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As followers of my column know, I rarely directly discuss politics, much less local politics but something has just crossed my desk that is worth a second (and third) look. On March 3, 2020 there will be a special primary election for the California State Senate, 28th District seat vacated (none too soon I might add) by a scallywag if there ever was one, Jeff Stone. He left the position of trust placed in him by the good constituents of the 28th mid-term for a job in the Trump administration. I told you this was good. And that is just the start.
One of the reasons I feel the necessity to comment upon all things in the 28th, a district that is roughly the size of and, in fact, looks like Tennessee is that I was the Democratic candidate for the position in 2014. In the traditionally ruby red district I ran against three very well-funded and well-known Republican opponents. Everyone told me I would be lucky if I got 5% of the vote. It was a fool’s errand if there ever was one. So, of course I was perfect for the job and for the record, although I did not win, I was the Democratic candidate who received the most total votes, garnering 17,635 votes for a 18.56% of the total votes cast. I missed getting into the general election by 1,500 votes in an election that, in the end, took a little over 40,000 to win. So, I believe I did my time and earned my right to a say in this year’s election.
Concerning the 28th, as in all matters politics, I am not the type who votes a straight party or anything else) line. I certainly do not adhere to the policy of voting for the “best” candidate. I vote for the best person. How do I judge who is the best person? I start with a simple proposition. Are they who they “appear” to be? Or, are you asking me to vote for a façade hiding a different, often ugly reality? If you claim to be a Democrat, are you for the people you wish to represent? Or, are you for the special interests, big (often dark) money and government besieged at all levels by lobbyists? Are you for responsible social programs for those in need? Do you believe in clean water and clean air? Do you believe in government of the people, by the people, and for the people? Or do you believe in government by consent? Or, do you believe in rule by a monarch. Speaking of which, do you believe in the rule of law?
It is unfortunate we are in an era of smoke and mirrors, infighting and gas lighting, mob rule and the rule of fools. But it is what it is. And whether it was John Philpot Curran, Wendell Phillips or Thomas Jefferson (nobody knows) who once said;
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
Its timeless words are of no less value today regardless of when or in what context they were originally spoken.
as·tro·turf·ing | \ ˈa-strə-ˌtər-fiŋ , -ˌstrō- \
: organized activity that is intended to create a false impression of a widespread, spontaneously arising, grassroots movement in support of or in opposition to something (such as a political policy) but that is in reality initiated and controlled by a concealed group or organization (such as a corporation). Source www.merriam-webster.com
So, who’s surfing or, in this case, smurfing (it may look blue on the outside…) the turf?
As a spectator and amateur historian to the Nixon Presidency, including the Watergate scandal and subsequent resignation-in-shame of the crook-in-chief, I can tell you of no better way of ascertaining the truth than:
“Follow the money” –Deep Throat, played by Hal Holbrook
Ever since it’s appearance in the 1976 film All the President’s Men these sage words have guided the investigative process of many a reporter into the halls of truth. A quick check of the Internet is all that is needed to get your “follow the money” on.
Elizabeth Romero, “Democratic” candidate for the 28th has a problem. An astroturf problem.
Just so we are clear, I do not begrudge any person, group or thing the right to support the candidate of their choice. The Chandi, and his, let’s call it “Collective” (in addition to the person, it has quite a few moving parts- see the now defunct Integrity PAC) builds things. This is good. “They” also support Trump. That is bad. It’s only my opinion, but I smell astroturfing.
Of course, there will be more. There is always more. And when it comes to money and last minute negative television ads, well, let’s call it business as usual.
In conclusion, let me give you another few words of possible wisdom to live by. Big money = little justice. I will not vote for the candidate of little justice. I will not vote for a “Democratic” candidate that takes an endorsement from a Chandi. Oh, and by the way, Astroturfing sucks.
In the interest of disclosure, I have already publicly (where such a thing should be done) chosen to endorse Joy Silver (D) as our next State Senator from the 28th. Check out her Facebook page. It’s kinda cool.
Did you get your fill of Phil?
I love physics. E=MC2, cause and effect, adding nitro to glycerin. The whole thing. I wonder what would happen if we applied some of the principles of time, space and matter to our current political situation, the Senate Trial. I’m game. How about you?
Physics tells us the universe can be broken into three basic components. 1. Space, 2. Gravity and 3. Dark Matter. Recent developments in science have indicated dark matter (it’s the stuff that is there, but we can’t see it) may account for approximately 85% of all matter in the universe. Not very much else is known about dark matter. Is it mass? Is it energy? A combination of the two? No one knows for it is hidden from the harsh glare of research and opinion, unable to reflect sunlight from the giant mostly gassy, hydrogen and helium spotlight we call the Sun. Sounds a lot like politics already.
Dark matter of whatever it is, can’t be seen by us mere mortals because it does not reflect light. Except for stars like our sun, physical objects do not generate their own light. What we see is not the rock or the tree or even the sea or the sky, but the reflection of light bouncing off the let’s call it a solid, tightly bound group of molecules, atoms, quarks, etc…beneath it. Well then, you may be asking yourself, how do we know dark something or other exists? Gravity. Although it cannot be seen by the naked eye, dark matter is matter because it has mass, and mass, if large enough, has gravity. It pulls other objects toward it. It us the unseen, but strangely powerful force. It can (and does) influence the path of planets and virtually the trajectory of every cosmic event (think meteors and comets).
