There is little in the news other than talk of impeaching Donald Trump. I have taken a look at past impeachments to see what they can tell us.
We need to remember that an impeachment is the equivalent to an indictment. If someone is impeached, the Senate holds a trial. It takes a 2/3 vote to remove them from office.
Such extreme action has been rare. There have been only 19 times that the House has adopted a resolution and assigned a committee to begin an inquiry. Three were against presidents and one against a senator. The others involved judges. There have been two impeachments in the 21st century. They involved judges and both were removed from office.
The most interesting ones involve presidents. Efforts against Truman, Bush 43 and Obama went nowhere. John Tyler was the first president to be involved. Congress was upset over some vetoes but the attempt to impeach failed. A committee was formed to investigate charges of corruption against James Buchanan. It cleared him of any wrongdoing.
Andrew Johnson was the first president to be impeached. His refusal to work with Congress led to a disastrous election in which both houses had vetoproof majorities. They passed the Tenure of Office Act. It required congressional approval for the president to fire a member of their cabinet. They were trying to force Johnson to keep cabinet members who were disloyal. He fired Edmund Stanton, the secretary of war. The House impeached him. The effort to remove him from office failed by one vote.
The House authorized the Judiciary Committee to do an impeachment inquiry against Richard Nixon. They hired a large staff to do research. Among them were Hillary Rodham (now Clinton) and William Weld who is challenging Trump in the 2020 election.
Watergate was a massive scandal. Many high-level appointees ended up in prison. The big question was the degree to which Nixon was complicit. They eventually drew up five articles of impeachment. The committee approved three of them. The most serious one related to his role in covering up the Watergate burglary.
Nixon was fighting the release of his presidential tapes. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously against him. One tape showed that he clearly was part of the coverup. He then resigned his office. Had he not done so, he most certainly would have been impeached and convicted.
Bill Clinton became the second president to be impeached. He was sued by a woman named Paula Jones for sexual harassment when he was a governor. While president, he had a relationship with Monica Lewinsky. She told a friend about it. The friend taped the conversations and notified Jones’s attorney. Clinton took steps to conceal the relationship and suggested Lewinsky not tell the truth. In a deposition he said they didn’t have a sexual relationship and denied that they were alone together. The judge ruled that the Lewinski information was immaterial. The case was thrown out of court because Jones didn’t show any damages. It was later settled out of court.
The House impeached him on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. After the Senate trial, there were insufficient votes to remove him from office.
His behavior with Lewinski and attempts at a coverup were appalling. Had he behaved that way in a criminal trial, it would certainly have been obstruction of justice. I don’t believe irrelevant testimony on a case that was thrown out constitutes obstruction. The perjury charge depends on whether or not the activity they engaged in constitutes sex. I don’t believe his behavior met the constitutional requirement.
Eight presidents have been involved with impeachment in one form or another. I believe that Nixon is the only one guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. Next time I will take a look at charges that are being made against Trump.
Most Democratic presidential candidates want to massively increase the income tax rate on the rich. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders want to start to start confiscating their assets. They euphemistically call it a wealth tax. Sanders made it clear that he wants nobody to be a billionaire.
Obviously, it’s hard to be sympathetic with the ultrarich. If these policies are put into effect, future Apples, Googles, Amazons and Facebooks won’t be American companies. The millions of jobs will be created elsewhere.
Warren and Sanders talk about the trillions of dollars that will be raised. They assume that those affected will quietly pay the money. They will find loopholes. A couple can get divorced and pay less taxes. Some may elect to move out of the country. This has been going on in Europe for decades.
This tax would be extraordinarily hard to administer. It’s easy to value publicly traded stocks and bonds. Coming up with a value for privately held businesses, real estate and collectibles is virtually impossible.
Margaret Thatcher said “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money”. Once the wealth in a country is destroyed, you end up with places like Venezuela. Capitalism is certainly not perfect but socialism would put us on a road to ruin.
Dealing with Iran is one of our greatest foreign policy challenges. They consider us to be infidels. They wish to harm us and some of our key allies. They want to be the leading power in the Middle East. Developing nuclear weapons and supporting terrorists is part of this strategy.
As we all know, Saudi Arabia suffered a devastating attack on its oil infrastructure. Fingers are pointed at Iraq. They would certainly be the most likely culprit. This was an act of war against Saudi Arabia and economic war against countries that depend on Saudi oil. Thankfully, we are energy independent.
