To seek a newer world

Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.

Robert Kennedy

Every voter has an idea of what THEY want to see in our next president. Few think about what the country needs.

What about what the nation needs?
I keep hearing people of color. What about what seniors and low income families? The average senior must make $1000.00 pay their bills. The youth is ready for the baby boomers to die off. I look around and see a lot of selfish greed. Union people damanding more money better benefits. As the younger employees want $15.00 per hour. If we raise the minimum wage, we must increase social security.

I am a 69 year old gay man. I have been with my husband for going into 15 years, married for nearly 5, years

I hear people of color claim that I don’t know what it is to be a minority. I have personally seen gay bashing. Fired simply because you are gay. Then there is the transgender community. Killings, assaults. If you think you have it rough, put yourself in my shoes.

One of our biggest concern is climate. Your tax dollars are subsidizing the oil Barron’s who are the cause of the destruction of our planet. Heterosexual men feel that their needs are more important. Faster, vehicles, trucks with guts. Even though these are the biggest polluters.

E85 was developed to reduce the need for gas consumption. But people are more concerned about mpg than our planet. I honestly think many of them couldn’t pass a driver’s exam.

I use the State farm driving app to give me a discount on my car insurance. While I see people passing three cars because of their need for speed. I use gasbuddy to save five cents per gallon on gas.

The redneck population are among the selfish greedy bastards. Many of them received a thank you for showing up diploma.

The republicans claim they want less government. That is so they can control our government. Pollute our planet and grow rich. They want to widen the distance between classes.

Many gun owners seem to think that owning one gives them power. Those who can read haven’t picked up a book since high school. Their knowledge of how government is suppose to work is warped by the republican agenda. Women are so caught up in the #metoo movement so they demonstrate an outright hatred toward men. I Believe they should get equal pay, control over their own bodies. Out government is severely broken. The church keeps trying to run things just as they did centuries ago when they killed pagans who wouldn’t convert. Look at the divorce rate today. People marry for all the wrong reasons. Love has little to do with it. There are heterosexual men sneeking around cheating on their wives with men. Life is not black and white. There are many colors and each deserve their right to live their lives without hatred cutting it short.

Power companies are using alternative energy to produce electricity at a cheeper rate but still charging the same high prices. Making hem richer. Then you have solar companies claiming you can get the initial installation with zero money up front. Leaving out the fact that they want to make you pay a $100.00 monthly lease fees.

There are those who complain that too many people are on welfare when it is them who have put them there with their own personal greed. There is an extreme shortage of low income housing. Slum landlords pocketing unreported income.

Our educational system is a joke. How about going back to basics instead of new math. Math isn’t new. Institutions have just created a flawed system. Technology is great, but eliminating cursive is putting our youth back into the stone age. Todays youth can barely speak English let along a foreign one. Because of texting many cannot spell. Not to mention their grammar.

The oil industry has come up with better ways to pollute our planet. More people need to recycle instead of filling lands fills.

After generations of farming, the following generation does want to farm. So they would rather sell the land to get rich. They don’t appreciate what they have.

Developers cut down more trees instead of using some of the abandoned buildings.

What message are sending our youth? Hate, racism and bigotry are taught.

I am looking forward to the stock market falling. Bring people to their knees and join us at the bottom.

I wonder just how many people have read our constitution. And do they understand it?

They forget the phrase “all men are created equal”. How about letting the republicans create their own country, just not in North America.

The republican party just wants to be in control so they can be rich.

There American dream is greed. We are no longer a government for the people, just the rich and big corporations.

There are so many children in the foster care system because the church discriminate against the same sex couples who would make far better parents than some of the heterosexual parents. It really surprises me that black people are more homophobic that other races.

The youth have little respect for their elders. And let’s not talk about reparations. Gays have endured far greater discrimination.

It is already too late to stop climate change, just slow it down and watch sea levels rise.

If Edison had not stolen Tesla’s research and passed it off as his we would have wireless energy. Edison created D/C current which is great for batteries. The energy we use today was created by Tesla. The rich wanted to make money off it. Greed.

Your Navy

Is SEAL war crimes suspect Eddie Gallagher innocent?

On May 3, 2017, in the waning moments of an Islamic State prisoner of war’s young life, a group of SEALs began a macabre series of medical procedures on what was left of his body, efforts that appear to have had little to do with saving him and might’ve killed him long before Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher allegedly knifed him to death.

Gallagher is slated to begin a court-martial beginning on June 10 at Naval Base San Diego, where he faces charges that include the premeditated murder of the ISIS teenager and a pair of shootings tied to the alleged deaths of an elderly man and a young girl — accusations he not only strongly denies but insists they were made to frame him.

Building on a series of previous court filings and reams of other evidence that’s been provided to Navy Times — including video footage of the alleged murder scene — a motion filed late Sunday by Gallagher’s legal team accuses military prosecutors and Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents of knowingly hiding or misrepresenting key facts in the court-martial case that could exonerate him of the murder rap.

Alleging a wide range of misconduct committed by prosecutors and NCIS agents, the legal filing asks military judge Capt. Aaron Rugh to dismiss all charges against Gallagher, 39.

At issue is a re-interview session conducted by prosecutors of a first class special warfare operator — an SO1 — who was next to the seriously wounded Iraqi ISIS fighter before he died, about 20 minutes after Iraqi troops brought him to the SEAL compound for treatment.

According to the defense motion, the SEAL’s words offer “a significantly exculpatory alternative theory” of the boy’s death, information so significant that it promises to “completely eviscerate” the prosecution’s theory of the case and “explains why so many of the witnesses are reticent to fully tell their stories.”

Both Naval Special Warfare and military prosecutors continue to request Navy Times to cloak the names of eyewitnesses, including one who is now a civilian, citing their potential redeployment overseas.

