Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Constitution and the Crime of Treason

Thanks to Donald Trump, our national pot seems to be on the verge of boiling over, but before it does, there are a number of issues that we must get straight.  One essential concern is what, exactly, constitutes treason.  This is because it is vital that Donald Trump be removed from the Presidency on this ground.  Yes, there are a hundred other reasons that he has no right to be our President, but it is his treasonous conspiracy with a hostile foreign power which acted to put him in office, which forms the basis for a declaration of the illegitimacy of his entire Presidency, and the voiding of everything he has done while President, including all executive orders and mutilations of government departments, and the removal of all persons he placed on the Federal courts.  Removing him on this basis would also mean removing his vice President, who is equally illegitimate.

In anticipation of this possibility, the Republicans have begun a campaign to convince the American public that the crime of treason can only be charged when the United States is in a declared state of war with another country, something that has not happened since World War II.  This assertion is supported by the claim that court cases over our history have declared this to be true.  I spent a little time online looking at treason trials conducted by the United States.  They are actually few and far between, and mainly occurred early in our history as a result of the Whiskey rebellion, or as a result of World War II.  (In a gross miscarriage of justice, almost nobody was prosecuted for participating in the Confederate aggression during the civil war.)  Anyway, I am not an attorney, and I can't say I spent hours searching, but I was not able to find any record of a case that ruled this way.  And even if there were such cases, that would not necessarily be dispositive, as the courts have clearly been wrong before; no one would argue that the decision in the Dred Scott case should be a precedent today, and the corrupt decisions in Bush v. Gore or Citizens United clearly cannot be allowed to govern our country in the future.

I want to now present two arguments against this notion, one Constitutional and one a reductio ad absurdem argument.

It always amazes me when right wingers dig up the most obscure so-called precedents to justify their positions, while ignoring the actual words of the Constitution, or the primary reference regarding their meaning, the Federalist Papers, written by the authors of the Constitution to explain their reasoning.
Signing of the Constitution

Well, first of all, here is what the Constitution actually says about treason:

Article III, section 3"1: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court."

Notice that there is nothing that restricts charges of treason to times of declared war.  Now let me go on to the passage in Federalist Paper #43, written by James Madison on behalf of himself and his fellow writers of the Constitution:

Federalist Paper no. 43:"To declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture, except during the life of the person attained. ''As treason may be committed against the United States, the authority of the United States ought to be enabled to punish it. But as new-fangled and artificial treasons have been the great engines by which violent factions, the natural offspring of free government, have usually wreaked their alternate malignity on each other, the convention have, with great judgment, opposed a barrier to this peculiar danger, by inserting a constitutional definition of the crime, fixing the proof necessary for conviction of it, and restraining the Congress, even in punishing it, from extending the consequences of guilt beyond the person of its author."

This is the entire explanation offered of the meaning of the treason section of the Constitution.  Notice that, though the reasoning for various provisions in the Constitution is dealt with here, once again, there is no mention of any kind of a restriction of the provisions of this law to times of declared war.
James Madison

As far as I am concerned, this section is completely dispositive.  The writers of the Constitution went to great lengths in the Federalist Papers to explain exactly what they had in mind; they were perfectly capable of saying what they meant, and we are capable of reading it.

Now to my other argument, the reductio one.  Imagine, if you will, that it was discovered that an American had aided the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Could anyone seriously assert that this person would not be guilty of treason, solely because his behavior took place on the day before war was declared?  Treason is among the worst crimes we know of; can any honest person suggest that a traitor could be absolved of his guilt by a meaningless technicality such as this?

As I stated above, we are already seeing Conservative "legal scholars" trying to work the refs by insisting that Donald Trump can not be charged with treason as a result of his betrayal of the country to the Russians; it is up to the rest of us to have none of this specious argument.  This is the ultimate specimen of Trump's crimes; if he is held responsible for anything, this must be at the head of the list.


If you are interested in verifying that I have been truthful about the claims I have made about the Constitution, you can look here:
Text of the Constitution
Federalist Paper #43



Tuesday, December 25, 2018

He Can't Tell the Truth about Anything

This tweet from Trump yesterday:


"I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security"


And, of course, the actual truth:


"Donald Trump and Melania Won't Spend Christmas at Mar-a-Lago for the First Time in Years"


And here's a picture of Trump and Melania allegedly making Christmas calls to children last night (I'm sure to the Koch Brothers' grandchildren, or some of the Waltons- he's not going to waste time on anyone without money.)


There is absolutely nothing that the guy will not lie about.  And let's be clear; this is not about pathological lying, it is about bullying everyone around him into accepting what he says as the truth, no matter how much they know it is false.

Well, at least it looks like the chickens may be coming home to roost for him.  Keep your fingers crossed for 2019.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Green Eagle's Traditional Holiday Greetings



From the massive staff here at Green Eagle, best wishes to you all.

