Witness to Three Impeachments

Zoe Lofgren is one of the impeachment managers who presented the Articles of Impeachment for Donald John Trump to the Senate and will be part of the prosecution of the Houses’ case for impeachment.

She was elected to the House of Representatives in 1995, and was on the Judiciary committee when the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton was being conducted.

She was an aide to Representative Don Edwards (D-Calif.), who sat on the House Judiciary Committee in 1973. She was sent to Washington to work on a bankruptcy bill but was swept up in the Nixon impeachment inquiry.

Everybody got sucked into the tornado that was the impeachment inquiry. I was a law student, so I wasn’t running the show, but I did work on it. You had a sense of how historic it was, how serious it was. But to be present was both an honor and also an obligation, and to be able to play a small part in something, it felt profound.

Washington Post

So she has a unique perspective on the subject of impeachment.

1A – Rep. Zoe Lofgren On Impeachment, Then And Now – January 18, 2020

I remember when Bill Clinton was impeached. I remember that I was pissed off for having to explain what a blow job was to my then seven-year-old daughter. I understood that Bill Clinton had broken the law. I also understood that what the Republicans were doing was entirely for show. They had no intention of acting on the evidence against him in any real fashion; or perhaps they knew that the charges they could bring against him were insufficient to have him removed from office. They just wanted to embarrass a popular Democratic president, and perhaps keep the next president from being a Democrat.

Morning Edition – The Senate Trial Of Bill Clinton – December 19, 2019

…a task that they weren’t capable of pulling off without the help of the Supreme Court. I knew that if they had been serious about getting Bill Clinton out of the White House, they would have called him on fraternization. But then most of them would also have skeletons in their closets that they wouldn’t have wanted dragged out into public after conducting that trial.

What Bill Clinton did was a crime. However the crime was engaging in a sexual relationship with a direct subordinate, which should be much more of a crime than lying to the grand jury about the sexual relationship. Worse, it was apparently a common practice of his to engage in sex with his subordinates, as other women took pains to testify about. Even to sue him over.

I also remember when Richard Nixon left office. I was a little older than the daughter was when Clinton was impeached, but I remember the sadness and betrayal that many people felt. Betrayal by the president of the people he was supposed to represent. I don’t know how many of my relatives and neighbors supported him before he was found to be culpable by the tapes he was forced to release to the House of Representatives. But I do remember that Grandma didn’t have a single kind word to say about him, so she wouldn’t say much other than he got what was coming to him.

Nixon and Clinton both were compelled to release information to the impeachment inquiry that the House embarked upon against them. Both of them understood that the United States government was not just the president. It was the entire nation, figuratively. The U.S. Government is made up of at least the other two branches of government outside of the executive branch, and it is also made up of all the people who worked in all the branches of government that make up the government. It is and was bigger than any one person. That is perhaps the most telling argument against Donald J. Trump. He doesn’t admit that anything is bigger than he is. I doubt he even has the capacity to understand just how small he really is.

It is that lack of understanding that made these events we are witnessing inevitable. Nixon understood that if he was impeached he would be removed from office because the country had turned against him. He knew that he would face prosecution, and that he couldn’t be pardoned if impeached. So he left office on the heels of his even more crooked vice president, Spiro Agnew, the Bag Man of Rachel Maddow’s podcast.

ART19 – Bagman

…and Richard Nixon was pardoned by Spiro Agnew’s replacement, Gerald Ford.

Bill Clinton knew that what he had done was wrong and he apologized to the country. His behavior since that time publicly has been exemplary. I haven’t had to explain one other uncomfortable thing about him to a minor since that day.

Nixon knew when he was beat. Clinton knew how to appease the people who were rightly offended at his behavior. Donald Trump? He doesn’t acknowledge that others exist or that his behavior varies in any way from the absolute straight and narrow, even when caught red handed lying, cheating and stealing. That has been his standard of practice since I first ran across his name back in the days of Trump tower and the Trump Taj Mahal. Donald Trump doesn’t have the presence of mind to understand just how far out on a limb he is right now.

Zoe Lofgren knows how precarious his position is and hopes to hold him accountable for the crimes he has always gotten away with before. I wish her luck in her endeavor. Perhaps someone exercised caveat emptor after all.

It's a Network Problem

Should Facebook and Twitter Stop Trump's Lies?

What do you get when you combine an unhinged president willing to say anything to preserve his power and two massive platforms happy and willing to spread his lies uncritically?A perfect recipe for tyranny.

Posted by Robert Reich on Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Facebook – Robert Reich – Should Facebook and Twitter Stop Trump’s Lies?

Yes. Mark Zuckerberg is a yellow journalist. This is crucial information to understand. Mark Zuckerberg is not Facebook though, and Facebook is a valuable information resource.

