Christmas Message From the Rufino Family

 

by Diane Rufino, December 25, 2019

A heartfelt wish for a very Merry Christmas – from my family to yours.

Our wish is that faith and family are strengthened this holiday season and that each of us sees one another not as enemies but as friends, even when the situation would make it very hard to do so. In the end, we need to be reminded that we all claim this state and/or this country as our home, we all value peace and love, and we all have our particular views on just about every issue out there. Tolerance isn’t always easy, but we all need to give it our best shot. As John Kennedy once said: “Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

We also are reminded that Christmas isn’t about gifts and parties; it’s about the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our lives have been forever changed because our merciful God sent us his son to live among the Jews, to teach them, and ultimately to suffer and die for everyone’s sins in order that they may be forgiven and have eternal life with the Father. Christmas (and Easter) are the holidays we celebrate to remind us of this most wondrous of gifts. And hopefully we are reminded that we should conduct ourselves to show gratitude for this gift.

We honor the Lord best when we conduct our lives and make choices that reflect the lessons of Jesus. No amount of reading the Bible can substitute for the real life witnessing of his lessons in action. Christ taught us to love one another, to help one another, and to serve one another selflessly. We read these words and these themes in the Bible, but when you see people actually living these words and witnessing the difference they make in the lives of others and also how it blesses themselves, you see the power in those lessons.

John Winthrop brought this message to America in 1630 when he delivered a prayer to the Puritan settlers aboard the Arabella, as they were about to reach Massachusetts Bay Colony. He explained that the only way to convince others of the power of their faith and the benefit of the lessons of Christianity was to adhere to those lessons in their lives and have them guide their communities. He referred to that experiment as “a shining city on a hill.”

In offering a model for the Puritan settlement (“A Model of Christian Charity”), he first offered the reasons for it:

He might have the more occasion to manifest the work of his Spirit: first upon the wicked in moderating and restraining them, so that the rich and mighty should not eat up the poor, nor the poor and despised rise up against and shake off their yoke. Secondly, in the regenerate, in exercising His graces in them, as in the great ones, their love, mercy, gentleness, temperance etc., and in the poor and inferior sort, their faith, patience, obedience etc. Thirdly, that every man might have need of others, and from hence they might be all knit more nearly together in the bonds of brotherly affection.

And then, in explaining how to apply the model, he explained:

We are entered into covenant with Him for this work. We have taken out a commission. We have hereupon besought Him of favor and blessing. Now if the Lord shall please to hear us, and bring us in peace to the place we desire, then hath He ratified this covenant and sealed our commission, and will expect a strict performance of the articles contained in it; but if we shall neglect the observation of these articles which are the ends we have propounded, and, dissembling with our God, shall fall to embrace this present world and prosecute our carnal intentions, seeking great things for ourselves and our posterity, the Lord will surely break out in wrath against us, and be revenged of such a people, and make us know the price of the breach of such a covenant.

Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck, and to provide for our posterity, is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God. For this end, we must be knit together, in this work, as one man. We must entertain each other in brotherly affection. We must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of others’ necessities. We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight in each other; make others’ conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us, as His own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of His wisdom, power, goodness and truth, than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when He shall make us a praise and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, “may the Lord make it like that of New England.” For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.

Several presidents have echoed this “shining city upon a hill” metaphor to somehow remind Americans of their duty and obligations to reflect goodness and Christian charity in the way they live their lives and therefore to influence the character of American communities, including Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy. They believed in the best of human nature.

Our faith isn’t meant simply to help others and make us more into the servants that God and Christ intended us to be, but it is also to inspire those who are not intimately knowledgeable or inspired by the Gospels.

The classical pianist George Frideric Handel believed this. He used his oratorios to inspire, including his most famous – Messiah (with its “Hallelujah” chorus). The first London performance of Messiah took place at the Covent Garden Theatre (now the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden) on March 23, 1743, in the presence of King George II. When he heard the words, ‘The kingdom of this world . . . ‘ (Hallelujah Chorus) the King rose to his feet and remained standing until the end of the number. The king stood, most likely, to indicate he recognized Christ was King of Kings. When the king stood, everyone stood. The tradition of standing when the “Hallelujah” chorus commences continues. Following this performance, one of the British lords congratulated Handel on the excellent entertainment. Handel replied, “My Lord, I should be sorry if I only entertained them; I wished to make them better…”

Merry Christmas everyone. We hope that your holiday season centers around the one for who we celebrate this joyous occasion – Jesus. Let’s take his cue and strive to make others better by knowing us and having us take an interest in their lives. We make our country greater when its people are better, and we make the world greater when we indeed shine this light upon the world.

