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Impeaching Trump

Mr. Trumps' presidency is already an embarrassment and a disaster.  He has clearly violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which prevents conflicts of interest.  No doubt there are other allegations against him, but there is very strong evidence against him on this account, and a call is rising all over the country for impeachment. 

There should be no fear of this action because of Mr. Pence.  Trump is not holding him back now.  First thing's first.  We should heed this call in Brattleboro.  

The hurry now is only because of the new Brattleboro town charter.  Because of the revisions to town charter, the people are forbidden to petition for a vote on resolutions except for one day a year.  There can't be another vote by petition until next March.  However, an impeachment resolution can be considered at the representative town meeting (RTM) on Saturday.  One version is drafted by attorney Ron Fein, the legal director of Free Speech for People, and he has revised it for our use in Brattleboro.  If some of my good neighbors want to do this together, I am ready to help as a member of the RTM.

Kurt Daims

16 Washington Street
257 4995


Model Local Impeachment Resolution.revised 3-22-2017.doc31 KB

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No modern president has such a complicated array of holdings

What I’m unsure about is whether or not Trump has violated the Constitution as stated in Article II, Section IV of the Constitution states, “The president, vice-president, and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

“The House of Representatives has the sole power of impeaching, while the United States Senate has the sole power to try all impeachments.”

(washingtonpost.com) In January, then President-elect Trump and his lawyers announced his ethics plan, which outlined include turning over to the United States Treasury any profits received at his hotels from foreign government clients. An ethics officer and, separately, a chief compliance counsel will be appointed at the Trump Organization to watch its operations and ensure that it is not receiving special terms, payment or favors as a result of its ties to Mr. Trump, even as the organization is managed by a trust controlled by his two oldest sons and a longtime legal associate.

No modern president has entered the White House with such a complicated array of holdings.


Trump can be deposed, even without impeachment

Don’t look now: It’s President Pence! Donald Trump can be deposed, even without impeachment
Given Trump's erratic behavior in his first few days, Washington is starting to murmur about the 25th Amendment

