Oops…no posting for 11 days…but I got my reasons as ya’ll will understand in a bit.
Before I get to that though…a slight discourse into Reality Based Blogging or RBB as it’s known around here. If ya don’t want to read this part…feel to skip ahead to the first photo and just resume reading there.
Let’s talk about impeachment.
First off…this has nothing to do with us being supporters of the President or not…my views are about the process and hypocrisy we’re seeing. As I’ve stated before on these pages…we’re not great fans of the President and think he does a lot of dumb things…and his constant tweeting of said dumb things…well, he’s almost his own worst enemy. No matter whether you like or dislike him…the fact remains that he did win the election and as a Democratic president once said…elections have consequences. In this case though…the other side wasn’t interested in those consequences and have been talking impeachment since before he was inaugurated. Come on people…give the man a chance. We’re not against impeachment if it’s warranted ‘round these parts…but come on, it’s gotta be a fair process and have some resemblance to a legal proceeding instead of just being a political hatchet job.
So we’ve got “impeachment inquiry hearings” going on…but we’ve had no vote in the House to authorize those proceedings. In my opinion…there are really only two possible reasons for that. First…Speaker Pelosi wants to give her party moderates that were elected in mostly Republican districts a little political cover by not forcing them to vote on an “inquiry”…second, and more importantly in my opinion is that whether you like her politics or not…she’s a brilliant politician and vote counter. My guess is that when counting the votes it was close enough to not passing that she’s not sure it will pass…especially if some of those swing district moderate Democrats vote against it so as to help get reelected a year from now. As a politician…she really didn’t want anything on impeachment because she realizes the political consequences it will subject her party to in the 2020 election…but there are enough wacko/he’s guilty/my mind is made up liberals in her caucus that if she didn’t allow at least the inquiry she might very well lose her position as Speaker…and as I noted before…she’s an excellent politician so will do whatever is necessary to prevent that
So instead of having an “impeachment inquiry” full House vote to authorize the hearings…and instead of setting up appropriate due process protections for the other party and potentially impeached party…she just announced that the inquiry was in progress and let the chairpersons of the six committees she’s designated setup the rules…and those six committee heads are all part of the rabid impeachment crowd.
The Republicans have complained…rightly so in my opinion…that this is unfair. Democrats have pointed out that there are no rules in the Constitution on how impeachments are to be conducted…and technically they could be correct. The wording in the Constitution says…”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.”
Democrats say that this means that the only full vote of the House that is required is the actual impeachment vote and that the committee hearings do not require full House authorization. Republicans…naturally, since the President is of their party…say the opposite.
The problem here for the Democrats is precedent. While I’ve not found any specific information about the process used by the House back in the 1800s against President Andrew Johnson…there is precident based on the only other Presidential impeachments since and in the more numerous impeachments of other officers including both executive branch officials and judicial branch judges.
In both Presidential impeachments…the abortive one against President Nixon as he resigned before the full House vote to actually impeach as well as the successful impeachment effort against President Clinton…there was a full House vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry itself.
In at least the two Presidential cases…the full House voted to authorize an impeachment inquiry by the Judicial Committee and laid down ground rules for those hearings. The rules included allowing the President’s legal team to attend the hearings, to allow both party members of the committee to question witnesses, to have the hearings public to the maximum extent possible, and laid down requirements that essentially mirror the due process rights that all criminal defendants have.
In this case…the 6 committee heads have set the rules.
All hearings have been private…ostensibly because of security classification requirements…but then all the juicy parts that seem to implicate the President are somehow leaked. My guess is that the heads know that the majority of the country’s citizens recognize this as mostly a politically motivated process and they are trying to try their case in the press in an attempt to turn public opinion to their side.
Republicans have been barred from the hearings…not the Republican members of the committee holding the hearings but those from other committees. For instance…the ranking Republican on the Judicial Committee was kicked out of the hearing by the Intelligence Committee chairman because he wasn’t on the Intelligence committee. This just adds to the perception that the process is unfair.
Witnesses have been guaranteed anonymity by the committee chairmen…despite the fact that the whistleblower act specifically does not allow this to happen. What the whistleblower act says is that a whistleblower is protected against “retaliation in the workplace”. No more…no less.
The President’s legal folks have likewise been barred from the hearings.
Now let’s assume that the Democrats are successful in impeaching the President. It seems that a lot of their mouthpieces seem to think that is the end of it and he will be removed from office. Not so fast though…there’s going to be a trial in the Senate to see if the impeachment is upheld or not…and let’s not forget that the Senate is controlled by the Republicans.
Numerous Democratic Senators running for President have already announced that they will vote guilty in the Senate trial…essentially Senators serve as the jury. Now…in every other trial in America…jurors are dismissed from the jury for talking about the case, doing independent research, and the like…they are required to vote solely based on whether the evidence presented by the prosecutor in court leads them to a guilty or innocent verdict. How is pre-announcing your vote…with no access to the actual facts of the case…not prejudicial to due process?
