The Parkland school kids who have talked so eloquently about the firsthand effects of gun violence were called “child actors” by conservatives. A Fox News contributor has labeled as “actors” the children convincingly crying and screaming at the border as their mothers are led away. I wish Fox News would report on the acting academy that turns out so many excellent young actors. It would be a service to the many stage mothers of our country.
I have friends who believe that the President as the chief executive has the constitutional power to direct criminal investigations however he wishes and end them whenever he wishes. In their view, he cannot criminally obstruct justice because he has the constitutional power to, well, obstruct justice. They maintain that the only check on this power is impeachment. But the Constitution states that a President can only be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. If the President is only exercising his valid constitutional power in ending an investigation for any reason, even to protect himself or others, then the President would not be committing a high crime or misdemeanor, and Congress should not impeach him for that reason. If Congress removes a President for the commission of a constitutionally valid executive act, hasn’t Congress placed itself above and subverted the Constitution?
“Make America Great Again.” I remember in my youth that the suggestion that the United States was not all that it could be or had been was met with the reply, “Love it or leave it.”
One Sunday FBI agents rang my door bell and asked if a certain young woman was a tenant in my building. I said yes, and in reply to another question told them that she was gone for the weekend. They asked if I would let them into her apartment, which would have been illegal on my part, and I declined. But I gave information to the FBI; I wonder if the President would classify me as a spy?
After yet another revelation about suspicious and hitherto secret contacts between those who surrounded President Trump during the 2016 campaign and Russians, commentators temper their remarks by saying that the revelation is not “evidence of” collusion. These talking heads don’t know the difference between “evidence of” collusion and “sufficient proof” of collusion. Seldom is one piece of evidence sufficient to prove a fact, but many pieces of evidence, each insufficient by itself, when assembled together can be convincing proof of a fact. A brick is not a wall. But put enough bricks together, and a wall is erected.
The cable news commentator stated that we must find a way to stop all the leaks coming out of the government. No one else on the panel challenged that assertion. Nevertheless, someone should ask “Why?” For a proper democracy with accountability, the default position should be governmental openness. There should only be secrets if there are strong justifications for them. Before the shibboleth is announced that leaks must stop, the commentators should consider how, if at all, the now-public information was justified as secret and what harm has come from the information’s exposure to the cleansing power of sunlight.
“You can take better care of your secrets than another can.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.
A news story about Jared and Ivanka’s recent financial disclosures said that ethics experts state that their continuing business dealings “could raise questions of possible conflicts of interest.” Isn’t this going overboard trying to be fair? Why all three words: “could,” “questions,” and “possible”? Shouldn’t the sentence just be “could raise conflicts of interest”? Or “raises questions of conflicts of interest”? Or “raises possible conflicts of interest”?