Donald Trump is in over his head. This comes as no surprise to the millions of people who could see that he was unprepared and unfit for the job of president of the United States and voted against him. He’s basically a celebrity heir to a fortune who was so entitled that he believed his privileged existence proved he was competent to run the most powerful nation on Earth. That’s the attitude of an aristocrat who ascended to the throne without having any idea what it actually takes to rule. History’s full of such men. It doesn’t often work out well.
Trump managed to convince enough voters in just the right places that his “business success,” born mostly of hype and relentless public relations over many years, qualified him for the Oval Office. Since the Protestant work ethic and the philosophy of virtuous capitalism still permeate American culture, it’s not uncommon for people to equate financial success with superior intelligence and character. Many individuals among the public undoubtedly assumed that Trump’s persona at the rallies was somewhat of a salesman’s act, that he was playing the role of demagogue to rile up the crowd. They assumed that behind closed doors he was a smart and able businessman, making tough decisions on the fly, handling many issues at once.
Those voters did not see what millions of others felt instinctively and that explains the shocked reaction and immediate resistance to his election: Trump’s incessant bragging, his lack of empathy or remorse, his pathological lying and even his bizarre appearance have been signs of an unstable personality. It was obvious to many of us that something was not right.
The presidential transition was a dumpster fire with endless resignations, rumors and public humiliations. Trump’s refusal to deal responsibly with the intelligence community’s investigations of Russian interference in the campaign was worrisome. Picking a fight with the intelligence community over this was downright alarming. Still, one couldn’t help but think that the weight of the job might inspire Trump’s staff and the people close to him to instill some discipline into the system and keep the new president focused once he took the wheel. That hasn’t happened. The first days of the new administration have been a disaster.
From last Saturday through Tuesday night, it’s been one surreal event after another, starting with Trump’s visit to the CIA headquarters where he stood in front of the Memorial Wall — marked with 117 stars honoring agents who have died in the line of duty — and acted like he was at a rally in a high school gym in Indiana.
He didn’t seem to have a clue that he was being inappropriate. He compounded the bad impression by sending out his press secretary Sean Spicer to insist that the crowd for his inauguration was bigger than any in history. When Kellyanne Conway defended Spicer by saying he had simply offered “alternative facts,” members of the media were stunned. It’s not that they assume officials always tell the truth. But they were clearly shocked that the White House would chastise them for reporting something that was obviously and provably correct.
When the president was reported to have told congressional leaders on Monday that he still believed 3 million to 5 million illegal votes had been cast in the election, causing him to lose the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, it became clear that Trump’s erratic behavior was not stopping. Leaks have been pouring out from inside the nascent administration, giving a picture of an insecure, irrational man who is obsessed with his image and little else.
According to an article in The Washington Post, Trump’s inner circle is overwhelmed by power struggles and internecine battles while the president fulminates over every criticism. The New York Times has reported that his staff is concerned about his “simmering resentment” at what he thinks is unfair press coverage. Politico has reported that aides are trying to minimize his incessant TV viewing, and according to a report by Axios, Trump is running his administration almost entirely in reaction to what he sees in the media. He sounds as if he is unable to handle the stress and is using avoidance mechanisms.
So what happens if President Trump cannot pull himself together and continues to psychologically unravel? There is a remedy other than impeachment. Even conservatives like David Frum have been talking about it for a while:
The 25th Amendment was added to the Constitution after the assassination of John F. Kennedy and provides for the replacement of the vice president if the office becomes vacant. (So it led indirectly to the presidency of Gerald Ford, the only American president who was never elected to any executive office.) But Section 4 is about something else entirely:
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.
A temporary transfer of power has happened a handful of times since the Kennedy assassination, once when Ronald Reagan had cancer surgery and twice when George W. Bush underwent colonoscopies. Most people have thought of the 25th Amendment as a way to deal with a president who has had a heart attack or a stroke and has become incapacitated, as Woodrow Wilson did, with his wife effectively assuming the duties of the presidency for the remainder of his term.
But the language of the amendment clearly encompasses other scenarios besides physical incapacitation. This topic was a subject of discussion toward the end of the Reagan administration, when it became obvious that the president was suffering a loss of cognitive ability. It wasn’t invoked then but as we now know, Reagan was indeed suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Had it become more acute or obvious while he was in office, Congress might well have had to take action as laid out in the amendment.
It’s obvious that Trump has a narcissistic personality, which in itself is not disqualifying. He’s not the first president to have one; nor will he be the last. But his issues seem to run deeper than that. Some observers have suggested that he shows the characteristics of classic psychopathy. And there are plenty of people who see his behavior as blatantly self-destructive.
Of course it’s an extreme long shot that members of Trump’s Cabinet or the Republican leadership in Congress would ever take such a drastic step. (Although it’s not at all hard to imagine that in their hearts many of them would prefer President Mike Pence.) This would only happen if Trump really started to behave in a unhinged fashion. After all the bizarre behavior he has exhibited over the past 18 months, one cannot help but wonder: What could possibly count as going too far? It’s almost too terrifying to imagine.


"Of course it’s an extreme long shot"

Yes, indeed it is.

What we have here are millions of people unable to accept reality. Trump, my dear people, is the President. Even if he proved to be unfit for office or convicted of high crimes, it will be too late.

Who wants to live with that? So we create another monster called hope (sometimes known as prayer), which is just another way to believe that all will be for the best.



Yes, Trump is president. And as long as he is able, he will be actively promoting policies that are antithetical, even dangerous to average Americans, and disastrous to the poor.
So, we're supposed to roll over and accept them?
Not if we have a choice.
Is it hope to seek ways to counter his evil? I don't think so.
Resistance is the only answer.


not sure it is the best form of resistance

"he will be actively promoting policies that are antithetical, even dangerous to average Americans, and disastrous to the poor."

Uh, they all do that. We roll over for Democrats and get upset when Republicans do it.

Reagan/Bush cut programs for poor. Clinton threw people off social services. Bush cut more social programs. Obama spied on everyone and drone-killed children. All of them spent a fortune on military. All enabled the rich to get richer.

So, yes. Pass a resolution saying Trump is awful if that's the best we can do. Brattleboro did it for Bush (and nothing happened.. he's fine and painting pictures).

Strategically, this doesn't seem like a high priority item if one is worried about Trump administration policies. It's not really resisting in any real sense. It's symbolic, will get us in the news again for another 15 minutes, and might make people feel good that they did something. But what is that "something?" After it passes, then what? How does this stop a dangerous policy?

Instead, why not increase local funding for social programs, reduce guns in use by police, outlaw automobiles, or whatever else is something positive. Could we be anti-policy rather than anti-person with the effort?

In any case, I applaud citizen action and am curious to see how it all shakes out.


