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Sun May 14, 2017, 12:07 PM

Mothers Day [View all]

“The United States was established by visionary, awakened, and conscious people, slaveholders though many may have been; the religious zeal, the outright blindness, and the avarice of the Bush administration have compromised the Constitution, thereby weakening the country's very foundation.”
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter; Eye of the Hurricane; Lawrence Hill; 2011; page 109


I have been thinking about some of the conversations I had with Rubin while he was writing this book. He had great hope that President Obama would bring about real advances in American society. When we discussed George W. Bush, Rubin said that his middle initial stood for “death.” He based that on the glee Bush expressed when discussing capital punishment.

While I can only speculate on what he would have said about Trump, I can say that Donald is “friends” with former boxing promoter Don King, a man Rubin viewed as a toxic parasite.

No matter who one supported in the democratic primary of 2016, if one blamed James Comey or not for Trump's election victory, or what particular issue one holds to be most important, the past week's events should be unacceptable. And that should be regardless of one's opinions on Comey as an individual. Rather, it should be based upon Trump's action within the context of his on-going attacks on that foundation that Rubin spoke of.

Our mistrust and disgust should be in response to Trump's: firing of (acting) Attorney General Sally Yates; his calling the press the “enemy” of the people; the firing of Preet Bharara; the personal attacks on federal judges; attacking the intelligence community; insulting the investigations into the Trump campaign and Russia, including both the House and Senate's; and the firing of an FBI director for investigating the ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Each of these was, without question, an attack on those parts of the federal government intended to install checks and balances upon

There have been individuals and crises that have tested our system of government in the past. Trump's personality combines the worst characteristics of Senator Joseph McCarthy, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, and President Richard Nixon. The current crisis has aspects similar to both Watergate and Iran-Contra. There have been numerous books detailing the history of threats to our constitutional democracy. Let's take a brief look at two of the most important.

From our nation's earliest days, presidents have sought to expand executive power primarily by claiming that there is an external threat, necessitating “war powers.” This was documented in Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.'s 1973 classic, “The Imperial Presidency.” Written at the time when Nixon was spinning out of control, Schlesinger spoke about the constitutional remedy – impeachment.

The second book is John Nichols's 2006, “The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders' Cure for Royalism.” Nichols made a strong case for impeaching George W. Bush.

There are, of course, those who automatically say, “But there were different republicans in 1973 and '74, who were willing to stand up for the good of the country.” This is nonsense. Anyone interested can go to “You Tube” and watch, for example, the committee hearings in the House debating potential articles of impeachment. It wasn't until towards the end of the Watergate hearings in both the House and Senate that republicans turned on Nixon. And they did so primarily in an effort to protect their own cushy positions.

Reagan should have been impeached for Iran-Contra. But it was only due to a “gentlemen's agreement” between members of both parties that protected the Gipper. Fast-forward to the Clinton presidency, and the nation witnessed the republicans gross abuse of the process. Next, when both Bush and Cheney should have been impeached, the absence of spine in Congress protected the pair.

Thus, it's important to take a look at what factors were in play in 1973-74 that were significantly different that in the following eras. Those who study the history of Watergate recognize that Senator Ted Kennedy played a vital role, though largely from behind the scenes. That was important. Yet the single biggest factor was that at the grass roots level, citizens were exercising their Amendment 1 rights. They were speaking publicly about the outrages they saw detailed in the Senate Watergate hearings. They held public rallies and demonstrations. They wrote letters-to-the-editor of their newspapers. And they contacted their elected representatives.

These efforts helped shape public opinion. And even the worst republican scoundrels in DC knew that they were walking a shaky tightrope. There were still republicans across the country supporting the man that everyone in Congress knew had suffered what was then called a “nervous break-down.” But that was generally an insiders' secret. The general public didn't know how unhinged the president actually was.

Today, a Ph.D in psychology is not required to know Trump is unhinged. It's not an insiders secret. A law degree is not needed to interpret the clues that Trump is trying to derail the investigations into his campaign/ administration's connections to the Russian attempt to hijack the 2016 presidential election. And, no matter if one suspects that coordinated effort did or did not determine the outcome, the offense is exactly the same. For it matters not if a bank-robber escapes with the loot or not – he is still guilty of the exact same crime f bank robbery.

The grass roots needs to be putting pressure on their elected representatives. We need to show the community-based organizing that lets the republican rats know that their comfortable positions are anything but secure. It is possible that Trump won't be impeached until after the 2018 elections, and if that is what it takes, we will be fully prepared. The better prepared we are, however, the more likely that this process will begin to unfold earlier. Do not assume that there is loyalty to Trump in DC.

The grass roots can increase support for impeaching Trump by communicating in a manner the “middle Americans” understand and agree with. And that includes a focus on the Constitution. Not in the sense of the rabid right-wing's “original intent” nonsense; it is easy to point out that the original intent was to exclude non-white males and all females from power. We see that same sick thinking in those who support Trump, no matter what laws he breaks.

Impeaching Trump (and electing a far better Congress) is a possibility that is open to us. But it will not happen if we wait impatiently, arguing on the internet and mistaking that for activism, hoping for a hero to lead the way. It's up to us. You and me. Let's do this.

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H2O Man May 2017 OP
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