 

PHOTOLAB PIC - CHristmas 2019

IMPEACHMENT – Where Do We Go From Here?

IMPEACHMENT - how it works

by Diane Rufino, December 23, 2019

My friend Joe McLaughlin said that he heard that despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi choosing to hold back the articles of impeachment that House Democrats alone passed against President Trump from the Senate (until certain conditions are met – ie, “quid pro quo”), the Senate has the opportunity to act. He asked if this is true.

Here is how impeachment works, as I understand it. The Constitution speaks to impeachment process but not to an detailed procedure. It is a 2-part process, to be separated by 2 distinct branches of the legislature. It is an act of separation of powers, designed to temper political passions and to resort to reason and responsibility. All the Constitution says is that the House of Representatives can bring impeachment charges against the president (a simple majority is all that is required) but it is the Senate that has the power to remove him for those charges. Article 1, Section 2 states that the House “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” – meaning it alone has the power to bring charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors” against a president. The far greater responsibility lies with the Senate, as it should, since those representatives were (as the original Constitution provided) selected by the states and not the populace and hold a far longer tenure in office and hence are (or should be) more knowledgeable and responsible. Section 3 states that the Senate “shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.” A president is removed from office by a 2/3 supermajority vote of the Senate. As you can see, there is no mention of procedure in the Constitution. The question we are pondering is this: Isn’t the House REQUIRED to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate IMMEDIATELY? To answer this, we have to look to the Senate’s own RULES governing how it handles its role, its procedure, in the impeachment process. Currently, those rules begin by stating: The first rule of impeachment procedure states that the Senate will not act on an impeachment until the House sends to the Senate its appointed “managers”— the representatives who will act as the lawyers during the impeachment trial. After the House has presented its managers to the Senate, then the Senate takes the reins and launches its trial. If the Senate wants to frustrate Pelosi’s “quid pro quo” attempt, all it needs to do is alter its rules outlining the impeachment procedure in the Senate. It simply needs to put a time limit on the transmission of articles of impeachment to the Senate, asserting that any so-called “crimes” levied against the President under the impeachment power must be deemed serious enough to warrant immediate action by the Senate. Otherwise, they are not serious enough to have been brought against him in the first place.

In an opinion piece for FOX News by GianCarlo Canaparo titled “Pelosi Powerless to Delay Trump Impeachment Trial if Senate Does THIS,” Mr. Canaparo pretty much summed up the very same opinion. He wrote:

The first rule of impeachment procedure states that the Senate will not act on an impeachment until the House sends to the Senate its appointed “managers”— the representatives who will act as the lawyers during the impeachment trial. After the House has presented its managers to the Senate, then the Senate takes the reins and launches its trial.

So can Pelosi delay an impeachment trial?  Yes, as long as the Senate doesn’t change its current rules. But there’s absolutely nothing stopping it from changing this rule, and the Senate should change the rule to prevent this sort of gamesmanship.

The Senate should not let Pelosi interfere with its constitutional obligations and its independence in this way.

Impeachment of the president shakes the nation to its core, and when, as here, it’s done in a nakedly partisan way, it divides the country and damages our constitutional framework. It needs to be over as quickly as possible.

So the Senate should change its impeachment rules as follows: once the House has impeached the president, the Senate shall set a date for trial and shall set a deadline for the House to present its managers to the Senate. If the House fails to meet that deadline, the Senate will either dismiss the articles of impeachment for lack of prosecution or, better yet, vote on the articles immediately in light of the evidence presented to it — in this case, no evidence.

Having set this boulder rolling, House Democrats should not be allowed now to hold it up. They started this process. It’s up to the Senate to finish it on its terms alone. Not Pelosi’s.