New Paradigm

We need a new paradigm. One which stops rewarding greed, outlaws exploitation and promotes cooperation vs competition.
(Darwin had it all wrong. His exact words:"Let the strongest live and the weak die".)


The human animal

I’m afraid Darwin had it all quite correct. The strong live and rule the day. The weak die and are forgotten.

You see, there is no new paradigm. From here to the farthest reaches of our quest for outer space, what you see is what you get. In your own primitive vernacular, god help the new and different lifeforms humans come into contact with.

If there is a new paradigm, it doesn’t exist on this planet. Dog eat dog rules. And, no other animal species on this planet does it better than the human animal. That's why there is nothing special about this binocular, bipedal, brainy creature.



"Darwinism" is about survival of the fittest, which is not always the meanest. Love and cooperation for humankind are, in fact, survival traits.


The rate of reproductive output

The phrase survival of the fittest was first used by Herbert Spencer, who took it from Darwin’s “natural selection.” “Fitness” of survival in biology are those forms that “leave the most copies of itself in successive generations.” (At Russell’s suggestion Darwin did used the phrase in the 5th edition of the Origin of Species.)

Modern evolutionary biologists indicate that “fitness is the rate of reproductive output among a class of genetic variants.”

“Love and cooperation” are not biological traits and not necessarily related to successful surviving generations. Considering the intense territorially of hundreds of nation-states and protected borders, there is no evidence to suggest that love and cooperation are survival traits, if anything, it's just the opposite.


Inverse, distorted, cynical, and factually inaccurate

Hatred, killing, and war are not survival traits: They destroy.

It is only love and cooperation that give us any hope to survive.



It is a real stretch of a somewhat limited imagination to claim that “only” love and cooperation give us any hope to survive. If survival really were dependent on two things, there wouldn’t be much survival going on.

Survival is complex and is far more dependent than just on vague concepts like love and cooperation. Love is merely a human abstract. And, competition or conquering armies could easily be construed as survival traits, which are the inverse of cooperation.

There are too many reasons behind survival to rely on such a simple explanation for “hope to survive.”

Trump has 63 million reasons to survive, the number of people who voted for him.



I guess I did forget to mention food, shelter, air, and a few other items which survival depends on. Point being that it a mistaken notion that "survival of the fittest" favors aggression over cooperation.



Point being that it is your mistaken notion that I see things in such simplistic ways as you yourself demonstrate here.

Also, I did not say “survival of the fittest favors aggression over cooperation.” That must be your notion of it. Aggression does not equate with either the notions of strongest or fittest.

Gee, how do you feel about impeaching Trump?


Impeaching Trump

I agree with the sentiment. Devil will be in the details. Lots of wild cards. Hard to predict the consequences of any particular action.

The intent of any strategy or tactic runs a big risk of backfiring. Clearly, Trump will not be impeached unless and until he does something so far beyond his routine outrageousness, that Congress has no choice but to impeach; OR unless and until the establishment Republicans decide that it is time to orchestrate a dramatic impeachment scenario. If they do that, then we can be sure that their alternative to Trump will not be intended to bring you or me.a moment of happiness .

As far as strategy for progressives: I think that too much calculated behavior is likely to backfire. Can the establishment Democrats break free from their typical formulaic approach and be real? This might be the time for, "To Hell with everything but the music."


"Dog eat dog rules," is simplistic interpretation

“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”
― Charles Darwin


Debunked by the Darwin Project in the United Kingdom

"In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed."

Supposedly from Descent of Man. So far no one has found where it really comes from – but it definitely isn't Darwin.



Good fact checking

... with a surprising result.

When I have time, I will look into it. I think we need to be fair to the old boy, with an accurate account of what his views actually were, regardless what turns out to be the case.


Evolution through common descent and natural selection

Whatever floats your boat, Ms. Twain.

By the way, the "old boy" was about 22 when he first set foot on the HMS Beagle.


Law of the Jungle

The LOJ works well in the Jungle. In many ways, we still live in the Jungle. The elite call the rest of us “useless eaters”. If they could get rid of us, they would. (Wars and famines help).
In the years following WWII, wealth and the power that it generates, has been accruing exponentially into the hands of fewer and fewer individuals and families – world-wide.
It’s only a matter of time before they actually CAN get rid of us.
Welcome to the New World Order that Papa Bush spoke so eloquently about.

Take a look at the “Georgia Guidestones” - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Guidestones
(The designer and meaning of the Guidestones are unknown, leading to speculation and conspiracy theory.)

