Tuesday Poetry……

Freedom XIV, by Khalil Gibran

 

And an orator said, “Speak to us of Freedom.”

And he answered:

At the city gate and by your fireside I have seen you prostrate yourself and worship your own freedom,

Even as slaves humble themselves before a tyrant and praise him though he slays them.

Ay, in the grove of the temple and in the shadow of the citadel I have seen the freest among you wear their freedom as a yoke and a handcuff.

And my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fulfillment.

You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief,

But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.

And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break the chains which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened around your noon hour?

In truth that which you call freedom is the strongest of these chains, though its links glitter in the sun and dazzle the eyes.

And what is it but fragments of your own self you would discard that you may become free?

If it is an unjust law you would abolish, that law was written with your own hand upon your own forehead.

You cannot erase it by burning your law books nor by washing the foreheads of your judges, though you pour the sea upon them.

And if it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed.

For how can a tyrant rule the free and the proud, but for a tyranny in their own freedom and a shame in their won pride?

And if it is a care you would cast off, that care has been chosen by you rather than imposed upon you.

And if it is a fear you would dispel, the seat of that fear is in your heart and not in the hand of the feared.

Verily all things move within your being in constant half embrace, the desired and the dreaded, the repugnant and the cherished, the pursued and that which you would escape.

These things move within you as lights and shadows in pairs that cling.

And when the shadow fades and is no more, the light that lingers becomes a shadow to another light.

And thus your freedom when it loses its fetters becomes itself the fetter of a greater freedom.

With the Mueller Report Congress Must Now Act to Do Its Job……

The Mueller report, a 400 page assessment of the Trump administration that began post-election 2016 and continued until this month, is anything but an exoneration of Trump. Rather it paints a picture of perhaps the most corrupt and ineffectual presidency in modern history. It also paints a stark picture of a democratic republic under attack by its president.

The consequential decision to impeach should not be made lightly. But Mueller’s damning report is an invitation that Congress shouldn’t refuse.

Despite Attorney General William Barr’s assurances and President Donald Trump’s boasts, the Mueller report doesn’t come close to exonerating the president of wrongdoing. Instead, it invites Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings. It’s time for Congress to heed that invitation.

In its extensive discussion of the constitutional issues implicated by special counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month investigation, the report asserts that Congress has the authority to apply law “to all persons – including the President.” Specifically, Congress may “protect its own legislative functions against corrupt efforts designed to impede legitimate fact-gathering and lawmaking efforts.” The authority to prohibit a president’s corrupt use of power, the report finds, is essential to “our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”

The report declines to reach a judgment on whether the president has committed a crime because Mueller views himself as bound by Department of Justice policy against indicting a sitting president. This does not mean that the president has not committed a crime.

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… Mueller invites Congress to take action, either through impeachment or by exposing a disgraced but politically acquitted Trump to criminal prosecution after he is no longer president — so long as that time comes within the five-year statute of limitations for obstruction.

I have written previously about the dangers of impeachment talk. The consequential and divisive decision to impeach is not to be taken lightly, ought not be used as a tool of political convenience, and should be avoided until the dangers of holding back exceed the dangers of proceeding. With the arrival of Mueller’s damning report, however, the time has now come.

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Congress must uncover the full facts of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the ways in which that interference is continuing in anticipation of 2020, and the full story of how the president and his team welcomed, benefited from, repaid, and obstructed lawful investigation into that interference and the president’s cooperation with it. Equally important, Congress must seize this opportunity, while the report remains a locus of national attention, for the American public to see and hear for itself the firsthand witnesses to the president’s criminal behavior, and to weigh and rally around an appropriate path forward — as they did in the wake of Watergate.

Mueller’s report has in no way cleared the president of grave wrongdoing. It would be a lie to claim otherwise, as Barr and Trump repeatedly have done. The report takes pains to note that the investigation could not establish wrongdoing under the strict framework of conspiracy law, but declines to draw a conclusion on the existence of collusion, which “is not a specific offense or theory” under U.S. law. Further, Mueller does not mince words about the president’s potential obstruction of justice, stating: “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

Congress has a duty to provide a beacon of principle and democratic values to the American people. It must pick up the baton that Mueller has offered and come to a judgment of its own, with the understanding that conduct that falls short of criminal conspiracy may nonetheless be impeachable.

