One Foot on the Balance Beam

In 2018, when I wrote of the dangers this nation faced from trump and his merry men, I was told by several folks that I was being overly dramatic with the Hitler references and fears about history repeating itself.

Well now we have moved right up to the edge of democracy’s cliff and are poised like a gymnast with only one foot on a balance beam.

Meanwhile the party in power dithers about trivia.

Good luck, people, it is no longer going to be easy to step back and go on with business as usual.

The Forces of Darkness, long lying dormant and undisturbed within our society, are on the move and now so strongly entrenched and so committed to violent take over that the future of the United States of North America is no longer assured.

The actions needed require drastic enforcement of our existing laws and enactment of measures to protect not just voting access and rights, but a significant overhaul of our courts and legislative procedures, both national and statewide. And the snowflakes in power are melting from the heat while a cadre of authoritarian oppression develops ways to return the tyrant to power, or failing that, his clone.

In fact, the strongest defense democracy currently posses is trump’s inherent stupidity and dementia.

That is a shameful bulwark for the freedoms and expansion of human rights won, often so painfully, over the last two centuries.

Awake and take part in the political process. Those who choose to avoid demanding actions now, are as much a danger as those who march like the storm troopers of the past to seize the levers of their government.

Charlie Jensen

Copyright 2021, Foc’sle Chatter, All Rights Reserved

Where will the voters go?

I was just thinking about the result of thousands of local people here and there in certain states being dispossessed from the residence where they have lived for many years and of course where they are registered to vote.

Where will they go?

Well some may move down the street to temporarily live with a friend or relative. In some cases that “down the street” may be some distance away.

Others may find shelter in some state or city facility where they are forced to stay for the time being.

Some percentage may just have to seek an unoccupied highway overpass or a place where they can park their overloaded vehicles for a night or two before the local authorities urge then to “move along.”

Perhaps a few may find some kind of employment and with no further options simply park near where that work is, in a parking lot or vacant field, so that at least they can earn enough to feed their children. Without a vibrant tax base states and cities will not be able to provide more than a watered soup kitchen perhaps once a day.

The Federal government can simply print more sheets of gray-green dollars to support whatever favored crony’s business needs boosting until the functioning nations of the world begin to notice that the paper money, checks and promises are backed by a kettle of warm spit. That road leads down to an international disaster as well.

Of course, if anyone is thinking, “Nay” and wishes to propose some alternative, now might be the time to work out the suggestion. Can the people rely on the current administration to do the right thing, whatever that might be?

Or might some political groups realize that people with no permanent residence are no longer legal voters where they were registered.

How many will find the wherewithal to worry about a new registration to be able to vote? Might not such legal niceties be relegated to the back shelf, if one is living where there is no shelf or whatever shelf there is, has been bare for a month or more.

Might some uncaring state or local administration decide what to do based on their perception of the likely voting sympathies of these displaced hordes?

This dystopian vision might be excessive, but try to come up with an answer to the queries raised that would not require a massive change of the political minds now struggling to keep and maintain power.

Charlie Jensen

Copyright 2020, Foc’sle Chatter, All Rights Reserved

“What have you got to lose?”

Trump asked the undecided voters; “Vote for me, what have you got to lose?”

Well, some people lost their lives and jobs, some are losing their businesses, their homes, and their health care. Then there are some who are spending their retirements to provide food for their families while many who never dreamed they would wind up on food assistance lines must cry themselves to sleep at night. But trumpy does not care as long as he is safe. Then everyone of us are losing our Justice Department, our Education Department, even that sometimes Environmental Protection Department and the State Department is but a shadow of itself. Out great transportation system is near bankruptcy. States face disastrous expenses.

The greatest military forces ever created, Army, Navy and Air Force, are virtually immobilized with troops locked down on bases and infected ships at sea. Oh say did you have an elderly mom, dad, favorite uncle or disabled sister in a nursing home? Too bad, so sad, but trump goes marching on.

Well at least we have baseball, maybe football and a few other sports to entertain us while we wait for the credit card or rental company to come and remove that 6o inch color high definition screen TV. And elections just might be decided in Moscow. So yes, truthfully, soon what will we have left to lose?

Charlie Jensen

Copyright 2020, Focsle Chatter, All Rights Reserved

What is Executive Privilege?

