* Erik’s Editorial: The Guilty Parties Who Put American Democracy At Risk In The Name Of Donald Trump

US White House upside down (public domain).

I do not fault stupid people for making the stupid decision to elect Donald Trump in 2016.

I do fault smart people for making stupid decisions. These include:

1. Senators who voted to acquit Donald Trump in his no-witnesses-allowed impeachment trial, including primarily Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell:

* Impeachment of Donald Trump (2020-02-05)

* Mitch McConnell (2020-02-05)

2. Members of the GOP who voted to disenfranchise voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – before, during, and AFTER the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol – including Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Jody Hice (R–GA-10), Mo Brooks (R–AL-05), Scott Perry (R–PA-10), Josh Hawley (R–MO), and Louie Gohmert (R–TX-01).

* 2021 Storming Of The United States Capitol (2021-01-06)

* 2020 United States Presidential Election Electoral College Count (2021-01-06 – 2021-01-07)

3. Donald Trump’s cabinet, who could have invoked the 25th Amendment to remove POTUS at any time:

* Cabinet Of Donald Trump (2017-01-21 – PRESENT)

4. Social media, including especially Facebook and Twitter, for allowing their social networks to be used as platforms for hate speech.

* Donald Trump On Social Media (2017-01-21 – PRESENT)

5. Mainstream media, including especially CNN (on the left) and Fox News (on the right) for not doing their jobs – asking questions until they get answers – and allowing POTUS to lie unchecked.

* Veracity Of Statements By Donald Trump (2017-01-21 – PRESENT)

6. Lawmakers at all levels, for failing to fix bad laws and for failing to enact good laws. Changes that must be made going forward include:

Limiting POTUS power:

  • Executive order power must be limited.
  • All cabinet members (acting/interim/actual) must be confirmed by Senate.
  • Treaties and tariffs must be the role of Congress so that POTUS cannot engage in trade wars.
  • War Powers Act must be updated to limit POTUS power to deploy the military.
  • Special Counsel Act must be updated to make clear that POTUS cannot fire special counsel.

Writing better and new laws:

  • Impeachment Act of 2021, to define how impeachment is conducted, including the requirement to have witnesses.
  • Follow the lead of The Restatements Of The Law project (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restatements_of_the_Law) and codify major SCOTUS cases, including especially Roe v. Wade.
  • Fix the Census.
  • Fix immigration.
  • Fix SCOTUS processes, such as limiting appointments to 2 per POTUS with the number of SCOTUS justices fixed at the number of Federal Circuits (currently 13).
  • Election reform, including who is qualified to run for POTUS and that tax forms must be disclosed to do so.

Just to name a few.

Stupid people, bad laws, and lies got us into this mess.

Smart people, good laws, and the truth can get us out of this mess.



DNI Dan Coats Departs, Emperor Continues without Clothes

Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence (DNI), will leave the Trump administration on August 15. Coats is one of the last remaining original members of President Trump’s national security team. The news of Dan Coats’ departure was, not surprisingly, delivered by Trump via tweet, along with Trump’s announcement that he would be nominating Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) to replace Coats. 

Dan Coats is known for his low-key, behind-the-scenes approach. He hasn’t spoken out much in public, but when he has, his comments have often been bluntly at odds with Trump. 

In a 2018 summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, for example, Trump cast doubt on whether Russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential election, in effect saying that Putin had said Russia hadn’t interfered, and that Trump believed him.

In response, Dan Coats issued this statement on behalf of the U.S. intelligence community: 

“We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security.”

At a Senate hearing, Dan Coats also contradicted Trump’s proclamation that the Islamic State had been completely defeated. 

“While we have defeated the caliphate, with a couple of little villages left, we should not underestimate the ability of terrorist groups, particularly ISIS,” said Coats.

Vince Houghton, historian at the International Spy Museum, said about Coats, “He’s been someone who is willing to tell the truth, even if the main consumer, and that’s the president of the United States, does not like what he has to hear.”

Coats has also advocated stronger election security, saying that it should be a top U.S. priority. As one of his last actions in his current role, Coats named Shelby Pierson, a longtime intelligence community veteran, to serve in a newly created position as the overall head of election security efforts. At around the same time, coincidentally or not, Mitch McConnell blocked proposed legislation for additional funding for election security. 

While Dan Coats has frequently contradicted Trump and his pronouncements, John Ratcliffe, Dan Coats’ expected replacement, has received praise from Trump for, among other things, admonishing special counsel Robert Mueller during Mueller’s testimony in the House Judiciary Committee hearing regarding Mueller’s findings in his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.  

Many of those who support Donald Trump have said they do so because Trump “says what he means, and means what he says.” That is not the same as having integrity or telling the truth. One has to wonder if Dan Coats’ pursuit of integrity over his willingness to “back up” whatever utterances Trump has put forth, are at least one of the reasons for his departure. One also has to think, then, about the implications of being governed by a U.S. president who would dismiss those who disagree with him, even when national security may be at stake. 

As Rep. Don Beyer put it, “(Dan Coats) was a widely respected and trusted by everyone on both sides as a man of integrity. But Trump doesn’t want integrity, he wants people who will tell him what he wants to hear and intel leaders who will agree that 2+2=5.” 

Dan Coats refused to pretend that the Emperor was wearing clothes. 

Trump replaces US intelligence chief Dan Coats | Al Jazeera

DNI Dan Coats to step down, Texas Republican John Ratcliffe to replace | Fox News  [2019-07-28]