With a public trial looming, Navy Times has informed officials that this is the last story that will shield their identities.

Navy SEALs and Iraqi troops look at a young Islamic State fighter prosecutors say was murdered by Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher. He says he was framed. (photo provided)
Navy SEALs and Iraqi troops look at a young Islamic State fighter prosecutors say was murdered by Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher. He says he was framed. (photo provided)

Navy Times has painted a picture of the last moments of the dying ISIS fighter already, using the recollections of SEALs to describe the prisoner struggling to breathe, possibly because of “blast lung,” a condition that often affects those who survive explosions like those that rocked his safe house before he was gunned down trying to escape the missile strikes.

Witnesses described a SEAL inserting a chest tube while Gallagher, using a special kit, performed a cricothyroidotomy — or “cric” — a simple and rapid surgical method for opening up a blocked airway by inserting a tube through an incision in the cricothyroid ligament, according to records provided to Navy Times.

But Navy Times also noted that the prisoner’s body after 20 minutes of treatment ended up inexplicably spangled with medical devices — a trachea tube, at least two chest tubes and a Sternal Intraosseous Infusion, which bores through bone to reach veins when other IVs won’t work, records indicate.

Riffing off the apparent interview of the SO1, the defense motion starts to explain what might have really happened after another SEAL turned off the helmet camera that had been recording the scene.

“At the time that the ISIS fighter was brought to the compound, he was at or near death and, although SOC Gallagher initially attempted to save his life, these efforts quickly proved to be fruitless,” the motion stated. “Once it was clear that the ISIS fighter was beyond saving, the platoon’s medic … took over and began using the newly dead or nearly dead ISIS fighter as a training aid to practice performing medical procedures.”

The Islamic State prisoner of war before a trachea tube, at least two chest tubes and a Sternal Intraosseous Infusion were attached to his body. (photo provided)
The Islamic State prisoner of war before a trachea tube, at least two chest tubes and a Sternal Intraosseous Infusion were attached to his body. (photo provided)

It remains unclear from the NCIS files and the motion how much pain medication flowed into the ISIS fighter’s body — not to mention a failed final dose of Naloxone, a medication designed to bring a victim out of an opiate stupor.

But defense attorneys insist the medic and other members of Alpha Platoon, SEAL Team 7 in broad daylight were “performing, for skill development, medically nonindicated invasive medical procedures on a newly dead or dying ISIS fighter,” a finding that’s “significant for a number of reasons and should have been immediately disclosed to the defense.”

The body of the Islamic State fighter, believed to be a young teenager, was never recovered by NCIS so prosecutors have relied on interrogations of two witnesses ― one of them the platoon medic who later told investigators he allegedly left the compound to fetch his sunglasses, and another SEAL who said he went to grab a meal before returning to see Gallagher allegedly stabbing the prisoner in the throat.

Other eyewitnesses said that never happened, including that important re-interview session with the SEAL who was next to Gallagher when the ISIS detainee died, according to records provided to Navy Times.

But during a closed May 22 conference, lead prosecutor Cmdr. Christopher Czaplak and his assistant, Lt. Brian John, allegedly told the defense team that they didn’t have any evidence pointing to a possible alternative cause of death to turn over.

“Instead, they said that everything was done at SOC Gallagher’s direction and everything was medically necessary. They do not have any firsthand knowledge from any witness that there was anything that was medically unnecessary and, moreover, they do not have anyone that has even suggested it,” the motion states.

But one of the prosecutors, Marine Capt. Conor L. McMahon, “remained silent on this issue, except to assert that he was uncomfortable with everything that was going on,” the motion alleges.

Speaking on behalf of both the prosecution team and the sea service, Navy Region Southwest spokesman Brian O’Rourke indicated in a text message to Navy Times that this is “what we expected” and he declined further comment.

Pressure has been building for Navy Region Southwest commander Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar to grant broad immunity from prosecution to at least two SEAL eyewitnesses to the detainee’s death, but she’s rebuffed the efforts.

But that’s not all the prosecutors and NCIS are withholding, defense attorneys claim.

They say that on Aug. 23, 2018, less than three weeks before NCIS agents arrested him, the CIA gave Gallagher a polygraph test for a job screening. During the session, Gallagher was asked if he’d committed any war crimes.

“SOC Gallagher denied any wrongdoing and passed the polygraph,” the motion states. “Although the Government administered this polygraph, and discovery materials demonstrate that NCIS investigators reviewed his communications to schedule the polygraph, the prosecution has failed to disclose, or even acknowledge the existence of this significantly exculpatory test.”

And the defense team takes aim at the lead NCIS agent on the case, Joseph Warpinski, for what they say are inaccurate accounts of events he spun from the witness stand during an Article 32 hearing, which operates in the military almost like a civilian grand jury session.

As with the young ISIS fighter who died in the compound, NCIS agents never recovered the bodies of the old man and young girl allegedly shot by Gallagher in a sniping perch.

Instead, they’ve relied on witness statements that often appear to contradict each other. A key witness was a sniper who had allegedly asked another sniper if he saw Gallagher shoot the girl, something Warpinski repeated during the Article 32 hearing.

But it wasn’t true, the defense attorneys wrote.

The sniper had “denied this statement, or any knowledge about the allegations related to the young girl.”

And Warpinski wasn’t cross-examined about that apparent problem in his testimony “because the prosecutors turned over shortened copies of the interview videos” that withheld the denial, according to the motion.

As for the old man allegedly shot by Gallagher on Father’s Day in 2017, the same sniper who denied knowing anything about the girl is prepared to testify that he heard Gallagher take a shot, but it might’ve been 20 minutes before the man was hit and he “has no idea whether these two events are related,” the motion states.

Neither Warpinski nor other NCIS officials returned messages seeking comment about copies of the motion sent to them by Navy Times.

