Weekly Comments: Impeaching Trump (and a bonus: Pipeline to Nowhere)

Washington, DC: Despite the Covid pandemic, I find myself in Washington, in the Senate chamber at our Capitol. Here’s an explanation:

See, every honorable attorney in the whole country, and several who are not so honorable, turned down the opportunity to represent Donald J. Trump of Mara Largo, Florida, in this Impeachment trial. They’re scared of the after-effects. Mr. Trump offered to represent himself. However, every legal expert, including those who only play one on Facebook, knows that nobody but a fool would try to represent himself. Therefore, at the risk of being ostracized by my Hollywood friends, I feel obliged to fill the void.

As I stand at the front of the Senate, addressing 100 Senators, I continue. “You may say, ‘But you have no legal experience.’ Well, I beg to differ. I played the lead role in one of the greatest movies of 1934, ‘Judge Priest.’ And that ranks far higher than pretending to be one on Facebook. But don’t take my word for it; ask former President Franklin D. Roosevelt. I’m guessing you distinguished Senators recognize him as a great man and judge of character, at least half of you.

“After watching ‘Judge Priest,’ Franklin wrote me a letter (he said I could call him Franklin) and I’ll read, and provide said letter as Exhibit A. It’s dated October 8, 1934. ‘Dear Will, (I let him call me Will) ‘We saw Judge Priest last night. It is a thoroughly good job.’ Then after a couple more sentences he closed with a paragraph that will firmly establish my credentials to appear before this august body today, ‘I suppose the next thing you will be doing is making application for an appointment to the Federal Bench. I might take you up on that!’ Now if you have any doubt about his judgement, I’ll remind you that he nominated, and had approved right here in this very Chamber, NINE Justices to the Supreme Court.

“See, at one time he had nominated EVERY Justice sitting on the Supreme Court. He wanted to name 5 or 6 more, but your predecessors here in the Senate turned him down flat. They said, ‘No, Mr. President, nine is all we need on that Court. We won’t let you pack any more in there.’”

So, with my credentials firmly established and accepted, it comes my turn to address the presiding officer of every Impeachment trial, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court:

Me: “Wait a minute, you’re Senator Leahy, not Chief Justice Roberts.

Sen. Leahy: “Yes, he declined. I guess one Impeachment was enough for him.”

Me: “Well, Mr. Leahy, I’ll trust you to be fair and impartial and follow the Constitution. Please read to your fellow Senators the part of the Constitution relating to the topic at hand, Article II, Section 4.”

Leahy: “Article II, Section 4: 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.”

Me: “Thank you sir. I noticed this Article began with the words, ‘The President.’ Senator Leahy, what is today’s date?”

Leahy: “It is February 8, 2021.”

Me: “And on this date, who is ‘The President?’”

Leahy: “Joseph R. Biden”

Me: “Is President Joseph R. Biden being Impeached for Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors?”

Leahy: “No.”

Me: “Thank you. Since you have confirmed that ‘The President’ today, February 8, 2021, is Joseph R. Biden, and he is not charged with any crime listed in Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, I humbly ask that this trial end immediately.”

And I sat down triumphantly, to a thunderous standing ovation, by half the Senators.  Then, with that glorious sound ringing in my ears for at least half a minute, I turned my head… and woke up.

Historic Fact about Will Rogers:

In the movie, ‘Judge Priest,’ two well-known African-American actors were featured, Stepin Fetchit (real name, Lincoln Perry) and Hattie McDaniels (who later earned an Oscar). The movie also revived the career of Henry B. Walthall.

Bonus Post

The Pipeline to Nowhere
President Biden promised to add high-wage jobs for “all Americans.” His first afternoon in the Oval Office he signed orders toward that goal. He signed an order that will create thousands of jobs on the BNSF Railroad (owned by Warren Buffett).
You don’t recall seeing that one? Officially, it was the executive order that shut down the Keystone XL pipeline. It has been planned and under construction for more than 12 years to efficiently and safely transport crude oil from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska, then Oklahoma and on to Texas refineries.
If you live in a town in Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma or Texas with a railroad running through it, you can count on a 100-tankcar unit train passing through about every 10 minutes. That’s 3 million gallons of oil rolling south. And every 10 minutes a similar train with empty tank cars will be rolling north. (Somehow, they pass without running into each other. Yes, they have double tracks. Or if not, they soon will have.)
Keystone XL is an $8 BILLION project, 1200 miles long. There’s $1Billion worth of pipe along the intended route that will now be recycled. Maybe they can melt it down and use the steel in new tank cars.
You might wonder, why doesn’t Alberta build a pipeline to Vancouver? Well, they did. But there’s a 10,000-foot mountain to cross making it more expensive to pump. From Alberta to the Gulf Coast, it’s all downhill (almost). If Canada does decide to pump it all to the Pacific Coast, Americans concerned about global warming can cheer because, instead of us consuming the oil, China can burn it.

