Keeping Our Eyes Where We Don’t Want Them To Be…

Image by Alexander Krivitskiy @krivitskiy; found via unsplash.com

I’ve had various gastrointestinal problems over the years: I come from a family of “gut” people, and there’s lots of scientific evidence about our gut-brain connection. But it took me about a week to realize that a lot of my annoying symptoms had dissipated.

I no longer had to make daily shakes with the fattening avocado I dislike to keep my weight stable, and I was eating things I’d abandoned in misery—like hummus. (OK, not thrilling, but when peanut butter on apples is the only lunch that sits right, a little diversity is most welcome.)

When I saw my gastro Monday morning, I told him how much better I was feeling. And the light bulb had gone off. My GI system almost instantaneously expressed its enormous gratitude and relief when Joe Biden replaced Donald Trump in the Oval Office. “You’re not the only one of my patients who’ve said that,” the good doctor informed me.

This prelude is to tell you how much I want to forget about Donald Trump. I embrace his absence with my head, heart, and gut. Good riddance and all that! But I strongly suspect that we must keep that weather eye open.

The reason is that I think anyone delusional enough to enjoy watching the Capitol insurrection he incited without lifting a finger to stop it is not done “punishing” us for making him a loser.

My hope is that he’ll be preoccupied fighting all the charges against him and trying to raise cash for the huge personal debts that he’ll have to repay before long. But my concern is that he still thinks he’s the President. And that could cause us some problems.

Down in Mar-a-Lago, in addition to playing golf, he’s established the “Office of the Former President.” According to Nicholas Carteron writing in Medium, this is how Trump describes “the newly-minted ‘office’ and its responsibilities”:

“The office will be responsible for managing President Trump’s correspondence, public statements, appearances and official activities to advance the interests of the United States and to carry on the agenda of the Trump administration through advocacy, organizing and public activism.”

Carteron believes those words have been carefully chosen “to imbue this sham office with dignity and powers it does not have. It gives the impression to the ignorant that Mr Trump will continue representing the country, that he still has leeway to affect the legislative agenda.”

To Carteron, this is the continuation of January 6. Notice that in the above description, Trump drops the “former” and simply refers to himself as “President Trump.” Doing so, writes Carteron,

“reinforces the idea that he is still President. It is another way for him not to concede and to further his Big Lie that the Democrats stole the election from him.”

“Saying he will ‘carry on’ is a symbolic way to reassure all the racists and bigots of the land that white supremacy will endure with him.”

I just read that some of the QAnon characters who didn’t lose faith on January 20th now believe that Trump will be sworn in as President on March 4, 2021.

Why March 4? Because that was when Presidential inaugurations had been held until 1933, when the date was changed to January 20.

Are you following this? This plan to “elect” Trump on March 4 originated with a domestic terrorist group called the Sovereign Citizens, who, Newsweek reports, believe that a law was passed in 1871 that turned the US into a corporation.

Thus, Ulysses S. Grant was the last legitimately elected President. So in their buzzy minds, since Grant was the 18th President, on March 4, Trump will become the 19th real President.

According to this bizarre thinking, 1933 is important because that’s the year that FDR ended the gold standard. And what’s been happening with all the Presidents between Grant and Trump? A group of “shadowy investors” has been running the US.

(I’m not sure how the Sovereign Citizens count Trump’s being first the 45th President and then the 19th, but I’m sure they’ll find a perfectly implausible explanation—or perhaps just ignore that inconsistency.)

Newsweek also reports, citing Forbes, that:

“Interest around the date re-emerged after it was revealed that prices to rent a room at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on March 4 have been hiked to $1,331, more than double the $596 price for a guest room for most of that month and nearly triple the lowest cost.”

Evidently, someone—more likely several or more someones—in the Trump orbit is in on this deal. And in true trumpian style, the former Grifter in Chief, now merely a freelance grifter, is planning to gouge the armed insurrectionists as they once again descend on our nation’s capital.

These rates are mere bargains compared to what the Trump International charged on January 5th and 6th. Obviously prepared for their guests, the Trump hotel’s lowest available room rates were $7,500 for the 5th, and $8,000 for the 6th.