What’s interesting is that the same Texas-based attorney represents both the SO1 who apparently is prepared to offer damning testimony about the medical experiments on the prisoner of war’s body and the sniper who appears to contradict vital aspects of the twin shootings.

When contacted by Navy Times, Brian Ferguson — an Air Force Reserve major — declined comment.

After the witnesses lawyered up with him, both NCIS and the prosecutors went after Ferguson, attempting to strip him from representing his clients while he tried to hammer out broad immunity deals for them.

But the defense motion reveals that prosecutors also contemplated an indictment against Ferguson and failed.

“Most frightening is that it seems that the harder Mr. Ferguson pushes to protect his clients and give them a legal and protected avenue to tell the truth, the Government responds with ever increasing threats and personal intimidation and attacks on their attorney,” the motion states.

“Through discovery, we learned that prosecutors and NCIS went as far as attempting to put together a criminal case against Mr. Ferguson for obstruction of justice and witness tampering. Luckily for Mr. Ferguson, much of his communications seemed to be memorialized through text messages where he repeatedly urges witnesses to tell the truth and seek the advice of counsel.”

The motion alleges other shenanigans allegedly pursued by prosecutors, including “manipulating witness statements,” threatening “false charges to prevent witnesses from appearing and testifying to the full truth,” leaking documents to “improperly taint the jury pool and prejudice the public” against Gallagher.

“It’s really the totality of the circumstances,” lead defense attorney Timothy Parlatore told Navy Times early Sunday morning. “What’s so disturbing about this case is the entire pattern of misconduct, from beginning to end.”

He didn’t put it into the motion, but Parlatore believes the motives for the alleged gamesmanship that marked this case “from the beginning” stemmed from prosecutors and NCIS agents who “tried to make everything fit what they wanted the case to be, but unfortunately they failed in their duties as gatekeepers.”

“Proper evaluation of this case at the beginning of the investigation would’ve forced them to decide if charges should’ve even been brought. Now they’re over-committed on it, and a couple of them saw this as a career-enhancing case.”

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    Keystone Pipeline Shut Down After Leaking 383,000 Gallons of Tar Sands Oil and Nobody’s Talking About It

    3′

    ‘Sober Bars’ Offer Recovering Alcoholics, Health-Conscious Adults a Booze-Free Social Scene

    ELIAS MARATNOV 22, 2019

    (TMU) — For many adults, going to the bar is a regular pastime—if not the default social activity when going out for a night of socializing and hanging out.

    But for many people struggling to free themselves of addictions like alcoholism, it can be difficult to go to a bar without dealing with the pressure of having an alcoholic drink, risking the danger of falling off the wagon and relapsing back into harmful behavior.

    And for those who aren’t struggling with addiction, there are some people who simply don’t feel like submerging themselves into a drink-soaked space that inevitably entails hangovers, DUIs, and the many problems of excessive alcohol use—ranging from fatty liver and cirrhosis to various cancers, stroke, dementia, anxiety, and depression, let alone the social ills related to the substance.

    And as alcohol-free options become increasingly attractive to people across the United States, new “sober bars” are popping up for recovering addicts and alcoholics seeking community, fun, and support as well as those who simply want a healthy alternative to the boozy default.

    These bars look just like the real thing, but alcohol isn’t part of the equation—instead, one can find fun-loving adults enjoying the night scene over sober beverages like matcha tea frappes, fruity infusions, creative virgin cocktails, and even an ice-cold non-alcoholic beer like Heineken 0.0.

    One such example is the Cherokee Recovery Village in Barstrop, Texas, where adults can find a sense of belonging without the need to imbibe.

    At first glance, the village looks like a traditional tavern—it’s dark and dingy, with shelves filled with non-alcoholic beverages, KEYE reports. But rather than beer and liquor, patrons can find kombucha and coffee while taking part in traditional bar or club events like karaoke, fundraising events, and community dinners.

    Cherokee Recovery Village owner Paul French, who is himself a former addict now working as a licensed chemical dependency counselor, said that the venue’s ambiance is offering crucial help for those in recovery.

    “This is exposing yourself to triggers intentionally to weaken those triggers.

    It will allow you to eventually go into establishments where there’s drinking and partying and craziness and it won’t affect you as strongly as it did.

    You can come in and you can drink. We only have healthy beverages.”

    More in Home

    The “sober bar” is also an excellent way for people to remain committed to their 12-step program beyond the confines of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or one’s home. French added:

    “People need connection once they start a recovery program.”

    Despite its name, the Cherokee Recovery Village isn’t only for recovering addicts. Those who are sober curious have also found the sober bar scene attractive. French said:

    “It has really wakened people up on the health benefits of getting sober even if it’s just for a short period of time.”

    But for former drinkers like Ember Zenchyshyn, who has been sober for 3 years now and admits to drinking until she couldn’t anymore, the dry tavern is not only providing a fun lifestyle option, it’s also preparing her for when she inevitably goes back to the bar—and has the willpower to refuse a drink. She said:

    “You’re not going to be able to avoid stuff forever.

    It’s life, you just don’t want to get into recovery to stop living life, you’re getting into recovery to enjoy life.”

      Oath Taking


      Vice President Richard Nixon administers the oath of office to Senator Gale McGee.

      Oath of Office

      I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

      History of the Oath

      At the start of each new Congress, in January of every odd-numbered year, the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate performs a solemn and festive constitutional rite that is as old as the Republic. While the oath-taking dates back to the First Congress in 1789, the current oath is a product of the 1860s, drafted by Civil War-era members of Congress intent on ensnaring traitors.

      The Constitution contains an oath of office only for the president. For other officials, including members of Congress, that document specifies only that they “shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation to support this constitution.” In 1789, the First Congress reworked this requirement into a simple fourteen-word oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States.”