Questions for selected Biden-Harris voters

Welcome President Biden and V-P Kamala Harris. Joe, you’re a fast worker. The twenty-some Executive Orders you signed give us a solid view on issues that were mostly missing from your campaign talks last fall.

This brings up a few questions for voters who were originally on the fence, or usually voted Republican for President but changed to Biden-Harris in 2020. We all know that most Democrats always vote for the Democrat candidate, and most Republicans vote for the Republican.

My questions are aimed at the couple of million voters in the middle, in key swing states, such as suburban women and industrial union members, who eventually decided to vote for Joe Biden. (I give no answers; just questions.)

Did you know that President Biden planned to shut down the partially completed $8 Billion Keystone XL pipeline being built to transport crude oil from Alberta, Canada to Gulf Coast refineries, a key to maintaining energy independence for North America?

Did you know that President Biden would sign an order allowing strong, muscular biological males to play in girls’ high school and women’s college sports (and on our Olympic team)? And allow them to use the female dressing rooms and bathrooms in all schools and public buildings?

Did you know he would re-sign the Paris Agreement on climate change that commits us to cut our carbon emissions (which we already cut more than any other country), pay the costs for 180 other countries to cut emissions, while the one with the most emissions, China, is allowed to keep increasing theirs for 9 more years?

The President said Immigration is his #1 problem to solve (after Covid, I suppose). Did you know he would order that all undocumented aliens in prison or local jails, including MS-13 gang members, be released? And that non-citizens up to about 35 years old who were brought here as youth would have a clear path to become citizens, along with their parents?

Did you know he planned to immediately stop construction on the security wall on our Mexican border?

Did you know he would give everyone who entered the country illegally 100 days to move to a sanctuary city so they won’t be deported?

Did you know that several thousand poor people in Central America would interpret President Biden’s words to mean they have 100 days to walk across Mexico, freely cross our border without being tested for Covid, hitch a ride to California or other sanctuary state or city, find a job, and live happily ever after?

Did you know he would allow people in seven countries with insufficient security enforcement at airports (like our TSA) to board planes headed to the U.S.?

Ok, time for a couple of silly questions: Did you know he ordered an NFL team in warm, sunny Florida to go north to the frozen tundra in Wisconsin and beat Green Bay?   Do you think President Biden realized when he ordered continuous mask wearing for everyone on or in Federal property that he lives, works, eats, and, yes, sleeps in Federal property?

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“The more I see of politics … the more I wonder what in the world any man would ever want to take it up for. Then some people wonder why the best men of a community are not the office holders.” WA #146, Sept. 27, 1925

“If we could just send the same bunch of men [and women] to Washington for the good of the nation and not for political reasons, we could have the most perfect government in the world.” WA #78, June 8, 1924

A Democrat replaces a Republican: 2021 and 1933

A Democrat is replacing a Republican in the White House after one term.

In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated President Herbert Hoover. FDR was inaugurated March 4, 1933. Dramatic changes came in the following weeks. Here’s Will…

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“America hasn’t been as happy in years as they are today… They know they got a man in there who is wise to Congress, wise to our big bankers and wise to our so-called big men… Even if what he does is wrong, they are with him… If he burned down the Capitol we would cheer and say, ‘Well, we at least got a fire started anyhow.’” DT #2054, March 5, 1933

“Say this Roosevelt is a fast worker. Even on Sunday when all a President is supposed to do is put on a silk hat and have his picture taken coming out of Church, why this President closed all the banks and called Congress into extra session, and that’s not all he is going to call ‘em either if they don’t get something done.” DT #2055, March 6

“Mr. Roosevelt stepped to the microphone last night and knocked another home run. His message was not only a great comfort to the people, but it pointed a lesson to all radio announcers and public speakers what to do with a big vocabulary: leave it at home in the dictionary.” DT #2062, March 13

“America can carry herself and get along in pretty fair shape, but when she stops and picks up the whole world and puts it on her shoulders she just can’t ‘get it done.’” DT #2063, March 15

“I tell you things never was looking better. And Congress! I want to go on record as giving those rascals a world of credit. They have reformed and they look like they are sorry for what they have done for years.” DT #2065, March 17

“(Roosevelt) has done more for us in seven weeks than we’ve done for ourselves in seven years.  We elected him because he was a Democrat, and now we honor him because he is a magician…  He’s a fast worker.  He was inaugurated at noon in Washington, and they started the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, and before it got half way down there, he’d closed every bank in the United States… You’d be surprised at the hordes of Republicans who are crawling up to this shrine in Washington to pay their respects to this modern messiah, this maverick that once disgraced the Roosevelt clan…We’ve given you more power than we ever give any man in the history of the world.  You take it and run it if you want to, and deflate, or inflate, or complicate, or insulate.  Do anything, just so you get us a dollar or two every now and again…  The whole country’s cockeyed anyhow, and we’re just appointing you, and you take it… God bless you.” Radio, April 30, 1933

Horrible day at the Capitol; What’s next? (and Cleveland Browns beat Steelers)

This has been a rough week for America. The invasion of the Capitol, which lasted several hours, was scary for our Senators and Representatives, their staffs and everyone else who was already in the building.

