Category Archives: politics

Alan Hovhaness, “Ave Maria”; governmental cruelty (including state sanctioned child abuse) beyond belief

 

 

 

 

 

I am reposting here a cantata, “Ave Maria” (1955), by the composer Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000).

This short piece combines beauty with pathos. I felt this morning that the music would console me. I wanted to listen to something, but knew I would find most music jarring.

 

 

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I know I am not alone in my feelings about the treatment of migrant families and migrant children. I almost can’t bear it.

Even though, of course, I am not a victim.

A couple of things from my own personal experience help to give me some understanding of how traumatic it must be for those children:

I recall once at a young age (but it could not have been too young), I spent a night at my paternal grandparents’ house. They lived in the next town. I had been left to stay over for the night. I missed my parents, got very upset, and began to cry. My grandmother couldn’t console me. She tried very hard; she was a very nice woman. And, yet, I couldn’t accept or deal with being separated from my parents.

My wife and I dropped our first-born son off at his aunt and uncle’s house on a Saturday evening when he was about six months old. It was the first time he had ever been left in someone else’s care. They lived about an hour away from us. It was not an overnight. It was just for a few hours while we attended some event. He had a frozen look on his face and looked not only emotionally distraught, but like he could not comprehend what was occurring and was so traumatized he was unable to express any emotion. He was mute and his facial muscles were constricted. He had already met his aunt and uncle, fairly often, in pleasant circumstances.

 

 

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The trauma associated with these instances is nothing compared to what the children taken away from their parents by Border Patrol agents are undergoing.

Read:

“ ‘No One Is Going to Separate Us Again’: Guatemalan Mother Reunites With Son,” The New York Times, June 23, 2018

 

 

This mother got her child back. But can you imagine the emotional harm he has experienced? If I remember vividly being emotionally distraught when I was left for one evening with my kindly grandmother (when I was around same age as the Guatemalan boy whose separation is the subject of this story), can you imagine the psychological harm done (as I have already said) and how he will never be able to overcome, forget, or bury it?

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

    June 23, 2018

 

 

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See also my post:

 

“Alan Hovhaness, choral works (Ave Maria, Christmas Ode, Easter Cantata)”

https://rogersgleanings.com/2016/01/24/alan-hovhaness-choral-works-ave-maria-christmas-ode-easter-cantata/

washing their hands

 

 

When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

 

— Matthew 27:24, King James Version

 

 

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REP. JEFF DENHAM (R-CALIF)

“We are fixing family separation within this bill and have made changes to keep children with at least one of their parents.”

 

HOGAN GIDLEY

“Sadly, Democrats openly oppose simple fixes to federal law that would stop the illegal migrant crisis and end the magnet for unlawful migration,” said White House spokesman Hogan Gidley.

 

JOHN F. KELLY

“A big name of the game is deterrence,” Mr. Kelly, [then the homeland security secretary] now the chief of staff, told NPR in May. “The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever — but the big point is they elected to come illegally into the United States, and this is a technique that no one hopes will be used extensively or for very long.”

 

MARK MEADOWS

“Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), one of Trump’s closest allies in Congress, questioned Sunday whether some of the adult migrants who show up at the border with children are really their parents, citing human-trafficking concerns.”

 

STEPHEN MILLER [senior policy adviser to President Trump]

“No nation can have the policy that whole classes of people are immune from immigration law or enforcement. It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry, period. The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law.”

 

KIRSTJEN NIELSEN

“My decision has been that anyone who breaks the law will be prosecuted,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in Senate testimony earlier this month. “If you’re a parent, or you’re a single person, or you happen to have a family, if you cross between the ports of entry, we will refer you for prosecution. You’ve broken U.S. law.”

 

MARCO RUBIO

“We have to understand a lot of these people that are crossing children are being trafficked here. They are being brought here by criminal groups that help guide them and often take advantage of them and brutalize them on the path toward the United States, and the ability to cross that border is a magnet that is drawing this behavior.”

 

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS

“Our administration has had the same position since we started on Day 1 that we were going to enforce the law,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said on Thursday. “We’re a country of law and order, and we’re enforcing the law and protecting our borders.”

 

JEFF SESSIONS

“Having children does not give you immunity from arrest and prosecution. I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government. Because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

 

JEFF SESSIONS

“Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent and fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.”

