Friday, November 1, 2019

The Halloween Hearings

Possibly the scariest Halloween of my life, and the ghouls were all wearing Democracy masks. But that’s all they were – just masks. The really frightening thing is what lurked behind the masks.

Secret hearings.

The defense may call witnesses only after submitting a written request to the prosecution, and the prosecution has absolute authority to reject such a request.

The prosecutor may interrupt witnesses and direct them not to answer questions.

Transcripts of depositions may be made public at the sole discretion of the prosecutor. If a witness actually manages to say anything the prosecutor doesn't like, he can still make sure you never hear about it.

There is no requirement that exculpatory material discovered by the prosecution be made available to the defense.

And oh, yes, the prosecution continually leaks partial testimony and summaries of testimony to the press. By a strange coincidence, everything leaked appears damaging to the defense.

Scared yet?

Would you like to be tried under these ground rules? Well, cheer up. You won’t be – not this week, anyway. Our present legal system wouldn’t try someone for littering under these rules. But next week? Who knows? Yesterday’s party-line House vote on the rules for the impeachment inquiry demonstrated that the majority party no longer has any respect for due process of law. Right now they’re railroading the President of the United States. You think you’re going to be immune from the new rules? Not if they can help it. This is not just an attack on the President; it’s an attack on common law and common decency.

The alligator may not eat you first, but he’s got you on the list. Even if you loathe and despise this President, simple self-interest ought to inspire you to protest this travesty of justice before the new House standards become the standards by which we can all be persecuted.

Diogenes Sarcastica summed it up nicely:

“The entire impeachment inquiry is the establishment in Washington D.C. letting the American people know that if they ever vote for someone the establishment doesn’t like, they will just beat you over the head, stop the agenda you voted for, and ultimately, usurp your vote to show you who really runs this country.”


  1. Wow, what a skewed view of what is happening. Me thinks you are confusing an inquiry with a trial in a court of law. Impeachment HEARINGS (preceded by collecting of information and evidence which can be likened to grand jury proceedings)are set forth in the constitution to deal with extraordinary situations where the president oversteps and endangers the separation of powers and thus the continuation of the Republic, not to mention defying what is set out in the Constitution. It does NOT have to include actual breaking of on-the-books law. How do you not know that? You must. And when all is collected and shown publicly as it will be, it will all go to the Senate which has the actual power to impeach and possibly remove the President. All in the open. Settle down, girl. It's not as scary as you think. For it NOT to be proceeding as it has been due to the blatant actions of the President, now THAT would be scary indeed. Be more afraid of the Republican response to what the President has been doing which is nothing short of embarrassing.

  2. So… you’re okay with the House majority refusing to honor little things like precedents or due process or any kind of fairness for the accused, because, hey! They’re not legally required to do so! Great standard, that. Silly me, I used to think things like that were important in themselves, not just irritating little footnotes for your lawyers to circumvent. I used to think I lived in a republic that honored the idea of treating everyone fairly. My mistake, I guess.

    After all, an Intelligence Committee hearing is kinda sorta like a grand jury hearing, right? They both involve asking people questions! Totally the same thing!

    So fine, let’s hold these hearings in a locked basement room. Let’s have them run by somebody who has claimed numerous times to have evidence of Trump’s collusion with Russia, but has never substantiated those claims; someone who has lied about the fact that members of his staff met with the “whistleblower” before the complaint was even filed; someone who responded enthusiastically to a call from Russian pranksters to have compromising photos of President Trump. Let’s give this proven partisan liar complete authority to deny members of the opposition the chance to call witnesses or even to interrogate those witnesses that are called. Let’s violate House rules by refusing to provide transcripts of the depositions.

    Hey, it’s all (well, mostly) technically legal! Who could ask for anything more?

  3. Not sure where you're getting your info but I still say it's off. But I'm not going to spend time arguing with you over this. You are trying to compare apples to oranges and you are making accusations that don't hold water and in some cases aren't true. As for the closed door meeting, I'm guessing you are referring to the one that the Republicans laughingly stormed,even those who were allowed in the room. Some depositions include classified info so cannot be public or given in front of just anyone. Well I've said more than I intended to. Will only add, I think you should check some other sources to get a fuller picture of what's going on. You are beginning to sound like a mouthpiece for Fox.


  4. "You are beginning to sound like a mouthpiece for Fox." This is very common among the 'Progressives' extremely stereotypical view of political opponents. I've seen our friend Bookworm (Jewish) told that her political views must be a reflection of her Evangelical Christianity.

  5. Honestly, I was afraid that I'd misread this post, that it was a piece of satire. But Margaret confirmed this is what she truly believes. But the way she states it really does sound right out of the playbook, almost word for word, of many Fox News hosts and Republicans as well, and that is a bit shocking. There are many ways she could have stated her concerns that were less inflammatory that would have opened things up for a civil debate and would not have left me feeling like I'd just been listening to someone on Fox news. And now you David put a label on me not knowing anything about me, whether I am progressive or conservative. But I will go back to my original premise. If there are comparisons to be made, compare these proceedings to previous impeachment proceedings. Some things are the same, somethings differ, but basically, there's nothing untowards going on here in the context of the history of impeachment processes, although you wouldn't know it from some of the accusations being thrown around. If you do not like the way the Constitution is written, well I can't help you with that.


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