The Presumption of Innocence is Still True

But, c’mon:

Click me for the story.

I can hear Ray Charles singing Georgia On My Mind.

Our addiction to Non-Accountability

Why do we do this self-defeating dance? I’ve concluded that it’s an addiction, a sickness, a commitment to rationalization, cowardice and self-imposed helplessness. Here are a couple of examples.

I’ve often wished I could have been a fly-on-the-wall to listen to the discussions between Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford before Nixon nominated Ford for the vice-presidency. What did Ford have to promise in order to get that job?

The abuse to our Constitution done by President Gerald Ford in 1974 was both unprecedented and terrible. He gave “a full, free, and absolute pardon to Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969, through August 9, 1974.”

Ford didn’t even wait for Nixon to be charged with a specific crime. He gave him a free pass for any crime Nixon “may have committed” and effectively made it clear that Nixon – and perhaps any president – is above the law.

As bad, it set the stage for more criminality in high places, as in the Iran-Contra crimes. That was where George H.W. Bush repeated the non-accountability travesty 18 years later.

From Prof. Heather Cox Richarson’s Letters From an American of August 9:

When the story of the Iran-Contra affair broke in November 1986, government officials continued to break the law, shredding documents that Congress had subpoenaed. After fourteen administration officials were indicted and eleven convicted, the next president, George H. W. Bush, who had been Reagan’s vice president, pardoned them on the advice of his attorney general William Barr. (Yes, that William Barr.)

The independent prosecutor in the case, Lawrence Walsh, worried that the pardons weakened American democracy. They “undermine…the principle…that no man is above the law,” he said. Pardoning high-ranking officials “demonstrates that powerful people with powerful allies can commit serious crimes in high office, deliberately abusing the public trust without consequences.”

Brown University has a fine summary of that sordid affair, including the laundry list of crimes committed by the Iran-Contra perps.

Reagan Teflon-ed his way past those crimes, having known full well what was happening on his authority. He got away with it with his cute “aw shucks.” Then H.W. Bush put the whipped cream and cherry on top with his blizzard of pardons for the perps.

The Reagan and the Nixon scandals were episodes 1 and 2 of modern day presidential malefactors escaping accountability. Is it possible that we’ve learned our lessons, that we’ve completed some national 12-step program to end our non-accountability addiction? Maybe so.

We have a third modern times presidential (alleged) criminal. The difference this time is that for those at the top, the day of reckoning looks to be on the horizon. We seem to have prosecutors with a spine.

Of course, if the next president is a Republican s/he will likely make pardons fill the air like biblical locusts. The candidates have said that they would do that.

Our job today is to support an end to that self-inflicted wound to justice and democracy that we seem to have encouraged by chickening out of doing the right thing in the past. We have to summon the courage to defeat our non-accountability dysfunction and do the right thing.

This is a perilous moment in our history. We must be up to the challenge or we will set the stage for the next crook to do worse.

Republican Sleaze – The World We Live In

Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-WI) might have ruined more lives through his treachery, cruelty and Trump-magnitude lying than any single individual in the history of Congress. After a particularly cruel attack on a young attorney by McCarthy, attorney Joseph Welch, asked McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?” Although McCarthy didn’t respond, the answer, of course, was a resounding NO! In the Republican Party today, it’s still NO.

40 years later, every Republican politician and member of that party were sure they knew that Bill Clinton was dirty. Maybe he had something to do with Vince Foster’s death. Maybe Hillary played fast and loose in the Whitewater land deal when she was an attorney in Little Rock. Surely, Bill was a serial philanderer and adulterer. That might not be criminal, but it’s worthy of self-righteous finger pointing, tongue wagging and holier-than-thou shock, shock!, I tell you.

So, they recruited Ken Starr to dig into the Clintons’ underwear drawers and waste baskets for evidence of heinous actions. Starr poked through every dumpster near their residences looking for trash on the Clintons. He did that for FIVE YEARS! and he found nothing. NOTHING!

Then Bill did The Big Stupid. Linda Tripp coaxed her friend, former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, to tell all to Starr about her sexual affair with Bill in the Oval Office. Clinton’s Big Stupid was lying to a Grand Jury about it, and that was Starr’s gotcha. Five years and millions of dollars of public money spent and all Starr and the Republicans accomplished was to show the country that Clinton got a blow job.

