The Weekend Hole, Sat-Sun, Nov 26-27, 2016: Have You Read The 25th Amendment?

In his series “The Resistance” (formerly known as “The Closer” until the election of Donald J. Trump), Keith Olbermann spells out how Republicans in Congress can remove Trump from office without going through the process of an impeachment. And it’s all perfectly legal and constitutional, because the procedure is spelled out in Article of Amendment 25, Section 4,of the US Constitution. It reads as follows:

4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

So how would this work? Well, upon returning from the swearing-in ceremony, Vice President Pence and a majority of the heads of the cabinet departments (and it could be the ones still in office on January 20, or even the ones who act as heads of the departments should the heads all have resigned effective at noon that day) could write a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan and President Pro Tempore of the Senate Orrin Hatch (the President Pro Tem is the oldest serving member, not the Majority Leader) simply stating the Donald is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. They don’t have to give a reason. They don’t have to prove anything. No hearings. No nothing. Just a letter.

Now, of course, the Donald could fire back a letter within minutes (and I’d bet he’ll have such a letter pre-written, ready to go) saying no such inability exists. Within four days (in case there’s a holiday weekend in there), Pence and his department heads could fire back another letter (again, they should have this one written along with the first because it would be needed) saying the inability does still exist. Then the matter would go to the Congress. It would require a two-thirds vote of both the House of Representatives and the Senate to remove Trump from power permanently.

I can only hope the Republicans in Congress recognize the danger of having Trump be POTUS and take the legal, constitutional path to remove him from being able to do damage. He could keep the title, since I’m sure that’s all he really wanted out of it, but he wouldn’t have the authority to do anything. Not that I would be much happier in a Pence administration. Unlike Pence, I actually like women and want to see them have the autonomy over their bodies that men take for granted. That’s even less likely to happen under Pence than under Trump, but at least Pence knows something about governing. Trump does not. In fact, based on his comments on the campaign trail, I’m convinced Trump doesn’t understand how government works at all. He talked as if the POTUS had powers he doesn’t really have. In fact, at times it sounded like he thought a POTUS was a dictator, possibly because a lot of Republican citizens think he is. That’s just projection on their part.

And while it is perfectly constitutional to remove Trump from power (if not office) in this matter, it’s actually harder than impeaching him. Invoking Article 25, Section 4, requires two-thirds of both Houses to remove him. But to impeach him (for Treason, Bribery or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors) would require only a simple majority of votes in the House of Representatives. It would still require a two-thirds vote in the Senate to remove him. But you’d have to produce actual charges and conduct an actual trial for that process to work. And while Trump will be in violation of the Constitution at 12:01 PM EST on January 20, 2017, it will not be because of a crime. Instead, and possibly among other reasons, it will be because he had a group of foreign dignitaries come to his hotel in Washington, DC, and encouraged them to stay there when they visited the United States. In other words, he would personally profit from his job beyond what the Congress provides as compensation. (It’s called an Emolument, and its definition depends on what the Framers took the word to mean, not what it may have come to mean since.) Unless, of course, he lets them and their entire staffs stay there completely free of charge, including meals. Then he might argue that he’s not receiving any emoluments. But does anyone believe a man driven by the lust for money, who campaigned on a bigoted platform designed to make white people feel good about themselves, would let foreigners stay at his hotel completely free of charge? I don’t. And I wouldn’t believe a word Trump said about whether or not he was making any money on it. He’s a billionaire because he says he is. He’s the one deciding how much his properties are worth, not an independent auditor. There is very little that Trump says that can be taken at face value. And that’s one of many reasons why he should never be allowed to be POTUS. Also, he’s a bit of an asshole, but there’s no law against that. Otherwise I’d be in a lot of trouble, too. 🙂

This is our weekend open thread. Feel free to discuss anything you wish.

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The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 2, 2013 – Bull Hannity

By now, you’ve probably heard about the heated exchange between Fox “News” Channel host Sean Hannity and Rep. Keith Ellison (D, MN-5) on Tuesday night last. Hannity’s inner bully was on display that night, from his arrogant way of asking the congressman to repeat what he said (in an attempt to intimidate him into not repeating it), to his condescending tone of voice, and then to his talking over his guest in an effort to silence him. In case you missed it, here’s as full a clip of the segment as I can find. What’s important to note is the context in which the interview took place. You’ve probably heard all about the things Ellison said to him, but what you probably didn’t hear is why Ellison decided to say the things he did. Hannity opened the segment with a mash-up of President Obama giving the same speech in two different locations, while playing “O Fortuna” in the background. (“O Fortuna” is that scary, ominous-sounding, mood-setting music that’s very popular in movies and commercials.) Several times, he said the president was fear-mongering and even called him “President Panic” more than once. Watch it for yourself and see if you don’t agree that Ellison was right to be bothered by how he was introduced.

For at least the next three nights, Hannity invited various black conservatives on to make fun of Ellison. What was lost on Hannity and his guests was that what Ellison said about Hannity was true: Hannity is a liar. He spoke to former Congressman J.C. Watts the night after (sorry, I haven’t found a clip of the whole segment yet). The night after that, Hannity invited two people on his program to talk, primarily, and almost exclusively, about famed racist and anti-Semite Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. It was the same guilt-by-association argument often used to smear Obama during the 2008 campaign. First they set it up by bringing up a past association between Ellison and Farrakhan (since then denounced by Ellison), and then spent the rest of the segment talking about what a horrible person Louis Farrakhan is. (And he is a horrible person.)