Twitter on the other hand is a mud wrestling free-for-all. Twitter should just ban political accounts. More specifically, Twitter should be reserved for journalists. Bloggers. People who are reporting the news, which is theoretically anyone who has a cell phone and is present at a newsworthy event. People who hold political office should simply not be allowed to have a Twitter account. They could have a managed Twitter presence without one anyway.

Facebook should be tasked with verifying ad content. Just like any other intermediary, they should be worried about their own status and reputation enough to make sure that what happens on their platform reflects well on their reputation. If they won’t do their due diligence, then the corporation should be nationalized and/or closely regulated. They have billions to spend. They should spend it on maintaining their reputation. Otherwise, why are they allowed to exist in the first place, and why are we spending so much time on their platform?

…But breaking up a communications network is a joke. Ma Bell was broken up and that did permanently cut the cost of long distance calling. But the network reassembled itself because that is the nature of a communications network, that everyone be on the network somewhere or somehow.

You break up Twitter and then what? We already have that, it’s called Mastodon. The behavior will just go there and we still have the problem of spreading misinformation. You break up Facebook and then what? We already have dozens of variations of alternative Facebooks; and again, the behavior will just go there and still be spread. The behavior is there already, and is being spread there in a more limited capacity.

What is needed is regulation. Law. Law that holds these platforms accountable for the misdeeds conducted with their information services. Otherwise the behavior of the users will just get transferred to another platform. Fix the problem, not make it move somewhere else. Make the platforms police their own user base, or create a regulating entity that does it for them. Fine them when they fail to protect the weak from the strong. It’s either that or we let Western civilization spiral down the drain. Pick one.

Feedback for Tom Steyer

I welcome all who want to contribute to the conversation to the table. The problem with this single-issue approach is that the president doesn’t (or shouldn’t) propose legislation except in a general sense. The president needs to do things like keep the peace with other nations (like Iran) and handle crisis like hurricanes and earthquakes (See Puerto Rico) the climate falls into that latter category, but it still falls to the legislature to write the laws that the executive then enforces.

Climate is near the top if not actually at the top of problems that need fixing. It simply isn’t the only problem that needs to be addressed right now. Personally? I’m still voting Elizabeth Warren.

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Flying in the Bathtub

I was going to make spaghetti. That was my resolution. I was going to make spaghetti because the Wife had declared that her spawn and I were on our own for dinner since she had fed herself. The Son is in town for the New Years holiday, and I remembered that he loves spaghetti. So I thought “I’ll cook spaghetti tonight.”

Then I turned around in the shower to get my towel to dry off, and my feet left the floor of the tub. I slipped. As I’m suspended in midair I think to myself, “So this is how I die.” Naked, tangled in a shower curtain, with water raining down from the still-running showerhead. Neck broken, maybe? They’ll find me dead on the floor of the tub and they’ll say that I died due to a lack of adhesive ducks.

My second thought was “I’m not dying in this tub, motherfucker!” Ask the Son, he heard the cursing as I hit the edge of the tub and then hit my head against the wall so hard I thought I had broken it. Broken the wall. I was pretty sure I broke my head as well, because I lost vision for several seconds after the impact of skull against wall. I also mashed my left shoulder against the tub edge and jammed my left knee into something even more painful but I don’t recall what that was. Soapdish? Who knows. Somehow I managed not to drag the shower curtain down into ignominy with me.

This was on December thirtieth, the day before New Years. I spent several quality hours sitting in the hospital emergency room as they did a CT scan of my head and then waited to get back results. The CT scan was required because I’m still on blood thinners after getting the stents put in my chest in May 2019. Internal bleeding is a frequent problem when you are on blood thinners. I get bruises all the time for no good reason these days, much less accidentally trying to kill myself in the tub. So a brain bleed from whacking oneself so hard that you are certain the tile wall might have broken under your head (it didn’t) was a very likely possibility.

I got lucky there. No internal bleeding in the head. I wish the same could be said of my knee, shoulder and backside. All of which have impressive bruises all over them. The shoulder is finally starting to feel better today (the third of January) and the knee is strong enough to let me get up and down the stairs a few times so that I can write on the blog for the first time since the accident. The bruises on the backside are still going to require more heat to get them to be less pronouced and painful. Here’s hoping that they respond to heat treatment. If they don’t I’ll have to be asking medical professionals to look at my ass.

…and really. Does anyone want to do that? “Check out my butt Doc.” I’ll pass, thanks.

Fish Oil

I was prescribed fish oil in the last year of the last millennium. Fish oil was supposed to treat my triglyceride levels that had topped 300 at the time. This was back in the days when there was just fish oil, and you took a lot of it. There was little understanding of what was desired in the supplement, but the doctors back then were pretty sure that you should be taking fish oil on a daily basis to lower bad blood cholesterol. I was prescribed nine 1400 milligram softgels, to be taken every single day. That meant that everything tasted like fish oil for several years. Everything tasted like fish oil until they started enteric coating the softgels. I got pretty creative with how I took them, so as to limit the flavor and gas that the fish oil imparted to everything. There was no mention of what kind of fish oil in that original script. Omega 3 might have been a known thing at that point, but it wasn’t on my radar.

