Representative Denny Heck (D-WA): "Is it okay for a president to pressure a foreign government for help to win an election?"
Director of National Intelligence (acting) Joseph Maguire: "It is unwarranted. It is unwelcome. It is bad for the nation."
We are at a very, very dangerous moment in history.
Trump is mad. Mad angry. Not mad insane – though that works too.
Goddamn, is he mad.
He’s so mad, he’s literally sputtering – something that I thought was mostly just a creative turn of phrase.
He stepped off Air Force One on Friday fuming, red faced, seething, sputtering mad, and yelled at reporters that he might try to file some sort of legal action to stop his impeachment.
What these guys are doing, Democrats, what they’re doing to this country, is a disgrace and it shouldn’t be allowed! There should be a way of stopping it. Maybe legally through the courts. But they’re gonna tie up our country. I mean we can’t talk about gun regulation we can’t talk about … anything. Because frankly they’re so tied up, they’re so screwed up, nothing gets done except for when I do it!
Shouldn’t be allowed!
There should be a way of stopping it!
Maybe legally though the courts.
And maybe not.
Maybe not. That’s the implication here, isn’t it? That maybe not part.
The day before, when Trump was at the United Nations, in a meeting with his staff he raged:
"They're almost a spy! Who gave the whistleblower the information? Because that's close to a spy."
I mean, you do see it, don’t you?
The sense of outrage. Outrage that anyone should question Donald Trump.
But the very word “whistleblower” exists for a reason.
Because it is a legally protected check on power, on abuse, on greed, on crime, on government.
Our laws, our entire nation is based on this idea.
Our Constitution was designed around this very idea: that power should be limited. That power should be checked, should be called out, should be held accountable at every turn. And that those who would blow that whistle should be protected to the full measure of the law.
Because without those willing to stand up, to speak truth to power, to sound the alarm, liberty dies.
This was the reason for the First Amendment, so that the people would have the power to speak freely in criticism of their government, not just as a right, but as a duty; so that the press would have the ability to hold all of us but most especially government to account; so that the people might assemble in protest and face down government power with their own; so that government would be required to give redress of wrongs against its own citizens.
If conservatives are correct in their interpretation of the Second Amendment, then its entire purpose is so ordinary citizens might hold government to the ultimate account.
And yet here they are.
Ironically, hypocritically, suggesting that the those who call out suspected government abuse are somehow traitors.
That it shouldn’t be allowed.
That there should be a way of stopping it, perhaps legally and perhaps … not.
We are at a very, very dangerous moment in history.
Trump has always tended to see himself as a superior specimen misunderstood by the common rabble.
He believes himself special. Above the laws which bind the common man.
When he’s held to those same laws, be they natural or manmade, he’s offended. He feels demeaned, lessened, diminished.
Public office amplifies his sense of martyrdom and he's becoming overtly, obviously, paranoid and publicly unstable. The term “siege mentality” might have been coined just for him. Worse, he surrounds himself with fringe nuts like Sebastian Gorka, political extremists like Stephen Miller and Steve Mnuchin, disgraced fanatics like General Mike Flynn, and an endless host of incompetent amateurs from Betsy DeVos to his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and it shows.
These people, not one of them, has any idea how to run a Republic.
These people have no idea how to deal with the world on an equal basis – because they do not see the world a place of equality. Far from it. They expect to give orders and have them obeyed. They expect the universe to bow down, to bend to their desires. Because it always has. No one questions the wealthy. No one criticizes a general. No one holds the privileged to account. Not to their faces. They are accustomed to subservience, not accountability.
The rules don't apply to these people.
Not on social media, not in the courts, not in the military, not in the boardroom, not on Wall Street, not in politics, not in the Media, not anywhere.
This isn’t my opinion, this is theirs in their own words:
I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab 'em by the pussy. You can do anything.
You can do anything.
They believe themselves entitled to this unquestioned power as their due.
They believe themselves better. Better than you. Better than me. Better than everyone.
This is how aristocracy is born, right here.
And if it's not stopped now, here in this moment, then in a few generations they will be lords and princes and kings, born to power.
And we will be their serfs.
This is a very, very dangerous moment in history.
Impeachment doesn't just threaten Trump, or his office.
It threatens the very self image of the privileged, who see themselves as the elite, as better, as born to power and above criticism or accountability, beyond the law and beyond reproach.
If Trump can be removed from power, so can they.
That terrifies them. You joke about guillotines, but you’d better goddamned believe they’re not laughing. They know. They remember. And they’re terrified that one day they’ll find their own heads on the block.
It’s too close now.
This is a very dangerous time. For us, but more so for them. And they know it.
That’s what they mean when they say Make America Great Again.
Great like when Robber Barons ruled America and the peasants paid for the privilege of eating out of their garbage cans. Great before the time of social safety nets and social programs, of unions and public education, before the common people claimed power for themselves, when profit was all and no one – no one – dared threaten their power. Like the Kings and the aristocracy who ruled over colonial America before the Revolution, there is nothing these modern elites fear more than the radical idea that power rests not with the privileged, not with those born to it, but with the ordinary citizen.
