How High Should the Standards for Impeachment Be?


Those who have been reading my posts and comments no doubt have the impression that I am persuaded by Professor Alan Dershowitz’s arguments about the standard for impeachment. That is, that impeachment should only be brought when the President has committed treason, bribery, or another crime defined in the statute where the people and the public are the victims of that crime (as opposed to a crime flowing from conduct with one or more identifiable persons who are the victims of the offense). Dershowitz argues that to have a lesser standard is to not put on notice the president as to what conduct is impeachable. (Pat Philbin supplemented Dershowitz’s presentation this morning by analogizing the “non-crime” standard as being equivalent to a constitutionally prohibited Bill of Attainder.)

Professor Ann Althouse has considered Dershowitz’ presentation and has posted as follows:

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A Pyrrhic Victory is a victory that harms you more than the enemy you defeated. The only thing worse than a Pyrrhic victory would be a Pyrrhic defeat where your defeat costs you more than your enemy. President Trump fighting at the position of “There was no Quid Pro Quo” instead of falling back to […]

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I got suckered into reading some Internet ad about population growth — “Fastest Shrinking City in Every State”. And where are the three states which don’t seem to have a city losing population?  The states where people are moving and creating babies? Preview Open

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Illusory Honor: A Missing Apology


I don’t begrudge anyone a belief that much of Donald Trump’s manner can be off-putting (to put it gently). Nor was I ready in January 2017 to debate those who believed Donald Trump’s temperament might make for an unsuccessful tenure in the White House.

However, a personal aversion to Donald Trump was never a justification for believing (wishing) that he was an agent of the Kremlin or that his election was the result of foreign malfeasance. We now know with certainty that those allegations were false and that Trump’s enemies in the federal government, Democratic Party and news media corruptly developed and promoted this false accusation to ruin an innocent man and destroy a duly-elected president.

The Decline of Unions Is Good News


The United States Department of Labor released a report last week that chronicled the continued decline of the American labor movement in 2019. In our boom economy, more than 2.1 million new jobs were added to the market last year, but the number of unionized workers fell by 170,000. The percentage of union workers, both public and private, fell from 10.5 percent to 10.3 percent, or roughly 14.6 million workers out of 141.7 million. The percentage of unionized workers dipped even lower in the private sector, from about 20 percent in 1983 to 6.2 percent of workers in 2019, a far cry from the 35 percent union membership high mark last seen in 1954. Decline was lower in the public sector, where just over one-third of workers are union members, as a modest increase in state government employees partially offset somewhat larger declines in federal and local unionized workers.

This continued trend has elicited howls of protest from union supporters who, of course, want to see an increase in union membership. It has also led several Democratic presidential candidates to make calls to reconfigure labor law. Bernie Sanders wants to double union membership and give federal workers the right to strike, as well as ban at-will contracts of employment, so that any dismissal could be subject to litigation under a “for cause” standard. Not to be outdone, Elizabeth Warren wants to make it illegal for firms to hire permanent replacements for striking workers. They are joined by Pete Buttigieg in demanding a change in federal labor law so that states may no longer pass right-to-work laws that insulate workers from the requirement to pay union dues in unionized firms. All of these new devices are proven job killers.

The arguments in favor of unions are also coming from some unexpected sources in academia, where a conservative case has been put forward on the ground that an increase in union membership is needed to combat job insecurity and economic inequality.

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Would there be any interest in such a group?  (I don’t think there is one, but please correct me if I’m wrong; no-one knows better than I the vagaries of the Ricochet search engine.) I’m asking because I’m touched by some of the stories you’ve told in your responses to my recent post on the […]

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John Bolton and the Leaked Manuscript


Just when we could see the impeachment trial winding down as the President’s defense team squashed the House Managers, we learn that the John Bolton manuscript of his new book has been leaked. What a shock. The manuscript has not been quoted and the references to it have been vague. (The NY Times article is behind a paywall.)

The manuscript was sent to the National Security Council’s Records Management Division for a “standard prepublication security review” on December 30, in the belief that no classified information was included. Over the weekend, the information was conveniently leaked to the New York Times. Yet there was this report:

Sarah Tinsley, an adviser to Bolton, told Axios that the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations sent the draft manuscript only to the White House for a prepublication review by the National Security Council. ‘The ambassador has not passed the draft manuscript to anyone else. Period,’ she said.

Yes, Hunter Biden Can Be Forced to Testify


“No reporter in Washington knows or understands this.” — Senator Ted Cruz, Verdict with Ted Cruz, Episode 2

In the midst of impassioned posts, swirling social media content, and the never-ending news cycle, Sen. Ted Cruz brought a bit of real insight the other evening. He did so in a new podcast that is burning up the charts. In Episode 2, Sen. Cruz explained that the Senate has the power, in plainly written federal law, to unilaterally grant a witness “transactional immunity,” thereby removing the ability of the witness to refuse to testify on the constitutional basis of the Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate yourself. In plain English, the deal is: “talk, tell us the whole truth, and nothing you say may be used against you by anyone in any criminal procedure, ever.”

