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More distorted facts 

In a previous edition, a letter writer labeled my humble submissions as "grim harangues of distorted facts" ("A message to the Boomers," Dec. 26). I admit to being grim. As an official "old white guy" with a lifetime in uniform, concluding the world is mostly a grim place was long a foregone conclusion but I don't distort facts: I simply relate them to an audience that doesn't want to hear them.

Going into the new year, especially this new year, is like going into a long, dark railroad tunnel with a curve ahead and great uncertainty of what lies ahead. Black female conservative commentator Star Parker told the Epoch Times that the United States has arrived at a critical juncture: that we are either going to be "biblical and free" or "secular and statist."

"There are people that have a vested interest in us not being free," Parker said "That's what's at stake. That's the culture war. And it's like in the 1850s, so we're going to have to make a decision. In 2020, we will know."

From her statement, I'm assuming she's referring to the ongoing impeachment charade being waged by the Democrats and the presidential election. While most Americans' reaction is to yawn (according to most polls, people are bored by the whole process) what happens in the next few months or during the election is vital to the nation's fate.

I've lived through two of the three previous impeachment efforts that occurred in our history. Nixon's crucible held the nation's attention; people were glued to the hearings during lunch breaks as televised hearings held the nation captive. Nixon resigned rather than face trial in the Senate after a bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives made his conviction and removal in a Senate trial virtually inevitable.

In the Clinton impeachment, the media took sides against the prosecutors, especially the special counsel, demonizing him for months. In the end, even though President Clinton clearly lied under oath, committed perjury, and obstructed justice, he was acquitted. His supporters excused his conduct as only lying about sex to avoid embarrassment, and everybody lies about sex, pundits said. Unfortunately, that standard didn't apply to ordinary mortals, even rich ones like Martha Stewart, who a few years later was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for making a single false statement to an FBI agent, which she recanted a few hours later to no avail. We officially now have two standards of justice.

The Trump impeachment is even worse than the injustice (my opinion) inflicted upon Stewart. During the Trump impeachment hearings Republicans were denied access to witnesses, key documents, the right to cross-examine or call their own witnesses in rebuttal. Chairman Schiff frequently gaveled down Republican congressmen who attempted to press witnesses or ask questions that Schiff didn't want answered. Trump was denied legal counsel throughout and denied his constitutional rights to confront or question an accuser, who still remains anonymous. Virtually all of the witnesses cited hearsay evidence, none of which would be admissible in any American court. The president was even castigated for what witnesses thought he might have been thinking, even though they never met him nor spoke with him.

Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley of Georgetown University, a registered Democrat who didn't vote for Trump nor supports him today voiced serious concerns about the Trump proceedings during an opening statement at the impeachment hearings on Dec. 4. Turley said: "On can oppose President Trump's policies or actions but still conclude that the current legal case for impeachment is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects, dangerous, as the basis for the impeachment of an American president. ... I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger."

When the final vote was taken, unlike previous impeachments which had bipartisan support, not a single Republican voted to impeach and were joined by three Democrats. The Senate is likely to acquit with one or more Democrats also voting to acquit as this is a purely political exercise. Worse still, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who insisted that allowing President Trump to remain in office one day longer endangered national security has refused to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate. So much for the argument that national security is endangered.

Progressive/Democrats are upset that the Senate will almost assuredly vote to acquit as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated he's coordinating with White House staff, except, that's what's expected of him. The Nixon and Clinton impeachments involved coordination with various political entities: McConnell is a political leader, not a jurist. The Senate trial presiding officer is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: It's his responsibility to oversee the proceedings and to ensure the process is legitimate. The call for more witnesses and cross-examination by Democrats is not part of the process: Senators are jurors, and it was the House's responsibility to make its case. They failed to do so in the opinion of many and the nation's business waits while the Democrats fiddle. Let's hope that when we round that curve that a train isn't bearing down on the nation. Δ

Al Fonzi had a 35-year military career, serving in both the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Send comments through clanham@newtimesslo.com or respond in a letter to the editor emailed to letters@newtimesslo.com.

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