Thursday, January 30, 2020
Mr. Alexander, my name is Oslo Cole. I am a lifelong resident of the state of Tennessee, a proud graduate of the University of Tennessee and former member of the Pride of the Southland marching band. In my 40+ years as a Tennessean, I have always known you to be a man of honor since I was old enough to know your name.
As I was growing up, you served two terms as governor of our great state and despite our political differences, my family and I thought you were an superb governor. Not because we always agreed with you politically, but because you were a good, decent, honest man and because you always did what was right. Now, as our senior Senator, you've served with distinction and earned the respect of your peers because you understand what's right is right and because you've always put country over politics.
Now I'm asking you to do the same thing again by allowing witnesses to testify in the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump and for documents to be subpoenaed. You need the relevant facts in order to make the most informed decision as to whether Mr. Trump is fit to continue to serve as president of these United States. We as Americans need those facts as well.
Another honorable man from the state of Tennessee who served in the Senate during Watergate faced a similarly difficult decision as a loyalist to President Nixon. He didn't want to find out that the man he had supported for so long had corrupted the office of the presidency, but he understood that his duty was to his office, his country and the constitution, not to one man. I implore you to follow the example set by Howard Baker by allowing the facts to determine your course, not party loyalty or your friendship with your colleagues in the Senate.
I sincerely hope that you will rise to the occasion and live up to the high level of honor me and so many others in the great state of Tennessee have bestowed upon you. I hope that you will support the full finding of facts in this matter and use them to guide your path. Anything less would represent a miscarriage of justice and fly in the face of the reputation you've built for doing the right thing even when it's difficult. We as citizens of the Volunteer State have always had to do that on behalf of our country. This time is no different.
I hope you'll be the man of honor I've always known you to be and vote in favor of hearing witnesses and seeing documents. I have faith that you will do what is right yet again.
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
IntroThere seems to be quite a bit of confusion about the impeachment process floating around the internet and elsewhere so I thought I'd break it down for the readers of the blogozphere. Please note that i'm not a constitutional scholar but you don't have to be to fully understand how impeachment works. Also had this vetted by a buddy of mine who has a PhD in Political Science so there's that. That said, if you are a constitutional scholar and would like to rebut any or all of this explanation, i welcome the discussion. Otherwise i hope this helps.
House of Representatives= Grand JurySo the best way to think of impeachment is how it compares to the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system has what is called a grand jury. The grand jury hears and sees evidence as presented by a prosecutor, and is allowed to interview witnesses. The grand jury then determines whether someone is deserving of indictment.
In this example the House of Representatives is considered the grand jury. They are presented evidence, allowed to call and interview witnesses and will ultimately decide if the President of the United States should be indicted or more precisely in congressional and constitutional speak impeached. If they decide to impeach the President it would require a majority vote of the full House of Representatives. If that happens then the trial of the President would begin in the Senate. I think it's important to note here that just because a President is impeached doesn't necessarily mean that he/she will be removed from office.
Senate= Trial JuryIf the President of the United States is impeached (i.e. indicted) by the House of Representatives, the indictment would then move to the Senate for a "trial". In this part of the process, the Senate acts as a trial jury and selected members of the House of Representatives would serve as "prosecutors" of sorts. Incidentally, during this process is one of the few occasions where all 3 branches of government intersect because the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court acts as the impeachment trial judge.
During this process the defense (i.e. the President's impeachment team) is allowed to question witnesses, review evidence and make its case as to why the President shouldn't be removed from office based on the impeachment (i.e. indictment) sent over by the House of Representatives.
The only difference between this process and the one in the criminal justice system comes at the end. In most jury trials, the vote of the jury must be unanimous to convict a defendant. In an impeachment trial, only 2/3rds of the United States Senate would be needed to "convict" the President and remove him from office.
What Happens After That?Well this is funny (not haha!) because this has actually never happened in the history of the United States. Yes 2 other presidents have been "indicted" (i.e. impeached) by the House of Representatives (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton), but neither was actually "convicted" by the Senate and removed. In the case of Richard Nixon, he was never actually "indicted" (i.e. impeached) because he chose resign before that became an eventuality.
This would truly be uncharted territory if the President were "convicted" and removed from office. What should happen is that the President would be required by the constitution to step down and the chain of succession would dictate that the Vice-President would then become President. That being said there is discussion about the Vice-President's involvement in the scandal currently unfolding which means he may be required to step down as well. Astonishingly the next person in the line of succession is the Speaker of The House.
So that's pretty much it in a nutshell, but if you'd like a deeper dive, please see below.
Deeper DiveAs i mentioned in the first paragraph, i have a friend who has a PhD in Political Science. When i sent this post to him for his review, in addition to giving me the green light, he also provide a more in-depth explanation of the impeachment process. Continue reading below if you'd like to know more. It's truly fascinating stuff!
Section on the House of RepresentativesUsing the analogy of the U.S. criminal justice system, you could add that the House Judiciary committee has normally played the role of prosecutor while other committees in Congress play the role of the police. Particularly, every committee in the House, including the House Judiciary Committee, can investigate the president, other members of the executive branch, and SCOTUS justices if a majority of members on a committee suspect that they have committed a crime/impeachable offense. Part of this investigation involves collecting evidence through document request and committee hearings.