Now, we have had other “rough weeks” (and months) recently with protests that erupted in looting, riots, death and destruction. And Covid-19 which will last a lot more than a full year.

I am being cautious tonight, partly because it will show up on my Facebook page every year (if I don’t get kicked off). And “facts” are changing every day. The FBI is investigating, looking at thousands of photos and videos and making arrests. Congress will study security of the Capitol and likely recommend changes that will cost several million dollars. (I’m going out on a limb and predicting all entry doors will have locks, and windows will be bullet-proof.)

What about President Trump? We have always had cheating in elections. Sometimes it resulted in the wrong guy being President. But our political candidates have gotten used to it and accept the final vote of the Electoral College. Donald Trump is not a usual “political candidate.” Even after 4 years in office he never accepted that role. Thursday, in his refusal to accept the Nov. 3 result, he went over the edge. Even though Trump did not actually tell the crowd to “attack the Capitol,” that’s what they heard. (There are reports that the worst of the ring-leaders were already close to the Capitol and didn’t even hear Trump’s speech.)

Why weren’t a thousand heavily armed officers surrounding the Capitol? The Capitol Police Chief was caught flat-footed, partly because, in general, Trump rallies had been law-abiding and peaceful. Last summer a thousand police were in place to protect the Capitol, Lincoln Memorial and other facilities from rioters intent on damaging buildings and tearing down statues. If the same force had been in place, no one would have gotten into the Capitol, no matter what Trump said to rile ‘em up.

The 2020 election was similar to 1932. Will Rogers said at the 1932 Democratic convention, no matter who you nominate, ‘if he lives till November he’s in.’ Trump had a good 3 years and believed he would cruise to re-election. In the fourth year, Covid-19 knocked out that optimistic result. A few other Presidents have pivoted successfully after catastrophes (For example, FDR after Pearl Harbor, and George W. Bush after 9/11.) Trump did not pivot. He still cannot believe he could lose to a candidate who never campaigned.

By the time you read this, Trump may have been impeached, fired, or persuaded to resign. I suggest they let him limp through until January 20. Then President Biden and the Democrats in Congress, if they choose, can calmly restore our faith in government. On Jan. 20, Trump and his entire family can retire to Florida where he can take out his frustrations on the golf course.

Great news for Cleveland. The hobbled, make-shift Browns beat the Steelers, 48-37. First win in Pittsburgh since 2003. First win in a playoff game since 1994. Goin’ to Kansas City!

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“An Indian (says) the reason a white man always got lost and an Indian didn’t was because an Indian always looked back after he passed anything so he got a view of it from both sides. You see the white man just figures that all sides of a thing are the same. That’s like a dumb guy with an argument, he don’t think there can be any other side only his. That’s what you call politicians.

You can learn a lot from what that Indian (said) besides just how not to get lost. You must never disagree with a man while you are facing him. Go around behind him and look the same way they do when you are facing him. Look over his shoulder and get his viewpoint, then go back and face him and you will have a different idea.” WA#514, October30, 1932

Randall Reeder

Starting 2021 with a COVID solution

Here’s a safe prediction for the new year: 2021 will end better than it started. Maybe not in all areas of your life, but COVID should be under control. We can shake hands, eat out (and in), attend church, and get together with 100,000 close friends at a football game. First, we’ve got to get shot, a vaccine shot.

Back in the Spring, the Trump Administration designed a plan to have a vaccine by December, and Congress funded it. (Actually, Trump wanted it before November 3.) The naysayers poked fun at the optimistic goal, claiming it would take 3 to 5 years for a successful vaccine.

Well, by golly, the great scientists at pharmaceutical companies jumped on it and we’ve got a few million doses before Christmas. And now, as the same naysayers eagerly point out, several states have a bottleneck. With all the medical staff overloaded with hospital patients, there aren’t enough folks to give the shots.

I’ve got a solution. Now I don’t claim to be a doctor, but I did play one in a movie (“Doctor Bull,” 1933). Here’s my plan: contact all the students in medical, pharmaceutical and nursing schools and have them report to their local hospital or pharmacy. They’re at home on break, so they will be eager to help. One of the first skills these students learn is how to give shots, so a few hours of training with these COVID vaccines and they’re ready to go. Assign 10 or 12 to an experienced professional, line ‘em up, and invite the locals, and shoot ‘em. Make sure the old folks get the vaccines, but don’t block out others. The “bottleneck” would be eliminated in a couple of weeks.

Are you wondering, what does an old comedian know about shots? Well, I called a nurse in West Virginia who says this plan makes sense. She helped the state be the first in the country to get all the nursing homes vaccinated.

I think another hint of 2021 being a good year is that Congress is pretty much tied. No matter which way Georgia votes, Congress is split down the middle.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“Washington, D. C. papers say: ‘Congress is deadlocked and can’t act.’ I think that is the greatest blessing that could befall this country.” WA #59, Jan. 27, 1924