How’s that for populism? Kinda raises some questions about the identities of those who felt that particular hotel was the place to be on those particular dates—and who had the wherewithal to pay—or be paid for–occupying those rooms during the Insurrection.

None of this is funny, of course. Carteron’s article is titled “‘Former President’ is the First Step Towards Secession and Civil War.”

I certainly don’t think it’s beyond Donald Trump to want to see greater turmoil and more bloodshed. But I am confident that this time around, with our new Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, and our new Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, there will be far greater preparation for March 4—if, indeed, it doesn’t simply fizzle—than there was for January 6.

That brings me to the impeachment. I watched Tuesday afternoon as the Democratic managers expertly decimated the defense argument that it was unconstitutional to convict Trump because he’s no longer in office.

They cited several of the many conservative Constitutional scholars who have emphatically stated that the Senate has the right, even obligation, to convict Trump. They also gave a brief textual course on the founders’ views and where impeachment fits in–and the dangers of ignoring this important guardrail against officials who would abuse it.

Donald Trump doesn’t know much about the [Constitution’s] framers,” said Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager. “But the framers knew about him. He was their worst nightmare.” Congressman Raskin has taught Constitutional law for years.

And the managers’ presentation deftly blended the horrible videos of those events with Trump’s tweets, including his expressions of love to those who had already maimed Capitol police and his dispatching the mob with the indelible words: “Remember this day always!”

Rep. Raskin (of Maryland) closed this initial session with a painful personal story that everyone should Google. Weeping, he demonstrated how personal the events of that day were to him–and how personal Democracy is to us all.

How incredibly brave and patriotic he was to share that wrenching personal story in his efforts to try to ensure Democracy prevails.

Commentators observed that certain Senators—Rubio, Cruz, and others—had busied themselves with papers so they didn’t have to watch the video. These cowardly, self-serving Republicans will probably hide behind process arguments that have been ripped away to vote to acquit Trump. They’ll be showing their unclothed selves—and it’s not a pretty sight.

Assuming none of the compelling case that the managers are so systematically making can break through the Republicans’ callous partisan ambition, they’ll be setting an appalling precedent that has been said to essentially tear the impeachment clause out of the Constitution.

If Trump is acquitted, there will be no accountability for a dangerous President.

A majority of Americans believe Trump should be impeached and convicted. Those Senators who do not join the Democrats in voting to convict him should never hold the honorable title of Senator again.

It’s up to us, the people, to ensure that they don’t. And we must work to increase the Democratic majorities to bolster the Biden-Harris administration in both the House and Senate for 2022. If–as all indications suggest–today’s Republican party continues down this path toward further radicalization and white supremacy, it will have forfeited its right to govern.

I fervently hope that March 4 passes without incident. And I look forward to the imminent confirmation of Merrick Garland as our next Attorney General—after the disgraceful Lindsey Graham’s holding up the vote on his nomination.

There are many criminal and civil charges that can and should be applied to Donald Trump—on both the state and national levels. I understand that the standards for conviction for fomenting the insurrection would be higher in the court system than they are in Congress. But Trump must be held accountable.

Based on Trump’s setting up his new “office,” my quick non-lawyerly Google search turned up this possible charge to add to the mix:

  1. Criminal Division Recommendation—18 USC 912. Section 912 defines two separate and distinct offenses. The offenses are impersonation coupled with acting as such and impersonation coupled with demanding or obtaining something of value in such pretended character, False personification of an officer or employee of the United States is an element of both offenses.

Penalty may involve up to three years in prison. One can only hope that those years are added to many others.

Donald Trump: You never wanted to be President. You never acted like a President. You never did a President’s work. And on January 6 (if not before), you willfully traded the title of President for that of seditionist.

You’ve ended your Presidency by doing something worse than any other President in history. Whether or not the spineless Republican Senators convict you, you will still be the only President in history to have been impeached twice. And I’m confident that history will show how much better off our nation would have been if you’d been convicted the first time.