And because they are afraid, afraid of you – and they are indeed afraid of you – and because they will do anything to hold on to power, to their image of themselves as superior, they have become very, very dangerous.
Impeachment of one of their own directly threatens their power structure.
Whether it successfully removes the president from office or not, impeachment sets the very example they are most afraid of.
There's an old saying, apocryphally attributed to Thomas Jefferson and ironically used as a rallying cry by those who would point to the Second Amendment as a proof their right to burn down the government and yet who right now directly support these very elites. It goes like this:
When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.
Of course, Thomas Jefferson never said this. And likely never would. Because Jefferson of all the Founders understood the dynamics of wealth, privilege, power, and fear.
Because when government fears the people, and when people fear their government in turn, what you get is chaos, what you get is civilization falling into war, revolution, and violent, bloody murder as each seeks to destroy the other.
When the privileged feel their power threatened by those they see as their inferiors, that’s when you get tyranny.
When government fears its citizens, that’s when the boot comes down on your throat. Every. Time.
Worse, there will always be those on the bottom rungs of the ladder who see government falling into absolutism not as tyranny, but as opportunity.
And they will cheerfully throw in with the powerful, hoping for a few scraps from the table, hoping to save themselves at the expense of their fellows. Hoping for that moment, finally, when they can shoot down their despised neighbors in an orgy of blood and rage. They'll willingly sell their souls, hoping that they themselves will be given some measure of power and privilege over those they – there on the bottom rung of the ladder – see as inferior, if only by a fraction, to themselves.
This is a very dangerous time.
Impeachment isn't just a threat to Trump, but to all of those who align themselves with him, and who benefit from his hate and fear, and who would be nothing without their privilege and sense of superiority, the brawlers and the wealthy alike.
They are terrified that the dam has been breached, that more whistleblowers will come forward. They don’t trust you, but they for damned sure can’t trust each other, not when the only way to save themselves might be to sell out their fellows. There is no honor among thieves and there is no loyalty among those who see integrity as a roadblock to power and wealth.
And they will not go quietly.
They've said so.
They will change the laws to give themselves power.
They intend to spill blood, your blood, if necessary to keep that power.
They will ally themselves with America's enemies against you if necessary.
They will lie, cheat, steal, and murder. These are people who put children in cages and see nothing wrong with it and they'll do whatever they must to hold onto that power.
You look at the White House, you look at who Trump surrounds himself with, who he's given power to, who has access to that power, who benefits from Trump's increasing megalomania – from Exxon to Russia – and you'd better believe the danger is real.
But here’s the thing: we can face down that danger, return our nation to sanity without blood in the streets and bring that power to heel.
It would have been a hell of a lot easier, safer, a few years ago, when there was more of a margin, but you didn't believe the danger was real then.
I hope you believe it now.
Now that we stand on the very precipice with the pit yawning beneath our feet, I hope you can see the danger now.
I hope it's finally real to you. Because if you don't show up this time, no matter what – no matter what – then you’re not going to get another chance.
Your government, the wealthy, the powerful, they aren’t just afraid of you, they’re terrified.
And they damned well should be.
But that makes them very, very dangerous – as are all cornered animals.
Now, right now, is the time to hold these sons of bitches to account and show them who and what America is supposed to be.
Yes, this is a dangerous moment in history.
But then it always is.
A day after I wrote this, Trump posted this to Twitter:
This is the president of the United States right here suggesting that his political enemies be arrested for "treason."
This is the same definition -- the very same definition -- of "treason" used by dictators the world over: I.e. anyone who criticizes the state, and the state being me.
You look at that.
Look at it.
I don't care if you're a Republican or a Democrat, EVERY American should feel the hair standing up on the back of their necks right now. This cannot go on. Because arrests for "treason" WILL come next, followed by show trials. Followed by everything else. THIS is how it happens, right here.
Trump needs to be removed from office.
Impeachment is dangerous. And that danger – that very danger right there, the very nature of it -- is why it must be done. And it is in the crucible of crisis, facing the greatest of dangers, when true, authentic greatness is forged.
Now is the time.
If you want a better nation, be better citizens.
I would not be understood my dear Marquis to speak of consequences which may be produced, in the revolution of ages, by corruption of morals, profligacy of manners, and listlessness for the preservation of the natural and unalienable rights of mankind; nor of the successful usurpations that may be established at such an unpropitious juncture, upon the ruins of liberty, however providently guarded and secured, as these are contingencies against which no human prudence can effectually provide. It will at least be a recommendation to the proposed Constitution that it is provided with more checks and barriers against the introduction of Tyranny, and those of a nature less liable to be surmounted, than any Government hitherto instituted among mortals, hath possessed. We are not to expect perfection in this world; but mankind, in modern times, have apparently made some progress in the science of government. Should that which is now offered to the People of America, be found on experiment less perfect than it can be made, a Constitutional door is left open for its amelioration.
-- George Washington, Letter to Lafayette, February 7, 1788