Guideline #1 states: “Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.”
Do the math! Current World Population is 7,493,681,733 as of 2PM today
(http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/ )



The idea that we, any person or thing, is expendable, literally, “of little significance when compared to an overall purpose and therefore able to be abandoned,” is quite stark. It’s no wonder people are almost desperate to “seek and discover” some kind of meaning or purpose in their life. There is no reason to suggest there is any. You don’t have to be wealthy, corrupt and/or powerful to know that.


Hi, Chris. This effort was

Hi, Chris.

This effort was not symbolic, unless you meant improbable. If impeachment is symbolic, then all laws are symbolic, Chris, since impeachment is the constraint on executive violation of our laws. So it's essential.

Of course you are right about Obama. He was just as bad as Bush. But for my part I wasn't favoring Democrats. They just fooled everyone with that precious teflon oreo. Your view of such resolutions is a bit short-sighted. The target is different from the ideal. You want Bush in jail. So do I, but the practical target was to promulgate the concept of universal jurisdiction, the way Occupy promulgated "The 1%" shorthand for class struggle. It took what -- 40 years for the universal jurisdiction to catch up with Pinochet. I'm still working on Bush.

Your complaint should not be against the resolution, but against the selectboard, which blocked the resolution and refused to start the indictment.

I have advocated as you do about acting against policy rather than against a person (Trump). I made exception for the impeachment resolution because it took so little time. It's really like voting, but not voting by individuals. It's the town voting. My part took an hour or two: the reps took ten minutes and approved a resolution by George Harvey with one opposing vote, and it prepares for the process to happen in central government. So, strategically there can only be a tiny loss. (And don't you feel -- with some dread -- that anything can happen?)


Hope shaming?

Tomaidh was actually embarrassed into denying hope? Wow! Wow! Wow, Tomaidh!



What's that supposed to mean???


Paradigm Shift

The paradigm shifts when conditions are ready. It will not be impeded by ignorant scoffing. Active Hope will help usher it in. This is as true today, braced on the cusp of change, as it was at the dawn of civilization.

Without paradigm shift, we would still be hiding and cowering in terror, as was the lot of our ancestors. But when the time was right, Barney and Fred learned to plan and cooperate, so that bands of these puny creatures were able to outsmart horrendous monsters, and turn the predator into prey. After they had hunted tyrannosaurus and his cousins into extinction so that meat became scarce, necessity turned their efforts to farming, and the agricultural revolution — beginning in the fertile crescent — spread around the world. This was the dawning of our modern era.

Republicans and a certain local pothead still cling to the notion of dog eat dog. But decent people, and even dogs — decent dogs, anyway — know that the old paradigm is dying, and that love and cooperation is the new paradigm for a good and sustainable life.



Government officials overseeing the Trump International Hotel’s lease with the federal government have determined the deal is in “full compliance” despite a clause in the agreement barring any “elected official of the government of the United States” from deriving “any benefit.”


I don't really think there is any evidence that Trump is violating constitutional law. While an impeachment petition may be emotionally popular, it is, at best, premature.



The commenter has no idea how far in advance such a thing must start. But for sure, Brattleboro's contribution must start now or wait for a year, because of the revisions in our town charter.
Also his comments about legality are pretentious. He has no legal expertise, whereas the writer of the resolution is an attorney and legal director of a civil rights organization.
The original posting is an offer of assistance by the attorney and me just in case people are interested.


It’s symbolic, not legal

BTW - What civil rights organization are you the legal director of?

You are correct that the “commenter” is not an attorney. Your assumption, however, that my comments about “legality” are “pretentious” is talking through your own hat because I’ve made no claim to be an attorney. No one familiar with my work on this site would mistake me for an attorney.

Americans do not need to be attorneys to discuss impeachment, including your attached “Resolution in Support of Congressional Investigation regarding Impeachment.”

I can assure our readers that the current Republican trifecta running this country has little use for town ordinances, and I doubt even the VT legislature would be moved.

As cgrotke noted in his comment above, “Strategically, this doesn't seem like a high priority item if one is worried about Trump administration policies. It's not really resisting in any real sense. It's symbolic, will get us in the news again for another 15 minutes, and might make people feel good that they did something. But what is that "something?" After it passes, then what? How does this stop a dangerous policy?”

What ‘s really needed are enough resolutions of impeachment against Trump introduced in Congress. We need a strong, independent special prosecutor, as per the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, to investigate Trump’s broader corrupt and illegal activities.


