Impeachment Inquiry

One or two readers might be interested in my position on the current matter in Washington.

Here is the relevant part of a single page letter I hand-delivered to the office of my Congressperson on September 2, 2019:

“IMPEACHMENT: (SUPPORT) I strongly believe that the House of Representatives needs to deal aggressively with the impeachment… issue.  It is an extraordinarily difficult political situation, I know.  On the other hand, it is probably the most important single issue that this country has ever had to confront concerning the rule of law.  What makes this even more difficult is that the radical right has become expert in the business of assessing guilt by accusation: to be accused is to be guilty, it seems.  Our legal system, while more cumbersome (things like rules of evidence, etc.) can be unwieldy, but it sure beats dictatorship.  I subscribe to the philosophy that the Force of Law is far better than the authoritarian preferred Law of Force [see POSTNOTE]

I strongly supported Robert Muellers approach to the complexities of the issues, and Speaker Pelosi’s approach as well.  The Mueller Report lays out the evidence, which I think has to be pursued, regardless of the risks.” 

(At the time I wrote the letter, I had no idea about the much more recent Ukraine issue.)

In 1998, I expressed concern in impeachment of another president.  I sent a copy of this letter to this list in a prior post, sharing my feelings about Bill Clinton in 1998: Clinton Impeachment001.  (I was and remain a strong supporter of Bill Clinton, as I was and am a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton.)

The U.S. does not have clean hands in the matter of interfering in the politics of other nations.  There have been endless examples, here’s an informal and short list: Iran, Haiti, Middle East, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Philippines, Central America….  Some of these I have closer interest and a bit more knowledge.  Here’s something I wrote about Haiti back in 2006, for instance.  Of course, it is customary to blame the President – if of the other party – but it is never that simple.  President Theodore Roosevelt (Republican) is revered as a Progressive (national parks and the like), was also an expansionist.  President are often shaped by events over which they have little control or sometimes even pre-knowledge – they take someone’s advice.  On the other hand, we, the people, have the ultimate responsibility.  Ours is, after all, a democracy….

But, in the current American situation, as a noted Presidential historian stated on live TV this morning, #45 makes his predecessor Presidents “look like Boy Scouts”.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I’m (depending on one’s word of choice) a “globalist”, an “internationalist”, a supporter of the United Nations…and a “patriot” who loves my country, and deeply respects the rights of the citizens of other countries as well.

In this country, at this moment in time, I feel the obvious intention of the current Republican regime is to make people like myself permanently irrelevant in public policy.  We are not the enemy.  In fact, without us, this democracy is in peril.

Yesterday we met with our friend who is now 93, and today flies to her native Germany.  She grew up in Hitler’s Germany, and wrote a very well-read book about her experience from 1926-47.  Her trip to Germany is occasioned by the translation of her book into her native German, and its introduction comes next week at the famed Frankfurt Book Fair.  A week from now she’ll speak to book sellers and film makers who might have a special interest in her book.

I asked our friend how she would deal with questions about U.S. politics (she’s lived in Minnesota since 1947).  She’s certainly been thinking about it.  Her opinion is her own to be shared in some way by herself next week.  The one fact she mentioned is that 1936 was probably the single good year for Germans in the time of her years in Nazi Germany.

My only advice to everyone: pay very close attention.  Our country is at stake….

POSTNOTE: I think I first saw the use of the words “Force of Law, or Law of Force” in a poster made by my friend, Dr. Joe Schwartzberg in 2008.  Here is that photo, one of 30 in his series.

Joe Schwartzberg died a year ago, but his work continues.  Here is his website.

The “Force of Law” vs “Law of Force” is, in a way, presuming a world that works rationally,  presumption of shared power.  What happens when one side intentionally works to pass laws which disempower the other “side”, and in addition, attempts to control the composition of courts which interpret those laws?  Over the arc of history, there have been many schemes to empower one side, and disempower the other.  In the longer term, they never prevail, regardless of the weapon.  Still, lessons seem never to be learned.