      For nearly three-quarters of a century, that oath served nicely, although to the modern ear it sounds woefully incomplete. Missing are the soaring references to bearing “true faith and allegiance;” to taking “this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion;” and to “well and faithfully” discharging the duties of the office.

      The outbreak of the Civil War quickly transformed the routine act of oath-taking into one of enormous significance. In April of 1861, a time of uncertain and shifting loyalties, President Abraham Lincoln ordered all federal civilian employees within the executive branch to take an expanded oath. When Congress convened for a brief emergency session in July, members echoed the president’s action by enacting legislation requiring employees to take the expanded oath in support of the Union. This oath is the earliest direct predecessor of the modern oath.

      When Congress returned for its regular session in December 1861, members who believed that the Union had as much to fear from northern traitors as southern soldiers again revised the oath, adding a new first section known as the “Ironclad Test Oath.” The war-inspired Test Oath, signed into law on July 2, 1862, required “every person elected or appointed to any office … under the Government of the United States … excepting the President of the United States” to swear or affirm that they had never previously engaged in criminal or disloyal conduct. Those government employees who failed to take the 1862 Test Oath would not receive a salary; those who swore falsely would be prosecuted for perjury and forever denied federal employment.

      The 1862 oath’s second section incorporated a more polished and graceful rendering of the hastily drafted 1861oath. Although Congress did not extend coverage of the Ironclad Test Oath to its own members, many took it voluntarily. Angered by those who refused this symbolic act during a wartime crisis, and determined to prevent the eventual return of prewar southern leaders to positions of power in the national government, congressional hard-liners eventually succeeded by 1864 in making the Test Oath mandatory for all members.

      The Senate then revised its rules to require that members not only take the Test Oath orally, but also that they “subscribe” to it by signing a printed copy. This condition reflected a wartime practice in which military and civilian authorities required anyone wishing to do business with the federal government to sign a copy of the Test Oath. The current practice of newly sworn senators signing individual pages in an elegantly bound oath book dates from this period.

      As tensions cooled during the decade following the Civil War, Congress enacted private legislation permitting particular former Confederates to take only the second section of the 1862 oath. An 1868 public law prescribed this alternative oath for “any person who has participated in the late rebellion, and from whom all legal disabilities arising therefrom have been removed by act of Congress.” Northerners immediately pointed to the new law’s unfair double standard that required loyal Unionists to take the Test Oath’s harsh first section while permitting ex-Confederates to ignore it. In 1884, a new generation of lawmakers quietly repealed the first section of the Test Oath, leaving intact today’s moving affirmation of constitutional allegiance.

      Taking the Oath

      At the beginning of a new term of office, senators-elect take their oath of office from the presiding officer in an open session of the Senate before they can begin to perform their legislative activities. From the earliest days, the senator-elect—both the freshman and the returning veteran—has been escorted down the aisle by another senator to take the oath from the presiding officer. Customarily, the other senator from the senator-elect’s state performs that ritual. Occasionally, the senator-elect chooses a senator from another state, either because the same-state colleague is absent or because the newly elected senator has sharp political differences with that colleague. Such public displays of these differences do not go unnoticed by journalists.

      A ban on photography in the Senate chamber has led senators to devise an alternative way of capturing this highly symbolic moment in their Senate careers. In earlier times, the Vice President invited newly sworn senators and their families into his Capitol office for a reenactment for home-state photographers. Beginning in the late 1970s, following the restoration of the Old Senate Chamber to its appearance at the time it went out of service in 1859, reenactment ceremonies have been held in that deeply historical setting, resplendent in crimson and gold.

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      Indictment of a sitting president

      EXECUTIVE POWER

      Yes, the Constitution Allows Indictment of the President

      By Laurence H. Tribe

      Thursday, December 20, 2018, 11:55 am

      Credit: Matthew Kahn

      In a recent opinion piece, I argued that the text and structure of the Constitution, a serious commitment to the rule of law, and plain good sense combine to preclude a rigid policy of “delaying any indictment of a president for crimes committed in winning the presidency.” When a scholar I admire as much as Philip Bobbitt strongly disagrees and argues otherwise in this publication, I need to rethink my position and respond—either confessing error or explaining why I continue to hold to the views I originally expressed.

      Not to extend the suspense: I haven’t changed my mind. My op-ed argued against the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memos opining that the Constitution prevents the indictment of a sitting president. Nearly everyone concedes that any such policy would have to permit exceptions. The familiar hypothetical of a president who shoots and kills someone in plain view clinches the point. Surely, there must be an exception for that kind of case: Having to wait until the House of Representatives impeaches the alleged murderer and the Senate removes him from office before prosecuting and sentencing him would be crazy. Nobody seriously advocates applying the OLC mantra of “no indictment of a sitting president” to that kind of case.

      The same is true for any number of other cases that come readily to mind. Among those, in my view, must be the not-so-hypothetical case of a president who turns out to have committed serious crimes as a private citizen in order to win the presidency. Whether the president committed such crimes in collusion with a shady group of private collaborators or did so in conspiracy with one or more foreign adversaries, it should not be necessary for the House to decide that such pre-inaugural felonies were impeachable offenses and for the Senate to convict and remove the officeholder before putting him in the dock as an alleged felon and meting out justice.

      The onrush of daily, even hourly, news in the world today sadly furnishes plenty of other real-life examples. As those examples mount, the time may soon come when the Justice Department cannot avoid addressing the question: When does the anti-indictment policy have to give way to an emerging reality? It is this inescapable question that motivates me to continue this exchange with Professor Bobbitt.

