* 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.



White House Departure of the Week: Rex Tillerson

The latest exit through the revolving door at the White House is that of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Donald Trump announced in a tweet on March 13 that he was firing Tillerson, hours before he actually delivered the news to Tillerson in person. Rex Tillerson is the second person in the Trump administration, after James Comey, to learn of his firing hours after the public became aware.

Trump tweeted, “Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!”

As Seth Meyers quipped, “Even when you get fired from Domino’s, the manager takes you into that…little office and tells you to your face.”

Ongoing Friction

Donald Trump has said that Mike Pompeo, a former Tea Party Congressman, is more in line with Trump’s policy agenda than Rex Tillerson was. Pompeo has supported walking away from the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal, as does Trump, though Tillerson disagrees. And Pompeo, a climate change skeptic, has criticized the Paris Climate Accord, while Rex Tillerson urged Trump, unsuccessfully, to honor the United States’ agreement.

Rex Tillerson also clashed with Trump on the approach to possible talks with North Korea. Tillerson has suggested that the U.S. reach out to North Korea, though Trump dismissed Tillerson’s position. Last week, however, Trump, excluding Rex Tillerson from his new decision, accepted North Korea’s offer to talk, and expects to skip the customary preliminary discussions (which Tillerson, as Secretary of State, supported, and would have run).

Perhaps the final straw in the tenuous Trump-Tillerson relationship, however, was the way Rex Tillerson responded to recent events in London. After the attempted poisoning in London of a Russian ex-spy and his daughter, Tillerson stated (supported by clear evidence) that the act  “Clearly came from Russia,” and that the incident “(would) trigger a response.” The next day, Trump tweeted the announcement of Rex Tillerson’s replacement.

It’s not difficult to see that anyone who doesn’t share Trump’s view of reality is fair game for the axe. The White House official narrative of Rex Tillerson’s dismissal is that Tillerson and Trump had been discussing Tillerson’s departure for “a long time.” In response to the White House account, on the other hand, State Department Undersecretary Steve Goldstein said that Rex Tillerson was “unaware of the reason for his dismissal, and had every intention of staying.” Goldstein has now also joined the list of White House casualties.

“Worst Secretary of State”

We should note that, just as Betsy DeVos is known as the “most hated Cabinet member” of the Trump White House, Rex Tillerson is considered by many to be “one of the worst secretaries of State in history,” according to Eliot Cohen, counselor to the State Department under President George W. Bush.

Tillerson’s actions, or more accurately, his inactions, have “weakened the State Department for a generation,” says Elizabeth Saunders, of George Washington University.

According to the American Foreign Service Association, during Rex Tillerson’s tenure, 60 percent of our top-ranking career diplomats have resigned. Foreign Service applications have decreased by 50 percent. Tillerson failed to appoint people to key positions such as that of ambassador to South Korea, and more than 100 diplomatic and related positions are still unfilled. Along with Tillerson’s initiative to “overhaul” the State Department and pare back its personnel, a result of these developments is that most officers of color, as well as senior women, are no longer there.

Who is Next?

Following his firing of Rex Tillerson, Trump said that he was “really at a point where we’re getting very close to having the cabinet and other things that I want.”

Here are some speculations about who might be next to follow Rex Tillerson out the White House door:

  • National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster
  • Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson
  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin

And, as with James Comey and Rex Tillerson, will the public learn of the next Trump Administration housecleaning casualty before the actual victim does?

Why Did Trump Fire Tillerson?  |  Fox Business [2018-03-13]

Behind Rex Tillerson’s Firing as Secretary of State  |  CBS This Morning [2018-03-14]