The Way Forward

It’s Time to Plan Ahead for a Presidency Without Trumpf

Now that the Mueller Report is out, and our Presidente has apparently dodged yet another bullet—for now. I discuss here, in brief, my attempt at a pragmatic look at the way forward.

Impeachment and Conviction

Any concerted effort to impeach Trumpf at this point will lead to wasted effort. Two U.S. presidents so far have been impeached: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. According to the Constitution, the House of Representatives is charged with impeaching a president for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” But to remove a president, it is the Senate that decides whether the president is guilty. Moreover, a two-thirds majority of the Senate must vote for conviction. Article I Section 3 of the Constitution says: “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.”

When (and if) the vote is for conviction, the president is out of a job and may possibly be sentenced to a jail term.

There is no doubt that Trumpf could be impeached by the Democratic House, but there are nowhere near enough votes in the Senate to convict. The result: The business of this country is held for ransom while a political battle royal ensues. Probable outcome: Trumpf emerges triumphant from this “witch hunt.”

The Election of 2020

The best way of getting rid of Trumpf is to vote him out of office in 2020. He knows that, and that is why he has been trying hard to stroke the egos of ignorant voters in small states, most of whom remain solidly in his camp.

For the Democrats to win, two things must happen:

  • Instead of the usual circular firing squad, the Dems must come together behind an attractive candidate, of which there are currently several possibilities. In the months to come, we shall see who survives.
  • Democrats must engage with the enemy. That involves interviews on Fox News, visiting Red States, and in general going beyond the bubble. That’s why Hillary lost in 2016.

The Electoral College

The United States is no longer a sparsely populated agrarian nation. Of course it is manifestly unfair. The Huffington Post expresses the situation well:

But the biggest vice of the Electoral College is its blatant unfairness to voters in the bigger states. As a resident of the largest state, California, I look at the residents of the smallest state, Wyoming, with particular envy during election season. Each vote cast in Wyoming is worth 3.6 as much as the same vote cast in California. How can that be, you might ask? It’s easy to see, when you do the math. Although Wyoming had a population in the last census of only 563,767, it gets 3 votes in the Electoral College based on its two Senators and one Congressman. California has 55 electoral votes. That sounds like a lot more, but it isn’t when you consider the size of the state. The population of California in the last census was 37,254,503, and that means that the electoral votes per capita in California are a lot less. To put it another way, the three electors in Wyoming represent an average of 187,923 residents each. The 55 electors in California represent an average of 677,355 each, and that’s a disparity of 3.6 to 1.

How do we change that? It is not likely that we can do anything about it. Here is Article V of the Constitution in its entirety:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

I do not think that, as presently constituted, the House of Representatives and Senate could produce a two-thirds majority to say that water flows downhill, let alone amend the Constitution. And as for a three-fourths majority of the State Legislatures—Fuggedaboutit!

 

It Could Have Been Worse

The Results Aren’t All In Yet, But It Looks As If All Is Not Lost

Elections are mixed events. Never have I been entirely happy with the results. And sometimes, when I seemed happier than other times, I was hurt by what I felt was betrayal for the people I supported. The situation is worse in California, largely because of the stupid propositions that are usually supported by out-of-state corporate interests and give us the chance to hoist ourselves on our own petards. We are still suffering from the notorious Proposition 13 of 1978, which was a boon to homeowners but a bane for renters.

The good news is that Trump will have a more difficult time converting the U.S. into a Thousand Year Reich. The bad news? Where are all these angry white males coming from? and why do they want to destroy this country? I have already declared myself to be an Independent; and I have even resigned from the white race (considering myself to be Finno-Ugric, from the Asian side of the Ural Mountains); but I have no intention of resigning from the masculine gender.

Probably the worst night of my life was election day in 2016. I was in Quito, Ecuador watching the results come in on CNN at the Viejo Cuba Hotel. When I saw that Trump was winning, I almost considered not returning to the U.S. In the end, I gritted my teeth for the circus that was sure to come, and in fact did come. That so many Americans are still committed to this circus is a mystery to me. I guess I just don’t understand (let alone tolerate) these voters.

 

Grass Roots

The Logo of the Los Angeles Unified School District

It’s election time in Los Angeles again. This time, it’s a runoff between two school board candidates, incumbent Steve Zimmer and challenger Nick Melvoin. The issue between them relates to which candidate is for Charter Schools and which is against. On one hand (Zimmer), you have the teachers’ unions; on the other (Melvoin), you have big corporations. In an election such as this, I look carefully to see who’s spending more money—and I vote against that candidate or issue.

I am amazed that so many millions of dollars are being spent for two seats on the school board. Today alone, I have received eight live telephone calls and robocalls. Because of the tendency for elections in L.A. to go toxic quickly, I tend to be a bit abrupt with the live callers. One accused me of being against grass roots campaigning. I agreed with him and said that, increasingly, I find election campaigns—in general—to be overlong and overblown. So, yes, mark me down as being against grass roots or any other type of roots that are being shoved forcibly down my gullet.

The more money that is spent on politics, the more corrupt it is likely to be. Since I have no school aged children (or any other for that matter), I have no horse in this particular race; but I am more than willing to study the issues and vote according to my conscience. That usually involves ignoring all phone calls and TV ads (I don’t even watch TV) and reading the Los Angeles Times and maybe doing some Internet research. That might sound primitive to you, but that’s how I decide for whom or what to vote.

Yes, Vote, But …

Democracy Can Be a Bitch!