Responding to the attack should be left to those countries affected. If they want to consult with us, that’s fine. We should not play the role of trying to right all wrongs in the world. Getting involved militarily would be a huge mistake.
This week we have seen a lot of confusion among House Democrats over what the impeachment investigation is all about. It was called an inquiry. However, the House needs to approve a formal inquiry that could lead to impeachment. Since that hasn’t happened, it’s now being called an investigation to determine if there should be an inquiry.
this is a ridiculous investigation that likely will go nowhere. The only reason for it is to satisfy the extreme Left.
it looks like they will follow three paths. Some are still convinced there was collusion with Russia. Others want to pursue obstruction of justice for interfering with the Mueller investigation. Trump waived all executive privilege. The investigation lasted nearly two years without being interfered with. Besides, how can there be obstruction of justice when there wasn’t a crime? The last group want to dig into Trump financial records hoping to find something.
Next year House Democrats have to face the voters. When asked what they have accomplished, saying they focused on harassing Donald Trump is not a good answer.
Today is the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack. Unlike Pearl Harbor, it didn’t launch a traditional war. It did mark the beginning of a much stronger effort against those who would do is harm, both foreign and domestic.
We still have a presence in Afghanistan. I don’t have sufficient information to know whether or not it is in our best interest to keep troops there.
We do need to recognize that the Taliban will do as they please once we have left. Any negotiations will likely be fruitless since we won’t be able to enforce the agreement.
I don’t have a problem if we do try to reach an agreement. Giving them the honor of meeting President Trump at Camp David is absolutely ridiculous. I am glad that Trump cancel it.
Many people respond to proposed legislation solely on the basis of their ideology. It is easier for those of us in the middle to judge it on its merits.
Several Democratic presidential candidates are proposing a mandatory buyback of assault weapons. Their purpose is to cut down on the number of mass shootings. On the surface it may sound like a good idea. Anyone looking at the facts would realize it makes no sense at all.
There are around twenty million assault weapons out there. A tiny number, certainly less than 100, are in the hands of people who are likely to use them in mass shootings. The government would spend billions buying guns from law-abiding owners. Those potential shooters would keep their guns. If they are thinking about killing people, I doubt they would worry too much about violating federal gun laws.
The only way to cut down on the number of mass shootings is by trying to find these people before they commit mayhem. Assuming all 330 million of us are potential shooters is ridiculous.
People killed in mass shootings are an infinitesimally small percentage of total murders. Reducing the murder rate should be the focus of any legislation.
In a book on Voltaire, author Evelyn Hall wrote the famous phrase “I disapprove of what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it”.
Freedom of thought and expression is a basic tenet of our democracy. There have been times in our history when we fell badly short of our ideals. The years following World War 2 was one such time. People could lose their jobs or even go to jail if they were accused of being a communist or communist sympathizer. These practices became known as McCarthyism, named after a crackpot senator from Wisconsin.
We are entering a similar time. This time it is a grassroots effort aimed at conservatives. First Amendment protections are rapidly disappearing from college campuses. People that speak up may be shouted down or even physically attacked. In some places, efforts are under way to shut down businesses where the owner expresses conservative beliefs or donate to the Trump campaign.
There have been a couple of examples in the news recently. A pair of sitcom actors seemed to be proposing a blacklist for anyone attending a Trump fundraiser. They have since backed off that position. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a non-binding resolution declaring the NRA to be terrorist organization. Apparently, they think having the wrong political views should be grounds for incarceration.
People of all political beliefs should denounce these tactics. Very few offer criticism, even when groups like Antifa commit violence. One member of Congress called them peaceful demonstrators.
Our democracy is weakened whenever people lose their rights. Preserving it is far more important than who is president or which side of an issue becomes law.
In the past, presidents had to rely on newspapers to communicate with the people. They were often a lot more brutal than their 21st century media counterpart.
Eventually, technology provided a platform for the presidents. Franklin Roosevelt gave his first radio address in 1933. Modern day presidents have more options. As we all know, President Trump uses Twitter.
Last Friday Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had his account hacked. The hackers posted racist, pro-Nazi material. The company was able restore the account after fifteen minutes.
Suppose someone hacked into Trump’s account? It could create a panic. News travels around the globe at the speed of light. I am no tech expert but it is vital that security be tightened. This is a national security issue.
Hopefully, they don’t decide to install a private server in the basement of Trump Plaza.