So call off your mobs and stop impersonating the President! We have a President who’s doing very well, thank you, with approval ratings far higher after 2-1/2 weeks than you ever received in your wretched four years.

For the sake of my stomach, the anxiety of millions, and—most importantly—our democracy, I look forward to justice making you pay for the dreadful acts you’ve committed against decency, humanity, and our nation. No more!

Annie

44 thoughts on “Keeping Our Eyes Where We Don’t Want Them To Be…

  1. Agree that it would be perfectly lovely never to hear another word about this guy — or his ne’er-do-well family (except for cousin Mary, who gets it) — but we have to keep vigilant. Like your gut, my jaw pain (“clenching,” my dentist said) significantly lessened when Biden and Harris were sworn in. And as for spineless Senators, don’t get me started. I can’t afford the dental bills.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Relaxing your jaw is a prime meditation exercise!

      I think it’s really good that the terrific impeachment managers are creating this
      compelling historical record. The spineless Senators will have to live with that!

      Like

  2. I think a lot of people have been feeling better physically since January 20. I know I have. Hard to believe it’s been only three weeks.

    It is just not in the nature of people to remain stressed out and tensed up for really long periods of time. One gets emotionally burned-out. Especially now that the imminent danger has passed, people need relief from the stress. I found this post and this post to be eloquent expressions of that. Personally I don’t care to focus on any more news about Trump until he gets prosecuted for his financial crimes (and maybe for sedition too, if someone can make that stick), in a normal courtroom where he will not benefit from the absurd situation of half the jury being his cronies (or cowards terrified of his followers), and with the prospect of actual prison time, not just disbarment from future office-seeking.

    I’ve been taking something of a break from politics news this week in particular, since not much will get done on the covid-19 relief bill (due to the Senate being preoccupied with the Trumpeachment trial). But glancing in on some of my favorite political bloggers, it’s almost painful seeing them follow the trial blow-by-blow, psyching themselves into a state of believing that the Senate might just convict Trump after all. They’re setting themselves up to be all gut-clenched again when it doesn’t happen.

    Those Senators who do not join the Democrats in voting to convict him should never hold the honorable title of Senator again

    The problem is that Republican senators mostly represent red states where the majority of the voters would never forgive a vote to convict. In most cases, a Republican who votes to convict would be dooming his own re-election chances — and possibly putting himself in physical danger as well. Only a few will have the guts or, like Romney, come from a red state where Trump isn’t popular but he himself is.

    I fervently hope that March 4 passes without incident

    Most likely it will. When that date comes and goes and nothing happens, the QAnon qrackpots will probably just go back to the drawing board and come up with some other deadline date some time in the future. That’s what apocalyptic cults normally do when their predictions flop — and an apocalyptic cult is what QAnon is evolving into. I notice that January 20, when they were all expecting the big trap to be sprung, passed without any violence from the crazies. The failure of the January 6 lynch-mob attack to actually accomplish anything, combined with the efficiency with which the authorities are rounding up the terrorists, may have dampened their enthusiasm for violence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Infidel: My heart goes out to the man in the second post, burdened as he is with so many problems. It’s true that millions of people have been traumatized by the multiple hits of the past four years, and especially 2020. Biden has acknowledged this crisis by talking about greater attention to mental health needs.

      I hadn’t planned to write about trump again, but after watching the hearings, I felt I had to put together one last rant. I have been deeply involved in the hearings—extremely impressed by what’s been called the “brick-by-brick” approach of the impeachment managers. Their case would be air tight if the “jurors” were open to listening to the facts.

      I have no illusions there will be a conviction, but I am hopeful another few Republicans may vote accordingly. However, there may well be an impact on some members of the public. And there is now a clearly delineated public record that draws a straight line from trump’s initial claims well before the election that his loss would mean a rigged system—through the Big Lie, violence in the states, to the insurrection, and finally to trump’s expressing pleasure as he watched the riots and ignoring entreaties from those close to him to stop the riot and send help to the embattled Capitol police.

      And now he’ll face charges in Georgia as well as NY. I continue to hope he’ll face criminal charges for sedition, but I’m not holding my breath for that.