A Little Information About the Great Crash of 1929-Redux


As I write, the Dow has lost just over 5,000 points from its high on October 3rd of this year, about 2 1/2 months; or one sixth of its value.  I thought that this was a good opportunity to repost something I wrote earlier this year, about the 1929 collapse, which I think gives some perspective on what is happening now.  I want to reiterate something that I said at the end of this post, that being the recommendation to read  "The Great Crash  1929," by John Kenneth Galbraith.  This account of the Wall Street collapse is so relevant to today's events that I think everyone should take the time to read this short book.
Wall Street on October 29, 1929

I'll tell you something that I always believed until I started reading about the 1920's and 1930's, and it has to do with "Black Tuesday."  That was October 29, 1929, the day we were taught that the stock market crashed, precipitating the Great Depression, the greatest economic collapse in human history and a direct cause of World War II.  Isn't that what you, like me, were taught in school (if the subject was even mentioned?)  Even at the time, this account loomed large:
This is a subject which it might be profitable to examine, given that the Dow Jones average, which closed at 26,616 just a week ago, closed yesterday at 23,860, a loss of just over 10% in a week.  Yes, it was up a little today, but is that reason for comfort, or on the other hand, was the recent decline a reason for great concern?

I think it will be useful to examine exactly what did happen in 1929 and subsequent years.  Here is a chart of the Dow Jones average from that period, showing inflation adjusted numbers.  The data are by month, and I have added numerical information for some key months:
And here is a little table of these numbers, with percentage values of the peak:

                                                      August 1929           5419
September 1929     4899      90.4%
October 1929         3897      71.9%
November 1929     3405      62.8%
___________________________
March 1930           4173      77.0%
May 1931              2070      38.2%



Here is what I want to point out:  The Stock Market Crash of 1929 did not happen in a single day; it was a phenomenon spread out over a long period of time.  In fact, as you might be able to see from the chart, there was another minor collapse before the big one, hitting a low point of 4312, in May of 1929.  The real crash began in August, hitting a temporary low point in November of 1929, at which point the Dow had lost over a third of its value.  Even after Black Tuesday, there was tremendous pressure from the bankers and other "authorities" to deny what was happening, as you can see from the front page of the New York Times of October 30, 1929:

After this, as you can see, the market rallied, if you can call it that, hitting a temporary number of 4173 in March of 1930, before beginning its truly catastrophic collapse, bottoming out in May of 1939, at a value of only 38.2% of its 1929 high point.  The crash, in other words, was not a product of a single disastrous day, but under Republican economic stewardship continued for two years.

I think it is fair to say that everyone in 1929 should have seen the May decrease in values as a sign of serious economic instability, but instead, they just ignored it and got back on the party train.  What we have seen in the last week is certainly comparable in extent to the May, 1929 collapse, and was certainly, given its short duration, worse than what happened in the first month of the real 1929 crash.  I am not an economist, and so I am not making any predictions here, but I do believe that, if you are going to look to the past for knowledge, it is best to have that knowledge straight.

Now, there is one more thing that I have to deal with in connection with the 1929 crash; and it is the myth so vehemently forced on the country afterwards, that nobody knew that the crash was going to happen.  In fact, many economic experts predicted, for several years before the crash, that it was inevitable, but nobody in government or the financial world was willing to take the blame for pulling the plug on the gigantic 1920's party, in which everyone thought they could get rich without risk.  Of course, the naysayers are being ignored today, by a government and a financial industry that will interpret the worst fiscal fever as a wonderful specimen of endless growth.  Will it all end the same way as it did in the 1920's?  This is a prediction I will make: if "irrational exuberance," i.e. unrestrained greed, continues to be the governing principal of the day, it certainly will be.


In closing, I want to recommend a short book, which is the only economics book I have ever read that can be described as a "page turner."  It is "The Great Crash  1929," by John Kenneth Galbraith.  A great read, and you will really feel like you have learned something when you are done.  If you want more, I suggest "The Crisis of the Old Order: 1919-1933," which is the first volume of Arthur Schlesinger's "The Age of Roosevelt."  These are both available on Kindle, the second one for free, believe it or not.  The two works will serve to utterly devastate much of the fiction about the crash which those who stand to benefit from the behavior that caused the first one, have spent endless effort spreading in the last ninety years.

Merry Christmas From Donald

As I write, the Dow Jones average has now lost just over 5,000 points since its high on October 3rd of this year, or almost exactly one sixth of its entire value, in 2 1/2 months.  It has reached a level last seen in August, 2017. 

Nothing to see here.  Just get back to your eggnog. I'd put an extra bit of brandy in it if I were you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Treason Part About 5,000

So Donald Trump is planning to remove all US troops from Syria.