      Former OLC head Walter Dellinger has authoritatively canvassed the complex history of the Justice Department’s wavering views on the indictment of a sitting president and analyzed the arguments underlying the relevant OLC memos and executive-branch submissions to the Supreme Court. He concludes that “putting a president on trial would be inconsistent with the Article II responsibilities of the modern presidency,” although indicting the president and postponing the trial might not be. I will shortly discuss the postponement option, but what is essential now is to focus on one conspicuous fact about the OLC memos and Justice Department briefs: They simply don’t address the situation that appears to be unfolding in the United States at the moment. There is mounting reason to ask whether the president and his associates sought to secure his election by conspiring with foreign adversaries and domestic accomplices to defraud the American people. Yet the memos in question would shield him from being held accountable precisely because he won that office. There is a maddeningly circular, bootstrap quality to arguing that even a crime committed to put somebody into a privileged position can’t be pursued because, well, it helped put him into that position of privilege.

      I have no quarrel with that argument, although Professor Bobbitt assumes I do. I read the language of Article I, Section 3 as leaving subject to indictment and trial an official who has been impeached, convicted and removed for an impeachable offense that happens also to be a crime. Without that language, it might have been argued that the ban on double jeopardy would preclude such post-removal proceedings that seek to punish the removed official criminally for the very same conduct that led to the official’s conviction and removal by the Senate. But that language says nothing at all about the amenability to indictment and trial of an official who hasn’t yet been removed through impeachment. It is the Constitution’s unspoken but clear commitment to the rule of law, and to the proposition that even the president is not above the law, that establishes the basic point that being president doesn’t mean being immune to indictment. All Article I, Section 3 adds with respect to an official who has been removed through impeachment and conviction is that such an official cannot invoke the Senate conviction as a bar to subsequent criminal prosecution. That such an official “shall nevertheless be liable” to the criminal process says only that he shall “remain” liable to that process—just as he would have been prior to removal. In other words, the impeachment process doesn’t serve as a crime-laundering device.

      Ironically, it is Professor Bobbitt who has read Article I, Section 3 in a manner unsupported by the natural import of its words. He has read the statement that someone removed through the impeachment process “shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law” as though the Constitution states that anyone removed from office for committing an impeachable offense shall, upon being convicted by the Senate, for the first time become “liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.” His reading would suggest that amenability to the federal criminal process springs from the ether once an officer has been put through the impeachment wringer and been found wanting.

      That can’t be right. For one thing, many impeachable offenses aren’t federal crimes at all—a point on which Bobbitt and I strongly agree. Second, as to offenses that are both impeachable (because they constitute “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” as Article II, Section 4 specifies) and criminal (in the sense of violating the federal criminal code), it’s their criminality from the outsetand not the removal of the criminally accused from office that subjects the accused to indictment and the rest. Finally, it makes no sense to read the words of Article I, Section 3, to mean one thing as applied to the president and another thing altogether as applied to the “Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States,” all of whom are identically removable from office for committing impeachable offenses, and identically liable to subsequent criminal prosecution if their offenses happened also to be crimes.

      Nothing in the Constitution supports treating amenability to the criminal process as something that kicks in only after a civil officer has been impeached and removed. To treat a sitting president as immune to that process until his presidency ends is to superimpose upon the impeachment framework—a framework designed as the way to remove a president who commits an impeachable offense that might or might not also be a federal crime—something quite extraordinary in a system priding itself on the axiom that no one is above the law.

      The fact that the Constitution does indeed embody that axiom is illustrated by the care it takes to grant immunities from the law expressly and with relatively precise contours, rather than by implication and with striking imprecision. Consider, for instance, the Speech and Debate Clause of Article I, Section 6, specifying that senators and representatives “shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses … and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.” Note that no such privilege is accorded to the president of the United States and that, even when it is accorded to members of the House and Senate an exception is made for felonies.

      If a parallel immunity were to be created by implication for the president by virtue of that officer’s unique place in our government’s structure, any such implied immunity would need to carve out at least those cases involving felonies committed to facilitate winning that high office. To imply presidential immunity without simultaneously excluding those pre-inaugural crimes that were committed in order to become president would be manifestly unjust. It would create a perverse incentive structure, telling those seeking the presidency that the more successful they become in fraudulently obtaining and holding onto it, the less likely they would be to be held fully accountable for their perfidy.

      Indeed, pre-inaugural crimes in general share one interesting feature with the hypothetical case of the president who commits a garden-variety crime like murder after being inaugurated. Neither category of crimes possesses the defining feature of an impeachable offense. They are not abuses of a power distinctly conferred upon the president as chief executive—the first because that power hasn’t yet been conferred, the second because that power isn’t involved in the offense at issue. I don’t doubt that the country would nonetheless properly treat murder while in office as grounds for removal, just as it would properly treat crimes committed to obtain office (even though committed pre-presidentially) as grounds for removal. But in both instances, this would require stretching the normal definition of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” in order to rid the presidency of someone whose continuance in office would be unthinkable. In doing so, however, Americans should not simultaneously create a privilege to avoid criminal punishment and thus evade full accountability at the bar of justice.

      The conventional response to this concern—which Professor Bobbitt has advanced—is that such miscreants will not forever escape such accountability. After all, a presidency cannot last longer than eight years. But by any standard, a four- or eight-year reprieve seems unjust. And the prospect of being able to wield the power of the presidency for so long without having to face the music of one’s own criminality is enough to lure more than an occasional rascal (or worse) to seek the office and break the law in doing so. Moreover, it simply isn’t the case that a president who wins office by committing or conspiring to commit crimes will be certain to face his comeuppance in criminal court upon leaving office. To say that requires assuming that the former president could still be prosecuted notwithstanding the statute of limitations and the possibility of being pardoned by the new president.