As I pointed out earlier, the Constitution doesn’t say how fast the articles must go to the Senate. But it can arguably be assumed that some modest delay might be expected. It certainly wouldn’t be inconsistent with the Constitution. But certainly an indefinite delay – and certainly a “quid-pro-quo” type delay – would pose a very serious problem. It might even rise to a “constitutional crisis.”

But FOX News isn’t the only opinion on Pelosi’s decision to withhold the articles of impeachment.

According to leftist/ progressive Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman, who testified in favor of impeachment and on behalf of Democrats in front of the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month, President Trump isn’t actually impeached until the Pelosi sends the articles to the Senate. He argues that impeachment, as contemplated by the Constitution, is a process. It does not merely consist of a vote by the House, but includes a trial in the Senate on those charges (the impeachment charges) to determine whether they are serious enough to warrant removal from office. Both parts – the articles of impeachment brought by the House and the trial in the Senate –are necessary to legally constitute “impeachment” under the Constitution. to make an impeachment under the Constitution: In other words, the House must actually send the articles and send managers to the Senate to prosecute the impeachment. And the Senate must actually hold a trial.

In an article he penned for Bloomberg Opinion, titled Trump Isn’t Impeached Until the House Tells the Senate, Professor Feldman wrote:

“According to the Constitution, impeachment is a process, not a vote If the House does not communicate its impeachment to the Senate, it hasn’t actually impeached the president. If the articles are not transmitted, Trump could legitimately say that he wasn’t truly impeached at all.”

In fact, President Trump is already hinting that this is his position.

And this brings us to another point – the Senate must actually hold a trial on the impeachment charges. Once the articles are sent, the Senate has a constitutional duty to hold a trial on the impeachment charges presented. Just as unreasonably holding back the articles of impeachment or indefinitely holding them back from the Senate frustrates and therefore violates the Constitution scheme of impeachment, failure for the Senate to hold a trial after impeachment would also clearly deviate from such expectations. It would deny the president the chance to defend himself in the Senate that the Constitution provides. We couldn’t, in good conscience as a “free nation,” deny the President of the United States, duly elected by the American people under the Electoral College system, the fundamental right to confront his accusers and to defend himself in a trial before a vote is taken on removal from office. Due Process demands that when there is a right at stake (the office of the presidency being the right in this case), there must be a legal procedure in place to allow the accused to confront and address those who try to deny him that right. The most debase and vile of criminals are guaranteed this right, after all.

The drafters and framers of our Constitution included the provisions for impeachment taking note of how it had been practiced in England. In England, the House of Commons brought impeachment charges and the House of Lords tried those charges. In fact, the whole point of Commons bringing the charges was for them to brought against the accused in the House of Lords, in the form of a trial. Strictly speaking, therefore, “impeachment” refers to the process of presenting the articles of impeachment to the Senate for trial. And, as emphasized earlier, at that point the Senate would be obliged by the Constitution to hold a trial.

If the House were vote to “impeach” Trump (which it did) but doesn’t send the articles to the Senate or send impeachment managers there to carry its message, then while it hasn’t directly violated the text of the Constitution, it certainly has technically violated it by intentionally acting against the implicit logic of the Constitution’s process of impeachment. Again, we see the logic in President Trump’s position.

With respect to Pelosi’s quid-pro-quo argument that articles of impeachment will be withheld until SHE deems that the Senate procedures are fair enough to the Democrats, Professor Feldman dismisses that position altogether. He asserts that only the Senate is empowered to judge the fairness of its own trial. After all, that is what is explicitly stated by the phrase “The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.”

But even if we decide to overlook GianCarlo Canparo from FOX News and Professor Noah Feldman, there is still liberal law school professor Alan Dershowitz. Dershowitz pretty much echoes the same position as Feldman.

Dershowitz further criticizes the Democrats for its second article of impeachment, which in his opinion is abusive and threatens the integrity of the impeachment process. He says that although the entire impeachment process by House Democrats smacks of partisanship, it is the second article of impeachment that particularly does so. And he is concerned for its effect in future attempts to impeach a partisanly-unpopular president.

