry.

Everybody got sucked into the tornado that was the impeachment inquiry. I was a law student, so I wasn’t running the show, but I did work on it. You had a sense of how historic it was, how serious it was. But to be present was both an honor and also an obligation, and to be able to play a small part in something, it felt profound.

Washington Post

So she has a unique perspective on the subject of impeachment.

1A – Rep. Zoe Lofgren On Impeachment, Then And Now – January 18, 2020

I remember when Bill Clinton was impeached. I remember that I was pissed off for having to explain what a blow job was to my then seven-year-old daughter. I understood that Bill Clinton had broken the law. I also understood that what the Republicans were doing was entirely for show. They had no intention of acting on the evidence against him in any real fashion; or perhaps they knew that the charges they could bring against him were insufficient to have him removed from office. They just wanted to embarrass a popular Democratic president, and perhaps keep the next president from being a Democrat.

Morning Edition – The Senate Trial Of Bill Clinton – December 19, 2019

…a task that they weren’t capable of pulling off without the help of the Supreme Court. I knew that if they had been serious about getting Bill Clinton out of the White House, they would have called him on fraternization. But then most of them would also have skeletons in their closets that they wouldn’t have wanted dragged out into public after conducting that trial.

What Bill Clinton did was a crime. However the crime was engaging in a sexual relationship with a direct subordinate, which should be much more of a crime than lying to the grand jury about the sexual relationship. Worse, it was apparently a common practice of his to engage in sex with his subordinates, as other women took pains to testify about. Even to sue him over.

I also remember when Richard Nixon left office. I was a little older than the daughter was when Clinton was impeached, but I remember the sadness and betrayal that many people felt. Betrayal by the president of the people he was supposed to represent. I don’t know how many of my relatives and neighbors supported him before he was found to be culpable by the tapes he was forced to release to the House of Representatives. But I do remember that Grandma didn’t have a single kind word to say about him, so she wouldn’t say much other than he got what was coming to him.

Fresh Air – An Inside Look At The Watergate Prosecution – February 12, 2020

The Watergate Girl by Jill Wine-Banks

Nixon and Clinton both were compelled to release information to the impeachment inquiry that the House embarked upon against them. Both of them understood that the United States government was not just the president. It was the entire nation, figuratively. The U.S. Government is made up of at least the other two branches of government outside of the executive branch, and it is also made up of all the people who worked in all the branches of government that make up the government. It is and was bigger than any one person. That is perhaps the most telling argument against Donald J. Trump. He doesn’t admit that anything is bigger than he is. I doubt he even has the capacity to understand just how small he really is.

It is that lack of understanding that made these events we are witnessing inevitable. Nixon understood that if he was impeached he would be removed from office because the country had turned against him. He knew that he would face prosecution, and that he couldn’t be pardoned if impeached. So he left office on the heels of his even more crooked vice president, Spiro Agnew, the Bag Man of Rachel Maddow’s podcast.

ART19 – Bagman

…and Richard Nixon was pardoned by Spiro Agnew’s replacement, Gerald Ford.

Bill Clinton knew that what he had done was wrong and he apologized to the country. His behavior since that time publicly has been exemplary. I haven’t had to explain one other uncomfortable thing about him to a minor since that day.

Nixon knew when he was beat. Clinton knew how to appease the people who were rightly offended at his behavior. Donald Trump? He doesn’t acknowledge that others exist or that his behavior varies in any way from the absolute straight and narrow, even when caught red handed lying, cheating and stealing. That has been his standard of practice since I first ran across his name back in the days of Trump tower and the Trump Taj Mahal. Donald Trump doesn’t have the presence of mind to understand just how far out on a limb he is right now.

Zoe Lofgren knows how precarious his position is and hopes to hold him accountable for the crimes he has always gotten away with before. I wish her luck in her endeavor. Perhaps someone exercised caveat emptor after all.

Fresh Air – Donald Trump’s Testing Of America – February 17, 2020

A Very Stable Genius by Philip Rucker & Carol Leonnig

The Way the 70’s Should be Remembered

Dick (1999)

glowsDick Trailer – 1999

Hands down the silliest political satire I’ve ever sat through. Equally lambasting everyone from Dick Nixon to Woodward & Bernstein, this is the way I want to remember the 70’s. Humor may be in the eye of the beholder, just as joy is in the ears that hear, but the only way to explain the panning this film gets is judging it in context with the time it was released. What time was that? Whitewater and the Clinton impeachment.

In hindsight the film becomes even funnier. At least Tricky Dick understood when he was an embarrassment to the nation, and himself. He understood that he had crossed a line, and didn’t keep trying to pretend he wasn’t a disgraced President. If only ‘W’ had employed teenage dogwalkers. Ah, the times they are a-changin.