      In my opinion piece, I argued that the constitutional design should not be understood to leave that escape route for presidents who tunnel their way into power by criminal means. Professor Bobbitt countered by insisting that the pardon-based escape route I envisioned (especially now that presidents and vice presidents run as a ticket, post-1804) wouldn’t be airtight: “vice presidents, who must then serve out the disgraced president’s term, [cannot] be confidently counted on to pardon their predecessors.” Remember, he writes, the political price that Gerald Ford paid for pardoning Richard Nixon. But whether the pardon scenario I envisioned guarantees an indictment-free exit for the criminal president is not the question. The question is whether it creates an unacceptable likelihood that a criminally inclined, power-hungry office-seeker will be tempted to violate criminal laws in order to ensconce himself in the presidency in hopes of winning a pardon on his way out the door whenever his ride in the White House is about to end—either by voluntary resignation, or by defeat after his first term, or by the operation of the term-limits amendment (the 22nd), or by ouster through the threat or actuality of impeachment.

      Beyond the prospect of a pardon, another fact of life is bound to add to the temptation that the Constitution should not be construed to create: the passage of time. The likelihood of a president permanently escaping accountability goes up substantially when one considers the statutes of limitation preventing criminal prosecution many years after the commission of the campaign finance violations or other crimes a corrupt president might have committed in order to make his victory more likely. There is no law currently in place that stops the clock from running on those crimes while the president enjoys the spoils of his own criminality, shielded from swift justice behind the walls of the White House. When such a criminal president returns to private life, his wealth quite possibly enhanced in the meantime by his use of the presidency to attract unconstitutional emoluments from foreign and domestic powers, the odds are good that it will be too late to hold him to account.

      Professor Bobbitt says that my worry about the pardon scenario assumes that the president’s “crimes are not subject to state prosecution,” for which the sort of presidential pardon I envision is “ineffectual.” But I make no such assumption. I am fully aware that some of a president’s crimes with respect to the election he might have improperly won might indeed be subject to pursuit by state prosecutors, beyond the reach of a future president’s exercise of the pardon power once the criminal is out of office. But many of the most serious crimes a presidential candidate might commit in connection with a national election are exclusively federal, and potentially permanent protection from being held accountable for those crimes should not be inferred from a Constitution whose fundamental premise is that nobody is above the law.

      As for the structural arguments against what Professor Bobbitt has elsewhere characterized as “subject[ing] the president—and thus the country—to every district attorney with a reckless mania for self-promotion,” I tend to agree that those arguments carry great constitutional weight—probably enough to overcome the case for letting states or localities indict a president before he leaves office. When the Supreme Court in Clinton v. Jones held that a sitting president is subject to civil suits in federal court, it noted in passing an observation of mine that without “explicit congressional consent,” a federal official, obviously including the president, might well need to be shielded from the direct state commands that prosecution on non-federal charges would entail. That remains my view. But those arguments evaporate when the indictment is returned by a federal grand jury at the request of a prosecutor supervised by the U.S. attorney general and the trial is conducted by a federal court overseeing the proceedings with due sensitivity to the demands of the president’s office.

      Finally, as to the institutional demands unique to the office of the president, I plead guilty to the charge that I was being too glib in suggesting that, because an impeachment trial in the Senate would necessarily interfere with the president’s schedule even more than an ordinary criminal trial, the interference such a criminal trial would represent needn’t be taken very seriously. Professor Bobbitt is right to point out that the former demands, which are constitutionally required whenever a majority of the House has charged the president with impeachable offenses and summoned him to trial in the Senate, arise only when a uniquely high hurdle has been surmounted.

      Still, the most this demonstrates is that putting an indicted president on public trial and subjecting that president to the possibility of imprisonment should perhaps be held in abeyance until that president resigns, is defeated at the next election or is removed through impeachment. It does not demonstrate that an otherwise amply merited criminal indictment should be scrapped or suspended altogether while the president serves out his term. Nor does it demonstrate that such an indictment should be secretly issued and put under seal and withheld from the general public to spare the president the reputational damage on the world stage that the fact of his indictment, and especially the details underlying it, would likely inflict. Those are relevant considerations, to be sure. But they seem to me to be more than balanced by the harms to the rule of law, to the remedy of removal through fully informed impeachment and to the dangers of reelecting the secretly indicted scoundrel that inhere in shrouding his indictment behind a wall. The fact that a sitting president would otherwise be criminally indictable in the professional judgment of prosecutors, or the identification of that president as an unindicted co-conspirator, is at the very least highly relevant to whether he should be impeached and, even if not, to whether he should be reelected.

      Thus, even if trial and sentencing are to be delayed, there is a compelling case for indicting such a president in plain view and offering him a choice. If he wishes, he could be publicly tried and invoke Section 3 of the 25th Amendment if he is ready to certify that the burdens of criminal trial prevent him from “discharg[ing] the powers and duties of his office” so that those powers and duties devolve on the vice president for the duration of the trial. Or his trial could be deferred if he expressly agrees, as a binding condition of such postponement, that he will not invoke the statute of limitations or accept a pardon to avoid trial and possible conviction once he is no longer in office. This seems to me the very least that the American legal system should ensure whenever the crime with which the president is charged goes to the very legitimacy of his role as leader of the government and head of state.

      Topics:

      Federal Law Enforcement,

      Executive Power

      Laurence H. Tribe is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard University. He is an accomplished Supreme Court advocate, holder of eleven honorary degrees, and the author, most recently, of “To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment” (co-authored with Joshua Matz).

      The Lawfare Institute that Article I, Section 3 adds with respect to an official who has been removed through impeachment and conviction is that such an official cannot invoke the Senate conviction as a bar to subsequent criminal prosecution. That such an official “shall nevertheless be liable” to the criminal process says only that he shall “remain” liable to that process—just as he would have been prior to removal. In other words, the impeachment process doesn’t serve as a crime-laundering device.

      Ironically, it is Professor Bobbitt who has read Article I, Section 3 in a manner unsupported by the natural import of its words. He has read the statement that someone removed through the impeachment process “shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law” as though the Constitution states that anyone removed from office for committing an impeachable offense shall, upon being convicted by the Senate, for the first time become “liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.” His reading would suggest that amenability to the federal criminal process springs from the ether once an officer has been put through the impeachment wringer and been found wanting.