While lamenting over this second article of impeachment, Dershowitz was encouraged by the recent decision by the US Supreme Court to review the lower court rulings involving congressional and prosecution subpoenas directed toward President Trump, which he claims “pulls the rug out from” or “undercuts” the Democrats’ second article of impeachment. That second article of impeachment charges President Trump with obstruction of Congress for refusing to comply with the congressional subpoenas in the absence of a final court order. In so charging him, the House Judiciary Committee has arrogated to itself the power to decide the validity of subpoenas, and the power to determine whether claims of executive privilege must be recognized, both authorities that properly belong with the judicial branch of our government, not the legislative branch.

In an article he wrote for The Hill, Dershowitz explained: “President Trump has asserted that the executive branch, of which he is the head, need not comply with congressional subpoenas requiring the production of privileged executive material, unless there is a final court order compelling such production. He has argued, appropriately, that the judicial branch is the ultimate arbiter of conflicts between the legislative and executive branches. Therefore, the Supreme Court decision to review these three cases, in which lower courts ruled against President Trump, provides support for his constitutional arguments in the investigation.”

He further wrote:

The cases that are being reviewed are not identical to the challenged subpoenas that form the basis for the second article of impeachment. One involves authority of the New York district attorney to subpoena the financial records of a sitting president, as part of any potential criminal investigation. The others involve authority of legislative committees to subpoena records as part of any ongoing congressional investigations.

But they are close enough. Even if the high court were eventually to rule against the claims by President Trump, the fact that the justices decided to hear them, in effect, supports his constitutional contention that he had the right to challenge congressional subpoenas in court, or to demand that those issuing the subpoenas seek to enforce them through court.

It undercuts the contention by House Democrats that President Trump committed an impeachable offense by insisting on a court order before sending possibly privileged material to Congress. Even before the justices granted review of these cases, the two articles of impeachment had no basis in the Constitution. They were a reflection of the comparative voting power of the two parties, precisely what one of the founders, Alexander Hamilton, warned would be the “greatest danger” of an impeachment.

So, we have reasoned constitutional analysis that tells us that impeachment is a process by which articles of impeachment (“the charges”) must be delivered by the House to the Senate in a timely fashion and whereby a trial must be conducted in the Senate on those impeachment charges. Removal from office is a decision made solely by the Senate, based on procedural rules decided upon solely by the Senate. We further have reasoned constitutional opinion, by both liberal and conservative constitutional attorneys, that condemns the games that Nancy Pelosi is playing with impeachment and condemns further the very articles of impeachment that Democrats alone voted in favor of.

President Trump appears to be on very solid ground in his positions first to claim executive privilege with regard to the House Judiciary Committee’s subpoenas and second with regard to his criticism of the quid-pro-quo games Nancy Pelosi is playing by withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate.

The House Democrats pursued their evil purpose and achieved their evil goal – to bring articles of impeachment of President Donald Trump. How proud they must be that they allowed an anger over losing the presidential election in 2016 to Donald Trump to consume their very being, blind their oaths of allegiance to the Constitution, and to corrupt their ability to act as responsible representatives over the most successful free nation in the world to the point that they have made a mockery of our very institution of government and have put the interests of a political party over the best interests of the country. Such a sad day in the history of our country. But the good news is that their part in the process is over. It is now up to the Senate to complete the process. Luckily we don’t have the same level of Trump Derangement Syndrome (or the same level of abject stupidity) in the Senate. Nancy Pelosi may try to continue playing games and rigging the process and twisting the rules and perverting the Constitution, but the truth of the matter is that her part is done and the process outlined by the Constitution requires her to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate for a trial in order that President Trump can have his day and defend himself. If she continues to play games, the Senate can force the matter by simply altering the procedural rules. And we hope that will happen to shut her up and to allow her to finally seek the psychiatric help she so sorely needs.