Who does that hurt?  The United States, the countries that surround Syria in the Middle East, European countries who have had to bear the majority of the cost of displaced Syrians, and just about everyone who wants to see a more peaceful world.

Who does it help?  Well, leaving aside ISIS, it helps one person:  Vladimir Putin.

This is only the latest of a long series of actions by Trump which have benefited the Russians while materially harming this country and all of our traditional allies: His persistent efforts to eliminate economic sanctions on Russia, his removing limits on Russian nuclear weapon emplacements, his ignoring of Russia's aggression toward its neighbors, his altering the Republican platform to weaken the party's stance against Russia, his fawning, humiliating behavior toward Putin himself, his deliberately alienating China, Russia's main competitor for influence in Asia, his attempts to weaken our commitment to NATO, and on and on.  The whole of these policies could have very well been a wish list straight from Putin.

Well, even the lamebrained mainstream press seems to have now awakened to the overwhelming evidence that the Russians materially aided Trump's campaign for the Presidency, and that without their help, he would in all likelihood have lost.  But the other side of this deal- the constant action by Trump to promote the interests of the Russians and diminish our country's own authority on the world stage, is still being ignored.

The man is a traitor.  And not in some minor way, or through an extreme interpretation of the law.  He is adhering to our enemy, giving them aid and comfort.  He is likely the biggest traitor in the history of our country, worse even than Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, who had at least not been entrusted by the people with preserving the security of the entire United States, before systematically and repeatedly selling us out to a foreign dictator.

The worst of this is that Trump's treason has been obvious since the day he took office, and that only now is it becoming even marginally acceptable to state anything approaching the truth.  As soon as they can get away with it, the mainstream press will turn its back on this colossal crime, and there is a good chance that the Republican destruction of our country will continue.



Note: at least some people are beginning to respect the truth.  From Kerry Eleveld, the lead story at Daily Kos at the moment:

"Facing wave of probes, Trump administration abruptly adopts pro-Kremlin policies on Syria, sanctions"

The article reveals that Trump is simultaneously moving to abandon US sanctions on Oleg Derapaska, a Russian oligarch with close ties to Putin, and a figure in several of Robert Mueller's investigations.

Wall of Coal

In a an effort to help make the Trump administration a success, Green Eagle wishes to make the following proposal.

Why can't we build the wall out of coal?  This will allow Trump to keep his promise, and at the same time he will keep another promise by giving years of work to coal miners, digging up enough coal for a two thousand mile long, thirty foot high wall of coal.  This is an eminently practical suggestion, as shown in the following photo from 1907:
Trump only needs to tell his base that this picture shows a part of the wall that is already built, and he is almost guaranteed reelection in 2020, even if he is in prison.

The only slight flaw I can foresee is the remote possibility that some Mexican vandal might light the wall on fire; however the pollution caused by a two thousand mile long coal fire will drive liberal environmentalists so crazy that it will be just as much fun for wingnuts as if the wall were still there.  A win-win for everybody!  And believe me, as long as the wall is still burning, nobody is going to try to cross it.

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Deep State and Satan

As I have mentioned, much of the true primal malignance of the right wing has migrated to videos.   I suspect that this is because the self-selected group that adheres to right wing beliefs is largely so uneducated that they cannot read and comprehend the written word, beyond the most elementary sentences.  Another reason for this phenomenon is something that liberals usually fail to understand.  When liberals read political articles, the point is to learn something, or at least be exposed to a different viewpoint.  Conservatives live on their emotions, and they follow politics to stoke their rage and greed.  Videos are obviously more effective than written words at this, so right wingers are in the process of transferring their information gathering to non-literate sources.

There is a problem in this for someone like me, who tries to follow the maunderings of the wingnuts:  it is really hard to expect sane people to watch this stuff for more than a couple of minutes.  Still, because the epicenter of right wing delusion has moved to You Tube and related sources of videos, I have been making an effort to watch as many of them as I can, and occasionally bring one to you.

What follows is a video "explaining" how the deep state (which we all know doesn't exist) is actually nothing but a manifestation of the will of Satan (who doesn't exist either, as we know.)  Yes, it is not enough to portray the right's enemies as merely evil in a secular way; they have to be literally the servants of Satan himself.

I want to make it clear that this delusion is a product of the willing marriage of Conservative politics with Evangelical Christianity, which is the source of this Satanic obsession.  If you wonder why so many rational people today are abandoning Christianity, here is a perfect example.

Anyway, give it a try if you want to.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

A Remarkable Prediction

President Lyndon Baines Johnson, in November, 1967, making one of the most prescient statements I have ever heard:

 I believe the time has come …to enlist the computer and the satellite, as well as television and radio… in the cause of education…

Think of the lives that this would change: the student in a small college could tap the resources of a great university…the country doctor [could get] help from a distant laboratory or a teaching hospital…in a partnership to share knowledge and to thus enrich all mankind...Eventually, I think this electronic knowledge bank could be as valuable as the Federal Reserve Bank.