      That can’t be right. For one thing, many impeachable offenses aren’t federal crimes at all—a point on which Bobbitt and I strongly agree. Second, as to offenses that are both impeachable (because they constitute “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” as Article II, Section 4 specifies) and criminal (in the sense of violating the federal criminal code), it’s their criminality from the outsetand not the removal of the criminally accused from office that subjects the accused to indictment and the rest. Finally, it makes no sense to read the words of Article I, Section 3, to mean one thing as applied to the president and another thing altogether as applied to the “Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States,” all of whom are identically removable from office for committing impeachable offenses, and identically liable to subsequent criminal prosecution if their offenses happened also to be crimes.

      Nothing in the Constitution supports treating amenability to the criminal process as something that kicks in only after a civil officer has been impeached and removed. To treat a sitting president as immune to that process until his presidency ends is to superimpose upon the impeachment framework—a framework designed as the way to remove a president who commits an impeachable offense that might or might not also be a federal crime—something quite extraordinary in a system priding itself on the axiom that no one is above the law.

      The fact that the Constitution does indeed embody that axiom is illustrated by the care it takes to grant immunities from the law expressly and with relatively precise contours, rather than by implication and with striking imprecision. Consider, for instance, the Speech and Debate Clause of Article I, Section 6, specifying that senators and representatives “shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses … and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.” Note that no such privilege is accorded to the president of the United States and that, even when it is accorded to members of the House and Senate an exception is made for felonies.

      If a parallel immunity were to be created by implication for the president by virtue of that officer’s unique place in our government’s structure, any such implied immunity would need to carve out at least those cases involving felonies committed to facilitate winning that high office. To imply presidential immunity without simultaneously excluding those pre-inaugural crimes that were committed in order to become president would be manifestly unjust. It would create a perverse incentive structure, telling those seeking the presidency that the more successful they become in fraudulently obtaining and holding onto it, the less likely they would be to be held fully accountable for their perfidy.

      Indeed, pre-inaugural crimes in general share one interesting feature with the hypothetical case of the president who commits a garden-variety crime like murder after being inaugurated. Neither category of crimes possesses the defining feature of an impeachable offense. They are not abuses of a power distinctly conferred upon the president as chief executive—the first because that power hasn’t yet been conferred, the second because that power isn’t involved in the offense at issue. I don’t doubt that the country would nonetheless properly treat murder while in office as grounds for removal, just as it would properly treat crimes committed to obtain office (even though committed pre-presidentially) as grounds for removal. But in both instances, this would require stretching the normal definition of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” in order to rid the presidency of someone whose continuance in office would be unthinkable. In doing so, however, Americans should not simultaneously create a privilege to avoid criminal punishment and thus evade full accountability at the bar of justice.

      The conventional response to this concern—which Professor Bobbitt has advanced—is that such miscreants will not forever escape such accountability. After all, a presidency cannot last longer than eight years. But by any standard, a four- or eight-year reprieve seems unjust. And the prospect of being able to wield the power of the presidency for so long without having to face the music of one’s own criminality is enough to lure more than an occasional rascal (or worse) to seek the office and break the law in doing so. Moreover, it simply isn’t the case that a president who wins office by committing or conspiring to commit crimes will be certain to face his comeuppance in criminal court upon leaving office. To say that requires assuming that the former president could still be prosecuted notwithstanding the statute of limitations and the possibility of being pardoned by the new president.

      In my opinion piece, I argued that the constitutional design should not be understood to leave that escape route for presidents who tunnel their way into power by criminal means. Professor Bobbitt countered by insisting that the pardon-based escape route I envisioned (especially now that presidents and vice presidents run as a ticket, post-1804) wouldn’t be airtight: “vice presidents, who must then serve out the disgraced president’s term, [cannot] be confidently counted on to pardon their predecessors.” Remember, he writes, the political price that Gerald Ford paid for pardoning Richard Nixon. But whether the pardon scenario I envisioned guarantees an indictment-free exit for the criminal president is not the question. The question is whether it creates an unacceptable likelihood that a criminally inclined, power-hungry office-seeker will be tempted to violate criminal laws in order to ensconce himself in the presidency in hopes of winning a pardon on his way out the door whenever his ride in the White House is about to end—either by voluntary resignation, or by defeat after his first term, or by the operation of the term-limits amendment (the 22nd), or by ouster through the threat or actuality of impeachment.

      Beyond the prospect of a pardon, another fact of life is bound to add to the temptation that the Constitution should not be construed to create: the passage of time. The likelihood of a president permanently escaping accountability goes up substantially when one considers the statutes of limitation preventing criminal prosecution many years after the commission of the campaign finance violations or other crimes a corrupt president might have committed in order to make his victory more likely. There is no law currently in place that stops the clock from running on those crimes while the president enjoys the spoils of his own criminality, shielded from swift justice behind the walls of the White House. When such a criminal president returns to private life, his wealth quite possibly enhanced in the meantime by his use of the presidency to attract unconstitutional emoluments from foreign and domestic powers, the odds are good that it will be too late to hold him to account.

      Professor Bobbitt says that my worry about the pardon scenario assumes that the president’s “crimes are not subject to state prosecution,” for which the sort of presidential pardon I envision is “ineffectual.” But I make no such assumption. I am fully aware that some of a president’s crimes with respect to the election he might have improperly won might indeed be subject to pursuit by state prosecutors, beyond the reach of a future president’s exercise of the pardon power once the criminal is out of office. But many of the most serious crimes a presidential candidate might commit in connection with a national election are exclusively federal, and potentially permanent protection from being held accountable for those crimes should not be inferred from a Constitution whose fundamental premise is that nobody is above the law.