“If people don’t want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them. We’ve got to get this message out. You’re not given immunity.”

“If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally. It’s not our fault that somebody does that.”

 

DONALD J. TRUMP

“Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there [sic] parents once they cross the Border into the U.S.,” Trump tweeted Saturday. “Catch and Release, Lottery and Chain must also go with it and we MUST continue building the WALL! DEMOCRATS ARE PROTECTING MS-13 THUGS.”

 

DONALD J. TRUMP

“Democrats can fix their forced family breakup at the Border by working with Republicans on new legislation, for a change!”

 

KENNETH WOLFE

“HHS is legally required to provide care and shelter for all unaccompanied alien children referred by DHS, and works in close coordination with DHS on the security and safety of the children and community,” [HRS spokesman Kenneth] Wolfe said in a statement.

 

“The side effect of zero tolerance is that fewer people will come up illegally, and fewer minors would be put in danger,” said a third senior administration official. “What is more dangerous to a minor, the 4,000-mile journey to America or the short-term detention of their parents?”

 

“The president has told folks that in lieu of the laws being fixed, he wants to use the enforcement mechanisms that we have,” a White House official said. “The thinking in the building is to force people to the table.”

 

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   June 16, 2018

thoughts on the uprising in Gaza

 

 

re:

“Palestinians have no choice but to continue the struggle”

By Noura Erakat

Op-Ed

The Washington Post

May 16, 2018

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/05/16/palestinians-have-no-choice-but-to-continue-the-struggle/?utm_term=.1fa9b9694dc7

 

 

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The following are excerpts from Ms. Erakat’s Op-Ed:

Palestinians have been organizing demonstrations, boycotts, strikes and demonstrations, boycotts, strikes and outright revolts from hostile foreign rule since 1917, when colonial Britain designated Palestine for Jewish settlement. With the stroke of a pen, the great power declared that indigenous Palestinians, 90 percent of Palestine’s population, would not exist as a political community for the sake of establishing a Jewish national home.

Had Jews merely wanted to live in Palestine, this would not have been a problem. In fact, Jews, Muslims and Christians had coexisted for centuries throughout the Middle East. But Zionists sought sovereignty over a land where other people lived. Their ambitions required not only the dispossession and removal of Palestinians in 1948 but also their forced exile, juridical erasure and denial that they ever existed. So, during Israel’s establishment, some 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes to make way for a Jewish majority state. More than 400 Palestinian cities and towns were destroyed or taken over by Jewish Israelis. Forests were planted to cover the ruins and other evidence of the Palestinian presence on the land.

This “nakba,” or catastrophe as Palestinians refer to it, did not end in 1948. Israel has justified its existence on an unequivocal Jewish demographic majority in a place where Muslims and Christians combined had constituted an overwhelming majority. By its own definition, Israel has set up a mutually exclusive equation: Israel exists if Palestinians do not; Palestinians exist if Israel does not.

Rather than challenge this zero-sum equation of human existence, the United States has provided Israel with diplomatic cover and bottomless military aid. Israel continues to systematically dispossess Palestinians. It continues to steal Palestinian land for illegal settlements while destroying Palestinian homes and evicting families. Israel also continues to deny Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homeland just because they are not Jewish.

This is why Palestinians have been resisting for more than seven decades: They are fighting to remain on their lands with dignity. They have valiantly resisted their colonial erasure. They have succeeded in inscribing their peoplehood in international law and the global consciousness. Despite Israel’s best efforts, they have remained on the land and are not going anywhere. …

Palestinians have endured tremendous suffering and hardship, but there is no choice but to continue in struggle. Israel and the Trump administration are trying to make permanent the exclusivist regime that they have imposed upon Palestinians — one based on racial and religious supremacy: apartheid. But Palestinians, even in this devastating moment, are paving paths of resistance to new and possible futures where freedom is not a mutually exclusive privilege but a natural human condition that can be enjoyed and embodied by all.

 

 

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Comments by Roger W. Smith (submitted to The Washington Post):

 

“This is a brilliant op-ed piece that makes its points clearly and forcefully. It presents the issues with stark clarity and is educational for someone like myself, an American who is not Jewish and has not experienced the issues and controversies at close hand. The Israeli polity really is an apartheid system, with the Palestinians second class citizens. The sad thing to me is that I believe a true democracy, notwithstanding that Jews would not be the majority, demographically, would mean Israel would become a better place to live in (not only a more just society) for all.”