Republicans cheered in their self-righteousness. Even Newt Gingrich, ethics violator supreme, cheered. They had embarrassed and impeached Democrat Clinton.

Then it was Hillary’s turn. She was put through the congressional meat grinder 33 times in congressional hearings and 4 times in public hearings at a cost of $7 million, all investigating the Benghazi tragedy. The Republicans never found any wrongdoing on her part, but they kept something that looked like a scandal in front of the public for years. Same thing with her email server.

Now it’s Hunter Biden’s turn. Five years of investigation by DOJ attorney David Weiss and all he found were the late payment of taxes and a lie on his application for gun ownership. But that’s not enough to satisfy the Republicans.

Trump-appointed White has trashed the plea deal that he himself negotiated with Hunter Biden and will now dig for more dirt with his new Special Prosecutor credentials, this in an attempt to smear President Biden by association.

Here’s Pop Quiz question #1:

Name all the Democratic Party generated, multi-year sensational witch hunt investigations over the past 75 years.

Right: You can’t name any. The witch hunt theater is entirely Republican sleaze.

Quote of the Week

First, 3 Predictions:

  1. 2024, especially the first 8 months, is going to be a year of circuses like no other.
  2. Biden will win re-election, largely through Republican cowardice and default.
  3. Over the next 10 years, domestic terrorism will be our biggest challenge – by far.

Now to the quote.

It’s tied to the predictions, which are based on decades of Republican lunacy and cruelty.

The fierce and mindless pugnacity of the MAGA mob has many of the traits of religious fanatics. They have the passion, anger and certainty of their rightness as any Crusader, Inquisition zealots, witch burner and more.

So, from the upcoming book by Brian Muldoon, The Luminous One,

This, perhaps, was the original sin of religion—to claim one’s own beliefs are the only truth and to assault anyone who does not agree.

Instead of a continuation of that sin, we’re looking for actual justice.

Justice, justice shall you pursue .  .  .  ”  Deuteronomy 16:20

  • Today is a good day to be the light


  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!
  • The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

    And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.


    The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

What do you think?

Your name and e-mail address are required, but your e-mail will not be disclosed.

Keep the conversation going by both adding your comments and by passing this along to three friends.
That´s how things get better.

2 Responses to Justice
  1. James Altschuler Reply

    This is all so true … and so sad. We The People are failing to learn our lessons. What’s wrong with us? We keep electing amoral louses and then letting them “off the hook”! Stupid us. Maybe now (maybe) We will hold the violators feet to the proverbial coals. Maybe that will forestall further violations in the future. Maybe.

  2. Diana Dobrovolny Hefter Reply

    Agree – Pardons are getting out of hand, get out of jail free, revenge card when Republicans are back in office
    Agree – domestic terrorism is our #1 threat fueled by take over leadership
    Agree – religious fanaticism is being used to fuel the coup
    But are these are core American issues or are we again fighting for and defending US democracy and civil rights? Our country has never settled the start of our country based on chattel slavery that made a cast system. Years of Jim Crow segregation produced Federal and state laws that were compromises, not full acceptance of civil rights for all. Reagan’s top down economics has almost destroyed the middle class, made the poor poorer, the rich richer – increasing a class system. Trump turned it back to fear mongering and favoring white Christian nationalism – but as a tool towards fascism. We are struggling as a country but with nuclear deals and fears the world stage has turned into a war of democracy vs fascism, too. Not by weapons in the last 50 yrs but by taking over laws, governments and constitutions as in Isreal, Peru, Brazil and Hungary.
    The gap between the number of countries that registered overall improvements in political rights and civil liberties and those that registered overall declines for 2022 was the narrowest it has ever been through 17 years of global deterioration. Thirty-four countries made improvements, and the tally of countries with declines, at 35, was the smallest recorded since the negative pattern began. The gains were driven by more competitive elections as well as a rollback of pandemic-related restrictions that had disproportionately affected freedom of assembly and freedom of movement. We need to use our voice and abilities NOW. I don’t agree with everything Biden does or how he communicates, but he has become the man for the moment: economic policies, foreign knowledge, relationships and diplomacy, getting things done in tough situations.