Congressional oversight isn’t presidential harassment

Listen to this article

Oh, the humor of it all.

First though, I have to address the Ram in the room before we get to the elephant in the Oval Office. I picked the Los Angeles Rams to win Super Bowl LIII. It was obvious there were going to be two extremely good defenses in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium Sunday along with two very good offenses.

What I could not imagine — it never occurred to me — is that the L.A. offense would essentially not perform, at all. They averaged almost 33 points per game and over 421 yards of offense per game in the regular season. I figured they would score at least 17-20 points, which could have (and would have) been enough to win. I never imagined they would only score one field goal, three points.

The L.A. Rams’ offensive performance falls on his shoulders, head coach Sean McVay
(Claudia Gestro)

A failure of the magnitude isn’t the quarterback, or the running backs or receivers, it falls on the coaching staff, which head coach Sean McVay has acknowledged in his postgame press conferences.

Maybe next season, but as any coach will say, getting to a Super Bowl once is a difficult task, doing it two years in a row … well, the Patriots did it three years in a row, winning twice, so it can be done.

Glad I got that off my chest.

Now, this business about “presidential harassment.”

Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell first used the phrase several weeks ago when the 116thCongress was sworn in and it was clear the House of Representatives was actually going to do their job with oversight of the executive branch. If your president has high level campaign associates — as well as a former national security advisor — pleading guilty to crimes associated with the campaign and transition period, and as we recently found out, crimes in the early months of the administration.

So, according to the president and his GOP lackeys, House of Representatives investigations of those acts — crimes — is presidential harassment.

President Trump has never been held accountable for anything. He’s settled lawsuits, paid some fines and settlements, but no entity has dug into his business, and now his administration, before. How much money does he owe to Russians? To the Saudis? How much does Jared Kushner owe? What policies could have been effected by these debts?

We see Trump’s servility towards Vladimir Putin and his allegiance to the Saudi Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who ordered the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

There is a lot to investigate, including the actions of Trump in relation to the Mueller investigation; from firing FBI Director James Comey (which brought about the special counsel’s probe), to the harassment of his staff who would not fire Robert Mueller, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions chief among them. Oh, and the appointment of Matthew Whitaker to be the acting Attorney General after Sessions was fired in November. We know why Whitaker was hired. He auditioned for Trump on CNN as a critic of the special counsel’s investigation, and with that bald-headed tough guy look he fit right into Trump’s vision of hard masculinity. Whitaker was a football player in college, don’tcha know.

Before the acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has sat in front of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, the president used the term quite a bit since throwing down the gauntlet in the State of the Union speech Tuesday. He warned the Democrats that investigating his administration would result in more gridlock. Democrats were not deterred. See Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “Fuck You” clapback in the top photo.

There will be more investigations getting started soon, but Friday it was the Judicial Committee in a public hearing.

Whitaker’s opening statement started with a long-winded advocacy of President Trump’s pet campaign promise of a wall along our southern border with Mexico.

YouTube screenshot mementos after acting AG Matthew Whitaker told the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler (D-NY) his 5 minutes were up. Apparently Whitaker did not know how Congressional committees work and who sets the rules.

The questions began with chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and it was soon a verbal joust between the chairman and the witness. At one point Whitaker told Nadler his five minutes were up. That led to the chairman invoking a subpoena that would, if upheld, force Whitaker to answer questions about his conversations with the president.

Whitaker’s disrespect towards the committee, especially the Democrats, including the chairman, was exactly what Whitaker’s master wanted to see. Trying to make a mockery of the proceedings. Now Whitaker is auditioning for more than just the president. There could be a lucrative consulting gig on Fox News once the next AG is sworn in. It is speculated that William Barr will get a “Yay” vote in the Senate next week and will be sworn in almost immediately.

The joke will still be on Whitaker though. Committee chair Nadler said he will subpoena the acting AG to appear for a deposition and make the transcript public.

We want to know why the Justice Department kidnapped thousands of children from their families — without tracking them so they could be re-united. Families that were legally seeking asylum at our southern border ports of entry.

Trump is afraid of what the Congressional committees will find and make public. The horrors at the southern border, what was Jared Kushner doing shuttling between the various Arab nations? How was he using his position as the top presidential advisor to enrich his own pockets and that of his wife and the president? There is so much the House committees can investigate.

The emoluments, especially from the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. His crimes with Michael Cohen, his former fixer. Why is Trump such a kiss-ass to Vladimir Putin? And finally, what was the connection — or connections — between the Trump campaign and the Russian oligarchs? Was the Trump campaign part of a conspiracy to fix the election? Did Trump accept help from the Russians? Did he know when Wikileaks was going to release damaging emails?

Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY),at the State of the Union(YouTube)

There are a lot of questions that need to be answered before the Democrats start a serious impeachment investigation.  Is impeachment even worth it? He can be voted out of office in less than two years and the Democrats gain control of the U.S. Senate.

Then we can enact Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal. Put in place universal health care for everyone. As AOC pointed out, the insurance companies are not health care providers, they are just the opposite. They look for ways to deny care. The real providers are the doctors and other medical staff who provide the actual care. Put a real progressive tax system in place.

All of these things can be enacted. We can have a more economically equitable society, like we have in the 1950s and 60s, except this time without the racism that defined our nation for centuries. Move toward a real democratic socialist society.

Which brings up this point: The wealthy like to use Venezuela as an example of a failed Socialist government. There are several rebuttals to that of course, starting with: they never use the democratic socialist nations of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, the Netherlands etc. as examples. All of those countries rate higher in health, education, quality of life and happiness than the United States. Much higher.

Then of course there is the fact that the leading cause of Venezuela’s failure is the out of control corruption that has dominated that nation since the country’s previous ruler, Hugo Chavez. Actually it was there before Chavez … Venezuela has been filled with corruption for as long as I can remember, it’s just that Chavez and Maduro have taken it to a new level.

Off the Coast of McMurdo Station in Antarctica (Jeff Worman)

The number one issue to deal with is global warming. It looks like we have past the tipping point. The ice is breaking off of Antarctica six times faster than 10 years ago, faster than science predicted. The climate has shifted and there’s no going back.

With the Democrats controlling the House of Representatives, they can stop any anti-climate legislation, put a check on the wanton disregard for our planet we have seen from the various agencies in the executive branch.

Like the idiot he is Trump took the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords. A new president, a Democrat, can put us back in it. There are states, like California, that have maintained the standards set in the agreement. With new leadership we can do more.

This isn’t presidential harassment, it’s over sight, checks and balances, a course correction.

Top photo is a YouTube screenshot from the State of the Union