If a committee finds evidence that they believe implicates the president, other members of the executive branch, or members of the judicial branch in a crime/ impeachable offense, they forward that evidence to the House Judiciary committee. The House Judiciary committee, similar to a prosecutor, then weighs the evidence before deciding whether to seek an impeachment vote/charge the president.
If a simple majority on the House Judiciary committee decide to seek impeachment/try to charge the president with a crime, they then decide which evidence/articles of impeachment it will present to the House/grand jury to gain an indictment. The House as a whole then debates the articles of impeachment presented by the House Judiciary Committee on the House floor before voting on whether or not to indict the president. (In case you are interested, here is a good breakdown of the impeachment process in the House by the Congressional Research Service https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R45769.pdf)
You could also add that thinking about the president's behavior in these terms, Trump, by refusing to cooperate with the House committees charged with gathering evidence for the Ukraine scandal, is withholding evidence from the prosecutor and police by refusing to cooperate with a congressional investigation/ an official police investigation. In the legal community, this behavior is known as obstruction of justice. It carries a heavy fine and jail time. Similarly, in the American political system, this behavior is also considered to be obstruction of justice. Instead of the president being fined and sent to jail, however, this charge is added as an article of impeachment.
Section on the SenateFor this section, you could add that if the House impeaches the president, Senate rules require the Senate to hold a trial. There are no set procedural rules in the Senate for how the trial will be conducted though. Instead, leadership in the Senate, the House Majority Leader (McConnell) and the House Minority Leader (Schumer), must come to an agreement on how the trial will be conducted. Selected members of the House who serve as prosecutors then present the House's case for impeachment to the Senate.
Fortune Cookie WisdomYou are about to embark on a most delightful journey!
Monday, September 16, 2019
But First an Update...Blogging consistently is much harder than one might think. I enjoy writing, but it has taken a backseat to other more pressing obligations. Not that i'm complaining though. It has been an eventful 6 months since my last post in February. In no particular order, here's a quick summary of the more significant events:
- Lost 2 fairly long-standing clients within one month of each other
- Picked up 2 brand new clients including my biggest client to date
- A potential large-scale project fell through after months of back and forth discussion
- Played 3 shows with my new musical project, Oslo Cole's Distraction (OCD)
- Went to Score-com in June and Forecastle in July
- Appeared in a political ad that ran dozens of times on local TV
- Took over the helm of the Knox Music Coalition, a local musician support and advocacy group
Phew and that's not even the half of it! Been a busy bee to say the least, but i'm pleased to report that i'm making progress! I'm building new relationships everyday and identifying new opportunities to collaborate. If the next 6 months are anything like the last 6, i'll really be in business, but hopefully find more time to blog... hopefully!
5 Tips In 5 Minutes!
I am launching a new Youtube series called 5 Tips In 5 Minutes where I will provide tips on anything from time management (of which i'm an expert?) to getting creative with leftovers. I know what you're thinking, 'You don't even have time to blog and now you're vlogging?!' Yeah i know, we'll see how long it lasts, but for now here's the first episode. Let me know what you think and if you have any ideas on future topics.
BTW, I chose this topic because my older sister asked me for some organizational tips. Thanks for the inspiration, Kelly!
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Disclaimer: I am not actually Trayvon's older brother. To my knowledge, we aren't related in any way, but the tragic loss of his life has had a tremendous effect on me.
His death felt like losing the little brother i never had and I wanted to write something to honor his memory. To my knowledge my depiction of him is fairly accurate based on the accounts i've read about him and his life. Please forgive me for any inaccuracies.
Rest in peace, little brother.
My little brother Trayvon was always fiddling with something. He loved mechanical things and always wanted to figure out how things worked. He especially loved airplane mechanics and dreamed of one day becoming an airplane pilot or at least an airplane mechanic.
He got in trouble in school a few times, but overall he was a good kid. He tended to keep to himself a lot and avoided gangs or other "bad" kids. He got caught with a joint once, but that wasn't all that rare for a kid his age. He was always joking around, but didn't really seek the spotlight. He had a quiet, yet quick sense of humor which all who knew him really loved about him. We all thought he had a bright future because he was so bright.
When my family and i found out he had been shot, we were in shock. What in the world could he be doing that would put him in that kind of danger? Was he secretly running around with a bad crew? Did he have some bad habits we didn't know about? How could the kid we knew so well be mixed up in anything that would get him shot?
Thursday, June 28, 2018
Gay My Way: A Pride Story
ToughskinsSo i've not really posted much about Pride Month this month mostly because of so many other things going on, but also because i wasn't quite sure what to write. After a bit of reflection I have decided to write about a book I just finished reading called Toughskins by William Masswa because it's the first book i've read that truly captures my sense of my own sexuality.
Before i start talking about the book, I just want to shed a little more light on my journey of self-discovery. From an early age, i was into wrestling. There was always something so appealing and satisfying to me about going toe to toe with another guy in a battle for dominance, but to be truthful, i never wanted to "win". I always wanted to be at the mercy of my opponent which didn't make sense to me until i was old enough to understand what was really happening... it turned me on!