The Senate will set the rules for the trial…and you can bet your last nickel that they at least will ensure that due process is afforded and that both sides get to ask questions. I can guarantee you that the name of the whistleblower will come out…because in America you get to face your accuser.
Also in America…an accusation based on hearsay evidence does not meet the requirements for beyond a reasonable doubt…and hearsay is exactly what this whistleblower has. He or she was not involved in the phone call, did not see the transcript, did not listen to the recording (assuming one was made)…but rather “heard” from other people that the President demanded a quid pro quo from the President of Ukraine.
Having read the actual transcript as released by the White House…and seen the texts back and forth between senior State Department people who actually asked the President…there doesn’t appear to be quid pro quo nearly as obviously as the Democrats claim. The President merely asked the Ukranian President to investigate possible wrongdoing in Ukraine over the 2016 election…and the facts bear out at least the appearance of impropriety by Vice President Biden in his recommendation to fire the Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating the appointment of the VP’s son to the board of the oil company in Ukraine despite no experience with either the oil industry or on corporate boards at a ridiculous salary ($50K per month).
The Constitution authorizes the President to conduct foreign policy…and requires that he uphold the laws of the US. Now meddling in a US election by a foreign entity clearly is illegal under US law…and hence the President can make a valid legal claim that he is upholding his Constitutional responsibilities by requesting that foreign leaders investigate in their country. The fact that such an investigation in Ukraine might politically benefit the President is not illegal under the Constitution…and the courts have not ruled either way. On the other hand…Federal Election law which is subservient to the Constitution makes it illegal for a candidate to solicit influence by a foreigner in US elections. These two laws seem to be in 100% opposition to me…if a candidate is obeying one he is violating the other…and until the courts vote on which takes precedence it’s not clear that the Democrats have a valid legal case.
So…in the end…this all comes down to politics. The Democrats have been trying to re-run the 2016 election ever since the day after the election and this is just the latest attempt to do so.
I have even seen suggestions by leading Democrats trying to influence the Republicans to allow them to succeed. The Constitution states that it takes a 2/3 majority of those present and voting to actually convict in an impeachment trial…that means 67 votes in the Senate assuming all 100 vote. Since the Republicans have the majority…let’s assume that all 45 Democrats and both Independents are righteously convinced by the evidence and vote guilty…that leaves them 22 votes short of conviction. Republicans are likely to find the evidence unconvincing and vote for acquittal…despite the press already trumpeting that if they do this they will be placing party above country…and simultaneously denying that Democrats voting guilty…and pre-announcing their vote…are not placing party above country as the President is obviously guilty. While it’s possible that a few Republicans might agree that the President is guilty…the likelihood that 22 of the 53 (41%) will do so is remote to nonexistent…and that doesn’t even count that some of the Democrat Senators might vote on the actual evidence and not party demands and therefore vote to acquit.
The latest suggestion by “leading Democrats” is that Republicans should either boycott the final jury vote or abstain from voting…thereby lowering the number of votes to convict enough so that the 47 Democrat/Independent guilty votes…and we know that they’ll vote in lockstep not because of party but because the President is obviously guilty…are enough to convict.
As I said…this is all political BS.
Didja see Senator Warren has been caught in…believe it or not…and I know this is shocking news…another lie? She’s been claiming on the campaign trail that she was fired from her first teaching job because she was pregnant. That’s what it says in her book and what she keeps saying at her rallies. Too bad she forgot about the video from years ago where she admitted she took time off to be with her child…or the interview where she told a completely different story and said she took time off to get teaching credentials then decided that instead of teaching she wanted to be a politician instead…or the previously published paperwork from her school district that offered her a job for another year of teaching at the same time she claims she was “fired for being pregnant”. I guess she figured that “I was fired for being pregnant” would get her more votes than “I quit teaching to raise my child”. Never mind that there isn’t enough money held by “the rich” to fund all of her massively expensive giveaway programs…or that her plan to impose a wealth tax which will just confiscate a percentage of your wealth every year…not income but accumulated wealth…is obviously unconstitutional…but then as a liberal Democrat she’s never bothered to learn civics, how the government works, or what makes you a Native American…and never learned to answer a simple Yes/No question as she did 8 times during last evening’s debate.
OK…enough of that…here’s the image I said you could scroll down to if you didn’t want to read that part.
When last we left our heroes…they had made it to Coolville OH, gotten Big Red’s batteries replaced and were embarking on Fun Stuff©.
Then the colds happened. Neil came down with one a couple days before we left Hocking Hills…then he eventually gave it to Connie despite his best efforts to prevent doing so. We ended up canceling the day over on the island, boat trip, and carriage ride and just stayed home.
Pro tip…don’t use almost 3 month old chicken stock from the fridge…you’ll make yourselves sick. Neil used some to make lemon sauce for pork piccata one night at Coolville. He looked at the date on the box and thought maybe it was too old…but it passed the smell test and it passed the “has it congealed into jelly test” so he used it. Both of them spent the overnight hours with tummy cramps but they had passed by noon or so the next day…they were talking about it and it came to them that it was probably bad. We’ve used it after a month and a half in the fridge after opening and it was fine…but he’s decided that in the future he’ll just toss it after a month and open a new box…it’s only $2.29 a quart or so and we always have a spare box in the pantry.