One of the organizations in which I am most active is Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS) (formerly called World Federalists), whose members advocate for a community of nations which are subject to rules and merit respect.   There are about 193 of these nations, ranging from the very tiny to the immense.  The United States has always been the big dog in the arena, by virtue of being on the winning side in WWII, and having economic dominance (we have about one-fourth of the global wealth with less than 5% of the population).

On October 23, I will have all of Joe’s posters on display at an important gathering at the James J. Hill House in St. Paul.  Consider attending.  Here are the details: Flier Oct 23rd event JJ Hill House-v4.  This is a reservation required event.

COMMENTS (more at the end)

Pre-note:  I post all comments, without editing, not violating requested privacy.  Occasionally someone will ask that their name not be used.  In most cases, I only use first names, or the first letter of a name, or rarely “anonymous”.  Every comment is monitored by myself.  I don’t mind differences of opinion.

Yesterday (Sep 30) one of the first comments came as one of those lovely “forwards” that cast aspersions on Muslims in the Twin Cities – the topic was a YouTube video that implied that the Mall of America was overrun by violent Somali Muslims, and went on from there.  I’m not sure why the sender – who I know well – even sent it on, though there were a series of question marks preceding it (???????????)  It even had a video for proof.   The sender of the forward lives hundreds of miles from the Mall; I live 15 miles or so from the Mall, and on rare occasions go there (I’m no shopper.)

The smear of Muslims was, of course, false in its implications.  There had been a violent incident at the Mall, and the perpetrator was apparently Muslim, so that part was most likely true.  On the other hand, Mall of America remains immensely popular.  Its website (as of yesterday) claims 40,000,000 visitors a year; I once heard that every day it has over 100,000 people on premises, making it one of Minnesota’s largest cities.  It is very rarely in the news, and on those rare occasions the problems are dealt with.  There is no oppressive presence of police, though it doubtless has security befitting the large number of visitors every day, most of whom are not regulars, people like myself.  But in the world of truly fake news, bits and pieces of propaganda whir around on this and many other topics.  So, on we go.

I won’t give the video additional publicity by passing it on.  The person who passed it on, passed it on without additional comment (unless the ?????? was a comment).  Doubtless, it can be found on the internet.  But it doesn’t represent any semblance of the truth.  I solicit more comments.

from Brian: Dick, thanks for sharing.  In my youth I had to deal with the perfidious lying mass killer LBJ.  Trump’s not nearly as [b]ad, trust me.

from Dick, to Brian: “Good to hear from you.  I really do want to hear more specifics about your two sentences.”  When Brian gives specifics, I’ll post along with a specific response.  I specifically referenced today’s Just Above Sunset.  I also recommend  the City Pages article mentioned in my response to David, below.  I gave Brian my personal experience during the LBJ times, as follows:

“First, let me tell you a tiny bit of my “history”.  
I got out of the U.S. Army about two months before JFK was assassinated.  (I had volunteered for the draft immediately after getting my Degree – no particular motivation other than I would likely be drafted anyway, and went in to get it over with.  Vietnam was not on my radar, even though I was a geography major.)
My Army duty was in what began what is called the “Vietnam era” including the Cuban Missile Crisis.  My Unit several years later was decimated in Vietnam.  My time was at Ft. Carson CO with a couple of field maneuvers in South Carolina our only “combat” experience.  No doubt, though, we were training for southeast Asia.
I had married my college sweetheart four months before I was discharged (honorable).
My new wife had to resign from her first teaching job because of what ultimately was fatal kidney disease.  
LBJs entire career thus paralleled my five post-Army years, first teaching and on the side surviving with a desperately ill spouse, who spent near three months in a hospital (no insurance) before and after our son was born (Feb 1964); thence her last year and a half she was even more desperately ill, ending with her death (waiting for a kidney transplant that never happened) July 24, 1965.  
When she died, I was so deep in debt I would not have recovered without public welfare.  Then the rest of LBJs time raising an infant by myself; followed by two younger brothers who were Air Force and served in Vietnam. 