But Hannity couldn’t let it go there. The next night he invited two more people to continue the character assassination of Congressman Ellison.

Sean Hannity is not only a bully, he’s a bullshitter. Media Matters found ten examples of outright lies Hannity told his audience, and NewsHound’s Ellen found more to add to the list. And maybe I missed something, but when I listened to the clips, I did not hear Hannity refute a single thing Ellison said. Instead, he employed the tactic of attacking the person, not what he said. Hannity lied when he said he wanted to talk about the sequester because in the times when Hannity did try to speak, he wanted to ask Ellison about things other people said. All-in-all, I believe the fact that Hannity had to spend the rest of the week attacking Ellison’s character shows how rattled and insecure he was by what the Congressman said. He could have simply ignored it and moved on, but he instead chose to do what bullies often do – bad-mouth his foe after he’s gone. And speaking of Hannity…

In the words of John Cleese:

Aping urbanity.
Oozing with vanity.
Plump as a manatee.
Faking humanity.
Journalistic calamity.
Intellectual inanity.
Fox Noise insanity.
You’re a profanity,
Hannity.

And, just for fun, here John Cleese joins Keith Olbermann to discuss, among other things, Bill O’Reilly and Sen John McCain’s Freudian Slip of addressing a campaign crowd as “my fellow prisoners.”

ADDENDUM: It occurs to me that there may be some confusion regarding Hannity’s “I’m a registered Conservative” comeback to Ellison. Like Hannity, I live in New York State (don’t worry, I’ve never run into him), and here in New York we have a Conservative Party and a Liberal Party. Many times, the Conservative Party will nominate the same person the Republicans do, and the Liberal Party will nominate the same person the Democrats do. We also have a Working Families Party that nominates liberals and progressives, and I usually vote for the Democrat on that line if they’ve nominated the same person. Otherwise I’ll usually vote for the Democrat. I’m trying to get people elected to Congress on other parties besides the two major ones. Anyway, to prove he voted, Hannity once tweeted a picture of his ballot. Then he found out doing so was against the law. There’s a story about it here.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Sean Hannity and bullying in general, Rep Keith Ellison and courage in general, or any other thing you wish. Just don’t hurt me.

Keith Olbermann: ‘Violence Has No Place In Democracy’

A “Special Comment” by Keith Olbermann during a special edition of “Countdown” (MSNBC) that aired last night following the tragic shooting that took place yesterday in Tuscon, AR.

From Huffington Post:

[…] Appearing on a special edition of “Countdown,” Olbermann told his audience that “we need to put the guns down. Just as importantly we need to put the gun metaphors away and permanently.”

Olbermann continued, “Left, right, middle – politicians and citizens – sane and insane. This morning in Arizona, this age in which this country would accept “targeting” of political opponents and putting bullseyes over their faces and of the dangerous blurring between political rallies and gun shows, ended.”

He concluded his special comment with this powerful statement, including an apology for his own actions: “Violence, or the threat of violence, has no place in our Democracy, and I apologize for and repudiate any act or any thing in my past that may have even inadvertently encouraged violence. Because for whatever else each of us may be, we all are Americans.”

Special Comment: If The Tea Party Wins, America Loses

Here’s last night’s “Special Comment” by Keith Olbermann on Countdown (MSNBC) where he addresses the coming election, drawing a picture of what our country could very well look like if the Tea Party extremist candidates win their races and take power.

He uses their own words.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Seriously.. “Good night, and good luck.”

Keith Olbermann and Jeremy Scahill ‘thank’ Bush for the ‘success’ of the Iraq war

Raw Story:

‘They’ say that it really isn’t healthy to keep things bottled up inside. On Wed. evening’s MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, the liberal host and his guest, The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill went the healthy route and let it rip.

Discussion centered around President Obama’s address on the Iraq war and the ensuing criticism from neoconswho complained Obama should’ve thanked and praised President George W. Bush for the ‘success’ of the surge in Iraq.

“These people have a Ph.D in lying and a master’s degree in manipulating intelligence,” Scahill says of the neocons, “And it is, it’s really sobering to see this kind of brash historical revisionism happening in real time. The idea that these people want to post some kind of false flag of victory on the corpses of all who have died in Iraq because of their decisions. These people destabilized Iraq, they destabilized the Middle East, with their neo-con vision of redrawing maps, and they didn’t even succeed in their own stated mission. This is a special kind of pathological sickness that these individuals are plagued with.”

Scahill then begins to bust the ‘surge’ myth, “Pardon me for introducing a little bit of fact onto cable news over these 24 hours, but the reality is there was no success of the surge. The fact is that Bush’s policy in Iraq caused massive destabilization, led to a civil war that killed upwards of a million Iraqis; there were ethnic cleansing campaigns. When the surge troops went in there, Baghdad was a walled-off city, the Sunnis had been pushed out and sided with the United States, Muqtada al Sadr responded to the announced timetable for withdrawal that the neocons so opposed by saying he considered it a truce with America and pulled his forces off the street… So, the entire surge myth permeates to this day, and its actually one big lie.”

(Continue reading..)

This was awesome—a MAJOR dose of reality, and well delivered. It’s refreshing to hear somebody say it like it actually happened.. Facts are pesky things…