My Blog Week: June 23 to June 29
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A Word on the Week
A thing I hadn’t noticed in the news cycle before (or noticed without noticing), and can’t say is ill-intended…
Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg went through a period of controversy in his home city of South Bend, Indiana. The nature of this is not the subject of this week’s commentary, though tangentially, it is. The noteworthy item is this: I kept seeing the story recycled under different headlines. The Wall Street Journal, in 2016, fueled a conspiracy theory with a duel-headed story on candidate Trump’s meeting with the leader of Mexico (Snopes); but, sorry to say, in print news the practice, whether happenstantial or nefarious, probably makes little difference. Online, given the advertising model that funds many sites, it does. More clicks, more scrolling, more potential revenue. More inflation and distortion of a story’s impact.
Let’s take up from here the topic of impeachment (or, the constantly repeated theme, for better or worse).
If a leader is removed from his post (and this bears on Mayor Pete’s situation) the effect is diagnostic. The leader is either in control of the culture, within his area of command; he either knows what his people are doing, under his own direction, or he’s a figurehead. Not in control. Take him away, and you will have your answer. If he’s not in control, you have a big job to do, rooting out the source of the bad culture; if he is in control, the bad culture goes with him.
Certain Trump administration officials, notably William Barr and Mick Mulvaney, adopt a vocal hand-wring, a martyrly tone, as though they were misunderstood heroes. We don’t care if people in the background wish to imagine themselves rescuing America. The idea that a junta is in operation, running our government for us, is unacceptable. There is no Big Daddy Style, no Super Secret Agent fantasy that can justify it. It is not patriotism, it’s a disgrace. We are constitutionally entitled to a fairly elected representative who complies, transparently, with the constitutional structure of our government.
The category of “high crimes and misdemeanors” looks like the place for questions of misgovernment; the 25th amendment for proven inability to govern. Impeachment hearings would determine whether Trump actually governs, or whether others govern in his name. The excuse that his public behavior and recorded statements are concealing hidden genius has no legal weight, nor the weak claim that he is “just that way”.
No one gets acquitted on the “Cute Little Me” defense; or the “I Had Special Reasons for Doing This, That I Can’t Tell,” defense.
An old (un-PC), way of framing the question that deflects both a yes and a no answer, goes: “Have you stopped beating your wife?”
An impeachment panel can craft its questions so that refusal to answer looks as bad as any answer other than a full explanation.
Have you every passed on or represented to others as, a directive from the Oval Office, that you did not know, by documentation or first hand auditing, to have come from the president himself?
Have you ever corrected, before passing on to others, and without direct discussion with the president, his misstated piece of information, such as a name, a date, a statistical figure?
Ruminate, if you like, on the danger of, in about the third quarter of 2020, the ordering of a military strike on some provoked enemy; then, the backup strategy from the propaganda wing, of claiming that a vote against the administration is unpatriotic, in this time of crisis.
Road-mapping for future historians, areas that suggest FOIA requests to investigators, are two advantages to impeachment, no matter the outcome. And on a side note, having however many hours of proof that the President, while attending and answering questions, is going about one of the duties of his office.
This, from the Constitutional Rights Foundation, lays out some facts about high crimes and misdemeanors.
One: America has an anti-education culture. We shouldn’t, and we like pretending we don’t…we like sloganeering: “Education is the Future!” But every time someone demonstrates signs of having actually educated himself, he is likely to be met with reeling back manifestations, marveling, mocking. Oh, you speak Spanish? Aren’t you fancy! People who speak Spanish natively, do us the great favor of learning English when they come to live here. They are hectored for nearly everything, but never, so far as I’ve heard, for not getting the accent right. (Whichever that would be.)
Why don’t we just applaud the candidates for the presidency who have learned another language?
Two: The ACA was a flawed compromise when it was passed. Better health protection than we had before, but not all President Obama wanted. The Republicans aren’t wrong about the individual mandate. What would most encourage all Americans to get coverage, would be giving them coverage. Penalizing the choice between paying bills, buying groceries, and giving hundreds of dollars to an insurance company, won’t help, and won’t change minds…because, who disagrees that paying for services is good? Some just can’t do it. To act as a sworn champion of the ACA, is to dig in on a law that fell short in the first place. A better thing can be done, and that is national health care.
On Monday, part two of the second Tourmaline story, “A Friend”, Mrs. Leonhardt doing her best to believe in Anton. Tuesday’s Sequence of Events brought future commitment to Freda and Bruner; on Wednesday, a poem, “Lines Attached”, from the second Eight series, and on Thursday, Catastrophe, with a sadly carefree article published by a newspaper of Saint-Pierre. Friday, more of The Totem-Maker, the character unable to refuse a gift; and Saturday, the conclusion of “A Friend”, with Anton meeting Mary Wainwright.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: June 23 to June 29