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Impeachment Q&A

Some notes on impeachment in Q&A format even though it isn’t necessarily normal for people to ask these questions rather than just assuming convenient answers to them, and even though I’m not the best person to answer them. I promise my answers will be factual to the best of my knowledge, and that they are relevant, if one-sided. If you have factual answers to the same questions that are relevant, but maybe reflective of another perspective, I welcome them.

1. Can a partisan impeachment process remove Trump from office?

No. In order for Trump to be removed from office, a super-majority of the Senate must vote for conviction and removal. Since neither party has a super-majority in the Senate, it cannot be accomplished without votes from both political parties. If all of the Democrats voted for conviction, then at least half of the Republicans would have to do so also. Not even just a few cross-overs from the moderate wing of the Republican party would be sufficient. 67 votes are required – that would mean at least 18 Republicans.

2. If Trump is impeached, convicted, and removed from office, would that be tantamount to overturning an election?

One very strict way to describe “overturning” an election would be to reverse or nullify Trump’s official actions since his inauguration, and replace him with his opponent who would serve out the remainder of the term. Of course impeachment doesn’t do this. His official actions while in office will stand no matter what, and he would be replaced by his duly elected Vice President, a member of his own party, and one who has pledged himself to the same ideals that Trump himself has espoused. You might describe “overturning” in less stark terms. I cannot guess how loosely you would have to describe this term in order for it to apply to impeachment. Without knowing your definition, I cannot criticize it, but I reckon that describing it loosely enough to apply to impeachment would run afoul of the “noncentral fallacy“.

3. If Trump is impeached, convicted and removed from office, would that be tantamount to “regime change” or a “coups d’etat”?

See answer to #2. These are hyperbolic terms, sometimes deployed by Trump defenders, but occasionally by his opponents. If you have a rational definition of them, not subject to the noncentral fallacy but applicable to impeachment, please let me know.

4. If Trump is impeached, convicted, and removed from office, would that be tantamount to overturning the will of the people?

See answer to #2, but further – still no. Even if the election were “overturned”, it’s good to remember that American elections, by and large, and including Presidential elections, do not reflect the will of the people and are not meant to. Constitutionally speaking, we are a Republic before we are a Democracy. There has been far too much ink spilled over the fact that Trump lost the popular vote. I don’t intend to belabor that point. It’s worth noting to me that Clinton also lost the popular vote. 51.8% of the voting public voted against Hillary Clinton, and 53.9% of them voted against Donald Trump. So, regardless of who “won” the popular vote in the sense of “beating the other candidate”, both candidates lost the popular vote in the very straightforward sense that more people opposed them than supported them. The electoral college decides who is awarded the Presidency, but the popular vote is the only measure of the will of the people. Clearly, the will of the people was “neither”, and that will was already overturned on inauguration day. Impeachment does nothing further to overturn it. In fact, whether we are talking about Clinton or Trump, impeachment and removal is the only measure that represents the will of the people.

5. Is the House impeachment process partisan?

Yes. For now, only Democrats are supporting the impeachment investigation. Because it is proceeding only by the mandate of one party, it is a partisan process.

6. Is a partisan impeachment process legitimate?

Yes. The Constitution gives no consideration to whether the process is partisan or not – only whether it is supported by the the House according to its rules. Because the impeachment investigation is supported by the House leadership  and by a majority of its members, it is constitutionally legitimate. If articles of impeachment were to be approved by a majority of the House, they would represent a legitimate indictment, and the matter would then move to the Senate for an equally legitimate trial.

7. Does impeachment provide due process to President Trump?

Yes, but read the explanation. The Constitution requires that no one be deprived of life or property without due process of law which according to modern jurisprudence includes some very specific standards of evidence and restrictions on how such evidence can be collected. The Constitution does not require that due process  of law, by that name or according to those standards,  be afforded to an officeholder before they are removed from office. On the other hand, it does make explicit what is required to deprive an officeholder of office,. For the President, what is required is impeachment by a majority of the house and conviction by 2/3 of the senate. Without using the term “due process”, the Constitution defines what process is due. Only by removing an officeholder by some non-Constitutional means (other than impeachment) is due process subverted. The Constitution does not provide for or imply any evidentiary rules in impeachment. There is good reason for this. I will take liberties in explaining. I am not historian enough to responsibly speak for the framers, but what I have learned is consistent with the following very compelling case:

a). Due process is meant to protect a defendant from unjust prosecution. Impeachment carries no penalties to life or property, so there is nothing to protect a defendant from. It is the Republic which should be protected in the impeachment process. The President isn’t afforded due process because he is not in jeopardy. If he is convicted and removed from office, then he may be prosecuted under the criminal justice system. It is then that he can and should expect due process.

b). Since impeachment must protect the Republic, the risk to the Republic must be evaluated.

Is it likely that 2/3 of Senators will decide wrongly against a duly elected President who was, at least on election day, supported by a large number of the same voters who the Senators represent? Of course not.