The heady, hopeful roaring crowds of the Arab Spring

All this business about the power of the people to oust, impeach and topple sitting presidents is futile. Even if it were so, the special treatment they receive afterwards nullifies what little the people gained to bring about change. It is systemic throughout history that "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"—"the more it changes, the more it's the same thing", usually translated as "the more things change, the more they stay the same," (Les Guêpes, January 1849)
Good luck, Vox Populi. Now that is cynical.

From CAIRO —

CAIRO — Six years after roaring crowds ousted him at the peak of the Arab Spring, former President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt was freed on Friday from the Cairo hospital where he had been detained, capping a long and largely fruitless effort to hold him accountable for human rights abuses and endemic corruption during his three decades of rule.
Mr. Mubarak, 88, was taken from the Maadi Military Hospital in southern Cairo, where he had been living under guard in a room with a view of the Nile, to his mansion in the upmarket suburb of Heliopolis.
“He went home at 8:30 this morning,” his longtime lawyer, Farid el-Deeb, who has stewarded Mr. Mubarak through a tangled cluster of prosecutions since 2011, said by telephone. “I don’t have further details, but he is home and all is well now.”
The release begins a third act for a once unassailable Arab ruler and American ally who came to power in 1981 after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat during a military parade. Thirty years later, Mr. Mubarak was ousted by the multitudes that thronged Tahrir Square for 18 days in the heady, hopeful early months of the Arab Spring.


Be careful what you ask for!

I was only half-listening to VPR, so I didn’t get the name of the speaker. However, he was warning us about removing Trump. What he said was that Pence was the Democrats’ worst enemy.
He didn't say why.


Don't worry about Pence

This is valid only if you assume that Trump is holding Pence back. He isn't. We already have the wort of them both.



The resolution by George Harvey was approved yesterday at representative town meeting. It alleges Trump injures the people through treasonous collusion with Russia and neglect of the environment, and requests official investigation. The vote was almost unanimous (one dissenting vote).



And thank you for giving our community a way to make its voice heard.


New paradigm - looking for loose change on the floor

What we have here is fresh baked American pie. You gotta wait until it cools down before you can eat your slice. But like the pie with its crust you really can’t see what’s inside.

On the surface, a very popular unpopular president was elected. Most American’s didn’t have clue that Hilary would lose, until it was too late.

Well, there’s all manner of allegations and whispers that Trump is impeachable for this reason or that. But, if they don’t impress the House of Representations during this four year term to impeach Trump, they got bupkis. So let’s get out all those Voice of the People “Whereas” resolutions and kick a little butt.

Quite naturally Trump keeps buying time, meanwhile jotting off executive orders, and making policy against our health, welfare, climate change, social orientations, etc, etc. that will take years to unravel and undo.

And, on the shoulder of a small town in America is a little indignant birdie chirping about a, yet again, new paradigm of love and cooperation to replace the old paradigm of dog eat dog with a good and sustainable life.

Is there any wonder why we have so many problems in this country?


Whereas Resolutions

I have a feeling that phrase just might stick! I loved hearing it Saturday.


limiting the damage

Why does Trump get to appoint a Supreme Court judge in the last year of his residency?

Regarding Darwin. The whole issue of the "fittest', the "strongest" - or whatever - functions somewhat differently among humans than among frogs, tse tse flies or big turtles. Because of human structures such as corporations, nation states, media outlets, intellectual and technological property, etc the person who exerts life and death control over others may in fact be a true weakling. A sickly person with absolutely no traits worth passing down the line (in simply a survival sense) may be making decisions that poison, maim or kill other people, among whom are found folks with traits essential to future health and well being of human culture.

Access to education, wealth and power are not biological traits. Rather they are social realities that largely determine who prospers. The playing field is not level among humans. I believe we have left the garden where Darwin's mix-up of competition, cooperation, adaptation, innovation and change interacted. I am troubled by the weakest among us having access to the most horrific of weapons. How is this the "survival of the fittest"? More like "the world turned upside down."



"Why does Trump get to appoint a Supreme Court judge in the last year of his residency?"

Heh heh... good one. Noted.



Here is the text of George's resolution:
The Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting expresses its concern that the federal government is ignoring the health and well-being of its citizens, violating the guarantees of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, violating our right to a government that represents its citizens; concern that these acts may involve collusion with a hostile foreign power; and that for that reason, the identities and actions of the parties responsible should be investigated and, as it is found fitting, prosecuted for treason against the United States and crimes against humanity.


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