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Notes from Senate Impeachment Trial – #2

Speeches over; questions next

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (January 28,2020)

Some impressions as the trial completes phase one and prepares for phase two:

  1. The first take-away is the comparison between the two presentations. The House speakers were on a mission and they showed it. They were obviously playing to the television audience more than the senators. Their rhetoric was graphic, at times crude (particularly Mr. Naylor). Their tone was passionate, sometimes angry. Their body language was tense. The exception was Mr. Schiff, who proved himself an effective and articulate advocate, who appeared convinced and convincing, especially in his opening summary. In his final speech, however, some of the earlier polish seemed to have worn off as he spoke of the President in personal and insulting terms, dripping with hatred.
  2. The President’s team overall was much cooler in manner, with the exception of Mr. Sekulow, who supplied the passion, sometimes slipping into anger. White House Counsel Patrick Capilione was quietly and rationally effective, in the sharpest contrast to the House team. I found his manner more effective than Sekulow’s. Anger in the Senate chamber seemed a bit out of place.

In terms of the arguments on their merits, I, like many others, found the House case full of assumptions, presumptions and very weak. Of course, I had the same reaction to the original testimony, so my reaction was not surprising that I reacted to the trial presentation which was derived from and actually re-used large portions of the House footage.

The basic issue was the definition of “crime”. The House wants to call such terms as “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” crimes meeting the standard of the Constitution. That standard is admittedly brief – “treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors”. However, the application of common sense to this description, as pointed out by the founders’ commentary, demands that “crimes” must be specific and provable. Otherwise, the charge is simply a matter of opinion and therefore indefensible. Such are the terms of the current articles approved by partisan House.

The President’s team had their moments. Particularly damning was the recitation of the case against Joseph and Hunter Biden. Three lawyers split the presentation into Overview (Sekulow), Facts (Pam Bondi) and Conclusions (Eric Herschmann). It is hard to believe that the elder Mr. Biden can continue to attract support for his presidential bid after such a graphic, detailed and public recitation of the case against him.

Also notable was the presentation of Alan Dershowitz, who spoke to the constitutional standard of impeachment. His explanation was replete with citations and quotations and delivered in such a rapid-fire style that it was like trying to get a drink from a fire hose. The prominence of the speaker, however, added a certain level of authority to the argument. In view of his status as a lifelong Democrat, it is doubtful that his performance swayed any Democrats.

Today’s defense of the President ended with a plea to the Senators from Mr. Capilione to preserve for the American people the right to vote for their president, and to vote “for what in your heart you know is right”. As one of the commentators observed, however, politicians rarely vote what is in their hearts, preferring to vote for their best political advantage – a cynical remark which is unfortunately all too often true.

The overall impression of this entire exercise appears to be a gigantic waste of time and resources because the entire body of the Senate knew the outcome before the whole drama began. Namely, they will almost all vote the party line, and nothing said in this whole charade will change more than a few votes.

The only true exceptions to this outcome will be those politicians who believe that they cannot be re-elected if they vote with the party or have already decided not to run again. This whole business has to be changed to accurately reflect the momentous responsibility involved in an impeachment vote for both the immediate present and future American generations. I don’t know how that can be accomplished, but it is imperative that this process not be allowed to destroy America’s electoral process.

 

© 2020 Richfield Press. All rights reserved.

Notes on Senate Impeachment trial – #1

The rules for impeachment must be changed

by Dr. Larry Fedewa (January 22, 2020)

Some notes on the early stages of the Senate impeachment of President Trump:

A. Definitions: “crime”, “evidence”

a. It appears that the most basic differences between the two sides in the impeachment trial revolve around the definitions of two terms: “crime” and “evidence”.

b. The President’s team insists that the Constitution language “bribery, treason and other high crimes and misdemeanors” requires that impeachment can be carried forward only if there is an act which breaks a recognizable law, in other words, a “crime” as normally defined. This can be considered a technical definition of “crime”. Keep Reading

This must not stand! (continued)

The rules for impeachment must be changed to save the Republic

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (January 14, 2020)

In my last column of this topic, I urged the President to sue the House of Representatives for malfeasance on the basis of two unconstitutional actions with regard to the recent articles of impeachment passed by the House:

1) denial of due process as protected by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments in a procedure which, if upheld by the US Senate, would inflict irreparable harm on the plaintiff by depriving him of his livelihood, reputation and public office, and

2) by re-defining the Constitutional designation of “high crimes and misdemeanors” as the sole rationale for impeachment to include

  1. a) allegations based on hearsay evidence which are too broad to be provable (“abuse of power”) and
  2. b) designation of the time-honored practice of Executive Privilege as “obstruction of justice”.

Keep Reading

Today’s impeachment hearing

Bias among the elite

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (December 4, 2019)

The first House Judiciary hearing featured three professors in favor of Trump impeachment, one against. The three anti-Trump witnesses elaborated their definitions of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and all came to the conclusion that Mr. Trump was guilty as charged of the three principal charges advocated by the House Intelligence Committee report on its “investigation”, namely, bribery, obstruction of justice, and abuse of power.