 

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   May 16, 2018

 

 

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See also my post:

 

“a better, stronger country?”

https://rogersgleanings.com/2018/01/07/a-better-stronger-country/

“vanity of vanities; all is vanity”

 

 

The news depresses me.

It is too much, far too much, about trivialities presented as matters of grave concern to the nation and body politic.

It is not informative and instructive and is in fact rebarbative. It induces feelings of unpleasantness.

Well, one might say, what do you expect? We are talking about unpleasant realities. A dalliance with a porn star?

I might think it important to know about unpleasant realities such as the My Lai Massacre, waterboarding of Guantanamo Bay detainees, gas attacks on civilians (including children), or the latest shooting by a police officer of a black person. These are the kind of facts and atrocities that should be brought to light in all their horror.

I sometimes, in fact often, “look” with curiosity, perhaps fascination, perhaps with Schadenfreude and/or with a frisson of something like pleasure or titillation — as one might at an accident with people wounded or killed, perhaps lying in the street — at the latest salacious news item. I read the latest revelations, am curious, yet quickly tire of them.

The Trump tormentors are worse than Trump itself.

The fascination with him, the eagerness for his downfall, are the product of misdirected energy, of mass morbidity, of sick minds engaging in an Elmer Gantry style revival meeting where everyone is whipped up to a state of anti-Trump frenzy and moral fervor, with them seeing themselves as the righteous ones.

Hounds yapping at his heels. How his adversaries take pleasure in the hunt, as do others vicariously. It could be you or I who is the hunted one, in a different context.

Trump is not worth the attention. He’s the president. He is entitled to a modicum of respect.

I hope he is not reelected.

No one deserves to be spied upon and to have their private life exposed. No one’s home should be entered by snoops unexpectedly when they are still in bed.

A sinner, a lawbreaker should be able to consult with his or her lawyer (or a priest or anyone else) in confidence.

No one’s computer, cell phone, or private papers should be confiscated.

This includes Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen and his former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Of course, they will try to find a statute or law that says they can.

Laws should be enacted and enforced to protect people from harm to their persons. Not to be used as a pretext for entrapment, guilt by association, selective prosecution, or witch hunts.

Trump should be allowed to govern until his term ends.

People should direct their attention elsewhere: to constructive and creative enterprises, to commerce, and to social betterment.

The public has fallen into a morass of warped public moralizing and hypocrisy, which is much worse than Trump’s depravity; and, were there a Truth Commission that could strip all men of their “garments of probity” and show them as they actually are, with their sins made public, the feeding frenzy would never end and hardly anyone would be able to don the mantle of respectability, hardly anyone could remain in public office because of hitherto unknown transgressions against private morality or public decency.

Let’s (but I know no one is listening) have a civilized discussion/debate about the ISSUES.

Donald Trump is a womanizer. I don’t care. So are or were many other prominent, successful men. So are or were men of my acquaintance, many of whom I have admired for other reasons.

Is it good to be a womanizer? On the personal level, it depends on all sorts of factors and may be of great concern, justly so, to persons affected. Donald Trump’s behavior, any man’s, is of legitimate concern to his wife. And those affected by it, including women to whom he behaved improperly. It’s not my concern. If my next door neighbor committed adultery, I might disapprove, but I would leave it to his wife to decide how she wants to deal with it.

Should I myself be caught doing anything I know most people wouldn’t approve of, I would not want it to come to light.

The economy seems to have improved under Trump. I’m not an economist. I actually agree with a few policy initiatives of his administration, but I disagree vehemently for the most part with his views and actions and don’t like his administration. I wish people would (as many are) devote their energies to trying to defeat these policies and elect a new president in 2020.

“Saints” and paragons such as FDR, Eisenhower, JFK, and Martin Luther King, Jr. had affairs. J. Edgar Hoover is considered to have acted deplorably by spying on King with the aim of discrediting him. Thank God we didn’t have to spend day after day or night after night reading about or watching news programs about King’s dalliances and all the sordid details.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

    April 2018

 

 

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Addendum:

 

A reader of this blog and I had an email exchange about this post on April 16. The following are excerpts:

 

Donald Trump started a lot of this media buzz about himself by himself –initiated by him, i.e. going on the Howard Stern Show many times and it is said, feeding dirt about himself to his friends in the tabloid business. Now, decades of these playboy habits and coverage, it is hard to quell — old habits, old image, and all that.