Democracy Can Be a Bitch!

We have a local election coming up on Tuesday, March 7. I will vote, of course, but I will not make any political canvassers deliriously happy. In fact, I might avoid answering the phone at all. There will be strange invitations to “town halls” from Judy, my “personal assistant”; there will be oddly inopportune “surveys”; and there will be young volunteers claiming to represent people running for the School Board, the City Council, or referendum issues financed by lying bastards from the real estate developers’ interests. If I pick up the phone at all, it will be to swear at telephone volunteers, or, more likely, at robocalls which stand no chance of being heard in their entirety by me.

Don’t people know that all democracy has given us this particular four years is a bonehead real-estate developer with tiny hands and a  mind and penis to match. Politics is unspeakably foul; and anyone involved is suspect as far as I’m concerned.

My mailbox is jammed on a daily basis with expensive four-color pleas for my vote. Actually, they are helpful. Anyone candidate or issue that spends what I consider to be too much money is probably taking money from nefarious out-of-state interests, like the Koch Brothers and their ilk. I assume that most of what I hear or read will be outright lies, and that ultimately I am being romanced out of my God-given rights.

I can hardly wait for March 8 to roll along.

 

Ethereal Innocence

Jon Stewart, Formerly of The Daily Show

Jon Stewart, Formerly of The Daily Show

Intellectuals have this little problem: They just cannot understand those who aren’t intellectuals. Irony and sarcasm will not do the trick. When we think that Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert have produced some withering putdown of someone on the other side of the culture wars, the only response from the other side is, “Consider the source. Who cares what a libtard has to say?” After all, they have their own information sources which Liberals have disdained to meet head on.

It’s roughly equivalent to “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.”

Looking back at the Presidential Election of 2016, it strikes me that humorous sallies are not a replacement for engaging with Red States. One has to confront, listen, and respond. Barack Obama did this in 2008 and 2012; Hillary in 2016 did not.

I am currently reading a book of essays on G. K. Chesterton by the Rev. James V. Schall, S.J. In a piece entitled “On Becoming Inhuman out of Sheer Humanitarianism,” Schall writes:

In the summer of 1926 (July 3 and 10), Chesterton wrote two essays in The Illustrated London News on literature and novels. He began with some advice that I recall my old professor Rudolf Allers had also given some years ago, namely, “read even bad novels.” Allers’s point was that you will likely find in lousy novels some rather accurate insight into how people are thinking or acting that you will not find in good literature or in your own experience. It is not easy to imagine all of the silly and wrong things that we might perpetrate on one another, yet we need to know this if only to save us from a certain naïveté or ethereal innocence. [Italics mine]

Maybe someone has to listen to what Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are saying if we are serious about countering it. Even if what they have to say is unadulterated horseshit.

The “Saturday Night Live” sketches about the last election were brilliant: Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon couldn’t have been better. Yet millions of voters weren’t listening. They were tuning in to Fox News or Jesus or Breitbart.

Because the Democrats have failed to engage all the voters, we are resigned to waiting for a new Reichstag fire to be set.

Voting Against the Creepy Clown

It Was Worth It!

It Was Worth It!

Despite all my strong feelings about the upcoming election, there appeared a real possibility that I wouldn’t be able to vote. I could wait for the sample ballot with its attached absentee ballot application, but there was a better than 50% chance that I wouldn’t get the absentee ballot in my hands before I boarded my plane to South America.

So I called the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters and asked what I could do. They said I could vote in person by going to the County Clerk’s office in Norwalk. Foolishly, I took the 105 Freeway to Norwalk and got stuck in a behemoth traffic jam. It took me all of two hours to drive the 30 miles to the County Clerk’s office and only 15 minutes to vote. Fortunately, I took a better route home (the Golden State Freeway over to the Santa Monica Freeway).

This election matters a great deal to me. I know that California will not go for Trump—even Republican ex-Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to vote for him—but I have to be able to face myself when I look in the mirror. I have to act on my beliefs, or what am I?

You can bet that the Creepy Clown did not get an X in his box on my ballot. I can go to Ecuador now with a good conscience.

Defiance Is Everything

Wearing It Like a Badge of Honor

They Wear It Like a Badge of Honor

I know I said I would shy away from politics in this grim election season, but I could not avoid writing about what troubles me to the base of my soul. And that is the fact that people persist in backing Donald Trump despite the horrible behaviors that he is admittedly guilty of. At one point, he even said he could shoot some innocent down in the streets of New York without impacting his political base. Now I think that perhaps that is true.

The United States does not matter to these people. All that matters is expressing their defiance of all things relating to Obama, Hillary, liberalism, and political correctness. I keep thinking of Sly in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew:

Y’are a baggage, the Slys are no rogues. Look in the Chronicles—we came in with Richard [sic] Conqueror. Therefore, paucas pallabris: Let the world slide! Sessa!

Yes, but once one wakes up from a drunken stupor, one has to face a world that is irretrievably broken. What then? Another impeachment trial?

This is the first election in the history of this young nation in which a large number of voters just want to scuttle the ship and sink it, even if they themselves drown in the process.

I am so exercised by this state of affairs that I’m going to drive out to the L.A. County Clerk’s office in distant Norwalk to pick up my absentee ballot for fear that, in the normal course of events, I won’t have it until after I leave for Ecuador. I know that Californians will reject Trump, but now, more than ever, I feel that my vote is personally important.

Consider it my own act of defiance.