      As for the structural arguments against what Professor Bobbitt has elsewhere characterized as “subject[ing] the president—and thus the country—to every district attorney with a reckless mania for self-promotion,” I tend to agree that those arguments carry great constitutional weight—probably enough to overcome the case for letting states or localities indict a president before he leaves office. When the Supreme Court in Clinton v. Jones held that a sitting president is subject to civil suits in federal court, it noted in passing an observation of mine that without “explicit congressional consent,” a federal official, obviously including the president, might well need to be shielded from the direct state commands that prosecution on non-federal charges would entail. That remains my view. But those arguments evaporate when the indictment is returned by a federal grand jury at the request of a prosecutor supervised by the U.S. attorney general and the trial is conducted by a federal court overseeing the proceedings with due sensitivity to the demands of the president’s office.

      Finally, as to the institutional demands unique to the office of the president, I plead guilty to the charge that I was being too glib in suggesting that, because an impeachment trial in the Senate would necessarily interfere with the president’s schedule even more than an ordinary criminal trial, the interference such a criminal trial would represent needn’t be taken very seriously. Professor Bobbitt is right to point out that the former demands, which are constitutionally required whenever a majority of the House has charged the president with impeachable offenses and summoned him to trial in the Senate, arise only when a uniquely high hurdle has been surmounted.

      Still, the most this demonstrates is that putting an indicted president on public trial and subjecting that president to the possibility of imprisonment should perhaps be held in abeyance until that president resigns, is defeated at the next election or is removed through impeachment. It does not demonstrate that an otherwise amply merited criminal indictment should be scrapped or suspended altogether while the president serves out his term. Nor does it demonstrate that such an indictment should be secretly issued and put under seal and withheld from the general public to spare the president the reputational damage on the world stage that the fact of his indictment, and especially the details underlying it, would likely inflict. Those are relevant considerations, to be sure. But they seem to me to be more than balanced by the harms to the rule of law, to the remedy of removal through fully informed impeachment and to the dangers of reelecting the secretly indicted scoundrel that inhere in shrouding his indictment behind a wall. The fact that a sitting president would otherwise be criminally indictable in the professional judgment of prosecutors, or the identification of that president as an unindicted co-conspirator, is at the very least highly relevant to whether he should be impeached and, even if not, to whether he should be reelected.

      Thus, even if trial and sentencing are to be delayed, there is a compelling case for indicting such a president in plain view and offering him a choice. If he wishes, he could be publicly tried and invoke Section 3 of the 25th Amendment if he is ready to certify that the burdens of criminal trial prevent him from “discharg[ing] the powers and duties of his office” so that those powers and duties devolve on the vice president for the duration of the trial. Or his trial could be deferred if he expressly agrees, as a binding condition of such postponement, that he will not invoke the statute of limitations or accept a pardon to avoid trial and possible conviction once he is no longer in office. This seems to me the very least that the American legal system should ensure whenever the crime with which the president is charged goes to the very legitimacy of his role as leader of the government and head of state.

      Topics:

      Federal Law Enforcement,

      Executive Power

      Laurence H. Tribe is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard University. He is an accomplished Supreme Court advocate, holder of eleven honorary degrees, and the author, most recently, of “To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment” (co-authored with Joshua Matz).

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      Skilled trade jobs is not a fix

      Rick Haglund: Steering students into skilled trades alone won’t rebuild Michigan’s middle class

      For decades, Michigan policymakers have focused on attracting more high school students into skilled trades and other plentiful good-paying jobs that don’t require four-year degrees.

      Every governor since John Engler has pushed the notion that Michigan can rebuild a middle class decimated from the loss of auto assembly and other manufacturing jobs by growing “middle-skill” jobs that typically require an associate degree or a certification.

      The evidence that this plan has worked is harder to find than a self-driving car in Escanaba. Michigan needs a much broader economic strategy that includes boosting education attainment, strengthening

      the safety net and attacking economic inequality.

      At a time of record auto sales and booming job growth, Michigan ranks 34th in median household income, and below the national average. The state’s annual median household income of $54,909 in 2017 was $2,952 less than in 2005, adjusted for inflation.

      The Michigan Association of United Ways ALICE report found in that 43% of Michigan households in 2017 could not afford the basics of housing, child care, food, health care, technology and transportation. That figure has risen slightly since 2010.

      Sixty-one percent of all jobs in the state pay less than $20 an hour, while a family of four needs an income of $30.64 an hour just to make ends meet, according to the ALICE study.

      I’m not suggesting that the state abandon efforts to inform students that there are good-paying jobs available to them that don’t require a four-year degree.

      Those jobs are plentiful and Michigan needs more young people to fill them. There will be an estimated 47,000 annual job openings in skilled trades through 2026, according to the state’s Going Pro in Michigan initiative. Those jobs have an annual median wage of $54,000.

      It’s appropriate for state officials to get that word out to young people who want good jobs that don’t require a university degree.

      But it’s troubling to see policymakers try to steer students away from four-year universities by telling them they’ll be better off in skilled trades jobs and not piling up student loan debt.

      Yes, college is expensive, and the explosion of student debt is a major economic and societal challenge. But four-year college graduates earn more and are less likely to be unemployed. They’re also generally more satisfied with their careers than those with less education.

      Even Michigan officials acknowledge that those seeking the most in-demand, high-paying jobs in the state over the next seven years will need a university sheepskin.

      Shades of Cherry Commission in Whitmer’s education and workforce agenda

      The state’s “Hot 50” jobs, newly updated to 2026, shows that 36 of them require at least a bachelor’s degree. They are primarily in technology, management, health care, and professional and business services.

      And a new study found that cities with higher concentration of workers with cognitive skills, associated with knowledge work, and with people skills, such as management, perform better economically and are better able to cope with downturns than those with high levels of motor skills typically found in manufacturing jobs.

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