 

my response:

Yes, Trump — before he was running for president — loved to get attention as a naughty boy and playboy. The image won’t leave him. But, I still don’t like the way things are playing out now. And how about Clinton? A lot of liberals were willing to put up with him and he was a womanizer. Not just someone playing around and having affairs, but having oral sex in the oval office with a White House intern much young than him.

 

 

Secondly, both the porn star and Playboy bunny have generated the buzz by going to the tabloids in 2016 — rather than the mainstream media digging up embarrassing dirt on Trump on their own — out of the blue. Think Jennifer Flowers suing Clinton.

 

my response:

It’s true that they started a lot of this, not the Times or the Washington Post. That’s a good point.

 

Third, James Comey went on record yesterday, in an interview, stating that Trump is not insane or going into dementia. Comey said Trump follows conversations and understands everything and is above average intelligence. Comey continued that Trump “is not fit to be president’ — on moral grounds (and the women factor is just one small reason).

 

my response:

We can question Trump’s personal fitness on moral grounds and as a person. But, the voters elected him. Some people used to say Nixon was sort of a madman with a bad personality. You don’t impeach a president or sue him in court for being what some think is a lowlife, jerk, or amoral guy. A president could be removed for disability — can’t perform the functions of his office. Trump is not unfit, even if you don’t like him or think he’s a bad person.

 

 

Fourth, like you, I have a sacred regard for the office of president. But, you would be the first person to protest if your government was not doing the moral thing, i.e., ongoing war for years in the Middle East, the dismantling of the EPA and Consumer Affairs.

 

my response:

I thought George W. Bush was totally wrong to go to war in Iraq. I don’t like what Trump is doing on the environment or other issues that, say, Obama, was the opposite on. Too bad for me. He’s the president. The solution: try to see that he’s not reelected.

prevarication; institutionalized cruelty

 

 

Two news stories caught my eye this morning.

 

“This way madness lies”

by Dana Milbank

Washington Post

January 16, 2018

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/this-way-madness-lies/2018/01/16/0b627fe2-fb0a-11e7-a46b-a3614530bd87_story.html?utm_term=.3b24634fb0e1

 

and

 

“Michigan Father Deported After Living in U.S. for 30 Years”

By Christina Caron

New York Times

January 16, 2018

 

 

 

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Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank is a good and perceptive writer. He states:

I knew that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, when she appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, would deny that Trump said what the whole world knows he said: that he wants immigrants from Norway rather than from “shithole” countries in Africa.

Nielsen … was now under oath, and she wiggled every which way to excuse Trump without perjuring herself: “I did not hear that word used. … I don’t dispute that the president was using tough language.”

[Senator Patrick] Leahy moved on to Trump’s wish for more Norwegian immigrants. “Norway is a predominantly white country, isn’t it?” he asked, rhetorically.

“I actually do not know that, sir,” Nielsen replied. “But I imagine that is the case.”

Kirstjen Nielsen doesn’t know Norwegians are white?

Milbank goes on to say:

Now the federal government is hurtling toward a shutdown, entirely because of the president’s whim. Democrats and Republicans presented him last week with exactly the bipartisan deal he said he would sign — protecting the immigrant “dreamers” while also providing funding for his border security “wall” [italics added] — but Trump unexpectedly exploded with his racist attack and vulgar word.

That’s what brought to mind the second article, in The New York Times, and the whole topic of Trump’s wall.

 

 

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Here’s what I would like to know.

Why is a “bipartisan deal” under consideration to provide funding for Trump’s wall? Have Democrats lost their spines or minds?

We don’t need it! As I explained in a previous post:

 

“Walt Whitman, immigration policy, and Donald Trump’s wall; or, the Berlin Wall redux”

https://rogersgleanings.com/2017/01/25/roger-w-smith-walt-whitman-immigration-policy-and-donald-trumps-wall/

 

It’s not in any sense just a matter of the wall being unnecessary or too expensive, or an eyesore. Or whatever. It’s bad policy and it smacks of Iron Curtain style statism verging on totalitarianism.