And such a system could involve other nations, too--it could involve them in a partnership to share knowledge and to thus enrich all mankind.

A wild and visionary idea? Not at all. Yesterday's strangest dreams are today's headlines and change is getting swifter every moment.

I have already asked my advisers to begin to explore the possibility of a network for knowledge--and then to draw up a suggested blueprint for it.” 

I have never heard this, and want to thank a commenter on a Washington Post article, named Elle Fant, for bringing this to my attention.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Smocking



I can't resist.  Donald Trump this morning:

"Democrats can’t find a Smocking Gun tying the Trump campaign to Russia after James Comey’s testimony. No Smocking Gun...No Collusion.” @FoxNews  That’s because there was NO COLLUSION. So now the Dems go to a simple private transaction, wrongly call it a campaign contribution,..."

Everyone else commenting about this treats it as a joke, but not me.  The so-called President of the United States can't even spell the word "smoking."  And it's not a typo, because he spelled it wrong twice.

Our leader, the most powerful man in the world, is essentially illiterate.  He doesn't refuse to read briefings and memos, as has been reported; he can't read them.  His mind functions on the level of a six year old, both intellectually and emotionally.  And that is just fine with Republicans, as long as they can manipulate him into doing what their rich backers want.

Well, that's where we are as a country today.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Insanity On The March

Some of you may be aware that, in the QAnon world, December 5th was to be one of the greatest days in the history of civilization.  For that day, referred to in Q's posts as D5, was to be the day that Mueller was going to be revealed to be working closely with Trump to indict Hillary, Obama, etc, and tens of thousands of Democrats and other opponents of Trump were to be arrested, finally making America great again. 

Well, as far as can be told, that did not happen.

Let me digress for a second here.  Did you ever pay any attention to doomsday cults that predict that the world will end on a certain date, and when that doesn't happen, the next day they come up with ludicrous explanations for why they were wrong, and move right on to the next end of the world?  Well, QAnon and the whole Trump base are really not that different from doomsday cults, which are similarly run by and for a few cynical leaders milking their deluded followers for profit.  So why would we expect anything different from them?

What follows is an explanation of why all the predictions were wrong.  It is made up of ludicrous numerology, reference to an almost unknown chess game, a grotesque conspiracy theory about the death of George H. W. Bush, preposterous leaps of faith and an almost endless stream of similar nonsense.  Naturally it is a video, because the sort of people that fall for this garbage have apparently (like Trump himself) virtually lost the ability to read.  I have been watching many of these videos, but this one is fairly short, and I think it is worth a look because it shows the true derangement that is necessary to retain a belief in Trump at this point.



If this is not paranoid schizophrenia, it is a pretty damn good imitation of it.  But at this point, you virtually have to be mentally ill (or very, very rich) to still believe that Donald Trump is acting in your interest.  The only real question about things like this is how long they can go on before collapsing of their own weight of absurdity.  You'd think that that would have happened already, but it hasn't so I am not sure how long the damage will continue, and where it will lead.  Wherever that is, it isn't anywhere good, I assure you.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

25th Amendment Remedy

I am posting this short video here, for those who might not have seen it.  It shows Donald Trump at what was supposed to be a photo opportunity with the President of Argentina, the host country of the recent G20 summit:




Trump appears to have lost consciousness of what was going on, and wandered away in a daze.

Sort of humorous, but this leads me to a suggestion, or a fear, about how the entire Trump disaster is going to end. 

First, let me make it clear that although there are literally hundreds of perfectly valid reasons to remove Trump from office, from his endless acts of corruption to his virtually daily obstruction of justice, to his ignoring or frustrating the laws he is sworn to uphold, but there is one justification for impeachment that must stand above all others, and that is his traitotous collusion with a foreign dictator to rig the Presidential election in his favor.  This is because it is only removal on those grounds that can justify a claim that every action he took as President was illegitimate.

Instead, this is what I think may very well be the outcome of this monstrous situation:  Trump will be "determined" to be sinking into dementia like his father, and the 25th amendment will be used to remove him.  In this scenario, his leaving the White House will be presented to the American people and to history as a monumental tragedy, and all of the endless crimes he committed will be swept under the rug, with no recourse for the American people and no opportunity (as at least happened with Nixon) for the truth to emerge.  And all the damage he did will continue, after he returns to spend his declining years at Mar-a-Lago. 

You need only see the hagiography surrounding the recently deceased George H. W. Bush, who was in reality a very mediocre President, to realize that the so-called tragedy that will befall Trump will be used by Republicans to shout down anyone who dares to speak of the reality of his disastrous time in office.  And so, the Republican party will survive the horror that it foisted on the country, and we will move on, until the next bought and paid for Republican criminal is manipulated into the White House.