What is executive privilege? If someone wishes to explain something as being, or not being, covered by the poorly understood doctrine of executive privilege, it ought to be well understood first. To begin, it is not written anywhere in the US Constitution, but has always been respected as a part of Common Law (U.S. Common law is, or was, derived from British Common Law) and is based on court decisions, and opinions developed going back to the frightful events of 1215 in the Runnymede Meadow.

George Washington claimed such a privilege but it was not called “Executive Privilege” until the mid 1950’s when the phrase was coined. But the concept had been used all along by many presidents, and accepted, more or less by our Congresses.

So what is it ?

The idea is that when an executive such as the president is conferring with his adviser or advisers or other high officials about items of national importance that the president is using as a basis for a decision those discussions and the individuals involved might be best kept secret so that political pressures would not taint the truth and usefulness of the information.

Generally the presence of a disinterested party would negate the concept of a private conversation. A trivial subject or one already well known publicly, would also compromise that assumption of necessary secrecy.

How has it usually worked ?

When a committee of Congress requests or subpoenas information as to how a decision was reached and who presented that information, a president might well claim the conversation with and between those advisers to be in the national interest and private.

Almost always either house of congress has accepted that claim. Quite often as a compromise the president will provide all, or enough of the information to selected members of Congress so that they, being above reproach can explain to their peers that the claim is valid. That has worked out fairly well for two hundred and forty years with possibly some exceptions.

Back to the previous comments. So Hunter Biden has absolutely no right to claim excessive privilege and I doubt that he ever tried to do so. Attorney-client privilege, spousal privilege and usually the religious confessional privilege are similar and almost always honored.

Similarly the current president can invoke the privilege but it never has been used to cover up all information passed between all members of an administration.

That is significant due to an important exception. Executive privilege does not and never has been allowed to cover violations of the laws, rules,or regulations, implicit or implied, of this nation, anyway not until the current administration decided to challenge the right of Congressional oversight that is written into the Constitution. But that is another interesting discussion.

Charlie Jensen

Copyright 2020, Foc’sle Chatter, All Rights Reserved

What’s next for the USS Theodore Roosevelt?

The USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier. 
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kaylianna Genier

As I watched the Skipper of the Teddy Roosevelt depart with what can only be described as a tumultuous cheer and chant from the standing crew who know that the Captain had sacrificed his command and likely his career to protect them from what might be thought to be a slow moving Naval command structure, I was reminded that the Russian Revolution of 1918 actually started in 1905 when the crew of the Battleship Potemkin revolted.

True, they were twelve years apart, but that was a slower age. For now, the TR will be commanded by the Executive Officer who must have been in the communications loop seeking medical help. But as quickly as possible the Navy will have to post another ranking officer to take command. Will he be able to don the robes of unfailing loyalty Captain Crozier earned from his crew?

Before going any further with that “History replicates itself” thought, let’s consider what this situation capped by dismissing the ship’s captain will send to the rest of the fleet. Is the Corvid-19 virus slowly working its way through other nuclear-powered aircraft carriers? They are, with the help of the few escorts that accompany them virtually independent of the usual fuel and food imitations of vessels in the past and could roam the seas for quite some time.

It must have dawned on some officers and crew members, not only the TR, but other navy ships, that the executive power in Washington is in the hands of the most incompetent bunch or pissants ever.

At some point the men who serve must wonder if the orders that they might receive from one of the trump toadies are valid legal orders.

And that might also be being thought about by the officers and staffs of the Army, Marine, and Air Force units at home and abroad. After all, just about everyone knows in their heart, whether they are willing to admit it openly or not, that trump was only elected through the chicanery of foreign forces which puts his legality on soft sand.

What will happen when a new skipper is assigned and takes over a crew who know that Captain Crozier was dismissed on a paperwork technicality while he was trying to protect the crew.  Should the orders be to take the ship out to sea, or another ship’s orders be to remain at sea while the virus needlessly decimates shipmates one after another?  War is one thing, but incompetence is another.

I hope the Navy moves fast and prevents things from getting out of control. Still, I wonder if history’s fickle finger of fate is not at work once again.

Charlie Jensen

Copyright 2020, Foc’sle Chatter, All Rights Reserved