Jonathan Turley, the lone expert opposed to impeachment, advocated caution and against proceeding with the current case because it has no solid evidentiary basis and no bipartisan consensus of wrongdoing – hallmarks of the previous two modern cases of impeachment. As expected, the questioning was conducted along partisan lines. Keep Reading

What have the Dems’ impeachment hearings revealed so far?

Interesting but irrelevant

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (November 16,2019)

The much-publicized hearings of the House Intelligence Committee began last Wednesday with three high ranking State Department officials over two days. The hearings revealed two things: 1) how deep the “Deep State” goes, and 2) how shallow the Democrats’ case against President Donald Trump really is.

The Deep State 

There are thousands of honest, hard-working people in the federal bureaucracy, who toil conscientiously every day to do the jobs they have been assigned. Among them are the first three witnesses called by Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) to lead off the public testimony phase of his impeachment inquiry.

Their testimony demonstrated just how deep the “Deep State” goes by revealing its characteristics. These people are sincerely dedicated to what they perceive as the official policies of the United States government. The fact that the policy they are dedicated to has been crafted by the senior career officers of their department is simply beyond their grasp. They believe and earnestly defend the un-Constitutional premise that foreign policy should be non-political and that all key decisions and staff should reflect an ongoing strategy and practice which transcends the comings and goings of politicians.    Keep Reading

Will Trump win in 2020?

 

 

Don’t be too sure

 

 

                                        

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (November 9, 2019)

The general opinion among Trump supporters – and many Democrats — is that a sitting president who oversees a thriving economy is very difficult to beat in an election for his second term. There is plenty of precedent for this prediction. Only two presidents since WWII have been defeated for a second term – Jimmy Carter and George Herbert Walker Bush. Carter faced a serious recession and Bush shared the vote with third party candidate, Ross Perot. So, history is definitely on the side of this opinion.

Many Trump supporters believe that his re-election is virtually assured. This is a potentially dangerous presumption. Keep Reading

The Dems huge gamble

What in the world are they thinking?                   

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (November 2, 2019)

 

The Democrat Party of the United States of America has apparently adopted the following strategy:

1, Put forth a list of second- and third-rate candidates for their 2020 Presidential nomination, almost all of whom represent positions on the significant issues of health care, immigration, environment, the Constitution, and foreign policy which are so far to the Left that they are never going to attract the majority support of the American electorate.

  1. To make this decision work, they made a frantic, last minute attempt to remove the current President by the vote of one house of the legislature, even though the Senate, which is controlled by the Republican Party — which must convict the President by a 2/3 majority — is virtually certain the exonerate the President, thus leaving the President in office.
  2. Nevertheless, proceed with the impeachment on the assumption that the process can be manipulated in such a way as to stain the President’s name and reputation and thereby divert enough independent voters to defeat Donald J. Trump in his quest for a second term.

The goal appears to be to stir up so much hatred of Mr. Trump that the Democrat will win no matter who it is, washed into office by a flood of negative views of Trump and his Administration.

The customary strategy for an American election is to spend the pre-primary season testing one or more favored candidate(s) and discover whether their early choices have the required qualities to defeat the sitting president. If the field does not look strong enough, the elders of the party would start looking for a better candidate.  To their credit, they did convince Joseph Biden to join the campaign, but that does not seem to be working too well.                Keep Reading

It’s really not that complicated!

The deep state’s last stand (this term)

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (October 5,2019)

The Attorney General of the United States is investigating the nearly successful coup d’etat 2015-17 which attempted to overthrow the President of the United States. Since there is evidence of interaction between the American conspirators and several foreign countries, including the United Kingdom, Russia, Ukraine, China, Australia, and perhaps others, the AG asked the President to help him open doors in these countries.

The President then asked for this assistance during his telephone conversations with the leaders of these countries. As in any such conversations, the two leaders engage in some bargaining – some subtle and some explicit. Both assume that their conversations are protected by Executive Privilege from public disclosure.

On July 25, 2019 the President talked to the new President of the Ukraine government. It happens that the $400+ million military aid grant from the US to Ukraine has been held up since the spring, presumably because of the Ukrainian election and change of administrations.

It also happens that former Vice President Joseph Biden, now running for the Democrats’ presidential nomination, has long been mentioned as having used his position to shield his son, called Hunter Biden, from investigation by the Ukrainian government for corruption. Since there is evidence of Ukrainian input to the American conspiracy, the US President asked the Ukrainian President for his cooperation in finding out the truth behind this story.

The case was centered on the younger Biden being named a Board member of a Ukrainian energy company with a handsome stipend (now reported as $83,000 per month), simply and solely because of his last name. The senior Biden has even bragged on television about how he succeeded in threatening to withhold US military aid to Ukraine – fighting the Russians in Crimea at the time – unless the Ukrainian government fired a prosecutor who was investigating the company which was paying his son.

