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I am thankful for the liberty that I, and many of my fellow citizens, enjoy. G.I. Joe Hall of Fame Astronaut Mission Gear for 12 Action FigureThe freedom to think, feel and act, to express my thoughts out loud and in print, to live without fear is wonderful! I also recognize that much of this freedom is due to the fact that I am a white, male, Baby Boomer and I have privileges that many do not have.

I also grieve. As I look back to our Declaration of Independence in 1776, I am inspired by the lofty goals and ideals affirmed in that document. Nevertheless, I am grieved that my personal story and our national history has not lived up to those ideals.LifeLike Trains HO Scale Building Kits Stock Pen  When the Europeans (Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, Dutch, etc.) reached America, these lands were already occupied by indigenous people, the first Americans. By and large, our European ancestors conquered them and their lands, imposed “civilization” upon them and broke almost every treaty that was made.WHISPERPHONE VARIETYPAK OF 12 2 EA I grieve over how these first Americans have been portrayed in history and how they are treated today.

I also grieve the history of the enslavement of Africans. This abuse by humans against humans was sinful, immoral and horrific. Personal research into my own family tree has recently revealed that several of my ancestors were owners of slaves. So, much of my privilege is due to the past slavery of others. How do I make reparations for the wrongs done by my ancestors?

Our national history is mixed.Vollmer MAISON A COLOMBAGE We have bright spots as well as many failings. My forefathers and foremothers came to this country under a variety of circumstance and made it their home. Operation F.A.U.S.T. by Grey Fox Games The Statue of Liberty welcomed many of them and continues to inspire me to live up to its hallowed invitation:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Nevertheless, we all too often have closed our national doors to the huddled, tempest-tossed masses of foreigners who have sought refuge on our shores.

So, how should we commemorate the 4th of July? Not by the demonstration of military might! Such arrogance reminds me of the Soviet Union, Nazism, and authoritarian dictators of various ideologies. The millions of dollars spent on such a display in DC would be, according to President Dwight Eisenhower, stealing and theft.Axiba Double shoulder bag man bag fashion leisure large capacity retro canvas backpack USB charger Backpack Computer Bag Even though he was a decorated hero of World War II, he also saw the dangers of war and the idolatry created by the military-industrial complex. His words still ring true decades later:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Movie Plush Character Clarice Small Pillow PetIt is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

Dwight Eisenhower, From a speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953.

So, on this 4th of July, let us recommit ourselves to work for the life and freedom of all people, all over the world.

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As everyone knows, Special Counsel Robert Mueller headed up the investigation on alleged Russian interference in our 2016 presidential election. The twenty-two-month long investigation resulted in the Mueller Report with the following conclusions:

  • There was definite interference by Russia in our election.Foxy pink Eastpak Messenger Bag, Delegate, Black Raving red, EK076
  • The was not enough evidence to bring charges of conspiracy between the Trump election campaign and Russian officials.
  • There were ten episodes of alleged obstruction of justice. The Report laid out the evidence in favor and against obstruction, but did not state a conclusion. It suggested that the Congress has this responsibility.
  • The Report did not exonerate the President.

HO HO HV5 Basic Oval Track Set [Toy]Within 48 hours, Attorney General Barr wrote a four-page document that summarized the report. Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein made a decision to affirm that President Trump was innocent of the allegations of obstruction of justice.DSO Ods 39011 – radiocom Ural, bluee Ivory Trump went even further and claimed that there was no obstruction and that he was fully exonerated.

Mueller disagreed with the Barr summary and wrote two letters to Barr to rectify that misleading conclusion. Not obtaining the rectification that he sought, Mueller broke his public silence on the investigation and gave a nine-minute public address (May 29, 2019) when he also announced his resignation from the Department of Justice. Regarding the investigation, he made the following affirmations:

  • His Special Counsel investigation was not legally permitted to bring charges against Trump due to Department of Justice tradition and policy that would not allow a sitting president to be indicted.
  • Since the Department of Justice cannot bring charges against a sitting president, the only other option is political. Tonka Rescue Force Lights & Sounds Paramedic Unit Rapid Response by HasbroThe Congress would need to bring charges of impeachment against the President.
  • Regarding the claims of no obstruction and exoneration, Mueller spoke quite clearly, “If we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that. We did not, however, make a determination, as to whether the President did commit a crime.”

