This is my very first blog. It feels like an adventure. It is one thing to expose my thoughts to my family and friends and another to the four or five strangers who may stumble on to this blog by accident and read It.
I am writing this by popular demand. By “popular” I mean my family and friends and by “demand” I mean their demands that I stop talking. This blog allows me to pontificate and everyone else to turn me off if they so chose.
I will always try to include a witty saying, joke, helpful hint, interesting trivia, or travel suggestion. This is to avoid anyone saying that nothing in this blog is worth reading. Also, since much of this blog is from my stream of consciousness I do not intend to do a lot of research. As an attorney I did research for 40 years. I have had my fill. However, when I do research or borrow from someone else I will always try my best to give credit to the source although the citation may not be perfect in form.
I am a moderately liberal Democrat although in some political and social areas I am progressive. I do admit that in the past I have on occasion voted for a Republican. But in today’s political climate I can say that if God is a Republican I will vote for the Devil.
I do not intend to have a set schedule for publishing this blog. Do not expect to receive it everyday or on any particular day of the week. I will write when I feel like writing.
Food for thought: ”This is no time for making new enemies.” (Voltaire, when asked on his deathbed to renounce the Devil.)
Sometime ago I asked some of my friends to tell me whether they think their high school education was deficient and, if so, how? I did get some replies and I intended to include them in this first blog along with my thoughts. Unfortunately I cannot find all of the replies so I am going to delay the discussion and ask everyone to re-send their thoughts to me.
Because we are in a presidential election mode, I want to state some of my thoughts about current politics.
1. Did you know dogs are Democrats and cats are Republicans? Want proof? Name one cat who has ever helped a blind person cross the street. (Heard on NPR radio.) Name one Republican Senator other than John McCain who did not vote to end Obamacare.
2. This morning there was much talk on the television news and opinion shows about whether Bernie Sanders in a private meeting some time ago told Elizabeth Warren that a woman could not be elected president. I ask, who gives a damn whether he said this or not? On the MSNBC program Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough mentioned that the news shows would be better served if they talked about those seriously ill children who need U.S. medical care to stay alive rather than what Sanders said to Warren in private. The Rump administration wants to deport the children along with their families to countries that cannot provide the needed medical care. If they are deported there is a strong likelihood they will die. If I am correct, Scarborough is saying (I hope that this is what he is saying) that we are arguing to argue about non-important things and losing sight of the forest for the trees. There are plenty of important matters to discuss. What Sanders said to Warren in private about electability is not one of them.
3. I do not think much of the political candidates’ debates. In my mind a candidate’s few minutes of self promotion, shouting, quips, snarky remarks, and denigration of one’s opponent do not provide much information and what information is provided in the few minutes allotted to each candidate is certainly not enough to make an intelligent decision on how to vote. (I think it helps President Rump more than it helps voters. It gives him fodder to use against an opponent.) I want to know platforms and I want to be told why one’s platform is better than another’s platforms. Tell me why I should vote for you by explaining your stands on the issues. (Perhaps all town halls should be televised and debates eliminated.) Of course, this is all lost on the TV news and opinion shows. They will spend hours arguing about the debate and who “won.” I can save everyone a lot of time. The winner of the debates is the person who becomes the Democratic presidential nominee. Candidates take note: trying to gain points with voters by denigrating your opponents is short sighted and does not sell well, within or without the debate setting. Think of Kamela Harris. Pundits raved about her performance in an early (perhaps first) debate where she utilized personal attacks. Oh yes, Harris was the pundits’ darling of the debate. Where is she now?
4. Some Democratic candidates are making noise about other candIdates taking campaign contributions from the very rich. This is a red herring. As near as I can tell a one-percenters’ money spends as well as money from a person of modest means. The test is not whether the contributions should be accepted but whether there are strings attached.
5. In 2016 many voters either did not vote or wasted their votes on third-party candidates because they did not want to vote for Clinton, the “lesser of two evils.” I ask, HOW DID THAT WORK OUT? Those of you who fall into this class did not demonstrate any form of critical thinking. You accepted the lies from both Rump’s campaign and the Russian propaganda injected into our election system. You did not do your homework nor did you consider the consequences of Rump being elected. (For 30 years the Republicans have tried to destroy Hillary Clinton’s reputation and in not one instance did they prove she did anything wrong or was not deserving of being President. This reminds me of the attacks on John Kerry and whether he deserved the Medal of Honor. Nothing bad said about Kerry’s actions underlying his achievement that led to the medal were true. Yet many believed it; for some reason they were more than willing to accept the lies about a true war hero. So, if you want President Rump to be re-elected, stay home or waste your vote.
6. President Rump is taking credit for the good economy. I ask you, tell me one program Rump put into effect that did anything to help the economy. Do not feel bad if you do not know. Neither does anyone else I asked, including Republicans.
With all that is going on in Washington I would like to offer a primer on impeachment. It seems timely even though it makes this first blog interminably long. The impeachment process mirrors the federal criminal procedure system. A federal criminal investigation starts when a possible federal crime is reported. It is investigated by a federal policing agency like the FBI or the DEA. Their agents (another name for policeman) gather evidence and speak to witnesses. A report is made (local agencies often call it a “police report.”) The report is then given to the Department of Justice where it is reviewed. If the DOJ decides there is sufficient evidence, the evidence is presented to a grand jury. If the jury decides that there is sufficient cause to believe a crime was committed and the suspect committed the crime, an indictment is issued and filed with a federal court. An arrest warrant is issued. (There are circumstances where an arrest is made before an indictment, but this is the only deviation from the procedure and whether an arrest is before or after an indictment depends on circumstances. But there is always an indictment.) After the indictment is filed and an arrest is made, a trial ensues to determine guilt or innocence.
The grand jury proceeding is controlled by the Department of Justice. The suspect has no part in it. He cannot have a lawyer present nor present evidence. His protection is the fact that a grand jury of independent people and not the police or the DOJ decides whether there is enough evidence to bring charges. He gets to defend himself (or herself) and have a lawyer in the later trial.
An Impeachment process is similar with one difference. In the impeachment process the House of Representatives acts as both the investigating agency and the grand jury. It gathers evidence and questions witnesses. We saw some of the investigation on TV where live witnesses testified. After the investigation is completed the House votes whether to impeach or not just as the grand jurors vote whether or not to indict after hearing the evidence. If the House votes to impeach, the President is deemed to have been impeached and the matter is sent to the Senate for trial. In trial the House acts as the prosecuting attorney and presents the evidence. The President then mounts a defense and is allowed to have lawyers and present evidence, exactly as in any criminal jury trial. If the Senators acting as the jury vote to convict the President he is removed from office and the Vice-President becomes the President. If the Senators vote not to convict the President remains in office.
The specific rules of evidence for criminal proceedings are established in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. No such tome exists for impeachments or trials in the Senate. Each branch of Congress sets its own rules by majority vote. However, there is some authority from the Supreme Court that states that a trial in the Senate must be fair to both sides. Chief Justice Roberts will preside over the trial in the Senate. It will be interesting to see how he sees his role.
That’s all for today. In the near future I will discuss whether the Democrats are really socialists, what criminal laws Rump has broken, and lots more.
Remember you cannot sleep well. Rump is still President.