The Times article concerns Jorge Garcia, an immigrant from Mexico who has been living in the United States for a period of slightly less than thirty years. The basic facts: he is married to an American citizen; he and his wife have two children; he has no known criminal record and was employed (until a day or two ago) as a landscaper; he has cooperated over the years with immigration authorities. You can read the rest of the sad story and about the bureaucratic quagmire he got caught in over technicalities.

On Monday, immigration agents put Garcia on a flight to Mexico, with his wife and 15-year-old daughter (both in tears) and his 12-year-old son standing by and looking on. “We’re devastated. We’re sad, we’re depressed,” his wife, Cindy Garcia, said.

 

 

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Here’s what I think, and I know I’m right.

Ours is a country of immigrants. We are all descended from immigrants. God knows how they got here and what they underwent (both emigrating and in making a life in The New Land).

To pursue and harry immigrants (regardless of their immigration status in the eyes of the law, which is at best imperfect) who are law abiding and hardworking and have done no harm – in fact, the opposite — is cruel and, in fact, unjust. It belies and betrays our foundational and civic principles. If the purpose is to prevent terrorists and malefactors from entering our country, what is the point behind expelling immigrants such as Mr. Garcia and “dreamers”?

You know what actions such as this particular one remind me of? When slaves, who were considered property, were sold away and separated from their families — spouse, parents, or children – by being sold to a different master.

We have so much to gain from immigrants, as I see every day in New York. If they were allowed to come, economic and other factors, such as possible overcrowding, allocation of social services, etc. would take care of themselves, naturally. Things reach their own level and will adjust themselves without government intervention. They always have.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   January 17, 2018

 

 

 

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addendum:

 

A quote from William Blake comes to mind: “He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars. General Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, and flatterer. … .”

— William Blake, “Jerusalem”

 

Looking at this from another angle — or from several — what Blake is saying is, don’t try to ameliorate the human condition by instituting policies designed to achieve this or to rectify some perceived flaw, say, in the law or policy, but pay attention to the effect of actions taken upon individuals. How does an initiative towards improving the human condition (or preventing adverse consequences, so deemed) affect them?

Or, better yet, don’t even think about generalities; think about the effect upon actual living, breathing people. If you’re harming them, it’s a certainty that you are doing no general or larger good.

 

 

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addendum:

 

My friend from high school days Jan Brady posted the following on Facebook on January 18:

QUOTE: “All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States,” [Khaalid] Walls [a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] said in a statement.”

Where is the rationale?

I’ve lost sight of the “Why”. What greater good is gained by this action?

a better, stronger country?

 

 

re

“As a 2-State Solution Loses Steam, a 1-State Plan Gains Traction”

 

By David M. Halbfinger

The New York Times

January 5, 2018

 

 

 

 

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The article states:

The Israeli right, emboldened by President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, is not the only faction arguing for a single state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The Palestine Liberation Organization has also begun to ask whether that might not be such a bad idea, though it has a radically different view of what that state would look like.

As momentum ebbs for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, both sides are taking another look at the one-state idea. But that solution has long been problematic for both sides.

For the Israelis, absorbing three million West Bank Palestinians means either giving up on democracy or accepting the end of the Jewish state. The Palestinians, unwilling to live under apartheid-like conditions or military occupation, have also seen two states as their best hope. …

Palestinian supporters envision one state with equal rights for Palestinians and Jews. Palestinians would have proportionate political power and, given demographic trends, would before long be a majority, spelling the end of the Zionist project. …

Under that idea, the Palestinian movement would shift to a struggle for equal civil rights, including the freedoms of movement, assembly and speech, and the right to vote in national elections.

 

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As noted in a Wikipedia entry, “Israel defines itself as a Jewish and democratic [italics added] state. Israel is a representative democracy with a parliamentary system, proportional representation and universal suffrage.”

 

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I am not well informed about Arab-Israeli issues. But, perhaps one might say (although I would disagree) that the so called “Palestinian territories” and “occupied Palestinian territories” — i.e., the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip — since they are occupied or otherwise under the control of Israel, should perhaps be “talked about separately” in this context, meaning, yes, Israel is a democracy, etc., but political issues and solutions with respect to the occupied territories are not the same as those applying to the Jewish state. But, to explain what I mean by “this context,” it seems to me to be worth noting that Palestinians are struggling for (in the words of the Times article) “equal civil rights, including the freedoms of movement, assembly and speech, and the right to vote in national elections.”