What is more dangerous to the Republic – to wrongly remove a duly elected President who is innocent, or to rightly remove a guilty President who is abusing power? By my estimation, wrongly removing 10 innocent Presidents would be better than allowing one guilty President to use the unfathomable power of that office to entrench himself and his political allies and thereby transform this very imperfect Republic into an autocracy. Criminal and civil processes place burdens on the prosecution in order to protect innocent defendants. Impeachment removes some of those burdens in order to protect the Republic, and places trust that 2/3 of the Senate – an elite chosen by the states (in modern times through popular election) – will only be persuaded if the defendant is in fact guilty.

8. Is Trump guilty of an impeachable offense, and should he be removed from office?

It is clear now that Trump did withhold Congressionally approved military aid to an ally trying to defend itself from Russian aggression. It is clear that he used the withheld aid (as well as State visits) as a leverage to pressure Ukraine to take a course of action which he believed would help him politically. In his defense, he may have believed that the investigation he was promoting was well-founded and would turn up real wrong-doing by the family of his opponent. That is too weak a defense. Had he been equally forceful in pursuing justice in Saudi Arabia, Russia, and China, perhaps. Had he been equally forceful in pursuing justice for Paul Manafort or Roger Stone, perhaps. If he was a champion of investigating corruption, and the case of Burisma Holdings was just one of many that concerned him so strongly that he used the levers of power to pursue it, then we could believe that his opposition to corruption was his real motivation. We cannot believe that, because the only corruption investigation for which he was willing to barter the security of the west was this one.  He may have believed that the Bidens did something wrong, but it is obvious that his real motivation was to weaken his opponent’s candidacy. It is obvious that any concerns about corruption were mere justifications.

Maybe this conduct is as some of his defenders have suggested: “bad but not impeachable”. Even so, it is egregiously bad. Through such tactics, American interests are subverted to the interests of a political cause, and the legitimacy of the American electoral process is further undermined. Impeachable? Maybe so, maybe not.  That’s for Congress to decide. But we have decisions to make, too.  Is it bad enough that his party should not nominate him for a second term? To anyone who really cares about protecting the Republic – Yes. Bad enough that he should not be able to gain enough support to win the electoral college? Again, yes. Bad enough that neither you nor I should vote for him in 2020 – yes. The questions before the electorate are easy to answer. I’m sure we all have opinions about the questions before Congress, but they are kind of secondary.

Test

Nothing to see here folks… Move along.

Well, here we go again…

UPDATE: Frank Wren has just traded Omar Infante and Mike Dunn to Fredi’s former team for right handed slugger Dan Uggla. One thing I will say about this…GM Frank Wren does not sit on his hands. If he manages to get a 3 to 4 year reasonable deal out of Uggla then he has just mugged the Marlins.

1st. I would love to wish my best to my buddies for their MIA  and I hope all is well. I know it’s not entirely their fault, but this blog is way too good to go awol without them. I hope Smijer and Buck come back soon cuz u guyz know I will crash and burn on my own…lol.

2nd. Are you happy for Michael Vick’s showing against the Rival Redskins or sick by his first half record breaking performance tonight?…in the rain in a visiting stadium against a long standing icon with the Eagles by the name of Donovan? I am a die-hard Falcons fan and would not see him back in the black…but still, the man served his time. So long as he don’t feed puppies to hungry pit-bulls then the future seems bright for him. People make mistakes and society has dictated that he has paid his dues. I am happy for him.

3rd. Fredi Gonzalez taking over for Cox? I saw that one coming 7 months ago. He is a protege’ of Bobby but will dress out his players into the media…something Cox wouldn’t do. I guess we will see how that turns out.

4th. Terry Pendleton has been relegated to first base coach and infield instructor due to the firing of Glenn Hubbard by the new manager Fredi Gonzalez. I wonder how that will turn out. Terry is firey. He will crawl that ass if necessary, Glenn wouldn’t. We will just have to wait and see how the new hitting coach, Larry Parish, that was brought along with Gonzalez will pan out…especially with Nate McClouth and the J-Hey Kid!

5th. Pitching and up the middle defense is what used to win championships. We had the starting pitching and a helluva bullpen but no gloves whatsoever….so……. HOW THE HELL DID WE MAKE IT TO THE PLAYOFFS??? Maybe we could swap a Jair Jurrjens for a Colby Rasmus, move McClouth to left and leave Heyward in right. That should certainly help the power and obps, the outfield power ranking of course among the the least in the league. Truth be told, I was extremely proud of our obp. We were among the most patient hitters in the NL, but when you don’t possess speed or power in the middle of the lineup it takes the fuse out of the firecracker.  Kawakami has already been put on waivers. He is now in double A ball just waiting on the first Japanese team to eat at least HALF the payroll we owe him for this remaining year of his contract.

6th. Who knows how Venters and Kimbrel will amount to without Wagner having their 6? I’ll take my chances though, these guys are amazing.

7th. Chipper Jones. I love him, he is the face of the franchise…but cummon, do you really seeing him producing for the numbers he is making? I want him to go out gracefully, if possible, but that isn’t always the case. Our organization could use him in exponential ways.