Not unlike the smoke-filled, whiskey drenched backroom dealings of villains, thieves and politicians alike, it’s there alright and, in most cases, the only way we find out about these often dastardly deals with the devil is when the “gravity” of these quid pro quo’s (Clarisse?) begin to influence and erode our democratic values and rights, often sending us spiraling into an orbit we hardly know we are on. Until it’s too late. Like fascism.
Despots, dictators and Dick Nixon’s all have their place in the political universe. Tyrants all, they are the blackest of black holes for they seek to take from us our natural rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, leaving in their place nothing but the empty void, an unsure future, possibly filled with chaos produced by the absence of democracy and the rule of law.
Today is a day that will live in infamy. Tyranny on full display in the press and overtly visible to the public eye. I say infamy as today, January 21, 2020, the day right after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, will be remembered as the day the sham Impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump began. Only the third president in history to face such a tribunal of supposed justice. Of the people’s right to be free from a rogue president who is unfit and unable to faithfully carry out the duties and responsibilities of the position entrusted to him by the people he has sworn an oath to protect. The day an old, decrepit and way past his expiration date greedy, racist Senate “Majority of One” Leader took us to the brink of an event horizon leading to the political darkness of the abyss.
Will there be witnesses? Documents and things? Evidence? What happens when the world’s foremost deliberative body refuses to deliberate? Colludes with the very power it is sworn to check, balance and, if necessary, defeat? But even if it’s “not there” it’s there. Bolton will be there. Parnas will be there. Mulvaney will be there. The undoctored and/or unredacted transcripts will be there. Adam Schiff will be there.
The dark matter is coming to the surface. Fortunately, sunlight is still and will always be the best disinfectant. Let’s wait and see what the sun turns up. My guess is whatever the actual outcome, removal or not, there will be no turning back.
Did you get your fill of Phil?
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Granted Article II refers to the Executive Branch, but notice the Founders use of the word civil Officers. In the broadest sense, these Officers would include federally elected or appointed members of the government and possibly everyone down to, but not including your local post man or woman. But really, who knows?
Article II cabinet members, heads of the various federal administrative bodies, think ATI, any three initials, FBI, CIA, FCC, FAA, and OMG (kidding there isn’t one but maybe there should be) are included. But here’s where the Article II train starts to jump the tracks. All Article III federal justices and judges are impeachable as well. From the Chief Justice of the SCOTUS all the way down the line (life appointments are let’s say negotiable) are fair game. Logically, if the directives of Article II can be applied to and include (they do) civil Officers under Article III, why not Article I (Legislature) as well?
You might argue Article I has a remedy for wayward members of the Congress and you would be right. Article I Section 5 Clause 2 provides:
“Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.”
This is in addition to the alternate but lesser penalties of reprimand and censure. And while it is crystal clear upon a 2/3rd vote of the Senate Leader and all around bag man McConnell can be expelled, what if he isn’t? Is this where the buck stops? Were the Founders willing to let a rogue presidency continue on-account-of a self-interested, Leader of the Senate of low moral character? intent on conspiring (openly I might add) with the President to defeat the process of impeachment? Leaving in place a conspiracy to continue the actions of a president who in no way, shape or form even tries to act in the best interests of the Country? Unwilling and possibly unable to uphold the oath he swore to the office and invariably the people who elected him to faithfully serve? Perhaps we need to step back and look at the big picture.
If the Constitution stands for any single proposition, it is a document much like Magna Carta that limits the power of a monarchy and works to defeat the rise and/or, if necessary, reality of tyranny generally, and if applied to the presidency, a tyrant. Just so we are clear, in America we REJECT the idea of rule by divine intervention, in favor of a nation ruled by law, and that no one person is above the laws of our land. This is the glue that keeps us together and for the last coming up on 250 years made it possible to have a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people. We often seem to forget that no one above the laws means no one, not just the president, but the Senate Leader as well. But here’s more.
Did I mention the very first impeachment and trial was for a no longer sitting US Senator? Beginning in 1797, William Blount, Senator from the newly-minted state of Tennessee, Signor of the Declaration of Independence, and now, almost bankrupt land speculator of dubious moral character was expelled from the Senate for his involvement in a plot to put Spanish controlled lands under the control of the British. If nothing else, Blount’s saga provides proof that corrupt land speculators and builders are not new to American politics.
This is where Blount’s tale gets interesting. After he was expelled, he was impeached by the House of Representatives with his indictment sent to the Senate for trial. Eventually, the Senate did not convict, dismissing the case for one of two reasons. 1. You can’t impeach a US Senator or, 2. It was an unnecessary function because the Defendant was already expelled from office. Here’s the catch. We don’t know the actual reason. It could have been number one, or two, or both. We simply don’t know.
In conclusion, should we leave a despotic, tyrannical murdering psychopath in office because the Senate won’t remove an obviously compromised, aider and abettor, traitorous (you fill in the blank) in office way too long after his expiration date Senator unwilling to fulfill the commands of his office and for some insane reason like being called the “Grim Reaper” but not “Moscow Mitch”? Thereby allowing We the People to further suffer the ill effects of a poorly informed (if at all) man-child’s lack of impulse control and overall unfitness for the job? Or should the House of Representatives, the People’s House have the exigency power, if not responsibility to remove that which allows an individual completely and utterly incapable of leading this nation in place to wreak further damage upon our democracy?
The Founders were pretty-smart guys. I, not nearly as smart or clever as even the least of them, think the answer is rather obvious. How about you?
Did you get your fill of Phil?