Watch Episode 2, from 19:40 to 22:28:

If You Are Watching the Impeachment Trial, Watch on CSPAN2


I watched the trial today. I started on Fox but by about 8 p.m., I switched to CSPAN2. Fox was interrupting with handoffs between shows and other news. I am sure it was important to many viewers, but I was trying to listen carefully to the president’s defenders.

Starr was good, Dershowitz was great. Philbin did an outstanding job of previewing the clusterfark coming if the Senate decides to call Bolton/Mulvaney or anyone else subject to Executive Privilege. I hope Romney/Collins got the message. Don’t think they have, yet. But McConnell did because if they go down that road the Senate will be in session through the Convention this summer.

CNN’s Latest Ad for Trump 2020


While in one breath decrying the divisiveness that has infected our politics and criticizing our President’s role in breeding that anger, we have this from over the weekend on CNN’s evening show with Don Lemon,

Quiet Competence


Taz Venegas was a quiet guy, mostly. He had a great sense of humor and was well-liked, but few thought of him as a great leader among the officers in the squadron. Marines are a cult of leadership, and although I have joined in that cult and studied and discussed the topic ad nauseam all my adult life, I confess I still don’t know what qualities make a man a great leader.

We were in an A-6 squadron and it was the very early 1990s. Our squadron was designated to transition to the F/A-18D, and along with that change that we would no longer have the mission to deliver nuclear weapons. The Marines didn’t want nukes in any unit anymore, and the A-6 was one of the last methods left to use them. But before we got rid of our nukes, we had one last Nuclear Technical Proficiency Inspection (NTPI). Somehow Taz was tapped to be in charge, a choice that surprised most of us because the NTPI was an extremely high profile and very difficult inspection, and Taz was not among the favored sons among the air crew. Taz was a quiet guy.

‘Sketches from Auschwitz’


Monday was the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. From Radio Free Europe:

Unique images of Auschwitz were sketched by a Soviet Jewish artist who arrived with the Red Army in the hours after the camp was liberated. The images were quickly exhibited across Poland, but the artist, Zinovy Tolkachyov, was accused of “Zionism” by Soviet media and unable to work for 20 years.

Proposed: Move Drinking and Smoking Age Down, Voting Age Up


I think we can all agree that today’s 18-year-olds are not as adult or responsible as the 18-year-olds of the 1930s, ’40s, ’50s or even the ’80s. Today’s 18-year-olds often do not have driver’s licenses, have not held a single job, do not pay their own bills, and have little experience supporting themselves by doing laundry or cooking meals. Years ago, at 18, these young adults held down jobs or went to college and studied. Some of them got married and started families.

I would propose the following: we move the drinking and smoking age to 18. We move the voting age to at least 21, if not 25 (when people are out of college). This would give people more time to grow up, since they apparently need it, and would save them from the consequences of their under-developed brains’ machinations. Let’s move adulthood to 25. The FAFSA already holds a parent’s income against a student until age 24 or unless married, has a dependent of their own, or is in the service. Let’s take the next logical step.

Hold My Corona: Popping the Top on Preparedness


A brief dip into Twitter prompted a brief bit of research, and the results seemed worth sharing in the current news or hype cycle. Now I know, why on earth would I be on Twitter when there is talk of a new virus and we all know avian flu is supposed to be quite nasty? I was there for entirely other reasons when I stumbled upon a retweet of a professional pundit thinking he was offering a hot take. Hot tweet? More like steaming hot bird droppings.

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Make no mistake about it, the primary goal of the Democrat attempt to Impeach President Trump is to meddle in the 2020 election. The secondary goals are to remove Republican Senators running for reelection in close races, as well as trying to suppress Republican voter turnout in the 2020 election by trying to keep President […]

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Impeachment: Did I Miss Something?


In all of the recent unpleasantness surrounding President Trump’s impeachment and subsequent Senate trial, I have yet to hear or read the following theory regarding why the impeachment itself was inappropriate, and thus why acquittal is justified. Given that I am neither a legal scholar, nor particularly more intelligent than the average person, I suspect that other much better educated and/or smarter than I have already proposed this argument. I must have missed it. However, here goes…

The current articles of impeachment brought against the President do not specify any actual crime, only the improper exercise of executive power for political advantage (both individually, and as pertains to the President’s interactions with Congress). However, the last two presidential impeachments (Nixon and Clinton) established the precedent that a violation of Federal law was the requisite grounds for such action. In both cases, there was no question that the President had in fact broken the law. Allowing for the fact that Nixon was not in fact impeached, rather resigned before such action was taken, the 1998 Clinton impeachment was predicated on the unquestioned fact that the President had both committed Perjury, and Obstruction of Justice.  However, the Senate did not remove Clinton from office, thus setting the “common law” precedent that these crimes were below the threshold for “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” (I recall the justification at the time being that, “everyone lies about sex, and there was no harm done to any national interests, so it doesn’t really matter.”)

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Okay, this conversation is not about the Grammys. And yes, it is snarky. Not sorry. This conversation is but one more about Impeachment. And not the diary of Days 1, 2 ….. And not about the strategy of somehow usurping Executive Privilege by a subpoena to the Publisher of an alleged leak of an alleged […]

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