I do have some history….  I could go on at greater length.

Do tell me more.”

Brian in response, Oct 1:  Now my response to you,Dick.  So…okay.    First of all, thank for the update on Peg [mutual friend]…she’s such a great people photographer.  And also wow! You do have a history with Vietnam and LBJ, too!

Well, here’s mine:  I was 18, and a goody-two-shoes.  My best subject was “conduct”, and my 2nd best subject was the rifle team at Central Catholic.  I’d been in ROTC since the 5th grade in a military town, San Antonio, Texas.   Well, I read the book “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque, an anti-war book published in 1928 about his experience in WWI.  Hitler banned it, of course.
After I read the book, I got a draft notice to report to the draft board.  But why are they drafting people if there is no declared war? I asked.  I refused to register.   My mother got very upset with me, saying that her country was more important than her son (me).  My pastor at church said it was my duty to go kill godless Communist Asians.   Vietnam wasn’t attacking us.    LBJ lied through his teeth about the war.   To me, Dick, this is far more impeachable than Trump doing his crap.  I mean, THOUSANDS of US citizens were killed.  Some of my childhood friends are still really messed up by what happened to them in Vietnam, having to kill people.  Dick at 18, I could not vote nor even legally drink a beer!!! But I could go KILL!!!
So, I decided to leave for Denmark, not wanting to go to jail nor register.   My mother, at the last minute (after a year when I wouldn’t register) made a deal with the draft board: if I would register and take the physical, I could get my student deferment.   I compromised and did that.
Moving forward…in the past 10 year, including January 2019, Louisa and I have been in Vietnam and visited the Agent Orange orphanages.  Dick, what LBJ did makes him a WAR CRIMINAL!  Bombing innocent people, putting poison on them, dropping gasoline bombs. OMG!!!!  And attacking neighboring neutral countries with CLUSTER BOMBS!   I was last year in Cambodia and those BOMBS ARE STILL KILLING CHILDREN there!!  LBJ–he should have been IMPEACHED!!    Much worse than Bone Spurs.
Okay, so that’s more to my story there.

from Joyce:  “This is excellent”.Answers to Impeachment Objections from The Weekly Sift

from Judy:  As usual, Dick, your insights, and comments lift up truth and justice.  Thank you for taking the time to address such urgent issue.  Impeachment, a necessity!!!


from Dick:  It’s more or less a free country, yet.

from Carol, Oct 1: It never ceases to amaze me how many of those hate-filled anti-Democrat/anti-Hillary/anti-Obama, etc. ranters can’t spell their way out of a paper bag – including the names of past (or future) presidents.

A suggestion: If you want to be taken seriously, ditch the caps key and all the !!!!!!!!!!!!! and learn some spelling.

from a true believer in belief:  I believe that the accusations against Trump are the very things that the Democrats have done or are doing.  It’s been confirmed by the UK leader that Hillary rigged the 2016 election & /or solicited support from them and the Russians.   I am against Impeachment of Trump;  Obama  Brennan, & Hillary committed serious impeachable offenses and they were given a pass.   Darleen

When Kloubacher said that “no one is above the law” — “I thought except Obama, Hillary, and Brennan.”
from V: Writers subject line says HATE, followed by:  “I read your letter.  Don’t feel bad, even Pelosi can’t name one law he has broken that comes close to High Crimes.Trump never will be my favorite president, but I try not to hate.   Please delete my address from your list.”

from Dick in response: Per your request, your name is deleted.   I am puzzled by the “hate” narrative.  You and I, to my knowledge or recollection, have never visited in person, by letter or other means.   The only way you know me these days is by these occasional writings.  My blog account says that I have done 1,484 posts at this address in the last ten years.  Every one of them is archived here.  Never has “hate” been attached to me or to my posts by anyone.  Never.  I have been extraordinarily measured.  But, to each his (or her) own opinion.  I’m a perennial optimist.  We are going to get through this.

from David, Oct 1 (David originally responded below):  It’s a bit frightening to think that people such as R or M actually exist. Their post is so over the top that I suspect that it’s someone trolling you. Not that that makes me feel much better. People (mostly) on the right, seem so secure in their hatred towards–and fear of–the other side that one can envision them actually taking up arms. I guess it’s already happening here and there—Charlottesville, the mosque bombing here in the land of Minnesota Nice, the synagogue shooting, etc.