      Like

      1. An impact on some members of the public is certainly plausible. From what I’ve heard, the Democratic impeachment managers made a very effective presentation.

        As for the regular courts later, sedition would be a tough one, but I don’t much care what Trump gets convicted of, just so long as he ends up behind bars where he can’t cause any more trouble. Remember, they got Al Capone for tax evasion — but they still got him. And I hope those women who are suing him for sexual abuse take him for every crappy golf course and bug-ridden hotel he’s got, and Merde-a-Logo as well.

        For right now, though, I and (I think) most of the country are just waiting for Congress to get back to work on passing that covid-19 relief bill.

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      2. Infidel—

        While I’ll settle for any conviction that leads to trump being dressed in apparel that matches his hair—for years— I care a whole lot that he be tried and convicted for a crime or crimes related to this insurrection. He has pushed and pushed violence on us, and now it’s led to murder and the most injuries to law enforcement since 9/11.And it was just minutes of being a massacre that would have included many deaths. Mitt Romney said he didn’t realize until he saw the newly released videos how close he came to being caught. It will be the equivalent of trump’s initial declaration that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it. Since the Senators won’t react like human beings after watching hoodlums torture police, it’s important for the DOJ to step in. Trump reveled in knowing these armed crazies will listen to his commands. If he isn’t punished for this, we are setting ourselves up for more of same.

        Yes, the Impeachment managers did an extraordinary job. Adam Schiff gave them an A++++. I think it would be beneficial for every American to see their case—hard though it was to watch in places.

        As for the public, I am encouraged by the small sampling I saw on Twitter tonight: one R after another saying if the Republicans don’t convict, they’ll never vote for a Republican again. Some said this was it for them regardless. The trial was necessary and important.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. MDavis: After watching the compelling case the impeachment managers made, I believe there’s a high probability that a secret ballot would lead to conviction. Regrettably, that ain’t gonna happen…

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      2. Not a bad idea in principle, but I don’t think it would work. Those Republicans who voted to acquit would find ways to make their vote known publicly — it would be a golden opportunity to go on record and demonstrate fealty to the party’s capo. By process of elimination it would soon become obvious which Republicans had voted to convict. What’s more, they would all know in advance that that would happen — so not many would dare vote to convict.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh, come on Infidel. They’ll just ALL say they voted for acquittal. Win/win!
        It’s how they’ve been doing business for years – do and say whatever they want and lie as necessary to cover their butts.

        Like

  3. My jaw dropped at the part about him setting up an “Office of the Former President” and then having the unmitigated gall to refer to himself as ‘President”. He was never a president, but merely an imposter, a scammer of the American people! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. He belongs in a padded room, wearing one of those jackets with the really long sleeves, for he is insane! Devious, cunning, and dangerous, yes, but sane? NO!

    Excellent post, Annie. I shall reblog soon! Meanwhile, I’m glad you’re feeling better and I hope it stays that way!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I hope you are able to keep that promise to yourself! I won’t even make the promise, for I know it won’t be my last, though I wish I could never hear his name spoken or see it printed again!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Annie,
    A Red State Republican Senator was elected by a pro-trump constituency. These voters expect and assume the Senator will vote on issues in the senate according to their wishes and what he/she promised to do when elected- in this case be all in for Trump.
    So with the impeachment trial going on now, what if said Senator really believes Trump is guilty? Does the Senator vote his/her conscience, or does the Senator abandon the wishes and expectations of, and responsibility to, those who voted him/her into office?
    DtD

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s the central question, DtD. We need 17 Republican profiles in courage, and I don’t expect to see that many—hopefully there will be a few. But I think the impeachment managers made such a compelling case that at least they will have made those R’s who listened (some wouldn’t) extremely uncomfortable. And their cowardice in failing to refute the Big Lie just fed into this carnage. This is beyond politics: our democracy is at stake.