Given everything we know about Trump from his public statements and actions, combined with the Mueller Report  and its findings, every Patriotic American ought to be highly concerned with the president, his dishonesty, and his total disregard for our constitution, our institutions, and the rule of law.

Our national values as well as the very foundations of our democratic republic are under attack  by an inept man pretending to be president. Trump, while elected to the presidency, has demonstrated many times he does nt deserve to hold the office he occupies.

Now is the time for Congress to act to protect  our constitution, the rule of law, our free and independent press, and the institutions of government that have served the nation so well up tp 2017.

More of the Associated Press article BELOW the FOLD.

Easter’s Pagan Origins……

Easter is a pagan holiday that has morphed its way into Christianity. It was originally a holiday to the pagan goddess Aestarte, or Diana of Ephesus in the book of Acts. Rabbits are notorious for breeding hence the Easter Bunnies. Easter Sunday is supposed to be the day Christ was resurrected, but even that part isn’t true either.

 

More Truth Here.

 

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Corruption Exposed……

David Brooks lays out in his article in the New York Times yesterday why Donald John Trump represents a grave threat to the government institutions of the United States of America as well as the rule of law. Most honest folks recognize to one degree or anther what Brooks argues is true. Evidence in the Mueller report, as well as the observable events of Trump’s myriad tweet storms, many public announcements, and actions all support Brooks arguments.

Why it is that nearly 45% of the American people choose to ignore the obvious and support DJT is a mystery to a majority of Americans. I hesitate to say, but, it is likely they just don’t care about the threat that DJT represents to our representative democracy, its institutions, and the rule of law.

Now a teaser from David Brooks article.

The Mueller report is like a legal version of a thriller movie in which three malevolent forces are attacking a city all at once. Everybody’s wondering if the three attackers are working together. The report concludes that they weren’t, but that doesn’t make the situation any less scary or the threat any less real.

The first force is Donald Trump, who represents a threat to the American systems of governance. Centuries ago our founders created a system of laws and not men. In our system of government there are procedures in place, based on certain values — impartiality, respect for institutions, the idea that a public office is a public trust, not a private bauble.

When Trump appears in the Mueller report, he is often running roughshod over these systems and violating these values. He asks his lawyer to hamper an investigation. He asks his F.B.I. director to take the heat off his allies. He tries to get the relevant investigators fired. I don’t know if his actions meet the legal standard of obstruction of justice, but they certainly meet the common-sense standard of interference with justice.

The second force is Russia. If Trump is a threat to the institutional infrastructure, the Russians are a threat to our informational infrastructure. We knew this already, but it was still startling to see the fact declared so bluntly — that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election “in sweeping and systematic fashion.”

It may not be bombing buildings or shooting at people, but if a foreign government is attacking the factual record on which democracy runs, it is still a sort of warfare. The Russians are trying to undermine the information we use to converse, and the trust that makes conversation possible.

The third force is Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. They are a threat to our deliberative infrastructure. Any organization needs to be able to hold private conversations in order to deliberate. Whether it is State Department cables or Democratic National Committee emails, WikiLeaks has violated privacy and made it harder for institutions to function. We’re now in a situation in which some of the worst people on earth get to determine what gets published.

The Mueller report indicates that Trump was not colluding with Russia. But it also shows that working relationships were beginning to be built, through networkers like Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr. and Roger Stone. More important, it shows that many of the Trumpists, the Russians and the WikiLeaks crowd all understood that they were somehow adjacent actors in the same project.

I would say that’s the report’s central importance. We are being threatened in a very distinct way. The infrastructure of the society is under threat — the procedures that shape government, the credibility of information, the privacy rules that make deliberation possible. And though the Chinese government does not play a big role here, it represents a similar sort of threat — to our intellectual infrastructure, the intellectual property rights that organize innovation.

It is as if somebody is inserting acids into a body that eats away at the ligaments and the tendons.

More Below the Fold…