Isn’t that what the Civil Rights movement in the US was about? Yes, blacks already had such rights under the US Constitution, but they were struggling to be allowed to exercise and be granted them de facto.

I have — politically naive as I am — been harboring a thought. As follows: That if Israel absorbed the population of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and became a true democracy, notwithstanding the fact that Arabs would predominate population-wise, something miraculous would happen. (I have a dream, one might say.) A better, stronger country would eventually emerge. I feel intuitively that diversity is always better. It is what has made the US such a great country, which, sadly, President Trump does not realize.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   January 7, 2018

Sic semper tyrannis

 

 

Have you noticed? On cable news stations now, it’s all Trump, all the time.

Trump and his administration should be covered closely and his actions, statements, and claims scrutinized.

But, in my humble opinion, it’s way too much. It’s as if there were nothing else to talk about. It almost seems addictive or unhealthy, like compulsive snacking.

Isn’t there anything else important?

 

 

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I started thinking about the Mueller probe. It is entering a new phase, with the special counsel announcing three indictments at the end of last month — including the indictment of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Investigators are interviewing people close to the president’s inner circle.

And running through my mind thoughts about how this might be viewed in comparison with past investigations and scandals.

For instance, Watergate. I devoured each morsel of news that was divulged, piece by piece, as members of the Nixon administration and Nixon himself got ensnared in the scandal. As Nixon’s lies were shown to be lies.

As Nixon’s press secretary, Ron Ziegler, dismissed the first report of the break-in at the Watergate Hotel as a “third rate burglary attempt” and then, as the investigation into Watergate deepened, admitted that his previous statements had become “inoperative.” (Shades of false claims made by White House press secretary Sean Spicer and what Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway said, in defending Spicer, about “alternative facts.”)

I hated Nixon, thought he was a crook. The consummate practitioner of political dirty tricks: he and his administration. I not only felt that Nixon deserved to be impeached, I couldn’t wait to see it happen. If it could be brought about. Because it was, until the very end, by no means certain. To bring down a president who had been reelected in 1972 by the widest margin in popular votes of any US presidential election.

But, I see now in hindsight that the reason Nixon was forced to resign (facing impeachment) was that enough people — especially the establishment — didn’t LIKE him. The establishment turned against him and, ultimately, the diehards in his own party did.

The Watergate affair began with the arrest of five men for breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in June 1972. The actual damage done by the break-in was negligible. But, the deepening scandal revealed a pattern of abuses of power by the Nixon administration and a subsequent cover up.

In the case of the Mueller probe, the proximate cause that has led to an inquiry was Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and the Trump campaign’s involvement in it. Again, the damage done does not seem serious enough to bring down an entire administration.

 

 

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So, what causes leaders to lose power?

Most will say, perhaps rightly: ABUSES of power.

But, I would say: With all the committee hearings and all the twists and turns. With the probes designed to trap and ensnare officials in their own lies, like someone all twisted up in a coat they’re trying to take off. That leaders lose power when they fall out of favor. When not enough people support them any longer. When they are considered, perhaps, as pariahs: an embarrassment or offensive to good taste. When the establishment doesn’t support them. It has been this way since ancient times.

If they lose support, it is only a matter of time before they’re gone. They and their administration will collapse like Humpty Dumpty or a house of cards. All sorts of investigative probes and hearings and rationales will be held and advanced to justify to the public’s satisfaction, and to provide a supposedly legal foundation for, the removal of the officeholder. But what really counts is whether the leader is still liked. By the RIGHT PEOPLE.

 

 

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What is really going on with the Mueller probe is the following: A lot of people, including practically the entire liberal elite, want to see Trump gone. By any means. For and using any reason. The probe and the committee hearings are a sort of play acting, a choreographed dress rehearsal for what they hope will be the president’s downfall.

The Watergate hearings: Senator Sam Ervin, Samuel Dash. Great political theater.

President Nixon: an anathema to the liberal establishment.

Donald Trump: a bull in a China shop, darling of the “deplorables.”

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   November 2017