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      1. Annie, Don, please forgive the added comment, but Senators need to represent a better version of ourselves, not a worse version. If they think something is wrong, they need to vote their conscience and not parrot populist opinion, especially when such opinion is not steeped in fact. We Americans are a largely uninformed nation with too many of us not watching or reading real news. The former president uses that knowledge and has pulled the biggest con on Americans. A person well-documented as untruthful has convinced his followers that everyone else if lying, which is a lot chutzpa.. Keith

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Quite so, Keith. We’ve become cynical about how our elected officials will act—but that cynicism is based on experience, unfortunately. Ps: Pls never apologize for added comments; they’re always welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Many of us have opined about the impeachment trial, the likelihood that the senate republicans will fail to do their duty to We the People, and more. But, just when I thought I’d heard it all, I came across Annie’s post last night and … my jaw dropped. Trump apparently believes that he is still president, has set himself up with an office, staff, and claims his office will address “… official activities to advance the interests of the United States and to carry on the agenda of the Trump administration …” All the more reason that he must be convicted, his lies must be paid for, he must be forced into irrelevancy. Thank you, Annie, for this thoughtful post!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Watching that presentation yesterday, laid out in sequence, was absolutely chilling across the board. I say, rant away Annie, and if warranted, rant some more! My stomach thanks you.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This impeachment allows us to look at a key idea of “representation” and what that means. To be a “representative” does not mean a legislator is a puppet. It does nit require or demand that the legislator follow the dictates of what he or she assumes the majority in his or her state or district desires. That is not the function of a representative.
    All members of Congress take an oath to the Constitution, not to their district. Once they are in power their job is to represent the best interests of the people and the nation, not to be puppets to what they perceive are the wishes of the majority.
    The reason for this is simple. As leaders they are expected to know more and investigate issues that the rest of us do not have the time or expertise or energy to do They are expected to lead by explaining their positions, based on evidence, not emotion. This is true whether or not it is about building a wall, providing food stamps or going to war. Or impeaching a president.
    We are hiring people not to be puppets, but to be thinking individuals who weigh evidence and make good decisions.
    Any member of Congress who thinks their job is to simply reflect the unsupported opinions of what they perceive is the majority in their district are not fit to be leaders. That’s not what a representative is supposed to do.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Joseph: If only those spineless Republicans possessed and demonstrated the clarity of comprehension about their positions that you’ve stated here. I teared up thinking about how much better off we and our country would be.

      Like

  8. Annie, I am so glad we don’t have to read the throughout the day opinions on seemingly every issue from the former president. It is much less stressful. I wrote the following on Jill’s blog.

    The Trump Toadies can look the other way, they can say a former president need not be held accountable, but those who cared to watch know the Capitol insurrection would not have happened if Donald J. Trump was not president. He lied and continues to lie about massive voter fraud, so there is no remorse. He invited and funded the more zealous members of his base to DC. He stoked their fires, added gasoline and sicced them on the Capitol. And, people died and more could have.

    The argument that the trial is unconstitutional does not hold water. The message of that argument is a president can do any vile thing he wants if he does it close enough to win he leaves office. I am sorry, but that is BS. Seven people are dead because of this enfant terrible former president. And, what if the Trump Terrorists got to Mike Pence (or his family) or Nancy Pelosi?

    This most corrupt and deceitful of presidents in my lifetime, which was this Independent voter’s opinion before the insurrection, is guilty as charged. That adds the word traitorous to the other two. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey, Sheree! So glad to hear from you! You’ve been on my mind, as I’ve seen your tiny avatar on other people’s posts. Are you getting notice of my posts? I’m not getting yours, so I guess I need to come visit and sign up again. Hope all is well.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Worry, anxiety, stress, and panic are often the emotional expressions of catastrophic thinking. Technically, catastrophizing is an exaggerating, irrational, style of thought where you painfully blow real or imagined disasters out of proportion. Fortunately, catastrophic thinking is correctable. I’ll emphasize how to do this. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/science-and-sensibility/201211/anxiety-and-exaggerations

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is helpful and straightforward, and I thank you for adding the link. In my case, as both a retired medical writer and editor and a daily meditator, I know the lessons, but find they need to be learned repeatedly.

      Like

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