8th. Look at our kids guys, …a 21 year old in RF, a 21 year rookie at 1st base, a 27 year old future batting title winnier in  Prado at 2nd base, and our 26 year old multiple all-star Silver Slugger award winning catcher Brian McCann, and other than Hudson and Lowe, we have a buncha kids in the rotation and closing out the bullpen. We are going to have to cut new manager Fredi Gonzalez some slack on the won-loss record…and we are going to have to give Frank Wren his due for making us competitive with a mid market range payroll while still stocking our farm system.

….The Braves are back to domination within 2 to 3 years!

………btw, how bout dem Dawgs!………………?   ;-) ))

Welcome my son, welcome to the machine

At 8:20 last night I officially became a Grandpa.

Behold!

Once again I was overwhelmed by the strength of a woman and this time it was my own daughter. I was so proud of her.

They did good!

Quote of the Day

For good clean fun at home, every time you see someone on tv screaming about the community center calling it a “SUPER TERROR MOSQUE,” mentally exchange the word “mosque” with the word “synagogue” to recognize just how differently this debate would be were we not in the grips of demonizing Islam. The only way to get offended by the community center is to fully buy into the clash of civilizations rhetoric and believe that terrorists didn’t attack us on 9/11, but Islam did.

-The concluding paragraph from a link that is worth reading.

Virtues of Extremism

How did I get to be a grandpa without ever seeing this???

My letter to the Anti-Defamation League

As sent on the contact form on their website:

I write in hopes that the ADL will re-think its position on the Park51 project in Manhattan. It troubles and saddens me to think that the ADL, which I have long held in the highest esteem, refuses to take an unequivocal position against the anti-Islamic bigotry surrounding this issue.

I fully understand that the construction of an Islamic community center near the site of the 9-11 terrorist attacks may be an unwelcome reminder of that event for some people who were affected by it. And, I understand that it is sensitivity to that position that motivated the ADL to suggest an alternate site.

However, the fact is that the largest part of the negativity toward the project represents problem of bigotry and ignorance that the ADL should stand against. A smaller part is fueled by simple and forgivable conflation of Islam with its extremist wings – an unfortunate conflation that this project will help to correct.

I urge Abraham Foxman and the ADL to reconsider their position on this project and to maintain the place they have historically earned as defenders of freedom, caretakers of the United States Constitution, and opponents of bigotry.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a decent human being


http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/08/03/mayor_bloomberg_on_mosque/index.html

“On Sept. 11, 2001, thousands of first responders heroically rushed to the scene and saved tens of thousands of lives. More than 400 of those first responders did not make it out alive. In rushing into those burning buildings, not one of them asked, ‘What God do you pray to?’ (Bloomberg’s voice cracks here a little as he gets choked up.) ‘What beliefs do you hold?’

“The attack was an act of war, and our first responders defended not only our city, but our country and our constitution. We do not honor their lives by denying the very constitutional rights they died protecting. We honor their lives by defending those rights and the freedoms that the terrorists attacked.

“Of course, it is fair to ask the organizers of the mosque to show some special sensitivity to the situation, and in fact their plan envisions reaching beyond their walls and building an interfaith community. But doing so, it is my hope that the mosque will help to bring our city even closer together, and help repudiate the false and repugnant idea that the attacks of 9/11 were in any ways consistent with Islam.

“Muslims are as much a part of our city and our country as the people of any faith. And they are as welcome to worship in lower Manhattan as any other group. In fact, they have been worshipping at the site for better, the better part of a year, as is their right. The local community board in lower Manhattan voted overwhelmingly to support the proposal. And if it moves forward, I expect the community center and mosque will add to the life and vitality of the neighborhood and the entire city.

“Political controversies come and go, but our values and our traditions endure, and there is no neighborhood in this city that is off-limits to God’s love and mercy, as the religious leaders here with us can attest.”

Of Railroading

Worth more than an eye-booger… an upcoming wrongful execution (that’s assuming for the sake of argument that not all executions are wrongful). It isn’t too late yet.

Thirteen years after he was convicted, Keith’s lawyers discovered that one of the state’s “witnesses” never actually existed, and that police at his trial testified about a fictitious person and attributed a statement to her.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Yet Kevin Keith is still on death row.

ACORN’d

When I saw this, and found out that it was a Breitbart vid, I knew that it wouldn’t be long before the rest of the story came out. And it has… And Ace doesn’t miss a beat before missing the point.

I don’t guess I knew this, but politics makes you cynical, besides just dumb… so I suspected that there was a lot more to the story than the video clip suggested whether or not the rest came out.

Here was my logic: the NAACP is a high profile organization. The comments came at a function with an audience. Even if everybody at the NAACP was the devil that white southerners seem to hope they are, they wouldn’t accept someone undermining their credibility this way. More generally, someone like Shirley Sherrod was during the time she described in her comments wouldn’t get on stage to brag about it, even if she thought the audience was more or less friendly. Comments like that, apart from the context that were the basis for her re-telling the story – simply have no public value. So, it was very unlikely that S.S. would be sharing them in front of the NAACP and in public, just to brag about getting back at the condescending white dude.

Of course, Andrew Breitbart knew this. But in his mind the NAACP are demons, so it doesn’t matter if the story gets told straight, since he was using it to communicate a larger “truth” that exists primarily in his own mind. This is an example of how politics makes you stupid.