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Doris writes a weekly column for LaGaceta, the nation's only trilingual newspaper, which has pages in English, Spanish, and Italian.  Begun in 1922 for Tampa's immigrant community, it continues to thrive more than a century later.  Her column is titled "In Context," as it aims to put contemporary issues in the context of the past.

This Week is Different

I'm going sort of medium berserk right now.  I have three speeches in the Midwest during the three weeks remaining in October, flying in and out on sequential days under the aegis of the Bill of Rights Institute.  That will be fodder for future columns.  Plus the manuscript deadline for my new book was last week.  More fodder for the future.


Thus, this week's column is going to be shorter, and I'm going to emulate the style of my colleague Joe O'Neill.  I'll take the little slips of paper on which I've jotted just an idea, and not explore that idea in my usual lengthy way.  At least, that's my plan.  I hope you don't mind, Joe.  Bullets ahead.


·      Lots of videos get circulated and recirculated on the internet, but I only saw this one once.  Someone should get it running again.  An ICE guy whose name I can't recall was testifying before a House committee chaired by Representative Pramilla Jayapal, a Democrat.  She was born in India, but dresses in western style and was duly elected by voters in Seattle.  That did not matter to the ICE guy, though, who treated her as if she were scum.  He refused to answer questions, repeatedly interrupted her, and twice shouted, "I'm a taxpayer!  You work for me!" As if everyone else in the room weren't also a taxpayer, including the congresswoman.

·       So I'm not surprised that a recent poll showed ICE to be the least popular federal agency.  Maybe we should abolish it, or at least change the threatening name.  It stands for "Immigration and Customs Enforcement," but I don't see them doing much re customs.  That, you know, is the longtime tax that is supposed to be paid on goods brought in from a foreign country.  An efficient way to collect it would be to check the luggage of passengers traveling first class.

·      For no particular reason, I was thinking recently of poet Carl Sandberg's line, "What if they gave a war and nobody came?"  After eighteen years in Afghanistan, no one seems eager to play in that game.  Our eighteen years, beginning with Dubya, is longer than the Soviet Union's war in that misbegotten nation, which lasted from 1979 to 1989.  Except perhaps for making Afghans wary of outsiders, it didn't prove a point for anyone.  Maybe it's time to give a war and no one comes.




·      With the Current Occupant making wild accusations claiming that Democrats are guilty of treason, I thought this would be a good time to revisit the Constitution's definition of that serious crime.  It's in Article Three, Section 3:  "Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.  No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court."

·      That's it, the entire section, and I don't think that the behavior of any Democrat meets its definition.  I do think, however, that we have at least two witnesses to the overt act of the phone call in which The Donald attempted to extort a foreign president to aid his reelection campaign.  That may not be exactly treasonous, but treason is just one of the Constitution's justifications for impeachment.  It is a different procedure, conducted in Congress, not in the courts, which is the route for treason trials.

·      The Constitution gives Congress lots of leeway on impeachment, and congressional Republicans certainly took advantage of that when they tried to get rid of Bill Clinton.  The standards for impeachment are spelled out in 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."

·      Bribery?  Does anyone doubt there's bribery involved when corporations and government agencies book multiple rooms at Trump hotels that aren't even used?  Isn't bribery the chief reason for the downfalls of Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort?  These guys routinely were called the president's "fixers," and they are in prison because Trump threw them under the bus.  We should know more about what they know, and it is the absolute duty of the House to ask questions.

·      Re "high crimes and misdemeanors," we should see the tax filings he refuses to release, even though every other modern president and even candidates for president have done so.  Assaulting women is at least a misdemeanor -- and not only has he done that, he brags about it. The list goes on, but I won't.  As I've said before, I don't want impeachment quite yet, primarily because I don't want Mike Pence as an incumbent, but I do want to know what others know, especially those who cashed federal paychecks.  Open hearings are the way we get this knowledge. 




·      I noticed a small obit for Tunisia's Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was described by the Associated Press as "an autocrat who led his small North African country for 23 years before being toppled by bloody protests that unleashed revolt across the Arab world."  That was "the Arab spring" of 2011, and since then, there has been less democracy in the area than before, especially in Egypt.  To no one's surprise, Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia, the worst of these totalitarian nations, and under the protection of its king, apparently enjoyed a peaceful death.

·      That was in print, but it took an online source, Women's E-News, to find a beautiful picture of Gloria Steinem and others.  They were at Korea's De-Militarized Zone (DMZ), commemorating the 70th anniversary of the truce that stopped the fighting between the two Koreas.  No permanent treaty ever has been signed, as Hubby and I well know from spending time at a university just south of the DMZ.  This civil war was after one in China in the late 1940s and before one in Vietnam during the 1960s and 1970s.  We were on the losing side of all three – but no one teaches the history of America in Asia quite that way.

·      The Women's E-News writer said that Steinem and others were in Korea to "march with thousands of Korean women on both sides of the border, calling for an end to the Korean War, the reunion of millions of families separated by land mines and barbed wire, and women's inclusion in the peace process – because we know that when women are involved, peace agreements are more achievable and durable."  So true, so unheeded.

·      And what is it that the Constitution says about treason as "adhering to enemies?"  Isn't North Korea officially an enemy?  Our president nonetheless delivers warm thoughts about its president, the third in three generations of a dictatorial family, who starve their people, torture and kill their political enemies – even their own kinfolk. 

·      Also re "adhering to enemies," recent news coverage probably reminded you of the first anniversary of the murder of an American citizen, a journalist hacked to death in a Saudi Arabian embassy.  That is just one of the many crimes that makes its royal family an enemy of democracy, but our thug of a president seems to love other thugs.



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