As we scrolled past 2000 and headed for the middle of the next decade, researchers started to get a better understanding of what kind of fish oil was desired. That was when Omega 3 fish oil became a thing. Omega 3 was what they were finding made the difference. When I learned this fact I did the math and figured out that I could cut my dosage to two or three softgels if I bought the right kind of fish oil, a reduction that was grudgingly okayed by my GP of the time.

But then the next set of research results came back, and it looked like the researchers were backpedaling on the benefits of fish oil in avoiding heart attacks. I tried to get the doctors to let me stop taking the stuff because I hated having to work around the taste of the oil in the back of my throat all the time. At every visit, the general practitioner and then the cardiologist kept insisting that I had to keep taking the nauseating stuff. I humored them and kept taking it, but I stopped worrying about how much and how often.

I stopped worrying until the last of my current keg ‘o fish oil from the warehouse shopping club started to run low, and I went looking for a replacement bottle. It was when I checked the Omega 3 content of the brand I had been taking against the new bottle’s Omega 3 content that I realized that I had been slacking off the one thing that might have been keeping my cholesterol at bay. That my recent adventures with angioplasty might have been partly of my responsibility. The brand I had been taking had about a third of the Omega 3 of the brand that I had just purchased. Which meant I should have been taking 9 of the damn things just like I had been doing at the beginning. So the bottle that I had been dipping out of for over a year probably should have only lasted about 3 months, and there is no telling for how long I haven’t been meeting the minimum dosage of Omega 3 that the cardiologist expects me to take.

How much is that? you might well ask. I had no idea, so I asked the cardiologist today and they said EPA over 660 DHA over 60, twice a day. I had to look on the bottle label to find out what EPA and DHA were references for, and only then realized that EPA and DHA are two different kinds of Omega 3.

1400 mg of fish oil is a completely misleading measurement, and a straight reading of Omega 3 isn’t enough to know whether what I’m taking is the right stuff or not. Nope, now I need to be taking those two specific variants of Omega 3 (EPA and DHA) and those are the minimum numbers, twice a day.

If I die from a heart attack, it will be obscure nomenclature that kills me. You can put that on my tombstone.

NaNoWriMo. I Think I Can.

As is, with writing, means you find a desk or a table where you promise yourself, as a debt of honor, to write one page or passage or for one hour a day. (Well, let’s say five days a week.) You start somewhere, anywhere. It doesn’t matter where, because it will almost certain go badly. It is supposed to. But maybe you can describe, badly, the place where your book takes place.

NaNoWriMo, Anne Lamott

This was the intro for the novel I’m working on.

What Will Santa Bring Mark Zuckerberg This Christmas?

Twelve Federal Lawsuits
Eleven Senate Hearings
Ten Lawyers Filing
Nine Ladies Suing
Eight Helpful Op-Eds
Seven Stocks a-Dropping
Six Circuit Judges
Five Russian Bots
Four Calling Apps
Three Real Friends
Two Private Jets

-And-

Probation With a Sweet Plea Deal

Roxanne Roberts

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Literally Regressive, Actually

RAnt(hony)-ings

They’re also not conservative. They’re regressive!

I hate the term regressive. It’s like the internet just found this word yesterday and they’ve all got to use it to refer to everything that seems backwards to them.

The people that Stonekettle’s article describe are conservative. Conservative, as in, wanting to go back to the time when minorities and women knew their place. Go back to the 1950’s, if not all the way back to the 1850’s.

Conservatives value tradition, and American tradition is racism. We practically invented chattel slavery. Well, the English and the Spanish invented it, but we perfected it. …and chattel slavery worked so well in the US because you knew who the slaves were by the color of their skin. De facto racism.

It is possible to make the argument that the Christianists who control what is left of the GOP are the social equivalent of Gilead from The Handmaid’s Tale, and so are even worse than conservative. That what their aims amount to is taking us back in time, actually regressing society. I just don’t like the term regressive. It is applied way, way too liberally these days.

Take a perfectly good word and twist it until it becomes meaningless. My personal favourite, right now, is “literally”.

I literally won’t use the word literally because people think I mean actually. Actually being my most favorite word ever, actually. Literally and actually are antonyms. Try convincing the average American of this if you dare.

I’ve had the phrase “regressive liberal” thrown at me repeatedly. As if regressive liberal isn’t an oxymoron on its face, actually and literally. 

you know that, as a man, your use of actually is literally dangerous, right?

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