You and I are of the age where we can remember the violent protests and police reaction of the sixties. The Weather Underground, Sarah Jane Olson, Black Panthers, and their ilk, all believed that their side had cornered the market on the truth that they were justified in using violence towards those who disagreed with them. True believers are frightening.

You’re right, we do need to stay optimistic. The country got through the sixties, Nixon, McCarthyism, anarchists, J. Edgar Hoover, and worse. Then there was the little matter of the Civil War.

I’m sure that no matter what turns up in the impeachment process, folks like R or M will stick with their orange-haired savior. The best thing that could come out of impeachment would be that it fires up the Democratic base to actually get out and vote and will persuade those who took a flyer on Trump last time to vote Democratic or not vote at all. A thorough trouncing of Trump and the Republicans in 2020 could be the reset that the country needs and even shock the Republicans into redefining themselves into something other than the party of Trump and all of the ugliness that he stands for.



3 replies
  1. David Thofern
    David Thofern says:

    The really scary thing for our country is that a large part of the citizenry feels that Trump not only has done nothing wrong but it’s all a “hoax.” I fear that, like the Mueller investigation, this impeachment will turn out badly for the Democrats and increase the chances of continuing the Trump nightmare with a second term. Prior to the “whistleblowergate” news, I was convinced that the Democrats could avoid impeachment hearings. However, it is now time to move ahead with impeachment without regard to the political consequences. The Democrats really have no choice. I have a friend who believes that a significant number of Republicans will find their spines and renounce Trump. I hope he’s right. Halloween is coming up. Lots of skeletons running about. Maybe a few spines can be found.

    • dickbernard
      dickbernard says:

      I agree, David. The disinformation is destructive, but it works. On Sep. 6 or so, a friend sent a well researched article from City Pages on sowing distrust of Muslims. I think links work in the comments section, so will try it first here: (If it doesn’t work, I’ll post it at the end of the blog itself.) Within the article, a young propagandist for the right wing says the issue is basically “truth” versus “power”. The aim for his ilk is power; truth is irrelevant…or at least so I interpret his remarks, which are found below the photo of Keith Ellison. Take a look.

  2. Larry Gauper
    Larry Gauper says:

    I agree with and applaud the eloquence of your views on impeachment, Dick. Coincidentally, I just purchased the latest book by Dr. Mardy Grothe, a native North Dakotan and UND graduate in psychology. He calls the book “Deconstructing Trump” and he’s spot on with this collection of quotations that go back hundreds of years, right up to current times. His inserted commentary on these quotations ties them to the current occupant of the White House. A typical example from Dr. Grothe’s collection of a thousand quotations in this book is this one by H. L. Mencken in the Baltimore Evening Sun of July 26, 1920: “As democracy is perfected, the office of the U. S. president represents more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” I feel the electorate has achieved their “heart’s desire” with the current president. Mr. Alan Davis of Moorhead, MN, wrote about the impeachment inquiry in the Fargo (ND) Forum (“The View of America from Norway” 9/28/2019): “So yet again our corrupt president, who lost the general election of 3 million votes but won the electoral college, is caught with his greedy, green fingers inside the federal cookie jar. This time, however, it’s a felony and an impeachable offense.” Mr. Davis’s column is on target and I recommend you read it. In 2016, I was in Norway during the primary election period and every Norwegian I talked to could not understand why Mr. Trump was anywhere near the presidential race. Most thought of him as a narcissistic and dishonest blowhard, as I do, certainly not fit for the global leadership expected from an American leader.


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