A few days later, Barr stated his disagreement with Mueller’s comments. Meanwhile, various committees in the Democrat controlled House of Representatives have subpoenaed various documents (Trump’s tax returns) and witnesses (Don McGahn, Hope Hicks, etc.). Plarail THOMAS & FRIENDS TS05 Plarail James (Model Train)The Trump administration has refused to turn over documents and has pressured the witnesses not to appear before the House committees.

We are at an impasse. Both sides have their partisan political reasons for their positions. Democrats claim that Trump has obstructed justice and he is doing everything he can to prevent the truth from coming out. Trump claims that the Democrats lost in the investigation and want a “re-do” in a type of witch hunt against the President.

More than partisanship, what we really need is to come to a conclusion regarding the truth on these issues. A full-blown impeachment process would probably not obtain the needed two/thirds majority in the Senate due to the Republican control there, and therefore could be a strategic mistake for the Democrats. Nevertheless, given the White House actions of stalling and stonewalling, I believe an “impeachment inquiry” is now the only way to obtain a clearer understanding of what happened. If Trump is truly innocent, he should turn over the documents and permit McGahn and Hicks to bear witness to the truth, whatever the consequences. Green Lantern 9.5cm Battle Shifters Solar Serpent Hal JordanDemocrats should be courageous enough to begin the inquiry in order to fulfill their Constitutional oversight responsibilities. Let the truth win out!

Let me be as clear as possible. An impeachment inquiry is not the same as articles of impeachmentS3B US Navy VS21 Fighting Redtails 160156 Scale 1 200. An inquiry is a first step to gather sufficient evidence to see whether impeachment proceedings should go forward or not. If the White House is not willing to relinquish key documents and allow witnesses to testify, an impeachment inquiry is the next step forward.

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I believe that we are in a battle for the soul of our nation. It is a battle for our hearts and minds. It is a battle for the truth.Peeks Mens Santa Father Christmas Xmas Fancy Dress Costume Full Outfit UK 44

President Trump has repeatedly claimed that the Mueller Report gave him a threefold clean bill of political health. Hasegawa 1 48 Mitsubishi F1 Sea Camouflage 09897

NO COLLUSION! 

NO OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE! 

FULL EXONERATION! 

Claims like these need to be examined under the light of the truth. The first claim is mostly accurate. The Mueller Report did find that the Russian government wanted to help Trump win, but there was not sufficient cooperation by the Trump campaign to bring a charge of complicity. 

The second and third claims are deliberate distortions of the Mueller Report findings. The Report is quite clear when it states, “IF WE HAD CONFIDENCE AFTER A THOROUGH INVESTIGATION OF THE FACTS THAT THE PRESIDENT CLEARLY DID NOT COMMIT OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE, WE WOULD SO STATE. WE ARE UNABLE TO REACH SUCH A JUDGMENT. While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, IT ALSO DOES NOT EXONERATE HIM.” Star Cutouts Cut Out of Mustang Horse by Star Cutouts LtdThere is no other possible understanding of Trump’s affirmations except that he is trying to mislead the U.S. people in order to protect himself. I personally get very angry when I hear such blatant lies repeated over and over again. 

What is equally troublesome for me is that some 30-40% of my fellow U.S. citizens actually believe his falsehoods. TABLETOP HELIUM BALLOON WEIGHTS PYRAMID TASSEL FOIL METALLIC BIRTHDAY PARTY (120, Pink)I can understand why some citizens support Trump (the strong economy, low unemployment rates, etc.), but I cannot comprehend why they believe him when he so blatantly lies. 

We have had many difficult times in our nation and in our world in the past, but the current period seems particularly dire. Perhaps our greatest challenge is the battle for the truth. It is the battle for the soul of our nation. If words no longer have any meaning, then there is no hope for resolving the problems before us.  It is time for all of us to affirm the importance of truth for the sake of our country. Aquarius Kill Bill Puzzle (500 Piece) by AquariusIt is time for all of us to reject falsehoods regardless of the political affiliation of the leaders that propagate them.

Let us commit ourselves to holding each other accountable for the pursuit of the truth. It can set us free.