We headed out early Monday morning to Lexington VA…right near where I-81 and I-64 intersect…for an overnight stop at Lee Hi Travel Stop…a small overnighter (mostly) campground in back of a truck stop. We had dinner in town at the Palms then headed out again Tuesday morning to Cozy Acres campground in Powhatan VA about 20 miles west of Midlothian where the kids live. By that time…we were mostly over our colds so we went over and visited everybody on Wednesday…turns out that Bryan was also suffering from a cold that he claimed Jenny and Alex gave him…more on that later.
Thursday we headed 420 miles west with Big Red to Knoxville TN to pick up the furniture that Baby Sis had been house sitting for us ever since 2012 when we sold our home in Fairfax VA and set out on our vagabond gypsy lifestyle. We got there, picked up the U-Haul trailer Neil had reserved and headed over to her home on Wenlock Road. Loaded up our furniture with a welcome assist from Alex who lives across the street then went over to our hotel, parked and got registered. Walked to the Tavern nearby and had dinner and brews, then came back to the hotel and crashed.
Friday we got up, had breakfast, and attempted to leave…but Big Red wouldn’t start…the batteries were so dead that the starter solenoid didn’t even click. We got one of the hotel maintenance guys to come around and jump start us…and Neil found that he had inadvertently left the storage compartment lights on when we backed into our site at Cozy Acres in the dark. We headed the 420 miles back to Richmond, met Bryan at our storage unit and offloaded the furniture and headed for the U-Haul place…everybody felt great at this time. By the time we got there, dropped the trailer off and drove to Cozy Acres…Neil was feeling sickish again…aches, pains, cough, sore throat and all.
We had dinner and by bedtime he was feeling worse than he’s felt since Connie gave him norovirus back in 2014…every joint ached and even his skin hurt, plus fever and all the other symptoms. By Saturday mid day…the aches were mostly gone but he’s been on cold pills every 12 hours and 3 Advil every 6 hours ever since…although feeling better each day. We were supposed to move on Sunday over to Pocahontas State Park for 5 nights…but (a) he still didn’t feel great and (b) it was supposed to rain all day Sunday and (c) if we had been smarter we would have done this when we originally made the reservation here at Cozy Acres a couple weeks back…but it turned out that our site at Cozy Acres was not reserved until Thursday night…which was when we would be departing so we just extended here and didn’t move over to Pocahontas in the rain.
Connie was…mostly…feeling pretty good so we were hopeful that she would not catch this from again…those hopes were dashed Tuesday afternoon as she started getting the sore throat and by the time we had dinner with the kids and got home she was really feeling bad. He got her some of his drugs and took care of her until bedtime…and today she’s feeling a little better. Hopefully she will improve every day as he did and be back to normal in a couple of days.
Tomorrow we’re heading 270 miles south to Fort Mill SC…we’ll have a 4 night stop there to see our friends Bill and Linda and also her sister Cindy and her husband and daughter on Saturday and Friday respectively. Sunday we’ll rest, attend. Mass, and get groceries…then Monday we’ll be off on a 2 day travel…328 miles to Brunswick GA for an overnight at Coastal Georgia Resort where we’ve stayed before then another 200 miles on Tuesday to the Low Key Hideaway site 3 in Cedar Key FL for the final 10 days of travel season…backed up to the water, doing some end of travel season cleaning of the rig (we’ll spread that over 2 or 3 days depending on how we feel), and going to Happy Hour at the Tiki Bar 40 feet away nightly of course.
Friday November 1 we’ll head out again for the last 250 miles to our winter home at Seminole Campground site 101 in North Fort Myers.
On to some Fun Stuff© photos.
Jen and Alex at dinner on Wednesday night last week…Bryan was working the close shift at Burlington so we took them out to a local Italian/pizza place.
Looking up from the lake behind site 117 to the rig…the bottom of the photo is right at “path around the lake” level and the water is 2 feet or so below the path. This is a cozy little park and will likely be our new destination when we’re in this area to see the kids and Alex. This shot and the following 2 were taken on a nice blue sky day…but I missed getting the flat calm lake reflection shots by about 10 minutes.
Neil went back out Tuesday morning early and it was flat calm again so he got some nice shots of the lake.
Pano of the entire lake.
And a few closer shots of various things.
Interesting stuff found on the net…although most of this was found in emails from various friends…but it came in from the net so Ima sticking to my “on the net” statement since none of them claimed to be the originators of the enclosed items and they found them on the net (or got them in email).
This is the earliest known selfie…they had to use the technology available to them at the time I guess.
The Origins of Golf…or How Man Learned to Swear.
Ever notice how your GPS will give you a different route…and different time to travel…when going from A to B and then returning from B to A? Turns out there is a precedent for this.
This is similar to one I’ve posted before.