 

References:

GianCarlo Canaparo, ““Pelosi Powerless to Delay Trump Impeachment Trial if Senate Does THIS,” FOX News, December 20, 2019. Referenced at: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/giancarlo-canaparo-pelosi-cant-stop-trumps-trial-in-the-senate

Noah Feldman, “Trump Isn’t Impeached Until the House Tells the Senate,” Bloomberg Opinion, December 19, 2019. Referenced at: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-12-19/trump-impeachment-delay-could-be-serious-problem-for-democrats

Alan Dershowitz, “Supreme Court Ruling Pulls Rug Rut from Under Article of Impeachment,” The Hill, December 16, 2019. Referenced at: https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/474710-supreme-court-ruling-pulls-rug-out-from-under-article-of-impeachment

Matt Vespa, “Liberal Lawyer: SCOTUS Just ‘Ripped the Rug’ from Under the Democrats’ Trump Impeachment Push,” Townhall, December 20, 2019. Referenced at: https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2019/12/20/liberal-lawyer-scotus-just-ripped-the-rug-from-under-the-democrats-trump-impeachment-push-n2558364?utm_campaign=inarticle

It’s Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight; It’s the Size of the Fight in the Dog

TRUMP - wrestling belt

(Photo from Twitter)

by Diane Rufino, December 18, 2019

Mark Twain once said: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

With President Donald Trump we have both the size of the dog and the size of the fight.

This is re-affirmed to us every single day.

Trump took on the historic tasks of making America great again, draining the DC swamp, and returning the government to the people, as he promised in his inaugural address. For these admiral goals, he has been vilified, persecuted, and hated.

For these admirable goals, we are witnessing evil-intentioned partisan political insiders attempt something that was also attempted in 1868 with Andrew Johnson – a political coup to oust a president that is intent on frustrating the policies and goals of a political party. The Radical Republicans wanted to punish the defeated southern states and use the freed slaves to re-make the body politic in the south to reject the Southern Democrats and to align with them politically. Only then would Lincoln’s War to force the South Back into the Union achieve its ultimate goal – to re-join the Union and to go back to paying all the protective tariffs. Johnson was impeached in the House for violating the Tenure of Office Act (hastily passed by the Radical Republicans to prevent him from removing the vile and ambitious Secretary of War (Edwin Stanton) that Lincoln had appointed but saved in the Senate from removal by only 1 vote. The Tenure of Office Act, by the way, was found to be unconstitutional. [Sounds like today’s ambitiously blind Democrats!]. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, and the rest of the ilk initiated impeachment hearings after almost 4 years of conducting a witch hunt in their frenzied attempt to remove Trump from office. Since there was no crime to attach to Trump, one had to be found (or made up) – the so-called “insurance policy.” For that, a witch hunt needed to be initiated. And politically-motivated elements of the Obama administration, including Obama himself and the likes of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Rod Rosenstein, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, were happy to accept the Steele dossier that was given to them by the Hillary Clinton campaign together with the DNC without verifying or confirming its accuracy and veracity. Why? Because the ends justified the means. When political insiders attempt a coup, they don’t care that it is based on actual facts or evidence of actual wrongdoing. And so these ambitious and rogue elements of our government presented this unverified and unproven dossier to the FISA court in support of its application for FISA warrants to spy on members of the Trump campaign, and withheld KEY information that the judges would have needed to prevent a fraud from being perpetrated on the court. These persons (criminals) without information proving the highly partisan nature of the information (it was intended merely for “opposition research” to be used against Trump by Clinton in her campaign, plus it was paid for by her and the DNC), withheld information undercutting the truth of the information (no verification at all; the only information to support it was given by Steele himself – from an article that he wrote – totally self-serving), and withheld information which would have persuaded the FISA court to protect Trump’s privacy (exculpatory information). The real Russian Collusion scandal was between Hillary Clinton, the DNC, Obama, the FBI and DOJ, and the mainstream media – for the sole purpose of interfering with the 2016 presidential election.

Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Chuck Schumer, and the rest are attempting a political coup to undo a lawful election result that was constitutional and legitimate. They are attempting a political coup for no other reason than they are angry. They are attempting a political coup to undo the collective will of the American people who have been rightfully frustrated over the years by the political goals of DC politicians, have been robbed of their interests by the Deep State and by powerful special interest groups, and have been ignored and used/abused by Obama and the Democratic Party. The so-called “party of the people” (Democratic Party) is actually the “party of political elites.” It is a group of hypocrites skilled at mobilizing useless idiots.

WE MUST DO ALL IN OUR POWER TO SUPPORT DONALD TRUMP THRU THESE TRYING TIMES and MOST IMPORTANTLY, SUPPORT HIM in 2020 !!