Did President Trump do something wrong as the Democrats alleged (before having read the transcript)? Perhaps he was not attentive enough to appearances – Mr. Trump is not known for subtlety. But a crime? Or a “high crime or misdemeanor” worthy of impeachment? That is pure fantasy. Since it comes right on the heels of the failure of the Mueller Report to provide a credible basis for impeachment, these charges seem to reflect a last-ditch effort to discredit the President sufficiently to prevent his reelection next year. That interpretation also would explain why the hurry. Time is running out before the presidential campaign hits high gear. With a Republican majority in the Senate, it is extremely unlikely that there would be the 67 votes necessary to convict a Republican President. The current effort is therefore best understood as part of the 2020 campaign.

There are many extraneous charges, arguments, and issues being raised regarding the identity of the whistleblower, the House Intelligence Committee procedures, the House protocols, subpoenas, executive privilege, the role of the President’s personal attorney, etc. But the fact remains that the intelligence community, initially led by Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan and DNI chief James Clapper, have a long history of attempting to sabotage this President.

So don’t be fooled: it’s not really that complicated.

 

© Richfield Press, 2019. All rights reserved.

 

Next steps to free market health care

A practical approach to progess

 

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (September 24, 2019)

One of Washington’s most respected experts on legislative advocacy, Dr. David Rehr, now a  Gorge Mason University professor, has recommended that we present a list of separable items in an integrated proposal to reform health care. The strategy is that we should be able  to get bipartisan support for some of our ideas and thus build a foundation for the larger reform. This is a sort of step-by-step approach to implementation.

Toward that end, we need to fill in some of the blanks in my overview (see www.DrLarryOnline.com) with numbers and data. So, the authors of the heavily researched book, Health Care is Killing Us: The Power of Disruptive Innovation to Create a System that Cares More and Costs Less (2019) (see Amazon Books), Drs. W. Terry Howell and Aaron Fausz, have volunteered to undertake this task.

“The Dr. Larry Show” on this Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 7 pm, will feature their report on the following draft propositions (in increasing order of controversy):  Keep Reading

Free market health care: Summary

by Dr. Larry Fedewa (August 25, 2019)

Key Points:                                                                                                          

The goal of any new health care proposal must be to develop a patient-centered system. That is, a system which provides the patient the ultimate power to make his/her own medical decisions, which can be matters of life and death.

A secondary goal is to reduce the 2/3 of medical costs the US spends today ($3.5- $4 Trillion) thereby reducing the cost to the consumer.

The five major obstacles to these goals in today’s system are:

  1. A critical shortage of medical personnel
  2. Employers
  3. Federal Government
  4. State Governments
  5. Health insurance companies
  1. Solutions –Medical personnel shortage

U.S. Public Health Service offers full cost scholarships to medical, dental, paramedics, nursing and similar degrees to any qualified American student who is willing to serve a 2-year term in designated practices where critical needs exist.

  1. Solutions — Employers are relieved from all responsibilities for employee medical insurance.
  2. Solutions — Federal Government Actions:
  • Federal government sets limits on settlements for medical mishaps, ending need for “defensive medicine”.
  • Federal government declares medical insurance to be interstate commerce, subject only to federal regulation, with one set of rules governing all health insurance. Eliminating a major cost driver for health insurance.
  • Federal government maintains Medicare because of ethical and legal obligations.

4. Solutions — State Governments  

  • Oversight of standard business procedures governing organizations of private citizens designed to provide health insurance, whether church, credit union, cooperative, small business associations, neighborhood, or any other type of structure. This feature is the key to lowering health care costs by increasing competition for the patient dollar in the extended field offered by reduction of individual state requirements and the end to defensive medicine.
  • Management of a pool of funding for indigent patients based on a small per capita tax of each buyer of health insurance – critical component to universal coverage. Perhaps a restructured Medicaid without federal involvement.
  • State responsibilities limited to practitioner licensing for medical personnel and other specific responsibilities as indicated below

Solutions – Insurance companies   

  • There is still a place for insurance companies, albeit radically altered. The first factor to be considered is the new phenomenon of literally thousands of new organizations to emerge as the market for insurance carriers. This is a whole new opportunity for these firms — to seek out the new buyers, to develop new packages for buyers representing basically a new constituency – all anxious to maximize individual benefits to a much more vocal and demanding membership, and then to formalize the flexibility ceded to each member to choose treatments and decisions themselves rather than accepting bureaucratic stipulations blindly. Companies which cannot adjust to the new markets will not survive.
  • Another opportunity will also arise, namely the custody and deployment of medical savings accounts. One of the first trends may well be the simple transfer of the new payroll income from health insurance premiums no longer deducted from payroll to a medical savings account. The recipient of these deposits may well be in a new branch of financial management. And who better to do so with high credibility than your familiar insurance agent?

Finally, there will be some differences in how the average person deals with his or her health care, but not that many. The two most significant are 1) you will become the direct buyer of your own health care with the money you saved from your enhanced paycheck; 2) you will now be making the sometimes life and death decisions that now are made by budget-watching bureaucrats in the insurance companies or the government.

That’s it!

© Richfield Press, 2019. All rights reserved.