Editor’s note. Speaking of ‘W’, I caught the trailer for W. before watching Pineapple Express on Monday. Pineapple Express would have been funny if I had been properly motivated (stoned. I mean stoned) as it was, I don’t even think it ranks getting a full review on the blog.

W. (2008) Official Trailer

I can’t imagine how Oliver Stone’s W. will fair considering that it’s airing even before the subject leaves office, although they aren’t advertising an actual air date yet. Looks like it will be funny. Is it supposed to be funny? Stone’s other movies (especially JFK) all look funny in the rear view mirror, so maybe so.

Why I am a Libertarian – Liberator Article

I’m rehashing an old subject here, trying to update it for publishing in the Austin Liberator. As I pointed out in the recent blog post The Vote, I pulled the lever next to “L” again this year, just as I have for the last 10 plus years. I do this because I vote my conscience, rather than worry about wasting a vote.

The only wasted vote is the vote cast for a lesser evil, rather than being cast for a greater good. I vote and refer to myself as a Libertarian, and I do it with pride.


I am a libertarian because I believe in the concept of limited government. When I mention this fact to someone, I usually get the response “But you’re really a Republican, aren’t you?” Nothing could be further from the truth. I tolerate conservatives, but I’m not one of their kin.

Before I discovered the Nolan chart (http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz.html) and through it the LP, I was a staunch yellow dog Democrat, like my parents and grandparents before them. I believed that government was there to help, and that social freedoms could be taken for granted under the Democrat’s benign rule. However, I was at a loss to explain why the drug war persisted (with tacit Democrat support) or why the term “Politically Correct” was ever coined (by a Democrat) Even when the Democrats dominated the legislature and Democrats held the Presidency, social liberty never increased.

When the Republicans came to power, they talked of reducing the size and expense of government. My fellow Democrats cried over this, but I could not understand how reducing government, and the tax burdens on the people, was necessarily a bad thing. Having more of my money to dispose of as I wished seemed like a good thing to me. Having less government interference in my life was one of my goals, as well. I thought I might have something in common with Republicans after all.

Strangely, the cost of government never got smaller, even when the Republicans dominated the legislatures, and a Republican held the Presidency. The Republicans did reduce taxes, but the debt burden passed on to the next generation of Americans went through the roof. I started to think that the politicians were not being truthful with us, and if they were lying to us about their intentions, then what else were they lying to us about?

When I was told “read my lips” and then watched taxes rise anyway, and when I heard “It depends on what the definition of is is” used as an excuse to cover the questionable activities of a president (activities that were the least egregious of the impeachable offenses that he could have been charged with) I began to see the truth that I know today; If a politician has words coming out of his mouth, he’s most likely lying.

I discovered something else in the course of nearly 30 years of following politics: Government is a weapon. It is a loaded gun that you point at wrong doers to make them stop what they are doing. That is the only help that government can give; and it doesn’t even do that cheaply. If you want government to do something for you, then you are employing force to get it done.

Everything that government does can be done by private industry better, faster and cheaper. The fewer government run programs, the less force that is present in our system; less force means more freedom.

Jefferson, Adams and the others who founded this country understood this. The Democratic party (I was told) was the party of Jefferson. Because of this, I was a Democrat. What I did not realize was that the limited government principles of Jefferson and the founders were abandoned by the Democrats in the 1940 election. this brings us back to the Nolan chart and the LP.

Chart the beliefs of the founders, and nearly to a man they will turn up Libertarian. Jefferson was solidly so. When I took the test, I too charted as solidly Libertarian. It has been more than 10 years since I took the test, lodging protest votes against the two major parties, discussing issues with fellow libertarians, and it’s been only recently that I have come to the realization that I was indeed a Libertarian in belief, not just a political misfit.

Ask any libertarian why they are what they are, and you will get a different story. Some are former Republicans and some, like me, are former Democrats. Most of them are of the younger generation, fresh out of college and worried about the future they face at the hands of an ever-expanding federal government.

If there is a core libertarian belief, then this is a good portion of it; that government at least return to constitutional limits, and be responsive to the people who fund it. That force not be employed except in response to force. That we are all capable of governing ourselves, just as has been done throughout our history.

These were the beliefs of our nation’s founders, and because I claim these same principles as my own, I must be a libertarian.


Editor’s note.  I am no longer libertarian. I reject the label, and most of the philosophy behind the label.  The reasons for this are complex, and I haven’t quite worked it all out and written it down yet.  Still, I’m certain that Libertarians are aspiring to something that I see as dystopic in nature.  But that is another story. I hope I get around to writing it.